How to Introduce Your Puppy to New People.

If you recently got a puppy or are planning on it, I hope you’ve heard that the most important thing to do with it, besides loving it, feeding it, getting it outside fast enough and often enough to pee and poo and keeping it from chewing up your entire wardrobe, is to socialize it.

Simply put this means exposing and introducing your pup to as many new experiences and people as you possibly can. And the first four months of your dogs life is the most important time to do this. For the reasons why, listen to the episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, #8.

Let’s talk about exposing your puppy to new people. You want to take your dog to places where they will see as wide a variety of different age groups, sizes, sexes, shapes, colors and gaits of people as possible. Yes, you’ll be planning a lot of short field trips to go visit people and taking walks around the neighborhood so that your puppy walks by a lot of different types of people.

What do you actually do with your puppy once you get there or when they meet someone new?  When visiting, you want the experience to be overall positive so a bit of play, petting and gentle handling by others is involved.  The best thing single thing to do is plan to have everyone that meets your dog, hand feed it. Take small tasty treats with you, and give a bit to the teenagers you meet on your walk, or the man in the baseball cap and sunglasses and let them feed a bit to your dog.  Do the same thing for the children who want to come up and pat your dog. For younger children you will want to assist with the feeding. If your dog is not food motivated, but loves toys and balls, then the people can use the favorite toy to play with the puppy.

If you cant actually have the person hand feed, such as when your dog sees the UPS delivery person going next door, or when someone is walking by using crutches,  then you feed them a treat as near by the person as is feasible.  This also works for the bikes and skateboarders going by and is the method to use for babies as well. Simply feed a treat to your puppy as they are sniffing near the infant.

When I started walking Rosy around the neighborhood in the first weeks after adopting her, each time we got closer to the person coming towards us on the sidewalk, before they passed by us, I said her name, got her attention and fed her a treat as the person walked by.

For a more detailed description of this method and more information about socialization, I highly recommend, Jean Donaldson’s book, The Culture Clash.

Speaking of puppies, NutriSource Pet Foods has new puppy food flavors!  In addition to our regular chicken flavor for both small/medium and large breed puppies, we now have turkey, grain free puppy food.

Greeting a new dog.

Were you taught that when approaching a new dog, to first,  hold your hand out for the dog to sniff? Have you taught your kids this?

Did you know that this method is the number one thing that can actually provoke a dog to feel threatened which may result in them biting?

Yikes!!!   Don’t worry. Teach yourself and your children the correct and safe way to meet new dogs.

Here is a great poster created by the late Dr. Sophia Yin, that shows the correct way greet an unfamiliar dog.

You can also download the poster for yourself and get copies.

In this week’s podcast, I spoke about paying attention to a cat’s tail. Its various positions can tell you a lot about how the cat is feeling. To supplement the episode, here is little video showing you cat tail positions.


Resources for the podcast episode #10 Title: Dogs Who Help Keep Hotels Free of Bedbugs & The Correct, Safer Way to Greet an Unfamiliar Dog.

Website for Dog For Defense Inc. website, 

Dan Hughes and Adak.

Please support this podcast by subscribing and telling your friends. To subscribe on iTunes so you never miss an episode, here is the link. 



Your Dog’s Development Stages: What to Expect.

Just as with human children, dogs go through developmental stages – from puppyhood into adolescence and adulthood, exhibiting certain typical behaviors.

Here’s an overview of what you can expect during the different phases.

Your dog’s puppyhood, contains the critical socialization period and your efforts here will help  your dog grow up to get along well with all kinds of people and other dogs.

Listen to the Raising Your Paws podcast episode 8, that explains just what socialization means and how to do it. 


Your puppy begins to shed some of its goofy nature (unless you have a Lab) and adolescent behaviors that are driven by hormonal influences begin to arrive around 6 months of age, yet depending upon the size of your breed, it may be sooner. A small dog such as a Pomeranian, might mature at 5 months but a large dog, like a Great Dane will be later at 11 months.

Teen aged dogs get better control over elimination, the puppyhood habit of biting – lessens, their ability to focus on things improves and they begin to sense their considerable physical strength and agility.

Your dog will be more erratic and unpredictable than in puppyhood acting like a goofy, playful puppy one moment and then in the next, a teenager obsessed with anything and everything – except you, their owner.

You can have a rebellious teenager on your hand, ignoring you altogether, as they become very curious about the rest of the world and more comfortable wandering off. Due to the flooding hormones in their bodies, new challenges may emerge, like, intentionally mouthing  you,  more exuberant play including being bolder in jumping and body slamming,  they may exhibit more chewing, digging, counter surfing, stealing and  escaping.  You may find yourself yelling more, pulling your hair out, and chasing after the dog, what fun, huh – gotta love those teenagers.

Your dog will show more confidence towards you, which is good…… but as they’ve gained the ability to predict how you will react to certain things they do, they may mess with you.  You know, have a little fun at your expense, like stealing the remote control to get your attention, and instigate a game of chase.  Needless to say, obedience and manners training is mandatory at this stage if you haven’t started already.

Adolescent dogs become more concerned with their social status and territory and this leads to increased independence, assertiveness, territoriality, protectiveness over possessions, and heightened interest towards other dogs and strangers (with its possible, resulting, potential for heightened aggression as well.)

Your puppy, who may never have barked before, may start barking for the first time as an adolescent.  Until Rosy, my Sheltie/German Shephard mix, was about one year old, I had never heard her bark and was surprised the first time she did so while standing on my balcony looking down at a service worker who walked close to the building. Once you realize your dog does bark, the question will be how often it does it. Unless you want your dog to bark a lot, when it first appears, this is the right time to re-direct the dog quickly into another focus before barking has a chance to develop into a self-reinforcing behavior pattern. We can talk about barking in a future podcast episodes.

Now this is interesting and might help explain something you’ve noticed in your dog.  Some dogs who were confident puppies, can go through an adolescent  stage where they become fearful, startling more easily at new stimuli or strangers as they enter their teenage stage.

Has this happened to your dog? Patricia McConnell a leading certified, animal behaviorist, calls it, “juvenile onset – shyness,” where dogs become cautious as teenagers.

I’ve spoken about the first 3 months of your puppys life, being the critical socialization period, (podcast episode # 8) however this does not mean you can stop socializing your dog after 14 weeks, especially if your dog exhibits the adolescent fearful period.

You’ll want to continue your dog’s social education for at least the first year of its life.  As Patricia McConnell describes it, “Social animals like dogs and humans have a strong sense of familiar and unfamiliar and dogs need to learn that part of what’s normal and familiar in life is to meet unfamiliar people and dogs.” So bottom line, keep socializing your dog into adulthood.

Other adult dogs may treat your adolescent differently then they treat harmless puppies. Improper behavior from an adolescent such as in-your-face greetings, body slamming during play or direct threats toward adult dogs will not be tolerated in the same way as it might be from a young pup.   Your juvenile is likely to get a “correction” in the form of growls, snaps, and pin downs to send the message to mind their manners.  The first fight I ever witnessed between Rosy and another dog, was with one she was romping with at a dog park. Rosy chose to body slam this older dog. The adult snarled at her, but Rosy looking away, missed the warning, and when she again mischievously threw herself against her, the older dog,  got angry and let her have it. Wow, seeing my “baby” in a dog fight was alarming but, it didn’t last long, neither was hurt, and Rosy did learn her lesson.   Now that Rosy is 6 years old, she herself, does not tolerate any youngster who wants to box her face and jump on her head. It’s an immediate pin-down.

Sexual maturity.  It’s defined as the time when a dog is capable of breeding.  This stage can arrive as early as 6 months for both males and females, an average is usually 12 months – but if you have a larger breed dog it can take as long as 2 years.

Male dogs start marking and lifting their leg for first time, and females may also start marking.  Not only is the female marking her territory, but she is also advertising her availability to any eligible males.  Dog to dog aggression is likely to increase during sexual maturity as dogs become more concerned with establishing territory, social status and access to potential mates.


This is the period when adolescence ends – usually sometime between 1-3 years of age depending upon the breed and individual dog.

Adults no longer experience rapid physical growth. Rather than continuing to get taller and longer, many dogs begin to fill out. The most common change you’ll normally see in your dog’s shape will be broadening of the chest and shoulders.

To your great relief, some of the troublesome behaviors that you may have experienced with your teenage dog starts to naturally calm down. Phew! They are not as excitable as when they were adolescents and adults can calm themselves more quickly and relax for longer periods.  Your mature dog is more confident as they are now experienced in many social interactions and have reached their physical prime.

This social confidence is a positive trait in well socialized and well trained adult dogs. It can be a  pleasure for you to take your dog out in public, but be mindful that this same adult confidence in dogs that have aggression issues, can become dangerous if they are not well managed and trained.

For adult dogs, it’s not end of their social development and learning. They are still influenced by the environment, and social interactions for the rest of their lives, so continue with established routines, good leadership, socialization, training and new opportunities for exercise throughout your adult dog’s life.


If you haven’t listened to our podcast yet, there’s a lot of great stories and quick tips for raising and caring for your four legged family members. Go to

We’d really appreciate it if you could take a moment to rate and review the podcast. To do so, just click one of the directories on the homepage of the above website, on iTunes, Stitcher or Google play.   Thanks so much.


Resources for Episode 9 of the Raising Your Paws Podcast.

Title: The Two Most Important Pet First Aid Techniques To Know & Quick Answers About Your Dog’s Behavior.

For more information about Pet Tech, Click here to find pet first aid classes in your area and for more information about Pet Tech’s events and trainings available.

Thom Somes, my guest interview for this episode.

Thom Somes also known as the Pet Safety Guy™ is the president and founder of Pet Tech®, the first International Training Center dedicated to CPR, First Aid, Care & Safety for dogs and cats. Thom’s career started in the medical field over 40 years ago in Michigan. He trained with the Michigan State Police and worked as an EMT for several ambulance services. After moving to California he became an Affiliate Faculty Member for Sharp Hospital and was an American Heart Association Instructor teaching human CPR, First Aid & AED trainings. 

Twenty two years ago he merged his passion for pets, teaching and medicine to create the premiere pet CPR, First Aid & Care Training programs on the planet. Thom went back to school and earned his Veterinary Assistant 1 & 2 and volunteered hundreds of hours at Pet Emergency Hospitals and Specialty Centers. These programs were developed by Thom integrating the latest in the neurosciences of teaching and learning theory. Thom has his Practitioner, Master Practitioner and Trainer’s in NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) and has integrated it into all of the trainings, whether taught by Thom or one of the Family of Pet Tech® Instructors. Our unique style of teaching provides the student with an educational experience that is fun while allowing them to access the information in the event of a medical emergency involving their pet.

Pet Tech® offers CPR, First Aid & Care training for pet parents and Pet Care Professionals. There are over 700 Pet Tech® Instructors teaching the Pet Tech programs in 7 countries. 

Thom is the author of Knowing Your Pet’s Health, A Guide to Optimal Wellness from Snout-To-Tail. This book is responsible for saving thousands of pets’ lives. It first debuted in Dear Abby in 2001. Knowing the skills and techniques of pet first aid can mean the difference between life and death; temporary and permanent disability; and expensive veterinarian bills and reasonable home care. 

Thom is a renowned speaker and presenter specifically in the field of health and safety for pets.


Win a free bag of Pet Food.

Play our fast facts game. Answer this question, “Why do dog’s feet smell like corn chips”?

Send the answer to before the release of our next episode which will be on Feb. 26, 2018.

The 8th person to send me an e-mail with the answer, will win a coupon for a free bag of any flavor/brand of NutriSource pet food to redeem at your nearby independent dealer that sells our food. To find the closest store to you, see our dealer directory here.

Once I have your answers, we’ll talk about it on a future episode. Silly sounding question I know, but there is a real legitimate answer.



How to Protect Your Pets From Disease.

Feed your pets the foods that work to protect their bodies from disease. They are certain fruits, vegetables and enzymes that have antioxidant properties.

Oh no, there’s that word, antioxidant. Perhaps you’ve heard it mentioned in TV commercials as well as hearing them talk about free radicals, blah, blah, blah. Who knows what they are anyway? Do we care…….?

I didn’t….. UNTIL, I learned what they really are,  and I bet you will too.  It’s simple – antioxidants are foods that help protect the cells from disease.

The backstory about them is actually pretty cool.

Yay oxygen! Right?

So besides keeping us alive, oxygen interacts with other substances in our world in a process called oxygenation.

It’s what causes the apple you cut open, to turn brown after  a short while.

It’s what causes metal to rust, and, in both ours and our pets bodies (simply put,) it causes the formation of unstable molecules. Because of their instability, they can affect the cells leaving them more susceptible to illness or disease.

These unstable molecules are called……. free radicals.  Ahhhh, now you’re getting it.  Who named them that anyway?

Now, oxygenation is a natural and inevitable process. Cant stop it. A number of external things cause oxidation – like sunlight and air pollution  but also internal things, like aerobic respiration, (your bodies use of oxygen in the breakdown of foodstuffs to create energy,) or when you are sick.

The great news is when you or your pets eat certain foods, such as apples, red berries, blueberries and sweet potatoes (to name just a few) they  counteract the damages of oxygenation in our bodies. They stabilize or reduce those pesky free radicals. Antioxidants to the rescue. TA DA!!!!!



This is why doctors tell you to eat fruits and veges and feed them to your children and this is why some of these fruits and veges are added to our pet foods. All of the NutriSource pet foods brands have antioxidant ingredients in them, but we’ve especially added more in the Pure Vita line.

Here is an example of one ingredient panel  from the back of the bag – our Pure Vita salmon, grain free dog food. Look for the names of fruits and veggies. You’ll find them in the first four lines.

From Pure Vita Grain Free Salmon dog food.

Additional antioxidant fruits and veggies used in other Pure Vita protein flavors are carrots, apples, pomegranates, cherries, and apricots.

Since our typical pets don’t forage for their own food in the wild, it is up to us to provide food with the ingredients that will help them stay as healthy as possible.

You can see all the available Pure Vita flavors of food for your cats and dogs here.

We have a podcast you can listen to! It’s called “Raising Your Paws” –  with quick tips and practical solutions for caring for your four-legged family members. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher or Google play. To easily do this, go to

Here are the resources for podcast episode 8.

The link to the complete article from the Humane Society on how to crate train your dog of any age.

Call Genie Buer, the Director of Customer Service, at NutriSource Pet Foods to ask your questions about pet food ingredients.

Her phone number: –  218-346-8312  Her e-mail address:

A clarification: Regarding talking about what beet pulp is and is not, during the interview with Genie, we want to clarify that beet pulp is only used in the Regular NutriSource dog and cat food, it is not in the grain free lines.




Ways Your Pet Helps You Feel Better Physically.

Have you ever felt better, after spending time petting your dog or cat?  The scientific, medical and veterinary communities, can now validate and quantify many of the healing properties our canine and feline companions offer us.

It is commonly known that blood pressure can lower after stroking your pet’s fur, but there’s so many other ways in which our pets positively affect our health.

When you interact with your pet, neurochemicals, the brain chemicals such as dopamine’s, beta-endorphins and phenylethylamines are released into your bloodstream.  These chemicals give you the feelings of calmness, security, happiness, and love.  (By the way, phenylethyalamine is an active ingredient in chocolate – no wonder we get so happy eating it.)




People with pets recover quicker after major surgery, heart attacks and illnesses than people without pets.

Heart attack patients with pets have eight times greater chance of being alive one year after an attack.

Senior citizens with pets have lower rates of cancer.


In addition to pets being able to reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points, chronic pain can also lessen within moments, of petting your dog or cat. Because of this, some doctors have been known to prescribe, “Dog” or “cat.” for their patients.




Resources for  Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 7.

Here is the link to find the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) position on puppy socialization and vaccinations.

Here is the article by Dr. Anderson about his belief that Puppy Vaccination and Early Socialization Should go together.

We’d love to hear from you about our new blog postings and or the podcast. Please leave comments here or write me at



Why Small Dogs May Need Boots In Winter.

In this week’s podcast (Dec. 26 – episode 6) I shared what it is about medium to large sized dog breeds,  that allows them to walk in the snow during winter without a lot of discomfort.  It has to do with them inheriting the trait that wolves have, that protects their feet from freezing, in the cold climates where they live. Wolves do not come with UGG boots after all.  Listen to episode 6 to find out what the really cool trait your dog has.

The reason the smaller dogs may need some additional protection from the cold is that through the specialized breeding that has created them, the adaptation that protects the wolves feet, has been lessened or lost.

I’m talking about the designer dogs, the pocket pet dogs, the ones that are slightly larger than a rodent but smaller than a cat. You know, the rat dogs, now don’t get offended……… there is a breed called a rat terrier.

That’s a guinea pig in the middle. I don’t know what happened to its fur either.

These miniatures are cute…….but don’t have the insulation in their coats or the heating system in their feet that the big dogs have. So they may need some extra help from you. Don’t let anyone tease you about putting that purple wool coat and matching fleece booties on your small dog when you take it outside in cold weather. You are doing right by it.


Look at these designer dog names!

Chorkie Chihuahua and Yorkie
Daug Dachshund and Pug
Doxie-Poo Dachshund and Poodle
Foodle Fox Terrier and Poodle
Jack-a-Poo Jack Russell and Poodle
Malti-Poo Maltese and Poodle
Morkie Maltese and Yorkie
Pug-a-Poo Pug and Poodle
Puggat Pug and Rat Terrier
Pugston Pug and Boston Terrier
Pugshire Pug and Yorkshire Terrier
Puginese Pug and Pekinese
Schoodle Scotty and Poodle
Shih-pooh Shih-Tzu and Poodle
(Really? Say it out loud, you know what it sounds like…..that’s just not right… and anyway it’s redundant)
A Shih-Poo.
Looks like it resents its name.











Poor poodles, how did this breed get picked on to help create all these new dogs?  Oh, I can guess, probably because the “poo” part make funny names.

Resources for Raising Your Paws Podcast, Episode 6

Here’s a particularly useful article about frostbite for your pets I like to refer to when I’m teaching my pet first aid classes.  It’s good because it tells you some of the signs to look for, what to do and NOT to do, before you take your pet to the vet – which you will – immediately – if you suspect frostbite.

 We have the winner of our Podcast Launch Celebration give-away! 

Myra from Topeka, Kansas won 6 months of free NutriSource pet food.

Congratulations Myra and Callie, (a lucky 2 year old American Staffordshire Terrier mix.)

We’ll be offering another free food give away in 2018.

If you like our podcast please tell a friend.





How to Reduce Your Dog’s Leash Pulling. (Episode 5)

In the last episode of our podcast, (episode 5,) I talked about how difficult it was for me to walk my dog Rosy, on her leash, when I first adopted her,  due to her extreme pulling. Then I found out about a special type of harness that has a front ring at the chest to clip her leash to instead of her collar. It made all the difference – the very first time she wore her new harness, she instantly stopped pulling like she had been doing.

There is a physiological reason your dog pulls. Did you know this?  Listen to the beginning of episode 5 to discover what the biological reason is, that encourages pulling.

Here are a few photos of Rosy wearing her front clipping harness.  

She is wearing the “Freedom No-Pull” brand harness.  This harness is sold in some of the independent pet supply stores, and on the web. If you want to do some reading or ordering online, there are two places to look for this type of harness.

The website of Jessica MacDonald, the woman who designed, invented and patented the “Freedom No-Pull” Harness.

The website of the exclusive manufacturer of the “Freedom No-Pull” harness.

2 Hounds Design “Freedom-No-Pull”Harness.  

You will notice the front vertical strap of the harness is rather loose, hanging away from Rosy’s chest.  This is not the original way the harness was adjusted to fit her – the front pieces sat tighter and higher on her chest. However I chose to loosen it when my vet expressed her concern about how the harness sat on her, which was putting pressure on a nerve at her chest.  This works for Rosy. You’ll want to consult with your pet care professionals to get the correct and safe fit for your dog.

There are a number of different brands of the front clipping harnesses in the market. You may want to check out these two similar brands as well.

Victoria Stilwell’s Positively No-Pull Harness

Walk Your Dog With Love No-Pull harness.

There are some other more lightweight ones you can find in a number of the larger pet supply stores – I selected the brand I did, as it is very sturdy for her breed, (Shetland Sheepdog/German Shepherd mix) and her weight, (44 lbs.) and she cannot slip out of the harness. Please call the companies that sell the harnesses and read the reviews online to determine if a particular brand will be a good match for your dog.

Peaceful, happy, walking!  And don’t fret too much if they want to stop and sniff every few feet. Be patient. You don’t like to be interrupted reading the morning newspaper, do you?  For your dog, it’s how they find out what’s going on in their world – to use the famous slogan, they’re getting “all the news that’s fit to pee.”


Resources for Episode 5 – Title: The Biological Reason Your Dog Pulls, How to Stop it & Fulfilling Your Cat’s Primary Need.

The link to Pam Johnson- Bennett’s, website where you can also order her books.




How Your Pets Communicate Feelings. (Podcast Episode 4)

Your dog has a few body language signals that indicates they may be feeling uneasy or somewhat stressed. One of the signals is when your dog licks its nose, a rather quick motion – just a flick of the tongue.  I’m not talking about when your dog has just eaten something and is cleaning its mouth.  As a sign of how your dog is feeling, it happens when there is nothing around that your dog may have eaten. This licking also serves as a self-calming action, or used to calm others and so in addition to hinting at your pet’s mood, its called a calming signal.

This dog looks a bit anxious.
This dog looks a bit anxious.
Only the nose lick indicates the dog may be needing to calm itself.
Only the nose lick indicates the dog may be needing to calm itself.

You and I may have similar calming actions. When I feel anxious about things, while sitting down, I tend to rock back and forth a bit. Do you do something in particular like tapping your leg or foot?

Another calming sign is when your dog yawns when there is no reason for them to be tired.


Start watching for these signals and pay attention to when they happen. Commonly your dog may yawn during a visit at the Vet’s office, or the groomers or may be a response to something you or other people are doing that makes your dog uncomfortable. When I go over to Rosy, my dog, and start lavishing kisses on her head and muzzle, if she starts licking her nose and yawning, I realize I’m making her nervous and get my head out of her face so she can feel comfortable again and be receptive to me being close to her.

 Your cat communicates its feelings as well.  The whiskers and ears can indicate its mood.

This cat’s ears –  sitting high on its head and the whiskers hanging loosely, somewhat downward on both sides of its face, not very fanned out, are showing a relaxed cat.



When they are facing more forward and somewhat spread out it usually indicates that your cat is alert and ready to play or hunt.

Here, is an ear position called “airplane ears” – sticking out horizontally like airplane wings. This may mean that your cat is feeling agitated or irritated and could become aggressive if pushed.

“Airplane ears” position

One caveat, when reading your pet’s body language, you don’t want to interpret your cat’s mood by just one thing. Take all of its body language into consideration along with the immediate situation your cat is in. Your cat can also display airplane ears in one or both ears if your cat has an ear infections, ear mites or other ear discomfort.


This cat is feeling frightened or getting ready to fight. Note its whiskers which are flattened back against the face tightly spaced.

When the cat’s ears are tightly clenched, flattened against the head, it can mean your cat is ready to go on the offensive or aggressively defend itself.  Even if nothing happens,  these ears tell you don’t touch me right now.

Very scared cat. Do not touch me!
Very scared cat. Do not touch me!

You can hear more details about these cat and dog signals in the Raising Your Paws podcast episode 4.

Resources For The Podcast, Episode 4 – Show Title: Why Your Dog Loves Playing Tug & Another Need-to-Know Truth About Cats. 

Link to Jean Donaldson’s website:

How to order Jean Donaldson’s book The Culture Clash:

Pam Johnson-Bennett’s Website:

How to order Pam Johnson-Bennett’s book, Cat Wise.

See the new NutriSource canned cat food flavors that will be coming out soon.  

Cat Scratching Posts – On a Need-to-Know Basis. (Podcast episode 3)

When cats scratch on their posts or your furniture, you may think that they do it to sharpen their claws. There are many more important reasons they do this. In my interview with Pam Johnson-Bennett, (podcast episode 3) one of our countries leading certified cat behavior consultants, we spoke about how living with felines is much easier if we make sure we meet their primary needs. Scratching is one of them, but of course you want them to do it appropriately. Here is your need-to-know information about the subject.  (Source material from Pam's book, Cat Wise) 













Actually, scratching serves many purposes.

It’s a territorial marking behavior.  The vertical marks left, are a visual sign for other animals passing by. Doesn’t matter if your cat lives indoors. This is hardwired behavior. An odor is also left on the object scratched from scent glands in the cat’s paw pads.

It relieves tension. Scratching is an emotional release or displacement behavior so when your cat is happy, excited, stressed or frustrated, she can release some of the built-up emotion by doing this. 

The kind of scratching posts that best meet your cat’s needs are:

The right texture. A rough texture is most effective. The material, sisal is the preferred one. Wood or corrugated cardboard can work as well if your cat likes it.

Sturdy and the right height.  If the post is wobbly or feels unstable, your cat will not use it. The post must also be tall enough so that the cat can fully stretch up when scratching. Make sure the base is a good wide one, so the post is stable. 

Placed In the correct spot. Please don’t hide the post in a corner of a room you and your cat do not use. Pick a spot where your cat normally tends to want to scratch. If trying to change your cat’s habit of using the couch, place the post by the furniture.

During our conversation in episode 3 of Raising Your Paws, Pam Johnson-Bennett, names the top three truths about cats and what this means to you if you have them. The first truth you’ll hear in this episode just might surprise you. You’ll hear the second and third truths in upcoming episodes so please subscribe to the podcast so you get all the goodies.    


Resources for Episode 3. Top 3 Things To Know About Cats & Why Dogs May Repeat Certain Behaviors.

cat wise

Order Pam Johnson-Bennett’s book  Cat Wise, Americas Favorite Cat Expert Answers Your Cat Behavior Questions

Here’s Pam’s Website

Link to see why you can feed less of NutriSource pet foods.

Heres the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline Phone number I talked about – 888-426-4435.

I'll tell you another story about when I had to call this number in episode 1 as well as sharing more information to know about the hotline. Check it out. 

Hey, you could win 6-months of free NutriSource pet food by subscribing, rating and reviewing one of the first five episodes of Raising Your Paws during our launch celebration. Click the box above at the top of the page to enter our drawing. 


How old is your pet in human years? New info! (Podcast episode 2)

You’ve heard that for every 1 year of your pet’s life, it counts as 7 human years, right?  Well, there's new thinking in this regard that lets you be a bit more accurate.

Our pets mature quicker than we do during their early years, so a dog and cats first year is really more equivalent to about 15 human years and by the time they are two, it is like them being 24 years old.  It really makes sense doesn’t it? Your pets can reproduce before they are a year old. If they were only 7 in our terms – now, that doesn’t seem right.   

Remember, any age estimations are a simplification of the issue – this is not hard and fast science. There are many factors that affect how your pets age and if you check on the web, you’re going to find a range of different age estimates. The figures I am using are the average of the ones commonly thought to be most realistic.   

Getting back to the point – with cats, after their second year – (24 years old human wise) count another 4 years for each calendar year.  With dogs, after the first 2 years, it’s a little more varied. Add another 4-7 years each birthday depending upon its breed size and weight – approximately 4 years for the small breeds, 5 for medium, 6 years for large breeds and 7 years for the giants.

                                            Here are some charts to help you figure your pet’s age.



Cats age chart.
Cats age chart.

Find out more about your cat's age from the website I found this chart. International Cat Care. 

Ever wonder why your dog does some of the crazy thing it does?  

Jean Donaldson, author of the book, The Culture Clash: A revolutionary new way of understanding the relationship between humans and domestic dogs was my guest on Raising Your Paws podcast, episode 2 and she explained alot about how the true nature of a dog greatly affects what we see them do. 

You'll want to hear this interview if you havent already!  You can find the episode by clicking the "Where to listen" button at the top of this website page.

In her Top 10 List of Things Known About Real Dogs, she writes that one of the things that "really captures the essence of dogs, is that they are social predators. This means that alot of your dog's behavior can be traced to their evolutionary legacy as predators and as beings that lived constantly around others." (from the Culture Clash.)   

Because your dog is a predator, even though you probably don't make them hunt for their meals, they are still going to exhibit behaviors that they'd use to kill and eat their prey. These are hardwired into them.

Things like searching, stalking, chasing, biting, grabbing, chewing, shaking. You know, you see these all the time and your dog wants to do these things – like chase that squirrel or that car, grab your glove while on your hand and tug, and rip apart every toy you give it.   A way to help your pet release these "predatory energies," is to play some games with them that involve these behaviors but in a contained appropriate way.  Giving them this kind of stimulation regularly, is a great way to ward off unwanted behavior problems. We all know, a bored, frustrated dog, can get into trouble at times.  

Here is one of the games, Jean Donaldson recommends from her book, The Culture Clash. 

Hide & Seek. 

Put the dog in a sit-stay out of visual contact with the room where you will hide the object. Alternatively, you can simply shut the dog in another room to prevent him from peeking. Hide the object and then initiate the search by releasing him from the room (or the sit-stay) and asking him excitedly, "where's your toy?!" Then prompt and coach him to search. The object can be a cookie, a stuffed chew toy, a ball or a tug of war toy. There must be some motiviation for the find. If the dog is a maniacal retriever, a ball or other retrieve toy is perfect: when the dog makes a find, you may celebrate with a few intense retrieves before setting up another search. Likewise, if the dog is a tug of war addict, give him a ten or fifteen second round of tug as reinforcement for a find. If he's more food-motivated, use a Kong stuffed with something delicious.

Start with easy finds and big celebrations to get the dog hooked on the game. It only takes a few rounds for the dog to learn that he is looking for something of great interest to him. As he gets into it, go for tougher hiding places. As soon as possible, stop helping him to make finds so that he gains confidence in his own ability. If you constantly bail the dog out, he will learn that giving up is the most effective strategy, rather than perservering. Most dogs will natually begin to use their noses to make the find. This is magical to watch. At this point, they can find objects buried deepy into sofa cushions or anywhere else you might try to stump them. (from The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson) 

Jean Donaldson also shares why playing tug is such a good game for you and your dog and the three rules to follow. You'll hear this in an upcoming episode, so you might want to subcribe to the podcast right away.  

To celebrate the new podcast,  we're giving away a reward for subscribing, rating and reviewing one of our first podcast episodes. Enter your name in the box at the top of the website page to be entered in the random drawing. 


Resources for Podcast episode 2. 

Top 3 Things To Know About Dogs & Solving Cat Litter Box Problems.  

Jean Donaldson
Jean Donaldson

Hey Pet Parents! New Podcast & Matching Blog. (Podcast episode 1)

Hello!  I'm Susan Frank. I know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from us. We’re happy to announce that we now have a new podcast. Introducing, "Raising Your Paws," your go-to pet parent resource, along with this brand new website. Our blog will accompany and expand on things we talk about in the podcast episodes.

Please give our podcast a listen! It’s designed for you, the pet parent and offers quick tips and practical solutions for caring for your four-legged family members – cats and dogs.

happy dog and cat

I’m hosting the podcast and writing this blog. Here's a photo of me and my dog, Rosy. She's a Shetland Sheepdog/German Shephard mix. 6 years old. 

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You'll be hearing some stories about her as we cover topics such as "why do our pets do what they do," the reasons for their mystifying behaviors. You'll know what to do about their actions and how to best meet the needs of our canine and feline family members while still maintaining a happy and sane household.

I welcome your comments and questions about our blog postings and the podcast –  and now will be responding regularly to them. If you’re not sure what a podcast is or how to get one or listen to it, here is what to do.

A podcast is a talk radio show that you get on the internet and can listen to any time you want. There are two ways to listen. Through a website, (called streaming) or by downloading a podcast. Downloading saves it on your phone, tablet or computer so that you can listen anytime even without an internet connection.

To Stream it: From our website, Raising Your, click the play button in the box at the top of the page. 

To download: Get it delivered to your phone or tablet each week using an app.

On iphones and ipads, Use the podcast app. (newer devices have it already installed)

Find us on iTunes

If you don’t have the app, you get this from the App store.  You do need to have an account with itunes. So either sign in to your account or open one. Simple, create user name and password. Then go to the app store. Type podcasts in search field. Tap purple podcasts app and tap get to download the app. Open the podcast app, and use the search field to find Raising Your Paws, and when you get to our page, hit subscribe.

Please also rate and review our episodes. To do this, tap reviews. Then you will make up a user name, and can tap how many stars to give the podcast and leave comments on what you think of the podcast.  

On Android phones and tablets

Find us on Stitcher

If you do not have the Stitcher app, go to Google Play and install the Stitcher app. Once in Stitcher, use the search button to find Raising Your Paws. Click the plus icon (+) found on the right upper corner to add it to your favorites list. Now go to the favorites list. Tell it to download new episodes by clicking the gear in the upper right hand corner. Enjoy listening.

Even though there will be references to the podcast here, this blog will still stand on its own offering cute photos, and fun and helpful insights and articles about your beloved cats and dogs plus news about our company and products.

We're celebrating our new podcast launch with a bonus reward!  You can be the lucky winner of 6 months worth of free NutriSource pet food by listening to, subscribing, rating and reviewing one of our first five podcast episodes. Enter the drawing by clicking the button on the header of this page.


Resources for Episode 1.  – Should You Get Pet Health Insurance & A Necessary Pet First Aid Emergency Number. 

ASPCA Poison Control Hotline phone number – 888-426-4435.

Order Dr. Kenney's book, Pet Health Insurance. A Veterinarians Perspective.


Dr. Kenney’s Website and Blog.

Pet Health Insurance Tool Kit.

Dr. Kenney’s Podcast: Pet Insurance Guide.