For Training with Food Rewards, Use Yummy And Nutritious Treats.


Photo credit: Can Do Canines.

In the latest episode of Raising Your Paws podcast number 35, my guest, Alan Peters, the executive director  of the organization Can Do Canines, talked about how they train assist dogs to do highly specialized jobs in order to live with and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Wait until you hear about the skills these dogs know how to do. Wave a magnet over the neck of a woman so that her seizures stop? Cross the legs of a small boy who can’t move them himself? Yep, and there’s much more they can do. It puts my training of Rosy to jump up and stay on a platform to shame. And I still don’t even get a consistent “drop” from her – I’ve got to get serious after learning what dogs are really capable of doing.  Listen to the episode below. For hearing the segment about the assist dogs go directly to timestamp:  09:07

Anyway, the majority of how the “Can Do Canine” dogs  are trained to do such things like going to get the phone and bringing it to their person so that they can call for help when they fall or alerting their person with hearing loss that there is some important sound they need to know about, is accomplished through positive reinforcement training and using food treats as the reward.

Photo credit: Can Do Canines.

At NutriSource pet foods, they have been busy making a greater variety of  delicious and highly nutritional treats for both dogs and cats that are perfect for training your pet. Yes, you can train a cat.

Ok, not saying we’re going to train your kitty to do this.

Let me know in the comment section of this blog, if you’d like me to do a podcast segment about that topic- cat training.

One of the latest new treat products they are making is the tasty,  freeze dried treats for both cats and dogs that come in a wide selection of different meats.

Its always helpful to know exactly what ingredients are in a food and what the source of the good nutrition happens to be. Since there are a number of nutritional benefits to these treats besides being a really handy size and texture for training your dog to fetch the TV remote, let’s get to it.

Firstly, these treats are made with a single source protein. Only the one meat that is clearly indicated on the package. This is good because if there are some proteins your pet cannot eat or does not like, it’s isolated for you and you can choose another one. If Barney the beagle is so allergic to chicken he breaks out when just seeing a picture of one, no problem – there is venison or duck or turkey or beef or wild boar or Alaskan salmon as options. Is Caterina the cat, finicky about anything with beef in it? Perfect, try the minnow, ahi tuna, Alaskan salmon duck liver or turkey. 

Having a single meat, not a mixture of proteins also offers your pet a variety of distinct tastes. Its boring tasting the same thing over and over and over again, don’t you think?  It’s more fun and a pleasurable experience for your dog to savor a salmon treat one time and then your cat devour a duck tidbit the next. Hey, pets have a good amount of taste buds too!  Rosy, my dog has eaten the duck and the venison treats so far, and both were winners. We’ll try all the rest of the flavors soon.

A treat that combines a yummy taste and high quality meat is fabulous but lets not skip nutrition. These treats are made using a process  – they are flash frozen, and slowly freeze dried ( that was a mouthful) that preserves the ingredients nutritional integrity and thereby delivers optimal bio-availability.









Okay, whats that?  Bioavailability is the ease and effectiveness with which any nutrient makes its way from the food you or your pet eats into your or your pet’s body.  It’s a journey  every nutrient takes that involves first, being digested or broken apart so that the nutrient can be freed from the food that contained it.  Once the nutrient is released then the second part of its journey involves the absorption of the nutrient from the digestive tract into the rest of the body so that is it able to have an active effect.

When a nutrient is highly bioavailable, it can be digested and absorbed a high percentage of the time and in a dependable way.  Poor bioavailability means the digestion, absorption or both can be difficult and much less predictable. The ability of the body to effectively absorb and use all the possible nutrients from a food  is the corner stone of optimal nutritional bio-availability. And it follows to reason that foods with good bioavailability are the most desirable and these treats are!  A big yum to health!

Ask your local pet supply store for NutriSource/Pure Vita Freeze Dried treats.

And, learn more about them at our website: Click here for the dog treats. Click here for the cat treats.

Look at the ingredients in the treats. You will see they contain only the meat listed on the package and then in some of the treats, you will see the ingredient, mixed tocopherols. No mystery here. This is essentially a form of vitamin E and being mixed provides a combination of the different kinds of necessary tocopherols which are simply anti-oxidants that stabilize cell membranes. increase immunity, and reduce disease.

Happy and healthy training or snacking.

 Show Notes for Raising Your Paws podcast episode 35.

Title: How to Help Dogs Terrified by Thunder & Stories of Canines Whose Specialized Job Skills Save People’s Lives & the Best Way To Play With Your Cat.  

 Have you ever wondered why many dogs are afraid of thunderstorms? I explain what your dog hears compared to you, reveal the most important role you play during storms and then offer a few things you can do to help calm a petrified dog.    

Then, we’ll hear more stories from Alan Peters, the executive director of Can Do Canines, an organization in Minnesota that trains dogs to perform customized, one-of- a-kind skills that make all the difference in the lives of people with certain disabilities. In part two of our conversation (part one is in episode 34) you’ll hear about the astonishing things dogs do, such as helping a wheel bound boy move his legs, and saving a woman from the constant need to call an ambulance to stay alive.  

Did you know that how you play with your cat can have a big influence on its happiness and in preventing or remedying behavior issues? The secret is having a particular type of toy and then knowing the best way to move it so that it engages your cat’s natural hunting skills. I’ll explain how to activate this most important “prey sequence” so that you both reap the benefits

If you enjoy the podcast, please tell your friends about it. They can subscribe for free and the easiest way to do this is to go to the podcast website,

 Resources for the Episode.

 Check out the website for more information on The Tellington TTouch – a method for calming your pets.

Can do Canines website.

Guest, Alan Peters, with his dog Sam.








Source for the story on thunderstorms: The Secret Lives of Dogs by Jana Murphy and editors of Pets: Part of the family.

Source for the story on a cat’s prey sequence:  The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider.


Why Your Kitten Attacks Your Ankles.

Does your kitten bite your ankles? My cat Willie used to do this to people- mostly when my guests or sister would come over to visit.  Willie would lay in wait until the person walked by  him, and then with no warning or provocation, he’d pounce and land on their feet with the clutching of his paws and the biting with his jaws. Ouchh!  would cry my visitor. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” I’d say time and time again. “I don’t know why he does that.” This happened, especially to my sister –  whose shoes were enemy number one for Willie. He’d attack them with military precision and regularity. Willie’s been gone a long time now, and after researching and reading a lot about cats, I have a good idea of what that was about. If you’ve heard  my story of how Willie came into my life,  you’ll know I raised him from being a few days old. He never had a feline mother and no cat littermates. He grew up with cottontail rabbits. I was his mother. Listen to the story here – (episode 30, third segment, timestamp: 34:55.)

Normally, a cat spends his first 2-3 months with his mother and siblings, and spends a lot of time play-fighting, and pretend hunting. His mother and littermates, teach the kitten the rules of cat etiquette, when it’s being too rough, when the play is getting out of paw, and when it’s time to stop all the nonsense.  

Mom will discipline kitty with quick sharp, nips and the siblings will stop playing, if the kitty gets out of control. This way the kitten learns what is and what is not acceptable behavior. I did not know this. I was not a total loss at teaching rules. I did teach Willie not to jump on counters, to drop that chipmunck in its mouth and to come to me when I called even it he was outside on an adventure. I just didn’t know about teaching bite control.

Did you get a kitten when they were just a few weeks old? Many times, kittens are taken away from their mothers too soon and they did not have the time to learn to control the rough housing that the mother would have taught. So then, if you have a young 6 week old kitty, when they play fight with you, of course, their tiny little teeth and claws don’t bother you too much as they chew on your feet and hands, and we tend to ignore it. How would we know that a real cat mother would discourage it!  We don’t – and to the kitten, when we let them do this, without realizing it, we are teaching them that nipping and scratching is allowed.  Then as they grow bigger and their claws and teeth get stronger, those ambushes and bites start hurting a lot more and they are capable of drawing blood, as I can attest to from Willies’ surprise attack missions. A kitten can even start to associate someone with fighting behavior, and so the sight of them can trigger the prey drive and an attack. After all your feet and ankles are highly attractive moving targets.

I think this is what happened with my sister and her feet.  Every time she came over, it became a habit. There was Willie, latching on to her shoes with his teeth as she came in the doorway. Then he’d break away a bit as she walked into the living room, circling to get the best angle for the next launch and grab as she slowly made her way to sit down. It was all great fun or a threat or who knows what was really in his mind. But as his mom, I had never redirected him away from this continual onslaught.

So, when you have a kitten and it is biting you, be the mom! Teach your kitty to control its bite. Kittens that are allowed to bite when young, are much more prone to bite when they are older.  Being a cat mother and practicing discipline can be trying but start teaching them right away.

Every time your kitten bites, look at her and say “no”. You don’t have to yell or shout. Say it quietly, calmly yet firmly. If you do yell in anger, your kitten will just run away, scared, and you’ll lose the teaching moment.

If she does not stop, either tap her on the nose or place your hand on her head and hold her somewhat tightly which is similar to what the mother would do when she immobilizes the kitten with her paw.

When your cat stops biting, praise her in a gentle voice.  You will get many chances to practice this often. Just like human babies, kitties like to bite and mouth things.

When your cat is very excited and seems about to bite, stop all your movement because any moving will just excite her further.

And what can you do when your cat has a hold of you and is ripping up your ankles or your arm?  First, if your cat has its paws wrapped around you and its teeth are sinking into your skin, do not pull away or run.  Gently push your leg or arm towards his mouth and then keep still.  This movement confuses the cat and causes him to release the grip.  Once he lets go, continue to stay still and ignore him until he moves away. You are teaching that biting flesh is an immediate end to the fun.

Finally, make sure you are giving the cat enough other, external stimulation – plenty of opportunity to play with and hunt things –  that are not you. I know you know this, but you’ve got to play with your cat – they need to burn energy – so engage your cat with interactive play sessions twice a day. Get them moving with the stick or pole type toys that you swish around  that have the fake bug, bird or mouse at the end.

Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 34 – Full Show Notes.

Title: Stories of Dogs with Very Special Jobs –Helping People with Disabilities & How Gazing into one Another’s Eyes Is Good Chemistry for You and Your Dog.    

 Is there such a thing as good chemistry with a dog? Science is proving that both you and your dog’s brain chemistry is changed for the better by certain interactions. Find out which chemicals are involved and when this happens.

Does your dog fetch your newspaper for you? Wait until you hear what specially trained dogs can do to help individuals living with challenges, such as hearing loss or childhood autism. Alan Peters, the executive director of Can do Canines, an organization that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities, tells stories of people’s lives that are transformed by these dogs.

Does some of your cat’s behavior baffle you? In this “Why the cat does that” fun facts feature, you’ll hear the answers to why your cat makes a chattering sound when seeing birds out the window, why your cat gets the zoomies – running around like crazy at times and why your cat sticks his rear end up in the air and raises his tail near you when you pet him.

 We’d like your feedback. Please write me at to comment on the podcast and if there is anything in particular you’d like to hear in future episodes. Thank you.

  Resources for the Episode:

Source for the story: Chemistry with your dog: How Dogs Think: Inside the Canine Mind. Time Special Edition

Can Do Canines website.


Alan Peters, and his dog Sam.


Should You Allow Your Pet to Sleep in Your Bed?

Do you sleep with your cats and dogs? Do you sleep well in general?

We’re trying something new for our blog. Here is a guest article written for us from an author with the Sleep Help Institute. (

This is a really good website, an independently owned, unbiased sleep resource where you can read about everything “sleep”.  

Should You Allow Your Pet to Sleep in Your Bed? By Samantha Kent.

A beloved pet can feel like a full member of the family. But, should you share your bed with an animal? There are pros and cons to inviting your furry family member in bed. Your personal circumstances will have the largest impact on your decision. No matter what you choose, everyone in the house needs adequate rest. If sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome already affect you or interfere with your spouse’s, or your pet’s sleep, be open to other arrangements.

When the Dog Needs to Sleep Somewhere Else.

There are circumstances under which an animal should not sleep in your bed. Dogs and cats can pass diseases on to their owners through the fleas, or ticks they may have that get transferred to you or your bed. It is uncommon, but certain bacterial infections such as one strain of Staphylococcus, and parasitic infections can be transferred to humans from the pets licking, biting or scratching of you that may happen more frequently due to the close contact of being together in bed. Keep in mind that animals that are up to date on their vaccinations and flea/tick treatments pose a very small risk of passing on a disease. However, the risk is still there.

For that reason, very young children, and anyone with a compromised immune system should not sleep with their pet. Even a small risk of infection could prove to be hazardous to their health.

Pet allergies are another reason you may not want to share the bed. Mild allergies can become more severe due to the immune system being overstimulated when exposed to pet dander all night long. Tightened airways in the throat can result and poses danger for breathing and interfere with your sleep.

If you have allergies, your pet should probably sleep somewhere else. Over time, dander from your pet, attaches itself to almost any surface, and before you know it, even when your pet is not in the bed, the entire bedroom can become a source of sneezing and nasal congestion. So in reality, you’ll sleep better if your animals stay out of your bedroom altogether.

When a Furry Companion Might Be the Best Idea.

A pet in the bedroom isn’t always a bad idea. Your dog or cat nearby can provide much needed companionship and:

*   Relieve Anxiety: Pets are natural stress relievers. For some people, being near their favorite four-legged companion can cause a release of oxytocin, a hormone that helps us feel compassion and love. The calming effect your beloved animal has on you, can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

*   Increase Your Sense of Security: One of the number one reasons people own a dog is personal safety. This is especially true for those who live alone. Animals, generally, have a better awareness of their surroundings and have been known to alert owners to potential dangers at night. If that feeling of safety helps you sleep better, your pet in bed is definitely a positive thing.

*   Offer Comfort: A furry friend can be like a warm stuffed animal toy. They’re great for comfort and warmth and are far more personable than an electric blanket.







Making It Work.

Sleeping with a pet might require some changes in your sleeping arrangements. First, you’re going to have to deal with motion transfer. A mattress topper can help absorb motion and reduce disruptions. See this page at for recommendations. Second, consider training your pet to sleep at the foot of the bed so you’re not running into one another all night long. Lastly, sometimes large pets are too much for one bed. A dog bed positioned on the floor next to your bed, close enough so you can touch your dog during the night is another possible solution.

Whether you decide to keep your pet in another room or make him a bedfellow, everyone needs adequate sleep. You need seven to nine hours while most dogs and cats may sleep 12 to 18 hours per day, though not all at once. If everyone is getting the sound, restful, sleep they need, you know you’ve made the right choice.

Samantha Kent, the author, of this article is a researcher for Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.    

There is another article on the Sleep Help Institute website I really like about how your dog sleeps. See it here.

Full Show Notes for Episode 33 – Raising Your Paws Podcast.

Title: A Very Human-like Reason Why Dogs Like to Roll in Smelly Filth & A Guilt-free Strategy for Meeting Other Dogs on Walks.

You can listen to the show here. 

Cats have exceptional noses just like dogs do, and smelling and being smelled is an important part of their social life. They also have a smelling superpower function and I’ll tell you how you’ll know your cat has turned it on.

Then, continuing my conversation with dog trainer, Katie-K-9, you’ll get practical advice about:

How retractable leashes can cause more problems than the “freedom to roam” benefit.

A simple and reassuring thing to do with your dog if meeting unfamiliar dogs on walks does not always go so well.

The best way for you to personally, greet an unfamiliar dog so you don’t get bit.

Plus, did your dog roll in stinky dead remains again? I offer two explanations from the world of animal behavioral science for why dogs delight in doing this.

To support this podcast, please subscribe, rate and review Raising Your Paws on ITunes. Click here.  Thank you.

Resources for the Episode:

Source for story about your cat’s nose. “What Your Cat Knows” by Sally Morgan.

Katie K-9 website. Click here.

Katie K-9.

Source for story about dogs rolling in smelly things.  “The Secret Lives of Dogs,” by Jana Murphy and the Editors of “Pets part of the Family.”




Finding The Pet That Will Be A Good Match For You.

Thinking of getting a puppy or kitten as a gift for someone during the holidays?  In the last episode of the Raising Your Paws podcast, episode 31, I spoke about the thing you will want to do first and foremost to make sure the new pet will work out to be a joyous and welcome addition to the family.

Make sure that the type or breed of dog or cat you choose will be a good match for the person, people or family you are giving the pet.  Do some research first!  It can be fun and easy. Below, you’re going to find two resources, I really like,  that are going to help you know what kind of breed you should get.

First of all, here’s why to do this.

It’s the things we don’t tend to think about when we pick out a pet that can lead to frustration, unhappiness or animal behavior problems later – such as,  is the dog breed a challenging one to train, which ones have the tendency to bark or howl a lot, which cats naturally talk (meow) a lot, which dogs are kid friendly, or which cats  need a lot of attention?

We can be easily charmed by the looks of a puppy or kitten and its affectionate behavior when they are at the shop or shelter but this will not help when the dog breed you chose needs to run and move at least 2 hours a day to be sane and you are the type of family that lives in an apartment and barely have time to give the dog a 15  minute walk each day. Can you say, behavior problems?  To give the pet the best odds that it will stay in your home and be loved for the rest of its life and that you can handle the needs of the dog or cat check out these resources. I think they are both really good.


The first one, is for finding your perfect dog. This is a really cool website.  At there is a match up tool that determines which types of breeds and mixes may be a good fit for you and  your family.

Dog Matchup

Then you can browse their detailed dog breed profiles to read all about the characteristics of the different types of dogs. 

Dog Breed Selector

I really like that there are categories of the breeds you can look through such as dogs that: adapt well to apartment living, ones that are easy to train, which dogs have drooling potential and the flip side, dogs that are not big droolers.  There are many other designations like – dogs that are good for novice owners and most importantly the breeds with high energy levels and exercise needs and which breeds have lower ones.  Really helpful feature and its fun to look through no matter what. 

This website goes a long way to help you think about and find the dog breeds that can be a good match.  There is even an “Are You Ready” Quiz , you can take if you’re not sure you’re ready to have a pup or not.

Now, head over to the ASCPA Meet A Match™ Program.

This one helps you to figure out both dogs and cats that would be good for you. It is designed for matching you with dogs or cats that you would adopt from an animal shelter. First, lets talk about dogs. Dog shelters conduct an assessment on dogs 6 months and older (the Canine-ality Assessment) which helps them determine the individual needs of each dog. A battery of five tests help them to determine his or her general canine-ality including friendliness, playfulness, energy level, manners, motivation and drive.

It’s also very fun to look through and do. It color codes dogs into three designations,  easy maintenance (purple), average maintenance (orange), and high maintenance (green). Within each color category are three descriptions to help you better understand the dogs canine-ality.  Here are the category descriptions for adult dogs.  (Puppies are also divided into the three colors but have different descriptions. To learn more about puppy- ality, click here.  

Couch Potato
Like the easy life? Then I’m the perfect match for you. I’m a relaxed, laid-back kind of dog who enjoys long naps, watching movies, curling up on laps, and walking very short distances from the couch to the food bowl and back. (Internally motivated)

Constant Companion
Looking for an emotionally secure, mutually satisfying, low maintenance relationship? I am all you need. Let me sit at your feet, walk by your side, and I’ll be your devoted companion forever. (Socially motivated)


Teacher’s Pet
I’ve got the whole package — smart, fuzzy, four legs, love to learn and live to please. Go ahead, teach me anything. Sit, stay, balance your checkbook, I can do it all. Keep me entertained and I’ll be yours forever. (Externally motivated)

Shy yet charming canine searching for patient owner with relaxed lifestyle. Looking for gentle guidance to help me come out of my shell. Treat me sweet and kind and I’ll blossom. (Internally motivated)


Busy Bee
I’m a naturally playful, curious, and trusting canine. Take me for a big walk every day; give me something to do. After my job’s done, I’ll curl up in front of the fire with you in the evenings. (Externally motivated)


I’m a fun-loving, happy-all-the-time, glass-is-half-full kind of dog looking for someone who loves to laugh and play around. Must have a great sense of humor and some time to spend with me. I’m a dog on a mission to please you. (Socially motivated)

Life of the Party
I think everything is fun, interesting and meant for play, especially you. Anything you do, I’ll want to do too. With my own brand of surprises, life with me will keep you constantly on your toes, and the fun is guaranteed. (Socially motivated)

Want to get more exercise? Action is my middle name. My “Let’s GO!” lifestyle will keep you motivated to get outside and move. I’ve got tons of energy; and just like the sun, I’m burning and working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’ll run for miles, chase a ball for hours, and still want to play at the end of the day. (Externally motivated)

Free Spirit
Intelligent, independent, confident and clever, I prefer making my own decisions but will listen to you if you make a good case. We’re partners in this adventure. Treat me like one and we’ll both live happily ever after. (Internally motivated)

Which color of dogs will work well with you?  On the ASCPA Meet A Match™  website you can take a short easy survey (dog adopter survey) and you’ll find out which color categories of dogs blend well with your needs and expectations and helps conclude what kind of canine-ality you are looking for in a dog.

Many shelters across the United States are using this system. Call your local shelters to find out if they are using Meet A Match™ and then you can take your completed survey into the shelter so they can begin to match their dogs’ or cat’s behaviors to your expectations, experience, lifestyle, and home environment. Many of the dogs in the shelters that are using the program, will have identifying color cards on each of the dog’s kennels. Easy peesy!

If you’re looking to adopt a cat that will match well with your family, meeting a cat through the Feline-ality Adoption Program allows you to bring home a new companion already knowing something about them.  And you take a survey for cats just like for dogs to find out your color match. (cat adopter survey.) 

  • Green adopters are most successful with cats who adapt quickly to new situations.
  • Orange adopters are a good fit with easy-going cats.
  • Purple adopters are comfortable with cats who need time and encouragement to adjust to new surroundings.

You can see a poster showing the above cat color category descriptions.  Click here. aspca_felineality_poster


Additional Resources for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 31.

Title: Before Giving a Pet as a Gift, Do This First  & How Search and Rescue Dogs Find Missing People.

North Star Search and Rescue Website

North Star Search and Rescue on Facebook.

Chief Diane Stefanick and Shiloh.
Deputy Chief Ross Butterfield and Bosco.
Tracking dog.

Please support this podcast by subscribing and then rating and reviewing the podcast.  To subscribe on iTunes (so you never miss an episode) here is the link.  For android devices, subscribe on Stitcher.




How to Help Keep Dog Play Friendly.

Isn’t it fun watching dogs playing with each other? I get a kick out of how Rosy loves leading a chase and is so happy when she is wrestling with her best friends. Mostly, dog play is all done in good fun, but if the dogs get overly excited or if someone starts bullying more than being a buddy, or if two dogs gang up on one, then the play can change and someone winds up getting alarmed or scared or nipped. Kind of like human kids at play – it can get out of hands at times.   

Here is something you can do to help it stay all in good fun.

On a regular basis, make it a habit to interrupt the dogs playing, frequently, by calling your dog out of play and taking little pause breaks. If you are with friends, have them call their dogs to them as well. Everyone will take a breather. If you have a puppy, call it over, have it  sit or go into a down, praise the pup quietly or give it a high value treat for coming when called or have a short petting session. With your adult dog, reinforce a short down/stay and offer a reward for coming to you so nicely.  There has to be something good for her to want to stop playing and come to you, otherwise your dog may just ignore you. Think about if you are in the middle of doing something really fun, someone asks you to stop and come over, you do so and they say, “good”  and pat you on the arm. I regularly practice calling Rosy over when she is either walking off leash or when playing with her dog friends. I always pay her a bit of a high value treat – something she really loves – then I let her go back to playing.  Rosy has a great recall.  Just saying…..

The most important part of this, and why you’ll do it often, is you want to interrupt the play BEFORE it escalates into being overly rough or bullying behavior begins. The point of this technique is not to wait and call the dogs to you in response to unwanted and potentially dangerous behaviors. You are working to prevent this.

If you wait until the behavior occurs,  then redirect your dog attention by calling them to you, it does not prevent the bullying from happening in the first place and if you call and reward after they get in trouble, and do this a number of times, it can actually serve to unintentionally reinforce the unwanted behavior. Not what we want. Once they take that mini break – let them go back to their friends. By now, their attention has shifted. They may all investigate  “that smell” together, play chase or it will be time for all of you to take a walk down the trail.   


Additional Resources for Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 30.

Title: Teaching Your Dog to Pee and Poop on Command & Why Socializing a Young Kitten is A Must!

Win three  free bags of NutriSource Pet Food’s new freeze dried treats for cats or dogs.

Write me at Let me know what you’d like to hear on the podcast and we’ll randomly select a few people to win the free bags of treats.

 Source for the story about the three S’s.    Dog Smart by Linda P. Case. (On Amazon)



Dog Trainer, Katie K-9’s website.

Katie K-9 and her dog Lucee.

Katie K-9 Radio Show.

Katie K-9 on Facebook.

Resources mentioned by Katie-K9

Starmark’s collars.

Herm Sprenger prong collars.  


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





How to Peacefully Blend a Dog-Cat Household.

In the last two episodes of the Raising Your Paws podcast, we talked about how cats and dogs misunderstand each other and how to help them get along, with my guest, certified animal behavior consultant, Amy Shojai, author of  ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in the Cat-Dog Household.

Listen here to episode 28 to find out: how dogs and cat misunderstand each other’s body language, and how to stop your dog from chasing your cat.

Listen here to episode 29 to find out: the easiest way to break up a fight between your cat and dog and why your dog loves eating cat poop.


How to Create Harmony Between your Dogs and Cats Right from the Start.   

From Amy Shojai’s book, here are shortened and paraphrased versions of her TEN COMMANDMENTS of PET DYNAMICS – Things to keep in mind before you choose a new four-legged family member for your household.

The ideal situation if you want to have both cats and dogs in the home,  is if they can grow up together as kittens and puppies. This way they go through their socialization periods together and have a greater chance of living together in peace and harmony as adults.

Since this may not be realistic for you, follow these guidelines to try to avoid the worst cat-dog behavior challenges.  Detailed advice and additional information about all of the topics below are found in Amy Shojai’s book, ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in the Cat-Dog Household.



  1. Introductions between the resident pet (either dog or cat) and the new one is much simpler when your resident pet already knows the rules of the house and basic obedience cues. At the least, the ones that already live there, should understand the word NO and the dog, be leash trained.
  1. It is easier to introduce a newcoming cat to a resident dog than the other way around. Dogs tend to be more accepting of newcomers than cats are. Cats prefer a status quo and changes can be perceived as threats.
  1. Resident adult pets, both cats and dogs tend to accept and be more tolerant of younger pups and kittens being added to the family more readily than adult animals. Baby animals are less likely to challenge the resident’s social status than adults.
  1. The more space you have in your house, the less trouble you will have. Dogs and cats are territorial so there needs to be enough room so that they are not living on top of each other. Amy’s “rule of paw” is to have no more pets than there are rooms available in your home. If space is limited, make sure you enrich the environment by providing plenty of hiding places, lookout posts, and numerous toys. Privacy is important to pets.  Both dogs and cats need a place they can call their own – a sanctuary where they can retreat and not be bothered by the other pets.
  1. With cat/dog introductions that will take place in the home, both pets should be familiar with your house (the territory,) before introducing them to each other. The new pet should be allowed to explore the home without interference from the resident pet prior to the introductions.
  1. Choosing complementary personalities of the pets, aids in establishing good relationships. The potential for most problems comes with two aggressive individuals especially if there is a big size difference between them. Confidence in a pet is an asset, if it is fearful, this can cause problems. The least conflict comes when your resident pet is outgoing, curious and interested, eager to investigate rather than running to hide.
  1. Along this vein, matching a lap sitter with a playful pet works well because they don’t challenge each other’s preferred state of being. Your energetic pet can encourage the lap-potato to become more active and the more sedentary pet may help calm down the energizer bunny pet.
  1. Introduce the new dog or cat to one resident pet at a time if you have multiple pets.
  1. Pay more attention to your resident pet. The new kitten or puppy is irresistible, but your older beloved friend will feel much more willing to accept the newcomer if they don’t feel they’ve lost your affections.
  1. Patience is the key to successful competability. Don’t expect pets to become fast friends upon the first sniff. It can be hate at first sight and the best you’ll be able to hope for is that they initially will tolerate each other. Most likely, it will take days to weeks before the pets have figured out everybody’s place and established their own furry rules.


Does your dog guard its bones or possessions? You can help fix this.


Find out how to do the technique called the “object exchange” in Raising Your Paws podcast episode, 29. Listen here to segment one.

NutriSource Pet Food’s new freeze dried treats are great to use in the object exchange exercise for teaching your dog how NOT to guard its favorite possessions. But you can use them for training anything to your cat or dog and pets think they are YUMMY.

Win some free bags of the freeze dried treats!!

Write me at and let me know what you think of the podcast and what you’d like to hear in the future, and we’ll randomly select three people to win some bags of the dog or cat treats. To see all the different flavors of meats that the treats come in, check out the Pure Vita website.

Show Notes for Raising Your Paws episode 29.

Title: The Easiest Way to Stop a Fight Between Your Cat And Dog & Taking Coveted Items Away From Dogs Without Them Guarding the Possessions.

Amy Shojai’s website.

How to order ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in Your CAT-DOG Household.

Amy Shojai’s blog: Bling, Bitches and Blood.

Amy Shojai on Facebook.

You can help support this podcast by subscribing and telling your friends. To subscribe on iTunes (so you never miss an episode) here is the link.




What To Do if Your Dog Guards its Food Around You.

If you come close to your dog’s food while it is eating, does its body get stiff, or freeze up –  does your dog start to growl or snarl? Has she ever snapped or tried to bite? This is what is known as food guarding.

In episode 28 of raising your paws, I talked about what to do to prevent a puppy or a non-guarding adult from starting to do this in the first place.

A dog naturally has a tendency to want to protect its food, (don’t we all) but your pet needs to learn to accept your presence around them and their food for numerous reasons, safety being the first.

 Listen to episode 28 for how to do food bowl exercises with a young puppy or older dog,

But what do you do if your dog already has a food guarding problem?

In this blog, I’ll explain how to start practicing some food bowl exercises, that can change your dog’s response from feeling threatened when you are near their dinner, to acceptance and even happiness that you are there.  I’ll also offer some resources for where to go to get further instructions and how to find professional help if you’re dealing with a serious guarding issue.

If you have a dog who food guards around you,  the food bowl exercises are different than the ones you would use to prevent the protective  behaviors from starting  – like in the case of a puppy or non-guarding dog.  

If your dog shows any of the behaviors I described in the first paragraph, when you get close to its food, in order to change your dog’s feelings about you being there, keep in mind that   you will be practicing the steps listed below, SLOWLY and with CAUTION.

One way to know if you should be trying to work on this yourself (without the help of a dog trainer or professional animal behavior consultant) is to answer this question. Does your dog have a soft mouth?  This means that they take treats from you gently and when mouthing you, they do it softly. A soft or hard mouth has to do with bite inhibition – which is something that all dogs learned when they were very  young pups – it was part of the socialization process. Good bite inhibition means they will have a soft mouth.  This is not easily changed once the dog is an adult.

If your dog does have a hard mouth – taking treats roughly and tends to bite and mouth too hard, or is an unpredictable or explosive guarder or has a history of being a dangerous biter, you will need to use other strategies and will want to consult a professional trainer or animal behavior consultant to help you plan out a course of action.  Here is a link to locate a an animal behavior consultant near you.

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.  

To begin to teach your dog you are not a threat to its food, here are the three first steps for a dog that DOES NOT have a serious, advanced (biting) guarding problem.  

1. Place your dog’s EMPTY food bowl down where you normally feed your dog. When the dog goes over to its bowl to investigate, approach your dog and the bowl.  Put a small handful of food in the bowl and back away a number of feet. Wait until the dog finishes eating it and then approach again with the next handful. Repeat this until all that meal is finished.  Continue to feed your dog every meal this way until your dog clearly is happy to have you approaching – it could take a number of days or weeks. Then, go on to the next step.

Step 2. Approach your dog and its empty bowl. This time, pick up the bowl, then put a handful of food in it, and put the bowl back down, move away, wait until the dog finishes the food and then repeat this.   Approach, pick up bowl, handful of food in, bowl back down, you retreat, dog eats, repeat. You got it.  You’ll do this over and over again, feeding your dog this way until again, your dog is happy to have you approach and is fine with you removing the bowl.

Step 3. This will be a combination of the two previous exercises, – approaching and adding food while the bowl is on the ground and then switch it up and alternate with the second step, removing the bowl to add the handfuls one at a time. But now in this step,  you’re going to add the next handful of food BEFORE the dog has completely finished the previous portion.  This gets your dog used to your hand being close by and bringing more helping while she is actually still eating.  Just like the other two steps, keep repeating this until your dog is totally comfortable with you doing this.

If at any time, during the steps, your dog demonstrates any guarding, such as growling, stiffness or freezing up, then slow down, and go back to the previous exercise and proceed more gradually to the one that resulted in you seeing the guarding behaviors.  

And, if your dog growls as you approach the bowl in the beginning while he is eating, only go up a certain distance like 3 feet away and while the dog continues to eat, toss a small handful of canned food (stays together) into the dish, then back away, and repeat, gradually closing the distance until you are able to touch the bowl.

For teaching food bowl exercises, DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN do this. For all these steps you are only going to have the adult family members doing these exercises. There does come a time when all family members can be brought into the work, but not in the beginning and with some dogs, children are NEVER a good idea for teaching the dog not to guard. 

The next steps to reversing food guarding issues and getting your dog comfortable with your presence involves you being able to place your hand on your dog’s bowl the whole time he is eating and then being able to move your hand off of the bowl, in order to add another helping and then replacing your hand on the bowl. BUT this is more challenging for your dog and you’ll want to consult the more detailed descriptions of how to do this in the books below.  

The resource for this material is Jean Donaldson’s book, The Culture Clash that writes out in great detail how to work with a food guarding dog. I highly recommend you consult this book for the specific details of all the remaining steps.  

Another one of Jean’s books that goes into more detail about what to do with guarding dogs:

MINE! A Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs.

Be honest about your feelings about doing this sort of training and your abilities about working with your dog and with the seriousness of your dog’s guarding habits. Caution must be taken – food guarding can be a dangerous habit to break –  for you – you don’t want to get bit.

Please consider if it would be best to call in a qualified dog trainer or animal behaviorist. There is no shame in wanting to do the wisest thing for you and your dog by getting additional help to solve the problem.  The good news is that there is hope and things to do to remedy the problem.   Write me to let me know how its going. 

Show Notes for Raising Your Paws Podcast episode 28.

Amy Shojai with Karma Cat and Bravo Pup.

Upcoming Episode. 

Here’s what is coming up in the next episode.

November, 20, 2018 – Have  you wondered why your dog wants to eat cat poop every chance they get? And how do you stop a dog and cat fight anyway? Certified animal behavior consultant, Amy Shojai, author of  ComPETability, Solving Behavior Problems in your CAT-Dog Household, will tell you this and more, when she returns for the rest of our conversation.

Also, if your dog starts to growl at you and resource guard when you want to take something away from him like that half eaten bone, or your shoe or even a paper tissue, there’s a technique to use you’ll want to hear about.


Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Canines to the Rescue.

In this week’s Raising Your Paws Podcast, episode 27, talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, I mentioned that psychotherapy, or talk therapy, has not been that successful in helping our combat war veterans that suffer PTSD. This is because of the way our brains are designed. It has to do with what is called, brain laterality.  There are two sides, or hemispheres of our brain.  Simply put, one side, stores all adversities/traumas in the limbic system which is the emotional seat of the brain. The other side, has the function of understanding language and producing speech. The traumatic memories that keep repeating themselves in victims of PTSD are encoded in the side of the brain that is not responsible for speech.  Since speech has no bearing on the side where the trauma is stored, and language does not have any bearing on the limbic system, this is why simply talking about the experiences does not rid a veteran of the flashbacks or night terrors.  Talking can assist vets in coming to terms about why they have post tramatic stress, but it is not effective in changing the pictures and memories that are stored in the limbic system. In other terms, words do not access where the trauma is stored in the brain that causes the vet to keep reliving the horrific experiences. There are other techniques used along with talk therapy that does work and medications are used to increase the brains ability for the two sides to better  “communicate” with one another. It is however, the non-verbal methods, that seem to be proving highly effective in treating PTSD. Such as participating in art or music or establishing a relationship with a DOG!

Rufus, a dog rescued from Afghanistan matched with a Marine veteran, Matthew. (photo credit: War Dogs Making It Home, Inc.)


There is a program located in Chicago, Illiniois, called War Dogs Making it Home, founded by Elana Morgan and run by Elana and Eva Braverman. Their mission is to help veterans better manage the invisible and lifelong challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury (PTSD/TBI) by pairing them with dogs they rescue from shelters and then train  to be their service dogs. The vets are saving the dogs lives and the dogs are saving theirs, creating a better life for both.

Here are some photos of the veterans and their dogs.  Then listen to the podcast to hear all about how PTSD affects the daily lives of the vets, where the dogs come from, what the dogs learn to do, and how a veteran’s life can be changed dramatically for the better, once they have a dog watching their back.

During training. There is no charge for the veterans to take part in this program. A vet does need to apply to the program.
Every service dog in the War Dogs Making it Home program is a rescue. It is the cornerstone of their mission. The veterans save the dog and the dog saves the veteran. Elana Morgan, founder, is in the middle of the photo.
If you know of a vet who could benefit from the program or would like to donate, please contact War Dogs Making it Home. Contact links are below.


Resources for Raising Your Paws, Episode 27.

Resource for Story about Guard Barking:


Please let us know what you think of the podcast.

Rate and review it at iTunes and at Stitcher.  (Stitcher – can only do so on a tablet or computer)

Thank you.

What Is Your Dog’s Job Meant To Be?

Your dog’s behavior will make sense to you when you know the job your dog was bred to do.  In Episode 26 of the Raising Your Paws podcast, I tell the story of how  and why one particular breed was developed to help waterfowl hunters of the Scottish Highlands, back in the mid 19th century.  Finding out about any dog’s heritage, will offer insights about how it may act in your home. Very helpful for when its actions leave you mystified and if you are thinking of getting a specific breed, you’ll know what to expect.

The point of this is that if you know the jobs your dog was meant to do, and understand the behaviors and needs that are hardwired into your dog, you can figure out positive ways for them to express them and acceptable outlets for their instinctual behaviors – rather than leaving it to chance and the dog to work it out. It  means, for example, that you’re making sure the dog that was bred for long distance running gets to go jogging with you or someone, instead of scratching through your front door.  Give that dog that was born to dig, its own good sized sand box so you don’t keep falling and tripping into those darn holes that your terrier keeps making in the backyard. Of course, keep in mind, every dog is an individual and not all members of a breed will have every single characteristic or behavior trait.

To hear the story of this episode’s, featured breed, (one of the most popular breeds worldwide) and what to expect from them, listen below.  

Raising Your Paws Podcast #26, Title:   How House Companion Dogs Become Race Winning Sled Dogs & How One of the World’s Most Popular Dog Breeds Was Created. 

In future podcast episodes, we’ll do the same thing for other breeds. If you want me to cover your favorite breed, let me know. Leave me a comment.

In the second part of the podcast episode, I talked about breeds in the working dog category: the Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Alaskan huskies to name a few that are very good at pulling things – sleds to be exact and doing so while running very fast.  I spoke to a dog sled musher, Frank Moe about how he got into the sport, how dogs learn to be sled dogs and I asked him to tell a few stories of his most memorable races. You’ll want to hear those!

Here are the resources mentioned in the Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 26 and the photos of Frank and his dogs I promised during the show.

Frank and Russell. (photo permission by Frank Moe)
Frank, Acorn and Winnie. (photo permission by Frank  Moe)


(photo permission by Frank Moe)

Resources for the Raising Your Paws podcast episode 26.

Frank Moe’s book, Sled Dogs to Saint Paul.

Where to buy dog booties that stay on:                

Kipmik Products – the Booties Frank uses.  

More information about NutriSource Pet Foods.

Where to buy NutriSource Pet Foods – the dealer locator.

For how to teach your dog to pull things or become a sled dog:

Sled dog Central

The book, Skijour with Your Dog.

We’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below and always feel free to send me a comment or question about the podcast or the blog at

P.S. I promised that there would be a resume for the breed we talked about in the show: One of the featured dogs that is helping me write it, wants it to be like a modern LinkedIn profile, rather than an old fashioned resume, and so here it is.

LinkedIn Profile.


Golden Retriever

Excellent specimen of a dog.  Well Rounded. Hunting and swimming expert.



I have an extraordinary disposition. I am cheerful, friendly and good natured with a balanced and gentle temperament and will forgive you if you forget to give me my evening chewy.  I’m affectionate as well. Excellent athletic abilities. My stamina is one of my strengths. I will encourage your health by enthusiastically going on walks together. I can play fetch with you for a long time without wearing out too soon.  I’m at my top physical condition when I get numerous daily long walks and a good run or two.  You’ll bring out the best in me if you spend time playing with me, take me on adventures that let me sniff out the news in the neighborhood and set up playdates with my canine friends. I am very popular with other dogs. Not to brag, but there’s really no one who doesn’t love me, humans, felines, cows, pigs. I make friends with all.

In the market for jobs that will utilize my powers of focus and concentration, like participating in nose work or agility courses.

I’m always a top candidate for work that uses my remarkable skills in locating and retrieving things without damaging them. I am proud of my “soft mouth”. My kind did not earn our name for nothing and it’s obvious, that the beauty of our gold and crème colored fur speaks for itself.

I like strangers as well as my own family, so, not looking for any guard dog positions. I can recommend my buddies, however, the Doberman pinchers and Rottweilers for those jobs.

I’m good at staying in your mind, as I’ll always leave bits of my hair about on the floor, furniture and you, so you don’t miss me if I can’t actually be in the room with you.


Helping hunters by running and jumping over the ground, through the brush and into the water to locate and bring back the birds they shoot down. I never damage the ducks (beyond the minor issue that they are, of course, already dead) but nevertheless, I carry them back gently in my mouth and drop them in front of the hunters.

Offering comfort and delight to people by visiting the ones living together in rather large buildings who have to stay in beds or chairs on wheels.

Sniffing out and locating lost and missing people during search and rescue and  recovery missions. Very low fees for work performed – a bit of tug toy, a moment with coveted ball, or payment of beloved, rarely eaten food morsels.


Please….I’m naturally very intelligent – I’m ranked as being in the top 5 smartest dogs when it comes to doing work and following commands. It doesn’t bother me at all to do what you ask of me – I rather like how you act when I please you.  Bits of hot dogs are always welcome.

However, I don’t mind going for further education training classes. I like to show off.

Not a bad idea though, to take the youngsters of my kind to puppy and obedience training. They act pretty crazy for a few years – takes them a while to settle down if you don’t show them what’s what.

Volunteer Experience

Picked up after people, when they dropped their socks, underwear, gloves, hats,  and toted them around. Since it was a volunteer position, I decided when to give them back.

Will empty closets, bins and boxes of your possessions and redistribute them into other rooms, if you would like – or not.

Skills and Endorsements

Patient. Can sit still and think deep thoughts or roll on the ground while I wait for you. Especially good with human babies and young children, many references available – just ask anyone with a family and one of us.

Trustworthy – You can tell me anything. I’ll never reveal the secrets you whisper into my fur.

Very strong – I can lunge forward in a flash at the sniff or sound of a mouse in the grass and take off right after them if you’re not holding on to my leash too tightly. Don’t worry, I won’t trip over you if you fall to the ground. I know how unsteady humans can be. And the trailing leash doesn’t get in my way.

A wide palate – enjoy a variety of foods. – I  love to eat different proteins. I’m partial to the high quality meats in the bags of kibble and cans of NutriSource, Pure Vita and Natural Planet brands of  dog food. Some of my favorites are lamb and duck which is easy on my stomach and is delicious.

Can carry house keys, remote controls, newspapers, and much more in my mouth and deliver only slightly soggy at the appropriate times. I surmise these are high value possessions to you and am very responsible with them and would appreciate the opportunity.

Much written about us in the press and featured in many books, movies and TV shows.


Food. Being in water. Watching for things to hunt. Hunting. Chasing and catching squirrels, tiny rodents, and birds. Swimming. Balls. Treats. Being with my humans.  Sniffing. Cheese. Did I say, the water? Snuggles and affection. Cleaning up dropped food from off the floor. Exploring. Fetching.  Being given things I can retrieve. Having my own blankie or binkie to carry. Italian beef.

How To Know If Your Cat Is Irritated – Reading A Cat’s Body Language.

Does this happen to you? You are petting your cat, it’s purring away, your blood pressure is dropping, you feel great, your cat is happy, all is bliss –  and then whoosh, faster than you can curse, with a sudden snarl, swipe or bite you’ve just been scratched or bitten. What the heck just happened, right?  Why does a cat do this – go from ecstasy at your touch to attack mode in what seems like a second?  Talk about mixed messages huh?

As long as your cat does not have a medical problem, the sudden behavior change can happen when you go over their tolerance for being petted. It’s known as petting-induced aggression. It occurs when a cat gets too stimulated from continual petting. Most often the cat will start giving warning signs with his body that the stroking that felt so good a minute ago, now feels unpleasant. Since we often don’t recognize the cat’s subtle body language signals that they are no longer feeling good, we miss what the cat is communicating and your feline is left with the only other way to get you to stop petting them – to use their teeth or claws.

Watch for these signals that your cat is reaching his limit for being pet.

  1. Purring stops.
  2. Its tail starts thumping or lashing.
  3. Its skin twitches.
  4. Your cat looks back at your hand.
  5. Its ears flatten against its head or are held in airplane position.
  6. Your cat shifts positions.
  7. The cat meows or growls.
This cat is enjoying being pet.
This cat is not enjoying it any longer. This cat may bite very soon.

Now that you know what to watch for, the best way to avoid triggering petting-induced aggression is to stop petting your cat before you see the warning signals. For example, if you normally pet your cat for about 5 minutes before he gets annoyed, stop after 3 minutes. It makes it a positive experience – leaving your cat wanting more – which you can provide in another short affection session later.

And if the aggression still happens on occasion as you learn your cats tolerance for petting, I  know you may feel angry, and want to punish the cat, but remember your cat did not bite to be mean, it felt it had no other option because its attempt to communicate had not worked, so please don’t hit or yell at your cat.  Punishing your cat here works against the trust and affection that was your intent from the start.

Hear the story behind three other cat behaviors that may leave you puzzled, but makes total sense from a cats point of view. All in episode 25 of Raising Your Paws.

Show notes for Raising Your Paws Episode 25.

Title:  Why And How to Make An Estate Plan For Your Pets & When the Pavement Can Hurt Your Dog’s Paws.

Source for story about cats: Cat Wise, by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

For information about the new Pure Vita dog and cat foods,

To order the book, “Who Will Care When You’re Not There? Estate Planning for Pet Owners,” by Robert E. Kass, JD, LLM and Elizabeth A. Carrie, JD, LLM.



If you like this podcast and want to make sure you hear each episode, subscribe for free at iTunes on your apple device or at Stitcher on your android device.

Robert E. Kass, Attorney.