Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Can You Do With Dog Hair?

Being a groomer, I have one by product for which I would LOVE to find a use. Dog Hair! We produce dog hair in massive quantities but try as I may, I have not been able to come up with any use for it. I know of at least one groomer who spins it and then knits purses and felts them but I don't spin or knit.

You would think that dog hair would have some value. It comes in an amazing array of colors and textures. It must have some insulating value or dogs wouldn't grow it. It can be soft or spikey, black, blue, white or red, curley or straight. It's all natural and 100% organic.

I have been wracking my brain for years trying some way to recycle it so I decided to throw it out here for my readers. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience on what it might be good for? Could you use it to stuff pillows, dog beds, toys? Have you used it to knit, crochet?

What is Self Service Grooming

Self Service Dog Grooming salons and Dog Washes are popping up all over the country. So what's it all about? A Self Service Dog Wash is just that. Think of it as a Car Wash for your pet. It's a place where you can take your dog and bathe it in a professional tub with professional dog dryers. This keeps the hair out of your drain and off your walls.

What can you expect if you use a Self Service Dog Wash? At Happy Tails, if you come in for Self Service, you can choose from several options. You can pay the minimum charge, provide your own shampoo and conditioner and have the use of the tub and dryers. For a bit more, you can use our professional shampoo and conditioner. We might differ a bit from some Self Service dog washes as there is always a professional groomer available to answer your questions or give you a hand.

Most of the Self Service Dog Washes are not staffed by groomers but by franchise owners and their employees. While these may be very knowledgeable, they also may not be. If you are asking advice or help, it pays to ask a little about their experience and training.

If you are taking your pet to give it a bath, there are a few things you can do in advance to make your job a little easier and give your pet a more pleasant bath experience.

Be sure to brush your pet out completely before bathing. Tangles in the coat tend to tighten up into mats when they get wet and then dried. This may make it impossible to brush them out after their bath. It is always best to be sure that your pet is tangle free before his bath. You can do this at home to save time.

Put Cotton Balls in their ears. Getting water in a dog's ears is uncomfortable and will cause them to shake repeatedly. Your dog will be more comfortable and you will stay dryer if you put a cotton ball in each ear. Make sure that you do not put it too far in, you will want to retrieve it after the bath.

If you have ear cleaner to clean or flush their ears, be sure to do it prior to their bath. They will shake their heads and the wax, oil and dirt will come out onto their coats. You will want to wash this away during their bath.

Trim nails before bathing. Long toenails have a way of getting caught in the grates. Trimming them prior to bathing will keep you from having to try to disengage a toenail while your wet and paniced dog is struggling against you. This can cause injury to your pet.

Bring Your Own Shampoo. If you use a special shampoo or conditioner, bring it with you. While the Self Service shop may supply shampoo and conditioner, dont depend on them to have the same kind that you have been using.

Ask how to use equipment before your dog is in the tub. The time to ask questions is before you get your dog in the tub. You will also want to ask about the proper way to use the high velocity dryers as these can actually harm your dog if used incorrectly.

The Self Service shop should offer the essentials such as towels, basic shampoo and conditioner, a high velocity dryer, toe nail trimmers and a table to use to dry and brush. Expect to bring your own combs, brushes and any special sprays or conditioners you might use.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tales of Picture Day at Happy Tails

Picture day was a blast! It was a long day but what fun!! They got some really good pictures of all the dogs and some great ones of some of them.

The photographers got there about 11 o'clock to set up. Julia graciously offered her dining room for them to use and they took about 45 minutes getting set up and ready. Then the fun began. I don't know if any of you have met Julia's little white dog. She came from Southside SPCA and is older and very cranky. She doesn't like strangers. Well, let me rephrase that... she doesn't like anyone but Julia and she attacks like she was a policedog on duty.

To give us credit, we warned the photograhers. We did. We told them that she would bite. Julia held her in the first couple picture and she did fine. Then Mark wanted to try a few of her by herself. They put a big bean bag down and Julia made her comfortable. They snapped a few and decided to do some valentines shots.

They went well too until the Mark went to move the roses and Dixie very politely reached over and bit at his hand. He laughed it off and said that if she had really wanted to bite him, she would have. Uh huh... those of us who know Dixie well, won't go in the house unless Julia is holding her. Believe me, she wanted to bite him, she is just getting a bit older and slower.

They took a few more shots with Mark keeping his hands well away from her. Then Dixie decided she was bored with the whole affair. She jumped off the beanbag and went right after Marks ankle with Julia was trying to grab her. Mark was very brave and Dixie didn't even rip his pants leg off although it sounded a lot like she was. What a way to start the day!

We promised them that the rest would be easier. Then it was my turn. You would think that sweet loving Cavaliers would be a joy to photograph. Not! With four of them, it was almost impossible to get all of them still at once unless they were all licking my face. We would get 3 looking perfectly angelic and the 4th would be jumping down. They perservered and I think they got some great shots but they had to work for them.

After Julia and I had them all broken in, the rest of the day was easy. The dogs were well behaved and they even got some shots of a couple of the dogs with a leather jacket on. Look out James Dean!

We get to see the pictures on February 1st. I can't wait! I am as excited to see everyone else's as I am to see my own. I think we will do this again in the fall for Christmas pictures.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to Potty Train Your New Puppy

You have brought your new puppy home and now it’s time to start potty training it. In reality, if your puppy is under 16 weeks old, it is more a matter of it training you. Puppies are much like small children and don’t have much control until they are about 4 months old.

The first thing that you will need for a young puppy is a crate. If your pup is young and is going to be staying in his crate while you are at work for some hours, his crate should be big enough to house his bed and a small area to use as a potty. Puppies younger than 16 weeks should not be expected to hold it for 8 hours a day. Some breeds may but generally if your young puppy can, you should celebrate.

I personally use a playpen the size of the portable ones for babies. I put his bed in half and newspaper in the other half along with their water. Dogs, as a rule, do not like to go potty in their bed so eventually they will be able to wait until you get home. When you take him out, immediately take him to his assigned potty place and wait for him to go.

Even though your pup might not be ready to be totally trustworthy in the house, the time to start house training is now. You want him to develop good habits. You are going to spend the first several weeks observing your pup and trying your best to get him into his assigned potty place when he is ready to go. I bet you are asking, “How am I supposed to know when he has to go potty?” It’s actually pretty easy once you start watching him.

Signs and Times That Your Pup Has to Go…. NOW!!

  • Waking Up. Unlike babies, puppies don’t go in their sleep so as soon as they wake up, it is a pretty safe bet that they will have to go. When you wake your pup up, take him outside right away. Don’t talk to him or play with him until he has gone potty.
  • After Eating. Within a few minutes to a half hour after eating, most pups will need to go. Again, once he has finished eating, take him out and wait for him to go. Potty time is not play time so wait to play until he has finished his business.
  • Circling: If you watch your pup outside when you take him out for a potty break, you will notice that almost all dogs run or walk in circles while sniffing just before going potty. You might notice that he doesn’t come when he is called when he is thinking about ‘going’ and the circles may get smaller and smaller until he finally goes. If you see him sniffing in circles in the house, it’s time to go out. Some young puppies don’t sniff but you will notice them doing the circling behavior.
  • Going Away: Another behavior you might notice in your pup is that they will disappear into another room when they have to go. This is common once he has made a mistake or two and you have yelled or gotten upset with him. If you notice your normally attentive puppy suddenly withdrawing or going into another room, it is probably time to take him out.

More Housetraining Hints

Use the same command every time you take him outside. It is a better idea if the command is short; perhaps a word or possibly two. “Go Potty” “Hurry Up” or even just “Potty” will work. Use whatever command you are comfortable with because you will want to say it each time you take him out.

If you are consistent and pay attention, you will have a housetrained puppy by the time he is old enough to really control it. If you are not consistent and the puppy makes frequent mistakes in the house, you are making a habit that will stick with him forever and be difficult to break at a later date.

When he makes a mistake indoors, don't make a big deal about it. Clean it up with a solution of vinegar and water to remove any odor and take the pup outside. If you do not use some sort of solution to clean the odor out, he will return to this spot again and again. This is why they prescent housetraining pads.

If you have a small dog and you choose not to take him outside to potty, you can use the same technique with housebreaking pads or newspapers. Instead of taking him outside, you would take him to his pad and gently keep him on it until he goes. The important thing with a puppy is not to yell, spank or otherwise reprimand him if he makes a mistake. This will only drive him to find that quiet spot behind the living room chair to go where you can’t see him.

Be consistent, be kind and remember not to scold him. It is your responsibility to get him to his potty place when it is time to go.

I hope you have enjoyed this and if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment or email me. I am always glad to help out. I will be posting a follow up about how to house train an older dog or older puppy at a later date.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Other Side of the Mandatory Spay/Neuter Debate

**To post a comment, click on the word comments below or on the title above to read comments.

I heard from a reader this morning who wrote in support of the pending legislation. She didn't know how to leave a comment but wanted to express her opinion. I am posting it here today because it is one that is shared by many. I will also post my response as well.

My general idea...I volunteered for rescue for 3 years. We had to pass the pups on spayed or neutered, or if puppies, with contracts that they will be. Why? Most of the dogs we brought in were puppy mill dogs. These dogs were horribly abused - left in cages in their own feces, the only human touch they had was during breeding or feeding. They had rotten teeth. Scared to death of humans. These breeders in some instances, instead of turning the dogs over to rescue when they dont suit their fancy, will kill them. Unmercifully. so in a way, I commend the legislation to put a stop to all the breeding that is going on...dogs that are unwanted, or that sit in shelters for many years. Dogs in puppy mills. Dogs that are dumped at the side of the road because the mom got pregnant by the neighbor dog, all because nobody took the time to get her spayed.
On the other hand....I believe that folks that want to show their dogs, or are on a very small scale breeding facility...that can be licensed or prove that their dogs are well cared for....thats a different story. Unfortunately, its the bad guys that make life miserable for those who are well meaning individuals. It goes that way for everything in the world today. Folks ruin something good for those who wont abuse it.
I know there are many well meaning breeders in the world. And I also know there are thousands of unwanted dogs sitting in shelters who will never have the love of a real home...they will be there till they die.
Somehow....we have to do something to end all that.
Just my 2 cents.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Virginia Forces ALL Pets to Be Spayed Or Neutered

Pending legislation in Virginia could force all pets to be sold with a mandatory Spay/Neuter contract. Delegate Robert Hull has introduced last minute legislation that would require all dogs and cats sold in the state of Virginia to be Spayed or Neutered. Not including this clause in your contract could cost both the buyer and the seller a fine of $150 unless you qualify for one of the three exemptions for "good" breeders. Pet owners will no longer have a choice in whether to spay or neuter their pets.

Without going off onto a rant, this totally removes any "choice" either the breeder or purchaser has in spaying or neutering your pet. You WILL do it within 30 days of purchase or within 30 days of it becoming 6 months of age or you will be breaking the law and subject to fines.

So what does this mean to the average person? It means that unless you are actively showing or competing with your dog, you no longer have any choice in having a litter of puppies. The law graciously allows that a "hobby" breeder may have one litter of puppies as long as they find homes for them all and don't make any money from it. It means that the price of buying a puppy or a kitten is going to go up. It means that the only place you will be able to buy a puppy is from a "dealer". Isn't that the very thing they are trying to stop?

What it won't do: It certainly doesn't penalize the people who let their dogs run loose and then dump the resulting puppies on the side of the road or give them away without any care about what kind of home they are going to live in. It does nothing to address unwanted litters. It does nothing to address the thousands of mixed breed dogs and cats that populate the county shelters and are passed off by well meaning but less than knowledgeable shelter employees as purebred dogs.

They have tried to prevent the euthanasia of unwanted dogs and cats by legislating spay and neuter and it has failed. You can read about some of them here:

National Animal Interest Alliance

Mandatory Spay and Neuter Resources

Shelter Population

How are they going to enforce it? Are we going to have to have an attorney to buy our kids a puppy? Are they going to pull police off the streets and have them out inspecting contracts on every kid with a new kitten? As a breeder, when I sell a pet puppy, I do so on a spay/neuter contract but this law requires not only that I add it to my contract but I can be fined if the buyer doesn't comply within 30 days.

This is just another example of our politicians wasting our time and money by making useless, unreasonable laws that no one will ever be able to enforce. We already have good laws in place in to protect animals as was proven in the Michael Vick case and the Puppy Mill case.

We already have no one to enforce them

If you wish to contact someone and express your opinion, here are the addresses. Be polite and be specific. Voice your opposition or support in the first sentence of your letter or email and then go on to explain why:

Contact the Ag subcommittee below and ask them to OPPOSE HB 1570. Be polite.
Bobby Orrock (address him "Dear Chairman Orrock") General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1054
Fax: (804) 786-6310
Legislative Assistant: Renee Hudson

Ed Scott
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1030
Fax: (804) 786-6310
Legislative Assistant: Lisa Drummond

Danny Marshall
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1014
Fax: (804) 786-6310
Legislative Assistant: Mary K. Franklin

Matt Lohr
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406 Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1026
Fax: (804) 786-6310
Legislative Assistant: Audrey Berkshire

Charles Poindexter
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1009
Fax: (804) 786-6310
Legislative Assistant: Brenda Bowman

James Shuler
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1012
Fax: (804) 786-6310

Lynwood Lewis
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406 Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1000
Fax: (804) 786-6310
Legislative Assistant: Laurie Naismith

Bobby Mathieson
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Phone: (804) 698-1021
Fax: (804) 786-6310
Legislative Assistant: Jason Robinson and Brent McKenzie

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Dog Blog Carnival

What is The Dog Blog Carnival?

  • It's a roundup of dog articles, websites and pictures of dogs.
  • It's a great way to promote your website or blog
  • It's a great way to get to know some of your fellow dog bloggers.
  • It's fun to see what other dog bloggers are doing.

Photo Courtesy of hypnotoad8128

How Do I Enter the Carnival?

If you have a blog or a website about dogs, simply fill out the submission form here and the Carnival Host will post a link to your article in the Carnival post and notify you when the Carnival is posted.

By submitting an article to The Dog Blog Carnival, you agree to link back to the carnival in a post. This doesn't have to be a whole post on the carnival although that's nice. It can just be a footnote to a post such as, "My blog has been featured in The Dog Blog Carnival. Please stop by and check out the other great articles. " and include a link back to the carnival.
Carnivals bring new traffic to all participants but this works only if participants post a link back. If you do not post a link back, future submissions will be denied.

When is the Carnival?

Submissions are due by the first and third Saturday of each month. Feel free to submit early. The Carnival will be posted on Sunday.

The first Dog Blog Carnival submissions are due by Saturday Feb 2.

Hosting the Dog Blog Carnival

You can host the Dog Blog Carnival on your site. If you are interested, email me at and I will give you all the details.

Once the Carnival is posted, go take a look at the other articles and don't forget to leave a comment to say hi.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Acupuncture for Dogs

I thought this was an interesting article on Acupuncture for Dogs. I have found amazing relief from acupuncture and had heard recently that it was gaining in popularity for dogs.

Acupuncture For Dogs by Alien

Acupuncture is noted for its approach to treating the overall health of a person. That being said, acupuncture for dogs is proof the subject doesn’t have to be a person.

Acupuncture for Dogs

It might come as a surprise to some but acupuncture has been used for the treatment of various animal ailments in China for just as long as it has been used for humans. There is evidence that a very early form of it, that resembled blood letting, was used over three thousand years ago. Today, acupuncture is used in the treatment of several conditions in dogs. Veterinarians that have been trained in the use of acupuncture have become common in many countries.

The principles that guide acupuncture hold true for animals as well as humans. Since dogs are mammals and have the same organs as humans, it is not surprising that the flow of vital energy between these organs would work in a similar manner to human beings. The full range of treatment in acupuncture is not available for use on animals because the animals are unable to relate the kind of information that is needed to make a complete analysis of their condition. Despite this, the practitioner will ask the pet's owner a serious of questions that often seem totally unrelated to the complaint. This is being done to make a diagnosis using the principles of Chinese Medicine.

There have been good results reported in the treatment of dermatological conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic respiratory conditions, gynecological disorders, reproductive disorders, and back injuries. Several studies have been done on the use of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic back injuries in dogs and the results have been extremely favorable. Of course, pain relief is another condition that responds very well to acupuncture treatment, but again, it is hard to determine the exact location and type of pain the dog is feeling because of the communication difficulties.

Most dogs react very favorably to the actual treatment. In many cases, the animals are reported to be strangely calm and almost seem to realize that the treatment is doing them good. The normal treatment often takes forty five minutes to an hour and it is not unusual for a dog to lie perfectly still with minimum restraint for this time. There are some dogs that are so excitable by nature that it is impossible to administer the treatments without maximum restraint. This is rarely recommended, however, because there is evidence that the amount of chemical reactions going on in the excited animals would tend to counteract the results of the treatments.

Acupuncture treatment for dogs is similar to the treatment of humans in most ways. It is guided by the same underlying principle of treating the whole animal rather than a specific ailment. It needs as complete an understanding of the emotional and spiritual well being of the animal and it attempts to restore harmony to the natural order within it. Also, the treatments are generally combined with herbal treatments and can be done as a sole method of treatment or can be done in coordination with a more Western approach to veterinarian medicine.

Alien writes for Online doctor. He also writes for makeup tips and blackheads removal

Article Source: Articles Directory - ArticleGOLD

Waldo's Puppy Picture Contest

Country Groomer is sponsoring a Puppy Picture and Story contest on Waldo's World. Do you have the cutest puppy picture in the world? Do you have the best story? Check out the contest on Waldo's World and enter to win a Premier collar and leash of your choice.

The contest runs through January 31st.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How To Prevent Tear Stains

One of the most frequent questions that I get is how can I prevent tear stains under their dogs eyes. There is nothing that spoils a dog’s cute expression more than dark red tear stains under their eyes and around their mouth. These stains can be prevented.

There are several reasons why tears cause staining. The most common is that when the hair and skin is wet it causes a low grade bacterial infection or a red yeast infection. Other causes could be a blocked tear duct, ear infections, genetics, allergies, food and possibly the water they drink.

There are several methods of curing tear staining and you may have to experiment a bit with what works for your dog. Remember when trying any of these that the results may not be immediately visible. It takes time for the tearing to slow and for the stained hair to grow out.

Probably the best way to prevent and cure tear stains is with a trip to your vet. A low dosage of tetracycline for about 2 weeks has been found to be very effective at curing tear staining that is due to bacterial or yeast infection. Some other antibiotics that have been found to be effective are Flagyl, and Tylan. They will also be able to determine if the staining is caused by a blocked or closed tear duct.

In addition to whatever method your veterinarian suggests, you can help the process along by following these steps daily. Make sure that your dog’s hair is not sticking up or falling into the eye and irritating it. Trim the hair or pull it up in a top knot. Then take a cotton ball and putting a drop or two of regular Visine on it. Gently rub under the eye on the stain. This will help to dry the area as well as neutralize stains themselves. Once you have the area clean and dry, you can take a tiny amount of petroleum jelly and smooth the hair down and out of the eye.

If your dog has staining around the mouth, you may want to make sure that your dog food does not have artificial coloring in it. Many dog foods have coloring that will cause staining. Also make sure that you are using stainless steel food and water bowls. Plastic bowls or cracked or chipped ceramic bowls can harbor the bacteria that cause staining around the mouth. Adding a little vinegar (1 tsp per quart) can help to change the ph balance and eliminate some staining. It takes a little effort to get your dog to actually drink this so start small with ¼ tsp per quart and work up slowly to 1 tsp.

One product that has been used by breeders and exhibitors to remove tear stains is Diamond Eye Tear Stain Remover. You can purchase a small bottle by clicking on this link Diamond Eye Tear Stain Remover, 4.22 oz. (125ml). It not only clears up the staining but also keeps the skin under the eye healthy.

Your groomer will trim the stained hair away from the eye as well as trimming any hair that might be falling into the eye. With regular grooming, this will keep tear staining to a minimum but removing the hair is only a temporary cure at best. Eliminating the actual cause along with good grooming is the way to keep your dog looking its best.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

15 Minute Blizzard

Did anyone else notice the 15 minute blizzard we had yesterday morning? I looked out the window about 11:30 and the snow was not only coming down, it was so heavy and blowing that I couldn't see the house across the street. It didn't last but about 15 minutes and the snow on the ground was gone in less time.

I think it was Mother Nature's warning signal. The forecast now is calling for a wintery mix on Thursday and it sure seems like it is cold enough for that to not only happen but be significant enough to cause problems. It is making me think about weather changes for the shop and I suppose it's time to start bringing home the week's appointments so I can call and make adjustments due to weather.

Don't forget to make special arrangements for your pets in the storm. The salt that you put on steps and sidewalks can be poisionous to dogs. Make sure to wipe their feet so they don't lick it off or use a pet safe variety.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Half Dog, Half Goat

This story caught my eye and made me think about the things that my dogs have eaten. I almost lost one once because she had eaten a towel and the towel was almost as big as she was. I've had one of my big dogs swallow a tennis ball.... with my hand attached. I wasn't letting go and neither was she.
Dog Reflections post on The Most Shocking Things Ever Found in A Dog's Stomach had my jaw dropping. I'm not sure how a dog could eat a eight inch sharp knife and live through it. And the article might have your kids picking up the Xbox.

How to Leash Train a puppy

Large or small, every puppy should be trained to walk politely on a leash. They should be taught not to pull and to walk calmly by your side for their own health and safety. This will make trips to the vet or to your local dog supply store much more pleasant for both you and your pup.

Begin leash training by fitting a buckle collar on your puppy. This collar should be loose enough to slide a finger or two fingers for a larger dog under the collar. Most of the collars today adjust by 4-6 inches so the collar you buy should last for at least a few months and longer for smaller dogs. Once you have the collar adjusted correctly, turn the puppy loose and let it get accustomed to it. It is normal for them to scratch at their new collar as it moves their hair but they will get used to it in a short time.

Next, attach your leash, put a few treats in your pocket and carry your puppy outside. Set the puppy down and walk a step. The puppy may very well follow right along and if he does, praise him a lot and give him a small treat. If the pup stops or pulls on the leash, do not drag him. Give a small tug on the lead and then release it and call him to you. Repeat tug and release until it takes a step towards you, then praise him and give him a treat. Usually within a few minutes, he will get the idea and start walking more or less with you. Be patient, however, this is a big step for a baby and an important lesson. End this lesson on a positive note, even if the puppy just took a few steps in the right direction.

Eventually, your puppy will get the idea that the leash means forward motion and you will go from you trying to get it to move, to it dragging you. If the pup is dragging on the leash, give it a small tug back and then let the leash go slack. Praise you puppy. It is important to keep your lead loose most of the time. If you are putting pressure on the leash, you are teaching the pup to lean against it and this can cause health issues later in its life. Give a series of tugs when your puppy starts to pull and talk to him while you are doing it. If his attention is on you, he will not pull and he will quickly learn that as long as he is beside you, the leash is loose.

An early start to leash training your puppy makes the whole process easier as younger puppies want to follow your feet. After the first lesson or two, your puppy should be walking willingly at your side without pulling or dragging. This is the first step to having a companion who is a joy in your life.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Diamond Pet Food Agrees to $3.1 Million dollar Settlement

Consumer News reports that Diamond Pet foods has agreed to $3.1 Million Dollar Settlement to reimburse people whose pets were ill or died due to eating their pet food. Back in 2005, Diamond Pet food made a batch of food with corn that was contaminated by aflatoxin, a mold. Although they recalled the affected products quickly, many pets became ill or died.

You can read more here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Poll: Do you Dress Your Dog

I get pictures all the time of dogs that are dressed in all kinds of things. I get halloween costumes, sports teams costumes, sweaters, dresses, and tshirts. Most of the people I get them from live in the city and they are a little different than country dogs.

So I wondered what you thought about it. Do you dress your dog? Did they have a halloween costume? I have to admit that one of mine has a bathrobe and I bought a pink dress for my daughter's pit bull. It just seemed so appropriate.

You can vote in the poll on the left at the website and leave comments below. If you want to send a picture, I will post it and maybe have a prize for the cutest dog.

Ask The Groomer

A reader asks:

Got a pet question for you- Mom (in law) and I were chatting yesterday about her little 13# long hair Daschund, Bitsy. (I call her The Princess Puppy, because she IS one... we all absolutely adore her!) Bitsy lives up to her name- and she is tiny. Mom is worried about her jumping down off the bed (and the couch) and she is looking at pet stairs to help her get up and down from places. The only problem she has found so far with the ones in the stores here are they are too short to reach her bed right. (For some reason, short little Mom has this TALL damn bed! Of course, even something that is only 12" tall is high for Bitsy....) Do you have something that we could get for Bitsy to help her out? I worry about her too- Mom already lost another small dog to a bad step coming out of the camper a few years back, and now Spanky... Heaven forbid something happen to the Princess Puppy there.... It would devistate us all- even Jo the Wonder Nanny Dog loves her.
You might get your Mom in law to check out Discount Ramps They have a variety of ramps that telescope and lock under the matress. She should be able to find one the right height. Be careful though to make sure that it's always there. Sometimes in their excitement, dogs don't always look before they leap.

Have a question? Email me at

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Teacher Tuesdays

Beginning on January 14th, 2008, I will be opening Happy Tails at 7 am on Tuesdays to accomodate the teachers and others who need to drop their pets off before our normal 8 am hours. Evening appointments are also available on an as needed basis and by appointment only. As always, we are open on Saturdays from 8 to 2 pm.

Samples of People and Pets Photography

Superior Photography emailed me some samples of their photography. They said they will do just pets, or just people or people and pets. Choice is yours and they will do a selection of all of it. I also found out that the 10x13 portrait was an error on their part but they are going to honor it. Next time it will be an 8 x10 so take advantage today! They are sending me a sample portrait so that you can see what you are getting. I can't wait!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Petsafe Wireless Instant Fence

If you are like me, trying to fence in your property to keep your dogs in is a nightmare. When I moved here, there were NO fences. I have 7 dogs. Eeeek. Thankfully they are all pretty well trained so I can take them out with me when I am out in the yard but training doesn't help much when they want to go out at 5 am or in the pouring rain.

I spent most of the summer fighting ticks and fleas because all the dogs were roaming about the fields and woods. And then there were the burrs. I have Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who are known for their long luxurious ears. Sigh, I pulled most of their luxurious hair out when I pulled out the burrs this summer.

I found salvation with a Petsafe Wireless Instant Fence. For those of us who don't want to put up traditional fences, this is a god send. I had thought about Invisible fence but didn't have the means to bury wire all over my property. Who does? Unless you have the money to have it professionally installed, it is a labor intensive job.

With the Instant fence, all you do is plug in the transmitter and put the collar on the dog. It took my big dogs about 2 minutes to go out of range, get a small shock and shoot back towards the house. They did this about twice before they figured out that the beep meant DO NOT pass go.

The next two or three days, they spent huddled on the porch. They were pretty sure that the invisible bees were out there. After the initial two days, they started to move out into the yard and after a week, they had figured out exactly where they could and couldn't go. Now they never even get the initial beep.


  • Easy Installation
  • Wireless
  • Transportable (throw it in the trunk and take it to grandmas)
  • Adjustable

  • Initial cost ($289 for reciever and one collar, additional collars around $120)
  • Collars are big and heavy for small dogs
  • Doesn't keep other dogs out
  • Collar batteries need to be checked and replaced regularly
All things considered, I love the system. It cost me about a 10th as much as putting up fence and it looks a whole lot better. Now if I could just get my neighbors to buy one for their dogs...

I don't carry this at the shop yet but would be happy to order one for you.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Dog's Diet

Until the dog food recall last year, feeding your dogs table scraps had a really bad reputation and that is mostly because we, ourselves, do not eat a healthy diet. Historically, most of the diseases we see in dogs today were unheard of before the days of bagged dry food.

If you look at the ingredients of most dog foods, the first or second ingredient is corn. Think about this for a second, corn is the grain that is used to put a lot of weight on beef cattle before slaughter. It's a high fat starch. Bad news for our canine friends who are primarily meat eaters.

Some of the better prepared foods use brown rice instead of corn. It's a better choice because it is more digestible but it is still a starch and a grain. Doggone it, dogs aren't grain eaters. If they were we could save a bunch of money by getting sweet feed from the feed store for $8 for 50lbs.

Here are a few things that you can do to improve your dog's diet and health.

  1. Make healthy treats. I will be posting a series of healthy dog treat recipes. Some are aimed at a specific thing such as skin or coat or allergies. Some are just a better choice than what you can buy in the store.
  2. Read the labels on your dog or cat food. If one of the first two or three ingredients in the food are corn, rice or soy, look for another brand. Don't fall into the trap of thinking canned foods are mostly meat. They aren't. Check the label for sugar or sucrose. Dogs don't need it and it leads to the same health problems as it does in people. Oh, and by the way, your dogs don't care if their food is in bright colors or cute shapes. The colors are artificial and not good for them.
  3. Supplement your dogs diet with healthy table scraps, meat, cheese, yogurt, eggs, tuna fish, salmon, etc. Raw food is better for your pet than cooked but don't be afraid to mix left over vegetables or meat in with their normal food. Remember though that you can feed a little less of their prepared diet if you are adding goodies to it.
  4. No cereals, ice cream, chocolate, candy or other human indulgences. Your dog might love them but they are worse for your dog than they are for you. Dogs get diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity just like humans but because of their relatively short life spans, these diseases can have a much more devastating effect on your dogs health.
If you have any other suggestions or recipes, feel free to email them to me at or comment below.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Picture Day at Happy Tails

Superior Photography will be at Happy Tails Pet Grooming on Monday, January 21, 2008 from Noon til 8pm to take pictures of people and their pets. Advanced appointments are required. Stop by to purchase your certificate today. Certificate is $15 and includes the sitting fee and a 10x13 print.

Your pictures can include as many pets and people as you like. Come join the fun!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy Tails Winter 2008 Newsletter

Where Tails Wag and People Brag
1182 Patrick Henry Ave
Charlotte Court House, VA 23923

Happy New Years from Happy Tails Pet Grooming!

I would like to take a moment to thank you all for your business in 2007. Happy Tails has seen some changes with new ownership and expanded hours. With the change from part time hours to full time hours, we have been able to service more customers and hope to add more services in the future. In celebration of the New Year, I am offering a $5 referral discount. Refer a friend and when they have their dog or cat groomed at Happy Tails, you will receive $5 off your next full groom.

2007 In Review

Julia Kurdt Competes at Groom Expo 2007

Julia attended the GroomExpo show in Hershey, PA with Maggie. The world's largest pet care educational seminar and trade show, produced by Barkleigh Productions, Inc., brought 3813 pet care professionals from 45 state and as far away as Brazil, Hong Kong, Australia and Germany. They arrived ready to take in seminars covering topics of grooming, animal behavior, retail, mobile and more; a trade show featuring 176 booths; and multiple grooming contests.

Contest participation was up this year, with 136 entries. Lambert Kay Sporting Breeds Tournament, Gibson-Governor Terrier Tournament, Tropiclean Mixed and Other Purebreds Tournament, Andis Poodle Tournament, Nature's Specialties Winners Circle and Barkleigh
Creative Styling Contest were the contests taking place over the weekend.

Extended Days and Hours

New owner, Cindy Smith opens the shop full time with appointments available Monday – Saturday. Expanded hours means that we almost always have appointments available and are currently accepting new clients.

First Happy Tails Training Class graduates in November
We had our fall training class during October and November. As you can see, it was predominantly poodles with a bulldog thrown in for comic relief and a cat provided the distraction. The class went over and practiced walking on the leash, sit, sit stay, lay down and stay, and come when called, all of which were much easier when Murgle the cat was not taunting the dogs by wandering through them, waving his tail and as much as saying “Nah, nah, nah, you can’t get me. “ All the participants received a certificate at graduation.

Happy Tails Pet Supplies goes Online!

In order to bring you more and better pet supplies, Happy Tails has gone to the internet. You can now shop available leashes, collars and grooming supplies at Happy Tails Pet Supplies Feel free to browse online but if you would prefer to pick your purchase up at the shop and save shipping costs, give us a call or email before you purchase. We can hold your item in the shop for you to purchase without having to pay shipping. If you purchase it online, you may still pick up at the shop but you will be charged shipping fees by eBay. Our hope is that we can expand our inventory in this way and offer better prices and more selection.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year Dog Cookie Recipe

This is a tried and true recipe for homemade dog cookies. These are so much better for your dog than store bought ones and they will like them better too.

Fish Cakes

1 can Tuna or Salmon (8 oz) in oil
2 Cups of Cornmeal
2 cups flour
3/4 cups Water
2/3 cup olive oil

Mix and roll out, cut into shapes. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cool and store in refrigerator. These cookies are very rich in omega oils and are good for your dogs coat and skin.