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The Coming When Called Challenge


Laura Boro

Laura and Tessa in the spring of 2018

As the happy and grateful pet parent of a fourteen-year-old Plott hound, I speak from experience about the journey of teaching the recall, or “come,” command to a rescue dog. Many times I questioned my ability and the willingness of my dog to do what was being asked of her. But it only made me more committed to seeing this seemingly insurmountable task through to fruition.

When I brought Tessa home, I knew she had been badly abused. I thought she would love me for getting her out of hell and would be eternally grateful. Well, it didn’t start out like that.

I hadn’t planned to pick Tessa up from the shelter that day, so I didn’t have a way to restrain her in the car. That was mistake number one. On the way home, she puked all over me and the inside of my car! Then she got scared when I ran over a rumble strip on the edge of the road. (There was puke on me!) She tried to get under the seat. That would be the driver’s seat, while I was driving, going about 60 miles per hour… on the freeway! Eventually, I was able to pull over. I got my wits about me, cleaned up a bit, and next I took a deep breath now that we were both okay. Then I broke down and cried.

I continued to do everything wrong. I sort of just let her be, hoping that Tessa’s trust in me would heal her. For those first few weeks, I gave her the benefit of the doubt without the benefit of training her.

In the beginning, Tessa would never come to me. It was obvious that when she had come to her previous owner, things had not gone well for her. In order to train her, I would have to learn patience, unconditional love, and trust.

Patience was hard. Unconditional love was easy. But trust seemed impossible.

We worked on Tessa’s recall command for about two months, starting in my fenced backyard and then moving to a long-line out in the fields. I gradually learned how to train her, how to reward her, and Tessa began to realize that I wasn’t like her previous owner. Good things happened when she came to me. We worked our way up to longer and more difficult recalls until I felt we were ready to try a new challenge together.

I took Tessa to the woods, I let her off her leash, and I immediately lost her.

It was so frustrating. We had been working on this command for months but Tessa was still a hound and her nose was taking her places that I couldn’t follow. I sat on a rock and broke down, crying and berating myself once again. Could I wish her back to me? I was heartbroken that the dog whose life I’d saved had left me.

When I finally turned around, Tessa was sitting right behind me. Through all our hard work together she had finally learned to trust me. I was the one who was still catching up. This realization was immediately followed by more crying, but this time they were tears of joy and relief.

And that was the start of our amazing and wonder-filled journey together. There are so many more tales of Tessa coming into her own. She has no problem coming when called now and I have no problem trusting her. This dog helped me to become a trainer, so now I can help other dogs and their people have the best lives possible. Thank you, Tessa. I am eternally grateful.

Laura’s Guide to Teaching Your Dog to Come

To ensure others don’t make the same mistakes that I made, here are some great tips to build a bond of trust with your pup using the Round Robin Recall game:

  1. Choose one word that you will use to call your dog. You can use "come" or "here" or something else, but it is important that he hear the word over and over and knows exactly what that one word means.
  2. In a safe indoor environment ask a friend to hold your dog's leash. Tell the dog to "stay," walk six to eight steps away, and then call your dog using your one word recall command. As you give the cue, your friend should drop the leash so your dog can come running with the leash dragging behind.
  3. Be exciting and encourage him the entire way. "Yes! Good boy! C'mon, c'mon! Good come! What a good pup!" Dogs will always follow movement and sounds. If yours is less than interested, make a funny noise, run backward, or move sideways. As soon as he starts to come toward you, ramp up the energy. I like to think of the dog as a marathon runner and cheer him on every step of the way.
  4. Always reward with a high value treat. Specifically, use something small and tasty that you only offer when you're training (maybe diced chicken or cheese or your dog's favorite smelly snack). Don't use a Milk Bone. (Personally, I love Happy Howie's Beef Roll!). Your dog will learn that good things happen when he comes to you. When he hears his name and "come," your dog should look at you, come running, and be happy to do it.
  5. Repeat. Your dog needs practice to reinforce the new command. This time, you hold the leash and your friend calls. Make sure you use the same technique each time. As your dog's recall command becomes more and more reliable, mix it up, such as move farther away, add distractions, or change directions. Use longer leashes or lines as needed.
  6. Keep it short.  Training sessions should last no longer than ten minutes, several times a day. If you or your dog gets tired or frustrated, take a break. The most important thing to remember is to make training fun so that your dog can be successful.
  7. Never, ever, ever call your dog to you for something unpleasant, like the vet, his crate, or a punishment. If you do, your dog might start to second-guess your commands, "Hmm, is this for something fun or is she going to drive me down the scary freeway again?"

For more about dog trainer Laura Boro, go to her website:

Raw Feeding Carnivores…Information on Raw Feeding

Thriving rather than just surviving.

Dear Pet Lovers,

Just as humans thrive on fresh food, so do animals. The most natural ingredient in an animal's diet is raw food that contains antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, minerals, and phytochemicals. Raw foods are the building blocks to a healthy, vital life.

RAW meats are just that–RAW. They are not over-processed or cooked which means active nutrients are fully utilized by a pet's digestive system. Dogs and cats are natural carnivores; the essential nutrients they thrive on come from other animals. When carnivores consume another animal, they eat the meat, organs, some bone, and trace amounts of plant material from the animal's digestive tract. These are the components of nature's ideal meal. A raw meat diet replicates this natural food chain to create the perfect complete and balanced meal for our pets.

Absence of "Junk Food" Ingredients

Next time you stop in the grocery store, take a look at the ingredients label on commercial pet food. The list may surprise you, as traditional pet food is loaded with carbohydrates like corn, rice, and potatoes. These "Junk Food" ingredients are not meant for a dog or cat's digestive system. Dogs and cats become addicted to this highly processed "Junk Food" and will consume more food to make up for the lack of nutrition. This can lead to health problems such as diabetes or obesity. RAW food does not contain "Junk Food" ingredients and promotes vitality and a healthy lifestyle. Because a RAW meat diet is packed with the nutrients dogs and cats need, they will consume less, reduce the odor and size of their stools, and maintain an optimal weight.

Vital Essence - Carried at GoodDog Coeur d'Alene, ID

GoodDog is happy to carry Vital Essentials for dogs and cats.

Juggling Holidays with Pets

Dear Pet Lovers,

Juggling Holidays with Pets

Holiday times can be joyful or a source of stress for all of us, and that goes for your dogs, too!
Things to Keep in Mind Throughout the Holiday Seasons

  • Dogs can be very sensitive to changes in their environment and routines. When family members take time off from work and school, house guests come to stay, or other visitors roll through the home in droves, you need to try to preserve a few of your dog's routines, such as regular meal schedules and walks, exercise or play sessions.  A good walk before the arrival of holiday guests can help calm your dog as well.
  • If there's considerably more activity than usual, plan some quiet times for your dog as well.
  • The added stress and excitement of holiday festivities can increase your dog's thirst too, so make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water to drink.
  • If your dog is the excitable or anxious type, he might benefit from an over-the-counter remedy, such as Rescue Remedy, Calm Shen, and other brands, to help keep him calm down and relax.  GoodDog has them!
  • Dog Appeasing Pheromones can also help maintain your dog's calm demeanor. DAP mimics the effects of a pheromone emitted by nursing female dogs, thought to calm the puppies. It can be delivered through a wall diffuser (similar to an air-freshener plug-in), a special collar impregnated with the substance, or can be directly sprayed on bedding or a bandana worn by your dog. Available at GoodDog!

Holiday Décor: Dog Safety Issues
Holiday trappings help to maintain the merry mood but can be fraught with dangers for your dog. Here are some things to watch out for:
Christmas Trees

  • Tinsel, popcorn strands, and other garland-like decorations can cause serious internal injuries if ingested, and these are just the kinds of things that curious dogs can't resist.
  • The ribbons, string, and other wrapping accessories found on gifts can be very problematic as well. These can lead to choking or strangulation for a curious pup.
  • Water at the base of natural trees can contain anti-freeze and other preservatives that are deadly to your dog.
  • All Christmas trees should be firmly anchored to the wall or ceiling to prevent it from being toppled by an inquisitive pooch.

If you can't avoid all these things, try encircling your Christmas tree and gift display with an exercise pen to keep your dog away but still allowing you to enjoy your holiday cheer.
Electrical Cords

  • Make sure these cords are well-secured, so your dog doesn't make a chew toy out of them. Consider using cord containers or running them through PVC to avoid having your dog chew on them when you cannot supervise it. Christmas trees have new cords that dogs may find exciting!

Snow Globes

  • While many are still made of glass, others can be found in chewable plastic with plastic bases. Chewed plastic shards from broken globes can be life-threatening. Many globes also add an anti-freeze-like substance to the water inside to slow the movement of the snow inside, so a double danger!

Scented candles

  • Candles can be attractive because of their smell, taste and texture. Make sure they are perched on high shelves out of Rover's reach! Never leave a lit candle unsupervised as they are easily knocked over and quickly become a fire hazard. 

Who's at the Door?
Ding dong! Nowhere does the average family dog get into so much trouble as at the front door! Inappropriate greeting behaviors, door-dashing, and just over-the-top excitement can make the front door a source of stress for everyone during the holidays. Here are some ideas for making the doorway a safer place:
Train polite greeting behaviors

  • Practice! Heavily reinforce 'sits' and ignore jumping up. Turning your back on a jumper can work very well too. For added control, tether your dog to a heavy stationary object to prevent him from following you or jumping on your back as you turn away. Practice with lots of different people and practice in your doorway area to make sure your dog knows it where he'll need it! You can also teach your dog to wait behind a boundary line away from the door entryway or teach him to go to a particular place, like a dog bed, while guests enter the home.

A safe place

  • If you haven't had time to train for all the comings and goings at the door, it's always good practice to have your dog crated, securely fastened on a a leash while guests are arriving or departing.

Taming the Crew
Entertaining guests can make the holidays merry, but it's important to remember how visitors can be stressful for our dogs.
Avoid visiting pets

  • Unless your dog is already great friends with your visitor's pets, it's a good idea to suggest your guests leave their pets at home. Having multiple animals in the home presents management challenges you may not be prepared to handle amidst all the other distractions you'll be facing.

DO NOT FEED THE DOG…snacks and holiday foods!

  • Make sure your guests know not to feed your dog from the table. Lots of fatty tidbits handed out by well-meaning visitors can also lead to a dangerous bout of pancreatitis or intestinal upset. If your friends can't help themselves, make sure you have some healthy ‘species appropriate’ treats available for dogs and cats. Put out a few treats and when they are gone, no more! No one wants to step in a surprise left on the floor by a four legged family member!

Clear the area!

  • Keep an eye out for plates and cocktails left at dog level. Since good intentions are prone to fail with so much going on, consider confining your dog to his crate or another room while your guests are bustling about (a bone or good chew toy make a great crate companion!) just to make sure he doesn't get into trouble.

Dogs and kids don't always mix!

  • Holiday gatherings can be very over-stimulating for dogs and kids alike, so never leave the dog alone with any little people, even his own kids. Interactions between the dog and kids should be strictly supervised by an adult who's dog-savvy enough to know when your dog needs a break.

Finally, if your dog is prone to fearfulness, anxiety or over-excitement when company is around, his crate or private place is best to keep him calm and safe.
Train In Advance!
Great manners are always made, not born, and it can be fun to work with your dog on the life skills he'll need to be the life of the party. Here are a few things you'll want to incorporate into your training plan:
"Sit and wait" or "down and wait"

  • Great skills for your dog to learn! Taught positively, these exercises help your dog relax and enjoy his calm and relaxed participation in a family gathering. They can also prevent unruly door greetings and eliminate door-dashing.

"Place" or "go to bed"

  • This cue basically involves teaching the dog to proceed to a specified place and wait there for further instructions. Use this one to keep him away from the food table during meal times, which prevents begging and discourages guests from passing your pooch tidbits under the table.

"Leave it"

  • An invaluable tool for any dog owner and can help head off a dog who's aiming for a gift basket, dropped food item, or just about anything else. Trained positively, your dog will gladly disengage from just about anything you've assigned a "leave it" to.

"Drop it"

  • A suitable companion to "leave it," "drop it" can be used to ask your dog to relinquish an already acquired item. This can be trained through a series of fun trading games that will teach your dog to happily spit things out in anticipation of something better!

Uh-Oh! The dog’s on the counter!

  • Already confirmed counter-surfers (cats are really good at counter surfing!) should be confined away from the action, since the high temptation, high distraction environment of a holiday party will be more than they can bear! But if your dog still hasn't scored off the counter yet, using "leave it" training will go a long way to helping your dog understand that counter-surfing doesn't pay!

Holiday Noises and Panic Attacks!

  • Most dogs (and many cats) can get very nervous around loud noises and some holiday celebrations include noisy situations such as parades, fireworks.  These noises can cause some pets considerable distress. Start preparing in advance by playing fireworks sound effect recordings on your home stereo. Start the volume at a very low, almost imperceptible level until you're sure that your dog is comfortable; then crank up the volume half a click. Keep this going until your pet is no longer afraid. If you have a dog who's already acutely sound-sensitive, find a good trainer or behavior consultant that can help calm the pet.

Pam, Krister, Rosanna, Kris, and Emily

The GoodDog Team

Whaddup With Organ Meat??

Dear Pet Lovers,

Whaddup with organ meat??

Organ meats for your dogs are chuck full of great stuff, including big time doses of B vitamins: as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and vitamin B12.

If you can get organ meat at your butcher shop, from hunters, etc. DO IT! Lungs, kidneys, pancreas – It may seem disgusting, but your dogs will thank you for it!!

Pets will benefit from the minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine, and provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It is important to note that animals raised outside on grass contain even higher levels of these essential nutrients than their grain-fed counterparts.

A Natural Source Of Vitamin D

According to Dogs Naturally, Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins (actually a hormone precursor) and regulates numerous functions in the body. Vitamin D deficiency is related to muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases. It’s especially important for those who live at higher latitudes and receive less sun (since sun exposure is the best source of Vitamin D).

In our area of North Idaho, organ meats are even more important to your pets because they are known to have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of any food source, and including a source of organ meats into your dog’s diet once or twice a week, is a great idea – especially in the winter time when vitamin D deficiency is most likely to happen.

Organ meats also contain high amounts of the essential fatty acids such as arachidonic acid, and omega-3 fats, including EPA and DHA. Despite popular belief, fish and fish oils are not the only source of the important EPA and DHA… organ meats are loaded with these important nutrients.

People usually ask about the safety of liver. It is the liver’s job to neutralize toxins in the body from drugs or other chemicals, so obviously the best choice for liver is the grass fed kind, without added antibiotics or hormones. But don’t let that scare you away from liver: it filters toxins but doesn’t store them. Muscle meats are typically higher in unwanted toxins than liver.

Liver also has tons of vitamin A . Natural vitamin A works to aid digestion, keeps sex organs/reproductive organs healthy, and is a powerful antioxidant. Also, liver is a great source of folic Acid, B vitamins and especially vitamin B12, which help with fatigue, mental and nerve health and keeps away the dreaded anemia.

Liver also contains lots of iron. Iron is necessary for many functions in the body including formation of hemoglobin, brain development and function, regulation of body temperature, muscle activity and catecholamine metabolism, to name just a few. A lack of iron will have a very negative direct effect on the immune system as it may diminishes the number of T- cells and the production of antibodies.

Iron is essential for oxygen to the blood cells. The primary function of iron is oxygen transport and cell respiration. For an anemic person, fatigue is one of the most noticeable symptoms. The iron in liver is one of most easily absorbable and usable sources of iron.

Liver contains many nitrogen containing compounds that are building blocks for DNA and RNA. In combination with the B vitamins, this makes it extremely helpful with Alzheimers or other types of dementia. Dogs can suffer from dementia as well, so be generous with the liver.

While liver is highly nutritious, its precious nutrients are very much affected by heat, so never cook it or the digestive enzymes and nutrients will be lost.

A Heart for your Valentine!

Dogs Naturally also reminds us that because it’s a muscle, beef heart is somewhat similar to muscle meat, although it’s a heavier, more dense muscle. But heart meat packs more protein and unique nutrients. The heart is a very concentrated source of the supernutrient, CoQ10. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is necessary for the basic functioning of cells, as well as optimizing the heart’s rhythm. CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be lower in some patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, and immune disorders. Beef heart also contains selenium, phosphorus and zinc, along with essential amino acids that help build muscle, store energy and boost stamina and endurance. The heart also contains twice as much collagen and elastin than regular meat, which is important for healthy joints. If you’re feeding a commercial raw diet, look for whole animal choices so the valuable organ meats are kept intact. Making your own? Just make sure you ask for a wide variety of organ meats.

A little anatomy goes a long ways for raw feeders – find yourself a picture of the chicken or cow’s anatomy and note the size of the organs compared to the size of the animal. This should give you an idea of the amount of each organ your dog should receive. Overall, organ meats (not including heart) should make up about 15% of your dog’s total diet.

So when visiting your butcher, ask for the gross stuff! Your dog will thank you!

Pam, Krister, Rosanna, Kris, and Emily

The GoodDog Team

Winter Time

Dear Pet Lovers,

Winter Time

When you drive behind our snow removal trucks and salt trucks, you know that rock salt will corrode the metal and paint of your car.  We do all we can to protect our cars from the corrosive salt however, we let our dogs walk unprotected on the same roads (and sidewalks) we’re protecting our cars from.
Here’s something you can try at home.  A little science experiment, if you will!
Fill a zip lock bag with a few drops of water, add a tablespoon of rock salt and zip it up.
What happens will you hold the bag?  Do you notice any difference in the temperature?
You’ll feel that it gets hot. Guess what happens when that salt gets between your dog’s toes.
Salt can get lodged in between your dog’s pads and it can heat up to around 170 degrees! That’s hot enough to cause burns. And the pain will cause your dog to lick his paws, which adds more moisture to his feet … and now the salt is on his lips and tongue too.
Rock salt can also irritate his gastrointestinal system . It can and trigger seizures when eaten in large quantities.  Unfortunately, our dogs will lick their irritated feet after walking outside in the snow. So if you didn’t know before, then now you know that you should keep your dog away from salt whenever possible! And you should use safer alternatives if you’re looking to melt snow in your own yard.
Steven Vernik, Director of Operations at Gaia Enterprises Inc and creator of Safe Paw Ice Melter, shares some tips on finding the most pet friendly choices.
Before you buy, take the container off the shelf and look at the back label to see if there are any warnings. If you see something that says, ”Keep away from children”, the chances are high that it isn’t all that safe for your pet. If you see that it causes irritation to eyes, skin, etc., or that it’s harmful if swallowed, consider whether or not this product is truly safe or just a marketing ploy to get your money.
A good ice melter may carry a heftier price because the components that go into making a truly safe and good ice melter aren’t cheap. If you see a low price tag, you should be suspicious of what’s inside the bag. By mixing cheap chemicals as filler along with salt or other chlorides, manufacturers can say that their product is pet friendly or safer than rock salt when in reality, it isn’t much safer at all.
Here are some ingredients that you need to know about:
Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)
CMA is a relatively safe ice melter, except that it isn’t very effective and doesn’t last long. It’s therefore likely that if your product contains CMA, it’s mixed with salt and or other chemicals to boost its power. CMA is toxic and also extracts moisture from the surface, so be mindful of CMA products on wood decking, rubbers, plastics, etc. If you see CMA as an ingredient, you’ll want to know what else is in the product.
Urea is a pretty decent ice melter. It’s less toxic and less corrosive than chlorides. However, if it isn’t treated and modified, it’s somewhat toxic and is a pollutant (according to the EPA) because of its nitrates. Urea is also costly and expensive to make safe.
Modified Crystalline Carbonyl Diamide
This is a safe ingredient that acts like a sponge and has particulates that disrupt the hydrogen bonds.
Eco Safe Glycol
Glycols can be infused with components that power up its ice melting capabilities, including traction agents and special inhibitors to increase the safety of the product.
Any colorants used should ideally be food grade.
In summary, here are some things to consider when choosing an ice melt product:

  • Don’t look for a low cost product. The safe ice melt products use more expensive chemicals and are worth the extra expense.
  • Look for a product without any warning labels on it. If a product is not safe for you or your children, it’s not safe for your pets.
  • Look for a salt and chloride free product.
  • Visit the manufacturer’s website and read about the ingredients, or do some online research.

Finally, even though you may be using a pet safe product, your neighbors and city may not be, so it’s always a good idea after walking your dog to immediately clean his paws with plenty of lukewarm water, then dry them. Some dogs take a while to get used to booties but they’re another solution to keep paws safe.
There are many types of boots available for dogs. Some are great for snow and chemicals on the road. PAWZ makes a set of 12 disposable, reusable boots that are dogs can adjust to rather easily. They are great for road chemicals and will put a layer between the feet and the road but are not heavy enough in extreme cold to protect from freeze. Dog pads are amazing helpers that can keep your dogs’ feet safe to a fairly low temperature, but when they need help, call and we can discuss the best options for your pet.

Does your dog suffer from itchy skin and ears? Here’s a tip for you that will help without costing an arm or a leg…or a leg and a paw!
Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
While apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s is my favorite brand!) has been touted to help with everything from boosting the immune system and detoxifying kidneys to helping lower cholesterol, here are three popular ways it can help your dog.
Itchy Skin 
ACV can help relieve itchy skin and rashes caused by yeast and poison ivy. The best way to apply is by making a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and applying directly onto itchy spots, but NOT open wounds – the vinegar will sting if the wound is raw. If you can’t apply topically and yeast is the main concern, you can feed ACV in your pet’s food or water. According to Donna Starita Mehan, DVM, in The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs by Martin Zucker, yeast does not do well in the acid environment ACV creates, so she suggests feeding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon twice daily.
Ear Cleaner
Itchy skin is often accompanied by itchy ears – and nobody wants that. Holistic veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker recommends a proactive cleaning regimen using half ACV and half purified water to prevent ear infection. Check your dog’s ears daily for wax and gunk. Clean dirty ears using individual cotton balls soaked in the solution. Swab out the ears until no gunk appears on the cotton ball.
Flea and Tick Repellant 
Even the healthiest, cleanest dog may at some point face the pesky problem of playing host to one or both of these critters. Fortunately, ACV can once again come to the rescue. Before your dog goes out, spray him with that 50/50 solution of ACV and water. And for some added oomph, give 2 tablespoons of ACV in your dog’s food or water during flea and tick season. The same acidity in ACV that repels yeast, also repels ticks and fleas.

Thank you to Dogs Naturally for always keeping us in the know about great ways to help our pets!

Pam, Krister, Rosanna, Kris, and Emily

The GoodDog Team