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Baggins' Bites: What's Your Back Up?
February 15, 2011
Dear Dog Lover,

Jen here from and what a week it’s been, whew!

On Monday evening my hard drive crashed and I spent the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday having it looked at to see if it could be repaired.

When they said it would cost more to repair than buying a new machine, I started remembering the photos and documents I lost. :( ...

I know, back up, back up, back up…

The thing is, that computer was my back up. Luckily, I didn’t have that much on it. But now I’ve backed up everything on my aged laptop where I do have a lot of material.

We’ve all lost material when hard drives fail. But what about other situations in your life?

As you can probably guess, this isn’t really a lesson about computer back up , maybe just back up in general…

Think of training your dog. If your dog is constantly doing something you don’t want, for example peeing on the bathroom bathmat when you’re not looking so you can’t quite pin it on him---yes, separate story for another time—what can you do as back up?

  • You can close the bathroom door since somebody is mistaking it for their potty.

  • You can pick the mat up from the floor and leave on the side of the bathtub or hang it on a towel rack.

  • You can try to figure out when it’s happening and interrupt the incident by distracting him and taking him outside.

  • Failing these, you could put a doggie diaper on your pooch.

  • The point is, you have more than one method for solving the problem. You have back up.

    Now, I’m not a dog trainer. And, dog trainer Kirsten Frisch

    may have a better solution, but it’s a start.

    You might need back up strategies to keep your dog from getting in the trash or escaping from the house.

    If you want to have a well behaved dog, the essential training technique is “cues”.

    Also known as “commands”, this is simply a way to get your dog to do what you want him to do. Here are my top 10 reasons for training your dog.

    Everyone wants a reliable, well behaved dog, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

    And, without a little guidance or help it can be tough if you’ve never done it before.

    So take a look and pick out one cue you want to work on. If you need extra help, dog trainer Kirsten Frisch developed a mini course to help you out.

    Happy training!

    Reader's Write

    Last month I wrote about how rock salt (used to melt ice) and chemical ice melters can irritate your pooch’s paw pads. With all the snow this winter, we’ve been using a lot of these and that can mean a lot of uncomfortable dogs.

    Meagan DeRaps from Fairbanks, Alaska and Monica Barrett from Wisconsin sent in their solutions for red and inflamed paw pads.

    Thanks for sharing Meagan and Monica!

    Meagan DeRaps writes:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I live in Fairbanks, AK and I am very familiar with the dog paw problem you mentioned in your last newsletter.

    At temperatures dipping below -30 degrees there is not a single walk we go on when at least one of my dogs holds up their paw and gives me that “fix it I'm injured” look.

    We do not use much salt in Alaska so I cannot help with that problem. However, when my dogs lift their paws I simply take off my glove and hold their paw with my warm hand. Even in very cold temperatures this technique usually produces enough warmth to melt the ice and provide relief to my pups.

    Another common problem when dogs are constantly running in snow is tearing their paws on the rough ice crystals (a very common problem with sled dogs).

    To fix this once a week we put a pad and paw treatment on their paws (Trusty Husky Brand). It is a product very similar to bag balm and works to moisturize and protect their paws from future abrasion.

    Hope this helps,

    Hi Jen,

    I live in Wisconsin and have a 3 year old male, rough collie named Toby. He is an absolutely wonderful friend in every way, however, he is very sensitive to chemicals, both in food and through skin contact.

    Last winter his feet became very sore and red due to salt on the sidewalks and him licking his feet. I tried several options to eliminate the problem but little seemed to help.

    This year I saw a show on Animal Planet which eventually led me to *Neo-Paws.* I had tried dog boots on Toby before but they were expensive, ill-fitting and didn't last very long (We walk 2-4 miles per day, even in the winter).

    I absolutely *LOVE* these boots!! They are sold by a woman in Canada. She sells them in pairs, rather than in sets of 4, because generally the front paws are larger than the back paws. The bottoms are like our shoes and the sides are made of a soft, neoprene material which wraps up the leg and doesn't come off, even with playing or running!!

    She has a website where you can view her products. I can't speak for anything other than the boots, but they are truly fantastic!! My vet was so impressed with the boots that he ordered some for his dogs and several people in my neighborhood have bought them for their pooches.

    Best of all, they are really no more expensive than the cheap, ill-fitting boots sold in the pet stores!! I would highly recommend them for anyone that does regular walking with their pets during the winter. Aside from preventing salt burns, they also eliminate the ice balls that form between the toes and prevent injuries from stepping on jagged ice!!

    Hope you find this helpful.

    Have a great day,

    Today, as I write this, the sun is shining and it’s nearly 50 degrees—hopefully Spring is coming early to Pennsylvania. But for those of you facing another two months of winter, this info may be very timely.

    If you have other solutions for dealing with wintertime paw distress that you’d like to share with readers, please let me know by clicking “reply”. Thanks so much!

    Dog Treat Video

    As promised, I made a video baking treats. I made them in heart shapes for Valentine’s Day. :)

    You can see it here.

    Yours in Treats and Health,

    Jen & Sammy the best in dog treat recipes online!/naturaldogtreat

    P.S. Please join us on Facebook!!/naturaldogtreat it's fun to interact there.

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