Homemade Dog Treat Recipes for Spring and Summer

Is your dog tired of his regular treats? Are you looking for a healthy option to use for training? Or do you just want to pamper your pup with homemade recipes that will make her smile? The DogWatch team has pulled together some yummy dog treat recipes for you to try at home, featuring fresh spring and summer ingredients!

Pint of fresh strawberriesA Strawberry Smoothie for Spot?

Strawberries are typically in season in late spring/early summer, and are a great, healthy treat for dogs. If you have a blender, you can try these two “smoothie”-inspired dog treat recipes.

Doggy Dessert Chef’s appealing Strawberry Banana Smoothie Biscuits are a great seasonal treat for special occasions. (Plus, bananas are another healthy, safe fruit for dogs.) Cooking time is 15-20 minutes, and you’ll need a blender. (Note: these treats contains milk, so they are not suitable for lactose intolerant dogs.)

On the lighter side, there’s this Frozen Strawberry Smoothie recipe from Irresistible Pets. Strawberries and bananas are the only ingredients needed – simply combine them in a blender until smooth, pour the liquid into ice cube trays (heart-shaped ones are optional!), freeze for a few hours, and voila! Pair these treats with a smoothie of your own, and you’ve got a relaxing treat for the both of you to enjoy!

Give Peas a Chance!

PeasFresh peas – from English to snow to sugar snap – are also in season. Peas are healthy for dogs, providing them with a good source of the B vitamin Thiamin, phosphorous, and potassium. Plus, many dogs love them!

Peas make a good treat for training because of their small size. For a more filling snack, you can try this low-calorie “Green Dog Treats” recipe from Two Little Cavaliers, which can be made with fresh or canned peas. You can also go “super green” by mixing the peas with green beans, another dog-friendly veggie.

MintIs Your’s Dog’s Breath in Mint Condition?

Did you know mint is also in season in spring? The popular herb is also a great ingredient for dog treats, since it adds flavor while also helping freshen your dog’s often-stinky breath. We found two simple recipes featuring mint that we are looking forward to trying out. The first recipe call for only three things: fresh mint, water and unsalted crushed crackers. After mixing these ingredients together, pop them in the freezer until frozen and voila, a quick, cool snack for your pup!

The second recipe, from the blog The Nerdy Farm Wife, requires a blender but again has only three ingredients – unsweetened plain yogurt, fresh mint and fresh parsley. (If you have an herb garden, you can pick the last two at home!) Blend these, place the mixture in ice cube trays, freeze and serve. Fresh, healthy and refreshing – a perfect summer treat for your dog!

Do you have any favorite homemade dog treat recipes? We’d love to try them out. Share them in the comments below, or via Facebook or Twitter. We wish you all good luck in the kitchen, and a happy spring and summer to you and your dog!

Strawberry image: “Pint of Strawberries” by Mr.TinDC is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Peas image: “Peas and Pod 07.11.09 [192]” by timlewisnm is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Mint image: “Kentucky colonel spearmint harvest” by Quinn Dombrowski is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Posted in Dog Treats, Gardening, Summer

10 Cool Dog Names and the Stories Behind Them

The first task of any new pet parent? Pick a name! With so many options to choose from (and often so many people weighing in on the decision), it can be a challenge to find the perfect fit for your unique new friend. The DogWatch team has met a lot of dogs over the years, and we’ve compiled some of our favorite dogs names, along with the stories behind them. Maybe your dog’s new name is on this list, or it will inspire you to find your own unique name for your dog!

Odysseus and Argos

Odysseus and Argos

Argos

Looking way back to the days of the ancient Greeks, Argos is one of the first literary dog names. Argos is the name of Odysseus’ faithful dog in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. When Odysseus returns home to Ithaca in disguise, Argos (now much older than when his owner left him) is the only one in the household who recognizes him immediately. By choosing this mythic name, you’ll be honoring the very first fictional “man’s best friend.”

Ashley Whippet

Do you see a lot of frisbee time in your dog’s future? Name him after the first champion frisbee dog, Ashley Whippet. Ashley was a Whippet (no surprise) who became famous in 1974 after he and his owner Alex Stein hopped the fence during a nationally televised Dodgers game and demonstrated Ashley’s remarkable frisbee-catching skills in front of a roaring crowd at the stadium and on TV. Stein was eventually forced off the field and ordered to pay a $250 fine for trespassing, but by then Ashley was already famous. The dog would go on to win the first three “Catch and Fetch” titles at the World Frisbee Championships. What athletic dog wouldn’t be happy to be named after this dog sports legend?

Asta

Asta in After the Thin Man trailer

Asta in After the Thin Man trailer

Fans of Old Hollywood, look no further than Asta, the adorable canine companion of the crime-solving duo Nick and Nora in The Thin Man films of the 1930’s. The Wire Fox Terrier (played by a male dog named Skippy in the first two films) nearly stole the show from his charismatic human co-stars William Powell and Myrna Loy. He helped them track down perpetrators and even saved them from danger! Asta is a perfectly glamorous name for your playful and savvy new partner-in-crime.

Balto

Balto with musher Gunnar Kaasen, who traveled the last leg of the Nome serum run. Photo by Brown Brothers, circa 1925." title="Balto with musher Gunnar Kaasen, who traveled the last leg of the Nome serum run. Photo by Brown Brothers, circa 1925.

Balto with musher Gunnar Kaasen, who traveled the last leg of the Nome serum run.

If you’re looking for a heroic name to match your superhero pup, we suggest Balto. The black Siberian Husky was the standout in a team of sled dogs and riders who traveled over 600 miles in blizzard conditions to retrieve an antidote to save the residents of Nome, Alaska from an outbreak of diphtheria that ravaged the town in 1925. Balto kept his team and leader Gunnar Kaasen safe on the trail, and even stopped just in time to save the team from falling into an icy river. There is a statue of Balto in New York’s Central Park in honor of his important ride.

To learn more about Balto, check out our blog post all about the heroic Husky and his dangerous mission.

Comet

Did you rejoice at the news that Netflix is bringing back the beloved 90’s sitcom Full House? OK, not everyone is excited, but I bet there are still quite a few of you who can’t wait to see the Tanner family back together for more adventures, jokes, sibling rivalry and life lessons about growing up (or, in the case of the reboot, growing older). If you’re a dog owner who wants to show off their love of this 90’s classic, then pick the name Comet, in honor the Tanner family’s sweet Golden Retriever. (By the way, did you know that Buddy, the dog who played Comet in Full House also played the dog in the movie Air Bud? Totally cool!)

Pal

Pal as Lassie 1942

Pal as Lassie, 1942

Everybody knows the name Lassie, the most famous fictional dog of all time. But if you want to honor the Rough Collie in a different way, why not name your pup after the first dog who brought Lassie to life on screen – Pal? Not only did Pal star in seven feature films from 1943-1951, he traveled around the U.S. greeting fans and performing. Retiring in 1954, Pal passed away four years later at the remarkable age of 18!

Pompey

Pugs originated in China but are often associated with the Netherlands – ever wonder why? It all began with Pompey, a pug belonging to William I, Prince of Orange (also known as William of Orange) in the 1570’s. One night, the Pug alerted his owner to enemy soldiers lurking near his tent, giving him time to flee and saving his life. In gratitude, William named the Pug the official dog of the House of Orange. His family later introduced the breed to England, when his descendant became King William III of England. Heroic and royal? Sounds like the perfect name for your new arrival!

Sergeant Stubby

Sergeant Stubby

“Miss Louise Johnson & Stubby in animal parade”

We don’t even need to tell you the story – the name is already so great, right? Well, Sergeant Stubby has a story even greater than his fabulous name! The mixed breed dog (possibly a Bull or Boston Terrier mix) served in 17 battles during World War I, performing vital roles including alerting troops to incoming gas attacks, locating missing soldiers in between the trenches and boosting morale. At the war’s end, the brave dog received a medal from Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of the American forces in Europe, who saluted the dog’s “heroism of highest caliber” and “bravery under fire.” Stubby may not have looked striking at first glance, but his tough facade belied an inner strength and loyalty that are worthy of celebration.

Tock

The Phantom Tollbooth Book Cover, Illustration by Jules Feiffer, copyright Random House, 1961.Here’s an unusual one. Tock is the name of the dog in Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, a classic of children’s literature, published in 1961. Tock is a literal “watch dog,” and has an alarm clock built into his body. He befriends the novel’s young protagonist Milo as the boy journeys through the strange and idiosyncratic world of the Kingdom of Wisdom. Tock is a great name for a family dog, as it not only celebrates a wonderful book but also suits the furry friend who will travel with the little ones of the family through their own imaginary worlds.

Uggie

Is your new dog a born performer? If so, consider naming him or her after Uggie, the canine star of the Oscar-winning 2011 film The Artist. Uggie was the sidekick of silent movie star George Valentin, played by Oscar winner Jean Dujardin. The Jack Russell Terrier runs, jumps, chases, plays dead – you name it, he’s on it! To many, Uggie’s performance was the highlight of the charming film. After The Artist, Uggie became a worldwide celebrity. He appeared on numerous TV shows, attended the Oscars and even “wrote” a memoir. Capture the movie magic at home with your Uggie!

Does your dog have an interesting, historical or unique name? Share it here in the comments or on our Facebook page, and we may feature him or her in a future blog post!

Photo Credits

Argos: “OdysseusArgos” by Jean-Auguste Barre – Originally uploaded on english wikipedia by en:User:Gurvey. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Asta: Screenshot from After the Thin Man trailer, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Balto: “Balto with musher Gunnar Kaasen, who traveled the last leg of the Nome serum run,” Photo by Brown Brothers, circa 1925, via Wikimedia Commons.

Pal: Photographer: Dell Mulmey, Quinault, Washington – eBay itemphoto frontphoto back. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Sergeant Stubby: “Miss Louise Johnson & Stubby in animal parade,” Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Harris & Ewing, [LC-DIG-hec-31070].

Tock: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Book Cover Illustration by Jules Feiffer, copyright Random House, 1961.

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Posted in Dog Stories

Dog-Friendly Gardening: 4 Tips to Keep Them Out and Keep Them Safe

Margo the Golden Retriever sits next to the flower bedsSpring is here at last! Gardeners, as you start tending to your perennials, planting new flowers and working in your vegetable garden, it is important to keep in mind the other member of your family who is itching to get back outside after the long winter – your dog. Here are four tips to help you create a safer garden for your dogs (and outdoor cats), as well as how to keep your beloved pets from stomping on, digging up, or otherwise destroying all that hard work!

1. Select Your Plants and Mulch Carefully

We all know dogs love to sniff and explore, but dog owners should know that a dog’s gardening penchant can be hazardous. Many beautiful plants, and the fertilizers and mulches that we use to nurture a beautiful landscape, can be harmful to our dogs. Irises, tulips, daffodils, and many other bulb plants are toxic to dogs and cats, as are azaleas, rhododendron and foxgloves, which can cause heart problems. For a more comprehensive list, check out this searchable database of poisonous plants affecting dogs and other animals, created by Cornell University.

Ginger the Golden Retriever sits next to flowersPet owners should also be aware that certain types of fertilizer or mulch are also dangerous to dogs and cats if ingested. When using fertilizer, be sure to select a more pet-friendly option (see list here) and follow all instructions regarding wait times when pets should be kept off lawns or away from treated areas. Be sure to store your fertilizer bags out of your pet’s reach, or in tamper-proof plastic containers.

As Master Gardener Susan Patterson explains on the website Gardening Know How, cocoa bean mulch is particularly toxic to dogs, and should be avoided in favor of pet-friendly varieties, including pine, cedar, and hemlock. She adds that, even with these safer mulches, they can still be a choking hazard. Pets – especially puppies, who are often voracious chewers – should be supervised in areas with mulch, or kept out of these areas entirely.

2. Contain Your Garden

As a dog-loving gardener, there is an easy way you can keep your dog away from flower beds, bushes and vegetable patches, without building an expensive fence that hides the beauty of your garden. Hidden underground pet fences (also known as “invisible fences”) can be used in a variety of ways to keep your pet safe in your yard. DogWatch Hidden Fences are customized to your home, and can be configured to keep your dog out of your garden, as well as other specific areas such as the children’s sandbox, BBQ pit or swimming pool.

DogWatch Hidden Fences Garden Loop - Before and After

Bo the Jack Russell Terrier, before and after his DogWatch Hidden Fence Garden Loop

If you already have a DogWatch Hidden Fence and want to block off an area of your yard for a new garden, contact your local DogWatch Dealer. He or she will go through the best option for your yard, be it adjusting your existing wire to add a “garden loop” or installing a Groundskeeper system, which can be turned “on” and “off” should you wish to allow dog supervised access to the area.

3. Stop the Digging!

A lot of dogs love to dig, which can be nightmare for avid gardeners and those who like their lawns pristine. If your dog is a digger, the first thing to do is to try to figure out why the dog is digging. Is he looking for a cool spot to chill out when it is hot? If so, you may want to create a cool sanctuary in a spot where he cannot dig. When it is hot out, leave plenty of drinking water for him or perhaps even a shallow kiddie pool in the shade where he can cool-off (better wet than holes under the flower bushes!)

Ralphy the Corgi who loves to digIs she trying to get at critters that may be just beneath the surface of the yard (moles, chipmunks, etc)? If so, then the critters need to go. For that, you may need to consider using live traps or a pest removal service. Or is he just bored? If so, then he may need more exercise, new toys, or a playmate to share the yard. Digging may just be part of what your dog does with his excess energy. More walks, runs, or trips to the dog park can work wonders with certain unwanted behaviors, including digging.

Some dogs are by nature tenacious diggers, and will require training to reduce this problem behavior. DogWatch Dealers can help you with this issue as well – ask them about the BigLeash Remote Trainer, and how it can help distract your dog from digging and discourage the behavior. For more tips on how to stop your dog from digging, check out our recent blog post on the subject.

4. Watch Out for Chemicals in Lawn Treatments

Jack loves the freedom he has to play in his yard thanks to his DogWatch Hidden FenceFinally, it is important that dog owners also keep their lawns pet-friendly. As inviting and innocuous as they seem, lawns require maintenance that can create health hazards for your pet. Lawns that have been treated with nitrogen-rich fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are unhealthy for your pets, as are such things as slug and snail bait. When walking in public parks with your dog, keep an eye out for cocoa mulch or toxic plants. Always walk your dog on a leash in public areas and avoid formal, manicured lawns that are likely to have been treated with a blend of chemicals.

We hope these tips will help you cultivate a beautiful garden AND raise a happy, healthy dog. Now get out there and enjoy Spring – you’ve earned it!

Image Credit, second from bottom: “Digging is one of Ralphy’s favorite things to do” by Shawn Kirton is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

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Posted in Challenges, Dog Behaviors, Gardening

Co-Branding: Adding a New Brand as an Expansion Strategy

Recently, we highlighted successful “Copreneurs” – couples who work together as DogWatch Dealers. The DogWatch Dealer team also includes many businesses that have added DogWatch Hidden Fences as part of a “co-branding” expansion strategy.

Co-Branding

DogWatch dogsIn an article for Entrepreneur magazine, Jeff Elgin notes that the traditional methods of business expansion (e.g., selling more to the same customers, expanding geographically) are being supplanted by what he refers to as Synergistic Expansion. Elgin defines this as leveraging a business’ existing infrastructure, customers and staff to support growth that, “though not directly related to the current business….has some synergies.”

In a 2009 article Grow Your Business by Addition with Co-Branding, published by the US Business Journal, entrepreneur Todd Beckman refers to this type of expansion as co-branding. Beckman goes on to say:

“The key to successful brand add-ons is compatibility in both concept and operations. If you currently have a business, adding a new brand with compatible products and services allows you to increase the revenue you are currently receiving from your existing customers even as you increase your customer base through the attraction of the new brand.”

Outdoor Recreation Retailers

Dog on swing setOne successful example of DogWatch Dealer co-branding can be found among outdoor recreational retailers. Two such companies, Backyard Playworld in Omaha, Nebraska and Adventures Outback in Austin, Texas actively promote & install DogWatch Hidden Fences in addition to marketing residential and commercial playgrounds, basketball hoops and trampolines.

Jon Simons of Backyard Playworld, who also does business as DogWatch of Omaha, reports that his play set customers routinely inquire about and purchase DogWatch Hidden Fences. Conversely, pet-owners with a DogWatch fence often come back to purchase recreation products.

Tim Carter, owner of Adventures Outback and DogWatch of Austin-San Antonio puts it this way: “I’m already in the customer’s backyard for recreational installations. If a dog comes running out the door, I’ve just found another DogWatch customer!” Jon and Tim both maintain separate websites for their outdoor recreation and dog fence businesses. Both sites display prominent links to the other complimentary business.

Dog Boarding and Dog Training Businesses

Todd Vande Noord of DogWatch by Dog Pro KennelsOther dog-related businesses can also benefit from co-branding with DogWatch. Todd Vande Noord, operator of Dog Pro Kennels in De Soto, Iowa, has run a successful dog boarding and training business since 2001, and added DogWatch Hidden Fences to his service offerings in 2013. After learning more about DogWatch’s products and speaking with fellow kennel owner and Iowa DogWatch Dealer Rick Edington of DogWatch by Critter Camp, Todd decided that DogWatch was great way to extend his business and further serve his customers. He feels that his dog training experience is a selling point for his DogWatch customers, lending him credibility and helping make customers unfamiliar with hidden or “invisible” fences more comfortable when making the purchase and beginning the training process.

DogWatch has Dealership opportunities available in many markets that would make a great addition to an outdoor recreation retailer, dog boarding business, dog training business and many other businesses. Boise, Idaho; Evansville, Indiana; Reno-Tahoe, Nevada and Little Rock, Arkansas are a just few of the places where we’re looking for Dealers. A complete list of available markets can be viewed at http://www.dogwatch.com/become-a-dealer/become-a-dealer-overview

For more information on co-branding with DogWatch, contact Dennis Manitsas at 800-793-3436 extension 618 or dennis.manitsas@dogwatch.com.

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Posted in DogWatch Dealer Chat