Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Canine Education -- Good for Dogs and Humans

Why You Should Go to School With Your Dog

By Jean Card

Like many dog lovers, I once believed that love conquers all – that simply caring for my dog would lead us through any behavioral challenges.

 Then I got a dog.

 I was fortunate enough, at the time, to have a neighbor and friend who was a veterinarian and dog behavior guru – the owner of three champion Laikas with enough ribbons and trophies to fill a wall of bookshelves in her house!

My friend was more than willing to share her knowledge of what it really takes to have a great, well-behaved dog (instead of the incessantly barking, jumping, leash-biting, leash-pulling, yowling 10-month-old shelter puppy name Daisy that I had on my hands … without the first clue of what to do other than feed, pet and love her!).

From my veterinarian friend, I learned the basic value of things like crating, daily long walks and always rewarding positive behavior (“always carry treats!” she told me).

 My friend also taught me the importance of enrolling in actual training classes with my dog – something I now recommend to every dog owner I know.
Daisy and I have been through basic obedience twice – once at Pet Smart and once at Woofs in Arlington, Virginia – and have recently graduated to more intermediate skills in a Woofs tricks class last fall.

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With each class we take, the bond between us deepens and my ability to lead Daisy into the most desirable behavior is increased exponentially.

Here is just one example of what I’ve learned in class that I would never have known otherwise:

The most basic positive dog behavior – the foundation for all others – is voluntary attention and eye contact from your dog. This simple act of the dog looking at you and holding your gaze is something that should be rewarded with a yummy, tiny treat, over and over and over. Our work on this basic skill means that when we’re out on a dog walk and encounter an exciting situation (like a jumping, barking or lunging dog), I am more likely to be able to engage Daisy’s attention on ME and move past the situation without escalation.

Because of what we’ve learned in class (and practiced on walks and at home), Daisy and I are now ready to do even more fun things together – we’ll be taking an agility class soon, and we will continue to work on the skills needed to earn her Canine Good Citizen certification this year, qualifying her to be a therapy dog at local hospitals.
Going to school with your dog is the responsible thing to do, but it is also the most fun thing you can do as a dog owner and dog lover. For me, it has meant learning more about my favorite topic (Daisy and dogs!) and deepening my bond with my best canine friend.

Jean Card is a writer and dog lover living in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband Noel Card, their dog Daisy Sue, and their two cats, Ricky and Lucy.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Nepalese Tradition Comes to a Dog-Loving U.S. Neighborhood

A Nepalese Tradition Comes to a Dog-Loving U.S. Neighborhood

By Leslie Duss

When photos of adorable dogs in Nepal decked in marigold garlands appeared in the news earlier this year, we thought it would be great to do something similar in our very dog-friendly neighborhood of Del Ray in Alexandria, VA.   After all, Del Ray is a haven for dogs. We imagined a parade of Del Ray dogs through town.

Earlier this fall, we honored Del Ray dogs in the Nepalese tradition called Kukur Tihar or Kukur Puja, the worship of dogs.

While in the initial planning phase for the event, our friends at doggiewalker.com referred us to neighbor and dog lover Susan Walke. Susan lived in Nepal and participated in Kurkur Tihar so she had first-hand knowledge about how it works and strong ties to the local Nepalese community in our area.

Several Nepalese community leaders celebrated with us and even donated all the marigold garlands that adorned each dog.

We met a small  “Pocket Park”, where the dogs had a chance to meet and sniff each other – and owners could chat.

We set up the marigold garlands according to size.

Mrs. Bandita Sharma Dahal spoke to everyone for a few minutes, telling us about the ritual we were about to perform. She said that dogs are honored as protectors of the home and also the messengers of Lord Yamaraj, the God of Death. Dogs are worshiped each year for Kukur Tihar and offered garlands, tika (the red powder) and special treats.

We decorated the forehead of each dog with colored powder (tika) as we presented them with their own marigold garland.

The group the paraded through our neighborhood.

Stopping for rests and water breaks along the way…

Finally making it to the local dog park

After all that walking and socializing, the dogs were ready for a nap!

Not only was this a fun event for everyone, we raised $540 for Nepal. The funds will be used to purchase a new set of clothing for 40 orphans in a town about an hour from Kathmandu. The Rotary Club will also prepare a special festival meal (for the Nepali festival of Dashain) for the children when they take them the clothes.

This post originally appeared in DIYDelRay.com.  For more information on how you can celebrate your dog and assist the Nepali community, please contact info@diydelray.com or leave a comment for PawsGo.

Here is more information on the festival -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tihar_(festival)


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Selecting Your New Puppy -- Just Get the Cute One, Right?


 Recently, my family welcomed a new puppy into our home. Over winter, our two senior dogs passed away, and our current dog really missed having a housemate. We had a lot to consider before bringing home a new puppy. We already have an established routine with children, and our current dog, Bruce, a two-year-old Mountain Cur/Boxer mix. Not only am I a stay at home mother of four young children, I am a dog trainer, and I also raise SDIT (service dog in training) puppies for BFF Dog Training LLC. Once the service dog puppies have learned basic obedience with me, they go on to the awesomely dedicated service dog trainer, to be trained to behave as Diabetes Alert Dogs (DAD's). All of these are some very important jobs that I do not take lightly, and it was very important to me to make sure we made the right decision when it came to inviting the right new puppy into our lives.

 We can all guess some of the basic considerations such as time, money, housing and training. There's a couple of other things that people either don't give much thought to, or don't consider at all. What breed of dog would fit best in our household? Do I just want that specific breed because it looks cool, or because it would be the best match with my lifestyle? Where should I get my dog from? What are my goals for my dog? Do I want a couch potato, a workout buddy, a sidekick that travels everywhere with me or a dog to perform in competitions?
I'll bring you back to my situation as an example. I am a big fan of Australian Shepherds. That's not to say that I do not like other breeds, quite the opposite. I love so many different types of dogs and I'm a huge fan of mutts. However, I'm not an animal hoarder. I feel it's important to decide what specific breed has the most qualities, and traits that work best for me and my family. Keep in mind I have an eighty pound mixed breed, Bruce, that we adopted from the shelter. He's handsome, and awesome, but he's a naturally fearful dog. I've done a ton of confidence building and training with him which has made him a wonderful family dog. Knowing his strengths, and weaknesses, has helped me decided what I was looking for in his perfect housemate. I wanted a dog that would mature to be about 50-60 pounds. A female dog, to compliment him, since he's a male, and also for any other dogs that we would work with. (Sometimes I come across dogs that need help overcoming their issues with males, or female dogs.) A dog, that has a natural confidence, and drive, to balance out his lack of confidence, while not being intimidated by his stature. A dog that would rather stick with her pack, than follow her nose on a game trail. I wanted a dog that would be a best friend to everyone in my household, and help socialize the little puppies I raise. Aussie's are amazing because, they look soft, and friendly but can be fierce enough to take on cattle. Strategic, smart, agile, loyal and confident. That's what I was looking for.


I also wanted a dog that came from a reputable breeder. I love rescues, and will always have a rescue dog, but I also love reputable breeders. Breeders that want to ensure the quality of the dog, verses the looks and quantity for profit. Puppy mills are everywhere, and disguise themselves as innocent ads on Craigslist, Facebook, and in pet stores. When looking for a breeder you really need to research them. I had a few breeders in mind before my need for a new puppy came around, and by the time I was actually looking I had already done enough research to narrow it down to the very best one for me. That was over a period of years. Yeah, I'm a bit of a planner. ;)

As a dog trainer, I come across a lot of people that bought a puppy on a whim. They see a Cane Corso puppy, and they fall in love. Who wouldn't? They are adorable. But, they are a large guarding breed. They definitely need training, but beyond that they need a job. If you don't give them a job, they will be protecting your couch from your house guests which equals big trouble. Or the people that see the movie "Max", and fall in love with the Belgian Malinois. They are an amazing breed, but that doesn't mean they are a great fit for the average household. There's a reason their nickname is "Maligator". They were bred to use those chompers. How about Yorkshire Terriers? Sure, they small and super cute. I haven't met one yet that didn't have some major behavioral problems. It's a combination of people treating them like they are human babies, or toys, and bad breeding. Pocket pooches are a fan favorite of puppy mills. People love carrying their dogs in designer bags, and don't mind paying thousands for poorly bred, little dogs. You can look at any breed, and make generalizations about them which is why it's important to research your breed of choice, and research your breeder. What is the quality of the puppy they are turning out? 

Humans breed dogs in order to achieve or maintain specific characteristic traits. These traits go beyond appearance. They include things like prey drive, heightened sense of smell, endurance, amicability, resilience, confidence, speed, intensity, aggression, health, etc. There are even differences in a specific breed based on where they are from regionally. All of that happens because of breeding, and the lineage. When looking at a specific breed make sure to take into account what potential health problems could arise, and what level of training will be needed. Every dog is an individual, and they don't always carry every trait known to that breed but it's best to make sure to do your homework so no surprises arise. Adopting dogs from shelters, and rescues means you generally have no idea about the genetic make up. That doesn't mean that they are bad dogs. Most of my best dogs were adopted, and mixed breeds. Many shelters, and rescues do a wonderful job assessing the dog's personality, and behavior before making them available for adoption. When you are looking for a new dog don't get pressured by other people's beliefs. You have to find the right balance, and right fit for your existing household. Just make sure to really think about it before making the leap. Dogs are not disposable, you should be the forever home for your newly acquired dog.
Sarah Mahrle-Thomas owns Strive Balanced Dog Training in Oshkosh, WI. She and her husband have four young children and two family dogs -- Bruce and Ohana.
Is there a subject you're passionate about?  Send us your blog entry.  Email us at kaj2600@gmail.com, like us on facebook @pawsgo, send us a tweet @mypawsgo, or leave us a comment here!  We'd love to hear from you and share your passion!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

PawsGo to Mount Vernon for a Dog's View of History


On a hot June morning, Boomer and I joined the All the President’s Pups tour of Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.  While Mount Vernon is dog-friendly – dogs are welcome everywhere BUT the mansion, we took a special walking tour that’s a great combination of history and canine trivia.

We met our guide Maria, and 5 other history loving pups, at the estate’s Bowling Green Gate – with the mansion in the distance behind us, we embarked on a 1.25 mile walk along the original carriage route.

Hydrating pre-walk
As we walked, Maria explained that the Father of our Country was a tremendous animal lover – especially dogs.  Records show that Washington had numerous dogs representing every “classification” – hunting, herding, guard, coach, house, etc – each with a very specific job.

Our first stop on the tour was a visit to Mount Vernon’s sheep – a flock of rare Hog Island sheep charged the fence, excited to see the dogs.  http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/farming/the-animals-of-mount-vernon/  Maria explained that the sheep were actually fond of people and attention, our half a dozen canines fit the bill. The dogs didn’t quite know what to do about the sheep – but appeared to be equally interested.
Devi Meets the Sheep of Mount Vernon

Along the route Maria told us that Washington was so fond of his granddaughter Nelly and her “house” dog (probably a Caviler King Charles Spaniel) that he bought a special decorative collar for the dog at the cost of $1 – a significant amount in the 1700s.

Washington loved his dogs and he was creative in their naming – including, Drunkard, Mopsey, Taster, Cloe, Tipsy, Tipler, Forester, Captain, Lady Rover, Vulcan, Sweetlips, and Searcher.

Hunting was THE sport in Washington’s time.  He had plenty of hounds to assist in the hunt.  A man of incredible intellect, interests and curiosity, Washington eventually set out to breed the quintessential hunting  dog -- “a superior dog, one that had speed, sense and brains.”   In the mid-1780s, Washington’s friend, the Marquis de Lafayette, sent him seven huge hounds from France.  Washington bred these French hounds with the standard black and tan hunting dogs and created what Washington called the Virginia hound, which we know today as the American Fox Hound.  So, not only is he the father of our country – Washington is the father of the American Fox Hound!

Following the original carriage route on our 1.25 mile walk
Following the tour, we wandered around Mount Vernon.  Lots of attention from visitors and Mount Vernon Staff. 
There were plenty of water bowls set out for dogs, but were we glad we brought our own – there is no water provided during the walk.

The All the President’s Pups tour started at 10:00 a.m., and took about 90 minutes.  It’s a leisurely walk with lots of stops.  The tour is held in the spring and fall.  Humans pay the full price of admission and dog tickets cost $5 each. http://www.mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/buy-tickets/all-the-presidents-pups-walking-tour/
Beckett tired out from her tour
A great photo opportunity!

With the exception of the mansion, dogs are welcome throughout Mt Vernon

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Keller: Speaking up for those who cannot

I met my friend Amanda at an Aussie Meetup out about a year ago.  She had the cutest and happiest dog – Keller.  Keller was oozing with personality.  Still in her puppy phase, I watched her romping around with the other dogs, having a blast, but always circle back to Amanda.  It was clear that Keller was a smart dog.  Our Meetup was at an indoor agility course and there was nothing that Keller could not do – she was literally jumping through hoops and bouncing over bridges, not an ounce of apprehension.

 Keller was as beautiful as she was smart – all white with little pops of color and THE sweetest face.  I was shocked when Amanda told me that Keller was deaf and had limited vision – you never would have guessed by watching her.

Sweet and active Keller is a double merle Aussie – it’s the result of breeding two merles.  Truthfully, it’s the result of ignorance.  Having had Aussies, I was familiar with the term – but it is a term also associated with Boxers, Great Danes, Shelties, any number of breeds. Puppies from merle to merle breeding have a 25% chance of being born deaf and/or blind.

Keller as a puppy, could you resist her?
Our dog Boomer, has unusual markings for an Aussie - he has a white head.  His markings are NOT the result of bad breeding, but I am often asked if he is deaf – he is not.

Amanda already had an Aussie named Kai, when like many of us, she was scrolling through Facebook and saw a picture of what she thought was cutest little puppy.  The puppy was searching for a home. The pup was a double merle.  She had been rescued from the breeder because the breeder who was responsible for her and created her disabilities was going to destroy her.

Unable to get this puppy out of her head – Amanda called and emailed the rescue group and learned that the puppy has deaf and possibly blind.  As nervous as she was, saving this puppy trumped any apprehension.  Soon, she and Kai were in the car making the two hour drive to pick up their newest family member.

Amanda, a vet tech, says owning a dog with "disabilities" is no different than owning her perfectly "normal" dog.   She says she is not sure when or how a stigma came to be around deaf or blind dogs, but they make wonderful pets.

Keller is testament that any dog can make a great pet if you give it love and train it to be what you want. Yes, Keller is deaf, and yes she is vision impaired, but that doesn't stop her from doing a single thing. Keller has completed 4 agility classes and an obedience class.   Keller swims, she hikes, she loves everything that any other dog loves.  Keller just does receives her information a little differently.  Amanda’s commands are all through hand and touch signals – rather than voice. Keller knows, sit, down, stay, come, spin, paw, drop it, crate and stand. She truly is a great example that dogs are capable of anything.

If Keller is the canine example that anything is possible through love and patience, Amanda is the human example that anything is possible through love and determination.

With Keller as her example, Amanda has set out to erase the stigma of deaf and blind dogs AND to educate the dog world on the dangers of merle to merle breeding – and eradicate the practice.

Harnessing the power of social media, Amanda  has a Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/Kellerthedm  where she can share the normality and some challenges of her double merle darling.  For instance, Keller’s regular eye exams are the source of understandable anxiety, we were all relieved when Keller’s exam yielded good news!  Amanda also recently launched an online campaign to make Keller Modern Dog Magazine’s cover girl  -- she placed in the top 10, a great platform to educate the dog public on double merles.

Amanda also created a website where the owners of double merle dogs can share their beautiful pups and dog lovers can learn more about these special dogs -- http://www.doublemerles.info/what-is-a-double-merle--1.html

 She is asking that the AKC ban the registration of a dog from merle to merle breeding. Arguing that it is an unethical breeding practice and should be banned as it has been in other countries – notably the UK in 2012.

Incredibly, Amanda is frequently attacked by those who choose to ignore science (and middle school biology) for her outspoken advocacy in support of her dog and the countless others who aren’t as lucky as Keller.

If you are moved by Keller’s story and Amanda’s determination, please take a moment to sign the petition and if you’re on Facebook check out Keller’s page.  Finally, if there is room in your home and your heart is open to it – consider adopting a dog as special as Keller.

We herd there would be ribbons! City dogs meet the sheep, and this time it counted!

2 year old Cassie proudly displays her two ribbons
One of our Aussie meetup group’s (Alexandria Aussies on meetup.com) favorite outings is sheep herding.  Over the past several months, we have visited two farms in Virginia, each about an hour outside of Washington, D.C. for this adventure. Our first outing was for a member’s “Barkday” party on a freezing Saturday morning about a year ago.  The second was at Dawgwood Farm where we took part in their “Herding Fun Day” last fall.

For our third outing, we headed back to Dawgwood Farm www.dawgwoodfarm.com in Goldvein, VA for a day of herding evaluations and this time – it was going to count, there would be ribbons!
We herd you were coming

Wink Mason, the owner of Dawgwood Farm was also hosting a trial of the American Herding Breed Association (AHBA), so any of our amateur dogs that passed his evaluation would be invited to compete in the first level of the AHBA competition.

Nearly 20 dogs from our meetup group made the trip.  The moment we arrived at the farm, the sheep induced excitement was evident.  Whimpering, barking and nervous energy was quickly diffused with play.   A fenced in area – complete with a pond, became the dogs’ play area, while they waited for their turn in the ring.  The dogs had some much fun running and swimming that they almost forgot about the sheep.

From novice puppies, Divi was the youngest at 12 weeks, to more mature second and third time herders – Boomer was in this group, Wink took each dog (and its owner) into the ring for an evaluation and instruction.  While Wink instructed the owner, he watched as the dog reacted to the owner, the sheep and verbal commands.
Mystic takes the ring

There is something incredibly beautiful and gratifying when watching your dog do what he was bred to do – and enjoy it.  Watching the dogs, you could tell how smart, confident, graceful and athletic they are.  Looking at Boomer listen to Kirk while keeping is full attention on the sheep, his intelligence was evident – he’s a great multi-tasker!  It’s as if he was signaling back – “Yeah, I got it.”

The dogs in our meetup group are primarily suburban or city dogs.  A handful compete in shows and obedience – but the majority are well-loved pets with devoted owners.  Seeing their instincts kick in is nothing short of amazing.
Maci passes the evaluation and receives a ribbon from Wink

Dogs that passed Wink’s evaluation were handed a ribbon (YEA) and an invitation to compete at the next level through AHBA.  Olive, Sinbad, Boomer and Cassie chose to compete.  Olive and her owner drew the first spot – giving the other owners the advantage of watching.  Unlike Wink’s evaluation, no leashes were used in this AHBA round – it was all about the owner, the dog and the sheep.

All four dogs passed and racked up their second ribbon of the day.  I was listening to the judges as they were evaluating Boomer’s performance and heard one of them say, “you can’t get better than that”.  It was with incredible pride that I congratulated Boomer and Kirk when they exited the ring!  Not bad for a city dog!  Now, what to do with his ribbons…….

Stryder enjoyed a day of play and herding!

Want to show your love of Aussies?  Purchase this great shirt from PawsGo -- www.pawsgo.com.  Shirts are $20 and half goes directly to Aussie rescue!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Really? When?

Spring is starting to spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the calendar calls the first day of spring March 20, when looking out my window here in Western New York, the amount of snow on the ground coupled with temperatures diving below freezing at night make the impending warmth still feel a bit far away. My family and especially my dog, Juno, are eager for it. It's been a challenging winter to say the least.

Our dog loves the snow (and rain, and sun...she's weird like that). But even she had limited tolerance for the sub-zero temps. When it was "warm" (in the 20s), we would walk as usual, all bundled up. But when the wind chill was well into the negative teens and twenties (or, the few times the temperature was physically there), Juno would simply be let out into our small yard for her business. She would enjoy some romps in the snow, but if it was too cold, even she would just go out and run back in. 

 One of the biggest challenges for dogs (and their owners) in winter is protecting them in the cold. Some pet owners use jackets to help keep their dogs warm, although we don't (mostly because it's more of a struggle to get Juno into one). 

 For us, the ice, snow and salt buildup in our dog's pads were the biggest concern. So we have tried a few things this year to help keep her paws from injury: 

Musher's Secret (http://amzn.to/1GkzODD) is a paste/lotion that's a bit thicker than vaseline meant for rubbing onto a pet's paws and in between the pads before heading outside. This unfortunately didn't work for Juno simply because she wasn't going to wait for me to apply it before heading out. But it may be for you and your pet.

It's good in cold and hot weather

Booties. As ridiculous as Juno acted after first having her Ultra Paws (http://amzn.to/1NBoybm) put on, she actually seemed to enjoy having them. She was quick to adjust to the booties, and although we would occasionally need to put them back on mid-walk or re-adjust them on her feet, they did the trick for us to keep the salt from between her pads.
The super-cold weather this winter also meant we needed to find ways to keep our girl active with shortened walks. For us, it meant taking Juno to doggie day care more often (http://dogdaysofbuffalo.com/) for some extra canine interaction. She is not a very active dog, but having a chance to hang out and play with other dogs in the depths of winter was a great release (and help prevented a grumpy dog begging us for more attention every few minutes).
Finally, as Juno is also an aspiring therapy dog, so we enrolled in classes this winter (also at Dog Days) to have another set of "tasks" to practice as well as having a place to go one evening a week. Juno really enjoyed the interaction with people other than us, and the chance to get out reliably was a benefit for us, too!

 As we gain more warmth in the coming weeks, the challenge will turn from salt and ice to mud and muck, so now we will focus on the best ways to keep Juno’s muddy paws from tracking all over the house with an arsenal of washcloths, towels and quick clean ups of the floor!

 What do you use to protect your pet’s paws during harsh conditions? We’d love to hear it in the comments!  Send them through our comments, our through our Facebook page!

MJ Courchesne is a freelance publishing consultant, writer, and part-time personal trainer with a passion for gardening, walking, wine, and travel. She lives in a restored 1890s Victorian home situated in the heart of Buffalo, NY with her husband and lab mix, Juno. Her new blog can be found at http://nickelcityboomerang.blogspot.com/.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

PawsGo Baking Healthy Treats for Your Dog

The holidays are upon us, so don't forget your best friend!  What better way to treat your dog than with homemade treats?  And what a thoughtful gift for the dogs of your friends, co-workers and neighbors!  Making your own dog treats is easy, inexpensive and fun!  Do it on your own, or make it a party like we did!

My dogs love treats, and truthfully, I give them more than I should.  Treats are rewards, treats are expected, and treats can quickly diffuse an annoying situation.  Treats are a part of our day.  But are treats healthy?  Maybe, but probably not in the volume that my dogs coerce me into giving them. And, they get expensive.

So, PawsGo set out to create healthy treats that we could make at home.  With the help of Kari Faherty, of True Health and Wholeness
http://true-hw.com/ in Arlington, Virginia, we hosted a dog treat cooking class (party). The idea was to create treats to share with dogs and their friends.

Kari developed two very easy recipes.  One with peanut butter, the other with parsley (because who can't use a little breath freshener).  All ingredients were found at our local grocery story and cost $11.73 -- what a deal!  The end result can be consumed by both humans and dogs.  All ingredients and steps are outlined below -- thank you Kari!  (and yes, we served wine)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


Breath Freshener



õ  1 Banana

õ  3 tablespoons peanut butter

õ  1 egg

õ  1 cup oat flour

õ  2/3 cup rolled oats

õ  1 - 1½ cup chopped fresh parsley and/or mint



1.     In a large bowl, mash the banana

2.     Add the peanut butter and egg.

3.     Add the oat flour and rolled oats.  Allow the dough to sit.

4.     While the dough is sitting, finely chop the parsley.


Peanut Butter Flax



õ  1 Banana

õ  3-5 tablespoons peanut butter

õ  1 egg

õ  1 cup oat flour

õ  2/3 cup rolled oats

õ  ½ cup flax meal (plus more, if needed)




1.     In a large bowl, mash the banana

2.     Add the peanut butter and egg.

3.     Add the oat flour and rolled oats.  Allow the dough to sit.

4.     Add the flax, enough to make the dough moldable.

peanut butter base

grinding oats for oat flour

chopping parsley

5.     Divide the dough into 24 balls, then press them flat into disks.

6.     Lay the disks on the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the desired texture.


Notes on Baking and Storage:


õ  If your dog prefers soft treats, bake the treats a shorter time.  For crisp treats, bake the treats longer.

õ  If your dog is small, make smaller disks.  Smaller disk will need less baking time.

õ  Softer treats will spoil faster than crisp treats.  To extend the shelf life of the treats, no matter how they are prepared, keep them in an airtight container.  Keeping the treats in the fridge will extend the shelf life even longer.

õ  If your dog eats treats quickly, you can make a whole batch and store the treats in an airtight container at room temperature.  

õ  If your dog eats treats slowly, you can make a half batch, or freeze the treats after baking.  Just make sure they are thawed before giving them to your dog.
The finished product
Even the cat liked them!

Our final product, ready for gift giving.  We'll be ready for next Christmas!