Week 12 and 13 : Time of Goodbyes and Protocols Of ” A Big Boy In A Big World”

Derby’s First Days Without His Brothers

Our babies started a new life they have been preparing for! One by one the boys left to continue adventures with their loving new owners (more on that in another post). All except Derby.

Potty Training

Derby continues learning to be a perfectly behaved pet. His potty training is going fantastic. We had no single mistake in 6 days!!! The key is a schedule that sets Derby up for success. He sleeps in his crate overnight and waits relaxed and quiet when I walk into the dog room to let him out in the morning at exactly the same time.

DSC_6147As soon as he gets outside he pees and then I let him walk around and sniff as much and as long as he wants. Because he loves playing in the yard I would not bring him back home right after relieving his bladder, as this might create an association of his fun time being cut short right after he pees. I want the potty business to happen immediately and not being impeded by any other concerns.

Exactly one hour after breakfast we go out again and this time our potty outing includes a bathroom need number 1 and 2. Again, I do not rush back after the “business” is done, and this way Derby has no reason to hold off relieving himself in anticipation of an outing coming to an end. Once we return I set my phone timer for exactly 2 hours. The phone aids my faulty memory in keeping exact time for another potty break. At this point Derby’s little bladder is never expected to hold longer than 2 hours. In practical terms it means that Derby goes to work with me, and if I ever need to go out in the evening he is left home with someone to let him out every 2 hours, and one hour after a meal.

The way a behavioral pattern in formed is a behavior being repeated. First, a small neural connection is formed, but with repetitions the connection becomes a pathway, and eventually a neural “highway”. That is one side of forming a desired behavioral pattern of going potty outside: repetitions of success of going potty in the desired place. The other side of the process is to NOT form any memory for bladder relief inside the house. A single mistake avoided is an undesirable pattern not given a chance to form a neural pathway. Prevention of undesired behavior is as important as repetitions of desired behavior. Like in everything else in the very young dog’s life, smart environment management is crucial.

I should also add that for potty training I use verbal praise and petting only, no treats. Many canine behaviorists caution against food rewards used during potty training as this might create a pattern of asking for a potty break not when really needed but to earn a treat.

“Working” Terrier

Derby riding to work

Derby rides in the doggy car seat to work with me,  happily! Once we park he walks on a loose leash, even on streets new to him, over metal grates, with cars and trucks passing by, people walking, large dogs approaching, a train going by a block away. Loose leash training is an important aspect of getting ready for life of good communication between us. Here is a short video of Derby’s beautiful loose leash walking and not hesitating going over a large metal grate (years ago my first Norwich would always pancake in front of any metal grate).

Training loose leash walking of a 12-week old puppy takes literally minutes. Allowing for a bad behavior of leash pulling to form and then re-teaching loose leash walking can take weeks. Not addressing this important skill will cost a lot more than a few minutes devoted to it when training is a breeze between week 10 and 14 in puppy’s life. To communicate effectively what is expected of the puppy, as with all other behaviors, setting for success is the ticket. A few key points are:

  • Put aside time to do leash training. When you truly need to get someplace and you walk a puppy on leash without previous training, you are making a mistake of allowing inevitable pulling, and therefore forming that bad pattern.
  • Never allow any tension to be felt while on leash. Grab the leash 2-3 feet from the puppy and let it gently slip through your fingers as the puppy walks ahead of you and call the puppy towards you whenever he gets close to the end of the leash. If the puppy does not come to you immediately when called, go back to recall training. Solid recall should be taught before training leash walking.
  • Reward loose leash walking. Praise is enough for my dogs but some puppies form better understanding when rewarded with treats. Never lure a puppy with a treat though, as this takes his attention away from learning leash walking.

Once Derby gets into my office his setup is similar to the one he’s familiar with at our home. His “space” is a x-pen with a crate, toys, water bowl, chews. He can observe the world from the safety of his space and he has everything there to occupy himself. He also knows that he never needs to demand attention because he is always getting plenty of it organically throughout the day. When he wants to ask for something he automatically is “manding”, which to any observer just looks like a puppy sitting politely.

If you followed this blog and you thought how crazy it was to devote the time I did teaching my puppies various age-specific protocols, let me assure you the dividends I’m claiming now make all the effort of puppy protocols seem so minimal in comparison. I have a potty trained 13 week old pup that I can trust to take to work and know that he will be a perfectly behaved angel the entire time. He will be all energy when I direct my attention on him and engage him, but will be all relaxed when I’m occupied with something else.

Derby in the office

Fun and Games

We continue doing “fun” things too, whatever comes to mind. Sometimes it’s a behavior that might come in handy, sometimes it’s just something silly and only to have fun communicating with each other. Today I put an empty sleeve of an iPad on the floor and used a clicker to communicate to Derby that I wanted him to sit on it. He got it within seconds. It was very cool to be able to put the sleeve anywhere and Derby would run there to sit on it, even with distractions, and with my other dogs milling about. Who knows, this might come in handy one day. For now, what fun getting Derby to look up at me with one ear up, cute butt on an iPad sleeve!



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Can You Teach a Puppy To Avoid Future Conflicts? You Bet!

Week 11 in puppies’ lives started with a birth of another litter slightly before the due date, altering our schedule of games and challenging the puppies to accept longer breaks between activities. Their reactions exceeded all my expectations. They are such good puppies! Their attention and desire to explore new games was fantastic. Just check out those sweet attentive faces directed at me the second I address them.

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With limited time I decided to still go through the new protocols I had planned and it turned out to be the best way to mentally stimulate and at the same time tire the puppies for long rests in between.

With all the foundation they have received so far they breezed through new protocols, slept like angels in their crates between outings, and showed a stellar understanding of when it was appropriate to be crazy rambunctious and when to slow down and chill.

It didn’t seem like there was any work on my part, but rather welcome, delicious breaks to be with them. I will describe here only some of our protocols.

Let’s All Be Friends

The biggest challenge I have faced in regards to living with multiple Norwich terriers had to do with jealousy between each other when vying for my attention, to the point of two girls being so aggressively jealous of each other that they could not be in the same room. They meant each other harm. Those painful experiences and my failure to avoid such chronic conflict was the genesis of this protocol. I used it in the last 5 years or so with great success.

DSC_6093The biggest trigger to being possessive about me is being held on my lap, which in technical terms is called “resource guarding”. My lap is the resource and the dog sitting on it guards it against others by growling and snapping (with associated negative emotions). My terriers are never food or toy aggressive, but some used to exhibit a strong resource guarding of my lap.

DSC_6098Do you remember Pavlov’s bell? Well, I use this principle to have my puppy associate other dogs approaching us (while he’s on my lap) the way Pavlov’s dogs associated a bell. I sit down on the grass, or on a floor indoors, and place a puppy on my lap when other puppies are a slight distance away. Of course the other puppies immediately want to get to me and climb on my lap as well. As soon as they get close the puppy on my lap gets high value food shoved in its mouth before it gets any time to protest arrival of his brothers.

DSC_6079 (2) This gets repeated throughout the day, day after day, with each puppy. I then vary the distance from other puppies, and again the moment they get close the puppy on my lap gets rewarded. This exercise creates what in dog training is called CER (conditioned emotional response). This conditioning creates involuntary response in a puppy when someone is approaching us while he is on my lap.  The puppy is responding with pleasure. The involuntary and emotional aspect of the association makes it rock solid.

All science.

Canine Social Skills

DSC_6132This impressionable time in puppies’ lives (week 11) matters a lot in acquiring proper canine social skills. They learn bite inhibition, learn to modulate intensity of their roughhousing, to read other dogs’ body language, to invite play and respond appropriately, to exercise their inbred instinct (for terriers it means rodent hunting) and yes some doggy behaviors we don’t love, like rolling in stinky stuff.

The best role model is always the mother. Beanie’s particular brand of maternal education reflects why we call her our tomboy.

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Yes, that photo on the left above is a mother body slamming a puppy while another puppy is running for cover. I swear she loves them.

Lessons In Being A Terrier

When the adult dogs are actively tracking rodents I am not taking any chances in that highly charged situation and let the puppies observe only from a safety of an x-pen.

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As for what they learn from their sire, well… rolling in stinky is high on his list of life skills.

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He might have whispered the instructions to Banzo earlier that day…

Alert and Stop

Another protocol that I developed as a reaction to something undesirable my adult dogs were doing was accepting the inevitable alert barking in a typically excitable terrier style  but then teaching a puppy to stop when I clap my hands.

I actually reward puppies for alert-barking (when I can see a clear reason for the alert, like someone walking on our street, which is not a common thing). I give them praise and acknowledge that I see what they are “talking about” and then I clap my hands and immediately reward the silence. Initially, the clap is startling enough that they stop to find out what it was. If marking the behavior (with a clicker or voice mark) is well timed, then the puppy got rewarded for stopping. Next, the time between the clap and a marker (following silence of course) gets increased bit by bit.

DSC_6001I grabbed the camera when someone was walking the street and I knew the pups would be alerting me but I was able to snap this shot only. Too bad I don’t have a photo of the puppy looking at me waiting for the reward after clapping. It’s a little difficult to clap and take photos. Here Banzo stopped barking and is now silently watching a passerby. Good boy, Banzo!


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Challenges of Puppies Born Prematurely

We Have Newborns!

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It is very rare for me to have two litters in one year, and we will not have more puppies for a while, but this turned out to be a summer of babies. Two days ago Moxie gave natural birth (not a given in our breed) to two girls and a boy.

The puppies were born 3 days before a due date, as calculated by pinpointing ovulation with LH and blood progesterone tests. Canine pregnancy is only 63 days from ovulation, exactly 9 weeks. Its length has nothing to do with mating date but only with ovulation. In other words, it is the life of an egg that times the pregnancy.

You can think of every week of dog’s pregnancy as translating to a month in human pregnancy. A birth three days early for a puppy does roughly correspond to a human baby born half a month early. The fact that I knew the exact due date was important in both preparing the environment and employing extra vigilance in caring for the newborns, with the understanding of all critical points for preemies.

You can see the typical signs of slight prematurity in the more lanky body shape and the lack of facial hair and lack of hair on paws, with patches of a bald smooth skin there.

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Challenges of The First Night

When you are dealing with preemies all the usual concerns for the newborns’ wellbeing get heightened, and there are additional concerns that have to do with readiness to live outside the womb. The lungs and GI tract tend to mature last. And then, there is a big concern over receiving colostrum within hours of birth. Sometimes when mothers give birth early they are not producing colostrum in time. Luckily, I could put two big check marks next to lungs being OK and colostrum flowing.

DSC_6021We had stellar first 12 hours, with puppies gaining considerable weight, which signifies receiving disease fighting colostrum. When you hear the term “maternal derived antibodies”, or MDAs, it means the antibodies received by a puppy through colostrum in the first hours of its life. MDAs are often misunderstood, even by experienced breeders, to come from mother’s milk when puppies are nursing, but that is only true for the first 24 hours of their life. After that mother’s milk is no longer delivering MDAs and the puppy’s intestine is no longer porous to receive the antibody proteins. When people express concern over vaccinating puppies that are still nursing, that is because they do not understand the  timing of MDA transfer.

DSC_6161Just as I was congratulating myself on puppy weight gain and things going well, the night brought the first challenge. In the middle of the night, in that “trouble hour” right around 3 AM, Moxie started acting restless. She was whining and shifting position constantly. When I saw her attempting to move puppies around, I suspected her blood calcium level to be low. She had been drinking Mother’s Pudding (something I described in detail in an earlier post) but apparently she needed more calcium. Confirming low blood calcium level at 3 AM would mean taking her to an emergency clinic, a scenario carrying more risk than benefit, so I acted on a presumption but took a  conservative approach and supplemented calcium orally with Health Powder added to Mother’s Pudding. Moxie settled very fast. Whew!DSC_6165

A New Night, A New Challenge

DSC_6045Day two of puppies life is when the colostrum high in protein and full of antibodies is no longer produced and the puppies start drinking fatty milk. For preemies fat can present a challenge and it did for this litter. Last night (why, oh why it always has to be the night?) two of the puppies developed diarrhea. They screamed in pain. Moxie was beside herself.

Again, in the middle of the night you work on the most likely assumption before taking the risks associated with taking preemies to an emergency clinic, a place they would most certainly be exposed to air borne pathogens.

DSC_6044I considered the facts. Only two out of three puppies had a problem, the two that had been gaining the most weight. It was right around the time when the fatty milk was replacing colostrum. I hoped to be right that the problem was their GI tract not being fully mature to deal with rich milk, and that it was not some infection. Again I took a conservative approach first. To prevent dehydration I gave the puppies some boiled and cooled down water with a  dropper, one drop at a time. I was ready to escalate intervention, if needed, and got fluids ready for subcutaneous injections. Luckily, the puppies stayed properly hydrated and I never had to pierce their delicate skin.

You check a newborn’s hydration level by lightly pinching skin on the shoulder, which should snap back in place in less than a second, and also by stimulating a puppy to pee on a white cotton ball. If the urine has any hint of color, the puppy is dehydrated. These puppies still had watery, colorless urine. Their skin snapped back in place when lightly pinched.


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DSC_6159One of the things I always have on hand in my “pregnancy kit” is Probiotics specifically formulated to survive canine stomach acids and to get to the intestine, where they are needed. I rely on the product called Fortiflora, which until recently was available by prescription only.

I combined Fortiflora powder with some boiled and cooled water to make a paste. After washing my hands thoroughly I put a little paste on the tip of my finger and let each puppy suckle it off my finger. I let them do it every 1/2 hour or so, perfectly timed in between laundry loads of soiled whelping box blankets, and by the morning the puppies quieted completely and started gaining weight again. Their stools remained slightly loose but the dangerous explosive diarrhea was over. Another huge whew!


Moxie is taking much needed relaxed breaks from the puppies, at her own pace, and she seems to be really happy. And I am enjoying both the quiet after the storm and the fantastic adjustment of our 11-week old puppies. I just love these boys! They have been little stars through the last 2 days, with all our previous training paying off big time. More on that in the next post.


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Week 10 Protocols

Crate Training

The puppies continue to soak up experiences like little sponges and I’m racing to teach them skills and behaviors before week 12 when they join their new families.

When I got my first Norwich Terrier he was air shipped to me and came out of his crate an emotional mess I spent the next years undoing. I am convinced that he was not properly crate trained (if at all) or prepared for travel. I vowed that no puppy will ever again be shipped on my behalf and also learned a lot about crate training.

Crate training does not mean shoving your puppy into a crate for a certain amount of time and asking the puppy to do all the work. Demanding of the animal to cope is not training. Training (at least positive reinforcement training) is a creative and interactive process of shaping a behavior. If a target behavior is relaxing in a crate, I need to do my part before asking puppy to do his. And relaxing is not the same as resigning to something.

The process is individualized based on each puppy’s response. My incremental, daily goals for each puppy were different because they are different individuals, but they all reached the ultimate goal of sleeping happily in their individual crates at night and waiting relaxed to be let out in the morning.

First, four crates were added to the puppy pen for them to explore at their own pace. This aspect of choice is very important in making an initial association. It also allowed me to observe the differences in each puppy’s willingness to enter a small space.

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Next, some really exciting things started appearing in those crates every time the puppies returned from a romp in the back yard. The boys quickly learned to race back from each outing to check out the crates. Soon they started using them for stashing their own treasures.


In the next stage I closed the crate doors after puppies settled there with a yummy chew du jour. Derby did not like that, so I had to adjust for smaller steps for him in accepting confinement. I left his crate door slightly ajar, and increasingly more closed till I could lock the crate without any protest. Actually, the release to get out immediately was a reward for the first couple of times.

I kept those closed door sessions short and sweet for everyone. Once the pups were able to expect a closed door and settle nicely each time I started putting them into crates. Till now, they entered crates on their own choice. Again, I kept the door closed for short sessions. In just a few sessions (remember those breaks matter!) the puppies were totally relaxed being put into individual crates and having the doors closed. Now, many small session later, they have slept through the night, no peep from them, for the last 3 nights.

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Potty Training

The puppies have been using potty area since their first meal other than their mother’s milk. Now, at the same time as I introduce their crates I’m phasing out the potty tray. The concurrency of those two things is as important as setting the potty area was for the first meal. (See a blog post on that here).

Releasing puppies from the crate, especially in the morning, means that I can bank on their need to pee. I get them outside very fast. We have just a short, few seconds run to the door leading to the back yard.  They are very good at going potty outside as soon as they hit the grass. The puppies have built a beautiful association of relieving themselves when outdoors.

The challenge now is to hold it when indoors and the potty tray is not in sight. For days when I’m home I remove the potty tray from their area and let them out every 2 hours, 20 minutes after each meal, and after every intensive play session. With this schedule they are going potty outside only, but it requires diligence. When I know I will not be here to let them out in 2 hours I put back the cat litter tray. The greatest thing is that once outside they go potty immediately and look at me for praise. You have to see it to know how cute that is.

Modulating Arousal

This week we have been playing a lot of games to teach puppies relaxing or getting excited, as appropriate to a situation. They have been very good at recall, even as I’ve been giving them a lot of freedom to get away quite some distance from me, and even out of sight, before I call them back. However, when we had visitors they were so overexcited that they did not come back immediately. I realized that it would be helpful for them to learn controlling their arousal (to some realistic degree).

So we played a lot of games of crazy excited play, chase, toy tugs and then settling for a quiet time of  lazy belly rubs, chewing sticks and just hanging out. We did it over and over and each time the puppies were better and better at switching gears.

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Walking Through Shadows and Navigating Steps

This is a “Norwich” thing.  I found that some of my adolescent dogs get spooked on sunny days at dog shows by the intense light contrast between a shaded area under a tent and the open area flooded with light. There is a similar condition when we leave our walk-out basement or are coming back to it from the yard on a sunny day. It must look crazy to anyone witnessing it as we race back and forth through the door with lots of praise. It is working though. After an initial hesitation to walk past the line of light contrast, now the puppies race right through it.

Stairs are physically challenging for puppies, so I try to limit their time going down, but I do like using stairs to overcome mild fear. My goal is to get puppies to come to the very edge and not back away when I approach to pick them up. It also makes for a great setting for puppy photos.

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Continuing Fun and Games

We are getting on and off a grooming table every day. The puppies have their mouths and feet touched, with good things happening right afterwards.

They are learning that great things keep happening when they come when called. And they continue to experience new objects, new people and new dogs. What a life!

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Manding: Giving Puppy A Voice

Among Puppy Culture protocols “manding” is one of the most genius ones. It is a phenomenal foundation for effective communication between a puppy and humans. “Manding” is an automatic sit in front of a person the puppy is interacting with. It is not a required behavior, or a rule, but rather an acceptable behavior taught to replace jumping on a person. It is not the same as a “sit” command.  Think of manding as sitting when the puppy would be otherwise jumping up.

A puppy is naturally predisposed, programmed if you will, to jump on a dog or person they are soliciting interaction from. Excitable jumping is charming in a teeny puppy but gets old fast in an adult dog.  As the author of Puppy Culture Jane Killion puts it, manding is a voice given to a puppy. Now, he can tell you he wants to interact and do it in a welcome way, without jumping on you or an x-pen as you’re approaching, for the rest of his life. He is no longer in danger of being pushed off or shut down while either asking for attention or responding to your call for it.

The gallery of photos below is an honest, spontaneous illustration of what it looks like when puppies use manding as automatically as they would use running up to a person to paw and jump, an illustration that came about totally by accident. Our friend Donna Stein, who is a talented amateur photographer, was visiting us and brought her camera to take some portraits of puppies. While I was readying dinner for us in the kitchen Donna went downstairs to the puppy room to take some photos. I was busy with food prep, so I only peripherally registered that Donna was making lots of sounds to apparently elicit puppies’ attention.

Next day Donna sent me several gorgeous photos of the puppies and as I flipped through them in a sequence I realized that the puppies were manding every time Donna asked for their attention.  Donna was making high pitched noises and puppies were manding immediately. Every action shot, catching puppies  in the middle of play, is only a couple of seconds away from them manding, and you can see the process unfolding right before your eyes. Thank you Donna for these terrific pictures!

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Food Matters Part 3 – Shortcuts, Hacks and Tips

Don’t Get Trapped In “All Or Nothing” Approach


It helps to think of cooking for dogs as similar to exercising. It is a healthy choice and it does not have to mean dedication of hours and hours of your time. If you do not have time for a gym, skipping an elevator for a staircase, or taking a longer walk (with a dog of course) is better than nothing.

With a full time career, other hobbies and a family, there are just days when I don’t have time to cook for dogs. However, I do see a difference in how my dogs look and what their energy is on a home-cooked diet, not to mention their enthusiasm for it, so I try my best to cook as much as I can. When my time is limited, before opening a bag of kibble, I use fresh-meal-shortcuts first.

Easy Substitutions for Fresh Veggies in the “Master Recipe”

Here are some substitutions for fresh vegetables and fruit in my “master recipe” (for the recipe see my blog post Food Matters Part 2 here):

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  • Use dried vegetables formulated for dogs (e.g. Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-Bowl Dog Food) in the proportion of 1/4 cup dried substituted for 1 cup fresh vegetables
  • Use frozen vegetables in place of fresh “yellow” or “green” in the “master recipe”
  • Use “mixed frozen vegetables” for both but make sure there is no onion
  • Use canned vegetables in place of fresh ( 1/3 cup of canned vegetable is a substitute for a cup of fresh vegetable in the “master recipe”)
  • Use quick oats for “grains and fruit”

Meats should always be meat or fish, with a good portion of organ meat to avoid phosphorus imbalance associated with feeding exclusively muscle meat. Buying in bulk and freezing is helpful. When getting organ meats try to use very little liver, as it has a high fat content.

Easy Fresh Meals

It’s good to have a backup plan and a supply of a couple of useful items in your pantry for those times when boiling an egg or opening  a can is the best you can do for your furry friend.

Examples of simple, fresh meals

  • lightly scrambled or soft boiled eggs
  • cottage cheese (you can add some fruit like blueberries or cored, diced apple, if your dog likes raw fruit)
  • skinned raw chicken necks
  • canned fish,  like mackerel, tuna or salmon (low sodium and packed in water)
  • skinned and deboned plain rotisserie chicken (cartilage is OK) with some canned pumpkin mixed in (a sprinkling of seaweed calcium for dogs makes it perfect)
  • yogurt (goat’s yogurt especially)



Mixed Approach

You can use any of the above suggestions of fresh stand-alone meals as additions to be sprinkled on top of kibble. Please remember to reduce the amount of kibble when adding fresh topping. All benefits of fresh food will be trumped by dangers of overfeeding.

Slow Cooker Meals

Slow cooker is a good option when you are OK with prep work but would rather not spend any time cooking. An advantage of a slow cooker is that you can cook chicken and fish with bones on very low heat for a long time and the bones will be completely soft and become a part of the meal. Remember to remove skin and fat when cooking a whole chicken. I use the low setting for 10 hours overnight and then restart my slow cooker in the morning for another 8 hours.


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Dog treats do not have to be unhealthy and full of empty calories. Many dogs are happy with carrot or apple slices, or even raw string beans.

For high value  healthy treats I use dried fish (e.g. dried anchovies). I find them in a local Korean market. My dogs go bonkers for them.

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They also love plain cheerios. I consider them to be vitamin pills, with all the vitamins and minerals added to them.

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When you are feeling ambitious, you can make irresistible home-made chicken strips either in the oven or dehydrator. Slice thinly chicken breast or thigh meat, lightly brush with oil, arrange on a cookie sheet and dry in the oven at 150° F for 3 1/2 hours, or in a dehydrator at 140° for 4 hours.


Human Foods That Are Dangerous To Dogs

toxic foods for dogs

Please make sure that you never feed your dog any of the following foods:

  • onions
  • grapes
  • raisins
  • avocado
  • macadamia nuts
  • tea and coffee
  • chocolate

For a complete list of foods toxic to dogs please visit ASPCA webpage here.

And lastly, please remember that switching to home-cooked diet from kibble should be a gradual process because you need to allow time for digestive flora to build new colonies involved in digesting new foods. For the earlier post on the subject click here.

Fat Warning

Dogs do not process fat well. Just ask any emergency veterinarian about the busiest time of the year and you will hear how animal emergency hospitals are packed a day after Thanksgiving and Christmas with dogs suffering from pancreatitis.  Fatty turkey skin, cheesy and buttery potatoes given to dogs by their well meaning owners result in a lot of pain at best and a life threatening condition in the worst case scenario.

When preparing home-cooked meals for dogs always trim off all the fat and remove skin from poultry because of its high fat content.

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Food Matters Part 2: Our Recipes for Home-Cooked Dog Food

Master Recipe

When I cook for my dogs I measure ingredients by volume (as opposed to weight). Every week the meals are slightly different but the “master recipe” is the same:



70 % meat (minimum)

30 % vegetables/ fruit/ grain (up to)


The  Master Recipe breakdown is as follows:

  • 7 cups meat – both muscle meat and organs (eg. chicken breast and chicken hearts)
  • 1 cup “yellow” vegetables (e.g. carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash)
  • 1 cup “green” vegetables (e.g. spinach, kale, string beans, zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup fruit (e.g. apples, blueberries, cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup whole grains (e.g. oats, brown rice)


  • 4 teaspoons of bone meal or seaweed calcium for dogs
  • 1 tablespoon oil (e.g. coconut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon  cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

 Health Powder

Based on Dr.Pitcairn’s “Healthy Powder” (from his best-selling book Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats)

  • 2 cups nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup lecithin granules
  • 1/4 cup kelp powder
  • Organic egg shells (about a dozen)
  • 1,000 mg vitamin C in powder form

The egg shells are washed, dried and ground in a coffee grinder. Sometimes I substitute egg shells with 4 tablespoons of either bone meal or seaweed calcium for dogs. All ingredients are then mixed and stored in a Mason jar in a refrigerator. I sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of Health Powder directly into each dog bowl at mealtime.


My dogs’ meals lined up in a fridge: chicken meals in the first row and salmon meals behind

Raw Bones

Our dogs get skinned chicken necks as a complete meal once a week. They also get recreational bones for chewing, usually beef marrow bones with all fat trimmed off. Puppies are introduced to raw bones at around week 8.

It is important to never give cooked bones to dogs. Cooking changes bone structure and introduces a risk of bone splintering, which can be very dangerous. Raw meaty bones are highly digestible, have beneficial enzymes and help in maintaining good oral health.

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