How to Pick the Best Dog Name for Your New Pup

You lock eyes with your new furry friend at the shelter or an adoption event. You know it’s meant to be, so you scoop them up and take them home.

There’s so much to do! Paperwork, vet appointments, new dog gear—toys, beds, treats, and home decor are a must! And of course, you have to name your new family member.

Like two-legged kids, you don’t have a lot of time to get your know your new addition before giving them a moniker. For us, Yellow Dog and Sundown were fairly easy to name, but Mocha—now affectionately and more aptly named Squeak—was more difficult to pin down.

Maybe you’re like us and are indecisive about your new dog’s name because you just don’t know their personality yet. Or maybe you want something unique. After all, some of the most popular names might be getting old—who wants to be the third Cooper or Bella at the dog park?

Either way, Shutterfly’s dog name generator can help.

First you pick your dog’s gender, or if you prefer a gender neutral name. Then, your style! Here are your options:

  • Famous
  • Hipster
  • Historic
  • Popular
  • Unique
  • All of the above

Voila! Dozens of names to choose from!

Here are the top-ten most popular names, if you’re looking for those, or looking to avoid them:

Awesome Video Shows How Your Dog Can (and Should) Obey Your Baby

Video

Can your dog respect and obey a toddler? He can—and he should! All it takes it proper training and practice! Check it out!

Don’t forget to follow us on our new Instagram page! @yellowdogblog

5 Winter Dangers for Dogs—and How to Avoid Them

Image via Flickr.

By: Jessica Brody, Guest Writer

Most dog owners love playing with their dogs in the snow—seeing how they react to playing with snowballs, encountering snowmen, and chasing neighborhood kids while they slide down hills on sleds. But as much fun as winter brings for our dogs, it can also bring some dangers. It’s important to be aware of the hazards winter poses to your dog’s health so you can take the necessary steps to protect him.

1. Take Breaks During Walks

Even if your dog is full of energy, you need to take breaks when you walk him or go for a hike. The breaks help keep his paws and coat free of snow, ice, and salt or de-icing products. While you walk, you may find that your dog tries to lick the snow off his feet—the problem is the more he licks, the more snow sticks. Frequently stopping to wipe off your dog’s paws is best, especially since he may be licking off salt and ice melt that can make him very sick.

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How to Pick the Perfect Dog For Your Family

Who can resist that squishy pug face? Or those stubby little doxie legs? How about those piercing blue Huskie eyes?

When choosing a dog for your family, there is so much more to consider than looks. Choosing your dog based solely on looks could spell a sad ending for the pup, who will likely end up in the shelter if you choose a dog ill-suited for your lifestyle. We’re outlining the top four things to consider before choosing your new furry friend.

1. Research Breed Characteristics

Dachshund mix puppy

Puppy searching can be fun but make sure you know your breed’s behavioral characteristics to avoid frustration down the road.

While not set in stone, breed characteristics are a guideline for what behavior you can expect from your new pup. You want to make sure your family can meet the dog’s exercise and attention needs.

“You should understand the key characteristics of the breed, but you should also make sure the dog’s energy level matches yours,” California dog trainer and founder of The Pooch Coach, Beverly Ulbrich, says.

2. Added Expenses From Breed Stereotypes 

Although you might be looking for a protective dog, keep in mind your homeowners’ insurance could go up based on the breed you choose. Breeds that are considered aggressive by some could cause a spike in your rates.  These breeds typically include:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Bull Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • German Shepherds

Some landlords may outright ban certain breeds or charge an additional deposit. If you can demonstrate your dog is well-trained—with AKC Good Canine Certification, for example—you might be able to convince the insurance company or a landlord with liability concerns that your dog is safe.

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How to Avoid Dog Predators in “Free to Good Home” Ads

It’s one of the most gut-wrenching decisions you may ever make: surrendering your dog. There are a number of reasons you may have to give up your beloved pet:

  • Your new landlord doesn’t allow pets
  • Your dog has a litter of puppies you can’t keep
  • You can’t afford to provide the care your dog needs

So you list your dog or dogs in a classified ad for free, hoping to find him a new loving home. But sadly, some dogs are targeted in “free to a good home” ads and can end up in the wrong hands.

Puppy Doe Animal Rescue League

Puppy Doe suffered unthinkable abuse—eyes poked, tongue split, and broken bones. She was adopted off Craigslist when her owner’s landlord demanded she get rid of the dog. Photo courtesy of Animal Rescue League of Massachusetts.

That was the case with “Puppy Doe,” a severely abused female pit bull who was found starved, beaten, stabbed, and abandoned in a Massachusetts playground. Puppy Doe was just 1 or 2 years old, but she had to be put down due to her injuries.

A horrific case in West Virginia caught national attention when a man was charged with 29 counts of felony animal cruelty. Jeffrey Nally adopted dogs from printed classified ads only to torture and kill them weeks or even hours after taking them. The details are too graphic to post, but you can read about it here, if you have the stomach.

And it’s not just abuse. Some people try to turn a profit with these “free” dogs, a practice called flipping. Dogs that are flipped are often treated very poorly and can be sick or near death, as a Nebraska woman found out when she unknowingly adopted a sick four-week-old puppy from a dog flipper. Some dog flippers even try to claim lost pets as their own.

So how to you avoid these heart-breaking dilemmas? Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster tells us how online classifieds can benefit adoptable pets and we have the tips on how to properly use these ads when it comes re-homing a pet.

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Battle Over Adoption Rights to Retired Military Working Dogs

canine vets
They’re the unsung heroes of war—military working dogs (MWDs) who serve alongside our troops, sniffing out explosives and standing watch to protect their handler and their units.
MWDs will often serve multiple tours of duty, usually with different handlers. But what happens when the dogs are retired from the military? Popular opinion is the dogs should stay with their handlers, but that doesn’t always happen.
Robby’s Law
Sadly, MWDs were largely put down when they were through with their military service prior to the November 2000 enactment of Robby’s Law. Robby’s Law mandated all suitable MWDs be made available for adoption by “law-enforcement agencies, former handlers of these dogs, and other persons capable of caring for these dogs.” The order has since been amended with priority now going first to former handlers, followed by other persons capable of humanely caring for the animal, and law enforcement agencies.
Adoption priority hasn’t always been carried out in that order. The New York Post investigated several soldiers’ stories of being dodged or redirected when trying to adopt their MWDs upon the dog’s retirement.
Adoption Controversy
MWDs trained by K2 Solutions were adopted out at events when their government contract ended in February 2014. The dogs were adopted primarily by law enforcement personnel and civilians—but not by their handlers. This stems not from a lack of handlers wanting to adopt their MWDs but seemingly from a defiance of policy dictated by Robby’s Law.

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Can the ThunderShirt Cure Your Dog’s 4th of July Anxiety?

Does your dog howl or hide when 4th of July fireworks go off? Does he cower when thunderstorms hit? Does he dread the car and even have accidents on car rides? Can he not stand when you leave his side and destroy things while you’re gone?

yellow dog wearing a thundershirtIf you answered yes to any of these questions, the ThunderShirt might be for you.

If you’ve never heard of the ThunderShirt, it is often compared to swaddling a baby—it applies gentle, comforting pressure in key spots, thereby calming your dog’s nerves. It is a low-cost, drug-free option for pet owners with an anxious dog or cat.

The company says it works for more than 80% of pets—based on customer reviews—for issues ranging from separation anxiety to people shyness to problem barking. The company even offers a money-back guarantee if it does not work for you.

But did it work for us? We took a trial run to see if the ThunderShirt might work for you this 4th of July.

Our trial run

dogs in car

Yellow Dog was nervous in the car prior to ThunderShirt, unlike his brother Sundown.

We adopted Yellow Dog at five months old and he was a skittish dog from the start. He pooped in the car within a minute of driving away from his foster home. He’s never been relaxed on car rides; he never lies down and sleeps like Sundown but instead sits and stares at us the entire drive, even on long road trips. He is also sensitive to loud noises—like fireworks or strong thunderstorms.

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The Pros and Cons of Treating Your Dog Like a Baby

Jacqueline Bennett with Yellow Dog, all dressed up.

Dressing your dog up and carrying him around? Probably not a good idea. But we’ve been guilty of it, too.

Most pet parents are guilty of it at one point or another—babying your dog. Whether it’s extra cookies, carrying them around, dressing them up in cute outfits or letting them get their way, we can treat our furry friends the way we would treat our toddlers. But could this be making a good dog go bad?

We talked to The Pooch Coach, San Francisco based dog trainer Beverly Ulbrich, to outline the pros and cons of treating your dog like a child.

Signs You’re Guilty of Babying

You might not even realize you’re doing it, but there is a good chance you’ve babied your dog.

“There is a wide range of possibilities,” Ulbrich says. “But typically it has to do with owners feeding into bad behavior, such as begging or whining, or allowing their dog to not obey commands.”

Here are some common behaviors that baby our dogs:

  • Giving into whining or barking for attention or food
  • Carrying an able-bodied dog around or pushing him in a stroller
  • Letting your dog ignore commands he knows
  • Not correcting bad behavior such as posturing, resource guarding, and forms of aggression—including dog-on-dog aggression, food aggression, and people aggression

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How to Pick the Best Food for Your Dog

Yellow licking snoutDo you grab a big bag of pet food from your local supermarket without looking at the label? Or are you overwhelmed by the seemingly countless number of ingredients you can’t even begin to pronounce or recognize?

Picking the best food for your dog can be a challenge. Some subtle—and not so subtle— ingredients in your dog’s food could be depriving him of proper nutrition or even be making him sick. We talked to holistic veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney to break down the hidden dangers lurking in pet food and lay out some simple steps to improve your furry friend’s diet.

Quality over quantity

You would never give your dog low-quality junk food that could cause cancer, but sadly many pet parents are unknowingly doing just that. Many popular commercial foods are filled with ingredients dogs have difficulty digesting—like corn, beef, soy, and wheat—or even known carcinogens.

“The most important thing owners need to think about is the quality of the ingredients that go into their pet’s mouth every day,” Dr. Mahaney explains. “Most commercially available pet foods are made with feed-grade ingredients—those are the ingredients that have been deemed unfit for human consumption.”

What’s wrong with feed-grade ingredients?

There’s a higher allowable level of toxins, which then penetrate the food.

“Especially mold-based toxins that commonly grow on grains,” Dr. Mahaney adds. “These cause long-term problems like kidney disease, liver disease, and digestive problems.”

Feed-grade ingredients include:

  • By-products
  • Non-specified meat meal
  • So-called 4-D meat.

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