After a few years of being a first time dog owner, we have learned a great many lessons along the way.

a double dog photo

Our puppies(dogs), Max and Bella celebrated their 2nd birthdays this past week. I thought it would be nice to reflect upon the lessons we have learned being proud parents of these two furry children.

 14 “Dog Parenting Lessons” we have learned so far:

1 – Unconditional love – Max and Bella are always excited to see us, snuggle with us and provide great companionship.

2 – Getting two dogs at the same time was a good idea. – At first everyone thought we were crazy and so did I, but they play nicely with each other (most of the time) and keep each other company when we are not home.

3 – Crating puppies is helpful for housetraining, general training and a safe way to transport your puppies. – We have not “crated” our dogs in a long time, but it was very helpful in the beginning. We now restrict them in an open pen/enclosed area when we are not home. It keeps them safe and out of mischief.

4 – Avoid certain foods and don’t give them too much food. – Never give them raisins, grapes, onions and chocolate. Until I had dogs, I had no idea these items (especially chocolate) could be very dangerous for them.

5 – Give them one or two toys at a time. – If you give them too many toys, they may not know your shoes are not a chew toy.

6 – Teaches kids great sense of responsibility – We all know who is doing most of the work (me!), but at least our daughters know they have to help with walking, feeding and taking the dogs to relieve themselves. They do what they can with a smile when asked.

7 – Favorite Dog Products 

Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray – taste deterrent which prevents destructive chewing

Kong Dog Toy – favorite chew toy which we usually fill with peanut butter and then put in the freezer. The frozen peanut butter will keep them busy for a longer period of time.

Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain & Odor Remover – smells nice and helps prevent repeat accidents in the same place in your home.

8 – Puppies are like toddlers; you can’t leave them unattended. They may eat small items (erasers, pencils, etc. ). Be careful of the chewy toys which squeak because if they eat the “squeaker”, you may need an emergency visit at the vet. (Luckily, this has never happened us.)

9 – EST every dayExercise (walking the dogs), Socialization and Training are important for dogs, but this winter was a bit tough to keep up with regular exercise. Keep in mind walking dogs is regular built in exercise for you.

10 – You meet a lot of people in your neighborhood – it’s a great way to meet your neighbors!

11 – When dogs bark, there is usually a reason – We can now recognize by the sound of their bark if they are hungry, need to go to the bathroom or if someone is coming to the door before they ring the doorbell/leaving a package.

12- Dogs just want to please us and really enjoy belly rubs. – They like positive feedback and recognition – don’t we all?

13 – They love to get their rest, relax and play. We could probably all benefit from learning these “skills” from them.

14 –Travel requires more planning – While you lose flexibility to just get up and go away for longer periods of time, the love and affection we have received from Max and Bella is well worth it! Can’t imagine our lives without them!

Happy Birthday Max and Bella. We love you!

 

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Laughter is the best medicine…Try laughter yoga :)

30485512f35612816cLogo 2I feel so energized today. Still on our family vacation in India and had the opportunity to do a laughter yoga session at the local park in New Delhi.

Laughter yoga started in India less than 20 years ago when Dr. Kataria (the father of laughter yoga) was writing an article about “Laughter – The Best Medicine” for a health journal. He discovered many modern scientific studies, which described in depth, the many proven benefits of laughter on the human mind and body. For more information on laughter yoga and laughter yoga clubs in your area, go to www.laughteryoga.org

Laughter yoga is a breathing exercise where you pretend to laugh without purpose and it makes you feel happy and good. You don’t have to stretch your body into different traditional yoga poses, but just laugh and do what feels comfortable for you. Good hearty laughter gets rid of stress and worry. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. It’s the same sense of overall well-being you get when you finish a workout.

Parenting life lesson: Whether you are doing laughter yoga or laughing for another reason, it will lift up your spirits and generate positive energy. If you’re happy and less stressed out, your kids will benefit and be happier too. Ho…Ho…Ha…Ha…Ha…

Make it a day filled with laughter!

Max and Bella (our puppies) are a big responsibility, but a wonderful addition to the family.

Bella

With Halloween coming up this week, it is only fair that Max and Bella also enjoy this holiday getting dressed up. It is hard to believe they have been a part of our family for 4 months now.

Santa had promised the girls they would get a puppy in 2013. It was my husband’s idea to get a puppy (which turned into two puppies) at the beginning of the summer. This enabled the girls to bond with the dogs while they were on summer break. Great decision!

Neither my husband nor I grew up with dogs so this has been a true learning experience. Here are the lessons we have learned so far:

Babysit friends’ dogs to expose the kids to the responsibility of having a dog before you get one.
Get the dog while the kids are young so they can grow up with the dogs.
“EST” every day –  Exercise (walking the dogs), Socialization and Training are important for dogs.
Study the different breeds – we were focused on hypoallergenic dogs with hair which don’t shed – poodle mixes like ours are very popular for that reason as well as many others.
Travel requires more planning – While you lose flexibility to just get up and go away for longer periods of time, the love and affection we have received from Max and Bella is well worth it! Can’t imagine our lives without them!