The Dog Guardian

Winter 2016

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The PDF version:  pdf icon  The Dog Guardian:  Winter 2016  


In This Issue

  •  Highlights
  •  Board News & AGM
  •  Do’s & Don’ts of Potty Training
  •  Winter and Holiday Safety Tips
  •  Stocking Stuffers for our Dogs
  •  ‘Going to the Dogs’ Fundraiser
  •  Parks Clean-Up  
  •  Kids’ Page


                poodles in the snow


snowy dog


It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner. In this newsletter we are covering some Winter and Holiday Safety Tips: how to survive the holiday season with our pets, and have fun at the same time.  We have also included a section on dog toys that some of our puppies would recommend to their 4-legged friends.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alexandra Seagal for her wonderful article on house training your pup or newly adopted dog, featured in this newsletter. I highly recommend you visit her blog at . Her articles are very interesting and informative. She does lots of research into her articles and writes in a very understandable and entertaining way. Read more about Alexandra on her blog.


Board News and AGM

Our AGM was held on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016. Thanks to everybody who attended. The first part of the meeting was about board news, RDOC activities and fundraisers. Julie thanked retired board member Yvonne Robertson for all her help. Candice reported the CCGC program is doing well. The program is making money for the first time, and we now have a new evaluator in Nova Scotia.

Julie reported that the Kids’ Page is well received. People find it a good educational tool. It gets updated every 2-3 months. Mary Jean reported that the CHEO Teddy Bear Picnic was very successful, and we got lots of good comments about the “Fido, Friend or Foe?” activity books. We will be participating at the picnic again next year.

Julie reported that this year’s Parks clean-up project was very successful. People are more aware of cleaning up after themselves and their dogs.

Candice reported that the ‘Going to the Dogs’ fundraiser was a success. We made $1,857.09. The date for next year's GTTD fundraiser is September 24, 2017.

The business part of the AGM was followed by refreshments, and then a presentation by Dagmar. She talked to us about the book ‘Animal Madness’ by Laurel Braitman ….. a very interesting book.


image: Christmas gifts divider


Do's and Don'ts of Potty Training

by Alexandra Seagal,

If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that potty training is perhaps the most crucial aspect of raising your dog. After all, bad potty habits are one of the common reasons why owners give up their dogs. So at this special time of the year, when most puppies arrive in their new homes, we’re bringing you some helpful advice for keeping your house clean and your sanity intact.

The main trick when potty training is to reward your puppy every time she eliminates in the right place, so the more often you reward her, the faster she’ll learn.

Here are some quick and dirty tips on housebreaking. If you need more info, check out our Complete Guide for Potty Training Puppies to learn all you need to know about how to potty train your dog.


Reward your dog immediately for eliminating in the correct area


If you want to get the maximum effect out of every training session, you should not only reward your puppy after going to the right spot, but do it immediately. Dogs don’t associate actions that are separated in time, so keep some of your dog’s favourite treats close to the area where you want her to eliminate, and every time she goes in the right place offer her one or two.

Remain calm when you catch your puppy in the act

When accidents happen, try not to make a big deal out of it as any exaggerated reaction will make your dog feel scared of you. Instead, just clap your hands loudly, or say “No” in a calm, but serious, voice. Soon she’ll understand that this action is unacceptable.

Keep a consistent schedule

Dogs tend to eliminate at specific times, such as early in the morning, following their afternoon nap, after eating and drinking, or at the end of a playing session. Training is easier if you organise a schedule around these habits and, most importantly, stick to it.  

Use a crate/pen when you’re away

Dogs have a ‘den instinct’ that tells them not to eliminate in their sleeping area, and a crate will help your dog develop this natural inclination. Of course, this only works as long as you give her access to an eliminating area periodically.

Clean dirty areas thoroughly

The smell of dirt works like a signal for your puppy, helping her recognise a good place for eliminating, so use special products to remove all traces of previous accidents in order to prevent new ones.


Don’t use punishments

Positive reinforcement is the best method for training dogs. Punishments are just going to make things worse by confusing your dog and making her develop an aggressive attitude towards you.

Don’t use a loud tone

If your voice is too loud or sounds threatening, you risk scaring your dog, and she’ll have a hard time bonding with you. When your dog is scared, not only will you stop making any further progress with potty training, but she’ll forget anything she’s already learned.

Don’t expect too much from your dog at the beginning

Potty training takes between four and six months, so you need to be patient and give your dog time to learn. Progress usually comes slowly. It’s normal, so try not to lose your temper when it doesn’t go to plan.  

Don’t rush your puppy when she’s eliminating

This behaviour will only stress your dog. Another consequence of rushing things is that your dog can tend to get distracted by you - she’ll stop eliminating when you’re around, and then will continue once you’re back inside.

Don’t get mad about setbacks

Setbacks are normal, especially if your dog’s young or if you stop training too soon. The best thing you can do is continue with the training, respect the schedule, and always keep an eye on your dog.


So in a nutshell: reward them at the right moment, stay calm, stick to a consistent schedule, and give your puppy the time she needs to grow up. Don’t stress, don’t rush - she’ll get there. Remember, this is just a short introduction to the rewarding experience of potty training. Read all about this topic on our website, where we’re always happy to answer your questions and hear about your progress.  

Christmas puppy




Winter and Holiday Safety Tips
by Julie More

Winter is almost here. Brrr. Not looking forward to the snow, freezing rain and the cold. Neither are my dogs. Last winter on a very cold day we timed Tyler (my 9 year old black lab). It took him 45 seconds to run across our back deck, down the stairs, do his business, run up the stairs, across the deck and into our nice warm house.  On a brighter note, Christmas is coming!  Yeepee! I love Christmas. So do my dogs. They are still trying to figure out what they did to earn all those special treats last Christmas.

There are ways to make winter enjoyable for both you and your pet. Although everybody loves Christmas it can be dangerous to our pets.


Cold Weather Safety Tips    
(from the ASPCA website)

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals - and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.

Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.Remember to bang on the hood of your car and/or honk your horn to scare away any pets or wildlife that may be sheltering from the cold  

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

See the original article:     

Some more links:  
pinecones and candle


Holiday Safety Tips   
(from the ASPCA website)

The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet's eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

Oh, Christmas Tree:  Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn't tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water — which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset — from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Avoid Mistletoe & Holly:  Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Tinsel-less Town:  Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching ‘toy’ that's easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It's best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

That Holiday Glow:  Don't leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up:  Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws' reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet's mouth and digestive tract.

image:  holly


Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

Skip the Sweets:  By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Leave the Leftovers:  Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won't lead to costly medical bills.

Careful with Cocktails:  If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Selecting Special Treats:  Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

image: decorative divider

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

House Rules:  If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you're busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

Put the Meds Away:  Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

A Room of Their Own:  Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to - complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

New Year's Noise:  As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat's intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Article reprinted with permission from the ASPCA.
Find the original article here:    

Try clicking around the ASPCA website. There is a wealth of information in their pet care section:     


Stocking Stuffers for our Dogs  
by Julie More

puppy in Christmas stockingChristmas is coming up. “What to buy for your pup?” is the question. To give you some ideas, I asked some of our members what are their dogs' favourite toys, and why they and their dogs like those toys.


“Frisbee by far is Nelsons favourite. I think because he loves to fetch, and he can jump into the air to catch it. I love throwing it too.”   smiley face
(Mary Blaney)

“Rosie, a six pound Yorkshire Terrier, loves her Doggie Smerf football and Smerf ball.     
Both are good throwing toys and they are tough.” (Mary Dunne)    
Photo from Mary Dunne


“Winnie’s favourite toy is the Chuckit Ultra Squeaker Ball. It comes in small, medium and large sizes. It is extremely durable and very bouncy. There are no signs of wear and tear to date, and the squeaker still works. The squeaker drives Winnie crazy. She will play fetch with it a couple of times with me, but prefers to throw it around and play with it by herself. The company, Chuckit has been taken over by Petmate in the U.S. Their website is . I purchased the Chuckit Squeaker Ball at Chew That for $9.49.” (Kit Watson)     Photo from Kit Watson     


“Tyler, my 9‐year‐old black lab would like to tell you about his most favourite toy. Yep you guessed it, the treat ball. The official name is the "Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball" and costs between $10 ‐$16 depending where you buy it.  tricky treat ball

Check it out here:        

The toy is a vinyl ball with an opening where you put the treats. As your dog rolls the ball, the treats fall out. The outside surface of the ball is shaped like many small craters that not only hide the hole the food is dispensed from, but also help your dog to pick up the ball and push it around.” (Julie More)    Photo by Julie More


‘Going to the Dogs’ Fundraiser

Thank You Volunteers

RDOC would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers who helped make the fundraiser such a success. Thank you Candice for getting sponsors and donations, selling tickets and designing the poster. Thank you Betty for being our treasurer, and Julie for being the treasurer's helper. Thank you Mary Jean, Dagmar, Kit, Julie and Claudette for helping with the goodie bags. Thank you Dagmar, Candice, Kit, Sheri, Denise, Julie, Betty and Claudette for helping with setting up and running the silent auction. Thank you Denise, Candice, Julie and Janet for helping at the registration desk. Thank you Jenn, Ivan, Dagmar and Claudette for selling the 50/50 tickets.

The fundraiser raised $1,857.09. The date for next year’s fundraiser is September 24, 2017.


Parks Clean-Up  

A big thank-you goes out to all our wonderful dog owners for participating in our fall parks clean-up project. We are also grateful to all the pups who brought their dog owners over to us so we could tell them aboutsmiley face our organization, ask them to help with the clean-up, and give them bags and gloves to make the clean-up easier. Hope all you pups liked our yummy dog cookies!


We would also like to thank Kit Watson, Dagmar VanBeselaere, Janet Kettles, Alexandra Seagal and Betty Harris for proofreading this newsletter. We really appreciate your help. A special thank you to Kit Watson for proofreading again the final copy of the newsletter.  
Jill and Julie (newsletter co-editors)


Kids’ Page

hamsterDon't forget to visit the latest edition of the Kids’ Page on our website. Just click on this link:     

We have a new puzzle for you, another page to colour for our contest, a trick to teach your dog (‘Shake Hands’) and a little article about hamsters (entertaining and very sweet pets for kids).





Merry Christmas





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clipart: dog bar

Responsible Dog Owners of Canada (RDOC)

Responsible Dog Owners of Canada is a registered non profit organization that promotes responsible dog ownership through education and support, cultivates respect for the rights and privileges of members of  the dog-owning and non dog-owning communities, fosters recognition of the contribution that canines make through companionship, service/assistance and therapy and aspires to assemble a strong network of responsible dog owners to ensure the restoration and preservation of a dog-friendly society.

Responsibility   ·    Respect   ·   Recognition

Contact RDOC  by:
Phone: 613.258.0697 / 613.868.2201 (leave message)

Write to us at:
9 Liette Ct., RR1, Kemptville, ON K0G 1J0

Or visit us online at:



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