Monday, June 22, 2015

Fit Snack - Perfect For Your Summer Travels

Lately I’ve been traveling a lot.  My life has become a series of small trips, various challenges and unique days.  And with this scheduling change, I have found it a challenge to eat healthy on the go.  I can run in any city I visit.  I can usually find a hotel gym.  However, finding healthy food on the go is NOT easy. It’s also easy to get bored with the same old trail mix and start thinking about something less nutritious.  This is where FitSnack comes in.
Fit Snack
FitSnack is a monthly subscription service that delivers healthy options to your door every single month.  The box will surprise you every time and can include everything from coconut oil to peanut butter protein cookies.  This keeps you guessing and keeps your pantry stocked with healthy options that you won’t feel guilty eating.  I love opening the box (and usually eating something right away), and then tucking the rest into my travel bag for my next plane flight or road trip.
This month I was able to try some amazing granola from Bear Naked, some awesome protein powder, spices, sugar and more.  I am always amazed at the quantity of items that come in the box.  The variety is amazing as well.  They always seem to know things I want to try...I've been wondering about coconut water powder and voila, it arrives in this month's box.
If you like the items in the box, you're in luck.  Most products offer Fit Snack members deals on future orders.  For example, is offering 25% off!
It’s affordable too!  (Considering what you’d pay at a grocery store for this many healthy snacks!).  Check it out at  For any of our readers who order a FitSnack box, you’ll get a FREE GYM BAG!  YAY!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How To Talk Your Dog Into Behaving Well

According to Experts, Reinforcing Positive Behavior with Treats Communicates Valuable Information to Misbehaving Canines

OGDEN, Utah (June 5, 2015) – To punish or not to punish a misbehaving dog is a question trainers disagree about how to answer. Most experts, however, advocate positive reinforcement as a more effective and humane training method.

Pet owners can learn more from a new website sponsored by Vita Bone® dog treats: Here, experts like Steve Dale, nationally acclaimed pet expert and certified animal behavior consultant, provide training and treating tips to help people deal with some of the most common types of canine misbehaviors.

“The problem with punishment is that it doesn’t give a dog any information about what it should be doing,” says Dale. “While it does interrupt bad behavior, punishment doesn’t teach the dog a more acceptable alternative. Positive reinforcement works by rewarding dogs when they perform a desired behavior.”

Dog owners often complain that their pets jump up on guests entering their homes. Punishing the dog – for example, by shoving a knee into its chest – will undoubtedly stop the unwelcome behavior, at least temporarily. But it also can communicate to dogs that people are untrustworthy, crazy or unkind. Frequently punished dogs grow wary of all people and sometimes even begin to act aggressively toward them.

These undesired outcomes are only natural, as dogs in such situations are reacting to pain and anxiety caused by confusing human actions.

If dog owners want their pets to sit quietly by the door or fetch a favorite toy when visitors arrive – instead of jumping on their guests – they should convey this information through positive reinforcement. Showing dogs what to do and rewarding their success provides motivation for them to repeat desired behavior and enhances relationships with their humans.

The reward should take the form of whatever it is that a dog most enjoys – generally a special treat. It should be easy to eat, so that the dog doesn’t become distracted by the process of chewing and remains focused on the desired behavior it’s exhibiting. Pet owners should have treats readily available so that they can administer one every time a dog in training does what it’s supposed to do.

Dale recommends Vita Bone® Chewy Sticks because they are easy to break apart for training sessions. In addition to being easy to eat, independent studies show that dogs prefer Vita Bone® treats two to one over leading national brands. So their size, texture and taste make them ideal dog training tools.

While a more punitive style of training can be effective in certain situations – for example if a dog is about to run out in front of an oncoming vehicle, and its owners needs it to stop immediately – it cannot train dogs to behave the way we want. What’s worse is that it can erode the human-animal bond, as frequently punished dogs naturally begin to dislike and mistrust people.

“As a training tool, positive reinforcement isn’t only a more effective way to teach, it’s also more ethical than punishment – which is perhaps the most important point,” says Dale. “Today, more than 90 percent of pet owners in North America consider their dogs cherished family members. For all the love our dogs unconditionally offer every day, I purport that we should treat them the same way.”

For more information and dog training tips, visit 

About Vita Bone®

Vita Bone® Biscuits ( are baked using natural ingredients to enhance flavor and digestibility. Fortified with 23 essential vitamins and minerals, Vita Bone® Biscuits also include omega-3 and -6 fatty acids as well as glucosamine from natural sources like salmon oil and chicken. These essential elements help promote healthy skin, well-conditioned coats and good joint health in dogs. Vita Bone® Chewy Sticks are easy to break apart for training sessions or a great snack between meals. Vita Bone® Biscuits and Chewy treats are part of the American Pet Nutrition family of trusted brands that meet the strictest standards of safety and quality for production and packaging. The company is based in Ogden, Utah, and has been family-owned since 1972.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I was recently lucky enough to be a speaker at the Blog Paws 2015 conference in Nashville.  My hubby and I decided to road trip down.  I'm going to share some of our adventures with you!
These paws were all over the hotel.  It was pretty awesome to see all the different areas that conference events were taking place in.  It was also just exciting to see paw prints on the floor of a nice hotel :)

Hattie B's is a classic Nashville restaurant.  It serves something called Hot Chicken.  It's fried chicken, with spice in the skin.  They serve it on a piece of bread with pickles.  I don't even really eat meat usually, but this was awesome. The line was out the door at ten pm! 

I love all of the signs in downtown Nashville!  While there are less Western stores than there were previously, many of the signs are still there and lit up.

The conference was full of amazing people. Everyone was an animal lover and there were lots of animals there!  I got to meet some amazing brands too.  Here I'm with Toe Grips which are designed to help blind, disabled or senior dogs with comfort on any surface.

These dogs were so adorable and so amazingly well trained I had to take a photo!  They had matching outfits too :)

Yes, there were baby ducks at the conference! I've never held one before and it was so soft, light and sweet!

So I had to compare duck faces :)

Lucy's Pet Products are a line of shampoos and dog grooming that were developed by vets in order to support a low and no cost spay and neuter clinic.  Here's Surfin Jack looking much cooler than I am.

If you're on Instagram, chances are you know about Theo and Beau.  A small boy and his dog nap together every day and the photos their mom takes are amazingly adorable.  I was sucky enough to get a photo and an autographed copy.

One of the areas in Nashville is called Hillsboro Village.  The area is filled with cool shops, restaurants and even some used book stores.  I loved getting to know a less touristy area of the city.  There are local artists to created murals like this one.

Take a peek at my adorable badge for the conference!  I will be attending for sure next year!

Summit Love

I’m here to tell you the story of Summit, a 6 month old, scrawny rescue dog who changed my whole life.  But let me back the story up for you a bit….

Four years ago my husband and I adopted out first dog.  My husband grew up with dogs.  I did not.  While I thought dogs were adorable, I hadn’t ever felt companionship with one.  And I certainly didn’t want one to LICK me.  If it happened, I acted like Lucy from Peanuts…screaming about dog germs, disinfectant and iodine.

So what possessed me to get a dog? I’ll never be able to answer that.  BUT I do know that after months and months of searching, I fell in love with Roxy on the Glen Highland Farm website.  She was just there for display and had been deemed unadoptable.  She had been through a number of families already and had been returned.  She had OCD issues and they were bad.  But this isn’t a story about Roxy. 

Fast forward about three years and Summit came into our lives.  A breeder who couldn’t sell him gave him to Glen Highland Farm.  He was also adopted out and returned to the farm.  We saw Summit on their website and though he was adorable (he was then known as Kiran).  WE thought to inquire about him, but in the meantime we were asked to foster him.  A volunteer drove him to our home one winter evening and I was smitten.

Summit was just a kooky as the rescue organization has stated.  But the cuteness level was off the chart.  He was skittish and while he was interested in us, he was also a little fearful.  We started by letting him sniff about and get some snuggles from us when he wanted them.  However, he had no idea what was to come.

In the following weeks and months Summit slowly and surely started training.  We redirected him when he was chasing things or racing around obsessively.  (While this isn’t a healthy habit, it certainly burns calories and I’ve considered taking it up on my own.)  We use positive reinforcement and redirection.  Meaning, if either dog is taking part in an undesirable behavior we change what they are thinking about.  If they are doing something we approve of, they get positive reinforcements.
I went out and bought an American Sign Language book, read countless blogs and starting doing all the research I could to give Summit the best chance of being able to communicate with us.  However, we had to stop the obsessing first.  This took a while.  (Months and months in fact.) However, during this time I just signed to him whenever we did something like going outside, eating a meal, or getting a little love. 

Eventually he started to calm down.  (And we’re still not 100% calm!)  At the same time, he started to recognize the sign language and all of those days, weeks and months of feeling like I was talking (signing) to myself were paying off. 

Summit now knows about a dozen signs.  He recognizes everything from stay to good boy.  His favorite sign is “I Love You” and means pets and snuggles are coming his way. 

We’ve had Summit about 18 months now and he just turned two. He is now a love bug who no longer shies away from petting, he demands it.  He would rather get snuggled than race around the room.  He prefers to have a careful eye on your at all times.  If he can be touching me, that’s even better.  For example, I work from home and he will sleep under my desk.  But he really prefers it if he can be ON my foot.  If I were to get up and move, he will know it and can follow suit. 

The bond between Roxy and Summit is amazing.  While I’m sure Roxy was thrilling being an “only dog”, but engages Summit a few times a day for a friendly game of hide and seek, chase and race around my office area.  If Summit has dithered off and I can’t easily catch his eye to get him to come back to me I can tell Roxy to “Go get Summit.” And she will!  Roxy was very well voice command trained and Summit is so in love with her, he follows suit.  It’s much easier for a deaf dog to have a buddy dog like Roxy. 

When I take Summit to places like the park or the vet’s office people are shocked to know he’s deaf.  He looks at me frequently and often the signs I give him are so small and quick that they can easily go unseen by someone who isn’t paying attention. 
Since I work from home, I could adjust my schedule to work with Summit, as he needed it.  I would have had a more difficult time training him if I only saw him in the evening hours after work.  I feel that his training success was due to repetition, patience and love. 

Summit has taught me that disabilities are not a disadvantage at all.  It’s a new way to see the world around us.  His deafness has taught me to think about others around me more.  I am now more empathetic to people who may be in need.  Summit brightens the day of everyone he comes into contact with.  Often people tell me they think it’s amazing I chose to adopt a deaf dog.  I think it’s amazing he chose me.