Archive for 2016

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01 Jun 16

Did you register that Microchip? ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

The month of June is National Microchipping Month and a common misconception among pet owners is that having your pet is microchipped, that once the dog or cat is chipped, then your pet is protected.  If your pet ever gets lost, the microchip will help bring your beloved pet back to you.

Yes, the microchip has brought countless pets back to their owners – we have all read the amazing stories of pets being reunited after long journeys all because of the microchip.   Did you know how many pets are microchipped – but their pet parents fail to register them?

I know you might be sitting there reading this, saying, “What? I thought the rescue I adopted Buddy from registered him?”  Or, “I thought when I got him from the animal shelter they registered him with my info before I left with him.”

Yes the shelter or rescue group may have registered your dog, but it’s under their name.  Or they may have microchipped your pet but did not register it, it is up to you to register the microchip with your information in case your pet ever gets lost.

When I adopted Cody, he was microchipped, but I had to then change the microchip information to my name, number and address.  And you have to pay a fee yearly to keep him registered.

Many pets go missing especially during the in the summer as gates are left open by landscapers, pool cleaners, etc., loud fireworks can scare your pet away and newly adopted pets are not used to your home yet.

While the pet may be microchipped, more often than not, if they are found by a good samaritan and brought to an animal shelter or veterinarian office to be scanned for a microchip – and the chip is not registered.  So the shelter then has no idea who the pet belongs to and most shelters after a 7-day hold on the pet, the pet is then put up for adoption.

You are usually given paper work from a rescue group, animal shelter or pet store with what company the pet’s microchip is registered with, new pet owners need to call that company and have the microchip put under their name.  Many shelters chip pets and put the information in the adoption packet and on the number of the chip on the medical records to so that when the pet owner brings their newly adopted pet to the vet, the vet also has the microchip info.

So what to do?  You need to register your pet with a microchip company.  Putting in your information, means putting in your most up to date info.  Most people keep the same cell phone number, so having that in there would be my first choice.  And also your home number and alternate number just in case they can reach you at the first number.

Shelters often get pets in as strays that have a microchip, that are not registered.  Defeats the point of even having your pet chipped.

Here are some companies you can look into on microchipping your pet. – microchipping company – 24PetWatch’s Lost Pet Recovery is there to not only identify your pet, but to reunite you as soon as they’re found. Thanks to 24PetWatch’s microchip, you can be reunited safely and quickly.

Cats too should be microchipped and registered, even if your cat is an indoor cat, accidents happen and indoor cats do get outside.

If your pet is not microchipped, most animal shelters can microchip your pet, as well as rescue groups and even your vet’s office may provide the service.  A lot of private rescue groups also offer low cost microchipping on a regular basis.

If you’re pet is lost, and he does not have a collar with ID tags or a microchip, the first thing you should do is contact your local town municipal shelter and let them know, and if you can bring them a picture with all your appropriate contact info.  I would also contact the privately owned animal shelters too – to let them know your pet is missing, send them a picture, age if the pet is on meds, etc.

Social media has exploded over recent years with ‘Lost and Found pages on Facebook’.  Look in your local area, town, city, state to see if there is one set up for you.  Post the picture of your pet, where and when he was lost, if the pet is in need of meds, friendly, nervous around strangers, etc.  This will be very helpful in finding your pet.

On Long Island –

In Queens –

In Staten Island

Missing Pets USA

Another website that is very helpful is Pet Amber Alert, they offer many services to help you recover your pet if gone missing, even putting out a phone call to thousands in your surrounding neighborhood letting your community know a pet is missing.

You can also easily search Facebook for pages near where you live for similar pages. Craigslist is another popular site to post your missing pet in the pet’s section where you live. And the good old fashioned way of posting fliers around your neighborhood with photo, and contact number for someone to call you if they have your pet.

Bottom line? If your pet is microchipped, stop what you are doing and make sure your pet is registered with your info!

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20 May 16

Is your dog a Good Dog? ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

You’re a good dog, we often say that to our dogs.  But is your dog a Good Dog?  This past Tuesday, I headed to New York City for The Good Dog Foundation Gala event held at Guastavino’s.  It was a lovely event, extremely well coordinated, and what most non-profit organizations should strive for when hosting a gala.  Many dogs were in attendance trotting around among Broadway stars, pet professionals, pet media like Pet Age Magazine, volunteers and just many amazing supportors of this wonderful organization.

The Good Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nationally recognized leader in animal-assisted therapy whose mission it is to ease human suffering and promote healing among those experiencing trauma from disease, disability, disaster, aging and other stressful conditions. Good Dog trains and certifies hundreds of volunteer teams (dog and handler) annually. The organization works in collaboration with esteemed institutions such as Yale University and Mount Sinai Beth Israel to further scientific research on the benefits of animal-assisted therapy.

Unleashed by Petco was the signature gala host at the event that honored Planet Dog for its charitable giving of more than $1 million to nonprofits – including Good Dog – that foster human-canine wellbeing and healing.  They provided this adorable Dog Bar with lots of dog cookies to choose from, to bring a doggy bag home with you.

Rachel McPherson, founder, Good Dog Foundation with Colleen McCracken, CEO/Partner, Planet Dog and Alex Fisher, Founder/Chief Creative Officer, Planet Dog.

Of course we jumped in the fun photo booth to have our pictures taken before dinner.

(l to r) Nancy Hassel of American Pet Professionals, Stacy McCosky and her dog Sadie and Caroline Loevner

Award-winning actor Robert Sella, most recently a star in the Broadway comedy, SYLVIA, about a dog that helps heal the lives of its human companions, served as the evening’s emcee. The event drew dozens of canine guests along with nearly 300 humans.

If you are interested in learning more how your dog can become a Good Dog with The Good Dog Foundation, please visit their website

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30 Mar 16

7 picks from Global 2016! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

7 picks from Global 2016!

6.2 miles of trade show floor this year at Global Pet Expo, 3,218 booths and over 1,000 exhibitors at those booths. So to narrow this down to 7 picks – well not an easy task – and maybe not fair as I saw a ton of pet products that I would love to share  - but we would be here forever!  So I choose 7 picks and few honorable mentions!  In no particular order, here’s some of the cool products that caught my eye while in Orlando 2 weeks ago:

Automatic Litter-Robot – So this may be a steep price at $449.00 but really – if you have a cat or cats, in my opinion the Litter-Robot by Auto Pets is the way to go.  Litter box cleaning is no fun and this is virtually hands free, and should make your life so much easier.  Another great thing, this pet tech product is fully made in the USA – how cool is that?  You can see my Youtube video about coming soon!

Tall Tails Authentic Dog Products once again had a beautiful booth with many new products debuting at Global this year.  A new collection, the Run Wild collection has a bold new pattern and design on many of their exisiting products and new products like the Flying Disc which is perfect retreiving games with your dog and it even floats.  The new 3-in-1 blanket is a great combo for those dogs who love to snuggle under the covers, find a comfy place to relax on after hours of play.

Jakks Pet Faces pillows - these stopped me in my tracks because of the sheer adorableness of them. And they were incredibly soft and the faces are lifelike and cartoonish all at the same time.  Perfect gift for the pet lover in your life or even your pets.  They had many cat face pillows including Grumpy Cat, and also for dogs, a Boxer, Bulldog, Rottie, Boston Terrier, Yorkie and Pom.

The Orijen and Acana booth where they were doing a food tasting with chefs making food for people with the same human grade ingredients that goes into the dog food – it was a big hit, there were a lot of people sampling their food and their display was incredible.  They had a display of all the ingredients that go into their foods – nothing like I have seen before (it’s usually just pictures of the ingredients).  Their pet food is made in Canada, but in a few months a brand new facility will open in Kentucky and all the food will be made and ingredients sourced in the USA.

Hurtta – If you are someone who likes to go on adventures with your dog, off the beaten trail, like me – then you will love the products from Hurtta – from Finland.  Especially the Sun & Bug Blocker – it may seem crazy to put your dog in this full body coat for lack of a better term.  But just the other day I walked my dog Cody in a relatively new county park, and was picking the tiny ticks off him as we walked (and he wasn’t in the brush).  This coat also provides a UPF of 40 blocking most of the UV rays from the sun.  The other coat they had that I absolutey loved is the Ultimate Warmer.  In looking for a coat for Cody, I could never find anything that actually fits him, covers his butt and goes up to his neck.  He is a wuss when it comes to the cold, so I can wait to try this for him.

Finding toys for my dog that he won’t destroy is nearly impossible.  Even the toys that say durable, puncture resistant – are usually no match for him.  Walking the trade show floor I saw a ton of really nice toys, adorable toys, super soft toys – non of which would last more than 3 minutes.  I know many of you can relate.  On my last day at Global I saw something that I thought, hmm, I bet this would be a good choice for Cody, the Virtually Indestructible ball by Hueter Toledo, Inc.   It comes in many sizes, some even have a ball within a ball and best part, made in the USA!  Hope to get one soon to try it with Cody!

Beco Bowl by Beco Pets – if you have a big dog, you know finding a collaspable water bowl that is non-toxic and well made is hard to find.  I literally have been searching for 6-months for a Large collapsable water bowl to no avail.  The majority are made for small or medium sized dogs – or the opening of the bowl is just too small.  On the last day, literally the last 15 minutes of the show I found the Beco Bowl (thanks Dana!), so I can wait for Cody to try it.  It is sustainable, toxin free, as are all their products.

A few other pet products that I loved was the PawFlex new series of tug toys, A Pet with Paws Vegan pet carriers made from recycled plastic water bottles, Einstein Pets 1 calorie all natural healthy pet treats, and the emjoi squeaky toys!  For more pictures of great products you can click here.

If you were at Global – what was your favorite find?

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22 Feb 16

What Dog Training equipment should y ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

What Dog Training Equipment should you use for your dog?

It seems like it should go without saying, if you’re unsure of what type of training collar, harness, leash, etc., that you should be using for your dog, you should contact a Professional Dog Trainer for help and guidance.

Many dog owners guessitmate what training equipment they should use, don’t get proper training lessons with said equipment for their dog.  Or worse just buy training collars or harnesses off the web or in a big box store and do not do ANY research about the product – or even know how to use it!  Or they ask for advice in a Facebook group and then go out and get the product without ANY help from a professional.

If you’re a dog trainer, I am sure you have heard this before, “That’s what worked for my last dog,” and the owner just assumes that what worked for their last dog will be the same for their new dog.  And, yes in some instances that can be the case, but not always.

On nearly a daily basis the topic comes up for me – whether it is when I am out walking my dog Cody, meeting someone with a new puppy, they always seem to ask me training questions.  And while I am not a trainer in that, I don’t get hired to train dogs, I have been training dogs since I was 10-years old, I taught responsible dog ownership classes for years, have worked with extreme cases (highly aggressive and/or unstable dogs) while pet sitting, and ended up training dogs in the process and have given training advice to friends. (And have asked for advice from dog training professional friends for some of those extreme cases).  I have also recomended professional trainers many times over.

I am sure this is something my dog training friends see all the time also, and it can be cringe worthy when seeing someone walk a dog with a training collar/harness and seemingly not have a CLUE as to what they are doing!  Or WORSE hurting or injurying the dog out of their own frustration of not fully understanding of the training collar/harness and that they are hurting their dog.

The topic comes up amoung friends as well – as recently as this past weekend while on a dog walk with a lot of different dogs, a bunch of us were talking dog training – what type of collars, harnesses, no-pull apparatuses we use, etc., what we want to try next (especially for our strong pullers!).

I have always said, you have to find the right dog trainer and training collar/harness for your dog, your situation and your family.  Every dog is different, every dog owner is different and trainers will have different training advice for you and your dog.  There is nothing wrong with interviewing or working with different dog trainers to see which one will be the best fit.

So here are some tips to help guide new, novice and even experienced dog owners to help you and your dog:

1. Seek out and find a professional dog trainer to help you purchase any training equipment, have the trainer teach YOU how to use it properly and to fit it properly.  Fit is very important.  Dogs can slip out of collars/harnesses if you don’t have it on correctly.

2. Don’t go to a big box store and rely on the sales clerk to sell you the right collar/harness.  Some trainers will go with you to the store and help you purchase the correct item you need.

3. You may go through many different kinds of training collars/harnesses until you find the right one that works for your dog.  Don’t be discouraged by that.  It’s ok!

4. Taking training classes?  Great!  Have a family or signifcant other that will also be taking care of your dog? Get the entire family involved with training the family dog so everyone has an understanding, and uses the same words, terms when training. Also everyone in the household should know how to properly put on and take off the any training equipment.  (And for SAFETY: no training collar/harness should be left on your dog when in the house, crate – it can be dangerous.  I have seen dogs with choke collars on all the time, with their tags on the choke collar [NO!!!], it’s very dangerous to do that.  If your dog’s choke collar gets caught on something it can choke to death.  A flat buckle collar is where you should have your dogs tags on.)

5. Make your training sessions Fun!  Dogs can feel your frustration right down your 6-foot lead.  Dogs want to learn and please their owners – so making it a fun, positive session for you and your dog – you will both look forward to training.  You will be so proud when your dog learns a new trick!

6. Train your dog in different senerios, different locations – and regularly.  You will see a big difference in how your dog reacts to things and his/her excitement level.             For example: My dog Cody on short walks can be easily walked on a flat collar or his regular collar.  If I know he is going to be very overstimulated (like visiting a pet store, walking with a bunch of new dogs – he gets really happily excited) – he will have a training collar on.  I am working with him to get him completely back to a flat collar – but it is a work in progress, and that is OK!  I also always have treats in my pocket to be able to get him to focus on me when out and about if he is really excite-a-bull!

I work with Cody on a regular basis so he will focus on me when I ask him to.  He has a couple of training collars – for different situations.   I do training sessions as part of every single walk.  Even it if is a ’stop, sit, stay, look, good boy!’  Takes less than a minute.  I also incorporate heel training sessions into his walk regularly, he’s getting there. :)

7. My last tip for equipment is please do Not use retractable leashes when training (or at all).  You can ‘feel’ your dog through the leash in your hand when using a 6-foot leash. (Meaning you can feel your dog moving around while on the walk, how far he is getting from you – something you can NOT feel while he is on a retractable). I personally prefer a good quality 6-foot leather leash for regular dog walks.  I have had Cody 10-months, the leather leash I use for him, I have had for 15 years.  It doesn’t look like have had it 15-years!

Seeing so many different types of dog training equipment on the market, I understand how overwhelming it can be for dog owners.  That’s why hiring a professional dog trainer with experience, that has plenty of references and continues their own education in dog training, is so important for you and your dog.

You want to have fun with your dog – even while training!

I would love to know what your favorite training collar/harness or lead is, and why? Post in the comment section below:

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21 Feb 16

Big Dawgs at Westminster! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,, All Photos are Property of Nancy E. Hassel &

For the love of dogs, that is why thousands of people come in from all across the USA and world to attend the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  For the LOVE of dogs.  That’s why I go.  While the show may be over, the buzz of the Best In Show winner will be happening for quite some time.

Each year the crowds of people seem to get bigger, always enthusiastic about their favorite breed of dog, you over hear stories about their own dogs, smiles from ear to ear as the dogs flew through the agility course on Saturday and seeing kids that were in awe of the 175 Great Danes at Meet the Breeds.

As dog lovers we tend to be drawn to dogs that we like, while I love all dogs, I am drawn to the big dogs for the most part (and Frenchies! haha), so I decided for that this after Westminter article to hightlight some of the massive dogs that were at Westminster!

Africian Boerboel – new to Westminster this year, there were only 4 in the breed ring, 3 females and 1 male.  Not a new breed by any means, just newly accepted to the AKC.  This dog is absolutely stunning in person – and while they can be a lot to handle for first time dog owners, the 4 that were there were very calm (I have met a few in the past and they were also calm, sweet and happy dogs) but you want to do your research, meet with breeders and learn about this rare breed before thinking about getting one.

This was in the Junior Handlers right before the show went live on Tuesday night.  I just loved seeing this tiny young girl handling this large beautiful Great Dane around the ring like a pro and with such ease.  Stunning dog – usually you see the fawn with black mask on the danes in the ring (which was in the working group), but this brindle coloration was beautiful.  It’s so great to see young junior handlers at dog shows.

This dog is a Anatolian Shepherd Dog – very large working breed, used for protection, farm work and definitely not for the 1st time dog owner.  They are very big – I have always loved seeing these guys at Westminster.

The Newfounland! Or Newfie for short – this gorgeous dog is a joy to see at Westminster or just walking in a dog park.  They are gentle and used for rescue work, think jumping out of helicopters into water to save a person from drowning!  Look at his foot – looks like a bear foot!  If you don’t mind some drool, then you will love these dogs.  They come in many colors, and do require grooming and regular brushing for that coat to look nice.

English Mastiff, probably one of the most massive breeds of dogs you can get.  They usually weigh in at 250 pounds…they are great dogs.  They are the origin of many other mastiff breeds.

This dog.  Do I need to say more?  Working farm dog to help protect sheep…dread locks are natural for this dog.  I can’t imagine owning one and having his fur this long.  But they are very impressive to see in person. The Komondor.

The Saint Bernard, another massive dog.  See how high his back is in relation to the purple backdrop?  You don’t see these dogs all to often but whenever you do, you are reminded of their size and sweet disposition.  Also working dogs, rescue dogs, and great family dogs.

Two for 1 in this photo, the beautiful white dog on the left is a Kuvasz – is an ancient breed of dog that is a livestock gurad dog working on the farm.  You need to work with them on socialization and training, again maybe not for the first time dog owner.  There was one at Meet the Breeds too, and she was very sweet and relaxed while there!  The dog on the right is the Leonberger – 4th or 5th year at Westminster and also massive in size, but they are very sweet from the dogs I know.  If you saw Best in Show on TV of this years Westminster – Dario (Pictured here) was snack happy and trying to get the treats out of his handler’s pocket.  It was quite comical and the crowd at MSG got a big kick out of it as did I!

The Neopolitian Mastiff, or Neo for short.  Italian Mastiff, with skin that is not defying gravity in any way shape or form!  Drooly, slobbery huge dogs – this breed helped create the Cane Corso, his cousin and much more agile (and less droopy skin) of the Italian Mastiffs.   This Neo made a point to say hi to some of the crowd – it was pretty cute to see!

For a lot more pictures from Westminster, you can CLICK HERE to see them.  I say it every year, if you have yet to go to Westminster, our superbowl of dog shows, you need to get your butt there, not matter where you live, it will be worth the trip to NYC!