Keeping your dog cool with The Green Shop Cool Pet Pad

Summer is usually hot.   During this season it is hard for dogs to be comfortable.   In order to help them we can provide shade and water as well as change when we go for walks.   Another means is providing them a cooling mat.

We tested the Green Pet Shop Cool Pet Pad since it had quite a few positive reviews on Amazon.

The Cool Pet Pad is pressure activated; as soon as the dog lies down, the cooling effect starts. It cools for up to 3 hours of constant use and recharges itself automatically after 15-20 minutes of non-use.  It works without refrigeration, water, or electricity.  This particular mat also doesn’t require the use of water which means no mold or leaks.

We use the pad in our car to keep the dogs cooler during their commute to Acme.  The pads tend to heat up a bit in the car.  It is amazing to feel how fast they cool down when you add pressure to the mat.  Both Autumn and Penny enjoy the coolness on their bodies .  Unfortunately the easy to clean surface doesn’t have much traction so the dogs learned to adjust their balance to compensate for this.

Penny has a tendency to be part Beaver.  One of the factors we looked for in the cooling mat was a tough covering.  After 3 months of use the Cool Pet Pad has not been punctured or cut.

The Cool Pet Pad is easy to fold up and fairly light weight.   This convenience is a plus when you need to transport it.

Although a bit expensive (ranging from $30 to $70) we feel the Green Pet Shop Cool Pet Pad is deserving of 4 paws for durability and purpose.

Useful Tricks to Teach your Dog

Useful Tricks

  • If your dog already knows how to heel on your left, teach him to heel on your right or to walk right behind you. These may be useful in crowds, narrow corridors, etc., and heeling on the right is also needed in Agility. Remember to use a new command for heeling on the ‘wrong’ side!
  • Teach your dog to lift up each of his feet on command (‘right-front’ etc.) This is useful when you clip his nails, or need to wash or wipe him, etc.
  • Are you tired of collecting all of your dog’s chew toys, tennis balls, squeaky toys, teddy bears etc. when your parents-in-law or your non-dog-loving boss is coming for dinner? Teach your dog to do it himself! He can learn to pick up all of his toys and put them into a box on command.
  • If you live somewhere where it rains frequently, you probably already hate the way your dog shakes his coat dry when he is close to you or your clean laundry etc.? You can teach him to do that on command so that you can ask him to ‘shake!’ or ‘rock’n’roll!’ when he is standing a little bit further away.
  • Is your duty in the family to wake everybody up in the morning — a routine which often requires lots of time and effort, and is never appreciated? Teach your dog to do it for you! “Go wake up Jane!” “Go wake up Daddy!” and your dog licks their faces or pokes them with his nose until they are awake.
    Another version of this: The dog ‘digs’ in the morning: on command, she rips back the covers from around a malingerer and drags them (the covers) back to the foot of bed, exposing said body to cold air and (ostensibly) motivating rising.
  • If you live alone and sometimes fall asleep again after turning off the alarm clock in your sleep, you can teach your dog to start licking and poking you at the sound of your alarm clock.
  • Everybody’s heard of the classical trick where a dog fetches slippers or a newspaper, but what about letting your dog ‘answer the phone’ (lift up the receiver for you), put an empty beer bottle back in the box, or carry some other things on command? (It’s possible to teach a dog to identify a very large number of objects by names).
  • When you go out for a walk, let your dog fetch his own collar and/or leash. Have him get his collar from the shelf when you say “collar!”. Some people also use this in Agility, when they finish their run the dog goes to get his leash instead of jumping around the handler demanding for more action.
  • Teach your dog to ‘finds your keys’. Also good for accustoming dogs to metal articles in mouth for utility work. You can also teach your dog to bring the box of Kleenex when you sneeze.
  • Teach your dog to stop and look before crossing a road. You can first teach your dog the directions (“look right” and “look left”), and then combine the commands to sit and to look left-right-left! before given the permission to cross. Add the command “Any cars coming?” for the entire trick.  If you are consistent with your training, you can possibly condition your dog not to start crossing the road as long as he sees cars approaching, which would make this trick also extremely useful.
  • Teach your dog to “back up”. With this command, you can give him a simple command to “back up”, which gets him out of the way and also earns him some praise — instead of him receiving human “growls” because he’s in the way.

7 steps to protecting your dog this summer

Summer is here, and so is the heat.  You can help prevent several heat related dog issues by just following these steps.

1. LEARN HOW TO CHECK YOUR DOG’S TEMPERATURE. Learn how to check your dog for a rough temperature by sticking your finger down inside of the ear. Feel the inside of the ear at different times, after you’ve been inside, in the evening, am, and then feel it after you’ve been out walking for a while. If it’s tangibly warm to the touch, the dog is too hot.

2. LEARN WHAT YOUR DOG’S NORMAL HEART BEAT AND RESPIRATIONS ARE. Buy a stethoscope from your local pharmacy. Listen to your dog’s heart (left side of the rib cage). Count the beats over a 15 second count and multiply by four. Count your dog’s respirations by looking at his side go in and out. Count pulse and respiration after a walk. Check it 15 minutes later, 1/2 hr., 1 hr…..learn what your animal’s rate of cool down are. Heartbeat and respiration should not be hanging high an hour later.

If you want to get fancy, learn what normal capillary refill time is in the gums of your dog. Normal is usually one second. Open the mouth, press your
thumb to the gum, let go, count how long it takes for the white where you pressed to disappear. A two or 3 on capillary refill time indicates sluggish circulation and overheating.

Also check what’s normal in their eyes — red eyeballs may be a capillary response, again the body’s attempt to cool down.

If you have a slick coated dog you can pull skin away from the neck and count how long (right away) it takes to spring back. If skin starts tenting
and not springing back — you’ve got a serious dehydration problem.

3. LIMIT TIME IN THE SUN. A half hour is a lot depending on how hot it is. An hour of rambunctious activity in the heat can really push a dog to
needing 3-4 hours to cool out, depending on their level of fitness. Even if you have a dog that thinks baking outside is just fine, still override them and bring them in.

4. KEEP A WATER SUPPLY OUTSIDE. Lots of water is also important. If the dog MUST be outside, lots and lots of water and shade is vital. You can leave a bowl of water or a kiddie pool outside. Some people carry a spray bottle to wet down mouths, paws and heads of the dog. Even with a water supply and shade, I recommend that the dog be kept inside or at least have access to the inside or air conditioning somehow.

5. COOL DOWN YOUR DOG. Animals disperse heat through the venal return system of the blood. (Think, inside of the legs and belly, and underside of the neck.) Part of the dog’s thermostat mechanism is at the base of the brain. What does this mean, and how does this into summer protocol? After a walk hose down your dog. Starting at the back of the head and top of the head go down the spinal column and then a quick spray down the belly and the inside of the legs, and under the tail. I’ll leave the danger warning signs to the vets and their recommended protocol for heat stroke.

6. DOGS CAN BURN THEIR PAWS. Feel the pavement or surface your dog is going to be on. Don’t put your dog into a metal pick-up bed. Check the temperature of the pavement. Many times the pavement is just too hot for dogs. Walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening. There are booties for all sizes of dogs. If you’re going to be doing a lot of pavement walking in summertime — use them. You can also coat your dog’s paws with a product like Musher’s Secret to help protect them.

7. CONSIDER YOUR DOG’S COAT. Some people think they should shave the dog for comfort. Care must be taken that they don’t end up with a sunburned dog. If the dog is matted, or if the dog has a lot of dead undercoat, it will make the dog hot. If the undercoat is kept thoroughly brushed out, and the coat is kept matt-free, then it can act as insulation from both the heat and cold.
Heat is something we have to deal with in dogs. Pretty much whatever you’d do for a human, you should double for the dog because dogs are not very efficient at getting rid of heat or cooling off easily.
Thanks to: Kim Walker
Cactus Canine Center &
Tucson, AZ

Andrea Eardley, MA
Canine Behavior Modification
Columbus/Plain City, Ohio

Tawni McBee, PDTI
Senior trainer, Animal Attitudes Dog Training

Acme Canine’s new blog

canisLupusCMYKIf you’re a dog lover, your browser probably has a fair share of bookmarked dog blogs that you visit on a regular basis. Acme’s Blog will be a refreshing change to your reading repertoire when it comes to all things canine… your hearing it from the dog himself. Great training tips, health info and all you need to know about the canine world.

Thanks to local illustrator, Davide Cuccia, we have a new logo for our blog.  “Karen Powell is the owner of this mischievous mama named Marlee … when I saw those adorable Marty Feldman eyes I knew she’d be perfect for my concept! ” Davide commented. And she turned out perfect for our blog.

Start following news from canis lupus familiaris today!

For more information, contact your favorite Columbus dog training facility at 740-548-1717 or

Virtually Indestructible Dog Toys

After years of research and tons of happy pups, Dogify gives us one of the best, most indestructible dog toys around. The Virtually Indestructible Ball.  All of the balls are guaranteed to stand up to the toughest dogs. Not only do they roll and float on water, but your dog will love playing with them.

Our dog testers found the toys to be really tough.  They did their best to dig their teeth into them but only scratched the surface.  Many of these heavy destroyers played for hours with the toys, mostly rolling and chasing them.

We found these hard plastic toys make a good deal of noise on the hard floors of the training room and suggest they would be best for outdoor use.  One comment made suggested not to use these toys on sharp gravel.  They will get scratched up and becomes a sort of very coarse sandpaper. Although it doesn’t seem to bother the dogs, they are rough on feet and legs of humans.

Size matters greatly with regard to these toys.  The smallest ball was destroyed immediately by the larger dogs but the extra large ball was perfect to chase and play with like a soccer ball.  One dog found the large ball small enough to stretch his mouth over which didn’t provide much stimulation.

Don’t think of these toys as balls that bounce.  These are hollow, HARD plastic balls.  They work best if you throw it like a bowling ball so the dog will chase it and roll it around.  Being light weight they are perfect for high energy dogs.

These toys are truly indestructible, clean easily and never need repair.

Acme Canine approves the Virtually Indestructible Toys for heavy chewers and herding dogs and give the product a 5 paw rating for quality and durability as well as good fun.


Fire Safety for your Dog

Prevent your pet from starting fires 

Extinguish open flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.

Remove stove knobs – Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.

Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.

Beware of water bowls on wooden decks – Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck. The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.
Keep your pets safe

Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.

Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.

Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to update the number of pets listed.

Dog’s Fear of Loud Sudden Noises

Firecrackers, thunder, and other loud, out-of-nowhere sounds often leave dogs frightened and wanting to flee to a safer place. These types of fears may develop even though your dog has had no traumatic experiences associated with the sound. The good news is that many fear-related problems can be successfully resolved. However, if left untreated, your dog’s fearful behavior will probably get worse.

The most common behavior problems associated with fear of loud noises are destruction and escaping. When your dog becomes frightened, she tries to reduce her fear. She may try to escape to a place where the sounds of thunder or firecrackers are less intense. If, by leaving the yard or going into a certain room or area of the house, she feels less afraid then the escape or destructive behavior is reinforced because it successfully lessens her fear. For some dogs, just the activity or physical exertion associated with one of these behaviors may be an outlet for their anxiety. Unfortunately, escape and/or destructive behavior can be a problem for you and could also result in physical injury to your dog.

Things that are present in the environment whenever your dog hears the startling noise can, from her viewpoint, become associated with the frightening sound.  Over a period of time, she may become afraid of other things in the environment that she associates with the noise that frightens her.  For example, dogs who are afraid of thunder may later become afraid of the wind, dark clouds, and flashes of light that often precede the sound of thunder. Dogs who are afraid of firecrackers may become afraid of the children who have the firecrackers or may become afraid to go in the backyard, if that is where they usually hear the noise.

What you can do to help

Create a safe place

Try to create a safe place for your dog to go to when she hears the noises that frighten her. But remember, this must be a safe location from her perspective not yours. Pay attention to where she goes, or tries to go, when she is frightened, and if at all possible, give her access to that place. If she is trying to get inside the house then consider installing a dog door. If she is trying to get under your bed then give her access to your bedroom.

You can also create a “hidey-hole” that is dark, small, and shielded from the frightening sound as much as possible (a fan or radio playing will help block out the sound). Encourage her to go there when you are home and the thunder or other noise occurs. Feed her in that location and associate other “good things” happening to her there. She must be able to come and go freely from this location. Confining her in the “hidey-hole” when she does not want to be there will only cause more problems. The “safe place” approach may work with some dogs but not all dogs. Some dogs are motivated to move and be active when frightened and “hiding out” will not help them feel less fearful.

 Distract your dog

This method works best when your dog is just beginning to get anxious. Encourage her to engage in any activity that captures her attention and distracts her from behaving fearfully. Start when she first alerts you to the noise and is not yet showing a lot of fearful behavior but is only watchful. Immediately try to interest her in doing something that she really enjoys. Get out the tennis ball and play fetch (in an escape-proof area) or practice some commands that she knows. Give her a lot of praise and treats for paying attention to the game or the commands.  As the storm or other noise builds, you may not be able to keep her attention on the activity but it might delay the start of the fearful behavior for longer and longer each time you do it. If you cannot keep her attention and she begins acting afraid, stop the process. If you continue you may inadvertently reinforce her fearful behavior.

Behavior modification

Behavior modification techniques are often successful in reducing fears and phobias. The appropriate techniques are called “counter-conditioning” and “desensitization.” This means to condition or teach your dog to respond in non-fearful ways to sounds and other stimuli that have previously frightened her. These techniques must be implemented very gradually. Begin by exposing your dog to an intensity level of noise that does not frighten her and pair it with something pleasant like a treat or a fun game. Gradually increase the volume as you continue to offer her something pleasant. Through this process, she will come to associate “good things” with the previously feared sound.


  • Make a tape with firecracker noises on it.
  • Play the tape at such a low volume that your dog does not respond fearfully. While the tape is playing feed her dinner, give her a treat, or play her favorite game.
  • In your next session, play the tape a little louder while you feed her or play her favorite game.
  • Continue increasing the volume through many sessions over a period of several weeks or months. If at any time while the tape is playing she displays fearful behavior at any time while the tape is playing, STOP. Begin your next session at a lower volume — one that does not produce anxiety — and proceed more slowly.

If these techniques are not used correctly, they will not be successful and can even make the problem worse.

For some fears, it can be difficult to recreate the fear stimulus. For example, thunder is accompanied by lightning, rain, and changes in barometric pressure and your dog’s fearful response may be to the combination of these things and not just the thunder. You may need professional assistance to create and implement this kind of behavior modification program.

 Consult your veterinarian

Medication may be available which can make your dog less anxious for short time periods. Your veterinarian is the only person who is licensed and qualified to prescribe medication for your dog. Do not attempt to give your dog any over-the-counter or prescription medication without consulting your veterinarian. Animals do not respond to drugs the same way people do and a medication that may be safe for humans could be fatal to your dog. Drug therapy alone will not reduce fears and phobias permanently, but in extreme cases, behavior modification and medication used together might be the best approach.

What not to do

  • Do not attempt to reassure your dog when she is afraid. This may only reinforce her fearful behavior. If you pet, soothe, or give treats to her when she is behaving fearfully, she may interpret this as a reward for her fearful behavior. Instead, try to behave normally, as if you do not notice her fearfulness.
  • Putting your dog in a crate to prevent her from being destructive during a thunderstorm is not recommended. She will still be fearful when she is in the crate and is likely to injure herself, perhaps even severely, while attempting to get out of the crate.
  • Do not punish your dog for being afraid. Punishment will only make her more fearful.
  • Do not try to force your dog to experience or be close to the sound that frightens her. For example, making her stay close to a group of children who are lighting firecrackers will only make her more afraid and could cause her to become aggressive in an attempt to escape from the situation.
  • Obedience classes will not make your dog less afraid of thunder or other noises but could help boost her general confidence.

These approaches do not work because they do not decrease your dog’s fear. Merely trying to prevent her from escaping or being destructive will not work. If your dog is still afraid, she will continue to show that fear in whatever way she can (digging, jumping, climbing, chewing, barking, howling).

©2004. Adapted from material originally developed by applied animal behaviorists at the Dumb Friends League, Denver, Colorado. All rights reserved.


Dog Training Advice for Dog Owners Whose Dog Barks

In response to the Columbus Dispatch article on Columbus dogs biting Postal Workers.  I am concerned about the advice given by Meghan Herron who suggests, “removing dogs from the room when a postal worker approaches the house”.

“That type of learning is going to take 100 times to overcome,” Herron said, adding that ideally, training should start at a young age.

Removing dogs from the room when a postal worker approaches most likely is impossible for most dog owners who work during the day, let alone repeating this pattern over 100 times to help the dog overcome the aggression.

At Acme Canine we deal with this issue several times a day with clients and their dogs.  Most people don’t understand that a dog who has too many freedoms develops behavior problems like this.  Teaching obedience develops self-control in a dog.  When a dog has self-control they think before they react.

In addition a dog that bites is a pattern that has developed over years.  At first the dog barks out the window, the Postal worker leaves.  The dog thinks they scared them off.  Coming back again day after day builds frustration in the dog which results in first snapping.  If the dog gets the right reaction (which would be almost second nature for someone to retract in fear) and the dog’s confidence builds.  Finally the dog has the confidence to make contact with skin when they bite.

A side note is dogs that are fearful but have the confidence to bite will usually go after the person when the person’s back is turned…the heel nippers.

In addition to teaching obedience, it helps to use a spray bottle to correct any barking out of a window, not just at the Postal Worker.  This is called an “environmental correction” because you do not say anything when you spray the water.  Rather you use peripheral vision and a stream not a mist on the water bottle.  When the dog barks, you walk up to the window to look out.  At that time, without directly looking at the dog, you spray the dog’s face whether they are barking at that time or not (there is a 5 second window to praise or correct a dog which they will associate with the action).  Then tell the dog, “good quiet”.

This will teach the dog not to bark out the window and stop the pattern of wanting to go after Postal Workers.  And positive results occur within a week or so if obedience is being taught.

Harness Lead, an alternative to training your dog not to pull on leash

Harness Lead is an adjustable dog harness with a leash attached designed to be an alternative to training your dog not to pull on leash.

When working with a dog using the proper equipment and knowing how to use it is key to your success.  Many dog owners purchase a tool, use it incorrectly and then criticize the tool for harm to the dog or not being effective.

Not only is it important to know how to use the tool but also whether the tool is used for training or to stop a behavior.

The Harness Lead is a tool to help stop a dog from pulling on leash but is not a training tool to teach them to walk politely on leash.  Confused?  Think of it this way, the Harness Lead is designed to prevent a dog from pulling.  This means when the dog is on another tool such as a leash and buckle collar, it will pull on walks.

The Harness Lead’s design is such that it adjusts to any size or body type just by aligning the movable black stops with front leg so it will fit any body perfectly…so it is virtually escape proof.   It is made of hand spliced nylon with a tensile strength of 3,700 lbs.  This soft texture with no hard edges or buckles reduces chafing.

Some of our reviewers had “harness anxiety” with putting it on the first time. There is definitely a learning curve.   For this reason it would help to take your dog our in a fenced yard before going out in the road to make sure you have it secured correctly.

Others felt the length of the leash could be longer.  A couple wanted a thinner size for dogs under 30 lbs.  Overall the leash is a little thick, about ¾” in diameter with a maximum length of 8 feet when it is totally stretched out.  The length changes with the size of the dog’s neck and chest.

We found that the Harness Lead worked well with the dogs in our care.  Most responded quickly to the leash with only a few heavy pullers being resistant.

It is easy to use once you get the hang of how to put it on and the dogs quickly adapt to wearing it.  And it is washable.

Harness Lead has a great return policy:  “If for any reason you are not satisfied, just return within 2 months of the date of your purchase to Harness Lead and once they receive it back, a full refund will be issued.  You just need to include the reason for return.”

We feel the Harness Lead has a place in the dog world.   It may not be for every dog but it is a quick and easy way to walk a dog without the agony of them pulling on leash.  It is our opinion that this would be a great leash for a puppy or dog you don’t plan to train.

Acme Canine gives this product 4 paws up for great design and the Harness Lead return policy.

Teaching your dog obedience commands

Teaching obedience commands is a great way to improve your relationship with your dog.  Obedience will teach your dog focus and self-restraint while making him better behaved.  Obedience is also a great way to mentally stimulate your dog.

The command gives your dog something to think about rather than a previously typical knee jerk reaction.  They understand that sit means sit quietly and heel means be attentive to their handler.  Using commands as tools can help a dog focus in situations which were previously tough for him.  Through distraction training dogs learned self-control and confidence.  “Self-control” meaning he can control his actions on his own.  Confidence is the result and then he feels less of a need to bark or act out.  A lack of confidence and self-control in dogs tends to develop into a variety of unwanted behaviors.  So it is important to make obedience a way of life.

With practice and consistency at home, you should be able to help your dog become a much better member of society.

Have an obedient dog?  Below is a list of common commands taught in obedience.  Can your dog do all of these?  If not, contact Acme Canine to find out how to start lessons.

  • Sit                                                                      •              Heel                                                        •              Down
  • Come                                                                •              Sit-from-Down                                     •              Up/Off
  • Leave It                                                            •              Place                                                       •              Sit-in-Motion
  • Down-in-Motion                                            •              Sit-from-Front                                     •              Down-from-Front
  • Drop                                                                 •              Take                                                        •              Stand
  • Square Off 90                                                 •              Finish

The use of standard cue words is a basic tool used to get desired behavior from a dog.  Following are the standard cue words used at Acme Canine; in addition we use the owner’s release word, crate word and elimination command:

  1. Off – dog needs 4 feet on ground
  2. Leave it – dog needs get away from item or dog (litter, poop, urine, etc)
  3. Wait – dog is to stop moving forward
  4. Quiet – dog is to stop barking
  5. Back – dog is to back up so another dog can go through the door
  6. No – dog is to stop what it is doing and focus on us

Keeping Cues Strong

  • In order to avoid teaching the dog to ignore us it is most successful to use each cue word only one time and to enforce the cue given.
  • Use verbal praise and brief pats to reward dogs for proper responses to cues.
  • Praise the dog when they respond to your cue.  Remain patient and be consistent.

Have you and your dog already had obedience lessons?  Try taking him off-leash!  Teaching off-leash obedience is a very challenging, yet rewarding way to spend time with your dog.  Interested, but not sure how to do this?  Acme Canine can help you out!