Monthly Archives: July 2013

Best Dog Training Tip for Pesky People-Pullers

Marley One of the first tips I’ve learned from my Dog Trainer at Pawprints of Vero Beach was to always be the leader. With a 130lb puppy, you can probably imagine this is not as easy as it sounds. When I first met Marley, he was dragging his original mommy down the side walk to greet us. This happy pup was very controlling just because of his own weight. He probably didn’t really even know what he’s doing. If we play tug-a-war, he will always win, so the tugging and leading had to stop.

When Sean, from Pawprints, came over for our first consultation, he taught me several training tips – but one tip in particular has been super helpful. Don’t let Marley go ahead of you.

Marley Well, you may ask, how in the world can you prevent that from happening. I’ll tell you how! If your dog runs in front of you, you can be instantly in front if you simply turn around. How SIMPLE right?! As soon as you turn around the other way, your pet is following YOU instead of you following HIM!

By doing this over and over and over, your pet will realize if it it wants to go anywhere, it must follow you. Otherwise, you will turn around and go right back into the house, or to the starting place.

Believe it or not, it only took a few times before Marley began to catch on. Before I knew it, he was no longer pulling me, and was sticking by my side. Of course, occasionally, he will see a dog or want to get ahead, and I just simply turn around. Since they are pack animals, it’s completely instinct for them to follow.

walking dogIt’s a small tip that can make a BIG difference if you apply it and practice it often.

As you can see here, there is slack in his leash, he’s right by my side and we are both having a happy pleasant walk TOGETHER (key word). ūüôā

5 Tips to Teaching Your Dog Who’s Boss¬†

1. Turn around. Remind your dog who the pack leader is: YOU! Always remain the leader through out your walk.

2. Stop & make your dog sit. Teach them that they are going NO WHERE unless you LET them. They’ll quickly learn that following you is much more fun than sitting around doing nothing.

3. Don’t keep a tight leash when your pup is close. This teaches them that, when they are close, they are more comfortable. A tight leash is uncomfortable and doesn’t allow for any correction – plus it’s easier for them to pull YOU.

4. Don’t pull them.¬†If you don’t want them to pull you, then don’t pull them. Just like a horse, a constant pull on the reins (or leash) is something they can bear, and get used to – but a quit light tug is more aggravating for them. So, as they stray (left, right, in front or behind), give them a quick tug of correction to get their mind back on following you, and direct them back in place.

5. Train your dog to walk using a sidewalk. Make it easy on your dog by using sidewalks for leash training. Sidewalks offer more clear boundaries, with a more narrow space to stick to. An open road, path or yard is more challenging since there is more room to wander.

NOTE: I am no dog training expert. If you could use some dog training, I HIGHLY recommend the trainers at Pawprints.  I am literally learning myself! I just plan to share everything I learn along the way in hopes of helping others! 

Cool Tips for Hot Doggie Days

dog tips for hot daysWe took Marley to the beach this weekend and we noticed his not-so-little nose got bright pink from the sun. The poor guy was sunburned. My last Great Dane had a dark mussel and dark skin, so I never even thought about Marley getting burned. Knowing he needed sun protection, I knew I needed to do some research.

On top of it, I forgot his water bowl. I brought a gallon of water for him, but forgot to bring something to put it in. This got me thinking. I need to have a beach bag check list for beach days with Marley so we are more prepared – and I can keep him safe and cool.

After a little research, here is what I found…

Doggie Sun Screen 

Dog SunscreenYes, there is sun screen made just for dogs. However, when I went to our local pet store, they didn’t have any in stock. ¬†One veterinarian site I found recommended the only FDA approved sunscreen for pets¬†Epi-Pet Sun Protector. However, I would need to order that – and I needed a pan B.

safe sunscreen for dogsPlan B

My first thought was to use baby sun screen. I mean, if it’s gentle enough for babies, surely it would be gentle enough for our furry babies. However, some ingredients can be toxic if ingested, like zinc oxide. In a¬†Fox News report,¬†Dr. Mark Macina, Animal Medical Center’s dermatologist, said he found Bullfrog sunscreen SPF 15 or greater worked well for animals.

Hot Spots Check List

Be sure to check these spots for areas you may want to keep covered.

  • Tips of ears
  • Around the Nose and Mouth
  • Belly, groin and inner thigh areas (especially if your dog likes to lounge on his back)
  • Any area with thinning hair or hair loss

Heat Protection & Prevention

  • BulldogLarge breed dogs are twice as likely to suffer from heat stroke
  • Black coated dogs soak up the heat much faster than a light coated dog
  • Flat faced dogs (like bull dogs, pugs & boxers) have less of a nose and narrower windpipe, and are more susceptible of overheating

Signs up Heat Stroke

To be safe, you should know the signs of heat stroke, and how to treat it. Wikihow has great information every dog owner should know.  Click Here to learn more

dog heat stroke


dog in convertibleAll dog owners should also know signs of dehydration to be able recognize the signs as early as possible. Since I was the dumb-dumb that forgot a water bowl, I was super worried Marley wasn’t getting enough water (although he was drinking pretty OK out of the jug). Now I will know a few things to look out for like:

  • Gums should be moist and wet, not dry or tacky
  • Skin should bounce back if being pulled away from the body, showing healthy elasticity
  • Saliva should be thin, not thick and gooey

If you believe your dog is dehydrated, of course the first course of action is to give them water. In more extreme cases, you can give them Pedialyte, or even Gatorade. (NOTE: this is great to always have on hand on hot days in case of emergencies.) WebMD suggests you administer the solution at a rate of 2 to 4 ml per pound (1 to 2 ml per kilo) of body weight per hour. In very extreme cases, you must immediately take your dog to the vet for  intravenous fluids.

Beach Bag Check List

The following list are items I should always have to keep Marley safe, cool, comfortable and prepared – and the happier HE is, the more fun (and relaxing) the trip will be more ME too! To make it easy, I’ll pack a special doggie beach bag that’s always stocked and ready to go when we are!

Fido's beach bag checklist


Does Your Dog Eat McDonald’s or Subway?

Blue BuffaloMany Americans are eating a TON of food, but none of it’s really quality. They choose hamburgers over whole foods and healthier options. Another words, they can eat loads of calories, but be malnourished and unhealthy because they are missing higher quality foods, like good fats and proteins.

Often times, these choices are based on what’s in the wallet. $5.00 goes a long way at Taco Bell compared to the Outback. So they eat crappy, and they typically feel (and look) crappy too.

The same goes for fido. What they eat greatly determines how they look and feel. The problem is, many dog owners are not comparing apples to apples. They look at high-price food and have a difficult time switching over – especially when their dog is eating 8-10 cups of food a day.

Just the same way I can eat a smaller higher quality meal and be satisfied, dog’s don’t need to eat as much of the higher quality food as they do cheaper brands. This means, when you are price comparing, you need to realize you can’t compare them pound to pound.

For instance, Pedigree recommends 150lb dog get 8 cups of food a day, according to this feeding chart on their website. My Marley was wanting a whopping 10 CUPS a day! pedigree dog feeding chart

Blue Buffalo recommends a 150lb dog only eats 5 cups a day. Big difference! Now that he’s getting higher quality food, he’s not near as hungry either.

Blue Buffalo

The moral of the story is when your dog gets higher quality, he doesn’t need quantity. Most of the time, just like humans, they can eat much less – and be a LOT healthier too! ūüôā

Doggie Diet Tips: Improve Your Dog’s Good Looks

great dane dogWhen I got Marley I noticed faint thinning patches of hair. Most people probably wouldn’t notice, but I could tell his hair should be shinier and even fuller than it was.

Since he LOVES to swim and play in the water, I was also worried his many baths would dry him out. So, I asked my doggie experts at Pawprints what I could do to help his coat.

While their first response was diet, they wanted to make sure I wasn’t making things worse by bathing him too often (which I admit I was doing). They know how much he likes to swim, and recommended only rinsing him off without shampoo after his swims. They said to only bathe him once or twice a month at the most. Good to know!

Solution #1

blue buffalo dog foodThey had 2 main suggestions. First up was food. They asked me was what kind of food he was eating. His last owner had him on Pedigree, so I’m in the process of gradually switching him over and blending that food with his new Blue Buffalo food (a grain free higher quality food, which he LOVES by the way). This brand came highly recommended by the Pawprints staff, and to be honest, I just had to trust them because I knew NOTHING!

After I bought it, I came home and did more research to get a better understanding of what he was eating. I was very pleased with what I found online. They even had a handy-dandy brand comparison chart (at the bottom of the blog) so I could compare brands. Granted, I’m sure there are several excellent grain-free foods out there, I’m happy I found one of them!

Solution #2

fish oilWhile nutrition is great, sometimes (like humans) pets can benefit from taking supplements. Pawprints experts suggested adding fish oil to his diet. They said I could just break open a capsule and pour it over his food. Well, thanks to GNC, I had a TON of excellent fish oil supplements at home, so I couldn’t WAIT to get started.

Marley LOVES the fish oil and can’t wait for me to add it to his food – and I can’t wait to see the results!

According the the Canine & Conditioning Rehabilitation Group, to calculate the correct dose, multiply your dog’s weight by 20. That is how many milligrams¬†your dog should be getting. For Big Mar, that’s 3,000mg daily. After I use up my surplus of GNC fish oil, I’ll likely switch to a super concentrated fish oil made for dogs.

Benefits Include:

  • Healthy skin & glistening coat
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased stamina
  • Improved the immune system
  • Decreased shedding
  • Adds moisture to dry, irritated skin

Visit¬†CRCG¬†to learn more benefits of adding fish oil to your doggie’s diet.


Great daneHow many dog owners actually take BETTER care of their dog than they do their own bodies?! (Meeeee!!!) If fish oil does all these great things for dogs, don’t you know they would benefit the dog owner too? I am a firm believer in supplements, however, I’m so forgetful. I have a hard time remembering to take them. It’s funny, I haven’t forgotten to give him his fish oil once.

Today, I am going to commit to the two of us taking our supplements together!

Click HERE to learn more about what fish oil can do for YOU!

Blue Buffalo Food Comparison

Blue Buffalo

Who Got In The Trash?

I came across this a few years ago and it’s still one of my favorite videos. This guy (the dog) cracks me up every time I watch it. (My last Great Dane’s name was Tank too.) So funny!

Workout Like a Dog

mountain climbersWhether you have an injury or you just want to do some serious core work, there are a TON of exercises that you can do on all fours. Yes, you can truly still workout like a dog! The following exercises combine a cardiovascular exercise with a isometric hold exercise. You’ll never breathe so heavy and feel muscle burn doing nothing. OK, you are doing SOMETHING – you are trying not to let your body fall to the floor, but for staying still, these exercises will kick your butt. Modify exercises by moving from hands to your elbows if needed.

Grab your¬†Gymboss¬†Interval Timer, and set it for 30 seconds ON and 30 Seconds off. Do each each exercise in each couplet back to back with no rest. Take no more than 15 seconds rest between couplets. During the ACTION exercise, perform each rep as fast as you possibly can, as if racing. During the HOLD exercise, do everything you can to maintain good form, without letting your knees hit the ground. After the warm-up, repeat the workout 2 times for beginners, 4 times for advanced. If you want to pump it up even more, go for a full 1 minute for each exercise or drop the 15 seconds rest. Let me know how you do by commenting below. ūüôā

Ever wonder what muscles are working when you are in plank? Here’s a cool illustration to show the muscles engaged. Now, get ready to workout your entire core – chest, back, shoulders, abs and obliques – and not to mention your heart and lunges! Prepare to SWEAT!


Cardio & Core on the Floor

TIP: Click on the exercise to see video demonstrations.

Warm Up:
Hop Over
3 Times

ACTION: Plank Jax
HOLD: Plank (preferably on hands. Elbows is a mod)

ACTION: Mountain Climber
HOLD: Two-point Bridge (hold each side for 5 seconds, 10 seconds for advanced)

ACTION: Surfers
HOLD: Plank Up-down

ACTION: Rotational Push-ups
HOLD: Side Plank (Right, next round do Left)

ACTION: Squat Thrusts
HOLD: Pulse Side Plank (Right, next round do Left)


Bonnie PfiesterWelcome to my BRAND NEW PFITdog blog (play on my last name which starts with a silent P). I am a fitness blogger, gym owner, dog lover, beach goer, God server and all-things positive sharer!

Meet Mom: “My name is Bonnie.¬†I live in Vero Beach, Florida and own a Great Dane puppy (yes, he’s only a puppy) named¬†Marley-Bo.¬†My goal is to inspire you and your Fido to get (and stay) fit and healthy! I plan to share furry fit tips, fun pics and more to keep you and your furry friend active.” Bonnie Pfiester

Meet Marley:¬†“I attend Pawprints dog training and like to go to the beach with mom. I love riding in her car with the top down, wrestling with pops and cuddling the couch during TV time. I’m pretty awesome. Everyone Loves Me. My goal is to get as much attention as possible.” Marley-Bo, AKA Mar-Bo,¬†Bo Dog, Big Mar¬†

And God Made a Dog

Happy DogI love this video! It really made me think of how awesome God is. I have to believe He knew how much we needed a special someone to love us unconditionally – maybe because that’s his desire too.

I have often wondered why God even made us to begin with, and then I think of Marley. I think of how wonderful it is when he gets excited to see me, and how amazing it feels when he obeys me. So, while we may not be as cute and cuddly as dogs, I guess even God enjoys having a companion. ‚̧

15 Ways Fido Keeps You Fit

Marley Mantel Great DaneSome of you may have noticed I have a new addition to the family. (I almost feel sorry for my¬†Facebook¬†and¬†Instagram¬†friends who have to endure the million pics I’ve been posting! Sorry guys!) However, if you were one of the lucky ones who’s newsfeed hasn’t been filled up with all my pictures, and you are in the dark, I am now the proud mother to a 10 month old baby boy.

He’s just a baby, but he is already about 30″ tall and weighs 130lbs. He may not be human, but he thinks he is. My big new baby is a Great Dane Puppy, named Marley Beaux (Bo). (We are experimenting with names…he came to us as Marley, but we kinda think he looks like a “Bo”. Anyway, I’m completely in love!

Steve Pfiester & TankLast fall I lost my Great Dane, Tank, after 12 fantastic years. Although I’ve had dogs all my life, I took Tank’s death harder than I ever could have imagined. He was my best bud when Steve was away doing both reality TV shows, which was 3 months at a time. We had a special bond. I’m not sure if it’s the breed or what, but we were much more closely connected than any other dog I’ve had. Steve and I were both devastated. Our house was eerily quiet.

Well, we finally decided it was time to get another dog – and there was no question it would be another Dane. The short story is we ended up adopting Marley from a loving family (with 2 toddlers and 2 other Danes) who felt Marley needed more attention and love (which we were HAPPY to give!). It was love at first lick!

Pet Perks

Honestly, I forgot just how great being a pet owner is. I also never dreamed I could love another dog like I did Tank. I also started to notice he added a new healthy component to my life. Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed I made more time to just enjoy life. As a workaholic, I have a hard time stepping away from work, but Marley forces me to take more breaks, get outside, relax and even play more. I’ve even noticed that my activity on my¬†Jawbone UP¬†band (activity tracker)¬†had even increased.

Great Dane

Bonnie Pfiester

This past Saturday I took him to dog training at¬†Pawprints, where Marley went through what I call Doggie Boot Camp – complete with obstacle course, running, swimming¬†(pictured left with my sister’s dog & Marley)¬†and all kinds of cool stuff. At the end of the day, I looked at my activity on my¬†Jawbone UP¬†and I had walked 13,153 steps which is roughly 6.5 miles (compared to a normal pre-pet Saturday day of leisure taking only 6,000-7,000 steps). Then I got to thinking, Marley is so GOOD for me!

So, I did some research to learn more about all the health benefits of owning a dog. Study after study has consistently proven that pet owners are healthier than the average person. Take a look!

15 Health Benefits for Pet Owners

  1. Great Dane MantelThey increase activity.¬†One study showed that people who have pets were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily activity than a non-pet owner. Their desire to walk and play reminds us to get out and get moving too – and I’d have to agree!
  2. They help ease people out of isolation. Dogs are great conversation pieces and make people feel more comfortable facing the world “alone” – because, while they are not with another person, they have a loving companion.
  3. They help people handle stress better. One study showed people with a high-stress job and high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
  4. They help children’s development.¬†Studies showed children who suffered from wither severe ADHD or¬†Autism showed lengthened attention spans. Pets also teach children responsibility and how to communicate with others better.
  5. They help boost children’s immune systems.¬†WebMD¬†says “If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of¬†pet allergies— 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.
  6. Great DaneThey are match-makers. Approaching another person out of the blue can be nerve-racking, but approaching someone with a dog is easy and almost always welcomed. The dog gives people something to talk about that is natural and comfortable, making the initial conversation much easier. Whether you are looking for a date or enjoy meeting people, pets make it easier to make more friends.
  7. They are calming.¬†In a world full of hustle and bustle, people are in great need of “calming down”. Pets help us slow down, stop and smell the roses – or in this case, pet the dog. Playing with a dog actually¬†elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine,¬†nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
  8. They are good for your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets, which showed owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  9. great daneThey speed recovery. When someone is stuck in bed recovering from surgery, or who has limited mobility, a pet can lift their spirits and boost recovery time. One study showed when a dog was part of the medical team, the patients’ anxiety scores dropped by 24 percent. When a human volunteer visited the patient, it just dropped 10 percent. Without visits, the patients’ conditions didn’t change, he says. (read more about therapy dogs)
  10. They give us a sense of empowerment. Once you have trained a pet to obey your command, it is very satisfying for a pet owner to have a certain level of control, even when life can be completely out of control around you. This sense of empowerment can boost confidence and encourage people to take better care of themselves.
  11. great dane in tubThey make you laugh.¬†Laughing is so good for you, but many of us don’t do it nearly enough. Laughing relaxes your muscles, releases endorphins, boosts your immune system and relieves stress. The more you laugh, the better – and pets tend to do some pretty funny stuff¬†(like getting into the bathtub for no reason and making adorable faces like this, pictured right).
  12. They fight depression. Pets provide companionship, unconditional love and make people feel important and loved. They keep people in a healthy routine, and help keep them active and social. One doctor said he personally witnessed people eliminate antidepressants by the simple act of obtaining a dog.
  13. They can detect cancer.¬†Next time your dog sniffs you out, you may want to pay closer attention. There have been multiple reports of dogs sniffing out cancer. One woman reported her dog keep sniffing at a mole and even tried to bite it off. The mole ended up being a¬†malignant melanoma. Another dog¬†correctly detected cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected.
  14. They help prevent diabetic crashes and¬†seizures.¬†Many untrained dogs have shown behavioral changes when their owner’s blood sugar crashes or is about to have to have a seizure. Therapy dogs are trained to detect a drop in blood sugar or oncoming seizure before the owner begins to feel the symptoms, warning their owners in time to prevent an attack.¬†(learn more about¬†Diabetes Alert Dogs¬†and¬†Seizure Alert Dogs)
  15. They have healing powers for the elderly.¬†Pets¬†help reduce stress,¬†lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity in elderly people who often live alone.¬†They also reduce depression and loneliness, associated with aging or illness, as well as take their mind of physical problems, loss and aging. Even Alzheimer’s patients benefited, with fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve been trying to convince a loved one you need a pooch, now you have 15 really good reasons to back you up! ūüôā

Fun Dane Pics

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