How to stop a dog fight

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If you have a two-dog (or more-dog) household, chances are, they get into fights from time to time. Fights about who gets to come in the house first, or who gets to eat first, fights about who gets to snuggle nearest you on the floor… Fights that, to us humans, seem pretty darn silly!

But, when you look at it as sibling rivalry, it makes a bit more sense–if you have any brothers or sisters, I bet you got into weird territorial spats for no good reason from time to time (I know I did!).

The most common cause of dog fights is when your dogs are unclear about the boundaries. So, it’s important that you make a firm decision about who the alpha dog will be and treat that dog as the alpha. That dog should be petted first, given a treat first, leashed first, and fed first. Always. It may seem “unfair” to us people, but to dogs, anything else is confusing and can lead to snarls and snaps.

Next, make sure you’re consistent with the rules. If the dogs aren’t allowed on the furniture, never let them on the furniture. If they’re supposed to sleep in their crates, always put them in their crates for bed. Confused dogs are more likely to get into fights.

Finally, make sure each dog has his or her own things–a separate food bowl, a separate leash, a separate sleeping area (or crate, or both), separate Kongs. Some sharing can go on, certainly, but of the most important things, each dog needs his or her own.

If you have a multidog household, how do you avoid fights?

Dog health products: The right hairbrush

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When you brush your dog, what kind of brush do you use? The FURminator is a popular dog health product that pulls out the dog’s undercoat and reduces shedding.

This can help keep your dog cooler in the summer, which will make your dog happier.

We tried a Furminator for about two weeks with our dog Vance and he hated it, despite our best efforts to get him to like it. I’m not sure if I wasn’t using it right (I watched the video, but maybe I held my wrist wrong).

The dog health product hairbrush we wound up using is the Zoom Groom from Kong. It’s easy to hold and does a good job of removing loose undercoat fur. With Vance’s short coat (he’s a yellow Lab), the Zoom Groom keeps him looking clean and tidy and has definitely cut down on his shedding. As an added bonus, the Zoom Groom is a lot cheaper than the FURminator, though it’s probably not quite as effective.

Which dog health product hair brush do you use? Have you tried the FURminator or the Zoom Groom?

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Dog Treat Giveaway!

Madly in love with my iRobot Dirt Dog!

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I’ve had a iRobot Dirt Dog for about six months now and I gush crazily about it to everyone who visits, so clearly it was time to post a Dirt Dog review here.

Old friends know the floors in my house are the bane of my existence. They’re beautiful hardwoods (original to the house) that the previous owner refinished in a rich, dark color. It’s a great color… For someone who doesn’t have a yellow Lab.

Vance’s fur makes those yellow/white tumbleweeds that Labs’ dog fur so often does and no matter how often I sweep, it creeps under the furniture and spreads and multiplies. Ick!

But the Dirt Dog by Roomba… Ah. It’s amazing. It gets under all our furniture and works its way tightly around the legs of our dining room chairs (much more tightly than I can ever get the broom). It sucks up all the dog fur that gets all over the house, and takes itself in and out of rooms.

Because we only have hardwoods, I got the cheepo model (the Dirt Dog is actually for workshops, not for homes, but I’ve found it works perfectly on our floors), but with how wonderfully it works, I would have paid a lot more than the $150 sticker price I paid. If you have carpets, you’ll probably want to try one of the vacuum models because the Dirt Dog is actually just like a little robotic carpet sweeper–it doesn’t vacuum at all.

It empties straight into the trash, no bags needed. And it’s really easy to take care of–they include this cute little tool that gets all the hair that wraps around the rollers off in a jiff (and you know how that is–hair always wraps around the rollers!).

I cannot tell you how much time this little guy saves me, and Vance thinks it’s just a really fancy toy and follows it from room to room. Next, I’m eying their Scooba–what a luxury it would be to neither have to sweep *nor* mop ever again! But for now, I’m perfectly happy with my adorable Dirt Dog.