Introducing Your Dogs to Swimming, Boating and the Beach.

Swimming Dogs
A Hot Dog enjoying a Cool Pool . . .

So you want to introduce your dog to boating, swimming or going to the beach, you will want to do so carefully and have a plan, so that the experience is an enjoyable and safe one for both you and your dog.  Both of my dogs are interested in the water, but not big swimmers.  Every water situation is different and it all depends on the location.

The Beach: Most dogs are afraid of the waves that roll onto the beach, so in order to get your dogs comfortable with the water at the beach, go on days that are flat, with no waves.  This gives your dogs the confidence to just walk into the water and swim around. Large, loud crashing waves are too much for a beginner.  Be extremely cautious of sea creatures that will consider your dog  . . . food.  Most sharks feed in the early morning during sunrise and also again during sunset.

Boating: My dogs absolutely love boating. To them it’s just like being in the car, with the windows rolled down and their little faces loving the rush of the wind.  They get this same feeling while boating, plus they get to cool off in the water with us.  I strongly believe in dogs wearing life vests.  Anything could happen, if your dog falls or jumps in the water, the life vest will save your dogs life.  During your dogs first few times boating, avoid going fast, keep the boat slow, with no wake, so your dog does not get spooked by the loud engine noise or by being unstable.

Swimming: People forget that dogs usually cannot touch the bottom, they are usually doing the doggy paddle the entire time, which is exhausting.  I would definitely purchase a life vest, this allows your dog to float, relax and enjoy the water safely with you.  I introduced my dogs to swimming by purchasing something for them to float on first.  They sat on the float and enjoyed the water with us, then graduated to floating around in the water without the float (with life vests of course).

Life Vests for Dogs
This is the "Jacket Style" Life Vest for Dogs.

There are different types of life vests to choose from, the popular “jacket style” that you can get from Pet Supermarket, Petco, PetSmart and West Marine -or- the “bra style” that fits more like a bra or harness (this is the style I purchased for my dogs).  You have to take your dog to the store and try on the sizes to get the best fit, definitely ask the sales staff for assistance.  The perfect fit is very important for comfort and, of course, safety.

Remember to limit the amount of time your dog is in the water.  Keep the visits to the beach, boating or swimming brief and positive.  Even though you are enjoying the water, it may be extremely hot outside. Too much sun and too much heat is extremely unhealthy for your dog.  Remember to have a lot of cool, fresh drinking water available for your dog constantly.  Also, remember to bring a towel to dry your dog after the swim.  This is so important, especially if you go into a cooler temperature or air conditioning immediately after.  Just think about how you feel after a bath or shower if you didn’t dry off – it’s cold!

Most importantly, have fun and reward your dog with constant praises and kisses to let them know that this new experience is a positive one that they will eventually really love.

DOGZAR wants to help keep your dog . . . SAFE, HEALTHY and HAPPY!

Mistakes We Make When We Greet a New Dog

Allow a dog to approach you.
Allow a dog to approach you.

We LOVE dogs, we love their soft ears, their waggin’ tails and their quirky smiles. Our instincts are all wrong though when we approach a new dog for the first time. It’s easy to forget that dogs see us as GIANTS who may or may not be out to harm them. Dogs are very protective of their families and themselves, so they have a system of “sniffing” someone out first before they can feel safe around us.

The following is a list of what NOT to do when you want to Greet a dog . . .

1. Never stare a dog in the eyes as you are approaching – dogs immediately see this as threatening.

2. Never scream loudly as you are approaching, even if you are excited and the dog is totally adorable, this sound is very scary for a dog.

3. Never lean over a dog and then attempt to put your hand in the dogs face or touch the dog in any way. The dog has no idea what you are doing and this is a very threatening position.

4. Never reach out and try to hug or pick up a dog. Even though every inch of you wants to hold and embrace a dog, this is horrifying for a dog.

5. Never put your face in a dogs face to say “Hello”, or to try to kiss a dog. Until a dog knows you and trusts you, keep your distance.

6. Never smoke cigars or cigarettes and then approach a dog. Most dogs are allergic to this toxic smoke and their instincts are to stay as far away from a smoker as possible.

7. Never wear heavy perfume and then approach a dog. Dogs noses are very sensitive to smells and heavy perfume can actually make a dog sick.

8. Never take your dog and push it in the face of another dog. Dogs have a method of socializing and this action is just too invasive.

The following is how to CORRECTLY have a dog APPROACH YOU . . .

1. Stand or sit in a non threatening position, usually with your body direction pointing away from the dog.

2. Do not give the dog eye contact at all.

3. Allow the dog to sniff you and approach you on his own.

4. After the dog feels comfortable around you, only pet his back.

5. Always speak in a soft and calming tone.

Dogs need to take time to feel comfortable around new people. All dogs are different, some dogs are very social and some dogs are not – until you know exactly what personality a dog has, always allow a dog to approach you when they are ready. Be patient and you will be rewarded with doggie kisses!

DOGZAR wants to help keep your dog . . . SAFE, HEALTHY and HAPPY!

Is Your Dog a Licker?

Is your dog a licker?
Bruce Lee licking his stuffed animal.

Is your dog a licker?  I have two lickers in my home, one that is obsessed with licking his stuffed animals and one that licks people.  I always thought this crazed licking must mean something, because Bruce Lee is not actually eating the stuffed animals, he is simply licking them.  He goes into a trance-like state, closes his eyes and licks away . . . until he falls asleep.  He does this day and night. Rocco Jet licks in two different ways, when he is showing that he is thankful for food time, he will give me a couple licks as a “Thank You” when I am preparing his food, and also like Bruce Lee, he will our lick legs and arms with the same trance-like state, until he falls asleep too.  It appears as if this is a kind of endorphin releasing trance they both love, relaxes them, gives them pleasure and a strong sense of comfort and security.

Reasons dogs lick:

1. As a submissive gesture.  Wild dogs lick the more dominant dog.

2. To sense the feelings of the person they are licking, some dogs pick up on a persons feelings from just one lick.

3. To show their owners that they are happy.

4. To enter a trance-like state of pleasure, which releases endorphins and helps them to completely relax.

If your dog is a licker, it’s important to purchase organic, all natural toys for your dog to lick.  The last thing you want is your dog getting toxic poison from cheap dog toys.  Also, if  your dog licks people, be cautious of what you put on your skin.  Moisturizers and creams can have ingredients in them which can make your dog very sick, especially bug repellant sprays and sunscreens.  As a  precaution, if you have a licker, the best practice is to shower off any traces of these products before your dog licks you.

DOGZAR wants to help keep your dog . . . SAFE, HEALTHY and HAPPY!

My Dog Needs an Intervention


Stink eye
Rocco Jet giving the "stink eye".

I think my dog needs an intervention.  In all of my grand efforts to give my dog a better life, I think I have created a spoiled little over-privileged pup!  He has become very vocal – demanding his food and treats when he wants them, demanding to be held and cuddled with all day, demanding to get his massages, demanding me to play ball with him all day, demanding to use the “Big Fancy” stroller instead of the regular one and always giving me the “stink eye” in order to get what he wants.

I have been very giving when it comes to Rocco because of all that he has been through  . . . two MPL surgeries, a near choking incident which created a disk injury and subsequent disk surgery and a heart condition (leaky valve, murmur, enlarged heart).  So yes, I baby him.  Whatever Rocco wants, Rocco gets.  I am completely aware that I have created this problem.  He is 9 and set in his ways so I don’t want to rock the boat too much and stress him out, but I must do something.

You know when human kids get out of control and need to learn life lessons on value, you would take them to a homeless shelter and have them volunteer passing out blankets and food.  Maybe I could put a little hair net on Rocco and have him volunteer at the Humane Society, passing out food to the homeless dogs.  Or create work program that he can get rewards for, like if he cleans up his toys or does extra volunteer therapy work, he gets extra privileges.  Maybe I can gather all of our friends and family and hold an intervention.  We can all confront Rocco and tell him that we love him, but he needs to be less demanding.

Or, maybe I could just accept my creation and enjoy the “stink eye” in all its adorableness.

DOGZAR wants to help keep your dog . . . SAFE, HEALTHY and HAPPY!

Dog Training/Boarding/Daycare, Rollover Rovers & Happy Tails with Nadine Litterman ~ North Miami Beach, Florida

Nadine Litterman

We met Nadine Litterman 4 years ago after we adopted our little Bruce Lee from the Soffer Fine Humane Society in North Miami.  Because the importance beginning dog training right away we immediately started searching for a phenomenal dog trainer when, as destiny would have it, we found Nadine.  Immediately our dogs fell in LOVE with Nadine (we also enrolled Rocco Jet in the classes to help socialize him).  I’m a dog Mom that actually listens to my dog, if he doesn’t like someone there is a good reason and if he falls in love with someone, it speaks volumes about the person.  Nadine is a genius with dogs, she has a very peaceful, calm and in control demeanor. She knows exactly what your dog needs in order to be happy, well trained and obedient.  After spending 2 seconds with Nadine, you immediately know you, and your dog, are in good hands!



I trust Nadine completely with the well being and care of my two canine babies.  Nadine is the one I trust to home sit our dogs when I have to leave town and cannot take my dogs with me.  I can completely relax and enjoy my time away knowing my boys are safe and happy (and having the time of their lives) with Nadine.  For me to say that, is a HUGE deal.  I am one of those crazy, over protective, always worried Mom’s!  I am very happy to say, that because of Nadine, both Bruce Lee and Rocco Jet are socialized, perfectly trained little gentlemen that respond to people, dogs and even children in a curious, loving and happy way.


Rollover Rovers & Happy Tails Dog Training

Nadine offers:

Group training or Private one-on-one training to suit the needs of your dog.

AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Testing

Cageless Boarding



and Weight loss Assistance

Happy Tails

It is so important to enroll your puppy in dog training.  Step one: Adopt a dog from the Humane Society or local animal shelter. Step two: Buy all the necessary food and supplies (dog pillows, beds, blankets, toys, pee pee pads, dental cleaning supplies, harness and leash, organic dog food, flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, dog health insurance, new camera, doggie car seat, . . . etc.) Step three: Enroll immediately in dog training and socialization!

Bonding with your dog during training will help you and your dog communicate easily in the future.  Dogs have a language that is very easy to learn and with training and socialization you and your dog will have a wonderfully happy life together.  I am so happy that Rollover Rovers & Happy Tails Dog Training with Nadine Litterman is DOGZAR’s very first Business Spotlight.  Dog owners and dogs in South Florida are so lucky to have Nadine Litterman living and working in the area.

Rollover Rovers & Happy Tails Dog Training with Nadine Litterman
1933 NE 164th Street
North Miami, Florida (FL) 33162

DOGZAR wants to help keep your dog . . . SAFE, HEALTHY and HAPPY!

Sniff the Butt

To sniff and be sniffed.

Dogs are very social by instinct. They are very curious about everyone, everything and every dog. Allowing your dog to actively investigate, interact and socialize with children, people, dogs, etc. is critically important. Starting immediately after you adopt your dog, you should begin the social circuit. If your dog was born with other litter mates, he or she has already been observing and learning about the dance of the dogs . . . ie. the sniffing of the butt. To sniff and be sniffed. This is how dogs greet each other. I always see humans stopping their dog from doing the sniff – and even scolding their dog for doing this natural act. Please, allow your dogs to sniff and be sniffed. Yes, it is socially awkward for humans to imagine that this is socially acceptable – but for your dog – it is. Basically, your dog is deciding whether or not to become friends with the sniffee or not. You will know right away what your dog decides and trust your dog’s instincts, if he doesn’t like a dog or a person, don’t force it.

I have ALWAYS trusted my dog’s keen ability to recognize the good from the bad. Is there someone your dog always growls and barks at? And other people your dog instantly loves? TRUST what your dog is telling you, believe me – they know!

The more your dog interacts with other dogs and people, the happier your dog will be – and so will you. Your dog will have less anxiety and less stress. This really is the key to training your dog. You can immediately spot a dog that has never been socialized – nervous, shaking, nipping, barking, hiding, jumping, stressed out. It’s just not fair for your dog to feel this way. It is so easy to socialize your dog . . . go to dog parks, take classes in dog obedience, take your dog to meet-ups with other dog owners, take your dog to the pet store, take your dog with you when you go out to lunch, etc.

DOGZAR wants to help keep your dog . . . SAFE, HEALTHY and HAPPY!