Face it Friends…


face it friends


What is the Canine Good Citizen Test?

What is this Canine Good Citizen (CGC) stuff, anyway? Regular readers of the blog will know that as part of our hard work with Phoebe to overcome her fears and reactivity, we’ve been completing some of the Canine Good Citizen Tests. You can read about how well she did at the Bronze CGC Test in 2013, as well as the Silver CGC Test in 2014.

In the posts I tried to give as full a description of the test as possible, but words still don’t paint as great a picture as an actual video. This great YouTube clip shows exactly what the Bronze Level Canine Good Citizen entails for those who are interested in learning more about the test.


As you can see, the tests are all quite simple, but require that your dog and you have a great bond and that he listens to you, with understanding of expectations. When you see each item you can also see where each of these would become useful in everyday situations, like walking with sudden noises in a street, getting a veterinary / groomers examination etc – which is after all the main aim of the test.

For a dog like Phoebe to pass these simple, yet important requirements has made me so proud of her. With her unknown history and various reactivity and fear based issues these tests have made identifying goals and progress so much easier for us on our journey to recovery. We’re even busy practicing for the Gold Level CGC!

This test is one that I highly recommend that every owner should do – whether formally through an accredited tester, or even at home by reading the tests and practicing them all whenever you get the chance. Both you and your dog will be happier for the quality time spent working together!

Phoebe’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Obedience, Focus

Tool(s) Used: Obedience Training and Behavioural Training

Cost: Moderate

Ease of Implementation: Moderate

Phoebe’s Effectiveness Rating: 5/5. To read the full “effectiveness” review you can refer back to the posts on achieving the Bronze and Silver Certifications I wrote up about Phoebe.


So what do you think? Can you see the effectiveness of a qualification like this?

Apple & Oat Puppy Bites

I have many different talents and skills, but I must be honest an admit that being a culinary genius does not rank amongst them. Don’t get me wrong, with a lot of practice and hard work I can now confidently whip up a meal for a group of dinner guests without the threat of poisonings or having the house burn down (mostly), but being in the kitchen doesn’t come naturally so I’m usually weary. This changes however when my taste testers are my canine kids.

In their eyes everything I whip up is absolutely delicious and truly gourmet! This means that I love finding new treat recipes for them, and regularly use them as rewards for training and good behaviour.

We’ve run out of treats, and my cupboards closely represent those of Old Mother Hubbard, so I searched for treats that were simple in terms of ingredients and skill level. That’s when I came across this great recipe from Two Little Cavaliers for Apple and Cinnamon Treats.

These were quick, easy and they passed the all important taste test!

Apple & Oat Pup Bites


  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Cup Apple Sauce
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • 2 Large Eggs


  • Preheat oven to 180C (about 350F)
  • Combine oats, apple sauce and cinnamon
  • Add eggs to the mixture and combine until sticky and smooth
  • Scoop into molds, or drop a teaspoon full onto greased and oiled baking sheet and flatten slightly (this is what I did)
  • Bake in oven for +/- 25 minutes
  • Allow to cool
  • Give some to the dogs to test, and store the rest in an airtight container

… and of course the pictorial recipe review:



Mix Egge



Dogtails’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Training, Nutrition, Food, FUN

Tool(s) Used: Your kitchen and baking skills

Cost: Low

Ease of Implementation: Easy

Effectiveness Rating: 5/5 I wasn’t very sure if the dogs would like the apple and cinnamon taste as it’s a new one to them, but I’m happy to report that they all gobbled them up!

…. and don’t worry, I learnt my lesson from last time so these were introduced sloooowly and carefully to avoid any major tummy upsets! 🙂


Do you ever make your own homemade treats for the dogs? If so, what do you make?

#DogTreatFail: More Tummy Troubles

Another week of dealing with the Dreaded Digestive Distress! 😦 This time it’s for Bella and Rocky.

So this week I decided to bake the dogs some treats for when we are around the house and going for walks. I decided to make another batch of Phoebe & Cooper’s Peanut Butter Deliciousness that Phoebe and Cooper loved so much, and got cracking in the kitchen.

This is such a quick and easy recipe that I finished a double batch within an hour, and was waiting to let the treats cool before storing them in containers and in the deepfreeze. As usual Phoebe and Cooper very calmly but expectantly came to lie by the kitchen door to watch me as I work, knowing that they would be first in line to get any stray pieced of dough and would help with the “cleaning” of utensils. Rocky and Bella are still figuring out that there’s often “food falling from the sky” if there’s a human in the kitchen, but they too eventually sauntered into the kitchen eagerly waiting for an exciting taste of whatever was being made up on those counters!

Who would've thought that these tasty bites could cause so much trouble? And look, I even made little personalised cookies for each of the dogs!

Who would’ve thought that these tasty bites could cause so much trouble? And look, I even made little personalised cookies for each of the dogs!

Rocky and Bella have never had these before, and I was excited to see how much they would enjoy this new treat. Well, they certainly enjoyed it, but I made an absolute rookie mistake in allowing them to overindulge on dough and cookies that afternoon…. I hadn’t slowly tested and introduced the new food….

I’m sure many of you can now guess where this post is going… *sigh*

Yup, I hadn’t considered the fact that Bella and Rocky have never really been spoiled dogs. Loved, yes. But not really doted on physically and emotionally. Ergo, they’ve barely had any dog treats in their lives, nevermind decadent peanut butter ones!

And so, my happiness at their joy at gobbling up these treats and excitedly snacking on dough balls was very suddenly turned right around when I woke up the next morning only to find multiple puddles of smelly diarrhea all over the house. (They are house trained, but unlike the other dogs they don’t “ask” to go out if the door to the outside is closed. If it’s closed they just take it as a sign that anywhere else in the house is fair game. **double sigh** Yes, it’s something we’re working on!)

The worst part of it all wasn’t even cleaning up the mess all over, but how guilty I felt that I was the cause of so much tummy ache! Bella totally refused to eat, even turning away from hand feeding meat bits and Rocky only nibbled a bit here and there. The poor things!

Spending the day in recovery. Bella stares mournfully out of the window as her tummy grumbles, and Rocky sleeps the day away...

Spending the day in recovery. Bella stares mournfully out of the window as her tummy grumbles, and Rocky sleeps the day away…

Luckily it only took them 1 day to bounce back to their normal selves. The linen and wooden floors didn’t recover back to normal in quite such a short time, but I suppose all that elbow grease and inhalation of cleaning fumes was a good way to make sure I never again forget to test those new foods out sloooowly!

Rocky & Bella’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Treats, Nutrition

Tool(s) Used: Your kitchen and baking skills

Cost: Low

Ease of Implementation: Easy. Well, I find all unintentional failures at trying something out happen to go off fairly easily and spectacularly.

Effectiveness Rating: I’m still gonna stick with a 5/5 for the biscuits for Phoebe and Cooper. For Rocky and Bella however  I’m going to have to go with a total #DogTreatFail of 1/5. Luckily they got better quickly without needing veterinary care and that a day long fast fixed everything that had been disturbing their digestion, but from now on I know to be far more careful of what and how many treats they have at a time!


Recently Cooper also had some tummy troubles (though a bit more serious), so I’m learning the signs, symptoms, and how to clean up after a dog very quickly! Have you got any tips on avoiding the Dreaded Digestive Distress issues?