Sept 21, 2011 Issue #18 Published by Sue Skiff


Hi everyone!

I am happy to say that you can now find me in print. The Clayton Pioneer, a local newspaper has started printing a column written by me every other month. My first column came out in the Pioneer this past Friday. Of course, it pretty much was the same as an article that I published in this e-zine, so if you have been reading my e-zines, there’s no use to go looking for the Pioneer.

A couple of days ago, I began house sitting in Martinez. I will be here for almost a month. I always enjoy getting to experience living in different houses. Of course, it is a little bit of a hassle, because I still have to return home to care for my cats.

I am sorry that this is a day late. At least it’s not a week late.

This issue includes tips for chewing dogs. It also contains an article ,written by Thunder, on the joys of being a cat.

Please let me know what YOU would like me to write about. Or, send me your comments, complaints, or questions.

See you next week!.




Dogs have a need to chew. This is not a bad thing. It is just a fact. Knowing that your dog will chew, it is important that you teach it what is, and is not, appropriate to chew on.


Initially, when you are teaching your dog about appropriate chewing, keep it confined in a crate or other small space. Keeping your dog in a crate ensures that your dog can’t chew on inappropriate things. Keep a variety of appropriate chew items in your dog’s crate. Then, when your dog gets the urge to chew, it will sniff around, and find the things that you want it to chew on. Keep doing this for several weeks, and your dog will develop the habit of chewing on the appropriate items instead of on your couch.


When you first start giving your dog more freedom, keep it close to you, and provide lots and lots of familiar, appropriate items to chew on, to make sure your dog remembers. Don’t give it access to inappropriate items.

As it gets more and more freedom, Keep a leash on your dog, so that you can pull it away from anything inappropriate quickly. Do not allow it freedom at first, unless you can keep an eye on it, until you can be sure that it will only chew on the things that you want it to chew on.


Many dog guardians give their dogs old shoes or socks to chew on once they are no longer wearable. This is confusing to dogs. They can’t understand the difference between something new and something old. They will assume that if it’s okay to chew on one sock, it’s okay to chew on others. So, if you want your dog to leave your shoes and socks alone, don’t give it old shoes and socks.


There are many dog toys out there that are like children’s toys. There are a variety of stuffed animal toys that one can pick up at pet stores. There are also plastic dog toys that are just like children’s plastic toys. Just as dogs can’t tell the difference between old and new shoes, dogs can’t tell the difference between kids’ stuffed animals and stuffed animals for dogs. So, if you have kids, or are planning on having kids, give your dog only chew items that are nothing like kids’ toys.


If the above is not enough to convince your dog to chew only on appropriate things, you can use the things that your dog wants to chew on as negative reinforcers. The easiest way to do this is to make them bad tasting. I have found that commercial anti-chew products, like Bitter Apple, do not work that well as deterrents. Try using alum (available in the spice section of your grocery store), or hot sauce (but not too hot, you don’t want to harm your dog).

Of course, turning around an older dog with an established inappropriate chewing habit can be “more complicated.” Not only does it have a habit that needs to be turned around, but it may be hard to get it to accept a crate. Not to worry. The advice that I’ve given can’t hurt, and if you really need help, consult your local dog behaviorist for further guidance.


Sue has allowed Emma to write quite a few times. It’s time for us cats to have a turn. I remember that Emma wrote about the joys of being a dog. I am here to say that being a cat is far superior. Here’s some reasons why.

First of all, cats aren’t usually required to do anything. Nobody takes us to obedience school. We don’t have to hunt for anybody but ourselves. No police force ever requires us to look for drugs, or catch criminals. We are free to just do whatever pleases us. It’s great!

Next, we can climb. It is great to get up high, and look down on everyone else. My mother, Storm, loves to sleep up high. Sometimes, I join her. I challenge any domestic dog to climb. Hah!

We have the best positive reinforcer around. We cats know that a properly timed purr can get a human to give all kinds of attention to us. It is so simple. Get close to a human, start purring, and the human will start massaging. Keep purring, and the human keeps massaging. It’s the perfect positive reinforcer!

Also, we don’t have to eat vegetables. Emma eats carrots, broccoli, and salad. Ick!! I am so glad that Sue doesn’t make me eat any of that disgusting stuff!

We can turn anything small into a toy. It is fun to chase stringy things, and small things that move easily. And, you know what? Humans will join in the game, if you just bat something around a little bit. They can’t resist.

You know what? We are the only ones that know how great catnip is. It’s even named after us. I love to roll around on things containing catnip. I am glad that other animals don’t like catnip, because it leaves all of the catnip for us cats to enjoy.

We know how wonderful the sun is. There is nothing so wonderful as sleeping in a sunny spot. I take advantage of sunny spots, often. I don’t have to use sunscreen, either, and I’ve never gotten a sunburn.

All of the above are great. However, the best thing about being a cat, to me, is being able to lie on top of people. People make the best beds, hands down. Of course, Sue often makes me move when I try to make a bed out of her. But, I keep persisting, and eventually we come to an agreement where I can be on her lap.

Well, there you have it. As you can see, being a cat is much better than being a dog.


It’s part of life in the 21st century. You get the kids off to school, work all day, pick the kids up at daycare, make dinner, and collapse. But, what about the dog? How do you find the time to train it to be a good citizen? Maybe, you managed to get your dog into a puppy kindergarten class, and then a basic obedience class. But, you really didn’t have time to practice the way the instructor wanted you to, and now, well now, it’s all kind of fallen by the wayside.

You know that your dog can do better. Perhaps, your dog has some behavior issues. Whether or not they’re serious issues, they make your life harder, don’t they?

So, what do you do when you’re already stretched, and you know your dog needs more? The answer is “day training.” Day training starts with a meeting with me where you describe your dog training needs, and your dog’s behavior issues. I then come to your house for an hour or so, on agreed upon days, to train your dog. You get to get on with your life, while your dog gets training and attention from a professional. And, that training and attention is customized to your and your dog’s exact needs.

Maintaining what your dog learned is also built into the day training program. At the end of each week of training, I meet with you to go over what your dog has learned, as well as what you need to do to maintain the learning. After the agreed upon number of weeks has elapsed, I return for a follow-up or two, to make sure that you and your dog are on the same page, and everyone’s happy. For more information on day training, visit my dog training website

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Silver Linings is a publication of Silver Linings Pet Services, and is published for the purpose of marketing services. The current address of Silver Linings Pet Services is: 5555 Merritt Drive Concord, Ca 94521