Tips for Crate Training Your Dog


Crate training is in an important part of dog ownership. Many think that it is mean or cruel to crate a dog. That is only true if the crate is used as a form of punishment. However, that is not what creating dogs was meant for.  A crate should NEVER be used as punishment!

Dogs are den animals. They like being in their “den” or safe haven. The primary purpose of a crate is for housetraining. Dogs don’t like to soil in their dens. A crate is also great to help prevent destructive behavior that often occurs as a result of separation anxiety. It also helps to create boundaries and establish human leadership.

The key to crate training is creating a warm, cozy environment where your pooch feels safe. Many dogs love their crates so much, they spend time in it even when they don’t have to.

The important part of crate training is to make it a positive experience for your dog. It is important that he or she knows that they can get out. Here are some tips to help your dog love his or her crate:

  •  Give your dog his or her meals in the crate. This will create a positive association with the crate, especially if your dog is food motivated. Do this for about a week with the door open, then start closing the door while they’re eating. Their food will distract them from the door being closed. Open the door and let them out when they’re done so they know they can get out. Gradually increase the time that your dog is in there with the door closed and remain nearby.

  • Play the treat game- throw treats in the crate. Let your dog go in and get the treat then come back out. Do this a couple times a day for 10 or 15 minutes. After a few days, you can close the door and leave your dog in there for a few minutes, giving them treats and praises while they’re in there. You can gradually increase the amount of time that the door is closed.

  • Play fetch – similar to the treat game, throw a tennis ball or your dog’s favorite toy in the crate. Let them go in and retrieve it. This creates a fun experience for your dog and gives him or her a little exercise too!

  • Use a verbal command to enter their crate such as “kennel” or “puppy bye byes” – whatever works.

Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes without becoming anxious or afraid with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods of time. Continue to crate your dog when you are home so they don’t associate the crate with being left alone. We recommend covering the crate with a towel or blanket to create a den-like atmosphere.

We all love to sleep with our pups, but it is recommended that you crate your dog at night, especially in the beginning. Put the crate in or near your bedroom so he or she knows you’re there. This is especially important for a puppy since puppies aren’t yet potty trained and will often need to go potty in the middle of the night. Keeping them nearby will allow you to hear them if they start whining, needing to go outside. Keeping the crate near you at night is also important for seniors so they don’t associate the crate with social isolation.

Your dog may bark or whine until he or she is fully crate trained. DON’T GIVE IN! This will only reinforce unwanted behavior. Depending upon the dog, it could take days or a few weeks to be completely crate trained.

**Make sure your dog is fully crate trained before leaving him or her for an extended period of time (no more than a few hours). You wouldn’t want your dog to become stressed and injure him or herself in an attempt to escape.

As mentioned before, crate training can help with separation anxiety once your dog is completely crate trained. However, if your dog has serious anxiety you may want to consult with a dog trainer or animal behavior specialist.


4 Tips to Help Your Cat and Dog Get Along Better


Photo: Chendongshan/Shutterstock

Photo: Chendongshan/Shutterstock

Having multiple furry friends in your home can be fun and fulfilling. However, if you have animals of different species -- like dogs and cats -- it can also be challenging. Many dogs and cats don't naturally react well to one another, which means that they might not enjoy having each other's company at home. Therefore, if your dog doesn't immediately take to your cat (or vice versa), there are some simple things that you can do to help improve their relationship, so everybody can be healthy and happy at home. Here are four of the simplest and most effective tips for helping your cat and dog get along better.

1. Start on a Leash

The first time you introduce your dog and cat to one another, start with both animals on a leash. Try a harness and leash with your cat, and a head harness and leash with your dog. Let the animals meet slowly, sniff each other and get used to being around one another. Once neither seems fearful or overly-excited, you can slowly let the cat off the leash. Once the cat has gotten comfortable, let the dog off the leash last. This will give the cat time to adjust -- and cats tend to be the more fearful creature in the dog-cat pairing.

2. Give Your Cat a Place to Escape to

When you introduce your dog and cat, give the cat a place to where she can run and hide. That way, if the dog is overwhelming her, or if she feels fearful, she can find a way to escape. Providing a hiding place for a cat lowers the stress level of the situation. Try providing a perch or a place up high, where the cat can get above the dog if she wants to.

3. Try Using Baby Gates or a Crate

Baby gates are a great way to slowly introduce animals to one another. Put up baby gates or a crate to contain you dog then let the cat wander. Baby gates and crates allow the animals to see and smell one another and get to know each other without the risk of an altercation.

4. Don't Force It

No matter how much you want your cat and dog to get along, you can't force them to like (or even tolerate) one another. If their rapport seems tense or uncomfortable, don't force them to spend time together. It can take weeks or even months to get animals used to one another, so focus on slowly increasing their exposure to one another. With luck and time, you'll see that animals are used to each other and maybe even enjoying spending time together, too.

Having both a cat and a dog as pets can be a lot of fun, especially if you can get them to love each other just as much as you love them. If you're having trouble getting the animals to get along, you may want to consult your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist, who can work with your pets or give you helpful tips for improving their relationship.

Four Common Cleaning Chemicals That Are Toxic to Pets

By: James Hall, Freelance Writer and Home Cleaning Expert, @Spotless_Vacuum


It’s no secret that many household cleaning products are toxic to humans. A quick glance at a label shows just how careful we need to be when cleaning our homes.

These chemicals are even more dangerous for our canine and feline companions though. Our pets spend their time on the floor, so are more likely to suffer skin irritation or absorb chemicals via their paws.

Pets also don’t understand the dangers of cleaning chemicals. They won’t think twice about licking the floor after cleaning, chewing a bottle of bleach, or drinking out of a toilet bowl after it’s been cleaned. This can lead to anything from mild irritation to severe illness and even death.

For this reason, pet owners need to be careful when deciding which cleaning chemicals to use. In this article, we’ll discuss four dangerous chemicals, along with some tip for keeping your pet safe.

Which Chemicals Should You Avoid in Cleaning Products?

1. Bleach
Undiluted bleach is a serious danger to pets. Swallowing it can lead to diarrhea, internal burns and vomiting. Just breathing bleach fumes can cause respiratory irritation. For this reason, you need to be careful when using bleach to clean floors, as it could remain on both the floor and mop. Follow the instructions for dilution carefully and store any tools you used in a safe space.

On the other hand, diluted bleach can often be used safely. Just make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed and aired after cleaning.

2. Ammonia
Ammonia is a common ingredient in oven and window cleaners. It can cause irritation to a pet’s respiratory system, so shouldn’t be used in the same room as your pet. Make sure you allow plenty of time to air out the room before you let your pet back in.

You should never mix ammonia with bleach. This combination creates a toxic gas that can be deadly.

3. Formaldehyde
Many people are surprised that formaldehyde is found in cleaning products, as it’s usually associated with embalming.  The chemical is often used in hand soaps, general cleaners and even pet shampoos though.

Unfortunately, formaldehyde poses serious health risks to pets. It can irritate the skin and eyes if allowed to circulate in the air, and may affect respiratory function. It has also been linked to certain types of cancer.

4. Glycol ethers
These chemicals are often found in stain removers and carpet cleaners. They have been linked with a variety of illnesses, including kidney damage and anemia.

Glycol ethers are often included in products that are labelled as “natural.” Make sure you check the label before you buy.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe

Aside from being aware of dangerous chemicals in household products, there are other ways to keep your pet safe when cleaning. Here are a few examples:

Switch to Natural Cleaning Products

There are a number of natural cleaning products that are both effective and safer for your pet. These alternatives are also often better for the environment.

One of the best examples is baking soda. This has a variety of uses, including absorbing odors, removing grease, and getting rid of mildew. Other useful alternatives include white vinegar, lemon juice, castile soap and essential oils.

Even these natural alternatives are not necessarily safe for a pet to ingest in large quantities though. You should still keep your dpet in another room and thoroughly rinse any surfaces after cleaning.

Read the Label Carefully

Always  check whether a cleaning product needs to be diluted. A diluted chemical is safer for both you and your pet, so these instructions shouldn’t be ignored.

Once you’ve cleaned an area of floor or other surface, wipe it thoroughly and wash with clean water - even if the cleaning product was already diluted. This reduces the chance of your dog ingesting dangerous chemicals.

Keep Pets in a Separate Room When Cleaning

You should keep your pet away from where you’re cleaning - especially when mopping the floor. After rinsing with water, wait for the surface to dry before letting him back in.

Be Aware of Your Pet’s Allergies

Pets can develop a wide range of allergies. Dust, mold and pollen allergies are three of the most common, along with certain types of food.

Cleaning with mops or vacuums can often stir up airborne allergens, which is another reason why it’s important to keep your pet(s) in a separate room.

Store Dangerous Chemicals in an Inaccessible Cupboard

Cleaning chemicals are most dangerous in large quantities and before being diluted. For this reason, it’s vital to store all your cleaning supplies in a place your pet can never reach. A high cupboard is often the perfect location.

Some pets can be surprisingly adept at opening cupboard doors though - especially if they think it contains food. If your pet knows how to open doors, you may need to buy a padlock to ensure she’s safe.

Remember, cats and dogs are naturally inquisitive. A chemical bottle might seem like the perfect toy, so it’s up to you to keep your pet safe.

Contact Your Vet Immediately if You Suspect Your Dog Has Been Exposed to a Dangerous Chemical

There are a variety of symptoms if your dog has been exposed to cleaning chemicals. These include vomiting, loss of appetite, sore skin, excessive dribbling and pawing at the mouth.

While many cleaning chemicals will only cause mild irritation, especially when diluted, others can cause serious illness, such as liver or kidney damage. For this reason, you should always contact your vet immediately if you notice a change in behavior.

Household cleaning chemicals can be a serious health risk to pets. It’s important to be aware of toxic ingredients, such as ammonia and bleach, and to take steps to minimize the risk to your pet.

One of the best ways to keep your pet safe is to switch to natural cleaning alternatives. You should also thoroughly rinse surfaces with clean water after cleaning and store dangerous chemicals in a secure cupboard.

October is Adopt A Shelter Dog Month


Adopt-A-Dog Month®

What Can An Adopted Dog Bring To Your Life?

For millions of dogs, there’s something special about the month of October. No, it’s not holiday sweaters or Halloween treats. It’s the promise of a better life. You see, October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to help homeless animals in shelters all across America find loving, happy homes.

If you’re thinking about getting a dog, be a hero and consider adopting a rescue animal or a dog from your local shelter. You’ll be saving a life and greatly improving yours. Dogs are amazing, supportive, and heroic companions who can make a huge difference in your world as a best friend, an exercise buddy, someone who can be trained to provide animal-assisted therapy and help those with challenges they may face, or simply be a fuzzy face to greet you after a hard day at work.

Your local shelter is the perfect place to find dogs of every type, size, age and personality — all waiting for a loving home. Or if you prefer a particular breed that isn’t currently available at a shelter, go online to find a legitimate breed-specific rescue group in need of adopters like you.

How to Celebrate

  • Adopt from a shelter or rescue group: When you’re ready to open your heart and home to a new best friend, adopt from your local animal shelter or rescue group. Talk with shelter staff to find the perfect dog for you and your lifestyle, and remember that older dogs make excellent pets too.

  • Fundraise. What better way to celebrate your love of dogs than to host a fundraiser in their honor? Start a Facebook fundraiser for your favorite rescue. Or, set up a #MonthofRescue challenge and ask your friends and followers to donate $1 a day to your favorite rescue. Just $31 can help provide food, shelter and the chance at a loving home for a dog in need.

  • Spay or neuter your dog: Have your dog spayed or neutered, thus preventing the possibility of unexpected, and potentially unwanted, puppies. Spayed and neutered animals have been shown to lead longer, healthier lives and have fewer of certain behavioral problems than animals who have not been spayed or neutered.

  • ID your pet: By putting identification on your dog, either in the form of a tag, a microchip or both, you will reduce the possibility that your pet will become one of the presumably “homeless” dogs that end up at your local shelter. Only 15-20 percent of dogs who enter a shelter are reunited with their owners. Make sure your dog is one of the fortunate few by outfitting him with proper identification!

  • Support your local shelter or animal rescue group: Show the pets at your local shelter or rescue group that you care by donating time, money, or supplies like pet food, leashes, beds and toys. Call the shelter to see what supplies or services are needed most. Even the smallest effort can make a difference.

  • Foster a homeless pet: It is so true when we say “fostering saves lives” because it does! We can’t rescue an animal in need without a dedicated foster home in place. For more information on fostering, visit our foster page at It’s only temporary, but means a lifetime for a pet!


The 4th of July holiday is upon us, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with friends and family. You’ll want to include your pet too. With heat, sun, lots of greasy food, alcohol and fireworks, you need to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being. Paw Prints in the Sand offers the following tips:

Grilling and picnics – It may be a treat for your pet to get some yummy, greasy table scraps, it is never a good idea to do so. Keeping your pet’s diet consistent can help avoid and digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea or food poisoning. Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, salt, anything sweetened with sweetener (xylitol especially), and yeast products can be potentially toxic to companion animals.

Sunscreen – yes, dogs can get sunburned too, but make sure any sunscreen indicates that it is safe to use on pets. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. Also, be cautious when using citronella as it contains irritating toxins and insect repellent that contains DEET as it can lead to neurological problems.

Alcoholic Beverages – While it’s fun to have a few drinks to celebrate our independence, Fido doesn’t need to partake. Like humans, if alcohol is ingested, it could lead to intoxication, weakness, depression or even death from respiratory failure. But, if you really want them to join in the party, there are products specifically made for dogs that you may want to try such as Bowser Beer.

Fireworks – Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition. However, it’s best to leave your pet at home where she is safe from the noise and crowds, which can cause severe anxiety and distress.  Shelters need to make room for the influx of lost animals this holiday, which means MANY of the pets there now will be put down to make room for those lost in the noise and confusion. In addition, exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma for curious pets. Many fireworks contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals. If your pet is fearful of fireworks, consider talking to your veterinarian about easing their stress with medication or use calming supplements that will help your pets with the anxiety and distress from the noise.

ID’s Please! - Did you know that that 30% of all lost pet incidents each year occur on the evening of the 4th of July? Independence Day is upon us. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tags at all times. Also, make sure your pet has a microchip that includes your contact information. Should your pet get lost in the scuffle, tags and/or a microchip are the best ways to ensure they make it home safely.

Security! -  Ensuring that your dogs are kept away from the noise in a secured area or in a crate during the fireworks will minimize runaway dogs. Make sure to leave the TV or  radio on in a louder setting than usual to help muffle the fireworks and keep your dog more relaxed while you are away.

We know you want to include your pet in the holiday festivities, but our best advice is to leave them out of it. Find a secure spot in your home for your pets while you go out and enjoy the noise, lights, food, and crowds. You’ll come home to a safe, happy and healthy pet, which is definitely something to celebrate.

Celebrate National Pet Month By Getting in Shape with Your Pet

May is National Pet Month, and what better way to celebrate than spending time with your furry friends while staying healthy at the same time? Because no one likes to exercise more than your four-legged friend, here are some great ways to workout with your pets:

Walking your dog is not only a bonding experience; if you wear a fitness tracker, walking the dog helps you boost your step-count and reach those daily 10,000 steps more quickly. And yes, you can even leash train a cat, which can also boost your step count and is definitely a show stopper.

Running is a great way to burn calories and your dog will love it. Plus, they will keep you motivated when you’re not in the mood to go for a jog.

Hiking gives you and your pooch a sense of adventure while also burning calories and increasing your step count. Plus, he or she won’t complain if it’s too steep. Just remember to be respectful of other pet owners and mindful of leash laws, and keep your dog on a leash while on a public hiking trail. Here are more tips on hiking with your dog:

Stand-up paddleboarding was made for dogs! Dogs of all sizes and participate while you burn calories and spend time in the sun. Don’t forget the sunscreen for you both and a life preserver or floatation collar for your pooch! Oh, and cats are known for their hatred of water, so best to leave your land loving lynx in his or her favorite lounge spot while you SUP with the pup.


Cycling is perfect for dogs with a ton of energy and a great low-impact activity for pet owners with any injuries. Rollerblading is also a great activity to help burn off a dog’s excess energy. The cat may not run beside you, but a well-trained cat or even a bird is happy to go along for the ride.

Yoga (yep, yoga!) There’s no animal that can balance and stretch like a cat! It turns out, both cats and dogs are naturals at this ancient practice. Hello? Downward dog and cat pose! Incorporating your pets into your regular yoga practice not only improves your bond with your pet, it gives you both mind, body, and soul the replenishment and nourishment. Bonus: It also helps prevent pet diabetes and obesity too.


Don’t have a pet? If you’re not a pet owner, but considering adding a furry fluffball to your family, we highly recommend adopting. Organizations like Paw Prints in the Sand Animal Rescue help would-be pet owners find their puurfect feline or canine companion.

AND, for every purchase of an S7 Smart Scale during the month of May, we will donate a percentage of sales to the rescue to help animals in need find their forever home and ideal workout partners. Paw Prints in the Sand is also an Amazon Smile charity.

And, just like humans need to check with their doctor before beginning a new workout program, check with your veterinarian to discuss your pet’s exercise program and always make sure that you have the right equipment for the activity.

Happy National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day

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National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day is April 30th. Helps us celebrate by helping an  animal in need.

Join the PPITS pack by becoming a monthly donor! Any amount can make a difference! 

  • $15 per month helps save a shelter pet

  • $25 per month helps microchip a shelter pet

  • $50 per month provides food for a shelter pet

  • $100 per month helps provide spay or neuter & vaccinations for a shelter pet

  • $150 per month provides medical care for a shelter pet


  • Become a PPITS foster parent

  • Help with home checks

  • Volunteer at an event

  • Set up a fundraiser on Facebook or GoFundMe

  • Help us network our adoptable pets so we can save more!

  • Volunteer to help transport a PPITS pet to the vet or adoption event

$5 Friday

Hey! It's $5 Friday!! What a day to celebrate! With just $5, you can help an animal in need!

We are raising funds today to help our many medical cases including sweet, handsome Vinnie! He was an owner surrender into our rescue. He's 10 years old and riddled with cancerous mast cell tumors and testicular cancer. He needs to have a costly surgery to have the masses removed and neuter.

Vinnie is a love and needs your help!

Vinnie is a love and needs your help!

We are also raising funds for our very expensive yet rewarding journey with our precious Oliver!

Oliver is recovering from his surgery, but he still has a long way to go to regain normal bodily function.

Oliver is recovering from his surgery, but he still has a long way to go to regain normal bodily function.

To participate: Go to For every $5 you donate, you will be entered into our raffle to win a bag of PPITS swag! 

We sincerely thank you for your support in helping PPITS pups! 🐶🐾😘

April is National Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month

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Even though Paw Prints in the Sand works year-round to prevent and bring awareness to cruelty to animals, April is special because it is officially the ASPCA’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month! We are asking supporters to celebrate by joining us in raising awareness about important issues facing animals today. Here’s how you can help:

April 8th is Dog Fighting Awareness Day -  Dog fighting is one of the worst acts of animal abuse that exists today. The ASPCA created this very special day to bring awareness to and further the conversation on dog fighting. For more information on dog fighting and how you can help, read our previous blog post.

Start Your Own Fundraiser – Join the PPITS team by starting a Facebook fundraiser to support animal rescues and share it with your friends and family. Whether you’re asking people to donate for your birthday or in honor of a furry loved one, the money you raise will help an animal in need.

Adopt, Don’t Shop – Looking to add a four legged friend to your family? The shelters are beyond full with great pets looking for a loving home. Visit your local shelter or adoption web sites such as, PetFinder, or If you’re in California, check out our adorable adoptables at

Consider Fostering – Just like animal shelters, foster based rescues like Paw Prints in the Sand are always full. Without a loving foster home, we can’t save an animal in need. If you aren’t ready to make a full time commitment to a pet, but want to help save lives, consider fostering. Foster policies vary with different rescues. If you are interested in fostering, contact a local rescue for more information. For more information on fostering for Paw Prints in the Sand, please visit our foster page at We cover all costs, and it’s only temporary.

Spread the word - Use your Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter accounts to spread the word about Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Be sure to tag us at @PPITSresq on Instagram or @PPITSRescue on Twitter. If you don’t already, please follow us on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

We are excited to get the word out about animals in need. We hope you will join us in our fight to prevent cruelty to animals this month and throughout the year!

From Shelter to Service

Service dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Not all service dogs fit the mold, but they make just as much of an impact on the lives and people they serve.

Meet Buttercup, a 3 year old pit bull.

Buttercup service dog.jpg


Buttercup was rescued by Paw Prints in the Sand from San Bernardino City Shelter the day she was scheduled to be euthanized. She was emaciated, suffered from pneumonia, and pregnant.  After a failed adoption, Buttercup was returned to the rescue and enrolled into a training program at Redefined Dog Training

While in training, the rescue was contacted by a family in need of a stability/service dog for their daughter Jordan who suffers from Dysautonomia, POTS (Postural Arthostatic Tackardia Syndrome) and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). These conditions cause Jordan to be very unstable and run into things. She needs assistance getting up up from a seated position. She also faints, has blackouts, seizures, severe anxiety and dangerous drops in blood pressure for no apparent reason.

“Before we got Buttercup, it was almost impossible to go out in public with Jordan. She had to hold onto me the whole time. She did not have any independence at all. As a teenager, all Jordan wants is a sense of independence,” Jordan’s mom, Vicki Orr told RuffTails. “Buttercup gives her the freedom to go out on her own and know she will be ok.”

Buttercup during her training

Buttercup during her training

Buttercup was trained with the basic commands of ‘heal’, ‘stay’, ‘leave it’, and ‘down’. Her trainers also taught her additional commands that cater to Jordan’s needs. They taught her to pick up the leash, which is very important because Jordan cannot bend down and pick something up without falling. Being a teenager, Jordan expanded this command to picking up anything Jordan drops, opening the door, and even taking Jordan’s socks off and handing them to her. The 'back up' command is also important. Normally, a dog would turn around to avoid a door, wall, or curb, but turning around would cause Jordan to become unstable, so Buttercup will back up rather than turn. The ‘focus’ command is used to refocus Buttercup and let her know she is still working. The ‘block’ and ‘cover’ commands make Buttercup a physical barrier between Jordan and the ground or other people. It helps to give Jordan a type of base. If Jordan feels unstable, she can use one of these commands and lean into Buttercup, and Buttercup will help stabilize her.

Buttercup also helps Jordan walk straight and prevents her from walking into objects and areas that could harm her. If Jordan is about to have a seizure or faint, Buttercup will alert her and take her to a supervising adult. If no one else is around Jordan at the time of these episodes, Buttercup will guide her to sit in a secure area. Buttercup will lie on Jordan until the issue passes.

Buttercup and Jordan

Buttercup and Jordan

Her trainers also taught Buttercup to alert Jordan and an adult if Jordan is about to have a seizure, experiences a change in heart rate, is about to black out, or lose hearing or focus well before Jordan has shown any signs, making it possible for her to address the issue or get to a safe place before they happen.

Orr continued: “Buttercup gives Jordan a reason to get out of bed in the morning and the confidence to know that she will be ok as long as she pays attention to her alerts. Buttercup is truly amazing and has been life changing for our whole family. We finally have a confident happy daughter who now has freedoms she’s never been able to experience before.”

You can follow Buttercup on her Instagram page @buttercuptheservicedog

To make a donation to the rescue's Shelter to Service Program, which is dedicated to rescuing eligible dogs from kill shelters and training them for service, please go to