From Tragedy to Courage – The Story of a Strong Yorkie Who Beat the Odds!

It’s safe to say I’m not alone in thinking that the news has been filled with depressing tragedies lately. If it’s not an incredibly sad story, its’ a celebrity who gets paid way more than me to act like they were raised by wolves (*cough Miley *cough). We need some good news, and luckily I have some to share. [Read more…]

Why You Should Leave Your Pets with a Professional Sitter & Not a Neighbor!

10731985_SNot interested in taking good care of your pet?  If that’s the case, then go ahead and follow the poor advice from Chase Bank, as seen on the Shorewood Patch! I cringed at the sight of the title, as an animal lover and not as a pet-sitter; anyone who cares for animals would feel disturbed by such haphazard advice. [Read more…]

Grooming Your Puppy: All About Bathtime and Nail Clipping!

5479762820_cd186734e5_zWhen you first get a puppy, you’re usually focused on making vet appointments and getting all the new supplies. Make sure you pick up a set of foolproof puppy nail clippers, a dog brush, and sensitive doggy shampoo. With puppies, you should handle the grooming on your own and here is why… [Read more…]

5 Awesome Tips for Potty Training [Continued from Last Week]

My last post covered advice on how to get the most out of your potty training. Today, I’ll go a bit further into that with a few tricks I’ve learned in my time.

5 Tips to Help Make Potty Training Easy

1.       You’ll need to crate –train your pooch, it’s the perfect method for potty-training and many pet owners swear by this method. You obtain  the perfect sized crate by finding one that your dog can stand up and turn around in comfortably. Be sure you don’t get a crate that’s too big or it won’t work. Puppies don’t like to use the bathroom in the same area that they sleep in, so this is how they learn to hold it. Take your puppy to the bathroom every time you let him out of the cage so that he gets used to going outside.

2.       Make a set schedule and adhere to it. Get your dog on a strict routine, and he’ll begin to understand when potty time is, and then wait for that.

3.       Make communication easy. Always ring a bell when you take the dog out, and then leave some jingle bells nearby the play area. Your puppy will eventually associate the noise with bathroom time, and will jingle them to let you know it’s time!

4.       Hand accidents correctly, never punish your pup for going to the bathroom in the house- just correct the behavior while it’s happening.

Products like Potty Patch and Bio Dog are great for emergencies.

A Quick Note on Potty Training Dogs in Apartment Buildings

Potty training a puppy isn't the same every time, so even if you're experienced with pets, you should still do a bit of research and form a plan. Puppies are like snowflakes or fingerprints; some are alike, but no two are identical. Each puppy comes with his own set of variables, like socialization, home size, breed, and of course their personality. For example, Yorkies and Chihuahuas can take longer to train because they're so independent and intelligent.

Potty training a dog in an apartment is a lot different from a doing it inside of a big home, especially if your abode is a few floors up. You’ll need a few supplies and a lot of patience, but it is possible to have a perfectly trained, housebroken pup inside of an apartment building.

For great strategies, visit some of the links below:

10 Reactions to Your Dog’s Quirks

Whether you’ve had your dog for three weeks or three years, some of these reactions and statements will have you laughing and saying “Deb, that is so true”. Dogs are hysterical, adorable creatures, even when they’re being mildly irritating.


  • Your first day with your dog:

  • When you have had rough day and you come home to your dog’s unconditional love:


  • When your dog feels ill:


  • The entire potty training process:


  • When your dog gets mad about your steak dinner:


  • When your neighbors don’t like your dog:


  • When you buy your dog an expensive toy, and he chews The cord off of something:


  • That one rare day your dog doesn’t care that you’ve been gone for eight hours:


  • Even though you expect a new puppy to have an accident, you still react like this when he or she has an accident:


  • Talking to your dog like he understands, and feeling like this when he doesn’t:


Did I miss one? Share your thoughts in the comments section!



Deb Alling | Pet Nanny of Joliet, Plainfield, and Shorewood, Illinois


(I’d like to thank for providing the wonderful reactions to the silly things dogs do!)


Everything You Need to Know About Getting a New Dog [Part 1 of 4]

The decision to get a dog is a simple one for most people, you either love dogs and want one in your family, or you don’t. The tricky part is selecting dog breed and getting everyone in the household to agree on what they want from their new companion.

So, this inspired a four-post series on getting a new dog and everything you need to know to get started. Today’s post will cover how to determine if you’re ready to get a dog. Next week’s posts will cover choosing the right breed for YOU, and part three will cover how to compromise on a breed with others. Part four is a big, fat surprise!

Before getting a dog you need to be sure that you’re ready for the responsibility that comes along with it. Think of the end of the movie Aladdin, when Jafar wants to become a Genie for the power.

At first, he’s like “Great Idea!”

new puppy and adult dog walker and sitter in Joliet IL

And then, the responsibilities catch up with him, and it ends up a disaster.

dog walking blog in plainfield IL

Yeah, getting a dog is kind of like that.

So, how can you be sure you’re ready? You have to ask yourself a few questions first, and the answers will tell you whether you’re ready for a new pup or not.

Can you afford a dog?

Not simply, can you purchase the dog… but can you afford to give him a good life?  A dog is an awful lot like a child, and medical expenses can come out of nowhere. Make sure you have enough savings, and a steady income that will always provide your pooch with what he needs.

Do you have “itty bitty living space” like Jafar’s lamp?

Make sure you have enough room inside the home and in the yard. A tiny apartment might be okay for a Teacup Poodle, but certainly not a Golden Retriever or Rottweiler.

Is Your Abode Safe and Dog Appropriate?

In addition to size, you need to be careful of things dogs can get into. They’re not like cats, they won’t avoid something that is dangerous for them; dogs eat things. I repeat: Dogs. Eat. Things.

Be sure everything is out of the way, use bitter apple spray on cords, and look into the materials used to build your home or apartment. For example, ask someone to inspect the paint on your walls. If you have an older house that still has lead paint, you’ll either need to correct that or watch your dog like a hawk. You never want your dog to scratch paint or lead paint off walls, and risk ingesting it.

What are your limitations?

Do you dislike the idea of walking daily, or, do you find that you get irritated easily? When your pooch needs something, and you don’t want to do it, you can’t take it out on the dog. Be sure you’re ready to handle the care and maintenance of a dog. Your reward? Unconditional love.

If you feel that you’re ready for a dog after this post, then I warmly welcome you to the world of being a discerning pet owner. Congratulations on your decision to give and receive the uninterrupted bliss that is loving a canine.

Check back on Monday for more help, as the next part will help you select your dog breed!


Deb Alling | Pet Nanny of Joliet, Plainfield, and Shorewood, Illinois



[Jafar Gif Courtesy of]

Canine Training Advice: Know The Difference Between Structure & Punishment

A significant divide exists between punishment and correction with pet-training, specifically in canines. Unfortunately, due to myths, media, and confusion, even caring pet owners blur the line between correction and punishment.  You must not train your dog to fear you or his home, and you must not punish him for behaviors and quirks he cannot control.

You should NOT let your pet wear the pants in the relationship though, or life will feel a lot harder for the both of you. It is important that you discipline your dog, so that he understands what behaviors you will tolerate. It’s similar to the way humans must adhere to policies and protocols; living organisms need structure or chaos will ensue.

 Take a word of advice from Cesar Milan –

“In their natural world, dogs or wolves live in a highly disciplined and structured society. The packs’ very survival depends on maintaining order, and order doesn’t happen without discipline. But often we feel that implementing discipline is a form of punishment to a dog. Nothing could be further from the truth!” 

Changing your dog’s behaviors is important, but you must execute the discipline with care and caution, and you must not punish the dog, or assume he’s upset with you. Think about it… imagine how you’d feel if something were harming you, simply because you couldn’t control your bladder?

So, what is the difference between a correction and a punishment? How can you correct the behavior without confusing or harming your dog?

A correction means that you announce a verbal disapproval of your dog’s behavior as he is making the action. A punishment is a harsh verbal disapproval or physical harm,that occurs after the dog has completed the deed. You must stop your dog from doing the irritating behavior as he is doing it; otherwise he will be confused, and he may end up living in fear of you.


What to Expect as Your Dog Ages – Part 2 of 2

From birth to death, what to expect with your puppy

This is the second installment of a two-post session, covering the life of your new companion. Please click here, if you did not read the first post.

When most of us were kids, we didn’t have the ubiquitous technologies that kids today have, and we spent our time playing words games, or snuggling with pets. The point is… we’ve all tried to figure out our own age in dog years. This led to the common belief that one dog year is equal to 7 years of a human’s. While close, it’s not exactly true….

This means you could start thinking of your dog as an old man when he’s middle aged- How RUDE!

Before giving your dog a complex about his age, head on over to the pedigree website and check out their dog-age calculator. The formulas vary based on dog breed, so you’d want to use this tool, as it can help you figure out where your dog is at, physically and emotionally.

Once your dog is about eight years old (50 in human years), head to a vet for a middle-aged doggy checkup. You can work with the vet to plan, and take any tests you can to see as far ahead as possible. At this stage of life, doggies can get lazy- but it doesn’t mean they’re old or sick. Increasing daily activity or getting another pet can motivate him to get his energy back, just check with the vet first. Think of it as a little doggy  mid-life crisis, appease him with a fun day at a park, a new toy, or a new canine friend!

In the older years (10+), your dog may show his age in different ways…

You can give your dog a long and happy life, as long as you keep a keen eye on his health. You may notice your dog becoming defiant or ignoring commands; loss of hearing is common in dogs, so you may want to have a vet check your dog’s ability to process sounds.

Your dog may also experience muscle and joint pain. Luckily, your vet can suggest supplements and foods to aid and relieve this pain.

It’s also possible for your dog to become lethargic and sad occasionally. You can quickly change this by challenging his mind with a unique toy, or by holding him and giving him pure and unconditional love.

When Your Best Isn’t Enough

The best care and love is no match for time. Dogs cannot live as long as humans can, and for us to try is cruel. Yes, you want to give your dog the best life possible, but that includes knowing when enough is enough. When your dog is in pain, and is too old, owners have a tough decision when it comes to letting a dog go; the hardest choice is often the right one. For information and advice on dealing with the loss of a vet, please read :



What to Expect With Your New Puppy – Part 1 of 2

After talking to a few friends, I realized that there is a lot of hearsay about dogs, specifically about what you can expect with their ages. It inspired me to put together a brief, yet informative collection of what to expect with your new canine pal. The first post in our two-post session, covers what to expect with a new puppy. Check back tomorrow for the final post in this session, covering what to expect as your dog heads into his old age.

When you first make the decision to get a puppy, you’re distracted by the fact that you’re getting a new furry companion. Then, as you start to think about your new pup, you’re distracted by decisions, like where to get the pooch, and which breed suits you best. Then the supplies you need, cute outfits, and adorable toys distract you. Then when you get the puppy, that unconditionally loving face and big endearing eyes distract you. The point is, in the midst of all of the excitement and love going around there is little time for preparation, including thorough research on what to expect. Understanding what to expect at each age will make your life a lot easier, and  it won’t take hours of reading or watching videos to accomplish. Simply, follow the chart below to learn what you can expect from your puppy, from the time you bring him home until adulthood.

Why Start at Eight Weeks?

Most breeders keep newborn pups until about eight or nine weeks. Chances are, unless you breed dogs, you won’t get a puppy younger than seven or eight weeks old. Any care prior to eight weeks, you cannot learn in a small blog post, the puppy needs professional care at this stage.

8-12 Weeks – Cute Baby Stage

Your puppy is developing his motor skills. This is when he begins to understand human emotions, and he begins to react to commands and reprimands. This is the best time to train them, because this is the age where they learn what behaviors you will and will not tolerate.

This is also when the puppy learns his place, and the ideal time for you to show that you are the alpha. This will make training easier. The puppy should watch you eat, and learn that you only feed him after you’ve eaten. The same idea holds true for walks, make sure the puppy learns that he does not walk ahead of you. These principals will make training much easier in the future.

The wonderful part is that this is when your puppy realizes that you are his family. Your new companion will warm up to you and want a lot of attention during this stage. This is the best time to introduce the puppy to people he will see often.

13-16 WeeksTerrible Twos

This is your puppy’s defiant phase. YAY!

Be prepared for a lot of this –

new puppy needs and advice

However, the things that occur during this time are equally adorable as they are annoying, making this an endearing time for you and your puppy. Even though he knows what behavior is okay and what isn’t, he’ll push the limits. You have to be a bit more strict during the training process, because that is what he’s testing, your reaction. If you let him get away with it the first time, you bought yourself a whole life of headaches. Don’t get lenient or lazy with ridiculous behavior, if that picture up there is any sign of things to come, you’ll never eat cabbage again.

Moreover, during this time…. your dog will need you, as he’ll be teething. Distract your pooch with plenty of love and tough dental toys, as this will become his first, full-blown chewing phase. Luckily, most dogs go ballistic over a few of the treats listed below, so this phase doesn’t have to be a destructive one.

Beyond 4 Months of Age – A Dog!

At this age, your puppy will start to seem more like a dog, in terms of hunting behavior and mating instincts. Even if your puppy behaved well on a leash, he might not behave every time as an older dog. Until neutered, dogs may run after a mate, or another dog. This is also their exploration time, so a retractable leash is ideal; dogs need the freedom to explore, but also protection.



*gif courtesy of
Deb Alling | Pet Nanny of Joliet, IL