Plymouth Barktoberfest  0

Plymouth BartoberfestPlymouth Barktoberfest

Saturday October 4, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Nelson Street Park, Plymouth, MA
Live Entertainment!
Glamfur Shots-Dog/Owner Photo Booth
Crafters, Vendors and Food
Rabies Clinic-$10 per animal

Click here for a complete Doggie Agenda.



5 Training Tips for Reliable Recall  0

Reliable Recall Training | MassachusettsThe most important behavior you need to teach your dog can also be one of the hardest– recall. You want to be able to rely on the fact that if an emergency ever arises and you need your dog to come– now– they will listen. So what is the best way to make sure your pooch’s recall command is reliable? Here are five tips to help you get started with this important behavior!

1. Don’t use the word “come.” We say “come” to our dogs all the time without ever really thinking about it. At this point in your dog’s life, they have most likely heard this word enough that they have also learned to ignore it. Pick another word that you rarely use, and start training with that as the command. Toss a treat a few feet away so your dog goes after it, call out your new word for recall, and reward your pooch when they come back to you. This is how you teach successful reliable recall.

2. Don’t use your new recall word in a situation where you know your dog will not listen. If you are at the Dog Park and need your pooch, put the leash on him and walk him out instead of trying to call him to come to you.

3. Along the same lines, don’t use your recall word to call your dog and then have him do something he doesn’t like to do. If you need your dog to come so you can put him in the crate and leave for work, or if you need him to come so you can get in the car and go to the vet, approach your dog and put him on leash instead of calling him.

4. When you call your dog and he does come make sure you always have high quality treats to reward him. You want your dog to know that obeying this command will get him a great reward every time, and he will be more likely to listen when he hears that magic recall word.

5. Practice often, and in many different situations. You can work on this command in the house, in the yard, and even on leash when you’re out for a walk. More is always better!

Don’t be discouraged if your pooch doesn’t catch on right away. Reliable recall takes a lot of practice but will be more than worth all the work in the long run!


About the Author: Jessica Vezina is a certified dog trainer, working with animals full-time at Manypaws Pet Villa in Westport, MA. When she is not at work, Jessica does occasional volunteer work, and enjoys spending time with her three cats, and rescue dog named Stella. She can be contacted at and/or 508-642-4863.

Do You have a Dog Friendly Garden?  0

Dog Friendly Garden | Fairhaven MassachusettsWe love our dogs and our gardens, but for many of us the two don’t mix well in the backyard. Since our season is limited, we try and make the most of our garden in New England. We have shared some simple tips for balancing the needs of pets and plants.

Garden Training. Start training right away. Let your dog know what parts of the garden are off limits.

Don’t leave your dog unattended. Don’t leave your dog alone outside if they can get access to your garden.

Protect your borders with a low fence. You will be surprised at how even the smallest fence can be an effective visual barrier for your dog. Raised beds are also great at rerouting your dog’s path.

Include your dog. As you garden, provide your dog with an activity. Gracie loves to play with her “outdoor” toys while we work in the garden. We also talk to her while working in the garden to keep her engaged with us.

Have fun. Enjoy your dog’s company and don’t get too upset if your dog knocks over a pot or kills a plant. Plants always grow back.

There are many plants that are toxic to dogs. Be mindful of what you buy and plant in your garden if you have a pet. Some of the more common toxic plants for dogs include: Autumn Crocus, American Holly, Azaleas, Bleeding Hearts, Daffodils, Hosta, Lilies, Rhubarb, Grapes, and Mushrooms. For a comprehensive list and photos of pet-safe garden plants, visit the Animal Poison Control Center at

Don’t forget that insecticides and herbicides can pose problems too. Research on phenoxy-type herbicides shows they increase the incidence of cancer. Be cautious when treating your lawns and gardens this summer. Keep in mind that you will need to create a dog friendly garden and backyard if you want your dog to live a long healthy life.

We encourage you to share photos with Gracie of your dogs working in the garden this summer. Please email Tammi at with your photo and we will share it. Don’t forget to include a couple of sentences about your pup in the garden!

Meet Rio! Gracie’s Spotlight Dog for July  0

Kathleen contacted Gracie’s Bark to Spotlight her adorable dog Rio. We are very excited to share their story.

Pet’s Name: Rio

Pet’s Age: 13 weeks

Pet’s Gender: Male

Pet’s Favorite Toy: Anything he can chew!

Pet’s Favorite Trick: Not much there yet…

Pet’s Favorite Place: Backyard

Spotlight Dogs | Cape Cod Massachusetts

Pet’s Story:

We had seen some beautiful black labs on Sandy Neck two years ago.  We had the name of the breeder from their owner.  I called the breeder and he said after 28 years of breeding he was moving on.  However, he had one last litter.  He has a spot of white on his chest like our last two dogs; so we felt it was meant to be!

Rio is adorable and one lucky pup! We want to thank him for becoming part of Gracie’s Bark Blog family. Each month Gracie spotlights a dog from around the world. If you are interested, please submit your pet’s information at: Spotlight Dog

Additional pictures and video welcome, space permitting. If you have any questions, please email us at

Teaching Children How to Greet Dogs  0

Have you heard of the Yellow Dog Project? Does your child know how to greet a dog?

The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for parents of dogs that need space ( The goal of this movement is to raise awareness about dogs who may be overly excitable when children, people, and other dogs are around. The use of a yellow ribbon on the dog’s leash or collar is to identify yellow dogs who are are in need of extra space.

The color yellow is used as a symbol of caution to others (especially children) who may approach your dog while you are engaged in an outdoor activity.

Yellow Dog Project | Fairhaven MassachusettsAs dog parents of an excitable herding dog, we are thrilled to hear of this global movement. There have been occasions where children have run toward us to pet Gracie. While it’s important to train your dog, it is also important to teach children how to greet a dog. To avoid miscommunication during greetings it is critical for parents to teach children safe methods of approaching and greeting dogs, and to avoid them at certain times.

We encourage teaching your children three simple rules:

  • Children should always ask the owner first if it is okay to pet their dog;
  • The dog should be pet on the back from collar to tail, never on the head;
  • Leave dogs that are sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies alone.

Additional basic child safety tips around dogs:

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Do not run from a dog and scream.
  • Remain motionless (“be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (“be still like a log”).
  • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Do not disturb a dog when it is eating, on its bed, in a car, behind a fence, or tied up.

We recently had first hand experience with an adult, not a child, tapping on our car window with Gracie in the car barking. This man continued to antagonize her while I had my hands full standing next to my car door waiting to get in. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I had ever been through as a dog owner. What many people may not understand is that training your dog takes a great deal of time, patience and consistency. One experience like this can not only set your training back quite a bit, but also put your dog through unnecessary stress and anxiety.

When we heard of the Yellow Dog Project, we immediately thought it was a great movement toward safe dog encounters and pet education. Next time you see a “yellow dog”, we hope you will take a moment to recognize that the dog may need some extra space. We encourage you to spread the word and educate others, especially children, on what the yellow ribbon symbolizes.