Raising Dogs With Common Sense


About the Author
Grain-Free Food is the safest choice.

I consider NUTRITION to be the most important aspect of raising a healthy dog. In the wild, dogs search for meat and will sometimes chew on greens to help with digestion. As a rule, your dog will be healthier if his diet is primarily meat. I have found that GRAIN-FREE dry kibble is the best store-bought dog food available. We feed mostly fish formula dry food for best skin/coat health. We sometimes alternate beef and/or chicken if fish formula is unavailable.

Avoid man-made treats with bad ingredients

Treats are handy for training purposes but I caution the use of them unless all-natural, 100% MEAT. Anything man-made is artificial to the dog's system, and risks undoing your efforts to keep good nutrition a top priority.
#1 Rule: No Glutens, No Wheat, No Corn.

The best supplements I have found to date are fish oil soft-gels and shark cartilage capsules. I purchase these "human" supplements online and give for bone strength, joint lubrication and skin/coat health. This is a daily "treat" for our dogs.

Once our dogs reach age 5yrs, we add Shark Cartilage as a daily supplement for quality of life. I cannot prove that shark cartilage stops cancer, but I do feel that it helps prevent and/or slow the process in older dogs.

Both of these supplements are inexpensive and easy to find.
Fish Oil: Skin, Coat, Bones, Joints
Shark Cartilage: Cancer Prevention

ALL DOGS WILL CHEW, from puppyhood onward. Puppies are born with the chewing instinct to help shed "baby teeth."

"Chew" Safety: Must be 100% Natural, preferably antlers. If giving your dog a "bone" please be sure it is not man-made. Try to purchase chews that are LARGER than your dog is able to carry in his mouth, to avoid choking and other injuries.



CHLORHEXIDINE is a must-have item in our home. We use this gentle, medicated, NO-RINSE-REQUIRED bathing agent for indoor dogs; also used for wound care, kennel cleaning and more. It has a very pleasant scent, does not burn, and is very affordable!

I purchase Chlorhexidine via Amazon (prime item) and also through www.revivalanimal.com. You may also find it in some pet supply stores and most horse/pet feed stores.


Order straight from the manufacturer's website for best pricing!
Vetericyn products are high quality, safe / easy to use, and may be purchased online and in pet supply stores. While they may cost more than other products, Vetericyn products have a long shelf life and are quite effective.



After years of crate-training, this is the method that has worked beautifully for us.

While I normally encourage folks to purchase deer/elk antlers for chew-bones, we sometimes use natural chew-bones for young puppies, especially if they're bigger than the puppy!

Even when the crate is perfectly "stocked" with proper toys, food/water and dry papers, puppies still crave the attention of their humans and want to be free of the crate.

If you allow a pup to get this upset, you can look for trouble, including upset tummy, depression & other issues.  Read more in Chapter 12 to crate-train & house-train with ease!


"Speak" and "Bed"

Illustrated by our dogs,

Abby & Cindy 
1) "SPEAK"
Abby LOVES to "speak" and is thrilled to show off her talents.
 Cindy has several versions of "speak" but she hates my camera, so you'll only hear a few of her voices in this video.  Enjoy!
2) "BED"  Abby & Cindy (actually, all 4 of our dogs) learned the "bed" command before any other obedience training upon entering our home.  "Bed" is a simple, 1-syllable word that is easily taught by pointing to the dog's bed and repeating the command word until learned.  Our dogs can be anywhere in the house and when we say "bed," they immediately report to their pillow-bed at our front door.


All of our dogs love the water, but we don't "force" it on them - we allow them to investigate the water's edge for as long as they need to in order to be comfortable with it.
http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/RbdpfZeLnlA?rel=0 = probably my favorite video taken at our pond over the years... "Cindy" doesn't share very well.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/eqq-gdYsbyk?rel=0 = more pond fun, back in the day when I still had my bulldog program going.

And, sometimes, HOME-MADE toys work just as well, especially for Fetch-training!
http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/XUvSYQyqrBY?rel=0 = "Ziva" still enjoys fetching, anything from a tennis ball to a "homemade" toy is just fine.


CHAPTER ONE: Adoption Options
The ZENO Family of East Orange, NJ
Left= Clyde. Right= Bonnie.
Many thanks to the Zeno Family of NJ for sharing this photo. Their household is a perfect example of ADULT DOG ADOPTION vs. the challenges of a small puppy. The Zeno's called to reserve my prize stud dog, "Clyde" (left in photo), 2 YEARS before I was willing to part with him. Meanwhile, I referred them to a breeder friend of mine, who let them adopt "Bonnie," (right) already spayed and ready for her forever home. Adopting these 2 adult dogs was the perfect fit for the Zeno's, as they are a busy household that required low-maintenance, ready-to-love pets. I still enjoy hearing from this family and am blessed to call them my FRIENDS!

Mark Zeno was kind enough to create our DOG BLUFF group page on Facebook. Click here to join the fun!

Matt & Amy (Maiden, NC) are proud parents of 4 beautiful children AND several fur-babies! They're our cousins, so I'm allowed to brag on them here! This family has adopted TWO of my adult retirees in the past, and most recently, they helped rescue a puppy from a litter I helped with. This family shows willingness to love any breed of dog, any AGE dog (they waited a LONG time for "Sherman" - reserved him as a puppy when I first got him for my Oldie program!), and they love their dogs for LIFE. Well done!!!


Chapters 1, 2, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12 and especially Chapter 15 of my book truly "speak" through the following story. Chapter 15 addresses the most difficult part of owning and loving a dog. I am honored to share the heartfelt sentiments of Olivia (Boiling Springs, SC), who wrote the following Facebook post on 11-6-17. As of 2017, Olivia is Board President of "Vested Partners," a program utilizing therapy dogs for Autism. Olivia also enjoyed volunteering with "SC Therapy Dogs" at one time and worked to make Calhoun an effective part of that passion.

This story covers SEVERAL things that I "preach" on - this is how to LOVE YOUR DOG!
Calhoun was born 6/3/2006. I thought he was super-cute but soon realized that I had, in fact, chosen one of the most stubborn dogs in the world. My grandmother said his ears were like velvet- if he would sit long enough to let you rub them. He ran around everywhere, peed everywhere, bit everything. I remember standing in the yard at 4AM, freezing, waiting for him to do his business while he happily played in the grass. I knew we had to do some training. There were not many trainers who would work with a Boxer/Bulldog mix 11 years ago, but we found our perfect pet trainer! She loved Calhoun's big ole' head. I knew he was a powerful breed and I never wanted to put him in a situation that would end up with him biting someone or me having to euthanize him. So we TRAINED and SOCIALIZED ALL THE TIME. We went everywhere together. He surprised the heck out of me when he passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen test like it was nothing! We went on to get certified as a Therapy Dog team. We hiked and walked and talked- well, I did most of the talking. He has been there for most of my celebrations and even some bad decisions. The lady at my favorite makeup counter enjoyed hearing the story of how Calhoun ate my makeup bag. He locked me out of my car. He ate siding and destroyed three story downspouts. He ran from the [Easley, SC] police in a way that would impress the most hardened criminal! He sat in yard furniture to watch neighborhood traffic and then he ate the furniture! He was terrified of Charleston [SC] horses. He almost drowned at James Island County Park. He ran loose and free on a golf course at Kiawah. He was never a swimmer, but he loved being near the water and on the sand. Calhoun will forever be my HEART DOG. He frustrated me, but also taught me that working hard for something makes it that much better when you achieve it. He let me bring home random German Shepherd puppies with little fuss. I think he may have been an honorary service dog. The laziest service dog, ever. He accepted two little girls and their antics as if they had been part of his life forever. I wanted him to live a good and full life. I never wanted him to be cold or scared or hungry. I wanted him to only know love every day of his life. He was the light of my life for 11 1/2 years, and that wasn't long enough. Calhoun died today. He left my heart shattered, but fuller than it ever was. I realize that there is no way I could share his story in one post, so I take that as a sign that I did good. Rest easy, Calhoun. Find our Lucy.

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Enjoy a "sample reading" while on Amazon by clicking book cover photo.

Angela Thompson Roberts, Author
Phone: 843-340-5818
Email: clifang@sccoast.net