Traveling with pet

When you are traveling with your pet make sure your destination is pet friendly and will accommodate whatever pet you have. Pet friendly does not always mean friendly for all, there could size restrictions as well as breed restrictions. Once my wife and I were traveling with our two dogs and decided to stay in a pet friendly hotel. It was all good until they saw our 150lb Great Dane, hard to sneak in a dog that big. There are websites available to help you find just the right place.
If you’re traveling with your pet out of the country especially by air you must plan months ahead of time because countries have different requirements especially when it comes to vaccinations. Case and point Johnny Depp and his two Yorkies! There are dangers and concerns when traveling by air and I wouldn’t recommend it unless absolutely necessary.
When traveling by car realize that some pets have a tendency to get carsick so be prepared. There is motion sickness medicine available, keep them cool and comfortable, buckle them up in the back seat, and play some good music. Remember to visit a rest stop, snack bar optional.
Whenever you leave home make sure your pet has on ID tags. Before any travel exercise them so they can relax on the journey. Animals should be part of the family and deserve a vacation too. Handled properly they can be a perfect traveling companion.

Introducing New Dog

When we brought our new 4-month-old Great Dane puppy home to meet his already settled in year and half old sister Rosie, a stubborn bulldog it was quite a scene. Rosie was already acclimated and content. Clarence however was a full of nerves and scared of everything, that poor puppy had never even been outside. We tried to get him settled in, his crate placed closely next to hers so the two could bond and bond they did! A few days after Clarence’s arrival into the family we went out for dinner, when we came back mayhem had occurred. This massive yet gentle puppy had broken out of his crate breaking his nose in the process. He didn’t stop there; he also somehow someway sprang his sister. After he freed himself we can only assume that he pawed at the latch on her crate until it opened. You can imagine our surprise when we came in to find them both lying together on the carpet, crates hacked and vacant. After that they were bonded for life, best friends, siblings, however you want to look at it. Point being you can plan as much as you want but sometimes things just happen.
That is not to say you shouldn’t prepare. Here are some useful tips. When you go to pick up the new dog leave the other dog at home. You want to keep pick-up as low key as possible. When you do arrive home introduce them to each other on neutral territory outside of the home. The lawn, a park, driveway, sidewalk anywhere, but not inside. Introduce them with leashes on (loose) and keep the meet and greet light hearted. The dogs will sense your apprehension and nerves so keep your voice happy with friendly tones. Keep food bowls separate. To this day Rosie and Clarence (they are 10 and 11) have their bowls on opposite sides of the kitchen and his is raised on a level where she can’t reach. You want to avoid competition. This goes for food, water and toys. As far as toys go I always had two of everything. Rosie still tried to hoard everything for herself, but that’s just her. Give them each their own sleeping space (we tried) they don’t have to be too close to each other. Everyone needs his or her own space.
Remember do everything gradually, especially the first introductions. Dogs can be territorial so you need to respect that. Everyone will find his or her place within the family. Make sure you have the proper resources and enough time and energy to treat both equally. If that’s all good then having more than one is double the fun!

Dogs Who Eat Poop

Dogs Who Eat Poop: There is actually a technical term for dogs that eat their own fecal matter and this is called Coprophagia. It is common and the first step in correcting the behavior is in understanding why it happens and there could be several reasons. If a dog is underfed or being given a poor quality dog food this behavior could develop. Being hungry or malnourished could cause him to eat things in addition to his regular diet, such as his own stool. Also if a dog is eating too many treats he may be too full to complete his balanced diet leading to irregular eating habits including increased appetite at varying times of the day. When this happens the stool may be the only thing available.
A dog may have a medical problem that causes a decrease in the absorption of nutrients or causes gastrointestinal upset so he may resort to eating stool.
Stool eating also occurs if a dog is bored and does not have anything else to stimulate him. He may investigate and taste out of boredom. Also if a dog is kept in a space too small such as a crate or play area he may become stressed if feces gather in the area and are not cleaned up quickly or properly. This can happen in a large space as well!
Feed your dog a well-balanced meal with a high quality dog food or home cooked selections on a regular schedule. Keep his living space clean, full of toys with lots of room to move around. Final solution when all else fails, seek advise from your veterinarian to determine a medical cause.

Crate Training

Crate Training :While you are waiting for your puppy to be less dependent on his canine mama, there are plenty of things you can be doing. Just like human parents must baby proof the house, you should puppy proof your house! The purpose of puppy proofing is to make sure you remove anything that could be harmful to your new pet such as cleaning products, electric cords or breakable glass. It’s also a great way to make sure that possible items that may make appealing teething rings and chew toys are put away out of puppy’s reach. If there are children in the home, removing favorite stuffed animals and their toys might be a very good idea as puppy may not be able to distinguish between his play items and theirs.
As you go through your home also keep in mind where your dog will sleep. Most new dog owners use a crate in the beginning; but there’re still a few owners that I see that feel that crating a dog is inhumane or constitutes a negative situation. Here is my take on crating.
Crating the puppy creates a soft warm home and prevents your puppy from engaging in destructive behavior while not being watched. It’s also an extremely important tool in potty training. That goes for either training your dog to go to the bathroom outside or using Wee-Wee pads in the house.

When getting a crate, make sure you purchase one that is the right size. The rule of thumb is the crate should be one and a half times your puppy’s body length not including the tail. Crates come with dividers. You can make a large crate smaller and then gradually expand your puppies living quarters. The concept behind the dividers is that dogs are notoriously clean animals. By keeping puppy in an enclosed area he will do his best not to go to the bathroom and soil himself or his bed. In other words, when you come down in the morning to let your puppy out, his bladder is full from holding it in all night. Now you can then take him over to his bathroom area (be it outside or Wee-Wee pad), he relieves himself, you go crazy, give him a treat and tell him what a smart, wonderful doggie he is. Bada Bing Bada Boom… before you know it Puppy is trained! At least that is the concept.

Save A Life, Find A Friend

Recently, we ran a contest that gave our clients and followers the opportunity to share their love for their dogs by posting a picture via social media. We had a wonderful response and the best part was the beautiful pictures and lovely captions that went along with them. One thing became obvious — we all love our dogs! They give us the love and loyalty that we deserve and so rarely receive.

All of the dogs that entered the contest were winners in my book, but the dog that got the most votes was a Corgi–Hound mix named Bella Sofia. Bella’s owner, Karina, adopted her at a local animal shelter. We don’t know the story of Bella’s background, but we do know that she now has a loving home. Karina has no regrets and she and Bella have now signed on with Michael’s Pack and are members of our latest beginner group class.

There are so many dogs looking to be adopted that are currently in rescues or shelters. More “unwanted dogs” are definitely not needed. Six to eight million pets end up in shelters each year; half of those will probably not be adopted. Also remember that breed-specific rescue groups always have purebred dogs and puppies looking for new homes.

The decision as to what type of puppy to get is yours to make, and it would be presumptuous of me to suggest one type over the other.



Our “My Canine Valentine” contest winner, Bella Sofia


If you are still not sure about whether to adopt or purchase a purebred dog, please consider the puppy up for adoption at your local shelter. These dogs all need homes with loving families and they make awesome companions. Another consideration when adopting is an adult dog. There are a lot of great dogs out there that don’t have homes, and an older dog can be a great companion.

Do your homework and figure out what kind of pet will best fit your household. Explore your local shelter. There may be more than one, so make sure you do your research. Although picking a dog at a shelter can be impulsive, remember its okay to wait for the right one. Shelters and rescue groups get new animals everyday so keep checking back if you have a specific breed in mind. Some rescues and shelters have waiting lists as well, so get your name on it.

Know how to pick the right dog. Again, ask questions and explore your options. Mixed breeds are generally healthier. Because of what is known as hybrid vigor, a mix-breed is the healthiest of all dogs. This comes from the idea that the more breeds in a dog’s genetic mix, the less likely it is that the genetic problems of purebreds will manifest themselves. Of course, there are always exceptions but this “mix” seems to be the common trend as there is rampant surge of newfangled mixes, such as the cock-a-poo, golden-doodle, and she-poo, just to name a few.

Let go of the myths about shelter dogs: they are too old, they may have a disease, and they aren’t purebred. You will never know their true history and it doesn’t really matter. Dogs don’t dwell on their past, and neither should we.

Avoid puppy mill dogs, although they desperately need to be rescued. If you do go this route, then bless your heart — you’ve given this survivor a new lease on life, and I am sure it will be rewarding for both of you, if handled correctly.

Finally, adopt a dog that is the right fit. This can be hard to do when you are rescuing, but now is the time to ask yourself some really good questions: Are you a homeowner or are you renting? If you rent, does your landlord allow dogs? If so, are their restrictions to size or weight? Do you have allergies? Do you have children? Are you planning on having any in the next 15-20 years? Are you able to afford the extra cost of a dog? The last thing you want is the dog to end up back in the shelter because he didn’t suit your lifestyle.

Shelters and rescue groups provide a great service by actively looking to provide homes for unwanted and or neglected dogs. Please consider these organizations when deciding on bringing home a dog to your family.

Karina, Bella Sofia's proud owner does not regret getting her from a local pet shelter.

Karina, Bella Sofia’s proud owner does not regret getting her from a local pet shelter.

True Confessions of A Dog Trainer

As a professional dog trainer, I have seen and worked with all kinds of dogs over the years. In order to do this as an occupation, one would think a dog trainer would have to love dogs. However, after giving this long consideration, I have a confession that refutes the above statement. I think I hate my dog! That’s right. I think I’m completely envious and jealous of my own family dog and I need to relieve myself of this shameful burden I’ve been carrying around inside of me all these years

My wife and I have an 11-year-old English bulldog named Rosalita, Rosie for short.   At this point of her life, she is a fat, arthritic, grunts and snores and if there were an Olympic event for canine flatulence, she would come away with the gold no questions asked. You may ask why I would hold such rancor for this dog. Below are some of the reasons.

She is never concerned about what she has to wear. No matter what the weather outside is or the event she is attending, Rosie always shows up in her white and tan suit she has been wearing every day of her life.And she always looks great.   No dry cleaning bills, no replacement of tears, no nothing. And she always steals the show.

She never stresses.   Rosie is the ultimate comedian. She treats life like a game and at the ripe old age of 11, still loves to roll over on her back and wriggle around with all 4 legs flailing away. It’s a guaranteed showstopper. There isn’t a person alive who wouldn’t start laughing uproariously at her antics.   She doesn’t worry about bills, politics, news events, etc. She’s always happy!!   How is that possible? And be careful, if you for one second are not giving her your full attention she will do everything in her power to draw your attention to her. Bark, roll, flounce, steal a toy, grab your shoe, you name it. Anything for you to stop what you are doing to strictly focus on her at all times. And you know what? We do!

She LOVES her meals.   Rosie eats better than 99% of the world’s population. For the majority of her life Rosie has been the recipient of home cooked meals. In other words while most dogs eat something from a can, pouch or bag my bulldog has a diet that consists of turkey, chicken, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, fresh organic vegetables just to name a few. Don’t let me forget to mention that on Saturday and Sunday mornings she always gets eggs, preferably with cheese. As I eat my yogurt or square of shredded wheat I often wonder, “Wow what is wrong with this picture?”

She sleeps and boy does she sleep. Rosie never has “sleepless nights” where the day’s events keep her up. The best I can figure, she gets a good 17-18 hours a day of sleep. She sleeps in any one of the four dog beds that are scattered around my small house. She sleeps our chair and half courtesy of a very prestigious furniture designer. Draped over that chair is a quilt from that same aforementioned furniture dealer. Best of all she sleeps on our bed. She waits at the foot of the stairs after her evening walk waiting, rather impatiently I must say, until I carry her up and place her up on the bed that has been already covered in yet another special blanket. She doesn’t not just stay at he foot of the bed, she has made the whole thing her own pushing aside any pillows, covers or people that seem to get in her way.

And finally the ultimate reason I feel such malevolence to my dog, she is in love with my wife and I have every reason to believe that my wife is madly in love with Rosie. By now you must realize that Rosie might be the most spoiled dog in America. Believe me, there is nothing that will extinguish the spark of romance quicker than having a 55 lb. English bulldog staring at you from 4 inches away when you and your significant other decide to get “friendly.” If I attempt to correct this, my wife looks at me and simply says “But I love her, you can’t move her.” Then there was the time I was carrying Rosie downstairs because naturally she prefers to be carried. I missed a step, lost my footing and fell. Not a bad fall but there was a lot of noise and stumbling. My wife screamed from upstairs “OMG what happened is Rosie alright?” We were both alright and I was actually thankful for Rosie’s extra padding that helped buffer the fall. Yes, sometimes I feel like the proverbial third wheel.

However, after weighing the pro’s and con’s of my little (?) Rosalita, I came to the conclusion that instead of resenting her, I should realize how special she is and be grateful for the joy she has brought into our lives and continues to do so every day. Okay, forget the “hate “ word.   I love her.

Old Dogs


The last years and months we have with our aging dogs are by far the most bittersweet times in a dog lovers’ life. The older they get, the better they get — as if we couldn’t love them more than we already do. The senior stage may last years. If handled properly, this can be a great stage of life for your dog as well as you. Older (senior) dogs need less constant attention than puppies and young dogs. You will notice that they sleep more, eat less, gain weight and develop dental problems. Not so different from an aging human, however, while human adult aging is gradual in our dogs it all happens a lot faster and way too soon. In addition to the obvious signs of aging they will also become more susceptible to dehydration, sensitive to changes in the weather, will suffer hearing and or vision loss and will need help getting up and down the stairs and into the car.

Aging affects the brain, too. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS) is akin to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Dogs with CDS may forget their name or obedience skills, begin having accidents in the house, or no longer recognize members of the family. My 11-year-old bulldog Rosalita is starting to show signs of this syndrome growling unnecessarily at family members. Calming, soothing words and actions seem to redirect her. On a lighter note she is still the comedian of the family full of love and affection.

It’s not uncommon for separation anxiety to set in, even in dogs that were independent and easy going in their youth. As hearing and sight wane, your dog will rely on you more and more for information about her surroundings–and she may become panicked in your absence. My 10-year-old Great Dane Clarence always has had separation anxiety, but in his senior years it has gotten to the point where we cannot leave him with anyone but us. His anxiety makes him panic to the point of becoming physical ill. What I do when we need to travel without him is to make sure someone comes to the house instead of putting him a different environment. A lot of my clients feel bad leaving their dogs alone without human interaction, however some dogs left alone in their own environment do better, especially older dogs.

For a variety of reasons, including better nutrition, advances in veterinary care and a more health conscious public, dogs are living longer lives. For older dogs there are three main factors that will greatly influence longevity.

  • Diet and Weight – monitor how much your dog eats and keep their weight down. Ask your vet for recommendations for a proper diet along with supplements.
  • Exercise- Your dog needs to be active everyday. Be realistic about what they can do but even a little bit will keep the weight down and muscles and joints supple.
  • Regular Veterinary care- See your vet at least once a year. Older dogs may require blood work, dental care and diagnostic imaging; early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

Senior dogs need less walking. They know the routine of the house and are quite content to laze around and get their ears scratched. Extra love and kisses come with older dogs.

Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.” -Bonnie Wilcox

New Dog for Christmas

There it is, that adorable face wrapped up with a big red bow. This is the gift that probably made someone the best parent in the world, or maybe this was the promise of commitment from the most loving caring significant other. Or perhaps it was the gift of joy and companionship to an elderly or lonely relative. That’s wonderful, who wouldn’t be thrilled? The question, now that the tree is down and everyone is back to their regularly scheduled lives, is what do we do with this puppy?

Whether you have a full time job, live in a small space, or have health issues while a puppy in so many ways can be a blessing it can also be a burden. Since a puppy is a gift that is difficult to return, in order to make the most of your relationship with your new companion you will need to teach the pup some important skills that will help you all live harmoniously together under the same roof.

As a professional dog trainer, I am fortunate to be able to engage in my passion on a full time basis. Being able to help bridge the communication gaps between man’s best friend and man himself is humbling to say the least. A large portion of my students are puppies. Which means, an even larger portion of my human clientele are puppy mommies and daddies. Many of my clients that have acquired or received a puppy, often say, “ What do I do now?” Showing your dog what is acceptable (potty training, sit, stay, etc.) and what isn’t ( jumping, pulling on a leash, etc.) will improve your life and enhance the bond between you and your dog.

It never fails to amaze me how dogs convey utter love, devotion, and loyalty to their humans, no questions asked. They don’t care about your race or religion, whether you are rich or poor, married or not! Your dog invariably will wrap himself around your heart and into your life. No agenda, no ulterior motives; just an endless supply of adoration and faithfulness. (And wet sloppy kisses, lots and lots of wet sloppy kisses!)

I truly believe the world would be a much better place if everyone experienced the love of a dog. They make us kinder, more compassionate humans. However, like most things in life this harmonious give and take love affair between dogs and us doesn’t come without challenges; and this challenge is often called puppyhood. Prepare your home and prepare your family. Spend whatever time you have with your puppy. Find a responsible and reputable trainer, you won’t regret it when they become dogs.

Michael’s Pack Encourages You to Consider These Tips before Adopting a Pet This Holiday Season

The holidays are a joyful time of year when many families surprise loved ones with adorable dogs and puppies as gifts. Before you consider adopting a lovable, furry friend this holiday season, Michael’s Pack suggests these helpful tips:
  • Refrain from impulse adopting: Just because a dog is cute and playful does not mean it’s the right dog for you. After meeting a certain dog, head home and do your homework — make sure the dog’s personality will fit in with your family. Get an idea about which breeds make up the dog you are considering by researching its common needs and habits.
  • Plan ahead: Before going to pick up your dog, make sure your house is dog-ready. Put up gates where you do not want the dog to go so that he/she will not harm themselves. Also, make sure you put away sharp objects and/or anything that your pet could choke on so that they remain safe and accident-free.
If you own a dog already, make sure he/she will get along with your new furry friend. Take them to a neutral area where they can meet before the new dog is welcomed into your home — your previous dog may become extremely territorial.
  • Adopt an older dog: Many people are reluctant to adopt an older dog due to their eagerness to want to adopt a puppy and fear that an older dog may not be able to adapt as well. However, an older dog can be beneficial for countless owners. For example, many are housebroken and already trained. Some older couples do not have the energy or time to go through the training process for a puppy; therefore, adopting an older dog would be their best option.
  • Choose a dog that suits your lifestyle: Consider all of the aspects of your life and think about what type of dog would be best in your household. Get to know your potential dog’s personality. Instead of picking a dog that runs up to you and becomes overly excited, consider choosing one that has a more cautious personality. The ones that are initially more guarded and then open up are usually better adjusted and easier to train than the ones leaping into everyone’s arms.

Also, consider adopting a mixed-breed dog. Many mutts are in shelters and are not adopted due to the popular demand of purebred puppies and “designer” dogs. Unbeknownst to many, mutts are just as lovable and are known to be great companions with excellent health.

“If you consider these helpful and simple tips, you will be sure to find your ideal dog that will be perfect for your home,” says Michael Schaier, Owner and Head Trainer, Michael’s Pack. “Extensive research and planning will ensure that you made the right decision in adopting a specific dog. The training and adaptive process will be less stressful and make everyone in your household content, as well as your new pet.”

For more information, please call (516) DOG.PACK (364-7225) or visit

Michael Gives Training Tips to Former ‘Bachelorette’


Michael gives training tips to former ‘Bachelorette’ Ashley Hebert & J.P. Rosenbaum and their adorable little Yorkie Boo.

Long Island dog training serving Mineola, Garden City, Hicksville, Syosset, Great Neck, Westbury, New Hyde Park, Hempstead, Floral Park, Bethpage, among others.

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