This is Rex! Rex is a Shar-pei/ German Shepherd mix up for adoption at the Idaho Humane Society. Rex is loving and gentle once he bonds with you, gets along with dogs, and seems to be house trained.

To look for other dogs in your area check out Petfinder.com.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 5

Flirt pole! A flirt pole is basically a stick with a rope hanging from one end with something fun tied on the end. A very simple version you can make with stuff around the house uses a broomstick, rope/string, and a toy. Tie one end of the rope securely to the broomstick and the other end securely to your dog's toy. Use the broom stick to move the toy across the ground/air (preferably in a large space) and watch your dog enjoy chasing it, just make sure to let him catch it once in a while ;).
If you can spend a few dollars, try using a length of pvc pipe (or something similar), some rope and a toy. Thread the rope through the pipe and tie a knot at one end and tie a toy to the other. With this version you can control the stick part, and you can pull the rope as well making it more difficult to catch the toy.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 4

Keeping cool in the summer heat can be tricky, to help your dog cool off after a walk try a frozen treat! Some dogs like to munch on plain ice cubes (Toby thinks its a special treat, don't tell him it is water), but other dogs have no interest in flavorless treats. So why not spice things up a little! I like to get a plastic cup, put a little water in it, add some kibble/treats/meats/veggies, freeze it, then do another layer. I like to do layers because all the food bits tend to sink/float to the same place so layers get the food into the middle too. Once the last layer is frozen I run warm water over the cup until the icy treat pops out. In the end Toby gets a big ice cube with layers of yummy treats that looks something like this:

To make it more enticing try making a light broth by adding a bouillon cube to a pot of warm water to use when make your treats, just make sure its not too strong so there isn't a lot of added salt in each ice treat. For smaller dogs, or for quick treats, use an old ice cube tray or for longer lasting treats use a bowl! Add anything your dog likes for a refreshing and tasty doggy popsicle!


Doggie DIY Week: Day 3

Since day one with Toby I have been trying to find new ways to keep him from inhaling his meals! I bought a ball that dispenses kibble as he rolls it around but I had to refill it four times to use it for a meal. Not wanting to spend more money on a larger version, but also wanting to be able to fill it only once, I started looking for alternatives. An idea came to me when my uncle was visiting and mentioned that his son's dog loved to play with plastic water bottles when they were empty, as he tossed the one in his hand toward Toby. Toby mouthed it a little, decided it wasn't food and picked it up to have someone throw it again. He played with it for quite a while with out damaging it, so I decided to try cutting a couple small holes in it and filling it with his food. I got out a utility knife and cut a hole slightly larger than a piece of kibble. I ran my finger along the edge of the hole, testing it for sharp spots and found none. I cut another hole and checked it for sharp edges too. Then I put a handful of kibble in, and replaced the lid. Toby eagerly took the bottle when I offered it, set it on the ground and sniffed at it. He saw and smelled the kibble inside and set about getting it out! He soon discovered that if he pushed it around with his nose, kibble popped out! He emptied it and brought it back proudly. The next one I made, I only cut one hole so that it would keep him busy longer.

If you make your own kibble bottle be sure to check it frequently for damage and sharp edges. For stronger chewers I recommend a Vitamin Water bottle or a similar, thicker bottle.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 2

Yesterday's project had some leftovers, two sweatshirt sleeves. To save money I have taken to buying Toby's stuffed toys at yard sales, and I have saved a lot but when I had these two sweatshirt sleeves left over I knew there had to be a way to make them into free stuffed toys. Most dogs LOVE stuffed toys, unfortunately most stuffed toys don't stand a chance against those teeth! So we doting owners buy toy after toy to keep our pups happy. I couldn't pass up this free stuffed toy opportunity. The hard part was figuring out what to stuff them with without spending money. The idea came to me while folding laundry one day! I don't know about you but I always have mismatched socks lying around. Whether the match was thrown out because of a hole or it disappeared into the abyss of the unknown, it is definitely gone for good. Rather than throw out these matchless or hole filled socks, I figured, why not use them as stuffing, that way it would be machine washable and free! So I sewed one end of the sleeve shut, stuffed it full of no-match socks, and sewed off the other end and passed it off to Toby for the test run...

                                            He approved! 

                                        Action shot!

With the other sleeve, I think I will stuff it fuller, and maybe wait until he destroys his current squeaky toy so that I can put the squeaker in the new toy.


Doggie DIY Week: Day 1

This Monday - Friday I will  post a simple, money saving, eco-friendly project that you and your dog will enjoy! Try them out, and let us know how you like them!
I am starting today with a bath robe!
If you bathe your dog at home you know how difficult it can be to keep your house dry once the bath is over. Most dogs love to shake, rub, and drip water all over the house after a bath. To cut down the amount of water Toby spreads in his wild after-bath antics I made a simple bath robe out of an old sweatshirt.
At first I just put the sweatshirt on with no adjustments, but it wasn't too long before Toby was tripping all over himself in it! So first I cut off the sleeves (and saved them for another DIY project). That helped quite a bit but even my small sweatshirt was baggy around Toby's tiny waist, so I put a button on it. With a button on the side near his shoulder and a button hole on the waistband, I can slip it on easily then wrap it up and button it for a better fit. Pictures below (warning: I am by no means a tailor, my sewing is completely basic, I'm not good at it!):

Toby modeling the finished product! That face is not because of the shirt its because he has to hold still. The hood is optional, I usually turn it inside out to keep it off his eyes.

Figuring out where the button and hole should go.

 Where the button and hole are (and my lovely sewing skills on the button hole!)

TIPS: When you first try something on your dog take small steps and encourage him/her to tolerate it. Once it is on the first time, praise your dog then take it off and try again later, leaving the clothing on a little longer each time, always praising! If your dog is afraid of or does not like wearing clothes do NOT make them wear it! Always supervise your dog when they are wearing clothes!



This is Kolo! Kolo is a 7/8 month old Chow Chow mix available for adoption at the Idaho Humane Society! He is trained and ready to find a home!


Chew on this!

Every so often when I am at home with Toby I need a few minutes of calm but all he wants to do is play! If I just can't get him to relax I give him something to chew on. Sometimes it's a dollar store dental stick, but usually it's a Purina Busy Bone they last a few minutes even with my pig of a dog, and are easier to digest than raw bones or raw hide. And best of all they almost always have a coupon out, either in the paper or printable online! These days my mom is quite the "coupon-er" and it can really pay off! I have gotten Busy Bones for less than a dollar a piece and they are bigger, and there is more variety than the dollar store types. Check our "Printable Pet Coupon" section on the right side of the page for current coupon links!


Go for a ride in the car!?

Some dogs love going for a ride in the car (Toby included) so sometimes its fun to let them hop in the car while you run errands. Unfortunately if you aren't careful this can be fatal to your dog. Sadly many dog owners are unaware of just how dangerously hot their car can get and every year many dogs die from this mistake. So before you take Fido with you check out this site and find out if the temperatures outside are dangerous. For times when you are taking your dog somewhere like the vet, petco/petsmart, or the dog park on a hot day try one of these tips for keeping them comfortable: run the a/c a few min prior to getting in the car, keep a towel in the freezer and toss it on their seat to keep them cool until the a/c has time to cool the car, bring a large chunk of ice for them to munch on, and a no-spill bowl like this filled with cold water is always handy. But even following these tips never leave your dog in a hot car even when you think you will only be gone a couple minutes. Even with four windows cracked open the temperature inside the car quickly jumps up to fifteen degrees hotter than outside. So keep your dog cool, comfortable and safe this summer and spread the word! For more info check out mydogiscool.com.



Today was supposed to be the beginning of Doggie DIY week, but I got a little caught up with writing other posts that I didn't get this week's done! So I am moving it to next Mon-Fri. On the bright side Toby was being his usual self, getting into trouble and making us laugh on the way! My parents and I were working on dinner, and being the food junkie that he is, Toby was close by. My mom picked up a raw steak that was extra and went to get a bag out of the drawer. Toby seized the opportunity and latched onto the steak, before I utter a single syllable! I nearly shouted, "Toby!" as my mom realized what was happening. Toby dropped the steak at the tone in my voice. My parents and I were laughing, looking at the bite mark in the steak as my mom turned to rinse it in the sink. The steak dangling from her hand as she paused to look at it was too much temptation. Toby popped up on his hind legs, and snatched it again, the weight of him pulling it from my mom's hand. It dropped to the floor and I used that split second to grab Toby's collar and pull his nose away from the raw meat. Laughing again my mom picked up the steak and got it quickly to the sink, rinsed it, and put it in the freezer saying, "Now it's tenderized!"


In the Mix

Soon after Toby and I got home from the shelter, one of many things on my mind was what the "mix" in "lab mix" could possibly be! I had always been interested in dogs and had a general knowledge of many different breeds so that gave me a starting point. The shelter had estimated that he was over 2 years old so I knew he was done growing and I studied Toby's appearance and personality then researched breeds I thought might be in the mix. Dogbreedinfo.com definitely came in handy during my search! I started with Labrador Retrievers because he looked a lot like one, and sure enough he has a Lab type coat, a pretty Lab like face, and a perfect Lab tail. He even acts like a Lab, he is energetic, loves fetch, likes swimming and is a pretty quick learner.  His body, though, was not very Lab at all, and he was well under the weight range.
I thought about it some more and his large chest, tucked up abdomen, skinny legs, and slightly visible ribs reminded me of a Greyhound. I looked them up and he was way too small for a Greyhound, so I looked at other breeds in the same group, Sighthounds. A few were too big, one was too small, and then there was the Whippet. Toby fit perfectly into the Whippet's height and weight measurements, his legs, and chest met the standard exactly. His personality also has a touch of Whippet, he is a fast runner (can't quite tell if he has a whippet's gait though, he's too fast!), and a little timid with strangers. I am sure there are other breeds in Toby's mix but at this point I think I can safely say he is part Labrador Retriever and part Whippet. Maybe one day I will buy a dog DNA test to have a more scientific idea of his mix but for now I will stick with the free version ;) Do you have a Mixed Up Mutt? Tell us about them in the comments!


Just for Fun!

I can't help but crack up when I watch this! :D I think Toby is a little too big for this trick though!


Blog the Change!

Today, July 15th, pet bloggers across the country are blogging to spread the word about different animal causes and organizations! My Mixed Up Mutt & Me will always have a soft spot for the Idaho Humane Society and their IDAPI program. This shelter helps so many dogs and cats every year with different programs and promotions to help each animal get adopted into a good home. There are annual See Spot Walk, and See Spot Splash fundraising events, discounts for senior citizens, the IDAPI training program and much more check them out today, and any time you are looking to add a furry friend to your family!
Or check them out on Facebook here.

Also check out more Blog the Change posts after the jump -

What's In a Name?

Toby wasn't always called "Toby". During his training at IDAPI, he was called "Elliott", before that he had at least one other name. When I picked him out online, "Elliott" wasn't my favorite name but I wasn't sure if I should change it because that is what they used in his two-month training course. Then I remembered the dog in the yard behind us...Elliott. How confusing would that be for the dogs? At that point I decided to change his name, but to what? I thought about it a while, looked up some ideas online, and finally sat down with my family to ask for their help. Right away my sister, Kayleen, suggested "Toby", but that was the name of my English teacher at the time, so I thought it might be weird. Everyone started throwing out names, my mom's personal favorite was "Diego". I had a few I liked, "Toby" was one of them (thanks to my sister's persistent persuasion), and figured I would name him when I got to know him a little.
For the next couple weeks, while I waited for a call from the shelter, Kayleen often mentioned reasons to name him "Toby", she referred to him as "Toby" and insisted that she would call him "Toby" no matter what I named him. So "Toby" it was.
Finally the day arrived, I adopted him and decided to try out his new name. I had heard that when you change a dog's name, it helps to add the old name on to the end for a while, so we called him "Toby Elliott" a few times on the drive home. Maybe one hour later he was responding to "Toby" better than he did to "Elliott", I guess it was meant to be.



This is Brody! A purebred Wirehaired Pointing Griffon available for adoption at the Idaho Humane Society in Boise! He knows obedience commands and is crate trained! Learn more about him here.
Learn more about his breed here.

Work out!

When my parents said I could have a dog for my graduation present there were some rules involved. The main rule was that the dog had to come from the IDAPI training program at the IHS. One of the downsides to that was that you picked a dog out from a few dog profiles online, applied for it, then met it instead of being able to meet the dogs yourself and pick the one that best fit into your lifestyle. Fortunately, Toby and I were a pretty good match, otherwise I would have to have gone through the whole process again with another IDAPI class. But Toby and I both like to sleep late, and hang around the house most of the day, one thing we didn't quite match up on was energy. Toby does not stop moving unless he is told to!
The first few months I had him, we went on two half hour walks every day and he was still wired all the time. Toby is a runner, he is built for speed and he craves a good run, constantly! I on the other hand enjoy a nice leisurely walk. So after months of struggling to keep him in the "heel" position on our walks, and watching him bounce off the walls, I bought a treadmill at a yard sale and taught him to run on it to supplement our walks. It helped, but barely at all.  Desperate to get him the exercise he obviously needed, I pulled out my bike and held on to his leash as he ran along, it worked really well! He was surprisingly unafraid of the bike and was very excited to be running outside.
A few weeks later, we were on our bike ride when some ducks suddenly flew up out of the canal next to us! Toby lunged forward and across the front of my bike sending me to the ground. Amazingly, Toby was untouched and I just had a couple scrapes and bruises.    -Find out what I did, after the jump-


About My Mixed Up Mutt & Me

Just over a year ago I adopted Toby, a lab mix from the Idaho Humane Society (IHS). My parents had agreed to get me my first dog as a high school graduation present (I had only been begging for one since I was first able to do so).
At the shelter, I watched the volunteers bring in the dogs one by one, these dogs were all in a class from the IHS's Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho (IDAPI), a training program. I was waiting for the face, whose picture I had studied for weeks, to appear. Finally, I saw his shiny black nose, alert eyes and floppy ears come around the corner. I felt like I could explode with joy!
The dogs and their potential adopters were given a few minutes to get to know each other before we went to a quick lesson about their training. During the training, the instructor took Toby to the middle of the circle of dogs and people and told him, "Sit. Stay." then went on with teaching. Toby stayed and looked around the circle, sniffed a little patch of grass then looked at me. He wagged his tail a little, looked back at the instructor (who had his back turned) then quietly got up and walked back to me. That was when I knew that we belonged together, and that he knew it too, but neither of us knew just how much our lives would change that day.
As a first time dog owner I have learned so much from Toby that I want to share, from favorite toys to training tips, and everything else in between.