Teaching Your Cat To Behave

sleeping kitty

Cats. Those interesting creatures can be a hit or miss. It’s like you can strike gold and get a cuddly little snuggly creature, or you can strike out and end up with an anti-social, no fun, keeps to itself, super rough and tough cat. These ferocious felines are so unpredictable. One thing that’s great about owning a cat is the fact that they are so independent…that if it came down to it, they could totally take care of themselves. So if you’re single, crazy busy, and looking for a companion…investing in a cat might just be what you’re looking for. Intimidated by the unknown? I don’t blame you. However, with the right amount of attention and patience, a cat can totally be trained into the perfect little kitty.

Before training starts it is important to understand that Cats do not speak English. They speak feline. A foreign language that is nearly impossible to learn. They learn by experience. If the experience is good, they will repeat it. If the experience is bad, they will try to avoid it. 

With that being said, the key to training a cat is simple (insert laughs here):

Whatever you want your cat to do must be exceedingly rewarding and pleasurable (lots of cat treats).

Whatever you don’t want your cat to do must never be fun or rewarding. It must be unpleasant.

Keep in mind: Reprimanding your cat will usually work against you.

Cats are not like dogs. If you see a wet spot on your kitchen floor, you can’t drag your cat to the spot, yell at it, and send it to the litter box. Doing this will associate “you reaching for them” as a bad experience, and the litter box is a torture chamber. Punishing them makes them stressed out. Stressed out cats will behave badly.

Your dog, wants to please you. They love you and their lives are surrounded by the only sole purpose of pleasing you. Cats, don’t care. It is important to remember this. The best way to “punish” your cat is to basically increase their playtime. Give them a reason to behave not a reason to misbehave. I know, it sounds twisted and complicated… but who said cats aren’t complicated? No one.

Use the Positive Reinforcement Training Method.

begging kitty

To speed up the process, use tasty treats and a clicker. I’m sure you would have guessed the tasty treats part to this process, but a clicker? If you don’t have a clicker on hand a pen will work just fine.

The instant your cat does something you like, click, and then offer them a treat. The click lets your cat know the instant he does the right thing… it will help him catch on faster. Like humans, cats learn through repetition. Like a human with attention deficit disorder, cats get bored easily.

Keep your trick time short, and switch up the drills when they start to catch on.

Some people crave the challenge of the Cat. It takes some work to make them love you, but when they do, they’ll love you like no one else will. I hope this post helps you bond with your feline friend.

Matching Bracelets

Please feel free to leave other tips and tricks in the comment section of this blog.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+

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The Best Types of Guard Dogs

So you want a guard dog? I mean, why not. Not only can they be trained to protect you, but they can also be transformed into loving adorable family members. Pretty much sounds like a win-win. Depending on what you’re looking for and your lifestyle, different breeds may be better than others. You can expect confidence, devotion, and alertness when it comes to guard dogs. Check out these breeds that are naturally born with that protective gene. Typically speaking, you want to aim for the herding and working groups.

Rottweiler

Rottweiler Dog

An intelligent and beautiful breed, the Rottweiler is known to be extremely loyal to their owner. With proper training and socialization, the Rottie would make a great family pet.

German Shepherd
German Shepherd Dog
Extremely quick learners; the German Shepard is a popular favorite in the police dog categories. They present a calm nature in a household setting, but are quick to react to unknown threats.

Bullmastiff

Bull Mastiff Dog

What this dog lacks in height, it gains in muscle. The Bullmastiff is a fearless and confident pup that thinks independently. This breed is not for everyone. They are possessive, territorial, and have a distinct sense for who does and does not belong on a property.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

greater swiss mountain dog

Big and strong, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is both affectionate and enthusiastic when it comes to pleasing their owners. They also have superb listening skills, which is essential when it comes to sensing anything out of the ordinary.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher dog

Known for their speed and stamina, the Doberman Pinscher would be a great dog to have to protect your land or property. Gentle, loyal, and loving, this pup can be also be a superior companion to add to any family.

Now, before you jump into any crazy decision… when adopting any pet you must make sure you have the time, money, and patience to give to your new friend. Great things happen over time. Proper training and attention is essential when deciding to own one of these great pets.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+

Ketchum Manufacturing provides dog id tags & pet id tags in case you misplace your pet.

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2014 New Years Resolutions For You And Your Pet

Leading into the New Year, you have to remember that goals aren’t just for people. The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for pets too. Everyone always wants to be more active and healthy, why not incorporate your pet in those goals too. Here are five good resolutions you and your pet can conquer together.

1. Be Active TogetherDog Hike with Owner

From hiking to kayaking, taking your pets with you on your new exercise is actually easier than you may think. Not only is it a great way to bond, but also both owner and pet will acquire the benefits of a healthy physical activity.

2. Schedule a Doctor Visit

Similar to yourself, you want to visit a doctor at the start to a new year to make sure everything is normal, up to par, good to go. The same type of routine should go hand in hand for your pet. Yearly examinations by the vet are important. Not only can they can give you important insights about their weight, but a yearly visit also acts as a preventative screening to catch or address any diseases or illness early on.

 

cat in cardboard box3. More Playtime

It’s a known fact, cats can be lazy. If you incorporate more playtime into their daily routine, it essentially acts as means to get them off the couch! Experiment with different toys in order to understand what really gets them going. For example, try lasers and catnip for the ultimate experience. Do you have extra cardboard boxes from Christmas? Re-gift it to your feline friend, I’ve hear it can totally satisfy their desire for hiding out.

 

4. Groom more Regularly

This is such an important step to try and do more often. Not only does brushing your pet weekly remove the amount of fur you find around the house, but it also helps maintain a sharp looking healthy coat. Believe it or not, daily grooming also acts as a bonding experience between you and your pup. It shows them you want to take care of them while giving them a gentle massage with the brush bristles.

5. Challenge them with more tricksdog tricks

You might be thinking about starting a new hobby doing something more creative for your own self. The same goes for your pup. Mental stimulation can help reduce dementia in older animals. Don’t just give them the treats—make them work for it! Teaching your pet new tricks is a great way to keep their brain active. Keep them engaged. Learning is a virtue.

Personally speaking, my new years resolution is simple. Be Happy. More posts to come next year. Cheers! Make this year the best one yet.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on

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Tips for Photographing Your Pet

The end of the year is near, and it’s about that time where people start to send out their annual holiday cards. Some people send out the generic “Happy Holiday’s” cards, others make it personal, and some… attach a recent photo of their family. Personally, the photo cards are my favorite. If all the kids are away or you are dealing with an empty nest, an adorable picture of your pup is the best kind of substitute. Can’t get the little guy to sit still? Don’t worry, by the end of this post you should be a pro!

Turn off the flash!

Every time I bust out the camera, my little girl is so quick to shy away and turn her head. While she might be a bit camera shy, she probably is scared of the bright flash. If you get your pet to keep their eyes open for the picture and your flash is on, you’ll often get zombie looking laser eyes. That’s like a lose-lose for everyone involved.

 

Get on their level.

Perspective is very important when taking a good photograph. Taking a picture of your dog on the ground while standing up makes their legs appear short, head to appear large, and bodies to appear out of proportion.

 

Keep treats in your pocket.

In order to get your pup to take a perfect picture you need them to do three things. Sit/Stay, Look at you (or the camera), and have them look lively (get excited). Keep your portions small so that your pup doesn’t fill up too fast. Once you get them in the correct position make sure to shower them with love and encouragement. Yelling at them because they are “not doing it right” will only make them shut down and look miserable every time there is a camera around.

 

Catch them doing something naturally.

I think we can all agree that candid shots are the most fun! It’s great watching animals in their most natural state of mind. If for some reason your pet can smell the treats hidden in your pocket from the previous tip, try looking away and ignoring them.

 

Once you have your shot, making Christmas cards can be pretty inexpensive! I would look on Shutterfly, Vistaprint, Walmart, or Snapfish. All of these companies typically have specials running throughout December to help you save on cost! From my furry family to yours—Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Have you checked out our Pinterest Page? We have pinned some adorable Holiday Card Ideas! Check it out!!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on

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Cracking the Egg Myths

Eggs are the most convenient food to have in your fridge. Choosing what to do with your eggs is simple. It takes less than 5 minutes to make breakfast or you can boil them for other alternative meals. However, choosing what eggs to bring home is starting to become more of a challenge. What is the deal with organic eggs? Is there a difference? Brown Eggs, White Eggs, Free-Range, Cage-free are some of the choices available in supermarkets around the country. We decided to break down these options so that you could make a better decision about what to put in your cart and bring home.

Brown Eggs vs. White Eggs

Some people think that brown eggs are better for you because they are more expensive.

Well, we hate to break it to you guys, but there actually is no nutritional difference between the two. Interestingly enough, the color of the eggshell is determined based on the earlobe color of the chicken. White chickens with white earlobes lay white eggs and dark colored hens (brown, black red) with red earlobes lay brown eggs.

So why are they more expensive?

Some breeds of hens cost more to maintain. Hens are also typically larger than chickens and require more food. This in turn translates to a higher cost for consumers. Nutritionally speaking, based on the diet being fed to the animal some brands are better for you than others.

Cage Free vs. Free Range

Cage free sounds great. At first thought I would imagine wide-open spaces. But unfortunately that may not be the case. Cage-free means the chickens aren’t kept in the tiny battery cages used by a lot of egg operations. When chickens are confined in cages, a ton of bacteria infected dust is inhaled. This can cause stress to the animal before they lay. Cage-free eggs do not collect this dust and in turn do hold some better nutritional value.

Free-Range chickens are similar to cage free. They are kept outside of cages and are typically held in barns or warehouses. Their exposure to sunlight is limited and there is no guarantee that they are actually free and happy.

Currently the USDA has not set any standards for using the claim “cage free” or “free range” stamped on cartons.

The best type of egg for you is anything that has been stamped USDA Certified Organic. Egg cartons stamped with this logo come from operations that have annual audits by the government. They are fed certified-organic feed that is free of things like antibiotics, pesticides, and GMO’s.

For more information on eggs we recommend you watching a short documentary called “The Story of an Egg”:

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on

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Preparing Your Pup for a Winter Walk

I feel like it’s safe to say that dogs love winter more than humans. With winter approaching it is important for you to take care of your pup before and after any outdoor activities. We all love nicely plowed roads and sidewalks, but with that luxury comes a build-up of salt. The salt can cause your pups paws to dry out, and in turn creates them to crack and be sore. In order to prevent any injury, here are some precautions you can take prior to your adventure.

Doggie Boots- if you can convince your dog to actually wear these things, than all power to you. Most dogs can’t stand them.
Oil- Here is a fun fact. If you gently rub oil on your pups paws before a winter adventure, it will prevent snow from forming ice balls between their paws. Since water and oil don’t mix, it makes sense! Types of oils to use: baby, olive, vegetable

 

Visit a Groomer- Keep the hair between your dog’s toes and pads clipped short. When hair is left too long around these areas, you get these dreaded painful ice balls that form. While you’re at the groomers, it wouldn’t hurt to get a nice nail trim. Long nails can cause your dog to walk on the back-end of their feet. In turn, this causes their toes to spread, which in turn leaves more room for ice balls to form!

BEWARE OF THE ICE BALLS they are the WORST!
The above tips should definitely help make your outside adventure last longer and it also will make it more enjoyable. However the work is not over. Proper care for your pup once you get inside after your walk is just as important.

Tip#1

Gently dip your pet’s paws into a bowl of warm water or use a warm washcloth to remove any excess salt build up. This will help prevent your pet’s paws from getting chapped.

Tip #2

Don’t assume that your pets fur coat is thick enough to keep them warm from any weather condition! It’s not. If you notice a wet coat after a walk, take a blow dryer to their coat to keep them dry and warm. Depending on the dog, of course, you could also invest in a pretty sweater or coat to maximize warmth and comfort.

As always make sure your pet as plenty of fresh water. Hope you and your pet have a fun winter season!

 

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Thanksgiving Leftovers – What’s OK to Feed Your Dog?

Princess begging
Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Every year the same thing happens – you have tons of delicious leftover food to gobble up, even days after Thanksgiving has ended. With so much extra food, it might be tempting to share the love with your pet. You know they’ll be begging. But what about those warnings you’ve read — like how table scraps are never OK to feed your pet? Or how a lot of salt and sugar is bad? Or how fatty foods should be avoided? It’s all true, and although some Thanksgiving food is off limits, there’s also some you can feed your pet safely.

Carrots

Dogs need their dose of veggies, and nothing beats a little bowl of leftover carrots. They’ve got potassium, fiber, and vitamins — all things your dog needs to stay healthy. Hard carrots might sometimes be tough for a dog to take down. Cooked carrots are much easier – and those are usually the type of carrots served on Thanksgiving!

Broccoli

Freshen up your dog’s breath with a little leftover broccoli! The vitamins and fiber found in broccoli can help with your dog’s digestion. Just be sure to only give your dog very small portions of it! Eating a large amount of it can lead to irritated bowels and poisoning.

Mashed Potatoes

Regular mashed potatoes can be a little treat for a dog. Mashed potatoes are rich in nutrients — just be sure to only serve a small portion. Always avoid mashed potatoes with onions, raisins, or any other toxic ingredients. Also avoid adding gravy.

Plain White Turkey

Turkey is a lean, mean, protein machine! The number one food of Thanksgiving is is A-OK to feed your pet! Just make sure you peel off excess skin and fat. Also make sure there are no bones, and ensure that’s it’s cooked thoroughly. Plain, white turkey is the best option.

Cranberry Sauce (From Scratch)

Cranberry sauce that you make from scratch (with fruit) can be nutritious for your dog because it will provide various vitamins. If you’re serving your house guests jellied cranberry sauce, or cranberry sauce from a can, avoid serving it to your dog. It’s high in sugar.

Green Beans

If your dog is putting on a little weight, green beans can help fill your dog up and keep their weight down. Green beans have Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and they’re low in calories.

While these foods are OK to feed your pet, always serve them in moderation — you’ll avoid dealing with your dog bloating, having gas, and other digestive issues. If you don’t think a food is right to feed your dog, it probably isn’t.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

I treat my dog like it’s my child, and I rarely leave home without it! He’s my better half and I couldn’t imagine traveling without him. Every dog is different. If you are thinking about traveling with your furry friend this holiday make sure you have your bases covered.

Be Prepared Before You Travel:

  1. Properly identify your pet with ID Tags. We recommend you give your pet an additional tag with the address and number of the place you are staying just in case your pet wanders off once you get there!
  2. Talk to your vet before making your trip. It is important to make sure your furry friend is healthy enough to travel! Some pets get anxiety while traveling in cars. If this is the case, your vet may be able to write you a prescription for some sedatives. Also! While you are at the vet, it wouldn’t hurt to have a copy of your pets most up-to-date record and vaccinations (it’s better to be safe than sorry)
  3. Make sure you have EVERYTHING you are going to need. Depending on your stay arrangements, trusting new litter or a different pet food might not seem like a big deal to you, but when your pet is adjusting to a new environment it can make a huge difference. The last thing you want is for your pet to act out and decide to use that newly installed carpet as a litter box. Try to keep their lifestyles as normal as possible.

Traveling by Car?

  1. Make sure you keep your dog out of the front seat. If the airbag goes off, it could seriously hurt your furry friend.
  2. Cats belong in carriers. Most cats are uncomfortable traveling in cars, so it’s best to keep them constraint while traveling.
  3. Plan Rest/Exercise Stops
    Make sure to stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise, go to the bathroom, and hydrate. Pets are like humans, they can only hold it for so long- the last thing you want is for an accident to happen in your car while traveling! That smell would not be pleasant! Plan Accordingly! If traveling long-distance it is ideal to try and stop every three hours.

We try not to recommend traveling by plane due to the possible harsh conditions of the cargo. Unless your friend is small enough to be used as a carry-on, we recommend you think about overnight kennel boarding options. Double check with your airline to make sure pets are allowed. Ask about carrier restrictions and try to arrive to the airport early to alleviate any additional stress on your pet.

Whatever you decide to do, travel smart, be safe, and enjoy the time spent with your loved ones. Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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To Declaw or Not Declaw? That is the Question.

We all love our furry little four legged felines, but let’s be honest. When they attack your furniture, blinds, curtains, and skin their prickly little claws can be a pain. Some may think it’s similar to getting your baby girls ear-pierced at a young age, and argue that they won’t remember. Others think the process is too traumatic, and compare it to removing the fingertips of human hands.

Let’s go over the Pros and Cons. You can make your own decision.

Con: It’s actually like cutting the tip of your finger off!

The actual procedure sounds pretty awful.
In order to declaw your feline, a piece of the bone the claw grows from has to be removed. To do so, you actually have to carve into a piece of the bone. (see diagram below)

Cat Declaw Operation Diagram

Not so much the simple nail trim we are eager to believe.

Con: Physical and Emotional Problems

When you remove the claw, the cat tends to lose it’s mojo. If you think about it, their history involves them using their claws as a weapon of defense. They also like to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene. Removing their claws would take away their ability to brush out their hair and remove tangles. This could cause personality issues. Beware of the angry kitty below.

Angry Kitty

If you choose to declaw make sure you stop at the pet store and grab a brush to maintain that pretty coat of fur (should help with the shedding too!)

Pro: Save your Furniture! Save your blinds!

It’s a territorial thing. Dogs pee on trees and cats scratch furniture. It just is what it is. The most obvious pro to having your cat declawed is to prevent it from ruining your newly paid leather sofa or sheer curtains.

Pro: Protect yourself from those sharp nails!

Whether it be accidental or intentional you never really know when your cat is going to bust out those little diggers. I think everyone can agree it is a sting and leaves a nice little red scratch on your skin. Declawing your cat could prevent any scramble search for a first aid kit and eliminate the constant need for Neosporin.

Poor little guy took it like a champ!

Ultimately it is your decision. Everyone is different and has their own morals and values.  Weigh your own personal pros and cons and if you do decide to declaw your feline, just make sure to make the necessary steps to a healthy recovery!

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How Animals Communicate Their Needs

The way animals communicate is truly amazing. Some communicate in ways humans can hear. Other forms of communication go on without us even knowing. Want to know more about how certain animals communicate? Read below.

Dogs

Dogs
Some of us are lucky enough to have a dog that can, essentially, speak like a human. And that’s pretty funny, but the rest of us have to rely on barking, body presence, and tail wagging. So what does it all mean?

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. A warning bark is usually very loud and quick. A playful bark is lighter, and usually has a wagging tail to accompany it. Then there are howls. It’s harder to tell why a dog is howling – often times it’s to imitate a sound they’re hearing. Other times it can be out of happiness.

Dogs also have very interesting tendencies in terms of body presence. When they’re scared, they tend to hunch over. If they’re attempting to assert dominance, they will try to make themselves look bigger. You’ll typically see the dog on its tip-toes, or looking ready to lunge forward.

Dogs have a lot to say with their tails, too. It’s usually safe to say that a wagging tail means a dog is happy or excited, but this isn’t always the case. It can mean your dog is feeling aggressive. If your dog is alert, the tail will be higher than normal, and sometimes stiff. When your dog is feeling nervous, their tail will be lower, and sometimes it will be tucked between the legs.

In order to get the best read on how your dog is feeling, you should look at their whole body and not just one part.

Cats

cute kitten
Cats communicate in similar ways to dogs. Studying the “meow” can actually get very in depth, but there are a few common meows you can easily figure out. A short meow is similar to the standard “hello” of a human. Multiple meows means added excitement. When they meow at a low pitch, it means they want something. A hiss means anger, and a purr will usually signal that they’re content.

And what about the rest of the body? Cats and dogs are also similar in this regard, but they differ in slight ways – (for instance, a straight up tail means happiness.) Cats really have a lot to say with blinking eyes. When they blink slowly, it means they’re being affectionate. In turn, if you blink slowly at your cat, they will come over to you so they can be pet.

Whales

Whales
Let’s not forget about the animals of the water. As humans, we only experience a very small part of the big blue ocean. And most of the time we’re just looking at it, admiring it’s tranquility. But once you start diving into the deeper, darker parts, it’s a communication haven. Lets take toothed whales and baleen whales, for instance. Toothed whales communicate with high frequency sounds, and baleen whales communicate with low frequencies. Since it’s obviously very dark underwater, whales use echolocation to see how close they are to something. When they release a sound, they determine how far away they are from something by seeing how long it takes for the sound to bounce back to them.

Insects

Firefly 2
And what about the little guys? Insects are so small – how could they possibly communicate? Their vision isn’t great, so they mostly rely on sense. Lets take ants, for example. They touch parts of their antennae and mouth to make warning signals, but also to smell each other. How about fireflies? They can make codes out of light flashes! And let’s think about butterflies. They’re so colorful! They can use the color on their wings to flirt, or scare away predators. Who would’ve thought so much communication was going on between those tiny creatures?

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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