Bell training for dogs
Help your dog 'talk' to you with bells
Here’s an easy way your dog can let you know she needs to go outside without any barking or scratching at the door. Hang some bells from the doorknob and your dog will quickly learn to associate the sound of the bells with the door opening. Soon she’ll nudge them herself. You can speed things along by jiggling the bells and saying “Outside? Wanna go outside?” for a few days every time your dog goes out. Your dog will be able to “talk” to you about going outside even when you’re somewhere else in the house.
How to keep your lawn looking good
Growing a neat lawn in an area frequented by dogs is difficult but not impossible. Here are a few tricks for keeping the grass green.
- Apply lime or gypsum regularly to neutralize the acid in the soil.
- Water the area heavily each week to dilute the urine.
- Don’t fight it! Replace the grass with small round gravel (pea rock) bordered with stone cobbles or brick. Place landscape fabric beneath the rock to prevent weeds from popping up. And another plus—less grass to mow!
Use a plastic storage bin for a dog house
A nice little doghouse that will hold up in the rain can cost $100. But you can make your own for a fraction of the price using a plastic storage bin. Cut a small hole in the bin, flip it over on its lid and stick a dog bed inside it. Your dog will love watching the rain from inside his snug little house, and you’ll save $85! Don’t be surprised if your cat likes it so much you’ll have to make one for her too.
Portable water dish
Use a shower cap as a portable water bowl
A long walk with your dog on a hot day will make you and your pet pretty thirsty. Before leaving the house, stuff a plastic shower cap in your pocket. That way, you can give your dog a drink from any handy tap, drinking fountain or your water bottle whenever she needs a slurp.
Wind-proof dog dishes
Weighted ice cream buckets stay put
How many times have you gone outside to fill your dog’s food or water dish only to find that it’s blown halfway across the yard? The really heavy pet dishes are expensive, but here’s a cheap dog dish that won’t blow away. Fill a plastic ice cream bucket with a couple of inches of sand, and then put a second container the same size inside it. Use the inside bucket as your dog’s dish and it’ll stay right where you put it.
Use mesh pads to catch the fur
If you wash your dog in the bathtub or shower, you're begging for a clogged drain. Keep fur out of the drain with a mesh-type scrubbing pad. In a shower, clip the pad to the drain plate with a bobby pin. In a bathtub, wedge two pads under the stopper from two sides. The pads catch fur but let water flow through.
Ideas for clean birdbaths
Keep the birds happy!
To clean your birdbath, put two cups of vinegar in the bath and fill it to the brim with water. Cover with a trash-can lid, and let the bath soak over night. Scrub and rinse well. To attract butterflies to your birdbath and avoid algae, put a layer of builder’s sand in the bottom of the birdbath. Add a pantyhose leg stuffed with oat straw (available at amazon.com ) inside to your water for an algae-free birdbath.
Quick cleanup cat litter
Eliminate pet stains and odors
Enzyme sprays can be effective
Enzyme products are easy to use on pet stains—just spray or blot them on the stain according to the directions. The products contain harmless bacteria that “eat” the organic matter that causes the odor. When the organic matter is gone, the bacteria run out of food and die. The whole process will take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Some manufacturers recommend covering the area with plastic or a wet cloth to keep the bacteria moist and healthy. Available at pet and discount stores.