Summit Tip - Dog Dehydration and Heat Stroke

Hi Everyone,

I had another tip planned for today but the heat we are experiencing in the Pacific Northwest impacts our dogs as well.  Dogs eliminate heat by panting. They have some sweat glands in the footpads which help with heat dissipation, but only minimally. When panting isn’t enough, their body temperature rises. This can be fatal if not corrected quickly.

A few things:

1). Never leave your dog in the car, even for a few minutes on a day where the temperature outside is above 60 degrees.  It may sound odd for 60 degrees to be the mark point but the temperature in your car will increase quickly and although heat stroke doesn’t usually happen at that low, it can make your car uncomfortable and impact how your dog views future car rides.

2).  If you are taking your dog for walks do so at the coolest parts of the day, early morning or late evening.  This is not only because the temperature of the air is cooler but the ground will be cool for the pads on the their feet.  Remember, if you are not able to comfortably walk barefoot on the cement, your dog shouldn’t either.

3).  Keep water available to your dogs. If you are doing an outing take some water with you and offer it frequently.  They will drink more water during hot weather. HOWEVER, if your dog has been running and/or playing give them small amounts of water frequently. This avoids them tanking up on water and then vomiting it back up or at worse causing bloat.

4).  Most of the Summit dogs like small kiddy pools to splash and play in. Most are labradors after all…...You can get them cheaply at some dollar stores.  One caution is dogs can chew the sides so always observe while your dog is playing. In fact play with them :))  Put ice cubes in the water and watch them bob for cubes. It is very funny to watch :)  Start with the water level low until your dog is comfortable and if they like it you can add more.  Remember to keep it fun!

This first article talks about dehydration.   Sometimes I like to drop some ice cubes in their bowl.  Freedom happens to think ice cubes are a treat so I will give him one or two a day while he hangs out in his exercise pen. He has a great time playing with the cube too.  Another fun idea is to freeze a baby carrot piece in the ice cube.  It ends up being a fun treat for the dogs.

Heat stroke is a serious condition that can happen quickly.  Read the article below and no the signs and how to respond.

Best advice I can give is have fun but be aware of your dogs needs and body language at all times.


Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip - Toxic Plants and Food

Hi Everyone,

With Summit in full force and many of us out of the house more often I thought now would be a good time to address some poisonous plants for dogs.  The chart below lists the most common plants seen around our areas.  If your dog ingests any of these plants contact Summit (Brenda Crispin 360-865-0527) and your veterinary office.  I like this chart because it also shows some of the symptoms of toxicity in dogs.  Speaking from personal experience, be familiar with these symptoms.  Recognizing toxicity early is key for the dogs survival.


While I am discussing toxicity with plants, now is a good time to  also mention food that is toxic to dogs.    Many of these are appealing to dogs sense of smell and thereby attractive to there senses.  Symptoms are often the same as was listed above.   The website goes into detail of each food and why it is toxic for dogs.

Have a great week 


Brenda Crispin

Foster Home Coordinator

Summit Assistance Dogs


Summit Tip - Fourth of July

Hello Volunteers,

We have many young dogs that will be going through their first noisy holiday.  No matter how dependable they are with noises and new experiences the fire works can spook them.  Those loud booms and high squealing noises out of nowhere are frightening.

Under no circumstances should you be taking a Summit dog to the fireworks shows.  There is no need for this kind of exposure.

Check the collar on your dog to be sure it is snug enough they can not back out of it.  This is very important. If you don’t put one on at home do it NOW.  Have tags with your number on the collar in the small event they run away that day.

Expend your dog’s excess energy first, before the fireworks start, by taking her on a very long walk or playtime to tire her out and put her in a calm state. 

Keep your dogs inside with you when fireworks are present.  Feed a little early and get any potty routines out the way before dark.  I like to put my dogs to bed before it gets dark and if I have another sound playing in the house, music or TV etc.  Be careful not to play the music or TV so loud that it becomes too annoying either.  If your dog does get nervous you can also put a cover over the crate and put her with crate in a quiet interior room where the noise will not be as prominent (Laundry room, interior bathroom etc).  

If you are going to be with your dog during the fireworks, sending the calming message that there is nothing to worry about will also help him to relax. Remember, though, while humans communicate with words, dogs communicate with body language and energy, and will look to you for clues on how they should behave. If you’re not making a big deal or showing excitement about the fireworks, then he will learn to be less concerned as well.

On morning after, be sure you do a yard sweep and assure there are no remnants of fireworks that your dogs may find.

If your dog does get away,  Please notify Summit (Brenda 360-865-0527)  right away.

Enjoy and know that taking some precautions will help you have an enjoyable and stress free holiday. I wish all of you a wonderful Independence day.

If you need anymore guidance or have any questions please feel free to contact me

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip - Dog Body Language

Hi Everyone,

We have received lots of feedback on sharing more information on dog communication and body language.  I personally feel we could spend an entire day studying noting but how to read our dogs communications and still need to study more.  I came across this website and I really like.  It has many different pages that gradually take you through some of the intricacies of each body area and some of the calming signals dogs use.  Please go through this website. I have looked it over and read through several articles a couple times and pick up new knowledge each time.

Start with the Introduction to Dog Body Language page, link is below. Then move on to any of the others that interest you.

I think you will like this site as much as I do.

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip - How to use a Kong

Hello everyone, this Summit Tip will be how to use a Kong.  I’m sure many of you know what a Kong is and likely have one.  The goal of this tip is to provide ideas on how to make the most of a Kong and show the many behavioral benefits they provide.

Let's start with this video

The following 7 minute video describes the benefits of the Kong, how to select them, and how to get your dog interested in them.  Watch this video first and then we will get into more details.


Benefits of using the Kong

There are many great benefits to using a Kong, but these are especially beneficial for an adolescent dog who is just developing their mind, body, and emotional state.  Look at all these great benefits...

  • Reinforcement for being in kennel or x-pen
  • Stress relief
  • Anxiety relief
  • Boredom relief
  • Keeps them occupied when you are going away (buffers the anxiety of watching you leave)
  • Engages the mind / and tires them out
  • Builds confidence (puzzle, get it out)
  • Alternative feeding – slow down eating
  • Nice reinforcement at the end of a training session and to signal you're done training

When to give your dog a Kong

  • When in their crate
  • Before going to bed
  • After a training session
  • When leaving the house
  • When coming back from somewhere (and you aren’t ready to let them out yet)
  • If you are doing a lot of chores and will be walking by the dog in x-pen
  • After a field trip

How to get started

The goal with a Kong is to keep your dog engaged as long as possible.  Rather than thinking of a Kong as a way to dispense food, think of the Kong as a puzzle and YOU setup that puzzle by the way you stuff it.  Keeping the dog engaged doesn’t happen automatically.  If the dog gets all the food out quickly they are done, but if the dog can’t get the food out at all they will give up.  This is a good opportunity to learn about your dog as you formulate the best way to keep them interested.  This takes some trials as you learn the best balance between too easy and to too difficult. 

The 6 steps below show an example of making the Kong more and more challenging.  These steps should be done at YOUR dog’s interest level and pace.  Do not make it more challenging if you dog is giving up too quickly.  When the Kong is empty, take it away so it is more interesting the next time they see it.  Think of a Kong like a slot machine.  Nobody ever put money in a slot machine if it was too hard.  The casinos know how to keep you working for your prizes.

Each step below is a separate session with a Kong... 

  1. Peanut butter (or sticky/smelly item).  Gets them interested...

  2. (All of the above) + some kibble

  3. (All of the above) + cookie crumbles that come out easy

  4. (All of the above) + 1 cookie crumble that may take some shaking to come out

  5. (All of the above) + 1 cookie crumble that won't come out

    1. Wait for them to bring it to you and work as a team to get it out

  6. When your dog gets to this stage you can freeze the kibble.  This will lengthen the time it takes as each kibble will pop out as it thaws.  Your dog will eventually know it is coming and stay engaged waiting for the thaw to happen.

Anatomy of a stuffed Kong (one of many versions)…



You can stay with this recipe for a long time but while doing this be sure to switch around all the non-kibble treats to keep variety.  For example you can put a spoon full of pumpkin in there just before freezing. 

Taking it up a notch…

But wait, there is more you can do.

Change shapes.  Below are some of my favorite shapes.



Kong as a meal replacement?

For those of you who want to slow your dog’s eating, you can feed their entire meal inside a Kong.  Here is the basics of a fully loaded Kong.  Be sure not to overdue it on the high value treats and ensure you are calculating their total food intake for the day.

Summit Tip - Bitey Dogs

By: Brenda Crispin

Hi Everyone,

I am often contacted by volunteers, friends, and family about what to do when their dog is mouthing and/or biting them.  It is a common issue with young dogs but if not worked with can become a life long issue. I found this article and thought it would be a good share for each of you.  It is short but packed full of good information.  

Some key points I would like to accentuate are to watch your dogs excitement levels.   Often dogs, especially young ones, will use their mouth more when over stimulated. This is the time to removed yourself and the dog from the situation.  Young puppies need their sleep and when they do not get enough they will often become bitey.  Another great tip is to regulate how rough you play with your dog.  If you play rough so will the dog! :))

Lastly,  I find the best option is to offer an alternative object like a toy or bone and remove your self from the equation.  

Please read the attached and feel free to share your thoughts and comments via email or better yet on our closed foster home Facebook site, Puppy Raisers for Summit.  I will post this article there as well.

If there is a topic you would like addressed via a Summit Tip send them my way. I am always open to sharing information and ideas.

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip - Fear Stages in Development

by Brenda Crispin

Hi Everyone,

We discuss during orientation and I have sent out previous tips about the stages of dog development.  We also recently increased the descriptions and explanations in the Foster Home/Puppy Raiser Manual.  There are a couple periods during development that a dog goes through sudden and often unexplained fear stages.  I think this article explains the stage and how to deal with the dog very clearly.  Please take a look at the link below. 

Please send your feedback or join the conversation on our closed Facebook site Puppy Raisers for Summit.  I look forward to hearing your observations, experiences, and questions.

(Note:  if you are unable to click on link directly, you can copy and paste it into your browser)

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip - High Value Treats

Hi Everyone,

Summit training instructors are often referring to high value treats for your dogs when teaching a new cue or the dog is going to a new location.  High value treats are often expensive and/or full of unwanted ingredients. I thought I would offer some homemade recipes for treats I have tried and found most dogs love.   Do not feel you must use any of these recipes but if you are interested in trying them or if you are having difficulty finding the right high value treat for your dog these may help.  Another good idea is to switch your treats periodically so these can give you options.

Note:  Several of these are larger treats where they use a special cookie cutter. This is not required and you can make them smaller for easy treating.  Monitor the cooking time if you make them smaller than the recipe.

Pumpkin Apple Treats:

Sweet Potato Chews:

Sweet Potato Treats (bite size)  **  My dogs LOVE these!!

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

Kathy Sdao Meatloaf

Meatloaf Dog-Treats (Kathy Sdao’s favorite)

      1 lb ground turkey or beef, high-fat (15-20%), liquid squeezed out

Don’t use lean meat; the treats will be too crumbly.

      1 cup bread crumbs OR 1 cup oatmeal OR 1 beaten raw egg

A friend replaces bread crumbs with oatmeal for her wheat-sensitive dog.

I’ve used a beaten raw egg, instead of bread crumbs, for a dog who couldn’t tolerate grains.

      2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

      ½ teaspoon garlic (optional)

Mix together the dry ingredients, then use your hands to mix in the ground meat thoroughly.

Roll into three logs about 8” long, 1-1.5” in diameter. Bake on cookie sheet at 325 degrees for ~45 minutes. Cool. Cut into small cubes. Refrigerate. (Also, you can freeze whole logs.)

I microwave the cubes, spread out on a paper towel, on medium power (~40%) for ~4 minutes to dry them out. The mostly-dehydrated treats are safe to leave in my bait bag – out of the fridge – for several hours while training.


Do you have a great homemade cookie recipe you would like to share? Send them to me or share them on our puppy raiser Facebook site.  Have fun and let me know how they turn out for you.

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip - Puppy Socialization

By Brenda Crispin

Hi Everyone,

I have often mentioned the importance of socialization for the young puppies.  I came across this video a few weeks back and liked it so much I have added it to our orientations. It so clearly shows why socialization is important and it describes different types.  The Foster Home and Puppy Raising Manual has more information and has copies of The Puppy Rules of Twelve to help you keep track of what your dog has been exposed to. 

Please take a look at the video below.

We now have a detailed section in the Foster Home and Puppy Raising Manual that describes all the different developmental stages for dogs.  I would like to ask each of you to go to the manual and read the Understanding Dog Behavior section (Pgs 20-28).  The information there will hopefully provide you insight to how your Summit dog may be acting.

Foster manual link here.

I welcome question and feedback.

Brenda Crispin

Foster Home Coordinator

Summit Assistance Dogs


Summit Tip – DIY puzzles

Work your pup’s brain and help them eat more slowly…

Hello everyone. There are so many products out there to help you work your pup’s brain and help them eat more slowly.  Like most of you, I feed my dogs twice a day. If they wolf it down in 10 seconds, they spend the rest of the day trying to entertain themselves… But if they must figure out how to get those pieces of kibble and treats, and they spend 10 minutes working on it, I have exhausted, happy dogs. That’s especially important for me because my bored dogs are anxious dogs. Plus, slowing down during mealtime is always a good thing.

Here are some of my favorite home-made food puzzles commonly found on the internet:

*** Important: First things first, remember that no toy is indestructible so always supervise your dog if you think there’s any way they could chew off a piece of any toy and swallow it.


Muffin Tin – So easy!


Turn a muffin tin upside down and spread kibble between the bumps. Your dog will have to nudge the food around from all different angles. One thing I love about this is that the top of the tin is flat, so they can’t just flip it over. This is good for larger dogs, but for smaller pooches try a mini muffin tin.

Keep the tin upright and divide the kibble up between the cups. Add difficulty by covering each section with a tennis ball or other toy.

Muffin tin, right side up.  Put kibble in cups and cover with tennis balls. 


 PVC pipe

For the more rambunctious canines, cut the piping to about 12 inches, drill some random holes (large enough for your kibble), put end pieces on both ends, and you’re done! Your pup must nose it around to get the kibble to fall out.


Towel or blanket

For the laziest of us! Simply spread kibble out under a towel on the floor. Let your dog sniff out and find all the pieces.



What you Need:

·       Ice cube tray or trays

·       Healthy dog biscuits

·       Broth; This can be the water you used to boil your potatoes or veggies in, and then toss an Oxo package in for more flavor than just the cooking water if you like


A toy popsicle

Freeze your pup’s toys for hours of summer fun! 


Recommended commercial products

If you prefer to purchase some things, there are a lot of great commercial products available.  See the links below to some recommended items.

Review the video How to use a Kong (link here)

Kong – Large (link here)

Kong Wabbler (link here)

Kruuse BUSTER Food Cube (link here)

Many shapes and sizes of of slow feeder dog bowls (link here)

Summit Tip – Developing a schedule for your dog

by Brenda Crispin

Dogs are creatures of habit. In order to have a positive outlook on life and be able to deal with any changes and new things that come their way, dogs depend on a stable routine and to be handled with consistency, so that they know what to expect from their owners and their lives. Dogs that are not exposed to a sufficient routine are more likely to feel stressed, anxious or depressed, and either act out accordingly, or have it actually affect their physical health. Well-balanced dogs that are secure in their environment, routine and day-to-day lives find it much easier to weather any changes or upsets that do come along from time to time, whether planned for or unexpected. We have found this to be true of the prison program.  Dogs enter the prison some time near or in the middle of their adolescent phase and having a dependable schedule makes transitions much easier.

Based on my different schedules, my dogs can have the time to get up vary slightly from day to day however what doesn’t change is that I do not run and let them out of the crate the moment I wake.  That part of their schedule remains consistent they can depend on the noises of my moving around and that in a short time I will let them out of their crate.  I do make every attempt to put him/her down to sleep at around the same time each night (especially baby puppies), and that he/she has activities such as, walking times, play times and quiet times all regularly scheduled into his/her day at times that he/she can rely upon. This goes a long way towards helping your dog to feel secure, and is part of the bonding process. Additional walking, play and other activities, and changes such as going to new places with you is all fine- as long as the core structure of how your dog’s day goes remains consistent regardless of what you are doing.

It is obviously important to take cues from your dog and let them out to go to better hurry at times when they need to, but, you should seek to establish a routine of times when your dog is always let out to relieve. For instance, when you (and he) first get up, and just before bed would be obvious times.  After naps, training, or play are times to take him/her to relieve.  Setting a relieving schedule facilitates a house training too!

Remember that having a simple yet dependable routine will help your dog feel secure and decrease anxiety when new people, places, items are introduced.

Thank you all for your support for Summit.


Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip – Thanksgiving

by Brenda Crispin

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

With the holidays coming upon us quickly I think it is time to talk about dogs and people food.  Other than when we use human food as high value treats while training ( chicken, cheese, hot dogs etc) our Summit Dogs should not be allowed to have people food.  There are some foods that toxic to dogs. Here are some of the more dangerous foods:

  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Bread Dough
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes & Raisins
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Coffee and Coffee Grounds
  • Non-Caloric Sweeteners

I am attaching a link to a web site that gives more information including symptoms for each food item.  The scary part is most of these foods smell and taste really good, even to dogs. During this time of year it is not unusual for us to have lots of yummy smelling food on our counters.  Watch for even the most reliable dog to suddenly become interested in what is on the table and/or counters.  Constant supervision is required.  If you can not keep an eye on your pup, crating or using a tie-down to manage your dogs activity is a good idea.  Regardless of good intentions by family and friends feeding them table scraps or other goodies should not happen.  Never feed turkey bones to any dog.  They splinter very easily and can get lodged in your dogs throat or stomach.

If your dog should get a hold of one or more of these off limit foods watch your dog for discomfort or a change in behavior.  Signs of discomfort can include, but are not limited to, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, excessive panting, drooling, and even hyper activity.  Keep in mind the volume of food eaten vs the size of the dog.  If you have a large lab and he/she eats one or two grapes I doubt you have to worry, but if you have a small puppy that gets into the grapes you should monitor him/her closely.  If you have any concerns you can text me and as always if you feel you have an emergency situation call your vet and then me right away.

One last comment, if you are having a large family gathering it is preferred you have your Summit dog in another quiet room and not out with the crowd.  When dogs are over stimulated they will be more likely to be mouthy, jumpy, reactive barking, and all around naughty  This is one of those preventative scenarios.  Keeping your dog out of the busy family gathering will allow you, your family and your dog enjoy the day..

Most important advice I have this week is to enjoy your holiday.

Thank you all for your support for Summit.

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip – Bathing Your Dog

By Brenda Crispin…

Hi Everyone,

The next installment in the grooming process is the bathing of the dog.  The first piece of advice I can give you is accept that you are going to get wet.  If you try to bathe a dog and expect to stay dry I say you are not doing it right

Tools you will need:

  • High Value Treats
  • towel on bottom of tub
  • Cotton balls for ears
  • plenty of towels for drying
  • no-tear dog shampoo & conditioner (no human shampoo)
  • rubber scrub brush (optional but I like to use one)
  • harness for tub with suction cups (optional)

Getting the dog acclimated to tub/shower:

Think of the acclimating your dog to getting a bath like the crate games we have been learning over the last few months.  It takes several steps before you have a dog willingly jump in the tub and stay put for the bathing process.

To acclimate the dog first they need to experience the tub without water. Place a thick towel or bath mat on the bottom of the tub to prevent the dog from slipping.   If you have a very young pup you can pick him/her up and place in the tub and give many HIGH value treats. Let them walk and sniff if they wish giving them plenty of rewards.  Then pick him/her up and let them explore other areas in the room.  Make this fun!  If older dog,  treat the dog for even going up and sniffing the tub.  Once the dog is doing that with no fear you can place a cookie on the ledge or toss one inside the tub.  Again no pressure and lots of HIGH value treats and patience here.  Take this slow, it can even take a few days.

** Note:  There are dog harnesses available that use suction cups to your tub that will help you keep your dog in the bath.  They can be handy as it frees up both of your hands. This does not mean you can leave your dog unattended in the bath or that if your dog really wants out they can not pull their way out. They can give just a little more structure to your bath time.

Adding Water to Tub

Now that the dog is use to the tub/shower you can add a little luke warm water.  Not on the dog but just slowly in the tub so the feet get wet. Use your high value treats again. Then let the water out of the tub and give lots of treats.  You can repeat this step a few times until it is not big issue for the dog and you can slowly increase the level of the water.  I often do not have standing water in the tub because I use a sprayer. If you do not have a sprayer you can put just enough water in the tub that you can scoop up water with a pitcher.

Wetting Down and Shampooing the Dog:

First gently place cotton ball in each ear. This helps prevent water from going into the ear canal causing infections or irritation.

As stated above I recommend using a sprayer.  Use a soft spray and start by letting the dog see and hear the water coming from the sprayer.  When ready to get the dog wet start at the shoulders and work down the back and towards the tail.  Do not spray the face.  It is best to start at the shoulder so fleas and ticks do not run towards the head.  Be gentle and upbeat.  You can use enough pressure to make it feel similar to a massage for the dog and often that will relax them a little.  Be sure to wash all four armpits and feet.  Dogs sweat through their feet and odor is often hiding there.

I like to use a very wet washcloth to wash around the face.  If the dog is very dirty you can put shampoo on the first cloth and wipe around the muzzle and face avoiding eyes and then follow behind with a clean wet cloth to get soap out.  Most of the time I do not find I need soap to wash down the face.

Rinsing and Drying the Dog

Rinse thoroughly!!!  This can take a while as dogs fur often holds onto water and therefore the shampoo.  Not getting all the soap out can lead to itchy skin for the dog.  Once finished rinsing you can squeegee out the water with your hands and then put a towel over the dog right away.  This helps to prevent the inevitable shake the dog wishes to do.  Rub the towel all over the body. Again you can take this opportunity to feel the dog all over and make it feel like a massage.  This is often an exciting moment for your dog so watch for the dog wanting to jump out of the tub before you are ready. :))  The drying process often takes several towels.   Continue to offer praise and treats to make this experience rewarding for the dog.

Most dogs want to run and play right after a bath, they will try to rub themselves on your furniture so I recommend crating in a draft free space but first most also need to relieve right away so take them out on leash to relieve and then put a nice clean towel in their crate to facilitate drying.  If you are feeling really generous put the towels in the dryer for a few minutes before placing in the crate.  The dog will really appreciate it

If I tried to cover every step this email would be several pages. This is just a high level overview.  Feel free to ask questions or share what your experience with bathing has been.

Thank you all for your support for Summit.

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip – Grooming #2 – Brushing your dog

By Brenda Crispin…

Hi Everyone,

This week we are going to continue the grooming/handling series and discuss brushing your dog. As with many other items there are different ways to brush a dog but the most important thing to remember is to make it pleasurable for the dog. If done gently and calmly your dog will relax and be still while being brushed. Brushing your dog regularly does more than remove hair. It also works with the natural essential oils in your dogs skin to aid hair growth and shine. This is also a great time to see how the skin looks. Are there any lumps or bumps, dander, is the skin red or are there any sores?

How often to brush?
There are several variables that affect how often brushing should be done. With puppies, they do not shed much as they have the fluffy puppy coat. Puppies shed their first coat between 4-6 months. Even though they do not shed this is the time where we take our time and get the dog to become adjusted to the process of grooming. This will be the set foundation for the rest of their lives. Most puppies enjoy the attention and touch from humans so take this time to make brushing pleasurable for your dog. I brush the puppies 2-3 times a week. Go slow and take your time. As the dogs get older you can brush once a week. The exception here is during typical shedding seasons. Shedding their hair causes itching and scratching, hot spots, and LOTS of hair on your floor and furniture. During these times spending a little time daily will be a benefit to you, your home, and the dog. Doing a good heaving brushing before bathing helps keep large amounts of hair from coming out while in the tub.

What tools should I use?
There are so many options when it comes to brushing your dog. I am going to discuss each one in the picture below briefly. It is difficult to cover everything as we get different types of breeds of dogs and brush requirements can change by breed. This will be a general guideline.

A: Wire Slicker Brush
B: Short haired Rake
C: Narrow Tooth Comb
D: Wide Tooth Comb
E: Nail Clippers
F: Bristle Brush
G: Rubber Zoom Groom


I like to use the rubber zoom groom(G) or the bristle brush (F) with the puppies as they are the most gentle and almost massage like brushes to start with. As the dog becomes accustom to the procedure of being brushed you can move to the slicker brush (A) and the short hair rake (B). Be careful with both of them not to push too hard and scrape the skin. Both are great at removing dead hair. My favorite is the rake. I like the wide rounded teeth compared to the metal ones on the slicker brush. Use the one you and your dog are comfortable with. Once you have brushed the dog you can use the combs (C, D) to assure there are not tangles. The narrow toothed comb © is another great tool to get a large amounts of dead hair off your dog.

Brushing Procedure:
My dogs normally start standing while I brush and as they become relaxed will eventually lay down on one side or the other. This is not a time for a lot of cue’s to be used. If you can start the brushing in the position the dog is already in and work with your dog I would start there. If we add lots of cue’s at this time it can add to the stress and anxiety around grooming. I like to start the brushing procedure around the back of the neck and down the back first. I will do a few strokes with the brush and then a couple slow strokes with my hand. Then repeat. Don’t be in a rush. If your dog moves away give him/her a moment before starting again. After the back, I move to the hips and tail. You will find a lot of hair comes out of these areas. I like to save the legs, head, and stomach for last. These are the most sensitive areas so if I have done the back and other areas right they are more relaxed and will accept brushing in these areas. I think using the rubber zoom groom (G) or one of the combs (C,D) are more efficient in these areas. As with the back I will rotate my hand in a slow petting procedure now and then.

As always I like to hear your feedback and processes. It is great to share with each other as well. If you are on our closed Facebook site (Puppy Raisers for Summit) feel free to start a communication on how you groom the dogs and what works for you. We can learn so much by sharing experiences and knowledge with each other.

Thank you all so much. Next week will be all about bathing your dog.

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip – Grooming #1 – Getting Dog Ready

By Brenda Crispin…

Hi Everyone,

I get many questions about grooming the Summit dogs.  How often and what are all the steps to grooming are just a couple of the questions I get.  I will be starting a series of email tips about the grooming process. Because there are several steps to grooming I will be taking each one separately so we can discuss them in detail and hopefully keep the emails to a reasonable length. Please feel free to ask questions.

Here are the some of the topics I will cover over the coming weeks:

  • How to make grooming your dog pleasurable for you and the dog
  • Brushing
  • Bathing
  • Brushing Teeth
  • Clipping Nails

This week:

How to make grooming your dog pleasurable for you and your dog

When you begin a grooming session, your dog probably won’t understand that it’s ultimately for his/her benefit so taking the time to teach the dog it is pleasurable will be of benefit to you, future foster homes and our clients.  You can, make your dog comfortable with tools and procedures simply by minimizing the scary and painful sides of grooming as much as possible and giving rewards and praise for behaving in the right way.

Choose a time when your dog is a little tired. I like to do the grooming (minus the bathing) at night when they are tired. You want your dog to be willing to stand or lay still for a while and to accept food from you when you want to initiate grooming.

Find a quiet place around your house where you can spend some time alone with your dog. The room in which you plan to groom your dog needs to be in an out-of-the-way area where neither you nor your dog is distracted.  Cut down on the distractions. Make the session about being calm and enjoying the attention from you.

Pet your dog gently all over his body. Observe his reactions as you touch his legs, the sides of his body, his face, his tail, and his rear end.  When I bring a new puppy home I like to spend time every night on the floor just petting him/her. I touch every part of the body slowly and gently. Keep your hands moving very slowly. The slower the movement by you the calmer the dog.  Every notice when someone pets your dogs with really fast hands and high pitched voice the dogs gets wiggly and excited?  We want to avoid over stimulation during the grooming process.  It will set a great foundation for greetings in the future as well.  It is a great way to bond with the dog and it can calm them before bed.

Give your dog small treats as you pet him. I do this if I have a dog that is not enjoying the attention I am providing.  With  some dogs giving the treats can excited them so be careful with this part.  These can provide a distraction and reward for your dog when you’re touching in areas he/she otherwise may find worrisome or uncomfortable, like touching feet.  If you notice your dog showing signs of nervousness when you touch a particular area, don’t push it. It is tempting to keep touching the spot so your dog becomes accustom.  This can increase the nervousness.  Move to another spot that was previously comforting to your dog.  You can go back to the sensitive spot later and touch for a gentler approach and shorter time and then click and treat for each touch.  Notify Summit if your dog is overly uncomfortable with touch in a particular area, like feet.

If your dog is not relaxed during this procedure keep your petting sessions short – maybe one to two minutes.  Repeat the process a couple times throughout the day and the dog will most likely come to love the individual attention and the touch.  Gradually increase the length of the petting sessions as your dog relaxes.

Get your dog used to grooming objects; for example, run a brush or comb through his fur and against his skin. Start with a soft slicker brush, substituting it for your hand.  One soft stroke with the brush and one nice slow stroke with your hand.  Treat often as well.  If your dog is fearful of grooming procedures, you need to make the petting and brushing sessions extremely short at first.

Those of you that are raising the young puppies will set the foundation for future foster homes.  Those of you that are fostering the older dogs this foundation will allow you to bond with the dog faster.

Next week we will discuss brushing your dog in more detail. Please do send me your feedback or questions.

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip – Dogs in Car During Heat

By Brenda Crispin…

Hi Everyone,

The heat has finally arrived.  Although I want it to stay for a long time it does add some new wrinkles to our traveling and  socializing the Summit dogs.

It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Most people don’t realize how hot it can get in a parked car on a balmy day. However, on a 70 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees — and hit a scorching 160 degrees if parked in the sun!

Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach the danger zone on bright, sunny days. So many experts recommend not to leave dogs in your car even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.

Rolling down a window or parking in the shade doesn’t guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb into the danger zone. And if the window is rolled down sufficiently, the dog can escape.

So the question is how do we go about getting our dogs out to public spaces when it is hot and get our errands done?  You don’t.  The answer is they are separate activities.  Remember taking your dog out for a socialization activity is about training your dog not doing your needed errands.  This is true in the dead of winter or the heat of summer.

I am attaching two charts that show how fast a car will heat up.

Enjoy the warm weather and be sure your dogs have plenty of fresh water.  I carry several jugs in my car along with a bowl.

Thank you all,

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip – How to Hold the Leash

by Brenda Crispin

Hi Everyone,

What you may or may not know is how you hold the leash is a key ingredient to how you work with your dog. If you wrap the leash around your wrist or hand the dog can pull you off balance causing injury to both of you.  Holding the leash at the end, with the loop, provides too much leash and the dog can wander too far from the handler making it more difficult to manage him.  Holding the leash wrong can also lead to us creating an unnecessarily tight leash or one that is too loose allowing the dog to wander and visit others.  A properly held leash can help you feel where the dog is and provide appropriate feedback.  The two links below show the same technique for holding the leash with one hand.

     Link to Video - How to Hold a Leash

     Link to Video - How to Properly Hold a Dog’s Leash

We are often asked how to hold the leash and the clicker at the same time.  I prefer to hold the leash in my right hand along, with the clicker, which allows me to treat with the left hand by my leg which encourages my dog to stay close.

     Link to Video - Clicker Training Basics: How to Use a Clicker

I hope you find the above informative and welcome feedback,

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs

Summit Tip – Spring Time Hazards

By Brenda Crispin…

Hi Everyone,

Believe it or not spring is coming.  Here in Washington we do not have to wait for spring to experience rain and rain puddles everywhere we go.  I received this article and thought is was very informative.  We have had several cases with dogs repeatedly contract giardia and some other parasites and we couldn’t figure out why.  I do not know if puddles are the exact reason but it could be a factor.  Read the article linked below about the dangers of water puddles to your dogs. (copy and paste into your browser, if you cannot click on it directly)

A couple guidelines:

1).  If you have been out with your dog and you have walked through puddles I recommend wiping their feet when you get home. I keep a towel by the door and try to dry off their feet to save my floors but now I know it could help keep them healthier as well.

2).  Never let them drink out of the puddles. They can contain antifreeze, oil and so much more.  Keep a bottle of fresh water in your car and a portable bowl.

More Spring Hazards:

This article gives additional spring time hazards you should be aware of.

I’m sure we are all excited about feeling the warmth of the sun and less rain. Let’s all make this a healthy and happy spring.

Thank you all,

Brenda Crispin
Foster Home Coordinator
Summit Assistance Dogs