Custom Built-in Dog Crate

A dog crate is an unattractive necessity, especially when you raise puppies for a service dog organization. At the beginning stages of housebreaking, crates are scattered around my house. Multiple crates. Multiples sizes. Holding tanks for active bladders. Some soft-sided. Some cage-like. All ugly.

crates are ugly

So my son and I designed a dog center in our laundry room. The rendering below was our initial inspiration.

dog closet inspiration

We took a well-used laundry room closet and redesigned the space. It now fashionably accommodates the same items as before and the dog, too! Here’s how it turned out.

construction finished

Ample cabinet storage space surround the crate. A Corian countertop sits on top of a KraftMaid CoreGuard kitchen sink base. (I had the center strip of the sink base removed–where the doors rest when closed.) One of Home Depot’s great kitchen designers helped me find this gem. It’s an engineered polymer kitchen sink base with slightly pitched forward shallow ribbing. Why did I choose that? Because puppies pee. Any accidents will flow to the front of the base and can be wiped up easily. Happy puppy. Happy owner! And don’t worry about the ribbing. The dogs don’t mind it. If you do, buy a crate mat.

Holiday Gifts for Dogs

Here comes the holidays! What will you get your dog for Christmas?

dog Christmas gift sends dog gifts to a dog you love anywhere in the United States via USPS. On your mark, get set, shop! Woof!


Frosty Dog Toy Gift Box- Hugglehounds Small Frosty Snowman with Squeakers, 32 oz. Stainless Steel Red Dog Bowl and Plush Puppies Tuff Ones Candy Cane with Squeakers.


Dachsund with Santa Hat Bungee Dog Toy

christmas dog toy

Naughty or Nice? Planet Dog’s Lump of Coal and Snowman with Squeakers


Planet Dog Snowball and Plush Puppies Tuff Ones Plush Penguin with Squeaker


Plush Puppies Tuff Ones Christmas Tree and Candy Cane with Squeakers


Can be purchased individually


Can be purchased individually


Can be purchased individually

small frosty

HuggleHounds Snowmen Come in Large and Small


32 oz. red stainless steel dog bowl


Dog Charities – Canine Companions for Independence

Combining the love of dogs and mankind to produce an amazing charity!

Canine Companions for Independence is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

1-9-14 Bringing Kimber Home

See this furry puppy? This is the day I picked her up from the Canine Companions for Independence North Central Regional Training Center in Delaware, Ohio and brought her into my home.

Service dog

This adorable bundle of love is a service puppy in training. Over the next 18 months I will raise her, love her, feed her, care for her and train her in the 30 commands that she will need to go on to Advanced Training with the hope of becoming a service dog for a child or an adult with a physical disability other than blindness. And as I said many times before, all this is done for FREE.

Canine Companion service dog

Volunteers raise the puppies for free so that the people who need these dogs can get them for free. It’s as simple as that.

Housebreaking a Puppy in the Winter

Housebreaking a puppy in the winter is no easy task. No one is happy. Just ask Kimber!

potty training a puppy in winter

Hi! I’m Kimber. I’m 3 months old and still potty training. I live in the Great Lakes Region. We’re getting blasted with snow. This potty training thing is exhausting…and confusing!

potty training a puppy in winter

Seriously? What do you mean you stopped shoveling here? I go potty over there!

dog plowing through snow

Forget it. I’m going in without you. If I don’t come out in 10 minutes, call the paramedics!

dog stuck in snow

Uh oh! Can’t turn around. Back legs stuck. Back legs stuck!

snow dog

Shovel! Somebody get me a shovel!

snow puppy

I will not go standing up. I will not go standing up…uh oh!

Housebreaking a New Puppy in Below Zero Temperatures is Murder!

Housebreaking a puppy is frustrating work. Housebreaking a puppy in below zero temperatures is brutal. In and out. In and out. Coat on. Coat off. Boots on. Boots off. Gloves on. Gloves off. Wait…no…don’t pee! Rats!

In a frozen stupor, my contact lenses fogging up over a cup of hot coffee, I daydreamed of a future where someone discovers a better way to get this job done. Here is my plan.

housebreaking a dog in the winter

For all of you out there housebreaking a puppy during the winter of 2013-2014, God bless you.

10 Things You Taught Your Kids That You Should Also Teach Your New Puppy

new puppy

New puppy? Don’t fret. If you can raise a child, you can raise a puppy!

Barring severe aggression, which in both cases should be immediately addressed by a professional, the key to raising terrific kids and dogs is to focus on teaching them the following ten things:

  1. They are loved and safe.
  2. There is an acceptable place to potty.
  3. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
  4. Manners still exist and people will love you for it.
  5. Waiting isn’t a bad thing.
  6. Everyone deserves respect.
  7. No biting.
  8. Keep their paws to themselves.
  9. Do not growl or bite person or family pet who removes food, toys or things.
  10. Look at the person who calls their name and listen to their directions.

If you can get your puppy to understand those ten things, with practice, redirection and consistency, that new puppy will turn into a dog that will be a joy to live with.  Happy pet parenting!



Puppy Cam – Canine Companions for Independence Service Dogs!

Puppy Cam – Service Dogs are Born!

By: Bonnie Sweebe

Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is my favorite non-profit organization.  It provides highly-trained assistance dogs and ongoing support that enhance the lives of children, adults and wounded veterans with disabilities other than blindness.

Meet Melba II, the 8 month old labrador/golden mix that I am raising for CCI.  As a puppy raiser, I know first hand what care is taken to train these pups to be future service dogs that are given free of charge to individuals that can demonstrate a need.  Raising Melba II is an honor and a privilege.
Canine Companions for Independence

Thanks to great sponsors like Eukanuba and support from other fine corporations and donors like you, Canine Companions for Independence can continue with their mission to breed, train and place Exceptional Dogs for Exceptional People.  If you’d like more information about CCI or would like to donate to a wonderful cause, please CLICK HERE.  Otherwise, meet our newest batch of service dogs, the E litter, born to Taya.  Enjoy the puppy cam!

Father’s Day Video


Dog and puppy

Okay all you dads out there. June is your month and to celebrate, here’s a dog video that will warm your heart. Here’s a daddy Bernese Mountain Dog and his best friend, his son.

Happy Father’s Day from!

Special thanks to snidley8-YouTube for originally posting this video!

Dog Training: A Pet With a Purpose

Dog Training: Make Your Dog a Pet with a Purpose

Incorporating Dog Commands into Everyday Life

Big dogs or small dogs, all dogs need training.  But what exactly do you expect your dog to do?  What role does the dog have in your family life?  What is your envisioned goal?

Dog Training Tips

I have two golden retrievers.  I am also a service dog puppy raiser.  When I began training my pet golden retrievers, I trained with the mindset of advancing through the classes until the dogs became Canine Good Citizens.  They did. 

The certificates are figuratively on the wall.  The tags are on their collars.

dog training

But one cold snowy morning, my prey-driven golden retriever escaped through an open garage door and ran across the street.  Her goal was geese.  She did not listen to the come command.  She did not listen to the drop command.  I had to physically retrieve my retriever from a water retention basin in nothing more than jeans and a shirt.