Holiday Gift Guide For Dog Lovers: 2014

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers!

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers!

If you’re like me, come mid-November you are wandering aimlessly around TJ Maxx and Macy’s looking for gifts, only to find stuff for yourself. Happens. Every. Time.

So I’m here to save you from buying pumpkin spiced body lotion, candles and whatever other good-for-anyone-gift and get the dog lover on your list something that they’ll love. And use.

I’ve spent a lot of time finding companies and products that are making a difference in their communities, have awesome products, and that I love. I think you will, too. Enjoy!

1. KAE-O Clothing

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers!

Born From Love. Driven By Passion. Fighting for Life.”

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers - Pit Bull Mom T-shirt

KAE-O is fighting against the abuse and abandonment of pit bulls by donating 25% of its proceeds to their current non profit partner (currently Karma Rescue in California).

If their mission isn’t enough to persuade you, their amazingly comfy and stylish clothing will. Because we’ve all bought that Gildan cardboard t-shirt that while yes, a portion of the proceeds went to a good cause, is never going to be worn. Not with their clothes! The ‘Save a Life’ hoodie I’m wearing in the photo is seriously my favorite sweatshirt, hands down.

2. Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co.

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers - Grounds & Hounds Coffee

Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. was started by Jordan Karcher, who just so happens to be a rescue dog owner himself.  The company was born out of his passion to give back to the animals by offering delicious coffee – two of the most important things in my life!

Fair trade, organic coffee company where 20% of all revenue received is donated to rescue groups. Pretty awesome.  And coming from a coffee snob, I’m confident in saying that you’ll love their coffee.

Even Lola and Rio approve.

3. Woo Woo Workshop ID Tags

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers - Woo Woo Workshop Dog Accessories

I’ve been swooning over these dog tags for quite a while after finding them on Etsy. And after getting to know owner and founder, Melissa, I knew it was a company I’d proudly stand behind. Their customer service is top-notch, their designs are amazing, and they are very reasonably priced!

Check out the full line of unique, artisan, pet oriented id tags & accessories from Woo Woo Workshop!

And trust me, we have definitely heard our fair share of the “woo woo” song!

4. Great books for dog lovers!

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers - Great books to buy

If you haven’t read the story of Wallace the pit bull you’re missing out. This book will have you laughing, tearing up, and cheering Wallace on in every chapter. Pit bull advocates and dog lovers alike will enjoy this amazing true story of an underdog who rose to the top, becoming one of the most influential pit bulls in history!

*For a $25 donation to Wallace the Pit Bull Foundation, you will receive a Wallace book, pawtographed with Wallace’s paw stamp! Each book is hand stamped from an image of Wallace’s actual paw print taken on the day he passed. Purchase on!

If there’s anyone that has a magnificent way with words it’s Ken Foster, author of I’m a Good Dog. His insight, intelligence and stories will move you beyond words. Fellow pit bull lovers, this book is a true gift; one that should be given and received.

*Purchase I’m a Good Dog by Ken Foster through

 5. Pet Subscription Box


Subscription boxes just might be taking over the world and for good reason: they are a darn good idea. I mean, who doesn’t like to get packages in the mail? I feel like a giddy nine year old waiting for a package to come – so knowing that something for my dogs would be coming every month (and what’s inside is a surprise!), is a perfect gift.

I personally recommend BarkBox – they are a great company who believes in giving back (they’re a sponsor for the Monster Holiday Drive we are participating in and will donate one box to our drive for every subscription)! This box is guaranteed to brighten you and your dog’s day when it arrives at your doorstep each month!

6. Spot Farms Treats

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers - Spot Farms Treats

These aren’t your average bag of dog treats, people; these are more like the filet mignon of dog treats. I’m kind of picky about what goes in our dogs mouths if you haven’t already noticed. And there’s no doubt that they eat cleaner and healthier than I do. Check out our review of Spot Farms treats from earlier in 2014!

We love that Spot Farms offers human grade treats made using the very best antibiotic-free meats from farm families across the U.S. You won’t find any fillers such as corn, wheat or soy in their treats!

“We make sure our treats are chock full of things that are good for your dog, like antioxidant-rich cranberries and Omega-3–rich flaxseeds.” -Spot Farms

Find Spot Farms dog treats at Petco, and too many other places to list, ha. Check out their site for the deets.

7. Homemade Dog Biscuits

If you have the time and you’re looking for a small thoughtful gift to hand out to a handful of friends, homemade dog treat recipes are totally fun to make (and cost effective)! Get creative and package them in cute little bags. Here are a couple of my favorite treats that would package well:

Mint Buckwheat Dog Biscuits

Homemade Mint Buckwheat Dog Biscuits

Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats

Peanut butter Banana + Flax seed dog biscuits

8. Toys & Fashion

Just a few of our favorite toys that I know your pups will love! And the monkey hoodie – totally adorable!!!

Lola the Pitty's Holiday Gift Guide for Dog Lovers

a. Jolly Ball – ever since we found this toy, we can’t keep Lola or Rio away from it!

b. Kong Wobbler Food and Treat Dispensing Dog Toy – entertainment galore.

c. Monkey Hoodie by Chilly Dog – the ears on this hoodie make it over-the-top cute!

d. Chuck-It. a.k.a. your best friend if your dog obsesses over tennis balls as ours do.

There ya have it, we hope you love these ideas as much as we do!

Keep your eyes peeled for a pit bull lovers’ specific gift guide, as I’ve got plenty of ideas up my sleeve.

My Pittied Life: October

The sun is now setting before five p.m. The temps are dropping (a little too quickly for my liking), almost all the leaves have fallen and November is here.

October definitely sped by, but we packed in a TON of activities into those 31 days.

Let’s see, where shall I begin?

My Pittied Life -

The Search Is On

As many of you know, I resigned from my full time marketing job a couple months back to make a couple of my life goals a reality. Well, I may finally have an opportunity that may be pretty promising. Still too many unknowns to make a big announcement, but I’ll hopefully have more news to share in the next series of ‘My Pittied Life’!

It was a pretty exciting month in the social media world for Lola the Pitty. Our Facebook page has surpassed 5K fans (and we have never once paid for ads or sponsored posts)! Plus, we now have over 1K followers on Instagram and Pinterest! Not too shabby for a blog that was started less than a year ago. Thank you so much to all of our friends and supporters!

Awesome Play Dates

We know the days are getting shorter and the weeks (ok, months) where no one even wants to step foot outside are coming up fast! Therefore, we took full advantage of the beautiful autumn and made trip after trip to the hockey rink, aka our personal dog park. And today, we drove down to Mankato where we met up with a few friends for a play date at The Paw!

Play date!

Monster Holiday Drive

We’ve been sharing, unpacking, organizing, sorting, and tearing down boxes from all of the awesome donations we’ve received for this great fundraiser. Please consider donating to help homeless animals in need! Learn more: Lola and Tater’s Monster Holiday Drive.

Monster Holiday Drive -

Fun Mail!

We’ve been privileged enough to find several awesome companies whose missions and products we love; take a peak at a couple of the exciting packages we’ve received in the mail:

KAE-O Sweatshirt // Karma dog collar
Woo Woo Dog ID Tags -
WooWoo Workshop ID Tag

‘Tis the season:

Homemade Doggy Egg Nog Recipe
DIY Pumpkin Spice Puppuccinos

“Monster” Holiday Drive

"Monster" Elf Drive - collecting donated items for dogs & cats in need!

"Monster" Elf Drive - collecting donated items for dogs & cats in need!

We are so excited to be participating in the “Monster” Holiday Drive! Have you heard of it? The drive is an amazingly successful campaign organized by the minds behind the organization, I’m Not a Monster.

Basically, all of the ‘elves’ (aka Lola, Tater Tot and a ton of other dogs) work hard to gather donation items for dogs in need! It’s pretty awesome to say the least.

The initiative was inspired by toys on clearance. They sat unwanted, not unlike the pets waiting at the shelters. The pets and toys are not broken; they just haven’t found their perfect home yet. So to help as many homeless pets as possible, they recruit “Monster” Elves to gather items; so not only we lift their spirits, but also bring attention to the good shelters and the various causes they represent.

[Tweet “Being in a shelter is not fun for any pets. Together, we can make a difference! #monsterholidaydrive”]

Check out the 2013 totals. Holy cow.


For the 2014 drive, we’ve teamed up with our friend Tater Tot and his girl, Amaya! We’ve got a pretty good start (thanks to Amaya’s awesome effort) but every item helps. 100% of the items collected will be donated to Heading Home K9 Rescue and Across America Boxer Rescue.

Learn more about the Monster Holiday Drive!

Please consider donating by purchasing an item or two on Tater and Lola’s Amazon Wish List to help dogs & cats in need.

Thank you for your support!

“Help us spread some holiday cheer for homeless pets waiting in shelters by donating toys, blankets & treats!”


Check it out!

15 Things My Dog Has Taught Me

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Puppuccinos

15 Things My Dog (a Pit Bull) has Taught Me

15 Things My Dog (a pit bull) has Taught Me -

15 Things My Dog (a pit bull) has Taught Me -

We can learn so much from our dogs…

Our dogs don’t hold grudges, they don’t judge us, and they love us no matter what.

In fact, we just bought a framed print the other day:

Things We Learn From our Dogs -

But of course there’s more than that. Here are 15 things I’ve learned from my dog, a pit bull:

1. Daycare isn’t just for kids

2. Whining actually does work at times

3. Do something fun every day

4. Sometimes all you need is a nap

5. Trust your gut

6. It’s okay to pee outside (as long as no one’s watching)

7. King beds are the best to sleep on

8. Snuggling is one of the best things, ever

9. Kisses are to be used sparingly and only for those you really love (Rio has yet to learn this one)

10. Be thankful for anyone that feeds you

11. Sunshine = happiness

12. Roam & explore at every opportunity

13. Be yourself

14. Don’t judge

15. Live in the moment

What have you learned from your dog?

*Check out my favorite inspiring dog quotes & dog treat recipes!

5 Ways to Advocate for Pit Bulls: October is Pit Bull Awareness Month

Five Ways to Advocate for Pit Bulls -
Five Ways to Advocate for Pit Bulls -
Photo by Amaya Frutkoff

October: a great month if you ask me. An entire month dedicated to raising awareness for pit bulls. Also – Pit Bull Awareness Day is October 25th!

While this is no different really than any month around this household, it is a great opportunity to spotlight pit bulls by educating,promoting adoption, responsible ownership and much more.

One of the things I’ve noticed which we inherit as a responsible pit bull owner: having to advocate for our dogs. We don’t necessarily choose it, but more or less fall into it. At one point or another, we will be presented with a situation where we have to stand up for our dog. Even though, as fellow pit bull owners know our dog is just a dog.

Here I’ve compiled five awesome, positive ways to advocate for pit bulls:

1. Share positive stories about pit bulls

Sites such as the Best Friends Animal Society, Huffington Post, several animal rescue pages, (wink, wink) often publish stories about pit bulls in a positive light. You don’t necessarily have to point out “Hey look! It’s a pit bull doing something positive”, but more along the lines of, this is a really awesome or touching story and hey, the dog just so happens to be a “pit bull”.

2. Allow your dog to do the talkin’

Bring your (willing) breed ambassador to dog-friendly events and stores. Your presence and behavior will speak volumes for itself without saying a peep. Actions generally speak louder than words. But of course, if anyone asks about your pibble, feel free to proudly brag like any parent would.

3. Do Your Research

Before you see a post somewhere on social media that sets you off, think before you type (or talk). Let’s educate ourselves and become well informed advocates. The Unexamined Dog has a great article on ways to advocate for “pit bulls” and if you haven’t previously, check out Drayton Michaels.

4. Raise Positive Awareness with Gear

Yes, gear. For example, display a “My Pit Bull is Family” magnet on your car or wear a shirt that promotes pit bulls in a positive light – just a couple examples.

5. Make Friends

Neighbors, people you meet at the dog park or events, family, coworkers – these are all people that you may interact with on a fairly regular basis. Without even thinking, you are advocating for your dog by sharing pictures, positive experiences and best of all, having them meet your dog. Many people have neutral feelings about “pit bulls” but I can tell you that I personally have changed opinions of a few that would have otherwise “never trusted a pit bull”. Every positive experience makes a difference.


*Find out how National Pit Bull Awareness Month began!

Inspiring quotes (great to share on Pinterest!):

'You Just Need to BE' - @lolathepitty | Lolathepitty

The 3 C's of Life -

So, you support rescue…what about breeding?

We foster dogs.

We volunteer at animal rescues.

We support animal rescue and try to be the most responsible dog owners we can.

Does that imply that I am against breeding and drive around with an ‘adopt don’t shop’ sticker on my car?


Well, it’s fairly simple. Let me boil it down:

If you’re a responsible breeder who takes pride in preserving the beauty and characteristics of the breed, ensuring that the dog has good bloodlines and ensure that the puppies go to a home that is a good fit – then I totally support you.

If you’re an asshat who thinks that your dog is “cute or handsome” and therefore needs to make puppies…get a life.

My dog is way cuter than yours and she won’t be having puppies, ever.

We have enough cute pups in the world. Leave it to the experts. Puh-lease.

If you are doing it for the money, I take it you haven’t been in the business too long and are making a bigger impact on the shelter & rescue population than your wallet. Plus, you’re doing nothing for the breed and could very likely breed a dog that develops major health issues.

Check out the Humane Society’s “How to Identify a Responsible Breeder” checklist.

Both of our dogs came from the result of irresponsible breeding.

Rio was listed on Craiglist because his family lived in an apartment and they weren’t allowed to have dogs.

Hmm. I’ll be nice and spare you a few remarks about that situation. Well, he got lucky and ended up in a rescue group until we adopted him.

Lola’s entire litter was abandoned in an empty house and the owners took only the mother and father. I really wish I knew more to that story…One thing is certain – irresponsible human beings.

A responsible breeder should take the same amount of effort in finding their pups a good home as a reputable rescue group does. Get nosy, visit their house, ask a lot of questions. We’re talking about an animal that lives 10+ years here. And make the offer that should they ever need to surrender the dog, that you’ll take them back and find them another home.

We have the bigger brain here, people. Let’s use it.

What do you think? Do you care if people breed their dog? Are you a breeder? Does it drive you crazy when ‘backyard breeders’ sell their puppies for dirt cheap to the next person that walks by with enough cash?

Think you might enjoy these reads:

My First Foster Dog

My Dog Bit My Child – Teaching Children to Respect Dogs

Loose Leash Walking: Putting an End to Leash Pulling

Loose Leash Walking: Putting an End to Leash Pulling

About a month ago, I walked Lola for the first time in almost two years on a regular collar. Without being pulled. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to say that.

As many of you are aware, a while back we switched to a trainer who uses all positive reinforcement and clicker training. And our experiences couldn’t be better.

In the few short weeks that we had been working with Linda Legare CPDT-KA-KPCTP, we made more progress than we did in several months at the first training facility we took Lola to when she was a pup.

Instead of punishing unwanted behaviors (i.e. pulling), we built positive associations with desired behaviors. We learned to be patient and consistent. We began to teach our dogs what we wanted them to do and rewarding them when doing so.

When we are outside, there are a squirrels, cars, birds, people…distractions. We had to increase the treat value whenever we were outside. For us, this meant using beef liver or chicken (hot dogs and lunchmeat are also great options). If I were to bring kibble or something ‘boring’, Lola would’ve never been willing to work for those – so that was part of figuring out what makes Lola tick.

We first worked on reinforcing Lola being next to our side and making eye contact. Whenever she would do so we would click and treat. We began building this focus inside our house and then brought her out in the yard and so forth.

When the walks began, we started out in the boring part of the neighborhood. We walked the opposite way from her favorite ‘run-crazy, play-disc-and-ball’ park. After all, we wanted to set her up to succeed.

We also only worked on strict heeling for about 5 minutes of the walk. We didn’t want to burn her out and as long as she wasn’t pulling on the leash, let’s face it, we were happy.

Loose Leash Walking: Putting an End to Leash Pulling

Possibly the most important thing we changed: we stopped allowing her to pull us. This was likely the hardest part, as easy as it truly is.

Lola walks on my left side – so to set up our walk position, I held the leash and clicker in my right hand (sometimes even put my wrist through the leash handle) and treats in my left (closest to her).

She then chose whether to keep the leash loose or walk out to the end of her leash with full tension on. I left the leash alone. I did not pull her back, I did not yank on it. Instead, I did my hardest to keep her attention. Patience is key here. This meant a short time between each command (combined with a lot of coaxing noises coming from my mouth, ha). Walk a couple steps, stop and sit, walk a few more steps, stop and sit. This kept her on her toes and thinking, about me, about what to do. Whenever she made eye contact > click, treat. Whenever she was in the correct heel position > click, treat. Whenever she sat next to my side > click, treat. In the beginning, it was a lot of click, treat, click, treat, click, treat. Note to self, bring a lot of tiny treats.

When she broke her concentration (which happened a lot) and ran to the end of her leash (also happened a lot), I stopped dead in my tracks and didn’t budge. The moment she broke the tension in the leash and turned back towards me > click, treat. This took longer than desired in some cases. And sometimes, she didn’t turn back to look at me on her own. In those instances, I looked next to my side where she should have been and said outloud, “Where is Lola? Come, Lola” and directed her to the correct position. Once she was there, we started all over again. Sometimes (quite often) we didn’t make it very far on our walks, but in reality – we did. We were taking baby steps that would soon prove their worth.

Once we started getting better and building focus, we began the walk on her harness (the Freedom Harness) and about one-third of the way into the walk, I would switch and clip the leash onto her regular, flat collar. The first few times it didn’t go so well. She immediately pulled to the end of her leash and my reaction was the same – stop. She looked back and turned towards me – yes!! Click, treat. I then began coaxing her along and maintaining eye contact for several strides and kept clicking and treating every time. Before I knew it, we had just walked at least 50 feet with her not pulling! I was beyond thrilled. Maybe, just maybe, we would be able to walk on the leash like a team one day!

Stop jerking the leash. Since switching trainers and methods, we had to nix this bad habit ourselves. Instead of ‘popping’ the leash if she didn’t do as we requested, we instead reward her for the good. The progress we made in just two months was mind blowing.

And as I mentioned before, another one of the most helpful tips was to use a shorter chain of commands. Walk a few steps and sit. Walk a few more steps – sit. Walk one step – sit. Keep your dog on their toes and thinking. This really worked great if Lola was having a hard time focusing on me. We weren’t making it anywhere in record time, but that wasn’t exactly our intentions.

This video below was from a recent walk we took together. I’m sooo proud of her.

Does your dog pull? Have you been able to make progress? I truly encourage you to find a trainer in your area and begin using clicker-training. Truly putting the time and effort in and setting a goal for you and your dog will make a world of difference. I used to get so frustrated with Lola and myself and would never make it more than a few days of trying a new method, but trust me, you can do it – we did!  Persistence, patience, and repetition.

Try not to get frustrated and only work on your walking for about 10 minutes at a time – and remember, even a few seconds of your dog focusing on you is improvement! If you notice yourself getting irritated, just stop and come back to it later. Good luck!


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2 Years Old – Happy Birthday, Lola!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Lola!

My baby girl…two years ago you fell into our lives.

Those two years flew by.

I remember (and Antonio probably even more so) the first day you came into our lives…

and shit all over the floor. That sucked.

I remember when all we would want to do is cuddle and hold you. And you hated both. You would scream your little puppy shrieks & try to scramble out of our arms when anyone would try to pick you up. You were (and still are) a feisty little thing.

Ahh, I will never forget the day you chewed through the drywall. That too, sucked.

I remember when you ate a hole through my favorite scarf. One week after I bought it.

I remember when you were oh-so sick and we stayed up with you watching your every move while on the phone with the emergency vet, making sure you were okay and hydrated.

Happy Birthday, Lola!

I remember when we were playing in the tennis courts and let’s just say, you couldn’t figure out the whole net thing…

I will never forget the day we took you in to get spayed and we had to sign a form indicating whether to resuscitate or not. That was scary.

And how could I ever forget that moment you ran onto our ‘naked neighbor’s’ deck to get your ball…that’s a story for another day.

I remember the day you howled through the entire 3 minute down-stay at graduation night from intermediate obedience.

And remember when we took you to the pond in Colorado and you waded in carefully, reaching with the very tips of your teeth to try and snag the tiny hairs on your tennis ball without going in any further? Only to find out there was a drop-off and you somersaulted into the water. Twice?! I have to say, I’m just glad you didn’t melt.

Happy Birthday, Lola! @lolathepitty

I remember when you ran off the set of your first photo shoot, only to run over and hug your dad.

I remember how you’ve accepted and helped us raise every foster dog we’ve brought into our house – and I thank you for that.

P.s. If anyone ever needs their ears cleaned (or just nibbled on), Lola would be glad to help you out.

We’ve been through our ups and downs. We’ve had our moments. Haven’t we all…

There’s been a lot of trial and error on my end.

Happy Birthday, Lola! @lolathepitty

Wow, do you really have to be two years old? Can we go back?

I’d do it all over again if it meant having you in our lives for an extra two years when that time comes. Because I want you to live as long as I live. I can’t imagine life without you.

But we can’t think about that right now. We have to embrace the present and live our lives to the fullest. We will enjoy every minute we have with you, because life comes and goes, entirely too fast.

We love you baby girl! Happy 2nd Birthday!


6 Remedies for Dog Allergies

6 Remedies for Dog Allergies and how to use them -

6 Remedies for Dog Allergies and how to use them -

Growing up, our dogs never had any issues. Or so that I remember. Then, I grow up , have a dog of my own and we’ve taken more trips to the vet and had more reactions to shots, allergies, treats, etc. than I can remember.

No one ever said Lola was low-maintenance and she constantly proves that…

And Rio, well that’s a whole other story.

Every spring and fall Lola’s allergies start up. It starts with red bumps in between her paw pads that then swell and grow. She constantly is trying to lick her paws.

The first year we immediately made a vet appointment thinking it was a yeast infection as she also developed some darkening around the tip of her nail. $200 later it was not a yeast infection and rather, an allergic reaction that became infected.

*Also a must-read: 7 tips on crate training your dog or puppy.

Live and learn, we now are able to keep them under control with a few different things that we keep around the house.

Here are some tips on treatments and at home remedies that have worked best for us.

Treatments and at home remedies for dog allergies! |


1. Skin spray.

It’s called Richard’s Organics Skin Spray. This stuff is great, it has tea tree oil, coconut oil, witch hazel and other goodness packaged inside this spray bottle. We purchased this for about $9 at Chuck & Don’s pet outlet in Minnesota.

Spray it on clean paws and make sure they don’t lick it off (at least let it sit for a little while).

2. Dog booties.

I know it’s a pain, but come this time of year, we slip these little socks (called Pawks) on Lola’s feet before going outside. I recommend these or the balloon-looking shoes known as Pawz.

3. Coconut oil (virgin).

Coconut-everything is sooo popular right now, but for good reason. It has many uses and remedies. We put a scoop on their food, I rub it on Lola’s paws and in between her pads, then put it on my hair. Really. Just not in that order.

4. Epsom salts.

1 cup salts + 1 gallon of water + Lola’s feet. Two times a day.

5. Self-adhesive wrap

Four bucks at Walgreens and this is one of my favorites. The booties work well for quick trips outside, but if we’re going out for a longer walk, I wrap her paws with this as it is more comfortable and natural for her to walk, plus it stays on incredibly well.

6. Benadryl (25mg)

Lola is a tiny little pocket pittie at about 35-40 lbs and I give her half a tablet a day if her reaction worsens.

Does your dog have allergies?! What do you do for them?