Lovebugs Blog

How to help your rescue dog settle in


Home introduction

Step 1 
When you arrive home, take your dog out for a walk or let him explore your enclosed backyard. Walks in the neighborhood should only be done when the dog has been fitted with a secure harness. Since this is his first time in his new neighborhood go slow and let him sniff. If your new dog is nervous and is pulling on the leash, then take him inside or let him explore the backyard. Once he has eliminated you can take him inside.

Step 2
Introduce him to his new home on leash, including the confinement area. A confined area could be an area blocked off with a baby gate, an exercise pen area, or a crate.

Step 3
Take off his leash, give him a chew or a stuffed Kong.

Start alone-time training now. Begin getting your dog used to short absences within the first few hours of his arrival. You will want to spend every minute with your dog when he first comes home, but it is better to prepare him for a normal routine right away. He must learn to be relaxed, calm, and settled when alone—and this doesn’t come naturally to dogs, social animals that they are.

House-training 101

Dogs that are potty trained in their foster home will have to re-learn this in their new home. Potty accidents can happen even with adult, previously house-trained dogs. It is not at all obvious to dogs that the bathroom rules in one place apply everywhere else. Take your new family member outside to eliminate every 2 – 3 hours and then reward him with treats. Prevent accidents by watching your dog when inside and use a baby gate to block rooms and areas where you can’t see him. Crates and ex-pens can be used when you can’t watch your dog. With a little patience and supervision, your dog will soon be fully versed in potty etiquette.
• Until your dog is perfectly house-trained, don’t leave him alone except in his confinement area (gated kitchen, exercise pen area or crate).
• If you see your dog sniffing and circling in the house, take him out immediately.
• Praise and reward your dog with a treat when he relieves himself outdoors.
• Never yell or punish your dog for a potty accident, otherwise he may become afraid to relieve himself in front of you.

Pairing your house with good experiences

Dogs learn by association or by pairing safe as good and bad as dangerous. Many behavior issues (barking, growling, biting, etc) stem from a negative association, which translates into danger for the dog. From the beginning make sure you set some positive association for your new dog. That means a lot stuffed Kongs and toys, limited family visits and trips to the outdoor mall. Hold the hugs—for now. Allow time for you and your dog to get to know each other before you try to handle him completely. Dogs can be just as particular as humans about being touched by strangers and as long as your relationship is brand new, proceed with respect. You wouldn’t ask for more than a kiss on a first date, right? To make it a pleasant experience for your dog to be touched, offer a treat every time you touch him in a new area. Any kind of grooming or holding should be minimal at first and always combined with lots of delectable treats. If your dog is on medication of some kind, be extra gentle and careful. A good rule of thumb is to let the dog initiate petting sessions until you know each other well.


Mental stimulation - brain games

Toys galore. Toys are a great way to engage your dog’s brain and pair a positive association. Dogs have distinctly individual toy preferences, depending on the day, time, and situation. Do some detective work and find out what truly tickles your dog.

Work to eat. Biologically speaking, your dog is not supposed to have a bowl of kibble plunked down in front of him. He is a hunter by nature, meant to work for his keep. Mimic this by serving your dog’s food in a Kong or treat ball. Your dog will spend the first part of the day figuring out how to get at his food and the rest of it recovering from the mental effort. Perfect!

Kong stuffing for pros. Don’t just throw in a few cookies—take your Kong stuffing prowess to the next level. But start with easier Kongs and then make them tougher, so your dog succeeds while developing perseverance.

Easy stuffing = Loosely packed food and pieces small enough to fall out.

Difficult stuffing = Tighter packed food, such as canned dog food, mash potatoes, cream cheese or peanut butter will take effort on your part to get out of the Kong.

Stuffing tips
• Use a matrix (peanut butter, cream cheese, baby food) to hold in smaller bits
• Stuff with meat and mashed potatoes or canned food and freeze

If your dog has lots of energy, give him all his food this way. And remember to clean your Kongs regularly with a bottle brush and/or in the dishwasher.

For more recipes, see



This St. Patrick's Day...


Years of lovable kisses are waiting for you
with our wonderful Lovebugs available for adoption!

To view our adoptable pets, please click here.

Lovebugs Rescue 5 Year Anniversary Celebration



We could not think of a better way to acknowledge the lives we have saved, our dedicated volunteers, and all families we have helped complete along the way than with a big bash to celebrate, and boy did we ever! Over 200 people came out to whoop it up and help raise funds to continue our mission to help animals in need and spread the word about our rescue efforts.

Jon Madison of Madison Square & Garden Cafe in Laguna Beach, generously donated the venue and all the yummy eats and drinks. We had fabulous silent auction items, soft music, lots of spots to sit and visit and best of all, a pile of puppies to snuggle and kiss.

Thank you to everyone that came out to support us and celebrate 5 wonderful years of making a difference in the lives of many. We would not be where we are today without you!

Click here to view photos of this fabulous event. If you would like to purchase any of the photos of our anniversary celebration, a portion of the purchase price will benefit Lovebugs Rescue.


Warning: Coyotes can injure or kill your pets


It’s August in Southern California and that means pet owners have something very dangerous to watch out for, COYOTES. Coyotes rear their pups in the Spring, and by July coyote pups are hungry and on the move. Why does this matter to you? Coyotes are very capable of killing dogs and cats. In fact, many Southern California dogs and cats are killed each year and the number of attacks and sightings are increasing.

What can you do to protect your pet?

• Do not feed coyotes

• Supervise your pets when they are outdoors

• Consider closing off your dog door, especially if you have a small dog

• Coyotes jump over fences, even an 8 foot fence is no detriment to a coyote

• Keep pet food and water indoors

• Keep lids on garbage cans

• Remove fallen fruit from trees

• Trim ground-level shrubbery to avoid hiding places

• Walk dogs on a short leash, keeping them close at your side

• Keep cats indoors

If a coyote approaches or acts aggressively, make noise, look big and pick up small children and pets. Do not turn your back to a coyote, just back away from it slowly.

Keep your Lovebugs safe!


6 Must Haves For Your New Puppy

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Bringing a new puppy home is fun and exciting but if you want a well behaved puppy that doesn’t pee on your rug, chew your shoes and bark all night, you need to have these 6 must have's on hand. Neglecting to plan ahead can create bad habits that take a long time to reprogram, so go shopping before the puppy comes home.

Here is what you need.


1. Crate
The crate has many purposes and can be used throughout your dog’s life. When a puppy is young, 8 weeks – 20 months, the crate is the best place for him to sleep at night. This prevents the puppy from peeing on the rug in the middle of the night while you sleep.  You will need to let your puppy out to eliminate in the middle of the night until he can hold it the entire night. Note:  The crate is not for discipline or used to punish a dog, in fact the puppy should love his crate.

2. X-pen
An ex-pen is similar to a playpen for babies.  An ex-pen is a safe place for the puppy when he can’t be supervised. The ex-pen can be moved but needs to be in a room where the family relaxes. Water, toys and a stuffed Kong inside the pen can keep the puppy entertained. It can also be used when the puppy is home alone by giving the puppy room to walk around, play and sleep.

3. Chew Toys
When puppies are born they cannot see, hear or walk, the only thing they can do is use their mouth.  Appropriate chew toys must be provided to keep the puppy from chewing on the furniture. Bully sticks and stuffed Kong’s kept my puppy entertained and stimulated. When she was done with them she took long naps (chewing and licking is exhausting).

6NeedsforPuppy kongs
4. Interactive Toys
Dogs were designed to hunt for their food, not eat it out of a bowl. Providing toys that dispense food and using them during feeding time not only simulates hunting, but provides mental stimulation that will tire your puppy out.

5. Collar, Harness and Leash
A collar and tags are the best way to find a lost puppy. No one plans to have a puppy dart out the front door, but being prepared is the best step. Dogs and puppies should be walked on a harness. A harness prevents medical issues such as a collapsed trachea and back problems that show up later in life. Start with an inexpensive harness until you pup is full-grown. Not all harnesses are created equal, so do your homework or email us for our favorite.

6. Quality Food
Dog food is a topic all on it’s own, but the best thing to do is read the ingredient label on the food. If there are too many ingredients you can’t pronounce then pass it up. Things such as, chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, peas, carrots, rice, should be the first ingredients. Foods with a lot of grain can create a hyper puppy so do your homework before you choose a food.



LovebugsRescue Featured Pet: Tiffi


Breed: Poodle
Gender: Female
Age Est: 5 1/2 years
Weight: 12 lbs

Fun-loving, fluffy gal, seeks a home for the holidays.

You could never tell by looking at her sweet face, but Tiffi, is suffering from a broken heart. Not only did Tiffi lose her home when her owner passed away, but she also has a heart defect that causes her to have a hard time catching her breath when she gets excited. Tiffi’s condition cannot be surgically repaired but it is very well managed with medication. Aside from not going on long walks, there are very few things that Tiffi cannot do. She is a master snuggler, eats like a champ, is sometimes silly and playful, and she has a special soft spot for the gentlemen in her life.

Tiffi is an amazing companion with lots of love to share. We have no doubt that her special person is out there somewhere. Please consider being Tiffi's hero and make this holiday season one to remember by giving her the comfort of knowing she has someone she can count on to love and cherish her.

If you are interested in adopting or fostering Tiffi, please click here for an application.


Visitors to the house


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The food has been prepared, the decorations have been hung and your Christmas dress is ready, but is there something you’re missing? Forgetting to teach Fido his party manners can turn any well behaved dog into a jumping, food stealing barking monster. So how do you fit dog training into your already busy schedule of shopping, cooking and decorating? You don’t have to.

Below are three different plans that require little or no training, just pick a plan and execute. 

Plan 1
Keep Fido on leash before guests arrive so that you can prevent him from jumping on people. 

  • Ask Fido to sit when guests arrive and reward him for sitting
  • If Fido is too excited to sit, reward him for keeping all four paws on the floor. (If there are two paws on the floor then the other two paws are on a human, so drop food on the group when Fido has all four paws down).
  • Reward frequently so Fido does not have an opportunity to jump
  • Guests can give Fido a treat to help reinforce sitting or for keeping all four paws on the floor

Plan 2
Keep Fido behind a baby gate, in his crate or in another room when company arrives

  • Fido can’t jump on your guests or steal food if he can’t get to it
  • Let Fido out to mingle when he is calm and when your guests arrive
  • If you’re excited when you guests arrive, chances are Fido will get excited as well. It’s hard for Fido to be calm when there is so much excitement so putting him in his crate will prevent jumping
  • Removing a shy or fearful dog from all the action will help him feel comfortable - using a crate, ex-pen or gate is not punishment. It’s smart. Not every dog wants to be the center of attention

Plan 3
Give Fido something to do when guests arrive and/or during dinner

  • Giving Fido a stuffed Kong or Bully stick will keep him occupied when guests arrive
  • He can’t jump on Grandma if he is busy licking the yummy stuffing out of a Kong
  • Building a Kong addiction ahead of time will ensure he will enjoy his Kong enough to ignore the doorbell
  • Stuffing the Kong with cream cheese, mashed potatoes or a novel creamy food keep him stuck to his Kong like glue
  • Keep Fido busy longer by freezing the stuffed Kong (dog trainer favorite)

* Note:  Grapes, raisins and chocolate are dangerous for dogs. Contact your veterinarian for a complete list of list of toxic foods for dogs. 

Wonder what dog trainers do with their dogs?

My dog trainer friends usually combine plan 1 and plan 2.  I keep frozen goodies in my freezer so I can quickly grab one and stuff them into the Kong when guest arrive.

Most important

Holidays are a great time to connect and visit with family and friends, Fido included. Be patient and keep in mind that your dog doesn’t know it’s rude to say hello by jumping on you and your guests. It’s your job to teach Fido what you want or manage his environment so he doesn’t learn a bad habit. 

Sherry Nativo, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP is a certified profession dog trainer. She is the owner of All About Training Dogs in Orange County, CA. Visit for more information. 

5 Year Anniversary Celebration



For information about booking a 20 minute “Ask the Trainer” session,
please click here to download.

If you’re unable to attend but would 
like to donate, please click here.

Sponsored By:
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Hello Spring

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Adopt a Lovebug today!

To view our adoptable pets, please click here.

Is your microchip registered?


If you have adopted a Lovebug, please make sure your microchip is registered and up to date. The first step is to have your dogs microchipped scanned by your vet. Verify that the chip number scanned matches the chip number on the adoption paperwork in your adoption folder. Lovebugs Rescue registers ALL AVID microchips for the life of your pet. If you have an AVID chip, please call them at:1.800.336.2843 and make sure your chip is registered with the correct information. If your dog has a Home Again chip, or other type of chip, please contact the microchip company directly to register the chip.

While microchips are a great back up, please make sure your dog is wearing an ID tag with your current phone number on it. If your dog should get lost, that is the quickest way your dog can be reunited with you!

What is a microchip?
A microchip implant is a small identifying integrated circuit that is about the size of a large grain of rice. It is injected by syringe under the skin of the animal, usually in the back between the shoulder blades for dogs and cats. Microchips can be implanted by a veterinarian or at a shelter.

Why is it important my chip is registered?

Unfortunately, there is no universal database that exists for microchip registration. There are various microchip implant companies that each have their own database for registered microchips. The majority of our Lovebugs are implanted with an AVID microchip. The microchip is only activated when scanned; it does not track the animal. So if a dog is lost, it must be taken to a vet to be checked for the presence of a microchip and once scanned the person that is listed under the microchip can be contacted and the dog can be returned to its owner. If you adopt a dog with a pre-existing chip, owners need to contact the company to make sure the microchip is registered under their contact instead of the previous owners.


MAX: A Story of Hope


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Max started his life as a very young Lovebugs puppy. At around 8 weeks old his new family found him and took him home to live happily every after. Max was so happy when he found out that he had four humans (mom, dad and two kids) and another dog to love, play and share his life with. He was truly a loved member of the family. A few years went by and things seemed to be going well when Max’s mom’s work scheduled changed from part-time to full-time. Soon the family started to notice some changes in Max.

At first the changes were small, he would bark when everyone left the house, tear apart a pillow and sometimes he would urinating inside the house. The family decided to use the crate to help him settle when they weren’t home.

Things became worse and Max would break out of the crate. Once free in the house, he would become destructive and chew apart the couch, the dining room table or any item he could find. As time went on the family began to get anxious when they would come home dreading what they might find that Max tore apart while they were gone. They decided to keep Max in the crate when he was home alone. Max began to refuse to go into his crate and when he was forced in he would become stressed, bite and bend the bars of the crate and spending all of his time barking and trying to break out.


At almost 4 years old Max’s anxiety had completely overwhelmed the family. Stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated and at the end of their rope the family contacted Lovebugs for help. They were considering surrendering Max because they thought they had no other option. Lovebugs recommended they contact Sherry with All About Training Dogs for help. When Sherry, a professional dog trainer, asked the family to describe Max they said he was loving, but wild and out of control. Sherry went to their home, explained that everyone would have to help and walked them through several training exercises.


Article-Max2 After a few training lessons the family was excited, relieved and prepared to help Max relax with positive reinforcement training. Max no longer becomes anxious when they leave and he voluntarily goes into his crate. Now, the family describes Max as “an amazing little dog.”

All About Training Dogs
 has helped several dogs and dog owners using positive reinforcement techniques (exclusively). Raising a happy, healthy and confident dog starts the day you bring your dog home. Prevent behavior problems before they start or get help with your dog by contacting All About Training Dogs. Check out their group classes or schedule a private training today!


Quincy 500 

We pulled Quincy off the euthanasia list last week from the shelter. This darling boy was diagnosed with a significant heart murmur (5 out of 6 per the shelter notes). We took him to the cardiologist for a more detailed work up and it turns out that Quincy has a birth defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA). For those of you who were familiar with Whisper, this is the same thing she had.  

The good news is, we can have this fixed surgically! The bad news is, it's costly - between $4,000 to $5,000. Quincy has been having fainting spells in his foster home, so we need to get him into surgery asap! The success rate on this surgery is very high, and we think Quincy deserves a chance to live out a full life.

Please take a moment to donate and share this post so we can help this little guy out. You can make donation via our website at:  Please reference QUINCY  
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