Lovebugs Blog

How to stop your dog from chewing furniture



Why dogs chew
Biologists tell us chewing is all about toning jaw muscles. Dogs no longer need to split bones and grind down marrow to survive, but the urge is hardwired into them. And into some more than others. Some dogs live to chew; others can take it or leave it. How often dogs chew and what they chew also fall under individual taste.

What is certain is that chewing is normal and healthy, not a behavior problem. But it can still be a regular problem—for you and your furniture.

It's not a phase
Puppies do chew more, yes. But chewing isn’t like teething in babies; it won’t peter out and eventually stop. All dogs chew some and some dogs chew a lot. Whether you have a puppy or a newly adopted grown dog, give him plenty of allowed things to chew right away to get him hooked on those instead of your shoes.

The things dogs chew
Edibles: Chew bones, pigs’ ears, bully sticks, greenies, raw hides, etc.
Non-Edibles: Tennis balls, nyla bones, Kongs (without food), etc.
Dissectible Things: Plush toys, rope toys, Hide-A-Bee (Squirrel, Bird) etc.
Puzzle Toys: Stuffed Kong, stuffed marrowbone, tricky treat balls, etc.

Experiment to find out what your dog prefers. Always have a mixed selection at hand and rotate different types of chewies to keep your dog interested.

Expert training tips:
Step 1. Prevent mistakes. When you can’t supervise, put your puppy or dog in an enclosed, dog-proofed area with a sanctioned chewie.

Step 2. Teach good chewing choices. Audition a range of chewies until you find the ones that most appeal to your dog. Dogs have texture preferences, so try to match what yours like. If he is attacking the couch pillows, try giving him plush toys. If he is eyeing the table leg, try a bone. Praise liberally when your dog chews something allowed.

Step 3. Interrupt mistakes. If your dog chews the wrong thing, interrupt and trade him for something he can chew on. Praise liberally when he does.

Step 4. Repeat if needed. If mistakes happen a lot, revisit step 1. Go back to using an enclosed, dog-proofed area until your dog is consistently making better chewing choices.



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This St. Patrick's Day...


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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!


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



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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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RECAP-Free Spay and Neuter Clinics a Success!


As part of giving back to the community, Lovebugs Rescue partnered with Lucy Pet Foundation and OC Animal Care to provide FREE spay and neuter clinics to 54 Orange County resident's pets. These clinics were 100% paid for by Lovebugs Rescue. Each registered animal became part of the pet overpopulation solution, which means less unplanned litters and less dogs being euthanized in the shelters.

A total of 54 dogs and cats had surgery, as well as all receiving a rabies vaccine and a registered microchip. The Lucy Pet Foundation mobile clinic was easy to spot in the OC Animal Care parking lot, alongside Lovebugs Rescue’s signature pink information booth. All animals had to register in advance due to pre-surgery requirements.

“After five years of rescuing countless stray animals off the street and in animal shelters, our team realized that adoption alone wasn't going to solve the problem,” states Lovebugs Rescue Founder Heather Peterson. “Our goals broadened to not only reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters every year, but to help reduce the numbers of pregnant animals and orphaned puppies and kittens coming into the shelters in the first place. Teaming with Lucy Pet Foundation’s Mobile Spay and Neuter Clinic is our first step in meeting our goals.”

The first event on May 19th booked up so quickly, Lovebugs Rescue added a second spay/neuter clinic on Friday, July 19, 2015. These events were also 100% funded by Lovebugs Rescue. If you'd like to donate towards future mobile spay/neuter clinics, please visit the Lovebugs Rescue donation page at:

We thank you for your continued support.

12 Dog Training Mistakes Owners Make – Part 1


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 12 Dog Training Mistakes Owners Make – Part 1

1. Keeping your new puppy indoors until they have had all of their shots. 

Early positive exposures (socialization) between the ages of 8 – 12 weeks is what the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, a large group of veterinarians, behaviorists and researchers, recommends. Why are those early months so important? The first three months are the most important time to socialize your puppy because sociability far outweighs fear. Puppies should have as many positive exposures to people, places, sounds as can safely be done. Incomplete and improper socialization during this age can increase the development of aggression, fear and anxiety as an adult. Having a well-behaved adult dog starts the first day your dog comes home. 

Read more by clicking here. (

2. Too much time in a crate.
Dogs are denning animals and can stay in their crate all day, right? Wrong, a dog should never be kept in a crate longer than four hours at a time, except when sleeping at night. Keeping a dog in a crate all day creates hyperactivity and can lead to frustration and aggression. If you need to leave your dog all day while you are at work, block off an area for them, ie. kitchen, laundry room or use an exercise pen. Hiring a dog walker to come walk them is also a great idea. Adding some mental stimulation can help as well (read 6 below).

3. Using the wrong equipment.

Choke chains, pinch collars and shock collar do exactly what they say – choke the dog by cutting off his air supply, pinch his neck until it hurts and deliver an electric shock to the dogs throat. Making these kinds of training mistakes can not only cause physical harm such as blindness, trachea damage and death but they can, and often do cause behavior damage. Build a solid bond with your best friend by teaching them what you want instead. Using a front click harness can help with a dog that pulls on the walk. Hiring a good positive reinforcement dog trainer can help teach you the basics and get you started on the right paw. Read what educated veterinarians say about using the wrong equipment “AVSAB’s position is that punishment (e.g. choke chains, pinch collars, and electronic collars) should not be used as a first-line or early-treatment for behavior problems. This is due to the potential adverse effects which include but are not limited to: inhibition of learning, increased fear-related and aggressive behaviors, and injury to animals and people interactive with animals.” 

Click here for more information from the AVSAB. ( 

Using a front click harness can help with pulling during the walk and finding a positive reinforcement dog trainer or class can teach your dog manners.



4. Not enough time walking.

One of the joys of having a dog is that you will never walk alone. Taking a walk with your dog twice a day for at least 30 minutes can reduce barking, chewing, hyperactivity and eliminating in the house (and those are only the benefits for the dog). A walk is great physical exercise but your dog will also get environmental enrichments in the form of sights, sounds and sniffs! The more sniffing your dog does, the more fatigued he will be so let the sniffing begin. And if you really want a tire dog, walk him in a new place, neighborhood or direction. The new sites, sounds and smells will exhaust him. Home Depot and Lowe’s have some great environmental enrichment so take your dog with you when you go.


5. Poor leadership.

Pop culture wants us to believe that dogs are trying to dominate us for leadership and we need to show them we are the “alpha.” But decide which type of “pack leader” will be more effective, a dictator or someone that influences behavior. Leadership expert Steven Covey explains that in order to be a good leader you must first seek to understand. Dogs behave in a way that benefit them, in other words they do what works (humans do this too). If your dog investigates the counter top because it smells good up there and he finds and eats a tasty ham sandwich, then you can bet he will be checking the counter tops more often. Once you understand the simple principals of how dogs learn then you can solve any problem. Being a knowledgeable benevolent leader is the most effective way to lead.

6. Not enough enrichment and mental stimulation.

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, treat ball or interactive toy. 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!

The best toys have a purpose. They deliver food, present a challenge, squeak, or make themselves interesting in some other way. Some classics to consider: Rope toys, plush toys (with or without squeakers), Hide-A-Bee (Squirrel, Bird), tricky treat balls, soft rubber toys (vinyl), and hard rubber toys like Kongs and bully sticks.

Sherry Nativo, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, is a professional dog trainer and owner of All About Training Dogs. Visit or email questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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