Homemade Paw Print Holiday Ornament Keepsake: Makes A Great Gift!

homemade paw print clay ornamentWhen you receive a homemade gift, it’s something you’ll treasure for generations. And is there anything more special than a homemade present? It can be so hard to think of things to buy for the people you love during the holidays, and the pressure of Christmas shopping makes it that much tougher. Getting creative with homemade presents can be so much better because family and friends will cherish a handmade gift for decades. When they unpack the gift from storage, it brings back a memory that comes alive again every year like it was just yesterday.

Most households have a cat, dog, or pet of some kind. And we can all agree that our pets more than a just a pet, they’re family! Keepsakes of our pets are so special, and the paw print is an imprint of a moment in time that we should all be so lucky to document and cherish for years. I can’t wait to give my family members the priceless gift of holding their pet’s paw close to their heart forever with a paw print ornament!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Cup Water

You can add food coloring to this mixture if you want your dough to be colorful! I chose to keep mine white and paint it later. 

Step 1: Mix Your Ingredients On The Stove

homemade paw print christmas ornamentThis recipe is truly so easy and quick: just plop the cornstarch, baking soda, and water into a pot on the stove! Stir the mixture over medium heat until the consistency begins to resemble mashed potatoes.

homemade paw print christmas ornamentIt will only take a couple of minutes before it begins to thicken. It should be fluffy and thoroughly mixed together with very little moisture left.

homemade paw print christmas ornamentOnce it resembles creamy mashed potatoes, remove from heat. 

homemade paw print christmas ornamentStep 2: Let The Dough Cool

homemade paw print christmas ornamentSpoon your ball of dough out of the pot and cover it with a damp cloth to cool. I used a wet paper towel and completely covered the dough with it. 

homemade paw print christmas ornament

Step 3: Kneed and Roll The Dough

Once the dough has cooled, kneed it with your hands onto a smooth surface – I used my counter top. The dough will be extremely easy to work with and have a consistency similar to fondant.

homemade paw print christmas ornamentIt has a wonderful smooth texture that rolls out like porcelain which makes it fun for young children to work with, too!

homemade paw print christmas ornamentRoll the dough with a rolling pin to get a smooth, even surface. 

homemade paw print christmas ornamentYou should roll it as thick as you need for the size of your dog’s paw. Bigger dogs will require a deeper paw print, so you will need a thicker dough – approximately 1/4-1/2″ thick. Smaller dogs won’t require such a deep paw print, so you may only need 1/4″ or less thickness. 

Step 4: Cut Your Dough Into The Shape You Desire 

I wanted a round ornament to press my dogs’ paw prints into, so I used the rim of drinking glasses and pressed them down into the dough to get a perfect round shape.

homemade paw print christmas ornamentYou may also have cookie cutters that will get the job done, too. I needed to use a larger drinking glass for Jem’s paw print and a smaller glass for Zoey’s little paw. 

Don’t forget to use a straw, chop stick, or some kind of round pin to poke a hole for hanging from the tree with a string.

homemade paw print christmas ornamentI used a chop stick and wriggled it until I got a round hole big enough for the string I plan to use. 

Step 5: Press The Paw! 

Now for the fun, and possibly more challenging part of the process.

I let the dogs sniff and investigate the dough so they weren't as scared of it.

I let the dogs sniff and investigate the dough so they weren’t as scared of it.

Jem stretched her paws out nice and big to make sure her paws were going to fit!

Jem stretched her paws out nice and big to make sure her paws were going to fit!

Zoey’s paw print couldn’t be easier. She’s so laid back that she let me press her paw into the dough with no objection and was patient while I made sure I got ever pad pressed into the clay.

Zoey proudly looking at her paw print!

Zoey proudly looking at her paw print!

Jem on the other hand… hates her paws touched at all, so she was a little more challenging. The first couple tries were a fail because she pulled her paw away from me just as I pressed it down, and all we got was mush! It was easy to roll the dough flat again, and I kept trying until I got the paw print I wanted (3rd time was a charm!) If your dog objects at first, just be calm and patient with her. Eventually with enough tries you’ll get the paw print you want, even if you have to do it while she’s napping! 

Step 6: Bake The Clay

Depending on the thickness of your clay, you may need to bake for more or less time than I did. I baked mine at 175 degrees for 1 hour, then flipped them onto their other side and baked for another hour. 

Step 7: Decorate Your Finished Ornament! 

I wanted to keep mine simple and elegant, so I kept the naturally white color of the clay (it even has a little shimmer to it!), and I just painted the paw print with a sparkly red gel paint pen.

IMG_7386I also added sparkly twine as my string to hang it from the tree. The traditional Christmas plaid bow was just what I wanted to give it that sophisticated, classic, timeless Christmas look to hang from our tree for decades to come!

Is There A Better Christmas Present?

These ornaments are so special to me not only because of the memory I have of making them with Zoey and Jem, but also because it’s something I’ll always have to cherish this memory and all of the others I have with my sweet girls. Once my family and friends saw the ornaments, they immediately asked me to make them for their dogs! That’s how I know for sure this is going to be a hit with everyone this Christmas and make the perfect gift. Zoey and Jem’s grandparents will also be receiving Jem and Zoey paw prints for their trees to honor their grand-dogters! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

(Storing Unused Dough)

If you can’t use all of your dough in one day, that’s okay! You can store it in the refrigerator for awhile until you have time to make more. Store it in a zip lock bag. It will warm up when you kneed it with your hands. If it’s too sticky, just add a little more corn starch until it’s back to its smooth consistency. 

Our Rescue Dog’s Priceless Lessons on Life

Buddy the rescue dog from RadioFence.com pet products

Every dog gives unconditional love, but a rescue dog loves in a way that says ‘I am so grateful just to be alive. And I will spend the rest of my life showing my appreciation for this gift you’ve given me.’ buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.com pet productsThe spirit of our rescue dog Buddy is one that is felt by all who meet him. It only takes a minute of knowing Buddy to feel how happy, pure-hearted, and grateful he is. I’ve never met a dog that is so gentle, loving, and makes such a huge impact on all who spend time with him. He’s such a lover!

We knew we were lucky when we found Buddy on the side of the road and welcomed him into our family, but we could have never predicted the impact he as made on our family. 

One of my favorite quotes is “LOVE is a four-legged word.” Get it? Instead of ‘four-letter’ :) And defining “love” is something that is so hard to do; you just feel it! And that’s how Buddy makes people feel – a way that is too good to put into words. He’s just the purest example of kindness.

The life that we have given Buddy after his tumultuous start in life is one that we are so happy to share with him. Knowing that such an amazing dog now gets to spend his days going on his favorite adventures with our family makes me so happy. Such an amazing dog deserves so much love! And he’ll have it for the rest of his life. 

As much as we rescued him, he has rescued our family. He really reminds us to slow down, take breaks, and to enjoy the simple things like a walk through the woods… buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comAn evening boat ride on the lake…

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.com Or sitting on the back porch with a cup of coffee in the morning…

radiofence.com pet products buddy the rescue dogBuddy has the type of soul that makes doing absolutely nothing feel like you’re having the best day. His happiness is so contagious! And just being around him is like medicine for the soul. 

Buddy’s Daily Life In South Carolina: What A Lucky Dog!

My parents spend the summer in South Carolina, as you read in last week’s post. Buddy is so lucky to spend his days hiking the 100 acre property, taking a dip in the lake and river streams, and going for car rides through the scenic back roads. 

Buddy loves being outside and going for car rides more than anything. That’s is probably why he jumped into my car the day I found him! He’ll spend all day outside exploring, and we love that we don’t have to worry about him running off because of his underground fence. 

He gets to explore the 100 acres at least once a day, and always lets us know when he’s ready by jumping up into the truck to say “let’s go!” 

Buddy The Rescue Dog From RadioFence.com Pet ProductsHe’s so cute on car rides, because he’ll put his paws on the center console and stick his head as close to the windshield as he can. I think he believes he’s riding on some kind of magical roller coaster ride! And of course his tail never stops wagging the whole way.

radiofence.com buddy the rescue dogOn our way to the property, we put his tracking collar on so he can roam through the acreage without us worrying where he is. 

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comThis product is absolutely priceless to our family. Buddy can run free and explore like he was born to do, and we can leisurely walk the property with him and never worry when he gets out of our sight. I can’t imagine keeping him on a leash and restricting him from all of his adventures!

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.com pet productsWe can easily see how many yards away Buddy is from us, what direction he’s traveling in, and the course he’s taken from start to finish. Where we are located is shown by the black triangle, and his location is the red. We can even give him a “tone” which makes a beeping noise on his collar. We use the tone to tell him we’re ready for him to come back to us, and we can see him running back immediately after giving him the tone. Buddy could be 10 miles away and we would still know exactly where he is with the collar we have. I can’t explain how amazing it is to have this peace of mind and give Buddy the freedom that he couldn’t have otherwise! 

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.com pet productsOnce buddy jumps out of the truck, he can’t wait to hit the trails!

radiofence.com buddy the rescue dogWe will either walk to get some exercise, or we’ll get in the 4-wheeler and follow Buddy to keep up with him. He loves to run and show us around!

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.com He has a favorite stream in the woods that he always takes a break and cools off in. His tracking collar is waterproof, thankfully!

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comBuddy taught Laci how to swim, too!

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comNo trip to the property would be complete without taking in a view of the lake…

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comAnyone want to join me for a swim?!

buddy from radiofence.com Buddy spotted a deer to chase! 

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comBuddy has a new adventure every day when he explores the property. He’s had multiple encounters chasing deer, turkeys, bunnies, squirrels, etc. One of the deer he met even acted like she wanted to play with him for a few minutes until he got nervous and went back to the truck. He soft-mouthed a baby bunny and gently laid her down at my mom’s feet. She picked the bunny up and told buddy “take me to the bunny nest, Buddy. Where are the bunnies?” He jogged a few feet ahead on the trail and barked at a tree to show my mom where the nest was so she could return the bunny. He never stops surprising us and showing us what a kind soul he has. 

He’s always so sleepy after his run… time to go home and take a snooze! It’s great having our car seat cover so Buddy has a comfy place to relax after a long run, and we don’t have to worry about the seats getting all wet and dirty. 

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comWe owe so many of our great memories on the property to you, Buddy! And we’re so happy to give you the life we think you’ve always been destined to have. 

buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comA picture says 1000 words, but that’s still not enough to explain what an amazing dog Buddy is. His life is so rich with adventure, hiking, running, swimming, and playing with our family. Our lives are so rich as well with love, appreciation, and the best example of how to free your soul of stress and negativity. All because of a four-legged angel that came into our lives so unexpectedly. We love you, Buddy!

 

A Personal Look Into Our Family and The Dogs Of RadioFence.com

radiofence.com family and dogs

Our family is so grateful for your loyalty each week as you read our blog and open our emails. Your comments and feedback have been so uplifting and motivating for me to keep writing each week!

I love writing tips and how-to’s from the perspective of our dogs’ lives and incorporating them into each story I tell. Getting to spend my work days with my four-legged best friends is a dream job! But I’ve been wondering with each post I write… are my readers curious about who the dogs are in the posts, what the relationships are in the family, and do our fans realize that we are a family owned and operated business? This inspired me to give you a personal behind the scenes look into the lives of our wonderful dogs and the family business dynamic that we are so thankful for. 

Maybe you’ve been thinking… where is ‘Buddy The Rescue Dog’? Why hasn’t he been in the weekly articles since he joined the family after his incredible and inspiring journey? These are all questions I’m looking forward to answering, and I hope you ask more questions that I haven’t thought to answer! 

Our RadioFence.com Family: Our Roots

radiofence.com the volwiler family The name behind the person who writes these posts each week is Kelsey – and that’s me! I joined the family business a little over a year ago, and I love learning from two of the hardest working people I know – my parents – Larry and Lori. They started RadioFence.com in their basement in Michigan 25 years ago after purchasing an underground fence for their first dog, Duchess the Dalmatian.

Duchess the Dalmatian from RadioFence.com

Duchess loved to be outside until she wore herself out, and the underground fence gave her that freedom

 The underground fence improved Duchess’ quality of life, happiness, and personality so much that my mom, Lori, felt compelled to share such an amazing product with the world. A product she believed in with all of her heart. 

Duchess the Dalmatian from RadioFence.com Duchess was the dog that welcomed me home from the hospital as a baby and played with me in the backyard through the seasons in Michigan.

Duchess the Dalmatian from RadioFence.comShe was a ball of energy, and she needed to run free without running away. Without the underground fence, we wouldn’t have all the memories of days spent in the back yard or on the porch playing.

Duchess the Dalmatian from RadioFence.comShe could run and play outside until her heart was content. And when she came inside to spend time with the family she was the relaxed, cuddly dog that all of us loved. Our family is so grateful for those memories and the many years of business that we can thank Duchess for.

Our RadioFence.com Family: The Stems

radiofence.com the volwiler family The dogs that you see most often in the blog posts are Zoey and Jem (who my fiance Joey and I have raised), and Laci who my sister Carly belongs to. We all three live in the same small town in SW Florida, so we get to spend a lot of quality time together. Laci has a ton of energy and a curious heart, so I love including her in as many posts as I can with Zoey and Jem.

Jem, Laci, and Zoey love spending time together - but they're excited for Buddy to come back!

Jem, Laci, and Zoey love spending time together – but they’re excited for Buddy to come back!

My parents are in the process of becoming “snow birds” in the non-traditional sense of the word because they are not retired. We are blessed that our online business allows us to work from anywhere that there is internet access, so they beat the heat in Florida and spend their summers in South Carolina.

And I bet you already guessed it… Buddy has been spending his summer in South Carolina too! And he is having an absolutely outstanding time exploring the trails through the mountains and hills with my parents. They’re worried he won’t want to come back to Florida!buddy the rescue dog from radiofence.comJoey and I get to fly up to South Carolina for a visit today, and I can’t wait to see Buddy! I’m planning to take lots of pictures on our trip and have all of the updates for you on how Buddy’s amazing rescue has brought him the most incredible life. 

The opportunity to work alongside my parents at our family business has been the greatest blessing I could have hoped for. Learning from the two people that I look up to the most and aspire to take after is something I am very grateful for. I’m  proud that we are a family business from our roots to our branches, and I can’t imagine working in any other environment or spending my days without my amazing pups! 

Do you have any questions about our family, our business, or our dogs? I’d love to answer! Like a big puppy that grows to reach the kitchen counter for the first time, nothing is off-limits.

Help Your Dog Love Bath Time in 3 Easy Steps!

Train Dog To Like BathsSome dogs love the water whether it’s jumping after a stick into the lake on a hot day, jumping in the waves at the beach, or leaping into the pool to swim with the family. Other dogs are not so thrilled at the idea of getting soaking wet, feeling the pressure and hearing the noise of rushing water, or fearing that they’re trapped inside a big tub with no escape. Our dog Jem is one of those dogs that absolutely freaks out at the sign of water, so bath time has always been a chore to say the least. 

If your dog is one of those that absolutely hates bath time, fights and scratches to avoid it, and thrashes water all over the house in protest, don’t worry – there’s hope! Every dog wants to hear those two magic words: “good dog!” They love to be obedient, feel comfortable, and make their parents proud. It just takes a little bit of training on our end to get them to that point. 

Luckily there are tried and true methods for training your dog to love bath time and feel comfortable. It only takes a few 3-5 minute training sessions!

Step 1: Practice Being In The Tub

For some dogs, the act of standing in the tub is intimidating enough, nevermind having the water rushing out of the faucet and getting soaking wet.. The slippery texture and surrounding walls are unfamiliar and scary for some. If you practice having your dog just hang out in the tub to start with, this will give her a chance to get used to the environment. 

"Peanut Butter Kong?! Count Me In!"

“Peanut Butter Kong?! Count Me In!”

Putting down an inexpensive bath mat can make all of the difference in the world for your dog. This will make it so the tub isn’t slippery and gives your pup a stable place to stand. Sometimes the slipperiness is one of the most intimidating parts of bath time and can be resolved easily with this simple trick. 

I bought a bath mat for $5.00 that didn’t have too much texture. I didn’t want any of the “massaging” ones that would feel weird on her sensitive paws. 

Step 2: Associate The Tub With A Tasty Treat

The fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The same is true for your dog! If your dog associates being in the bath tub with having his favorite treat, then he is sure to look forward to bath time! It’s best to choose a treat that will last awhile and require your dog to do some work.

Peanut butter solves everything!

Peanut butter solves everything!

A bone or peanut butter-stuffed Kong works great! I let Jem sniff her Kong before introducing her to the bath time to catch her attention. I placed the Kong in the tub, and she practically jumped in by herself to get to it. I placed her in t he tub, and once Jem got busy working on her Kong her anxiety about being in the tub slipped away within a few minutes. While your dog relaxes and works on the treat, gently and calmly brush her so she associates getting cleaned/groomed as a positive experience. 

A peanut butter Kong and a back massage?! Heavenly!

A peanut butter Kong and a back massage?! Heavenly!

 Repeat this process until she becomes calm, relaxed, and comfortable with the experience of being in the bath tub. Her anxiety will subside as long as you take things slow and practice this process on several separate occasions until she shows signs that she is comfortable.

Time to search the house for more peanut butter Kongs!

Time to search the house for more peanut butter Kong’s!

Jem became comfortable being in the tub and wanted to stay in during this part of the training until her Kong was out of peanut butter, and then she was on to the next adventure! She jumped out of the tub which I was happy about. If I can get her used to jumping in and out by herself, then she can feel like she’s more in control and relaxed. She did so great after only her first session! I was thrilled that such a simple trick made all of the difference in the world for her. And on our first try!

Step 3: Gradually Introduce Water

Rather than turning the faucet on and drenching your pup from the get-go, which can be intimidating, have a container of warm water ready to gently and slowly pour onto the floor of the tub. And before you have your dog get in the tub, wet the bottom of the tub so she can get used to the floor being wet and a little more slick. 

Pouring water indirectly onto the bottom of the tub is non-threatening

Pouring water indirectly onto the bottom of the tub is non-threatening

 Introducing the water slowly will make your dog feel like she is still in control of her emotions without shocking her with too much too fast. I poured a little bit of water next to Jem slowly and pulled back when she showed signs of fear. When she looked like she wanted to jump out of the tub, I would pause and let her step back into the comfort zone of chewing her Kong. She slowly felt comfortable with me pouring more and more water close to her. She even let me pour it on her foot and the Kong!

Jem quickly became comfortable with more water poured next to her

Jem quickly became comfortable with more water poured next to her

A running faucet can bother some dogs because the sound affects their ears. Repeat this process of introducing water and increase the length of time spent in the tub until your pup feels comfortable having the water poured onto her side, back, or feet. You can gradually introduce more water until you’ve moved on to having a full bath from start to finish. 

Jem went from a skittish, and scared pup to a dog that loves baths!

Jem went from a skittish, and scared pup to a dog that loves baths!

I was honestly surprised at how well these training techniques worked with Jem. She’s by far our most skittish, nervous, and fearful dog when it comes to water. The trick was to take the training slowly and trust her to show me how quickly she wanted to progress through the training steps. It required me to be patient and confident that she would learn to love bath time at her own pace. I remained calm and positive while giving her positive reinforcement and words of encouragement every step of the way. If Jem the “scaredy-cat” can learn to love bath time, I believe any dog can!

Does your dog love or hate bath time? And do you know any tricks to make the process more enjoyable for both pups and pup-parents?

These training techniques were adapted from PetFinder.com

Quick & Easy No-Bake Dog Treats

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.comHomemade dog treats are awesome for so many reasons! Our dogs prefer them, they’re cheaper than store-bought, they’re healthier than the mystery-meat treats on the shelves, and you can make most of the recipes in less time than it takes to drive to the store. 

When I found these no-bake treats on “Jo and Sue’s” blog, I was really excited to give them a try because they sounded so easy and simple to make. Not to mention there’s only a  few ingredients in them that we always have on hand, so if I’m ever in a bind and need a quick treat for the pups I can whip these up in no time! 

Ingredients:

  • Peanut butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Water
  • Oats

Step 1: Find Your Ingredients

DSC05321As you’ve read in my other posts, we use organic ingredients in our house. You can use regular or organic ingredients in your treats. All you need is peanut butter, cinnamon, water, and oats. But never forget the human foods that are poisonous to dogs.

Step 2: Combine Your Ingredients 

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine and stir the peanut butter, cinnamon, and water until combined.

  • 3/4 C peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C water

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.comSlowly add the oats to the mixture until they are thoroughly mixed in.

  • 1  1/4 C oats

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.com

Step 3: Create Ball-Shaped Treats

Once your ingredients are mixed together, scoop the mixture out of the bowl with a spoon and form ball shapes in the palm of your hand. The peanut butter will help the oats stick together once you form the balls.

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.comYou can make any sized balls you want depending on the size of your dog and her appetite. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet or plate to be chilled in the refrigerator. 

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.com

Step 4: Chill In Refrigerator 

Rather than baking these treats, they just need to be placed in the refrigerator before feeding them to your pup. You can even freeze them if you dog likes harder treats to chew on.

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.comYou can chill them for 1-3 hours depending on how anxious your dog is to try the tasty snack! 

No Bake Dog Treats from RadioFence.com

Step 5: Enjoy!

No Bake Dogs Treats from RadioFence.comThe best part of all – devour! Watching your dog enjoy treats that you made yourself is the most rewarding part of the whole process. It’s so worth the little bit of effort it took to make these!

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.comJem and Zoey both LOVED these!

No Bake Dog Treats From RadioFence.comIf I bought treats at the store for my dog, I can’t say that I would eat them with her. But we all tried these homemade treats and loved them just as much as the dogs did! 

Check out our dogs’ other favorite treat recipes:

Quick & Easy No-Bake Dog Treats
Yields 35
Yummy, simple, and healthy dog treats you can make in minutes - no baking required! Your dog is going to flip for these.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 C peanut butter
  2. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  3. 1/4 C water
  4. 1 1/4 C oats
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine and stir the peanut butter, cinnamon, and water until combined.
  2. Slowly add the oats to the mixture until they are thoroughly mixed
  3. Once your ingredients are mixed together, scoop the mixture out of the bowl with a spoon and create ball shapes. You can make any sized balls you want depending on the size of your dog and her appetite. Place the balls onto a cookie sheet or plate to be chilled in the refrigerator.
  4. Rather than baking these treats, they just need to be chilled in the refrigerator before feeding them to your pup. You can chill them for 1-3 hours depending on how anxious your dog is to try the tasty snack!
Notes
  1. We use all organic ingredients in our dog treats - but you can use any brand you like.
Adapted from Jo and Sue
Adapted from Jo and Sue
RadioFence.com Blog http://blog.radiofence.com/