Category Archives: Dog Walking

Leash Your Dog. It’s the Law for a Number of Very Good Reasons

Note: This isn’t my blog. This blog comes from a Trainer on Dogster.com. She makes Excellent Points

  
As a trainer, every day I see the negative consequences of dogs being off-leash when they shouldn’t.                    

By: Annie Phenix

Let me be blunt with you, dear reader. We have a big problem in the canine community, and it’s ruining dogsWe require leashes for valid reasons, No. 1 being safety for all concerned: safety not only for you and your dog but for all of the dogs and humans out and about.  There are leash laws in most cities – you can be fined for not using one in places that require it. And yet … some of you dog owners have decided that this crucial law does NOT apply to your dog.

  
I work with clients to make them better on-leash walkers. (Photo by Tica Clarke Photography)

I read the sad consequences caused by a dog being off-leash every single day on trainer forums. Many responsible owners are walking their dog-aggressive (reactive) dog on leash precisely to keep their dog from having to come face to face with YOUR off-leash dog. You can set such a dog’s training right back to square one if you let your dog greet their dog while off-leash.  This may be breaking news to some, but not all dogs want to say hi to every dog they see every day. Do you – as a verbal human – always want to say hi and hug everyone you see? I didn’t think so.  Also, here are just a few things that can happen to your roving un-leashed Rover:

He can be hit by a car.
He can jump on an elderly person and knock them over.

He can harass wildlife.

He can mow down children.

He can get in the face of every other dog out that day, some of whom will respond with aggression.

He can get in a dog fight that will frighten both dogs and will likely result in an expensive vet bill.

After you pay that vet bill, you may now be the owner of one of those dogs who cannot stand to have off-leash dogs in his face.

He can be shot, even in a city park (it’s happening in Colorado and other places).

He can eat something that may kill him.

  

Even my well-trained dogs, Radar and Echo, must abide by leash laws. (Photo by Tica Clarke Photography)

Yes, my dear dog owner, I understand that dogs DO enjoy and probably need a good run now and again. Just because that’s true, that does not make it okay for you to allow that to happen in a public location where leashes are the law. You are endangering your own dog and every other dog when you do this.

So what can you do to help your active dog out? Here are some solutions:

1). If your dog is truly people and dog friendly, take him to a fenced-in dog park. Most cities have them. Please do not take aggressive dogs there, however. It does no one any good, most especially dogs.

2). Work with a certified, force-free trainer to help your dog learn to walk nicely on a leash.

3). Once your dog is comfortable not pulling you across town on that leash, consider jogging or riding a bike with your leashed dog.

4). Consider learning a sport such as nose work that you can do in your own home and in all kinds of weather. It might be even more fun for your dog than a walk outside.

5). Smelling and sniffing for a dog is incredibly important, perhaps even more so than a good run. Take your dog on neighborhood sniffing walks where you allow your dog to sniff – on leash – whatever he wants to sniff.

6). Use mind puzzles at home to keep your dog mentally stimulated.

  

Leashes keep dogs safe and from being chased by other dogs (Photo by Annie Phenix)

In case I haven’t been clear enough, here is what I will leave you with:

For the love of Dog, do not be that person chasing after your unleashed dog as he gallops right into the face of someone’s leashed dog, calling out as you come panting up: “He’s friendly! He just wants to say hi!”

It is rude behavior, both in terms of canine behavior and human behavior. More than half of the dogs who end up in my reactive dog class are there because they have been confronted, scared, and sometimes physically hurt by on off-leash dog.

Leash. Your. Dog.

It is the law, and for very good reasons.
And yet … so many dog owners have decided that this crucial law does NOT apply to their dog. Why do those of you who allow your dog to run free in cities feel that your dog is above the law?
What do you think about this? Do you agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments.

Advertisements

A BIG THANK YOU!

image

This is is usually a time when pet sitting business slows down. But because of my wonderful loyal clients as well as new ones , We have already had a Busy 2015! Thank you for trusting Us! #petsitters #dogwalkers #hwhd

image

Walking Your Dog : It’s Important, Do It Well

Most dog breeds were developed with a specific purpose in mind, for example, sporting, working, herding and so forth. Consequently, whether your pet is a purebred or mixed breed, chances are he carries genetic traits that drive him to pursue an activity.

Many modern day dogs don’t get opportunities to do what their breed instincts tell them to do. In addition, it’s a rare dog that exercises on his own, and your backyard doesn’t provide the variety of sensory stimulation most dogs need to ward off boredom.

Dogs need walks for both exercise and mental stimulation.

According to Clinician’s Brief:

Generally, people walk their dog for 4 reasons: elimination, mental stimulation, exercise, and training. Dogs like to go for walks to get outdoors, sniff and engage with their environment, exercise, and perhaps socialize with people and dogs outside the home. There is no reason that a walk cannot encompass and meet all the needs of both humans and dogs. Because time is often at a premium, it is useful to help owners understand and find creative ways to meet these needs.

Why and how to walk your dog may seem like a ‘no brainer’ topic to many of you, but the fact is there are lots of pet owners who:

  • Don’t walk their dogs at all, or don’t do it routinely
  • Don’t make the most of the activity
  • Dread walks because their pet actually walks them, or exhibits other bad leash manners


Before You Head Out the Door

The best way to develop a positive dog walking habit is when your pet is a puppy.As soon as her immune system is strong enough to protect her from communicable disease (discuss when it’s safe to take your pup outside with your vet) , she’s ready for walks with you or other family members.She should already have her own secure-fitting collar or harness and ID tag, and sheshould be used to wearing it before you attempt to take her for walks. Some puppies have no problem wearing a collar; others do. If your dog is fighting it, as long as you’re sure it isn’t too tight (youshould be able to easily slip your fingers under it) or uncomfortable for some other reason, distract her from fussing with her collar until she gets used to it. It shouldn’t take more thana couple days for your pup to forget she’s even wearing it.Don’t try to take your pup for a walk if she protests wearing a collar. Get her used to wearing her collar first.If you plan to use a head halter or harness for walks (which I recommend for any dog at risk of injury from pulling against a collar/leash combination), the next step is to get your puppy comfortable wearing it. As with the collar, this needs to happen before you attempt to attach a leash and head out the door.Once wearing her collar and a halter or harness (if you choose) is second nature to your dog, you’re ready for the next step. Attach about four feet of light line — cotton awning cord or light cotton rope will do – and let your puppy drag it around the house with her under your watchful eye, of course. She’ll get used to it being attached, as well as the tug of it when she steps on it.Once your pup is used to the four-foot line, swap it for a 10 to 15 foot line of the same material, and head outdoors.

Starting Off on the Right Foot

Initial walks should be short for most puppies – the main goal is to get your dog used to being attached to you by a lead.

Find a safe environment. Allow puppy to drag the line behind him for a bit, then pick up the opposite end. Let him lead you around for a few seconds while you hold the line just off the ground. Slow down so he’s forced to slow down, ultimately to a stop. Take a short break for praise and a little playtime.

Next, let him trail the line again, but when you pick up your end this time, call him and stand still. If he pulls, hold your ground without pulling him in your direction. The goal is to teach him to put slack in the line himself by moving toward you. When he puts slack in the line, praise him and call him to you.

If he comes all the way to you, more praise and a training treat are in order. If he stops on his way to you, tighten the line just enough to apply a tiny bit of pull to it. Immediately call him to come again. Give praise as he moves toward you and treats when he comes all the way back.

Two or three repetitions is all many puppies need to understand lack of tension in the line is what earns praise and treats.

When your pup has learned to come towards you to relieve tension on the line, you can begin backing up as he’s coming towards you to keep him moving. 

Next, turn and walk forward so he’s following you. If he passes you, head in another direction so he’s again behind you.

The goal is to teach him to follow on a loose lead. Once you’ve accomplished the goal, you can continue to use the light line or replace it with a leash.

Depending on your pet’s temperament, five to 15 minute sessions are sufficient in the beginning. Practice controlling your dog on the lead for 30 second intervals during each session. Exercise patience and don’t engage in a battle of wills with your pup. Don’t snap, yank or otherwise use the line for correction or punishment. Stop before either of you gets frazzled or tired. 

After each short session on the lead, liberally praise your dog and spend a few minutes playing ball or some other game he enjoys. Remember — you’re building the foundation for an activity both you and your dog will enjoy and look forward to throughout her life.

Problem Pullers

Some puppies stubbornly fight the pressure of the line rather than create slack.

If your puppy freezes on a tight line or routinely pulls against it, my first recommendation is to use a halter or harness rather than a collar attached to the lead. Your dog can create serious neck and cervical disk problems by pulling on a collar/leash combination.

Next, make sure it’s not you creating the problem. Our human instinct is to hold the leash taught, so you must also train yourself to keep slack in the line. Your dog’s natural response to a tight line is to pull against it. 

Next do the following when your puppy refuses to create slack or move toward you:

  • Maintain the tension on the line and turn your back on her. Allow time for it to occur to her she can’t win by pulling against you.
  • Remain still with your back to her holding the tension in the line – don’t jerk the line, don’t pull or yank her toward you, and don’t put slack in the line yourself, which will teach her the way to get slack is to pull at the line.

The message you want to send your pup is pulling on the lead doesn’t accomplish a thing. It doesn’t change the scenery and it doesn’t earn praise or treats. Eventually, your puppy will stop doing what doesn’t work – especially when she is consistently rewarded for desirable behavior.

The very first second you begin leash training, make sure your puppy accomplishes nothing by pulling on her line. It takes some dogs longer than others to learn to keep the leash loose, but with patience and persistence, any puppy can learn to follow on a loose lead.

Different Types of Dog Walks

Once your dog has been taught good leash manners, I recommend you vary the purpose of your walks with him.

If your habit is to walk him to his potty spot to relieve himself, that’s a purposeful walk – usually of short duration.
Then there are mentally stimulating walks during which your pup is allowed to stop, sniff, investigate, mark a spot and so forth. Most dogs on a leash don’t spend as much time sniffing and investigating as off-leash dogs. (This is probably because leashed dogs sense their owners aren’t really into the same things they are!)
Allowing your pet some time to sniff around and investigate is good for him mentally. Dogs gain knowledge of the world through their noses. You can train your dog with commands to know when he’s out for a mental stimulation walk, a training walk or an exercise session.

Regular exercise is a necessity for your dog, the natural athlete. Regardless of his size, breed, gender or even his age, he needs physical activity in order to be a balanced, healthy animal. Exercise will keep his frame strong, his weight in the healthy range, and it can also help prevent or alleviate arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases.
Exercise consistency is really important. Dogs need exercise every three days, minimum, in order to maintain muscle tone and prevent muscle wasting. In my opinion, consistent daily aerobic exercise should be the goal. It’s important to elevate your pet’s heart rate for 20 minutes during exercise sessions. If your dog is out of shape, you’ll need to start slow and build gradually to 20 minutes per session.

Ongoing training throughout your dog’s life is a great way to keep his faculties sharp and boredom at bay. It’s also a wonderful way to strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
Training walks can be about improving leash manners, learning basic or advanced obedience commands, ongoing socialization – just about anything you can think of that can be done on a leashed walk.

Your dog depends on you for her quality of life. Walking her every day or at least several times each week – taking advantage of different types of walks to stimulate her mentally and physically – will help your canine companion be balanced, healthy and happy for a lifetime.

 

 

Choosing A Pet Sitter

 

image

Choosing a Pet Sitter

Pet sitters do much more than provide your pet with food and water while you’re away

Pet sitters do much more than provide a pet with food and water while their guardian is away from home.

A good pet sitter also spends quality time with the animal, gives him exercise and knows how to tell if he needs veterinary attention. What’s more, pet sitters typically offer additional services, such as taking in mail and newspapers and watering plants.
But just because someone calls herself a pet sitter doesn’t mean she’s qualified to do the job.

Why hire a pet sitter?

A pet sitter—a professional, qualified individual paid to care for your pet—offers both you and your pet many benefits.

Your pet gets:

The environment he knows best.
His regular diet and routine.
Relief from traveling to and staying in an unfamiliar place with other animals (such as a boarding kennel).
Attention while you’re away.

You get:

Happier friends and neighbors, who aren’t burdened with caring for your pet.
The peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional.
Someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so potential burglars don’t know you’re away.
Someone who will come to your home so you don’t have to drive your pet to a boarding kennel.
Other services provided by most pet sitters, such as plant watering and pet grooming.

Where do I find a pet sitter?

Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, humane society or dog trainer. Check online or in the Yellow Pages under “Pet Sitting Services.” You can also contact the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (856-439-0324) or Pet Sitters International (336-983-9222).

What should I look for?

It’s important to learn all you can about a prospective pet sitters’ qualifications and services. Before selecting a pet sitter, interview the candidates over the phone or at your home. Find out the following:
Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
What training has the pet sitter completed?
Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet—such as his likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
What will happen if the pet sitter experiences car trouble or becomes ill? Does she have a backup?
Will the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog walking, dog training and play time?
Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?
If the pet sitter provides live-in services, what are the specific times she agrees to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?
How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
Will the pet sitter provide you with the phone numbers of other clients who have agreed to serve as references?
Even if you like what you hear from the pet sitter and from her references, it’s important to have the prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your pet before actually hiring her for a pet-sitting job. Watch how she interacts with your pet—does your pet seem comfortable with the person? If this visit goes well, start by hiring the pet sitter to care for your pet during a short trip, such as a weekend excursion. That way, you can work out any problems before leaving your beloved pet in the pet sitter’s care for longer periods.

Helping the pet sitter and your pet

Of course, even the most trustworthy, experienced pet sitter will have trouble if you haven’t also kept your end of the bargain. Here are your responsibilities:
Make reservations with your pet sitter early, especially during holidays.
Ensure your pet is well socialized and allows strangers to handle him.
Affix current identification tags to your pet’s collar.
Maintain current vaccinations for your pet.
Leave clear instructions detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian.
Leave pet food and supplies in one place.
Buy extra pet supplies in case you’re away longer than planned.
Leave a key with a trustworthy neighbor as a backup, and give him and your pet sitter each other’s phone numbers. Be sure those extra keys work before giving them out.
Show the pet sitter your home’s important safety features such as the circuit breaker and security system.

Finally, have a safe and fun trip. And remember to bring your pet sitter’s phone number in case your plans change—or you just want to find out how Fluffy and Fido are doing.

Winter Boredom? Fun Exercises To Keep Your Dog Active & Fit During The Cold Season

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

2015/01/img_0577.jpg

I posted the picture above to represent the winter season. In reality, I live in the South but this picture symbolizes how we deal with the cold season. There are many pet parents like myself that feel guilty when our active life with our pets decreases. Our pets get lazy, a little overweight and bored. Well, I want to help all of us out of our runt. No matter what’s going on in any of our lives, let’s make sure one of our priorities is keeping our pets happy through vested activities.
The winter season puts our dogs at risk for many illnesses. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates over half of all dogs in the United States are overweight or obese and have an increased risk of injury, disease and shortened life expectancy. Yes FiFi looks cute and cozy in their pet beds or your bed but believe me having some exercise with their favorite person will make them come alive. It will also prolong their health and lives. So what are these activities you say. I have 6 great activities you and your fur baby will enjoy.

Six Exercises Your Dog Will Love

1. Treadmills

Dog or human treadmills work well to exercise your dog. Start slowly with your dog on a leash and use high-value treats as motivation. After your dog is comfortable walking slowly, gradually increase the speed to a trot. Always stay with your dog to watch him closely. Never tether your dog to a treadmill or force him to stay on it. If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy the treadmill, find another form of exercise.

2. Stair Climbing

If your dog is young, healthy and not prone to hip problems, throw a ball or toy up to the top of carpeted stairs for an aerobic game of fetch. Just be careful not to overdo exercising on the stairs. Stair climbing is also a quick way to develop your leg muscles quickly.

3. Train with Tricks

Try some new training techniques or reinforce any existing commands or training that need more work. Teach your dog some tricks. If your dog already knows the basic tricks, try teaching him something to help out around the house, such as picking up his toys and putting them in a basket. Most dogs like to learn something new and it’s a great way to bond with your dog.

4.Doggie Gyms

These gyms are popping up all over the country and if there’s one close to you, they offer various ways to exercise your dog. Some even have swimming pools and indoor dog parks.

5. Dog Walkers

If you really hate walking outside in the winter or don’t have enough time to exercise your dog, hire a recommended and reliable dog walker. Make sure they are from a formal company. And also make sure they are insured and bonded. Check out the services we offer : HWHD Services & Fees. This will give you an idea of what activities you would want no matter what part of the country reside.

6. Play Dates

Get together with friends who have dogs that want to exercise, play and socialize. Better yet, host a play date in your home and make some homemade dog treats for your dog to share with his friends.

Bonus:  More Winter Season Activities

Anyone live up north, the Midwest or Canada. Here are some other Great Ideas!

1. Snow Hikes

Head out for a hike in a wooded area after a fresh snowfall. It’s beautiful and serene since most people don’t take advantage of hiking trails in the winter. It’s also the perfect time to use off-leash areas where your dog can have more freedom without running into too many other dogs or people.

2. Sledding and Snowball Fights

Have your dog join you for some childhood fun in the snow.

3. Dog Parks
If your dog gets overwhelmed by crowded dog parks, try visiting in the winter when there are fewer people and dogs at the park. Hint: Pro Petsitters love an afternoon in dog parks.

4. Snowshoeing or Cross-Country Skiing

Enjoy these sports if you have a snow-loving dog.

5. Skijoring

Have you ever heard of Skijoring? Skijoring is having your dog pull you through the snow while you’re wearing skis. It sounds like a lot of fun if you have a snow-loving dog that can safely pull you.

Winter Advice To Keep Your Dog Safe During The Cold

Short-haired, small or elderly dogs may need a water-repellent coat to help keep them warm.

Trim the hair between your dog’s toes to reduce snow and ice buildup.

Dog booties can keep paws dry and free from ice, salt or de-icing chemicals

If your dog hates booties, apply Musher’s Secret wax to his paws before going outside to prevent painful ice balls from forming between his toes. Musher’s Secret also protects paws from hot pavement or beach sand in the summer.

If you don’t use booties, clean your pup’s paws with a warm wet cloth when you return home to remove any salt, de-icing chemicals or ice balls. Also wipe down their legs and belly.

Use reflective wear or clip-on LED collar lights if you walk outside after dark.

Consult with your vet if you have any concerns about exercising your dog outside when it’s cold.