Benefits of Dog Daycare

When you work all day and then have to take care of the house, family, and other things, it can be hard to make sure that your dog isn’t neglected. It’s great to play in the yard, but some dogs need more. The weekends can be a time when long walks, hikes, and other activities can take place but weekends are also the time when laundry, groceries, and socializing happen. Most of us work Mon through Fri, which means our dogs are alone for at least 40 hours a week. This amount of alone time can sometimes be a contributing factor to behavior issues.

What Can You Do?

If your dog likes playing with other dogs, the best solution is to enroll your dog into dog daycare. Your dog will get to interact with dogs of all ages, sizes, and energy levels. It will improve her socialization and can be vital in terms of curbing behavioral problems. Younger dogs can learn how to play properly, learn body language of other dogs, and learn pack integration making them better canine citizens.

Also, for the time your dog is at the daycare, she will be asked to sit, stay, and have other commands reinforced. She will be called by her name to “come” and learn what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. If you have been working on teaching your dog to not jump up on people and let the daycare know, they will tell your dog to not jump with the command you use. Many daycares are very open to trying to help reinforce and positively reward behavior with praise, touch, and fun.

It also means year round play time in a large play area. Some dog daycares have indoor play areas and others have outdoor fenced areas. Before signing your dog up, you can usually tour the facility and ask about the safety measures the daycare employs.

Dog daycare is obviously more expensive than leaving your dog on its own but it is worth every penny. A tired dog is a happy dog. A tired dog is also a well-behaved dog. A tired dog also means that when you come home tired, you’ll be winding down together and have a great evening.

Image from Wagville

Rainy Day? No Problem

Rainy days don’t mean you have to be bored and stuck inside. There’s a few games you play inside that won’t knock every picture off the wall or break your favorite lamp.

Here are 5 games you play inside that will keep your pup happy:

1: Hide and Seek: Take one of your pet’s fav treats and hide with it. This normally takes two people. One to distract your dog and the other to hide. When the person is hidden, have them call out “Come!” or other commands. As your dog goes from room to room or look around for the hidee, give some verbal commands to help her out. When she finds the hidee, she gets the treat and a ton of praise. You can play this game a few times and your dog will find it fun and rewarding.

2: Trick training: Go through all the commands your dog knows and teach a new one. Have you dog sit, sit up, and stand several times in a row. If your dog knows how to roll over, turn this and sitting, laying down, sitting up, etc into a routine. Teach your dog to shake hands or crawl. All these tricks can help them exercise their body, improve their balance, and stimulate their mind. Try mixing up the order of the tricks.

3: Tug of War: If your dog is good at tugging and knows what toys are ok to play that game with, a light game of tug of war can be good. It can work her shoulder muscles and be fun. Just be careful to not let it become too tough and rough.

4: Treat Balls: These toys are sold in pet stores and are made to give your dog a mental workout. Place some treats inside the toy and let your dog roll, push, prod, and tug to get the treats out of the toy.

5: Have a treadmill, go for a walk: You’ve seen this on tv many times and it does work! The first few times your dog may be unsure of what’s going on. Start slow and coax and praise your dog for walking on the treadmill. Pretty soon you can get her up to a jog and keep her fit and trim.

Image from Iheartdogs.com

4 Things You Can Do for Your Pet on the 4th of July

This week we will celebrate the 4th of July. Maybe some of your neighbors have already began the holiday by setting off firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other small fireworks. As exciting and as pretty as some fireworks can be, not everyone in the family likes fireworks, usually your pets.

If your dog does not like the booms, pops, and bangs that fireworks make, here’s 4 tips to help keep your pet calm.

>> Did you see our article about tips to help ease your dog’s anxiety about loud noises, whether it’s fireworks-related or otherwise?

1: Drown out the noise

Play music loudly in your house or turn on something that will mask the sound of the fireworks. Air conditioners, a loud fan, the television, or radio can create “white noise” which can hide or override the booms of fireworks and hopefully decrease your dog’s reaction to them. 

2: Keep your pets inside

The noises can make your pet panic and want to “run away.” Dogs might dig out of the yard and cats may hide or climb and find themselves stuck somewhere. Also, for their own safety, keep them inside to avoid being hurt accidentally or on purpose from an exploding firecracker.  

3: Board your dog

If you live near the source of the fireworks in your city, consider boarding your dog overnight in a place that is farther away. Some boarding facilities have soundproofed walls or are just far enough away that the fireworks aren’t able to be heard. Many boarding places will also have a radio or some form of “white noise,” ask when making your reservation. 

4: Talk to your vet

If your dog is extremely sensitive to noise, you may want to consult your vet about medication or a sedative that will ease your pet. Your vet will know the proper dosage and let you know how soon before the fireworks begin you should administer the medication. 

Photo by Anja_Johnson

11 Fun Things To Do With Your Pet This Summer

Summer is here! The perfect combination of warmer weather, long sun-filled days, and a furry buddy means you have to go outside and explore.

Summer is here! Go have fun!

  1. Go to the beach and play fetch, splash in the water
  2. Head to the dog parks in the evenings when it’s a little cooler and play till you both can’t play anymore
  3. Instead of a walk, go for a jog
  4. Take your dog on a hike and camp for a weekend
  5. Play frisbee in the park
  6. Take a long walk through your town and end it at a bar or cafe that allows dogs on their patios
  7. Go swimming in a lake together
  8. Take your pup fishing with you
  9. Bring your dog to work and spend lunch time playing fetch
  10. Go to an outdoor concert or movie in the park with your dog
  11. Build your cat a new window perch so she can sun herself

Image from Zooland.ro

Preventing Dog Fights

Hopefully you will never have to find yourself pulling fighting dogs apart. It’s dangerous and can result in you being injured no matter how careful you are. The well-known method is to pull a dog away from the other dog by grabbing around the hips or waist and pulling the dog away. But that’s not always easy to do depending on the way the dogs are situated, how fast they are moving, and if you’re alone.

What is the best way to prevent a fight?

Socializing your dog as a puppy will cut down on chances of a dog fight. Work with a trainer, practice the methods you learn, and address any behavioral problems you notice in your dog that could result in fear biting. If your dog is afraid of sounds or changes in the environment work with the trainer towards desensitizing the things that trigger your dog.

If your dog is not dog friendly, do not bring her to the dog park and cross the street when on a walk if you see another dog coming towards you. On walks, if you walk by a house with a dog in the yard, keep your dog focused on the walk rather than growing or trying to lunge at the fence or house. If you see another dog out on a walk, you can cross the street and have your dog to sit and wait instead of barking and pulling.

If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs to the point where it can be extremely tough to pull her away or redirect her attention, walk her during off-peak times at the park and around your neighborhood. Many people walk their dogs after work and you may have to wait a little later than that or find a few blocks that aren’t often visited by your neighbors with their dogs. If you see an unleashed dog jogging around, yell for the owner to get their dog, and tell them yours is not dog-friendly.

However, if you ever have to break up a dog fight try the following tips

If your dog is leashed and an unleashed dog is approaching
Pull the leash hard to get your dog away from the approaching dog. If the owner is present, yell for them to get their dog. If the dog attacks your dog or you, yell “HELP!” as loud as you can. Do not stick your hand in their faces as this could result in you being bitten. Use the leash to try and get your dog away from the attacking dog and stay as calm as possible.

Two dogs off leash
If your own two dogs get into a fight in the yard or in the house over a toy or treat, try throwing water at them. It startles the dogs and gives you a few seconds to draw the attention away and separate them. You may have to sometimes use an object like a stick or broom to pry them apart and create a barrier. At a dog park, use a spray bottle with water in it or throw the water from the water bowl works to give you a few seconds to get your dog away from the other dog.

Grab the attacking dog by the back legs then pull and lift them up
This can be tough but if you are able to lift the dog off the ground a few inches to a foot or two, it will throw them off balance and give you enough time to get the other dog to a safe place. If you’re alone and breaking up a fight, when you grab the dog, find a place to put the dog – another room, the garage, or in the house.

If a dog is charging at your dog on a walk
Don’t hesitate to place your dog somewhere safe like on top of car roof, on a garbage can, or anywhere that is high enough to make it tougher for the attacking dog to get yours. It sounds odd but it does work. Yell for help. Some dogs who are aggressive towards other dogs are not aggressive towards people. If you have a big dog and can’t lift your dog up, yell for help and try to place something between your dog and the approaching dog to create a wall or shield. A garbage can lid can work or anything that can cause a barrier, do not ever place yourself between the dogs!

Do you have other tips? Share them with us.

Image from IvyLeagueDogTraining.com

6 Tips for Finding a Pet Sitter

Sometimes we can’t take our pets with us. So what do you do?

You can board your pet at your local vet or find a daycare that does boarding. You could also find a neighbor or a friend who may be able to stop by and feed your cat or bird. If your pet has a special need, it might be best to look for a pet sitter who is experienced with dispensing medications or behavioral problems.

Here are 6 tips to finding a good pet sitter:

Ask your vet – any pet sitter who is working hard and is building a reputation will have reached out to others in the pet industry and local community. Your vet may have clients and others who use a pet sitter or knows of one that comes highly recommended. A pet sitter who has established a good rapport with a vet can be a sitter than knows the importance of pet care and takes the job seriously.

Ask your friends – anyone can look good on a flyer, advertisement, or website. If you aren’t sure about a pet sitter, ask your fellow pet owners who they have used or liked. Even the locals at your dog park may have a good recommendation.

Questions – once you’ve found a pet sitter, ask for references and ask some questions such as is s/he insured, bonded, and what training, if any, has s/he completed? Will the sitter make notes about your pet and update you while you’re away? Is the sitter associated with a vet who can provide emergency care? Does s/he have a contract? A google search too may bring up reviews of the sitter on various websites like care.com or yelp.

Read the contract carefully – the pet sitter will have complete access to your house and belongings, take care to ensure that all the discussed care and other jobs (taking in mail, watering plants) are listed in the contract. Review the amount of time your pet will be the pet sitter, how long the walks will be, play time, and other services.

Test run – a few days before you go away, ask the pet sitter to come by and meet your dog, cat, hamster, fish. See if your pets are ok with the new comer and how they all get along. Take the dog out for a walk with the pet sitter. See if the cat comes over for a pat on the head. Use your instinct and see if you feel at ease with your pets in their care.

Emergency plan – if your pet becomes ill or injured what is plan have you agreed upon with the pet sitter? Some pet sitters have a plan set up such as calling the client before taking the pet to the emergency vet. Others have resources that are readily available. Ask if the pet sitter knows CPR or knows of the local 24 hour emergency animal hospital.

What other tips do you have?

2 New Dog Breeds Recognized by the AKC

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has recently accepted two dog breeds into their club. The American Hairless Terrier and the Arabian Greyhound. This brings the total number of dogs accepted into the club up to 189.

The American Hairless Terrier is similar to a rat terrier in looks and tends to be about 12 inches tall and weighing between 8 and 20 pounds. The dog does have some fur, contrary to its name, and may live up to 16 years. The breed originated from the rat terrier but has more refined features such as eye colors that differ, skin patterns and color, and of course, lack of fur. They are an energetic and loving dog with a hunting instinct. They will chase small animals, bark when alarmed, and can be a good watch dog.

The Arabian Greyhound is also known as the Sloughi and is a short-haired sighthound. They resemble a greyhound or whippet in terms of build but their muscles are flatter and long. They are known to be smart and sensitive to mood changes in their owners. They love to move around and go for walks, run, and check out new things which makes them great dogs if you’re a hiker or jogger. Their training should be positive reinforcement mostly since they are sensitive.

To read more about the AKC’s newest dogs, check out the article at USA Today.

5 Ways To Improve Dog Joint Health

As your pup ages, their joints may start to stiffen up. Most dogs in their senior years develop arthritis. It’s very common and and can cause the same discomfort and pain that we feel. Most of the time, you may not notice the signs because as dogs age, their energy level changes and their activities differ. You might notice though that your dog is having more difficulty jumping in and out of the car or seems to have discomfort walking up and down the stairs. More severe signs of joint pain could be holding up a limb, limping, or lameness and seeing the legs slide out.

What Can You Do

To help maintain good joint health with your dog try the following 5 tips:

  1. Keep your dog’s weight in check – overweight dogs can have additional stress on their joints. Exercise and correct portions of food can help keep your dog trim.
  2. Exercise – even if your dog wants to leap, gallop, and play hard, don’t overseers your dog’s joints. Light walks and maybe even swimming can work off all that energy without stressing the joints.
  3. Pet ramps and stairs – small dogs, especially, can get joint problems jumping on and off of surfaces. Ramps and stairs reduce the strain on the dog’s joints.
  4. Carpet and rugs – adding surfaces that prevent your dog from slipping can help reduce tension on the body.
  5. Give your dog a supplement – talk to your vet about giving your dog glucosamine or another supplement that will help keeps your dog’s joints in great shape for as long as possible.

Image from ABJ Photography

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

Some dogs don’t mind having their nails trimmed. Others may pull away, try to nibble your hand, or hide. If you want to get your dog used to nail trimming, try to desensitize her to the clippers. Start by getting them used to having their feet touched. Offer a reward. Rub your hand up and down on the leg and press on each toe while praising her. This should help your dog get used to having her toes touched. It may take a few days to weeks. Be patient. Next step is the trimming.

How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

  1. Spread the toes – your dog may fidget and wonder what you’re doing. Offer a treat, praise, and inspect the feet for dirt and debris.
  2. Hold your dog’s toe – hold it firmly but gently. Allow your dog to pull away and gently and calmly grab the toe again. Hold the trimmer in your other hand so that you’re cutting the nail from the bottom at a slight angle and cut off the tip of the nail. Try to not cut a blunt flat line but maintain the natural curve of the nail.
  3. Be careful of the quick – cut a little bit of each nail being careful to not go too far into the quick. On white nails you may see a circle of darker pink or nail color. On black nails this is harder but you may notice a difference between the texture of the nails as they get closer to the toes.
  4. Praise your dog after each nail is trimmed.
  5. If you cut the quick, use corn starch to stop the bleeding.

If your dog really does not like having her nails cut, you may need another person to help keep her calm and hold her. Take it slow and don’t be discouraged.

Image from Wisegeek.com

3 Great Dog Ball Toys

Buying toys for your dog can be tiresome. Balls are usually great for dogs because it stimulates their prey drive and they will often chase a ball. However, if the ball is is too thin, your dog will destroy it within minutes. If it’s too big or too tough your dog might lose interest in it. Some toys also have pieces that might break off that could harm your dog if s/he swallows them. So, if it’s time to buy some new toys check out these 7 balls that have top ratings on Amazon.

7 Great Dog Ball Toys For Your Pup

Chuckit! Ultra Balls
These balls come in various sizes and in packs of two. The material is better than tennis balls and won’t file down your dog’s teeth as s/he grabs, carries, and chews on the balls. They are made from rubber and bounce high and far to make playtime fun and are easy to wash off and clean after a fun day at the park or in the backyard. These are strong and won’t easily be chewed through and float, so you can also play in the pool or ponds.
Check them out here

KONG Squeaker Balls
Kong makes great dog toys and these tennis-like balls are quality made, bounce high, and covered in soft felt. The felt won’t wear down your dog’s teeth and there is a squeaker in the ball to keep your dog stimulated for hours of play. The balls are small so they are great for medium to small dogs.
Check them out here

Jolly Pet Plastic Ball
This hard plastic ball is perfect for just about any dog. It comes in various diameters and can withstand the toughest bites. It’s hard plastic so don’t play with it in the house, things will end up broken… It’s long lasting, easy to clean, and has three holes where your dog can grab and carry the ball. Sometimes, as the holes wear down and end up being bigger, you may find your dog wearing the ball on his head like a helmet. I know this because I had a corgi who loved this ball and he did that often and would then walk into walls.
Check it out here