Tag Archives: leash

Pro Packing Tips for Your Pup’s Stay With a Sitter


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Trip booked? – Check
Pet-sitter booked? – Check
Ready to take that vacation? – Check, check and check!

As excited as you are to take some days for yourself, leaving your furry friend with a pet-sitter can seem slightly stressful. But not to worry, this stress can be avoided with a little preparation and a well-packed bag. We’ve asked our friends at DogVacay.com, an online service that connects pet owners with loving pet-sitters, to share their best packing tips with us for the perfect pet vacation. Here is a list of essentials for a successful and stress-free stay for your pup while you are away.

An Approximate Schedule
In a dog’s mind there is comfort with familiarity and a sudden change in routine can throw them off. Sharing your pup’s normal schedule with your sitter (i.e. what time they usually eat, drink, take walks, etc) can help them acclimate quickly to their new environment.

Food and Treats
Be sure to pack enough food and treats for the length of the stay. It’s always best if they are eating the same food and treats that they enjoy at home to avoid any tummy aches. Don’t forget any medication or supplements they normally take!

Disposable Bags

Since your pup will be eating, they will also be pooping. If your pup normally poops on leash it’s always a nice gesture to bring along some disposable bags for your sitter to pick up after him. A healthy poop is a happy dog!

Leash and Harness
There’s nothing more exciting for a pup than a nice, long walk in a new environment- all the smells to sniff and sights to see! Make sure you pack the leash and harness they normally use so that they can explore with confidence.

Bedding
Where does your pup normally sleep? In a crate? A dog bed? On the floor? Don’t forget to pack their favorite bedding so that everyone can have a good night’s rest. If they don’t have a preference that’s ok too – just communicate this with their sitter.

Toys or Comfort Items from Home
Last but not least, having a little bit of home to take with your pup can help ease any separation anxiety they may experience. A toy, blanket or just something that smells like home can be a source of comfort for any initial loneliness.

Remember- comfort and familiarity are key. So if there’s something that your pup can’t live without when he’s at home be sure to bring it along on his stay. Your (and your pup’s) vacation will fly by and you will be reunited before you know it – both well rested!

A Step by Step Tutorial to Leash Training


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We’ve all seen those dogs. The ones who zig-zag every which way on their walks. Those who mark on every tree. Those who drag their owners down the street. It begs the question: Who’s walking who anyway?

Prevent these unfortunately common situations from becoming your situation by leash training as soon as you’re able to take your puppy for walks. While it may seem simple (hook leash to collar and walk, right?), you’ll soon find that walking in a straight line at a normal pace is not a natural habit for your active puppy and it’s as new to him as everything else being introduced into his world.

By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to walking your pawfect pooch down the street with ease and confidence.

1. Choose the Right Leash and Collar
Make sure the collar is the perfect fit by asking for professional help with sizing. It’s important that it’s not too tight nor too loose. A good rule of “thumb” is to be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your pup’s skin. You may want to consider a harness instead of a collar to avoid neck strain from leash pulling. A harness is a good option for dogs with pushed-in faces that often experience breathing, trachea/throat problems, or have elongated, slender necks such as Pugs, Pomeranians, and Greyhounds respectively.

As far as leashes go, there are a variety of materials and lengths available, so to make the right decision, you’ll want to test them out at the pet store with your dog present. A few things to consider – nylon leashes which are the most common may cause “leash burn” if you have a strong dog that pulls suddenly. Leather leashes are stronger, provide a natural give, and will soften with time. Chain leashes, which are an inexpensive choice, can be dangerous if a strong dog pulls and the leash is wrapped around your finger and could injure you or the dog if the weight of it falls hard on you or him. Retractable or “flexi” leashes are designed to give dogs more freedom, but can be dangerous for a puppy as they provide the owner with much less control. “Reeling in” your pooch fast enough in an emergency is a challenge. Plus, the instinct of pulling the leash when your dog does something wrong could give you a severe rope burn if you were to grab that thin cord. We strongly advise against a retractable leash for a puppy in leash training.

The length of the lead is also a factor to consider when choosing the right leash for you. If you live in the city, a 4-foot might be long enough to allow your dog to do his business while keeping him close to your side. If you live in a suburban setting and have a bit more space to walk, you may want to choose a 6-foot lead.

2. Introduce The Collar and Leash
Slip the collar and leash on your pup while he’s doing something positive such as feeding, playing or getting pet. This way, the puppy associates the collar and leash with positive activity. If the dog resists, use treats or toys as incentive to getting him to feel more comfortable.

3. Take Your First Walk…Inside
Guide your puppy around your home so he gets used to you leading him around without all of the new smells and distractions of the outdoors. If you have a backyard, use that space as an opportunity to walk your pup outside to the spot where you want him to do, as opposed to letting him have run of the yard.

4. Teach to Follow
Getting your dog to “heel” is a gradual process so don’t expect it to happen quickly. Technically, the “heel” position is for your pup to walk along your left side at knee level. This is a bit ambitious and unnecessary for rudimentary leash training, so don’t worry so much about positioning as keeping your pup at a safe, comfortable distance. Hold the leash with a firm grip and double up any extra slack so it doesn’t drag on the ground. Make sure you have treats at the ready in your pocket to reward whenever your pup listens to you.

Once puppy is focused on the reward, say a simple command like “Let’s go!” – make sure it’s something you’ll remember to use consistently. Once he follows, give him a treat. You could bring it as close to right under his nose to get his attention. Continue to repeat this process in order to lure him into the pace and direction you want to him to go in.Once he’s performed this exercise several times well, offer the treats less and more intermittently.

If your dog pulls, quickly turn and walk in the opposite direction. You’ll do some stop-and-start at first, but eventually he’ll become accustomed to the rules. Reinforce the distance and pace you want him to keep by continuing to reward with praise and treats when he does follow. Some dogs may decide to sit or lay down rather than move. If this happens, call your pup and offer him a reward once he comes over. Never yank the leash toward you. Once he decides to walk next to you, offer him a treat.

5. Slowly Add More Depth to Your Training
Once your dog is walking well on a leash alongside you, you can work on other techniques such as “sit” whenever you stop, introducing the “heel” command, and increasing the amount of distractions in the surrounding area (if you’ve been practicing on your cul-de-sac, take him to a park or busy street).

The Hottest Eco-Friendly Pup Products: A Green Gift Guide


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Making an environmental difference for the planet may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, but even the smallest of conservationist efforts is worthwhile in helping the greater cause. And some of those changes can be made at the pet store aisle alone! By simply being aware of what products you are buying for your pup and choosing items with environmentally-friendly ingredients or materials, you’ll not only be doing your part, but you’ll feel better about spoiling your puppy. In celebration of Earth Day, here’s our curated guide to some favorite planet-friendly pooch goodies.

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Image from mollymutt.com

Beds
Molly Mutt is a fashionable dog bed brand that has redesigned traditional dog beds to be sustainable as well as high-quality. Their duvet covers are meant to be stuffed with old textiles provided by you, which eliminates 100% of the energy and gas emissions associated with other doggie bedding. Bonus – Molly Mutt is affordable too, with most of their products priced at under $50. Check out their adorable beds, crate covers and accessories!

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Image from cycledog.com

Collars & Leashes
Cycle Dog is another company dedicated to producing “earth-friendly” pet products. Made with post-consumer recycled materials, Cycle Dog products include collars, leashes, toys, beds, treats, and travel bowls. Take a look at their large assortment of “eco-weave” webbed collars and leashes. They come in many fun colors and patterns, and are all priced at $25 and less!

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Image from earthrated.com

Poop Bags
While picking up your dog’s poop is a less glamorous side of pet ownership, it’s essential, so why not do it guilt free?  Amazon has an excellent earth-friendly waste bag selection, including these Flush Puppies Doodie Bags ($8.22 for a pack of 60 bags, which are flushable and certified compostable!) Prefer a more traditional waste bag? Try these Earth Rated Poop Bags ($11.99 for 270 bags) – they’re made from recycled plastic, are completely leak-proof, and even smell like lavender!

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Image from thegreenpetshop.com

Training Pads
Another not-so-attractive part of the job – but this is another dog product essential where you can really make an environmental impact. When you first bring a puppy home, a lot of time is spent on potty training. Training pads can make the process easier (and less messy!). The Green Pet Shop sells eco-friendly pads made of bamboo ($24.99 for 50), and Amazon carries these Eco-Care Training Pads ($12.48 for 50), so you can reduce waste, while picking up waste!

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Image from becopet.com

Toys
These toys by West Paw Design are adorable, soft, and made from organic hemp and recycled polyester ($15-$20). Looking for something more durable? Cycle Dog (mentioned above) makes durable rubber toys out of post-consumer recycled materials (all $10-$15). The Becoball by Beco Pet ($11.13) is another strong eco-friendly toy made from rice husk rubber with a hollow design perfect for hiding treats, not to mention it’s vanilla scented!

Remember, these products are just a small sampling of green pup products available, so this Earth Day, do some digging to find the best goodies for you and your furry friend. Then give yourself (and Fido) a “round of a paws” for making a valuable contribution to preserving planet Earth!

 

 

 

Scoping out the Dog Park: A Checklist


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Discovering and participating in new activities with your pup can be one of the most fun and gratifying parts of being a pooch parent. One such popular activity is bringing your furry child (once he’s received all of the required vaccinations and has been cleared by your veterinarian to be in close contact with other dogs) to the dog park. While some feel there’s nothing better than watching your dog play, run free and interact with his adorable peers, many dog owners dislike the idea of the dog park due to valid concerns such as cleanliness and/or potential dangers. Thus, to find out whether the dog park is right for you and your dog, and if it is, to find one that’s safe and comfortable for you and your pet, it’s important to do your research in advance. Start by answering these questions to first find out if your pup is ready for the dog park and if so, how to find that “pawfect park.”

  1. Is your dog’s personality a fit for a highly socialized environment?

If your dog is extremely anxious, shy or aggressive, you may need to undergo some socialization training prior to bringing your dog to a dog park. Be honest with yourself (and your pooch) and be patient if he’s not ready yet. The park isn’t going anywhere, so there is plenty of time to bring him once he’s better trained. You should also make sure your dog is spayed or neutered before taking him to a park – dogs who aren’t fixed can be disruptive and potentially dangerous amongst other dogs in a group setting.

  1. How much exercise does your dog regularly receive?

thumbnail-scoping-dog-parkIn order to make sure your dog is a good candidate for the dog park, make sure you’re not relying on the park as his sole form of exercise. Otherwise, dogs can become overly stimulated and excited by all the new dogs and smells. Among other dangers, this pent-up energy can lead to aggression and dog fighting. Make sure your dog is getting ample opportunity for walks outside and runs in the backyard so that he arrives at the park with a healthy, but curbed amount of energy.

  1. What’s the best way to find a good park?

Ask for recommendations! The best people to ask will be your neighbors as well as pet service providers such as your veterinarian, trainer or groomer. Trusted reviews are crucial to finding a safe park in your area visited by well-mannered pooches and courteous pet parents. Once you have a recommendation, look up the park’s hours and rules.

  1. What are the must-have amenities in a dog park?

Make sure the dog park has all of the necessary conveniences including a clean water source that’s available and/or large enough to accommodate many dogs at once, several easily accessible garbage cans as well as doggy bags for waste disposal, and benches or comfortable seating in a shaded area for pet parents to congregate and watch their pooches frolic.

  1. What safety measures are crucial to check for?

When visiting the dog park, make sure all enclosures are free of sharp points which could cause injury. The barricades should also be tall enough to prevent larger dogs from jumping over them. On the flip side, look out for any holes or gaps in fencing that smaller dogs could squeeze through. Most dog parks will have two separate sides – one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs as an extra safety precaution. Size does matter in this case – pay attention to the weight limits or breed rules. Clearly mixing a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd is a bad idea.

  1. Is the park up to your cleanliness standards?

While all dog parks require owners to clean up after their pets, not all do unfortunately. Watch for piles of fecal matter to not only avoid stepping in them yourself, but avoid your dog getting dirty or worse, ingesting and getting sick. The best ground cover for dog parks is grass or gravel. The ground should be free of burrs or sharp debris that could get stuck in your dog’s coat or injure his paws.

  1. How do the other owners interact at the park?

When you arrive at the dog park, pay attention to the other puppy parents and see if they’re showing awareness and taking control of their pups. Oblivious or careless owners can make the dog park a dangerous place. And once there, if you’re ever worried about the other owners’ level of responsibility, don’t hesitate to leave. In an ideal dog park environment, the owners are interacting with the dogs, following and calling them when necessary. If you see a group of owners clumped around a bunch of picnic tables engrossed in conversation with no idea what their dog(s) are doing, it’s a bad sign.

Now that you’ve done your due diligence and know what to look out for in a dog park, you can let your pooch off-leash with confidence.  Be sure to capture those woofs, wags and games of fetch on video!  Oh, and be prepared for your pooch to take a long snooze after the experience. Playing and running around with other pups can be tiring!