Whether you are a new dog parent, or a veteran owner, there is always room to learn!
Dog walking is so important because dogs need to explore, hunt, and discover new sights and smells, its part of their nature. Even if you have a backyard or a ton of toys, dogs still need their walking time. In addition, dog walking is a form of physical and mental exercise for your pup! And a great time to bond, and practice those commands you taught him.
Basic dog walking supplies include a safe sturdy harness/collar and leash that cannot break (please do not use retractable leashes, esp. in city settings, lets keep those reserved for hikes and the country); poop bags; bottle of water and drinking mechanism for those hotter days; treats for positive reinforcement.
When walking your dog, try to take a new path/route, don’t always walk the same path, your dog will be so thankful for all the new smells and sights!
Remember that Whiskers and Leo is always here to answer your dog walking questions! Just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With more than 60 percent of households owning a least one pet, finding reliable pet care is likely a concern for the majority of pet owners. For these pet owners, we have an important piece of advice: Don’t be tricked by so-called pet sitters.
Many pet owners, and even news outlets, use the term ‘pet sitter’ incorrectly, referring to anyone—from a family friend to the neighborhood teenager asked to walk a dog—as a ‘pet sitter. It is important that pet owners understand that pet sitting is a professional career and professional pet sitters offer peace of mind that other pet-care options cannot.
Even for pet owners committed to using professional pet sitters instead of friends or family, the search can be confusing.
With the influx of pet-care directory sites popping up in the last couple of years and news stories touting pet sitting as an easy way to earn extra cash, more and more people are deciding to cash in on the growing need for pet care.
Whiskers and Leo has offered pet-sitting services since 2008 and is a member of Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters. In addition, we professionally background check and train all of our sitters, and of course we are insured and bonded with the proper insurance, and I have passed the CPPS test and obtained the Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) designation.
PSI President Patti Moran—who also founded the pet-sitting industry more than two decades ago—offers additional advice for pet owners. “Simply being listed on an online pet-sitter listing—or even on a nationally-publicized directory—does not make a pet sitter a professional, qualified care provider,” explains Moran. “Anyone can post a profile advertising pet-sitting services, so it’s important for pet owners to take a closer look to ensure they are hiring a real pet sitter.”
Whiskers and Leo advises pet owners to ask these important questions when interviewing a potential pet sitter:
A recent survey indicates over 50 percent of America’s pet population is overweight or obese. It’s an epidemic now!
To get your pet healthy, or keep your pet healthy and at an optimal weight, food/nutrition & exercise are KEY!
FIRST STEP: DIET & THE RIGHT FOOD!
Very simply put, if your pet is overweight it is taking in (eating) more calories than it needs. Set all excuses aside … excessive weight in an otherwise healthy pet is a direct result of consuming unnecessary amounts of food. Of course, before starting down this course, consult your vet to make sure your pet doesn’t have any metabolic disorders.
When it comes to diet, feed your pet a high quality food, so he gets the nutrients he needs to keep healthy and full! It’s that easy. Don’t feed your pet the equivalent of McDonalds every day (Purina, Beneful, Alpo, Kibbles & Bits, etc) because its cheaper, and easier to purchase (at the grocery store). Spend a little more money and time, and later on down the road, your pet should have fewer medical issues, which means your wallet will suffer less too!
Let’s examine some excuses when it comes to your dog’s feeding habits. Whether your dog is a good weight or overweight, these 4 points are good to note!
DO ANY OF THESE SOUND LIKE YOU?? (cats are more of an issue, and overweight issues with cats need to be discussed with a vet)
(1) “But she hardly eats a thing.” This is probably a case where you feed your dog table food, so she is getting calories from that, and choosing not to eat her own food. Stop the people food- it’s unwanted calories!
(2) “My pup won’t keep quiet unless she gets her treats. And she won’t go to sleep at night until she gets her little dish of ice cream.” Congrats, your pet has trained you! Your pet has discovered that the more noise and fussing it produces the more likely it is to be rewarded for this behavior. The owner finally “gives in” to keep the pet quiet and the pet sees the food as a reward. In effect the owner is creating a “beggar” by rewarding his/her behavior. You need to break this habit immediately, and re-train, reward for being good and quiet.
(3) “She’s such a good dog we don’t want her to go hungry.” This dog became overweight because the owner’s signal of affection for their pet has focused on feeding. It is an understandable trait but unfortunately for the dog it can be a case of too much of a good thing. The owners’ method of showing affection should be directed more toward physical activity than feeding. Think “FETCH” and “TUG” not “FOOD”!
(4) “She just refuses to eat dog food.” In this case the dog has trained the owners to feed him/her such things as chicken, liver, ice cream, cookies, etc. This dog has been given a choice of what to eat and has chosen certain people food. The dog usually overeats because s/he isn’t getting a proper balance of nutrition, plus everything tastes so good there is a reward factor in eating. The solution is … you choose, not your pet. Leave down the dog food, and don’t worry if she doesn’t eat it right away, she won’t starve herself. A dog can go without food for 5 days before you have to worry (as long as she is in relatively good health and not diabetic).
SECOND STEP: THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF EXERCISE
Exercise is beneficial for your pets in so many ways- it helps decrease stress, improve sleeping habits, maintain or loose weight, and you know the old saying- A TIRED DOG IS A GOOD DOG!
The type and amount of exercise needed can differ greatly with breed, age and energy level of your pet. However, it is important to choose the right type of exercise for your pet with the help of a veterinarian if your pet is overweight. With their assistance you should be able to bring your pet back to their optimal weight. Arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular problems are just some of the issues your pet will deal with if he or she is overweight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, it may even decrease their life expectancy by up to 2.5 years. So if it is so bad as to affect our pet’s health, how are we letting it happen?
Exercise is important for all pets, overweight or not!
Whiskers and Leo does offer dog walking and dog running if you need extra help exercising your dog! As for cats, cats need daily exercise too, but more in the form of play. We do offer cat visits if your feline needs some extra attention and play!
You can use various methods and training equipment to help teach your dog not to pull. Here are some guidelines and methods from the ASPCA website:
1) Until your dog doesn’t pull, consider all walks training sessions.
2) Find other ways to get out your dog’s energy while training him, so he is not tempted to pull you on the leash. Most dogs pull because they have excess energy. Try a dog park, fetch, tug etc.
3) Use desirable treats that your dog doesn’t get at other times.
4) Walk at a quick pace. Your dog will stop less, and have fewer chances to pulling you.
5) If your dog gets too excited right before the walk, while putting on the collar/harness, then you need to calm your dog down before leaving.
6) Tell your dog walker that you are training your dog not to pull, and give him or her the methods that you use, so they can continue the training process on their walks.
My 2 favorite methods of training your dog not to pull:
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT
Walk in your intended direction. The instant your dog reaches the end of his leash and pulls, red light! — stop dead in your tracks and wait. When he stops pulling and puts slack in the leash (maybe he turns to see what you’re doing and this makes the leash a little slack), call him back to you. When he comes to you, ask him to sit. When he does, say “Yes,” give him a treat and resume walking (green light). If your dog looks up at you in anticipation of more tasty treats, quickly say “Yes,” and give him one while you keep walking. If he pulls again, repeat the red-light step above. As you’re walking, reward your dog frequently for staying next to you or slightly ahead and for looking up at you. If you do this consistently, he’ll learn that a) if he stays near you or looks at you, he gets treats and gets to keep moving, and b) if he pulls on the leash, the fun stops because he doesn’t get to keep walking and he has to come back to you and sit. If your dog pulls toward an object to sniff or eliminate, carry out the red light, but when he comes back and sits by you, don’t reward him with a treat. Instead, make the object he wanted to sniff the reward. Say “Yes,” and release him to go to the object. (Make sure you go with him toward the object so that he doesn’t have to pull again to reach it.) After a few days or weeks, you’ll find yourself stopping less frequently. Make sure you continue to reward your dog for walking with slack in the leash or he’ll start pulling again. This is the method I used on my pup Valentino, and it worked for him!
LURE AND REWARD
Start with your dog standing at your left side. With several treats enclosed in your left hand, hold your left hand right in front of your dog’s nose (within 1 inch of it). Say “Let’s walk,” and walk in your intended direction. Every few seconds, pop a small treat into your dog’s mouth and praise her for walking along at your pace. You’ll need to frequently reload your hand with treats from your left pocket or from a treat pouch attached to your waist. If she pulls ahead or to the side, immediately stop. Get your dog’s attention by calling her name again. Ask her to sit, and praise her when she does. Then put the treat-loaded hand back in front of her nose and start walking again. Go a little bit farther every day that you practice. After at least a week of daily practice with lured walking, stop luring her along with your treat-loaded hand, and instead just carry your empty left hand in a natural position at your waist with elbow bent. Say “Let’s walk,” and reward her, about every other step you take, with a treat that you get from your left pocket or waist treat pouch. When she can walk along without pulling for several minutes, begin gradually increasing—over many daily training sessions—the number of steps you go in between treats so that your dog is walking longer distances between rewards. Reward her every other step at first, then every 5 steps, then every 10, and so on. Eventually, you should be able to walk with your hand comfortably at your side, periodically (every minute or so) reaching into your pocket to grab a treat to reward your dog.
Lastly, choosing the right equipment is vital. When in training do NOT use a regular snap collar (actually don’t use this ever because dogs can get out of them easily), a regular body harness (gives them power), or a prong collar (unless used with the guidance of a certified trainer). Good choices are a martingale collar, a head halter or head collar such as the gentle leader, or a no pull harness (sensation harness).
Good luck! It is worth the effort, because once your dog learns not to pull, you can have relaxing walks side by side!
This transition may seem simple but it can wreak havoc on everything from your puppy’s stomach to your patience at dinnertime.
Your puppy’s food is NOT working for him if he has developed any of the following: loose stool, diarrhea, constipation, stool eating, skin rash, allergy, a rise in hyperactivity, a rise in aggression or other personality changes. Here are some possible solutions, but also consult your veterinarian FIRST!
If you’re noticing some of the signs of a food disagreeing with your puppy, it is probably time to try a new one. Always introduce a new food slowly, switching about 1/4 cup of food over a week. Give him another week or two on the new food to see how he does on it before switching again. You can also give him breaks between food by feeding him cooked chicken and rice for a few days.
Good nutrition is essential to your puppy’s health. Different puppies have different needs and it’s through trial and error and recognizing health issues that you can choose the best food for him.
Some of us may think that a change in food is only fair to our pups but once you find a food that fits, stick with it. Offer variety by adding small amounts of vegetables, chicken broth or a high quality canned food.
For puppies and dogs a steady and consistent diet means better health.
A study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention indicated that 45 % of dogs and 58 % of cats in the U.S. are overweight. How to Determine if Your Pet is Obese:
Pets need to get regular exercise to maintain proper weight.
An overweight pet is not a healthy pet. Owners need to recognize that they are putting their pet’s health at risk by allowing that extra weight.
Obesity commonly leads to diabetes, heart problems, and arthritis. An overweight pet does not age well, either. Overweight pets are more prone to hip dysplasia, back and joint pain, and endocrine diseases. Extra weight also decreases a veterinarian’s ability to manage these conditions both medically and surgically. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can literally add years to her life.
Why are more pets overweight? The answer is the same for pets as well as people: too many calories and not enough exercise.
So stop feeding your pet extra treats just because he or she is begging you, and give your pet the gift of exercise this Holiday Season!! 20% off your first month of dog walks! Call today (347-223-5116) for particulars and mention Code B-20- this promotion expires 1/18/11.
We would never forget about your precious kitty! If your cat seems overweight and/or bored and needs exercise, we can come do daily or weekly pet visits while you are at work! 20% off first month of regular pet visits as well, expiration date 1/18/11.
Dogs pull for various reasons. But the simplest explanation is this: we keep following them, allowing them to lead us around by the leash. If we keep following, the immediate connection is this – them pulling on the leash equals person moving.
Before expecting your dog to calmly walk beside you on leash, train her to be calm when you are putting her collar and leash on! Ask her to sit-stay while you are putting on her leash. If she does not stay, the walk is delayed until she does. Don’t give in or she will learn that it’s OK to be out of control. If your dog doesn’t have a reliable sit-stay, then practice training her to sit-stay without the distraction of the prospect of a walk. If you do not know how to teach a reliable sit-stay, enroll in an obedience training class or call an at-home dog trainer like Bark Busters.
Most dogs learn very quickly that they must sit while the leash is being attached to the collar. They usually tremble with excitement, ready to explode into a frenzy as soon as this phase is accomplished. If your dog bolts toward the door, dragging you behind, then the situation is still out of control. Simply hold onto the leash, stand still and let your dog dance, ricochet and bounce around at the end of the leash. It may take 5 minutes or more, but she will soon realize that you are not going anywhere and will begin to calm down. When this happens, praise her for being good. After another minute or so, take your first step, but NOT towards the door. Instead, walk your dog around your house, garage or yard to give her a chance to practice her ‘not-pulling’ skills. Every time she pulls, lunges or strains on the leash, simply stand still again. When she calms down, talk to her, praise her calmly and quietly. Try to keep her attention on yourself instead of the door that leads to outside. When you feel that your dog is in control and she is walking nicely without pulling in your house or yard, then it is time to proceed to the great outdoors.
Every time your dog pulls on leash and you continue the walk, you are rewarding her for pulling and lunging. Every time your dog gets out of control it is essential that you instantly stop the walk, stand still and wait for her to calm down before continuing. It is a tremendous effort in patience at first but it will pay off if you persevere. You may only get to the end of the block or even your driveway on your first outing, but if you give in to your dog’s demands, then she will continue to pull. You can speed up the process by asking her to sit- stay for about 5 to 10 seconds every time she begins to pull. Of course this will only work if your dog already has a reliable sit-stay.
As winter is approaching, its great to have on hand some creative games for your dog, for when he gets “cabin fever.” Dogs are happiest when they are mentally and physically stimulated, so keep these tips in mind to provide your dog with boredom relief for the upcoming months.
GO SOMEWHERE NEW: When a client asks us to walk their dog on the same path everyday, we usually ask the client if we can switch it up instead, and here is the reason why: going new places, or just going on a different route offers the excitement and mental stimulation of new sights and smells, in addition to exercise.
TEACH SOMETHING NEW: Did you know that mental exercise tires a dog more quickly and thoroughly than physical exercise? So teach your dog a new trick this week! Can your dog balance a treat on his nose? Shake a paw? Roll over? Crawl along the floor? Jump through a hoop? Play dead? Retrieve? Pick a new trick, and start training! Don’t forget that consistency is very important when training.
GIVE YOUR DOG A BONE OR A FOOD DISPENSING TOY: Chewing is healthy for dogs, and helps them relieve stress as well. Food dispensing toys are invaluable boredom busters. While rubber Kongs are classic toys and can be stuffed with a great variety of treats and tasties, there are many other options on the market now, like: Aikiou toy, Nina Ottosson’s toys, Kong wobbler, Kibble Nibble, Busy Buddy toys, Orbee Treat Spot toys, Tug-a-Jugs, and Buster Cubes.
KIBBLE HUNT: If you place your dog’s kibble in a food bowl, chances are the bowl is empty within 15 seconds and the dog gazes up at you upon finishing as if to say, “is that it?” You can put that food to work for you by making your dog hunt for it with his nose. Instead of dumping the food in his bowl, consider crating him while you hide small piles of food in the house then release him to “kibble hunt.” Initially, make the piles very easy to find. As your dog gets better at this game, practice hiding the food in more difficult spots.
HIDE AND SEEK: Hide and seek is a great way to exercise your dog’s mind and body and recall skills. Each family member should stock up on great treats. Family members will take turns hiding throughout the house, calling the dog to them, and rewarding her generously when she arrives. When her treats are finished, say “all done!” which is the cue for the next family member to call him.
DO SOMETHING OLD WITH A NEW TWIST: Turn your dog’s favorite game into a training game! For every throw of the toy, ask your dog for some obedience behavior or trick as you hold the toy. As soon as your dog performs, give him some praise, then send your dog after his toy. Dogs adore this game, once they understand how it works. For working breeds, it also gives them a fun, satisfying outlet for their built-in drive to work with you.
ARRANGE A PLAY DATE: Dogs benefit from social interaction outside their family unit. If your dog gets along well with other dogs, find some time to get together with a friend or relative and their dog. If you do not know someone with a dog you can arrange a date with, you can always call Whiskers and Leo Pet Care!
Have fun with this and feel free to share comments about your favorite game to play with your dog!