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Hi, My name is EmmyLee. People call me by my nickname “Emmy”. I was born in Jersey City and raised in Hoboken all my life. I have a background in babysitting and culinary arts. I grew up around pets: dogs, cats, fish, hamster, turtles. I help my grandmother with her pets whenever she needs me and my cat Lacey.
As a pet sitter, its a joy to help others take care of their pets, their babies. It’s therapeutic just to see how happy they get, especially when you give them their walks, tummy time, brush them, play with them with their favorite toys, or just to keep them company letting them know that you are only their just for them. Their different personalities and moods depending on the day is something to look forward to.
When the pet parents are away, I am happy to be given the responsibility to make sure these pet babies are well cared for.
I feel as if the Whiskers and Leo is family structured and we treat the pets as if they are family which is extremely important.

Calm Dog with Calming Signals- Part 2

PART 2 OF THE SERIES – Calm Dog with Calming Signals

More Signals to Have a Calm Dog

8.  Down: Lying down on his back, belly up, is submission, and lying down with his belly to the ground.  You can use it when your dog is stressed and trying to get attention, lie down either on the sofa or ground to calm dog.

9.  Yawning:  Your dog may yawn in many situations, such as when you go into the vet’s office, when there is a loud fight, when a child goes to hug him, etc.  You can use it when your dog feels uncertain, a little bit scared, stressed or you want him to calm down a bit.

10.  Sniffing:  Sniffing can be a swift movement down towards the ground and up again.  Or a dog may continue to stand with his nose down to the floor until the problem is over.  However, dogs also like to sniff to explore, so you need to look at the whole situation to be sure what it is.  Its hard for people to use this signal themselves, but if you want to try you can sit on the ground and pretend to scratch the grass or examine something on the floor.

11. Curving:  This signal happens a lot in the city life, since our dogs are on leashes, and is the best way for dogs to meet!  You’ll often see two dogs curving their bodies, and sniffing each other’s behinds, or one sniffing while the other turns away.  Mature dogs usually do not go straight toward each other, because it is impolite to do so (puppies on the other hand don’t know this yet!)  You can use this signal easily, but not approaching a scared dog directly, or even changing directions a little first

12. Wagging Tail:  A wagging tail is NOT always a sign of happiness.  You need to look at the whole picture in order to interpret it.  If the dog is crawling towards you, whining, or peeing, the wagging tail is a white flag, trying to make you calm down.  You cannot use this signal, because you have no tail to wag 🙂

Calm Dog

Non-Calming Signals

There are other types of signals too, like staring, walking straight towards someone, standing over another dog, growling, barking, showing teeth, these are all threatening signals.  Other signals can be excitement such as raising of hackles and tails.

Observing all of these signals is important in your dog and in other dogs.  Observe your dog at home, when visitors come, etc.  While out walking your dog, or at the park, observe all the dogs behavior at the park, its quit amazing how quickly you’ll pick this up and learn how to have a calm dog.

The Stressed Dog

A dog feels stressed just as humans, when they feel unable to cope.  Usually when they get stressed they start to use calming signals to try to ease the stress.  SO knowing these calming signals will help you to see when your dog is feeling stressed.

A dog with constant high stress will be much more likely to get stomach problems, allergies, and heart trouble.  They will be faster and more violent in their defense.

What makes a dog stressed?

  1. Direct threats such as violence, anger, aggression in his environment
  2. Jerking at the lead, pushing him down, pulling him along
  3. Too many demands in training and daily life
  4. Too much exercise for young dogs
  5. Too little exercise.  If you need help exercising your pup, just give us a call- Whiskers and Leo Pet Care!
  6. Hunger
  7. Too much noise
  8. Being alone
  9. Too much over excited play with balls etc
  10. Never being able to relax
  11. Sudden changes

For example, a dog can become stressed and therefore aggressive because of its environment, and yes of course it can be genetic, but more often than not, its something in the dog’s life.  There is no reason or excuse to punish , be violent, threatening or forceful towards a dog or demand too much of him.  All of these things can make a dog stressed, and stress can make him ill.  He can become reactive more quickly, showing aggression because he has a higher defense mechanism.

How to Identify Stress:

  1. Restless
  2. overreaction
  3. use of calming signals
  4. Scratching
  5. biting himself
  6. diarrhea
  7. shaking
  8. chasing his tail
  9. panting
  10. shivering
  11. loss of appetite
  12. allergies
  13. Fixation on certain things- glimpses of light, flies
  14. Looking nervous
  15. behaving aggressively

What can we do about stress in our dogs? Some basic ideas….

  1. Teach ourselves to see, identify and use calming signals!!
  2. Change environment and routines wherever possible
  3. stop using harsh methods, violence and painful things in training (like shock collars, prongs etc)
  4. Avoid hunger, Thirst, extreme cold or heat.
  5. Make sure he has the opportunity to go to the bathroom as much as he needs- again, if you need help exercising your pup, just give us a call- Whiskers and Leo Pet Care!
  6. find your dog’s correct level of exercise, not too much or too little
  7. Let the dog be part of the pack as much as possible
  8. closeness, touching, massage, lying close together without keeping your dog there by force

One of the best ways to reduce stress and have a calm dog is to be able to communicate with dogs.  When you can make yourself understood by dogs, its a wonderful feeling- calming signals are the key!

Dog Walking in Hoboken – Calming Signals


What are calming signals in Dogs, and How to Use Them When Dog Walking in Hoboken?

Calming signals are used at an early stage to “calm” the situation and prevent things from happening with other dogs/animals/people.  They calm down nervousness, fear, noise and unpleasantness.  The signals are used for calming themselves down when they feel stressed or uneasy.  They are also used to make the others involved feel safer and understand the good intentions of the signaler.  Dogs use calming signals to make friends with other dogs or people as well.  When dog walking in Hoboken, these signals can help you avoid conflict with other dogs (and people for that matter!)

What are the actual signals?

  1. Head Turning:
    1. This signal can be a quick deliberate movement/head turn, or a dog just holding his head to one side, or a very tiny movement.  Goes along the lines of not staring a scared/aggressive dog directly in its eyes while approaching.  If a dog starts to bark or growl at you, stop moving towards him, and turn your head to one side to calm him down.  So when a dog approaches your dog, and he looks away, this is a good calming signal (as opposed to if a person turns away from you when greeting them, which is considered rude!  You’ll see a lot of behaviors are opposite of what humans are use to!).  Another dog will usually ansser by doing the same head turn, and then they will usually both greet each other happily after that.
  2. Licking the Nose:
    1. This signal may be hard to notice because it can be a quick movement of the tongue (doesn’t have to be a full lick of the nose).  So if you see dog do this whend og walking in Hoboken, he may be calming down himself or another dog or person that he sees.  Its hard for humans to imitate this calming signal though.
  3. Turning Away:
    1. This means turning your side or back to someone.  You can use this signal when a dog shows signs of nervousness or aggression towards you, or if he jumps up at you- just turn away or put your back towards him.  This is exactly what I tell people who want their dog to stop jumping on them- give them your back (do not use your hands to push him down, this is asking for more!)
  4. Softening the Eyes:
    1. This is one of my favorites, because when dogs make this signal I think they look so sweet and cute.  When dogs soften the eyes while approaching, it indicates peaceful intentions.  You can use a similar signal yourself by making the eye contact softer and more friendly.  Direct eye contact is difficult for dogs, so softening the eyes brings the intensity down.
  5. Freezing:
    1. Your dog may freeze or stand still or lie down without moving when another dogs comes to greet him.  Most of the time this is a positive calming signal, but this is a good example of getting to know your dog.  When dog walking in Hoboken and my dog Valentino freezes, but slightly lifts his head, this is an aggressive stance for him, not a calming one.
  6. Walking Slowly, or Using Slow Movement:
    1. This is a more obvious calming signal.  You will notice most when/if you give your dog a stern command, and he slowly completes the command, because he’s trying to calm the anger in your voice.
  7. Play Bow:
    1. This is the most obvious calming signal for the untrained eye.  A bow is often done in play.    You can use this signal by stretching your arms towards the ground.
  8. Sitting Down
    1. You can use this signal if your dog or another dog is stressed.  Have everyone sit down on the ground and this will help your dog feel more relaxed around strangers.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Series Dog Walking in Hoboken- Calming Signals!

Dog Walking Packages Are Finally Here!


Save money by signing up for our monthly dog walking packages!  These no-frills packages are specially ideal for those who schedules don’t change much during the week and/or those people who are just looking to save some money. And by no-frills we do NOT really mean “no-frills” because you still get the same professional and caring walkers (W2 employees, insured, background checked and trained by me!), the same level of customer service and prompt communication, the same service selection, the same availability and coverage, the same professional scheduling system with GPS check in/out, the same easy monthly payment, and the same satisfaction guarantee!  What’s different?  Its one monthly cost, even if you need to cancel a walk here and there.


Whiskers and Leo Pet Care (www.whiskersandleo.com) services Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, Union City, North Bergen, Edgewater, and Bayonne NJ, and the surrounding areas.


Give us a call today at 201-942-1245 or email info@whiskersandleo.com to find out more!


Of course dog walking is NOT all we do!  We also offer dog boarding, in-home sitting, in-home overnights, and for those cat lovers, we also offer cat sitting in the client’s home!

dog walking

Anything & Everything About Dog Walking!

white Labrador retriever on the green grass

white Labrador retriever on the green grass

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 info@whiskersandleo.com.


Spring Tips for Your Pup!

white Labrador retriever on the green grass

Spring is in the air!  Just some quick reminders because we know you love your dog, and we do too!

(1) Sticks are a NO-NO!  Have your dog play with a frisbee or tennis ball instead.  Sticks can splinter, and can cause choking and severe injuries to your pup!

(2) Before getting new spring plants, check THIS SITE out to make sure you are not poisoning your pup!

(3) Use pet-friendly products for spring cleaning!  Make sure your products are dog-safe, and also keep them in a cabinet your dog cannot get to- you never know!

(4) Start flea and tick prevention if you haven’t already!

(5) Watch for signs of seasonal allergies.  Some dogs develop allergies to common seasonal plants, and most dogs react with skin problems.  Talk to your vet professional regarding any symptoms your dog may be experiencing.



Get A Real Pet Sitter!! Don’t be Tricked by a So-Called Pet Sitter.

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:

  1. Is the pet sitter insured and bonded?
  2. Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history?
  3. Does the pet sitter provide client references?
  4. Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?
  5. Is the pet sitter a Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid?
  6. Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International?
  7. Does the pet sitter have proper backups in place, in case of an emergency?
  8. Does the pet sitter use a professional scheduling tool, and/or a GPS check in/out service for extra peace of mind?

Make it Your Mission, To Get Your Pet In Top Shape This Year!

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!


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).


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!



Does Your Dog Walk You?

dogpullThe first rule in teaching your dog NOT to pull, is to never allow him to pull. If you are inconsistent, your dog will test you and continue to try pulling since it pays off for him sometimes!

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:


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!


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).

dog nopull

Good luck! It is worth the effort, because once your dog learns not to pull, you can have relaxing walks side by side! 🙂

What You Should Know When Deciding Between a Dog Walker & Day Care Facility…..

  • In regards to training, most reputable trainers will say that a day care facility is not an ideal option when you are practicing obedience training with your dog.  Since most facilities have a poor staff-to-dog ratio, correcting bad behavior is not on the top of the list.  These facilities can reinforce undesirable behaviors in your dog. In addition, at a facility your dog can pick up bad habits from other dogs such as barking, soiling indoors, and overbearing issues.
  • The chances of your dog becoming injured are far less with a dog walker.  During a dog walk, the dog is on a leash, and closely monitored.  In a day care facility, the dogs are off-leash and things can get out of hand real fast because again of the poor staff–to-dog ratio.  Accidents can happen easier in this type of situation even with the most well-meaning people, and sometimes these accidents can have lasting negative affects on your pup.
  • Day care facilities are not ideal when housebreaking your dog.  In fact your dog will often continue to eliminate indoors while at a facility.  Dogs are best housebroken in their own homes with consistent, realistically spaced out walks that are appropriate for life stage.
  • The likelihood of your dog getting sick increases drastically at a day care facility.  In addition, most facilities do not insure the dogs while they are in their care; so if your dog gets sick or hurt at the facility, you are paying the bill.  With most dog walking companies, the dogs are insured, and the company will cover your expenses.  But of course, make sure you ask about their insurance!
  • Dog walking is also more appropriate for addressing separation anxiety.  It is best to deal with these issues by teaching and then supporting your dog to be at east at home by himself.  If needed, a trainer or behaviorist can help.  There are many methods for supporting your dog through separation anxiety; however, sending your dog away to day care will not address this use, just mask it.
  • If you are looking to further socialize your dog, dogs love to walk in packs, which can be accomplished with a reputable dog walking company.  For safety purposes, the company should not walk more than 2-3 dogs at once, and this way your dog gets personalized attention and training.
  • Regarding your dog, there are 2 types of exercise: physical and mental.  Some dogs at day care facilities do not get enough of either, or both!  With a dog walker, you know your dog is walking (or running!) while he is out.  As for mental exercise, on a leashed walk, your dog is getting the mental stimulation that he needs – i.e. leash training whereas the walker is making sure your dog is walking behind or beside him for the duration of the walk.  In addition, your walker can reinforce other commands your dog is learning, such as leave it, wait, stay, heal etc.  At day care facilities, this one-on-one walking and attention doesn’t exist.
  • Some facilities provide limited access to their clients.  This is two-fold.  Some facilities prohibit dog owners from visiting their pet at any time, with or without advance notice.  And some prohibit you to tour the entire facility and observe play before signing up your dog.  The other side of this is that some facilities “close” during part of the day, and at night, so you are not allowed access to pick up your dog at these times.  Also, some facilities, are closed for holidays, meaning if you come home on that day and want to pick up your dog, you cannot, and have to wait for the next day, and pay for your dog to stay there that night.

Tip For Tuesday 5/15/12: Do Dogs Sweat?

TIP FOR TUESDAY 5/15:  Do Dogs Sweat?
A dog’s skin is different from human skin. While they do sweat, they do so in much smaller quantities than we do. Most of their perspiration occurs through their paw pads, and it’s not enough to greatly change their body temperature.
The main way dogs cool themselves is by panting and breathing. Have you ever felt a dog’s breath as it panted? It’s much warmer than you might expect. This is because a dog’s tongue and the lining of their lungs are the primary locations where body heat is transferred to the air. Many people believe that a dog’s tongue contains sweat glands, but this is not true.
Dogs also dissipate heat by dilating (expanding) blood vessels in their face and ears. This helps to cool the dog’s blood by causing it to flow closer to the surface of the skin. Put together, these 3 methods of temperature regulation aren’t extremely efficient. A dog’s body can be easily overwhelmed by heat, often causing the dog to suffer from heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke.
Excessive play on a hot day can lead to overheating (hyperthermia) and eventually to heat stroke. A dog that is overheated will seem sluggish or confused. His gums and tongue may appear bright red, and he will be panting hard. The dog may vomit, collapse, have a seizure or go into a coma.
It is crucial to never, ever let your dog get this overheated. Constantly offer him a supply of fresh water, and take frequent breaks from playing in hot weather. Make sure that he always has a shady and cool place to relax, and never leave him alone in a vehicle on a warm day.

The Food Transition- From Puppy to Adult Food

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!

  • Loose Stool or Diarrhea – Make sure your puppy’s food does not have oils added to it. Also, consider a food that is used for food allergies. And don’t give your puppy or dog scraps from the dinner table!
  • Constipation – Make sure your puppy’s food does have oils added to it. Also, the food should have a high fiber content, and should not be highly processed.  Also make sure your puppy is getting enough exercise!
  • Stool Eating – There are many reasons for stool eating and diet is one. Poor nutrition can lead to this so up the grade of food if this is a problem.  Puppies may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency and they eat feces to restore this balance.  You can check out some pet supplements, like Nuvet (www.nuvet.com; order code: 46654).  Also, could be the result of over feeding. If a puppy is over-fed he doesn’t properly digest his food, therefore his feces will still smell like the food he just ate! Make sure you feed your puppy or dog twice a day, instead of once, that he gets plenty of exercise, and you could also try to put a tablespoon of pineapple in your puppy’s food, because it is suppose to taste really bad after it comes out the other end.
  • Skin Allergy – This is usually caused by a food allergy if diet is indeed the culprit. Try a food made specifically for this such as the duck and sweet potato mix.  You can also try supplements- see Nuvet above.
  • Hyperactivity – Puppies who become more hyper on a new food probably need a little more protein. Try a high protein food but watch for weight gain.  Also, make sure that sugar and other food chemicals are not present in your puppy or dog’s food.  In addition, your dog might need more exercise!
  • Personality Changes – Dogs’ moods are affected by diet just as ours are. Too much sugar or a food allergy can cause a sharp shift in a dog’s aggression or irritability. Make sure there are no additives or preservatives in your puppy’s food which can be a hidden cause.

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:

  1. Run your fingertips against the direction of the animal’s coat without applying pressure. If you can feel his ribs, your pet may be underweight. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs:
  2. Run your fingertips in the direction of the coat, this time applying light pressure. If you can feel the ribs easily, your animal is at a healthy weight. If there is a layer of fat covering the animal’s ribs, this may be an indication that the dog or cat 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.

Leash Training Hints

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!