How to Take Great Pet Photographs

Photo of dog with tongue out looking at the cameraYou know your dog is the best dog out there, right? His smiles are the widest, he perks up adorably and his head tilts – they’re something else. But how do you prove it to the world? Photos, of course. But when it comes to capturing your pet’s unique looks and spirit on camera, it’s easier said than done.

The DogWatch team knows how you feel (and we have plenty of blurry pics to prove it). To help you out, we have consulted the experts. Below are their tips to take that elusive, perfect pet photo.

Have Patience

Professional pet photographer Amanda Jones says it best. “As a pet owner, you’ve already got the patience of a saint. Make sure to use those powers when taking photos.”

Remember that it takes time to nab that perfect pic.  Be ready to try different poses, locations and times of day, and don’t get frustrated if it takes 40 (or 140) snaps to nab the right one. And remember, you can always clean up imperfections using photo editing software on your computer or a photo editing app like Instagram.

Professional photographer Brittany Croft agrees that patience and flexibility are key to capturing great pet photos. Check out her video, where she shares her expertise and lets you go behind the scenes of a photo shoot with two Labrador Retrievers.

Don’t Go at It Alone

Consider recruiting a friend or family member to help you during your pet’s “photo shoot.” This extra person can help you out by dangling or squeaking a toy to get your pet’s attention, or dispensing treats to get the pet in the specific pose you want. Just remember to choose wisely. If your dog barks or your cat hides when strangers come around, then that stranger won’t be of much help to you, and may even make your job harder.

Try Things from Your Pet’s Level

Ziggy the LabradoodleDon’t just stick to the traditional “aim the camera down while the dog is looking up” photos. Get down on your knees or stomach so that the camera is on your pet’s level. Professional pet photographer Jim Datfield likes this approach: “Animals are very pure and honest in their responses, so it’s lovely to capture some pictures at that level.” Plus, everyone loves a great close-up shot of two sparkling eyes and a big wet nose!

To get some inspiration, watch this behind-the-scenes videos of professional photographer Peter Kaskons capturing great images at a recent DogWatch photo shoot. Strike a pose, doggies!

Avoid “Matchy-Matchy Syndrome”

Choosing the proper background for your pet’s photo is also important. Chuck De Laney, dean of the New York Institute of Photography in Manhattan, suggests selecting a background color that is complementary to your pet’s coloring, but not the same. For example, white cats look great perched on a blue pillow, black dogs are striking against a bright, light-colored sky, and golden retrievers shine when photographed in a green lawn. (For proof, just check out the dogs on our homepage!) Remember, your pet should stand out, not blend in!

Natural Light is Best

Most experts agree that outdoor shoots often produce the best pet pictures. Indoor photos often require a flash, which can mean red-eye and in some cases, a frightened subject. Furthermore, your pet is often at her most playful and adorable when enjoying the outdoors. Natural light helps you capture all of your pet’s beautiful features. On brighter Close up of gray tabby cat wearing a DogWatch collardays, look for shady place to take your pictures, to avoid the washout look of photos taken in direct sunlight.

Outdoor photos are not always feasible. For example, you may have an indoor cat. In that case, try taking his or her photo by a window, on a screened-in porch or any other place inside where there is plenty of natural light. That way, you can take advantage of the best light, and produce some wonderful shots!

Focus on What Makes Them Special

Finally, in your quest for the perfect photograph, don’t forget your ultimate goal – capturing what makes your pet so unique and wonderful. Sure, your white dog may always look a little muddy in the spring or your energetic puppy may prefer being photographed rolling around in the grass instead of sitting serenely on the front steps. That fun-loving spirit is why we love them, so focus on capturing that feeling, rather than any particular pose. The best pet photographs are the ones that tell you something about the animal’s personality, and those are the ones you’ll treasure.

Did we miss anything? Share you pet photography tips and favorite pet photos here, or via Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #DogWatchHiddenFences. Now, snap away!

Dog photo, right: “All Tongue” by David Goehring is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Dog photo, left: Ziggy the Labradoodle by Peter Kaskons for DogWatch

Cat photo: DogWatch Hidden Fences of Santa Barbara Facebook page.

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Posted in Challenges, Dog Behaviors

Winter Weather Must-Reads

Spring is around the corner, but unfortunately, nobody told winter. The bitterly cold and very snowy winter of 2015 shows no signs of lessening it’s icy grip in many parts of the country. As a result, we interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to bring you a list of cold weather-themed blog posts to help you prepare for and make the best of the rest of winter. Stay warm out there, and don’t worry, spring is indeed coming…one of these days!

DogWatch dog in snow5 Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs
DogWatch’s hometown of Natick, MA has seen almost 100 inches of snow accumulation this winter. If you also experience frigid temps where you live, it’s important to make sure your dog is prepared. To help, DogWatch has put together a list of 5 cold weather safety tips for dog owners, including protecting your dog’s vulnerable paws and adding indoor playtime to make up for shorter outdoor walks.

Remi the Puggle wrapped in a blanketSnowed In? Try These 7 Indoor Games for Dogs!
Speaking of indoor playtime, our dogs have had a lot of it this January and February! Is your dog bored with his old toys? Are you sick of fetch and running out of other ideas? Then you’re in luck! Check out these 7 fun indoor games to play with your dog, nearly all of which you can play with items you already have lying around at home. Ready, set, PLAY!

dog pawDog Paw Care 101
A dog’s paws are particularly sensitive to cold weather, as well as the salt and other de-icers that are spread all over the roads and sidewalks after its snows. This blog post is all about keeping those paws healthy, so he can run, dig, shake, slide and jump safely and comfortably all year ’round!

two sled dogsSled Dogs: A Study in Endurance, Fidelity, and Intelligence
While many dogs blanch at the prospect of a long trek in the ice and snow, there’s one category of dogs that approaches it with sheer, unbridled eagerness and joy: sled dogs. Learn more about the history of dog sledding – both as a form of transport and sport – and the remarkable dogs who perform the job, even in extreme conditions. You’ll even learn the origin of the word “mush”!

Golden Retriever puppy in the snowBONUS: The Cure for the Winter Blues
So you’re sick and tired of shoveling your driveway, your walkway, your porch, your roof…basically, you’re done with snow. Not so fast. Have you seen this video of a Golden Retriever puppy experiencing his first snow? Click here for an instant pick-me-up – it’s basically coffee for your winter-weary soul. Thanks puppy for helping us all see the joy in this chilly, messy and often stressful season.

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Posted in Winter

Best in Show at the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Goes to…

Miss P wins Best in Show

Congratulations to Miss P, a 15-inch Beagle, who beat over 2,700 dogs to win the top prize – Best in Show – at the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Miss P, a four year old female from British Columbia, Canada, is only the second Beagle to win Best in Show at Westminster. She is the grandniece of Uno, the other Beagle Best in Show, who won in 2008.

Despite her 19 Best in Show wins at other events, Miss P (whose full name is “Ch Tashtins Lookin For Trouble”) was not the favorite going into the final round. Many predicted that Matisse, a Portuguese Water Dog who is related to one of President Obama’s two Porties, Sunny, would win Best in Show, having made it to the finals three years in a row and winning a remarkable 238 Best in Show titles throughout his illustrious career. Miss P also triumphed over the crowd favorite, a magnificently coiffed Old English Sheepdog nicknamed Swagger. Rounding out the finalists were: Rocket the Shih Tzu owned by heiress Patricia Hearst, Flame the Standard Poodle (always a popular breed at dog shows), Liz the English Springer Spaniel named after Elizabeth Taylor and Charlie the Skye Terrier who took the Reserve Best in Show title.

Now that she’s won, it’s time for Miss P’s victory lap. She visited the Today show this morning (see clip below), along with her handler Will Alexander and David Frei, the announcer of last night’s show. Miss P’s Westminster Best in Show will be her last, as Alexander announced, for the pup is retiring after this year’s show. “She’s going to go be a mother soon. And that will be a great thing for the breed and for her,” he said.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Congratulations to Miss P, and to all of the dogs who competed this year!

Photo from Westminster Kennel Club Facebook Page

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Posted in Dog Breeds/Traits

2015 DogWatch Dealer Meeting

2015 Dealer Meeting PosterDogWatch dealers from 31 states and 5 countries met in Texas this past weekend, February 6-8, 2015, for the 21st Annual DogWatch Dealer Meeting. The 2015 Dealer Meeting was a special one as it coincides with DogWatch’s 25th Anniversary. More than 200 Dealers, employees and family members attended the meeting at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort in Lost Pines, TX, 30 minutes east of Austin.

The annual conference features workshops, general sessions and information tables, and it provides a wonderful opportunity for Dealers to brush up on the latest technology and learn about new DogWatch products, including the new SideWalker leash trainer and the BarkCollar. The meeting also gives Dealers the chance to catch up with each other and share ways that they are managing their business in order to bring the best pet containment solutions to their communities.

2015 DogWatch Dealer Meeting Awards DinnerOn Saturday night, attendees got together to celebrate the past year’s successes and reflect on the past 25 years of DogWatch history. After dinner, DogWatch President Fred King and Vice President of Sales Dennis Manitsas presented awards to our top achieving DogWatch Dealers of 2014. Here is a list of the award winners. Congratulations to all!

2014 DogWatch Dealer Awards

2014 Dealers of the Year

Dealer of the Year 2014
Martha and David Rodenberry, DogWatch of Central Georgia
Shannon and Mark Matthews, DogWatch of the Gulf Coast
Jamie Young, Palmetto DogWatch

Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year 2014
2014 is First Full Year of Operations
Brittany & Josh Sexton, DogWatch of Central Kentucky
Paula & David Lillis, DogWatch of Greater Kansas City

Service Excellence Award

Bob Walker, DogWatch of Southeastern Pennsylvania

2014 Top Dog Awards

Top Dog Award 2014

  1. Samantha and Ward Chapman, DogFence UK
  2. Sue and Bruce Thompson, C No Pet Fence
  3. Shannon and Brent Potvin, DogWatch of Metro Atlanta
  4. William Coden, Fido’s Fences
  5. Leddy Smith, DogWatch Systems, Inc.
  6. Shawn Bader, DogWatch by Petworks
  7. Liz and Jack Goetz, DogWatch of Greater Pittsburgh
  8. Sue Marks and Mark Bridschge, DogWatch of Central Connecticut
  9. Curt Little, DogWatch of Central Indiana
  10. Lisa White, William White and James Schaperkotter, DogWatch of St. Louis

2014 Sales Achievement Awards

Sales Achievement 2014Outstanding Growth (over 100%)

Ken Schnell, DogWatch of Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan
Todd Vande Noord, DogWatch by Dog Pro Kennel

50% to 70% Growth

Jason Gares, DogWatch of South Jersey
Lynette and Michael Leonard, DogWatch of Metro Detroit
Veronica and Rob Matthews, DogWatch of Muskoka
Glen Moragne, DogWatch Hidden Fences of Portland (Oregon)
Linda Smyth, DogWatch of Eastern Connecticut
David Van Kirk, DogWatch of Puget Sound

40%+ to 49% Growth

Tim Carter, DogWatch of Austin and San Antonio
Betsy Kemble, DogWatch of the Ocean State
Mike Reisenberg, DogWatch of the Shenandoah Valley

30% to 39% Growth

Dave Berry, DogWatch of Greater Portland (Maine)
Chris McKeone, DogWatch of Buffalo-Niagara
Mary Jo Mentink, DogWatch of Northern Kentucky
Patti and Ron Pace, DogWatch Northwest
Jenny and George Richardson, DogWatch of Southwest Virginia
Jon Simons, DogWatch of Omaha
Robin and Tim Tomkunas, Jax DogWatch

20% to 29% Growth

Ryan Betz, DogWatch of Nashville
Beth and Travis Canty, DogWatch of the Triangle
Robert Carter, DogWatch of Kentuckiana
Christine and Troy Dykes, DogWatch of the Bay Area
Tom Gray, DogWatch of South Florida
Eugene Harwell, DogWatch of North Alabama
Sue Marks and Mark Bridschge, DogWatch of Central Connecticut
Jan van de Kamp, DogWatch – Holland
Emily and Pat West, DogWatch of Columbus

15% to 19% Growth

Shawn Bader, DogWatch by Petworks
Mary and Chuck Bednarczyk, DogWatch by Top Dog Fence
Jason Bouchea, DogWatch of Northeast Wisconsin
Shane Brzezinski, DogWatch of Central Wisconsin
Melisha and Chris Dolan, DogWatch of Gainesville-Ocala
Buck Horton, DogWatch of Central Alabama
David LeCrone, DogWatch by Dog Fence Maryland
Curt Little, DogWatch of Central Indiana
Shannon and Mark Matthews, DogWatch of the Gulf Coast
Joseph Newton, DogWatch of Eastern Georgia
Fiona and Vance Plummer, Canine Containment Company (Australia)
Martha and David Roddenberry, DogWatch of Central Georgia
Rachael and Derrick Woiderski, DogWatch by K9 Keeper

DogWatch 25 Year Logo

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Posted in DogWatch Dealer Chat

DogWatch 25th Anniversary Celebration

DogWatch 25th AnniversaryDogWatch, maker of the safest and most reliable hidden pet fence in the business, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015. In 1990, Fred King, DogWatch’s Founder and President, had a problem – his family needed to keep their feisty pet cat Slapshot and her claws away from the new furniture in their living room. After looking at the options available, King saw an intriguing business opportunity, and set out to make a quality, dependable and technologically advanced pet containment solution to meet the growing needs of pet owners like himself. “25 years later,” says King, “DogWatch has grown into an international industry leader, and our Hidden Fence systems have given nearly 500,000 dogs the freedom to play outdoors safely.”

Consumer Digest Best Buy Logo“DogWatch products have stood out from the pack thanks to DogWatch’s focus on safety, reliability and innovation,” says King. DogWatch Hidden Fences have consistently received the Consumer DigestBest Buy‘ designation in each review of Pet-Containment products since 1998. In the 2014 Consumer Digest review, the DogWatch Hidden Fence was the only Pet-Containment brand recognized in the Premium category.

DogWatch Hidden Fence dog ZoeDogWatch Hidden Fence systems are the first and only hidden dog fences to use an FM frequency, a safer, more secure signal than AM. Our patented digital SafeLink® FM signal helps to protect pets from unintentional corrections that can happen on the AM frequency (such as from garage door openers, televisions, baby monitors, etc.). In addition to FM, DogWatch systems include other unique safety features such as AutoMemory® and FastReact®. The DogWatch system also uses a ‘Distance-based’ correction trigger rather than a ‘Time-based’ correction trigger. This provides a more reliable and consistent boundary for training your pet – no surprises, no confusion. DogWatch Hidden Fences also have the longest battery life available.

In addition to our Outdoor Hidden Fences, DogWatch also has Indoor Boundary Systems, to effectively keep your pet off the couch, out of the trash, off of your kitchen counters or – as in the case of Fred King’s pet cat Slapshot – away from new furniture. First launched in mid-1990s, our indoor product line has expanded to include portable, battery-operated boundaries and an indoor unit, smaller than a pack of cards, that can protect trouble spots like kitchen counters and trash bins.

BigLeash S-15 Remote Trainer

The BigLeash S-15 Remote Trainer

Several years ago, DogWatch introduced The BigLeash Remote Trainer. The BigLeash helps users teach and reinforce training commands such as ‘come’, ‘stay’, and ‘heel; and it can also be used to help correct your dog’s unwanted behaviors. The BigLeash is the only remote trainer with two-way communication between the hand-held transmitter and the dog’s receiver collar. This important feature helps you stay safely connected with your dog via the visual range indicator on the LCD screen that shows you if your dog is going out of range. In 2014, both the original BigLeash S-15 and the BigLeash V-10 Vibration Trainer received a Family Choice Award recognizing each of them as one of the “best in Pet products and resources.”

BarkCollar and SideWalker

The BarkCollar and The SideWalker – DogWatch’s newest training products!

Just in time for our 25th Anniversary year, DogWatch has developed two new training products, The SideWalker Leash Trainer and The BarkCollar. The SideWalker is a unique product that provides a gentle training method to help create a more enjoyable on-leash walking experience. The ‘self-teaching’ design assists in reinforcing appropriate leash training and eliminating excessive pulling. The BarkCollar is designed to change your dogs barking behavior. If your dog barks excessively, the BarkCollar delivers a vibration or a stimulation at a level that is just enough to distract your dog and break the barking cycle. Both products are now available for purchase from your local DogWatch Dealer.

DogWatch of Santa Barbara family

DogWatch of Santa Barbara Dealer Kirk Nielsen and family

DogWatch’s innovative products could not have “unleashed” hundreds of thousands of dogs since 1990 without our passionate, hard-working DogWatch Dealers. Our Hidden Fences are sold and installed only by locally owned Dealerships (not franchises or regional distributors). Our local Dealers own their own business, so they are committed to high quality and outstanding service. Beginning with a small network of traditional fence dealers, our numbers have risen to 237 Dealers, with Dealers in 46 states and 17 countries. (Hawaii and other nice locations are still available, if you are interested in joining our team!) Six of our original DogWatch Dealers have been with us since the beginning, while others have passed down their business to another generation of the family.

“Our Dealers have grown as we have grown,” says Dennis Manitsas, Vice President of Sales at DogWatch. “In the past 25 years, we’ve seen pet containment systems go from esoteric products to mainstream solutions for pet households everywhere.” Manitsas points to DogWatch’s Dealer support ethos as a key factor in the growth and quality of DogWatch’s Dealer Network. “We’re a high commitment service provider and supplier. DogWatch’s Dealer support enables our Dealers to be successful entrepreneurs.”

Dealer Meeting 2014

DogWatch Dealers at the 2014 Dealer Meeting

This weekend, from Friday, February 6 to Sunday, February 8, 2015, a record number of DogWatch Dealers and employees will gather near Austin, TX for the 2015 Dealer Meeting. The annual conference provides a wonderful opportunity for Dealers to learn more about DogWatch’s new products, spend time catching up with each other, and share ideas to help spark their business to the next level and bring the best pet containment solutions to their communities.

The 2015 Dealer Meeting will be an opportunity for DogWatch to celebrate this milestone anniversary and reflect on our past 25 years in the pet industry. We look forward to helping many more dogs enjoy the freedom that DogWatch Hidden Fences, Indoor Boundaries and Training Products can provide. “We are committed to providing smart products for today’s pets,” says King, “and tomorrow’s pets, too.”

DogWatch Then & Now

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Posted in DogWatch Dealer Chat, New & Noteworthy

Super Bowl XLIX: How Will Your Dog Celebrate the Big Game?

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here, and we can’t wait for the big game to start! By now, you’ve probably decided where you’ll watch the event, what delicious munchies you’ll prepare, and which team you’ll be cheering on. But what about your dog? How will he or she participate in the big day? The DogWatch team has some fun ideas for incorporating your best friend into the year’s biggest sports spectacle.

Patriots dog versus Seahawks dog

The Patriots dog is our own DogWatch office dog Nellie, an Australian Shepherd. She loves the Pats and would love to meet Tom Brady’s Pit Bull Lua. The Seahawks dog is Perry, a mixed-breed rescue dog from Woodinville, WA and a new DogWatch Hidden Fence customer. DogWatch of Puget Sound Dealer David Van Kirk says Perry is a “a Hawks fan, for sure…12th dog!”

Dress the Part - On Sunday, many loyal fans will be sporting their best Seahawks’ green and blue or Patriots’ red, white and blue. Why not let your dog show his team spirit, too? It can’t hurt your team’s chances, and it will certainly bring a smile to the face of all your guests. Of course, before debuting the look, make sure your dog is comfortable in his jersey or her cheerleader outfit. If he or she prefers a subtler statement, stick with a colorful bandanna or collar. Be creative, have fun and be sure to capture it all on camera, like this video of Munchkin the Shih Tzu!

Make Your Own Doggie Snacks – Super Bowl parties are notorious for delicious food, most of which is not suitable for dogs. Keep your dog away from the wings, guacamole and brownies by preparing treats just for her! We found these fun recipes for Super Bowl-themed treats, include mini football cookies and “Puptato Skins”- why not try it out this weekend?

Shiba Inu playing with a footballHalf Time is Play Time – Despite its many charms, the Super Bowl is still a very long TV event. Why not take a quick break from the couch during half time? If the weather is nice, take your dog for walk or practice your spiral in the backyard with a game of fetch (deflated toy footballs are optional). If the weather does not cooperate (or you’re still shoveling your way out of this week’s big storm in the Northeast), bring out the dog toys or try some fun indoor games to get the whole party involved. Your dog will love the attention and activity, and you’ll have a chance to burn off some of those tasty Super Bowl treats.

Watch the Puppy Bowl - One of our favorite Super Bowl traditions actually takes place before the game. At 3PM on Sunday, Animal Planet airs Puppy Bowl XI. Quite possibly the most adorable television program of the year, the Puppy Bowl places pups of different breeds into a mini football field and lets them play as only puppies can. It’s irresistible, and it’s for a good cause, too. All of the puppies are rescue dogs, and their great spirit will no doubt inspire more people to adopt a dog in need. Even Patriots and Seahawks fans will agree that the Puppy Bowl is a great show!

Have fun this Sunday, and may the best team win!

Perry’s photo is by David Van Kirk of DogWatch of Puget Sound.

Photo Credit, Bottom: “taro and his big red squeaky football 3″ by Taro the Shiba Inu is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo has been cropped.

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Posted in Dog Treats, Rescue Dogs

Snowed In? Try These 7 Indoor Games for Dogs!

Remi the Puggle bundles upAt DogWatch HQ in Natick, Massachusetts, we are preparing for a major – and possibly historic – blizzard. In addition to stocking our fridges and getting our shovels ready, we are also preparing our pets for the storm. We’ve already covered cold weather safety tips and paw care on the blog. Today, we’ve collected some fun indoor games for your dog, to help him channel his pent-up energy and exercise his brain and body even when he’s snowed in. Ready, set, PLAY!

Find the Food

There are lots of creative ways to make mealtime into an entertaining, engaging game on snowy days. Kong toys are a popular option – simply put your dog’s food inside, add peanut butter on top to make it harder to get (and more enticing) and hand it over! Puzzle toys are another great choice, including Nina Ottoson’s puzzle toys, which we featured in our Holiday Gift Guide. Or your could make your own food puzzle toy using things you already have in your house! Break up dinner in small portions, hide it around the home, and ask your dog to search for it. Or try one of these fun options.

“Pick a Cup, Any Cup”

Muffin Tin Game

Doggie Basketball

Teach your dog to channel his favorite NBA player with this fun game of hoops we found on Pawnation. All you need to a laundry basket and your pup’s favorite ball. With your dog watching, drop the ball in the basket and say “drop.” After doing this a number of times, hand the ball to the dog and say “drop.” If he drops it in the basket, reward with lots of praise and a treat. This may take a while to master, but on a snow day, you’ve got plenty of time, right?

Back to School

Just because the kids are home from school doesn’t mean the learning has to stop! A snow day is a perfect time to brush up on your dog’s training. Does she need a refresher course in “stay” or “wait” or “place”? Have you always wanted to teach her “roll over” or “paw”? Try it out today, and recruit the family to get involved. Your dog will love the attention and activity, and you’ll be proud to show off her new trick!

Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek another game to get the whole family involved. One person asks the dog to “stay” while the other shows the dog treats in her hand and then hides in another room. Then ask the dog to find her, and give her the treats as a reward when she does! If it’s just you who’s able to play, then you can play hide and seek by hiding your dog’s toys or treats throughout the house and asking him to find them. This game acts as both physical and mental exercise for your pup, and it can be a lot of fun for kids, too. Just make sure you tell your dog when the game the over – you don’t want her chasing you throughout the house everyday.

Treadmill Time

Did you know that dogs can be trained to run on treadmills? These running machines can be a great substitute for walks when the weather is bad. As Cesar Milan advises on his site, it is important to start slow, and make sure your dog is accustomed to the movement before increasing speed or using the treadmill regularly. Also, to ensure safety, you’ll need to monitor your dog at all times when he’s on the treadmill. With these guidelines in mind, try it out, just like Munchkin the Teddy Bear Dog!

Spa Day

Ok, so it’s not so much a game as an activity to pass the time. Turn your snow day into a spa day! Now’s the time for that much-needed bath (not too cold, of course!) and brushing. Doesn’t sound like fun? Start slow, add treats and praise, and minimize other distractions, and your dog can learn to love this quiet pampering. Here’s a great article with tips to help your dog get used to (and yes, maybe even look forward to) grooming.

Plain Ol’ Fetch

Hey, if it works, why mess with it? Chances are your pup loves to fetch, so indulge him on these indoor-only days. Break it up with some tug-of-war and you’ve got a fun exercise to get you both moving, and lift your spirits on these gloomy days. And while you’re at it, why not capture this fun on video? Here’s Biz enjoying some late afternoon fetch in the hallways of DogWatch HQ.

Enjoy these games, and to everyone in the path of Winter Storm Juno, stay safe!

Photo Credit: Remi the Puggle by Elyse Blanda

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Posted in Dog Care, Winter

Dog Paw Care 101

dog pawA dog’s paws are tough – they run over rocks, skate along the ice, stand up to the summer heat and dig through sand and dirt. These paw pads see a lot during a dog’s lifetime, so do your canine best buddy a favor. Check out our seasonal guide to paw health, and help him keep those feet running safely and comfortably all year ’round!


The hazards of winter can be dangerous to your pup’s paws. Dogs’ paws are naturally thick and leathery and offer some protection against hard surfaces and the elements, but all the salt, sand, snow, ice, and de-icing chemicals can cause dry paws, cracking, irritation, injury, and even infection.

If your dog spends a lot of time in the snow or walks on sidewalks or streets that see a lot of salt and de-icers, then consider preparing your dog’s paws before going outside in the winter months. Cloth or rubber dog booties are a great way to protect your dog’s paws and prevent slipping on ice. There are many options and sizes available. Putting the booties on the dog can be a challenge, so here’s a helpful how-to video. However, not all dogs will tolerate booties. If you need a laugh, check out this video of dogs trying them on for the first time.

In that case, another option is a paw wax like Musher’s Secret, which was developed for sledding dogs. Paw wax forms a protective coating over the paws and protects them from direct contact with harmful surfaces or chemicals. If you can’t find a dog-specific paw wax, try Bag Balm or even Vaseline.

Good grooming habits can also help maintain good paw health in the winter. On his website, Cesar Milan advises to trim the hair around the paws of long-coated dogs to make sure that none of the hair comes into contact with the ground. This proper grooming will “prevent ice balls from forming between and around the paw pads which can be painful and result in trauma. It also makes it easier to apply the [paw wax] to the pads.”

It is also important to clean up after winter walks. When you get back inside, make sure to thoroughly clean off your dog’s paws with a towel and warm water to remove all traces of paw wax, debris or chemicals she may have picked up on your walk. We suggest keeping a towel by the door to help establish a routine. This quick cleaning will keep your dog from licking her paws and potentially getting sick from de-icing chemicals. Plus, it helps keep the floors clean, too!


Summer may be snow-free, but it still poses some potential hazards to a dog’s paws. Summer means trips to the beach and lots of outdoor time (yay!), but it can also mean hot sand and even hotter asphalt. A good rule of thumb is – would you stand here barefoot for more than a few seconds? If not, then avoid walking on those hot surfaces with your dog. Morning or early evening walks are best to avoiding peak sun hours.

Dogs also spend a lot more time outside in the summer months, so summer is a good time to check your dog’s paws for any signs of injury, such as cracks, blisters or punctures. Make it a habit after long walks, and always examine them if you dog is licking his paws more than usual, or is limping. Minor cracks or cuts in the paws can be treated with a wash in antibacterial soap and a soothing balm or a dog-specific pad moisturizer (just don’t use your own moisturizer – according to the ASPCA it can soften the paws and lead to injury). Any severe burns or deep cuts should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

FoxtailIf your dog spends a lot of time in open fields, keep an eye out for foxtails, a weed that can log itself in the skin between paw pads. If this happens, the foxtail should be removed immediately, for it is irritating and painful for the dog, and can lead to infection if untreated. Try to remove it gently with tweezers, but if the area is red or swollen, bring the dog to the vet as soon as possible. The vet can also check your dog thoroughly for more foxtails, as they have been known to lodge in dogs’ ears, eyes and noses.

Here’s to a year a good health, strong paws and lots of outdoor fun for your dog!

Photo Credit
Hordeum murinum disarticulating spikelet cluster.” Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Posted in Dog Care, Dog Healthcare, Summer, Winter

DogWatch Hidden Fences – Solutions for Senior, Deaf or Sensitive Dogs and Cats

Old Golden Retriever and cat in backyardHere at DogWatch, we know that no two pets are exactly alike. That’s why our DogWatch receiver collar settings can be individually adjusted to suit the breed, size, age and temperament of each dog and/or cat on the system. But what if your dog is hearing impaired, and can’t hear the audible warning signal? Or what if your pet has sensitive skin or a short coat, and needs a lower profile contact post? DogWatch has solutions!

DogWatch Hidden Fence Vibration Receiver Collar

DogWatch outdoor boundary graphicAll DogWatch systems feature a warning signal, which alerts your dog that he is approaching the boundary. Our standard collars use an audible alert. While this option works for most pets, it is not the best option for pets who are hard-of-hearing or deaf. That’s why we created a Vibration Receiver Collar. The collar’s vibration warning is perfect for older and/or hearing-impaired dogs. Your pet can quickly learn to stop at the warning signal before he reaches the hidden wire, just like his hearing counterparts.

Ryan Betz of DogWatch of Nashville recently worked with a deaf Labrador Retriever using the Vibration Receiver Collar, and the training was a success. His takeaway? ”Vibration works!”

The Vibration Receiver Collar also gives users the flexibility to set the warning signal to vibration and the boundary signal to an appropriate correction level or to set both signals to vibration-only. Your DogWatch Dealer will work with you to find the optimal settings to keep your dog safe and happy in his yard.

To learn more about training and caring for a deaf dog, here’s an informative article from to answer some of your questions.

GentleFit™ Contact Posts

GentleFit(TM) Contact PostsOptional GentleFit™ Contact Posts are easy on your dog’s skin. They are smooth like our standard stainless steel contact posts to minimize friction and low profile for a comfortable Pet-Friendly™ fit. These unique contact posts are great for dogs with short coats or sensitive skin.

GentleFit Contact Posts are also a “purrfect” fit for cats using a DogWatch Hidden Fence system. The comfortable fit can help ease her into the habit of wearing a containment collar. . . because dogs shouldn’t be the only ones having fun!

If you have any questions about DogWatch Hidden Fences, the Vibration Receiver Collar or GentleFit Contact Posts, please contact your local dealer or DogWatch Customer Service at or 800-793-3436, Monday-Friday, 9AM to 5PM EST.

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Posted in Challenges, Products

In Case You Missed It: DogTails’ Most Popular Posts of 2014

Happy New Year, DogTails readers! 2014 was a busy year for us on the blog. We covered popular news stories about dogs, brought you training and health tips for every season, tackled some of the challenges of life with puppy, and (hopefully) made you laugh with photos and videos of dogs being dogs. 2015 looks to an even more exiting year for us at DogWatch, but before we get there, we wanted to review some of our favorite blog posts from the past year. Happy reading!

Chihuahua puppy on carpetThe Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training Your Puppy
There’s a lot of love about puppies, but an accident on the new sofa is not one of those things. Housebreaking your puppy can be a challenge, and if you’ve never done it, it’s hard to know where to start. To help, we compiled this collection of do’s and don’ts of potty training your puppy, including a helpful video and some advice to keep your puppy happy and yourself sane during the process.

DogWatch dog in snow5 Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs
We are in the middle of a very cold week at DogWatch HQ in Massachusetts. If you also experience frigid winters, it’s important to make sure your dog is prepared for the chilly days ahead. To help, DogWatch has put together a list of 5 cold weather safety tips for dog owners, including protecting your dog’s vulnerable paws and adding indoor playtime to make up for shorter outdoor walks.

Spaniel mom and puppyWhat Is Your Dog’s Lifespan?
Back in February, we shared this chart listing the average lifespan of over 100 dog breeds. Lifespan varies from breed to breed, and depends on other variables too, such as genetic disease, weight, gender and whether the dog is spayed or neutered. Female dogs live longer than males by an average of one and a half years, while spaying and neutering can give a dog protection from certain kinds of cancer.

Beagle puppy jumping“Down, Boy, Don’t Jump On Our Guests!”
Hosting guests at your home can be stressful for dogs and dog owners. We compiled these training tips to help you teach your dog the proper behavior and ensure that you, your guests and your dog all enjoy the visit. Included is a video featuring Dog Trainer Martin Deeley, in which he demonstrates how to train a dog to go their place (for example, a dog bed). The “place” command is a great way to teach your dog not to jump on guest, but instead wait for the right time to say a calm “hello.”

Lucy in her Oreo cookie costumeHowl-O-Ween: 10 Homemade Halloween Dog Costume Ideas for Beginners to Experts
We had a lot of fun putting together this post on 10 creative homemade dog costumes for Halloween. Our own dogs even got involved, with DogWatch office dog Lucy modeling her Oreo cookie ensemble. Even though next Halloween is a long ways off, it’s always fun to scroll through these suggestions and the accompanying photos of costumed canines!

Now that we have looked back at 2014, let us know if there are any topics you’d like us to cover in 2015.  We’d love your ideas and input!  Thanks!

Photo of Beagle puppy jumping: “A Very Excited Puppy” by Eric Danley. CC2.0.

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Posted in Dog Care, Dog Training