DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest on Instagram – Enter Today!

Last week on Dog Tails, we shared 10 homemade dog Halloween costume ideas for you to try. We also just launched our very own DogWatch Instagram (@DogWatchFence) to share our best photos of DogWatch dogs and their people. Why not combine the two for a special DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest on Instagram!

DogWatch Instagram Halloween Contest

We want to see how all of our DogWatch pups and their people celebrate the spookiest night of the year. Starting today, share your best photo of your dog in his or her costume on Instagram using the hashtag #DogWatchHalloween. (Cat photos are welcome too.) Please also include your dog’s name and breed. The DogWatch team will select their favorites, and share the photos here on Dog Tails. The first place winner will receive a gift bag including DogWatch apparel and some presents for the winning pet.

The contest runs through Monday, November 3, 2014. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 right here on Dog Tails. We look forward to seeing your dogs in their costumes!

Remember, don’t forget to tag your photos with #DogWatchHalloween. And follow us on Instagram (@dogwatchfence) for more great pet photos all year ’round.

 

DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest Rules

  1. The contest will run from Saturday, October 25 through Monday, November 3, 2014. The winning photos will be determined by the DogWatch team. Criteria for judging includes creativity, photo composition and quality, attitude of the dog and number of likes and comments on Instagram.
  2. The winning photos will be shared on the Dog Tails blog. The first place winner will receive a gift bag including DogWatch apparel and some presents for the winning pet.
  3. DogWatch employees, dealers and their families are not eligible. (Sorry!)

If you have any questions about the contest, please email us. Now get those cameras out, costumes on, and say cheese!

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Posted in Halloween

Howl-O-Ween: 10 Homemade Halloween Dog Costume Ideas for Beginners to Experts

There’s a lot of love about Halloween – spooky decorations, costumes, pumpkin carving and of course, candy. But why should humans have all the fun? Dog costumes are bigger than ever! For proof, just check out the growing selection at your local pet store. And they are not just for Halloween night – pet costume contests are everywhere this Halloween, both in person and online. Want to join the fun, but can’t come up with any ideas? We’ve found 10 great do-it-yourself options.

Quick and Easy

Charlie BrownSo you want to make your own costume this year, but you don’t have the time (or talent) to build an elaborate getup. Why not try an easy Charlie Brown costume? Great for dogs of all sizes, this project is quick, inexpensive and easy for your dog to wear. All you need is a yellow t-shirt (infant size for small dogs, youth or adult for larger breeds) and a black marker. Draw an outline of Charlie’s famous zig-zag design around the width of the shirt, about a third of the way up from the bottom hem. Then fill it in with the marker, place your dog’s head and arms into the t-shirt and you’re done! You might try using a pipe cleaner (or yarn?) to make Charlie Brown’s signature forehead curl, for the added touch.

Another fun design that is easy to make is the Hostess Cupcake. The quick version is similar to the Charlie Brown costume – replace the yellow t-shirt with a brown one, trace the white frosting swirl along the front lengthwise and fill it in with white t-shirt paint (available at most craft stores). For a more fitted version of the cupcake costume, check out this tutorial (it does require sewing).

Grapes Dog CostumeIf you want to be the talk of neighborhood without spending all weekend at the sewing machine, you can make your dog into an adorable bunch of grapes. All you need is a purple t-shirt, purple balloons and something to attach the balloons to the shirt (tape, glue, zip ties, etc.). Bonus points for leaves on the collar or a headband stem, as shown on Mr. Pork Chops the French bulldog. Remember, keep the real grapes away, as they are toxic to dogs if ingested.

Man’s Best Friend

If you’re going to go homemade this year, why not join in the fun yourself? There are plenty of creative costume ideas that bring together dogs and their people.

Ever been told your dog is a big as a horse? Make it literal by turning your dog into a horse this Halloween. This costume can be as simple as attaching a cowboy toy to a dog harness, or as elaborate as creating your own saddle, mane and tiny jockey out of fabric. Little ones can join in too – perhaps your little cowgirl needs a horse to walk alongside her while she trick-or-treats? Just make sure the “horse” stays away from all that Halloween candy!

Dog Ewok CostumesMovie fans will love recreating the famous bicycle scene from E.T. this Halloween. This eye-catching costume (click and scroll down to #30) involves a bike with a basket, a blanket, a red hoodie and (crucially) a dog willing to sit still long enough to take the picture!

How about the always popular Star Wars films? Lhasa apsos, shih tzus, Brussels griffons, pugs and Pomeranians make excellent Ewoks, the small, teddy bear-like creatures that appeared in The Return of the Jedi. To make an Ewok to walk alongside your Princess Leia or Han Solo costume, all you need is a brown fabric hood and your dog’s natural good looks! (See two adorable examples at right.) Or maybe your dog has the wise face (and ears) of Yoda?

Little Dogs, Big Personalities

Smaller dogs make excellent costume models, as many are already used to wearing sweaters, bows and harnesses. (No offense to the proudly un-clothed small dogs out there!) Martha Stewart, herself a proud parent to two French bulldogs Francesca and Sharkey, shares a detailed tutorial for sewing your own Doggie Dinosaur costume. This fearsomely cute outfit is perfect a small dog with a big attitude!

DogWatch dog Lucy, a Chihuahua-pug mix, is one such pup. This year, she’s going as an Oreo® cookie, which was made in a few hours using an old t-shirt and supplies purchased at a craft store for about $15. The instructions are shown below.

Oreo® Cookie Dog Costume

Oreo cookie dog costumeYou’ll Need:

  • One large or two small cans of black spray paint
  • Two circles of equal size – preferably foam but cardboard might work. The diameter of the circle should be no longer than the length between your dog’s front and back legs.
  • Two strips of adhesive Velcro®
  • An old white t-shirt (one that fits snugly or that you can cut to fit)
  • Measuring tape or a ruler

 Instructions:

  1. With your dog standing up, measure the distance between your dog’s front and back legs. This will be the maximum diameter of your circles.
  2. Purchase foam circles at a craft store or cut out circles from a heavy cardboard box.
  3. Go outside to use the spray paint, and paint the two circles on both sides. Make sure you are wearing old clothes and set down paper towels or plastic to protect your lawn or sidewalk.
  4. Let the paint dry for a least 24 hours.
  5. Print out or draw the Oreo pattern on a piece of paper. Cut the paper into a circle just slightly smaller than the ones you just painted.
  6. Tape or glue the Oreo pattern to your (dry) foam or cardboard circles.
  7. As needed, cut the t-shirt to fit your dog.
  8. Place adhesive Velcro on the back of the circles and on the t-shirt, so that the circles rest comfortably at the dog’s sides in between her legs. (The Velcro will allow you to attach and remove the cookie circles so that the dog can walk freely and more comfortably in between photo-ops.)
  9. Put the t-shirt on your dog and attach the Oreo cookies to the cream filling (the t-shirt), and you’re done!

Big Dog D-I-Y

Lest they feel left out, big dog owners can also make costumes for their dogs so that they can join the fun without getting in the way of their dog’s active nature. This Business Dog costume recycles an old dress shirt into a dapper new look for this handsome boxer.

Perhaps the most memorable dog costume of the year so far is this fantastically terrifying Giant Spider costume. Watch this hilarious video and get into the spooky spirit! Expert crafters can try to recreate this costume at home for their own dog, or follow Martha Stewart’s steps to create a cuddlier version.

Check your local pet stores or online listings for local events, and if you try these ideas or any other dog costumes this Halloween, we’d love to see them! Share your dog’s costume on our Facebook page, or via Twitter or Instagram (@dogwatchfence). Don’t forget to have fun and have a very happy Howl-o-ween!

Image Credits:
Charlie Brown from Peanuts Wiki
Bunch of grapes by Jeremy C. Fox, Boston.com

Ewoks photo from Buzzfeed
Oreo Dog by Jaclyn Mosher, DogWatch

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Posted in Halloween

How to Get Rid of Your Dog’s Fleas – and Keep Them Away!

Fleas. Even saying the word makes us itch. These tiny creatures can make your pet miserable, and in turn make you miserable. Plus, once they latch on to your pet and make a home in your house, they are very hard to get rid of. Bottom line, fleas are a pain. Here are some tips to help you avoid this pain and avoid flea infestations in the future.

Dogue de Bordeaux puppy itchingPREVENT

Getting rid of fleas on your pet and in your house can be a long, challenging and expensive process – so why not avoid them all together? There are several widely-available flea prevention products that you can use to protect your pet from fleas.

Topical gels such as Frontline® Plus, Advantage® II, K9 Advantix® II, Sentry® FipoGuard® Plus and more can be found at your veterinarian’s office or local pet store, and are applied in between the pet’s shoulder blades, so that the pet won’t lick it off. The product then seeps into the pet’s oil glands under his skin, and is distributed throughout his hair. If properly applied, these products should kill all fleas on the dog within two days, and the dog will remain protected from infestation for 30 days. Frontline, Advantix and Sentry also work on ticks.

Other flea control products include prescription flea prevention pills (available from your vet), and some over-the-counter options like CapStar, which can kill adult fleas within 30 minutes. This is good for a quick-fix when the dog has fleas but is not a substitute for monthly prevention treatments. Flea collars, which slowly release some of the same chemicals used in the topical gels, are another cost-effective option that can last for 5-8 months.

Before choosing a flea prevention product, we encourage you to talk to your vet about what is best for your pet. Most flea prevention products are not recommended for puppies under 8 weeks – be sure to check the minimum age on the back of the packaging before purchasing and using any product. Also, products containing permethrin (including K9 Advantix II) can be fatal to cats if ingested, and should be used with caution in households with cats. For more information about the active ingredients in flea prevention products, check out this article from Doctors Foster and Smith, an online pet store.

CLEAN

Anti-flea topical gels, pills and collars are powerful prevention tools, but what if you are already seeing fleas on your pet or in your home? Things to look for: Is your pet itching more than usual? Are you seeing flea dust (tiny black specks of dirt) left behind when you pet gets up from a nap? Are you noticing worms in your dog’s stool? All these things are signs of a flea infestation. In that case, we advise you to clean, then clean again . . . and maybe again!

First, bathe your pet using flea shampoo, available at most pet stores. If you don’t have any on hand, you can combine white vinegar, water and dish soap to make this popular homemade flea shampoo recipe from Dogster (see their post for more instructions). Use the shampoo to kill any adult fleas on the pet, and comb the pet’s fur in the bath to capture any remaining fleas. You may need to repeat this several times until the fleas are all removed from your dog and home. In between baths, bring out the flea comb again, and search for fleas in your pet’s fur (hot spots are the head and rear). Keep a bowl of soapy water nearby, and dunk all fleas you capture on the comb into the water. They will not survive in the water long, and can be quickly disposed of after you’re done.

Upon first site of fleas on the dog or in the home, vacuum all areas that the pets frequent, especially flea-friendly areas like couches, rugs and other napping spots. The goal is to vacuum up eggs, larvae (worm-like stage before flea form), pupae (cocoon stage after larvae and before fleas—also the toughest to kill), and the fleas themselves. Before vacuuming, put several broken-up mothballs into the cylinder of the vacuum or in the vacuum bag to help destroy anything that is sucked up.

When vacuuming, be sure to get as many surfaces as possible, including crevices of furniture, under furniture, rugs, and along baseboards; basically, vacuum anywhere the vacuum can reach. When you are done vacuuming once, do it all over again, and maybe even a third time. When finished, seal the vacuum bag or remnants that are in the cylinder in a plastic bag. If you have a bagless vacuum, wash out the cylinder with soap and water after use. This will further help destroy the pests and ensure they don’t escape from the bag or cylinder to re-infest your home or trashcan.

In addition to vacuuming, don’t forget to wash all the areas that the dog or cat frequents. This includes, but is not limited to, dog beds, sheets, cushions, pillows, comforters, blankets, etc. Basically, you will be doing quite a bit of laundry.

Finally, once the initial clean-up is complete, use a home flea-eradication product like a fogger or a spray to get rid of any remaining eggs, larvae, pupae or fleas. Outside the home, check your yard for damp, shady spots where there may be flea nests. Eliminate the environment, if possible, by cutting back brush, picking up debris, etc. At the very least, use the same spray you used inside to help cut down the population. Professional pest removal services can also be very effective; while the cost will be significantly greater that do-it-yourself solutions, it may be worth it in the case of severe home infestations.

If you are still seeing fleas on your dog, you will need to repeat these steps again until all traces of the fleas are gone. Due to the life cycle of the flea and the amount of eggs produced (see video below), you may have to repeat the process for a couple of weeks.

MONITOR

In addition to being proactive and keeping things clean, be sure to keep a close eye on your pet throughout the flea season. Flea activity is strongly influenced by humidity and other weather conditions, meaning that flea season varies depending on geography. To find out when fleas are most active in your area, check out this map and zip code tool on The Weather Channel’s website.

Throughout flea season, it is important to check your dog regularly for fleas. Also keep an eye out for more serious potential reactions to fleas from your pet. If you are seeing generalized hair loss, scabs and excessive itching, your pet may be having an allergic reaction. If your pet has pale gums, has a cold body temperature and is generally listless, it may be parasitic anemia. Both conditions are serious (especially for young animals), and any affected pet should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.

Fleas are tough creatures – the key to getting rid of them is to be tougher than they are. Be vigilant, be proactive and be knowledgeable. With these tools in your arsenal, you can win the battle against those tiny, tricky bugs!

Did we miss anything? Share your own flea prevention tips and tales on this blog, or on our Facebook page.

Flea life cycle video from Pet Health Network.

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Posted in Dog Healthcare

Stop the Digging! Suggestions for your Digging Dog

Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a dog that digs. Whether your dog loves to cover herself in mud or mulch or dig grave-size holes in your backyard, we have some suggestions for you. Here are a few tips that we hope will help.

If your dog is a digger, the first thing to do is to try to figure out why the dog is digging. Is he looking for a cool spot to chill out when it is hot? If so, you may want to create a cool sanctuary in a spot where he cannot dig. When it is hot out, leave plenty of drinking water for him or perhaps even a shallow kiddie pool in the shade where he can cool-off (better wet than holes under the ferns!)

Is he trying to get at critters that may be just beneath the surface of the yard (moles, chipmunks, etc)? If so, then the critters need to go. For that, you may need to consider using live traps or a pest removal service. Or is he just bored? If so, then he may need more exercise, new toys, or a playmate to share the yard. Digging may just be part of what your dog does with his excess energy. More walks, runs, or trips to the dog park can work wonders with certain unwanted behaviors, including digging.

In addition to removing or minimizing the reasons to dig, there are also ways to create ‘off-limits’ areas and to train your dog that digging is not acceptable behavior.

If enjoying a good roll in your flower beds and freshly mulched landscaping are a delight for your pup and a disaster for your yard, DogWatch can help. A Hidden Fence can be used for more than just creating a perimeter boundary where pets can play safely in the yard. The Hidden Fence can also be used to create protected ‘off-limits’ areas where your pets are not allowed to play, such as gardens, shrubbery and sand boxes. It is also a good way to keep pets away from pools and other areas they may not be welcome. Installation is clean and simple and can be done in conjunction with a perimeter Hidden Fence or on its own. Find your local DogWatch dealer at www.dogwatch.com and call them for a free in-yard estimate.


If the digging problem is at random spots throughout your yard, a Remote Trainer may be a helpful training tool. A Remote Trainer is a collar for your dog that delivers an audible sound, a vibration, or a static correction which you initiate from a hand-held transmitter (about the size of a cell phone.) When the dog begins digging, you send a signal to the collar. This distracts the dog from the behavior. Some dogs respond to just a sound or a vibration, other dogs may need the static correction to distract them. If this ‘annoying’ signal is repeated whenever the dog digs, the dog will learn that digging is an unacceptable behavior. Remote Trainers can also be used to help your dog learn basic training commands. You can learn more about Remote Trainers at www.bigleash.com.

We hope these suggestions will help you and your digging dog live together in peace and harmony. And remember, dogs have a natural instinct to dig for a multitude of reasons. Don’t begrudge them a little mud and mess from time-to-time. They are just doing what they are meant to do!

 

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Posted in Challenges, Dog Behaviors, Dog Training

National Dog Day!

The DogWatch team celebrates National Dog Day with extra treats and walks for our office dogs. National Dog Day is an unofficial holiday that is celebrating its 10th year. Dog lovers don’t need anything official to celebrate their beloved pups, right? Visit the sponsors of National Dog Day  to find ideas for how you can celebrate. With over 60,000 YouTube dog videos, it’s hard to choose the right one for a day like today. However, this one expresses how most dog owners feel about their dogs, and we’re sure you do, too!

 

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Posted in New & Noteworthy

The Do’s and Don’ts of Potty Training Your Puppy

It is not a particularly pleasant experience to walk into a room to find that your puppy has had “an accident” in the middle of the floor. This is especially true for the first time puppy parents. And let’s face it, losing our temper and being angry is often our first reaction. What do you do? How do you train your dog to do his “business” outside? Before we answer those questions, here is a list of “Do’s” and “Do not’s” on how to help the process go a little smoother:

When accidents happen, please DO NOT:
Yell at your dog or swat your dog’s rear end. The accident may have happened long before you walked into the room and chances are he has already forgotten what he did. Not to mention, you could injure your dog.
Rub their nose in it physically. Not only is this action pretty disgusting and cruel, it will do nothing to teach your dog proper “potty training” etiquette.
When accidents happen, please DO:

  • Stay calm and take a deep breath.
  • Be patient and remember that he is just a baby.
  • Remember, your puppy really needed to “go” and doesn’t know what to do unless you show him what you expect of him.

This video will get you started.

 

Two-Step Learning Process
Not only do you want your puppy to learn to do his “business” outside, but you also want him to let you know when “nature calls”. These are two processes going on simultaneously and you need to work on both of them.

Going outside versus inside. When your puppy has an accident in the house, get a paper towel and either soak up or scoop up the mess. Before you do anything with it, leave it on the floor and bring your puppy to the scene of the crime. Let him or her smell the area and in a firm voice say, “NO.” Next, take the paper towel with its contents outside in an area you want your puppy to “go,” lay it on the ground and let him smell the contents once again. This time praise him and maybe even give a treat. What you are doing is letting him know that inside is a bad place to go “potty” but outside is a good place. Repeat this process until the puppy is consistently going “potty” outside. Be sure to reward with treats when he goes outside on his own.

Teaching your puppy to let you know when it needs to “go.” Head to your local craft store to find a little bell and tie a string to it. Next, tie the string to the handle of the door you are most likely to use when letting your dog out. Make sure it is at nose level to your puppy. Once this is set up you are ready to start. Every time you take your puppy outside hit the bell first or hit the bell with your puppy’s paw. This is creating a conditioned response and showing your puppy that when he needs to “go”, if he rings the bell, the door will open. Be vigilant. If your puppy hits the bell, even if it is just playing, immediately take him outside. The more consistent you are with opening the door upon the bell ringing, the faster your puppy will pick up on this trick and use it consistently.

  • Things to remember
  • Your puppy is just a baby and doesn’t know what to do yet.
  • Take your puppy out as often as possible, especially after eating or drinking.
  • Be consistent and patient.
  • Keep your puppy confined to a limited space inside in the beginning, preferably on tile or linoleum.
  • You have a darling puppy. Enjoy him!  If you get frustrated, head out for a walk to work off your aggravations and soak up the attention you most certainly will get from your adorable bundle of joy.

This process could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, but with consistency and patience, your dog will soon be potty trained.  Good luck!

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Posted in Challenges, Dog Behaviors, Dog Training, Puppies

How to Identify and Get Rid of Your Dog’s Ticks

Ticks can be an unavoidable part of the summer months for many dogs and their owners. The staff at DogWatch Hidden Fences has a lot of experience with ticks, both from our customers and our own dogs. Here is how to safely identify and remove them.

Does my dog have ticks?

Ticks, the tiny, eight-legged menace to your dog, have the potential to transmit Lyme and other diseases to both humans and animals. Here’s how to know if your dog has them.  Check for ticks should be part of your daily routine especially if you live near wooded areas or are camping.  Simply rub your hands along your dog’s body feeling for bumps and separate the fur to look for the tiny bugs.  Be sure to check not only the torso, but also inside and behind your dog’s ears, face, neck, behind the legs and between their toes.

How do I remove a tick if I find one?

We hope your dog is delightfully tick-free this summer, but if he’s not, here’s what to do:

  • Find a helper who can gently hold your dog while you do the extraction.
  • With tweezers (not your fingers), grasp the tick as closely to your dog’s skin as possible, to ensure that you’re grasping the tick’s head as well as its body.
  • Pull out the tick in a straight motion. Do not try to twist it out!
  • If you missed any larger pieces, try to get those with the tweezers.  Do not dig for smaller pieces as those should work themselves out naturally.
  • Place the removed tick in a small baggie or jar with a bit of rubbing alcohol.  This will kill the tick. Save the tick in case your dog shows signs of sickness later; the tick may help the vet identify the problem later.
  • Clean the area with antiseptic spray or cream.
  • Clean your tweezers with rubbing alcohol or an open flame.
  • Wash your hands even if gloves were used.
  • Reward your pup with a treat for being a brave and cooperative patient.

Tick Myths and Important Do NOT’s
There are many myths associated with ticks that need to be ignored.  Once you find a tick, remove it as quickly as possible.
According to the Center for Disease Control, using petroleum jelly, a hot match, liquid soap or alcohol will NOT cause the tick to back out. In fact, those methods may cause the tick to burrow deeper.DogWatch Hidden Fences Tick Advice

  • Flushing ticks down the toilet will not kill them and just introduces them into our water supply.  Submersion in alcohol is the best way to kill a tick.
  • Using your fingers to remove  ticks will increase the chance the head may remain and risks spreading disease to you. This goes for trying to crush the tick with your fingers as well. Tweezers are always your best option.

Tick Facts

  • Ticks may be as small as the head of a pin, so check pets carefully.
  • Tick heads rarely stay in.
  • The wound caused by the tick may last for up to a week.
  • Hydrocortisone spray can help to soothe any discomfort.
  • The wound may scar, making a small bald spot on your pup.

Tick Prevention

  • Use vet-recommended flea and tick treatments on your dog regularly.
  • Keep your grass cut and weeds to a minimum.
  • Stay on paths (if possible) when hiking or walking in a wooded area with your dog.
  • If ticks are found on a human family member, be sure to check your dog and any other people in the house.

Signs of Illness

If you do find and successfully remove a tick from your dog, unfortunately you’re not quite yet out of danger.  Watch your dog over the next few weeks, for possible joint soreness, rashes, lameness, fever and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, grab that tick you retrieved and head to your vet.  Ticks are an unavoidable nuisance that shouldn’t keep you and your dog from enjoying the great outdoors!  DogWatch Hidden Fences wishes you lots of great outdoor adventures with your dog!

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Posted in Dog Care, Dog Grooming, Summer

The DogWatch Hidden Fence Earns a 2014 Consumers Digest ‘Best Buy’

The Best Buy Seal and other licensed materials are registered certification marks and trademarks of Consumers Digest Communications, LLC, used under license. For award information, visit ConsumersDigest.com.

We are pleased to announce that in the 2014 Consumers Digest review of Pet-Containment products, the DogWatch Hidden Fence earned the prestigious Best Buy (CDBB) designation. Consumers Digest conducts product reviews in the Pet-Containment category every 2 to 3 years, and the DogWatch Hidden Fence has consistently received the ‘Best Buy’ designation in each review since 1998.  In the 2014 review, the DogWatch Hidden Fence is the only Pet-Containment brand recognized in the Premium category!

‘Best Buys’ in underground Pet-Containment systems are selected based on several criteria, including performance, features, warranty, and the company’s reputation for quality. The Premium Selection designation denotes the DogWatch Hidden Fence is a full-featured product that delivers excellent performance.

The DogWatch Hidden Fence system includes a combination of unique features not found in other containment systems. Some of the features noted in the review include a heavier wire gauge (which provides a more secure boundary), the ability to fine tune correction levels, the AutoMemory® feature, which automatically adjusts correction levels and the TattleTale®  feature which lets you know if your pet challenged the boundary. It is also noted that the DogWatch system is suitable for dogs of all sizes, even as small as 3 pounds! Read the full review at: 2014 DogWatch Hidden Fence Review

What is a ‘Best Buy’ and Why Does It Matter?
“A Consumers Digest Best Buy is a product that delivers exceptional value for a given amount of money. That doesn’t mean that it’s simply the least expensive product in its category. A Consumers Digest Best Buy is one that merits special attention from consumers based on its combination of eight criteria: performance, ease of use, features, quality of construction, warranty, efficiency, styling, and maintenance and service requirements.”  (www.consumersdigest.com/best-buy-process)

The Consumers Digest Best Buy Designation is the result of a rigorous process. The CDBB products merit special attention from consumers based on a combination of: performance, ease of use, features, quality of construction, warranty, efficiency, styling, and maintenance and service requirements. The process of determining the CDBB follows these steps.
Basic Criteria Ensure that the product meets four basic criteria: national availability in retail stores or via an established online retailer; a national dealer network/service organization to support repairs/service; a manufacturer of established reputation (unless it’s part of a genuinely new technology); availability for at least 6 months after the publication date of Consumers Digest’s Best Buy recommendation.

Independent Evaluation Conduct a review of independent evaluation and testing; reports from government agencies and others; interviews of retailers and service technicians; consumer surveys; and evaluations from other entities. Consumers Digest staff sample numerous models to include firsthand experience in the overall evaluation of various models in a category.

Grouping into Categories The select few products that make it through the process are grouped by price range and are typically classified into three categories: [P] Premium selection, which denotes that a product is full-featured and delivers excellent performance and is priced accordingly; [M] Midrange selection, which indicates that a product has many popular features and good performance at a price below the top of the line for the category; and [E] Economy selection, which means that a product delivers satisfactory performance via basic features at an advantageous price for cost-conscious consumers.

Adhering to a Standardized Process Every product-category evaluation is spearheaded by Consumers Digest senior editors. On each product evaluation, at least one expert evaluator or writer is hired to collaborate. The process above is adhered to, and this rigorous process yields the most appropriate products for each category.

Congratulations DogWatch Hidden Fence for being designated a Consumers Digest Best Buy!

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Posted in DogWatch Dealer Chat

Co-Branding: Adding a New Brand to Grow Your Existing Brand

DogWatch DogThe Benefits of Combining DogWatch® and an Outdoor Recreation Business

In an article posted by Entrepreneur magazine, Jeff Elgin notes that the traditional methods of business expansion (e.g., selling more to the same customers, expanding geographically) are being supplanted by what he refers to as Synergistic Expansion. Elgin defines this as leveraging a business’ existing infrastructure, customers and staff to support growth that, “though not directly related to the current business….has some synergies.”

In a 2009 article Grow Your Business by Addition with Co-Branding, published by the US Business Journal, Todd Beckman refers to this type of expansion as Co- Branding. Beckman goes on to say:

“The key to successful brand add-ons is compatibility in both concept and operations. If you currently have a business, adding a new brand with compatible products and services allows you to increase the revenue you are currently receiving from your existing customers even as you increase your customer base through the attraction of the new brand.”

A successful example of co-branding can be found among outdoor recreational retailers. Two such companies, Backyard Playworld in Omaha, Nebraska & Adventures Outback in Austin, Texas actively promote & install DogWatch Hidden Fences in addition to marketing residential playgrounds, basketball hoops & trampolines.

Jon Simons of Backyard Playworld, who also does business as DogWatch of Omaha, reports that his play-set customers routinely inquire about and purchase DogWatch Fences. Conversely, pet-owners with a DogWatch Fence often come back to purchase recreation products.

Tim Carter, owner of Adventures Outback and DogWatch of Austin-San Antonio puts it this way: “I’m already in the customer’s back yard for recreational installations, if a dog comes running out the door I’ve just found another DogWatch customer!” Simons and Carter maintain separate websites for their outdoor recreation and dog fence businesses. Both sites display prominent links to the other complimentary business.

DogWatch has Dealer opportunities available in many markets that would make a great addition to an Outdoor Recreation retailer or other similar business. Boise, Idaho; Evansville, Indiana; Reno-Tahoe, Nevada & Little Rock, Arkansas are a just few of the places where we’re looking. A complete list of available markets can be viewed at http://www.dogwatch.com/become-a-dealer/become-a-dealer-overview

For more information on Co-Branding with DogWatch, contact Dennis Manitsas at 800-793-3436 x 618 or dennis.manitsas@dogwatch.com.

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Posted in DogWatch Dealer Chat, New & Noteworthy

2 Steps to a Great 4th of July For Your Dog

Fireworks

Fireworks and thunderstorms can be stressful for any dog, but did you know that more than 20% of dogs have severe adverse reactions to fireworks? Check out our blog article about dogs and fireworks to learn how you can help prepare your pup for the 4th. Read more…

Food

We all know that chocolate and grapes are bad for dogs… but do you know what else your pup should avoid?  The 4th of July is prime time for picnics, so this would be a good time to review the list. And remember to keep an eye on Fido around the grill and anywhere food is set out. Read more…

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Posted in Holidays, Summer