“Down, Boy, Don’t Jump On Our Guests!”

So you’re having a party, and your guests just arrived at the front door. Your dog is so excited to see these new people that he jumps up, gives kisses, wiggles his tail and barks “Hello!” over and over for 10 minutes. Some guests think its adorable, but one is unsure how to respond, another doesn’t want dog kisses and a third is actually afraid of dogs. It would be much easier for everyone if Baxter waited until everyone was settled and then enjoyed snuggles and pets from your willing friends and family. But how do we teach him that the doorway is not for playing?

Beagle Puppy JumpingTeaching your dog to greet you and your guests properly is an important part of dog training for many dog households. It can also be a difficult task, and one that requires time and persistence.

To simplify the process of training your dog to greet guests calmly, Dog Trainer Andrea Arden breaks it down into two parts: managing your dog’s current behavior, and teaching your dog the behavior you want from them. She suggests keeping your dog on a leash when guests arrive to prevent jumping. You can either hold the leash or gently step on it. To teach your dog the proper behavior, she suggests playing the “automatic sit game,” which involves asking your dog to sit and when she does so automatically, saying “yes” and giving her a treat. Your guests can also play this game, and gradually she will learn that sitting nicely (and not jumping) means treats!

Puppies can be especially challenging when it comes to greeting guests. Who doesn’t love a tiny, fluffy puppy jumping up to say hi? The problem is, what happens when a 12-pound puppy grows up to become an 80-pound full-grown dog? The jumpy behavior becomes at lot less endearing and more potentially dangerous. To avoid this problem, Dog Trainer Martin Deeley advises that you “play safe” with your puppy, writing:

Play safe with your pup when guests come around. Maintain control and help him to learn patience and remain calm. A leash and a crate are great tools to use. Puppies need to understand that guests come to visit you and he is there to be greeted when he is invited. Train your guests to not make him the highlight as they arrive but basically to ignore him. No look, no touch, no talk when they first come into your home. Otherwise he will be rewarded for his excitement, jumping, and generally rude greetings.

If he is a dog that cannot help himself even if you put him on the leash, keep him in a crate when people come over, or better still, before they come, wait for him to calm down before allowing him out to socialize. When you do take him out, slip him on a leash and teach him to greet guests politely with a sit.

When he has learned the art of greeting guests, ensure these habits are maintained otherwise your dog may regress and once more learn he can disobey when guests are present. A dog that greets welcome guests nicely and is a delight around the home when guests are present is a dog you will be proud of and your guests will admire. Their smiles and appreciation are his reward and will help him become even better.

Read more at:www.cesarsway.com

In addition to the “automatic sit game” and “play safe” tips, teaching your dog the “place” command is another great way to manage your dog’s greeting behavior. If a dog is trained to place, she will, upon hearing the command, go towards her bed (or another designated “place”) and sit still. Once the dog masters this, you can tell her “go to your place” when the doorbell rings, and she will go there rather than run at the door. Sounds simple enough, but how do you teach this?

In this video below, Martin Deeley explains teaching your dog to place with the BigLeash® Remote Training Collar by DogWatch. The tips Martin provides are useful for both BigLeash users and non-BigLeash users – start slowly, have patience and focus on communicating with your dog.

In the video, Martin works with an an active and inquisitive American Bulldog named Oso. Martin starts by introducing Oso to his place (in this case, a blue place board), and giving him treats when he stands or sits on it. He then walks him back and forth onto the mat, and begins using the place command. Finally, he incorporates the BigLeash slowly to reinforce what he’s learned. Oso loves treats (who doesn’t?), so Martin rewards him with small training treats for a job well done.

To watch more videos of Martin working with the BigLeash Remote Trainer, visit our DogWatch YouTube channel. And for more of Martin’s training tips, visit his website www.floridadogtrainer.com.

With these training tips, you can help your dog learn the proper behavior and ensure that you, your guests and your dog all enjoy the visit. And if you miss those wagging tails and excited greetings, don’t worry, there is still time for that during your dog’s playtime – only now, you won’t have to worry about your dog jumping up on Grandma Ruth or knocking you over with his tail to get to Aunt Jamie!

Photo Credit, Top Right: “A Very Excited Puppy” by Eric Danley. CC2.0.

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Posted in Challenges, Dog Behaviors, Holidays, Puppies

DogWatch’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide – 12 Gift Ideas For Dog Lovers

Christmas is less than two weeks away – and chances are you still have a bit of shopping left to do. Or if you are one of those Christmas Eve shoppers, maybe a lot left to do! Last week, we shared 10 gift ideas for your dog. Today, we present Part Two of our 2014 DogWatch Gift Guide. We’ve found 12 more creative gift ideas, this time focusing on dog lovers. Need a present for a niece that loves taking and sharing pictures of her French Bulldog? How about a gift for your friend who loves teaching tricks to his Border Collie? Or what about your mom, who loves her Corgi so much she gave her your old bedroom? Check out our finds, and cross some gifts off your list!

DogWatch Holiday 2014 Gift Guide for Dog Lovers

Claudia Pearson Bulldog PlateClaudia Pearson Bulldog Plate
Have a friend who’s a dog lover and a foodie? Why not get him or her this striking plate, pretty enough to display and cute enough to charm any party guest. Designed by Brooklyn-based illustrator (and New Yorker contributor) Claudia Pearson, this 9″ square plate features an adorable color design of a French bulldog, complete with fashionable sweater and backpack. Because who doesn’t love a Frenchie, especially one that doubles as a hors d’oeuvres server? Regular $19.99, On Sale for $9.99 Available at West Elm.

Boden Dog Pattern SweaterBoden Dog Pattern Sweater
Buying clothes as gifts is hard, but this cute sweater from British clothier Boden is a safe bet. The pale gray color is chic and timeless, and the whimsical dog print in red and black adds personality to the look. Dress it up with a pencil skirt or dress it down with dark blue jeans, the sweater will be great addition to a dog lovers’ wardrobe. $118, Available at www.bodenusa.com.

Pug Pint GlassesPug Pint Glasses
If you’re looking for a gift for a guy who loves dogs, check out this pair of “Sad Dog” Pug pint glasses we found on Etsy. Designed by Portland, OR artist Amanda Siska, these glasses are the perfect vessel for your friend’s home brew (named after his dog, of course) or his favorite craft beer. Even the most serious fella will smile when he sees that adorable, big-eyed, smushy-faced Pug mug. Set of 2 Pint Glasses $34, Available at Etsy.

Animal Print UmbrellaAnimal Print Umbrella
Rain or shine, most dogs need their daily walks. So we thought a dog-themed umbrella would make a practical and eye-catching gift for dog lovers. This umbrella from Frontgate comes in 7 different breed designs and many bright colors, and it’s sturdy enough for those windy days. There’s even a design for cat lovers! Of course, your cat-loving grandma will have to use it without her beloved cat who, chances are, prefers to stay indoors and dry. $39.50, Available at Frontgate.

Dog Refrigerator MagnetsDog Refrigerator Magnets
Looking for a Secret Santa gift for your office mate? These colorful magnets, designed and made in Park City, UT, come in a variety of breeds and highlight what makes each special and lovable. Examples include the “Einstein” Border Collie magnet (shown at left), perfect for anyone who lives with and loves these fast-thinking herders. Other fun designs include Basset Hound (“Go ahead, I’m all ears”), Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (“kiss. snuggle. repeat.”), Dachshund (“Life is short, so are my legs”), Beagle (“World’s #1 Foodie”) and Labrador Retriever (“I ate it”). These things are so cute, you don’t even need an excuse to buy one (or two)! $5.99 each, Available at Etsy.

Watchdog DoorstopWatchdog Doorstop
This iron terrier doorstop from clothing and home store Anthropologie is probably the heaviest thing on our gift guide, but it’s also one of the most charming. The alert tail and perked ears bring life to a utilitarian object. Wouldn’t you love to see this little guy holding open your door every day? This is a good gift for Terrier lovers, and it’s sturdy enough that their actual terrier can’t wreak it! $24, Available at Anthropologie.

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan OrleanRin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean
Books are always a great gift, because there are so many fantastic options to choose from. A book sure to please dog lovers – as well as fans of American history, cinema and TV history and great non-fiction writing – is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend, written by best-selling author Susan Orlean. Baby boomers may remember the loyal and lovable German Shepherd dog from the 1950s TV series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, but before that, Rin Tin Tin was a real dog, rescued by an American solider named Lee Duncan during WWI. The first Rin Tin Tin went on to star in silent films and become a worldwide celebrity. Orlean tells the story of Rin Tin Tin, Duncan and the legacy they created. It’s an unforgettable story told by one of the best, most engaging non-fiction writers working today. $12.05, Available at Amazon or your local independent bookstore.

DogWatch Indoor Hidden BoundariesDogWatch Indoor Hidden Boundaries
We all love our pets like family, but dogs will be dogs, sometimes at the expense of that new couch or this week’s groceries. DogWatch’s indoor pet containment systems can effectively keep pets off the couch, away from the trash, out of the dining room, and off of the kitchen counters. Our indoor pet fences work wherever you need them, safely, effectively, and discreetly. Plus, our indoor systems work with the same DogWatch receiver collar as our outdoor hidden fences, so it is a great gift for a family who already uses the DogWatch Hidden Fence! Our indoor systems include: the IB-100, a wireless boundary that can protect an area up to 8 feet in diameter and is equipped with a rechargeable battery; the IB-200, which can be used either with a boundary wire to protect a large defined indoor area or wirelessly for greater flexibility to protect smaller areas up to 10 feet in diameter; and the Scoot!®, our smallest transmitter, which uses a boundary wire and can be used to protect small areas such as a piece of furniture or a kitchen counter. Give your friends and family the gift of living comfortably with their pets in their home. For more information, visit our website. To purchase an Indoor Hidden Boundary system, contact your local DogWatch Dealer.

Square Photo PrintsSquare Photo Prints
Do you have a friend or relative who loves to take pictures of their pup on their phone? Encourage them to make these digital images into tangible works of art by purchasing a set of photo prints from Printstud.io. These 4″ x 4″ square photos are printed on beautiful, thick matte cardstock. They are archival quality, so they won’t fade with time like traditional prints, and are water resistant, so they are safe from humidity or accidental spills. And each square is printed with a 3mm white border around your photo, so they are super on-trend. Although initially designed for printing photos from Instagram, these prints work for a wide variety of digital images. Now he can share and display pictures of his beloved dog the old-fashioned way – on paper! $12 for a set of 24 prints, Available at Printstud.io.

“All You Need is Love and a Dog” Print“All You Need is Love and a Dog” Print
The Beatles were almost right when sang “All You Need Is Love.” In our humble opinion, a better motto is “All you need is love & a dog.” Pet-friendly style blog Pretty Fluffy knows this, and they’ve created this gorgeous print just in time for the holidays. This print is one of a collection of prints available for sale on Pretty Fluffy, including “Dogs are a girl’s best friend”, “Crazy dog lady” and “Must Love Dogs.” If you are looking for a cool, stylish home decor gift for a dog-loving lady, look no further. Note: the print is sold without the frame. $35 AUD (Australian dollars) or approximately $29 USD, Available at Pretty Fluffy.

JCrew Girls’ and Boys' Long-Sleeve Snow Dog TeesJ.Crew Girls’ and Boys’ Long-Sleeve Snow Dog Tees
What about the kids, don’t they love dogs too? What to buy them? We like these two long-sleeve tees from J.Crew, featuring fun designs of dogs wearing ski glasses. (The girls’ design is on the left, the boys’ on the right). The tees are also supersoft, so they have a lived-in feel that’s both comfortable and cool. He or she can wear the shirt to the ski slopes, the classroom or at home hanging around with their favorite dog. The only bad thing about them is that they don’t come in adult sizes! Girls’ Tee: $38, Available here. Boys’ Tee: $32.50, Available here. Both from J.Crew.

Kit-Cat ClockKit-Cat Clock
In this season of giving, let’s not forget cats and the people who love them. And what to get the cat person in your life this holiday season? Why, the classic Kit-Cat Clock, that’s what! Created by designer Earl Arnault in a small town in Oregon during the height of the Great Depression in 1932, the Kit-Cat Clock has remained a staple timepiece in American kitchens every since. The cat’s sly smile, dapper bowtie and signature wagging tail have captured many of heart – just ask anyone who grew up in the 1950s, when Kit-Cat Clocks were at the height of their popularity. Sure, it may be almost 2015, but this timeless little tuxedo cat will always be in style. $50 for non-members, $40 for members, Available at MoMA Store.

Click to find out more about any of our suggestions, and feel free to add your own gift ideas in the comments. And from all of us at DogWatch, we wish you (and your pets) a very merry holiday season and a happy and healthy new year!

Posted in Dog Products, Holidays

DogWatch’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide – 10 Gift Ideas For Your Favorite Dog

Like the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of year,” right? While there is a lot of love about the holiday season, it can also be stressful, especially when it comes to finding the perfect gift. DogWatch is here to help with our annual Holiday Gift Guide. Part One of our guide is a list of fun, fluffy and fabulous ideas for the special dog (or cat) in your life. He gives you kisses and cuddles all year for free – why not return the favor?

DogWatch Holiday 2014 Gift Guide for Dogs

Pet Crate End TablePet Crate End Table
Your dog may love her cozy crate, but chances are you find it a bit of an eyesore in the home. Or perhaps you just don’t have room for it, and are constantly shuffling the crate around when company arrives. Why not try a crate that doubles as an attractive end table? Your dog will love being close to you, and you’ll love how well her home blends in to your beautiful den. This crate comes in small and large sizes. (Note: this crate may not be a good fit for puppies who love to chew. Think of it as a graduation present for dogs who’ve learned their good manners!) Small $95, Large $142.50, Available at Brookstone.

Nina Ottosson DogTrubble Wood Puzzle Toy
Swedish designer Nina Ottosson began making puzzle toys for her two Bouvier des Flanders when she found it hard to find the time to play with them and also take care of her two young children. She created toys that kept them active and stimulated their brains as well as their bodies. Nina’s toys are a great way to keep dogs challenged and entertained, and helps them focus their energy away from more destructive “games” like shredding beds and chewing shoes. This puzzle requires the dog to move several blocks around a bendy track with only one opening. Once the dog finds the opening, the block can be lifted off, uncovering the hidden treats! This toy is suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, and is also great for cats! $41, Available at www.shop.nina-ottosson.com.

Molly Mutt Dog Bed DuvetMolly Mutt Dog Bed Duvets
Is your pup’s bed looking stiff, dirty or threadbare? Why not try a bed that is comfy, economical AND eco-friendly? Molly Mutt Dog Duvets are designed to be comfortable, stylish and easy to keep clean. Start with the DIY Kit, which comes with two duvet covers (choose from a variety of fun designs) and a “stuff sack.” Simply fill the stuff sack with old clothes, towels and linens, insert the filled stuff sack into the duvet cover and you’ll have a comfy bed that your dog will love. Why? Because those old clothes smell like you, their favorite buddy. The beds come in various sizes and, yes, cats will love them too. DIY Kit with 2 Duvet Covers $50, Available at www.mollymutt.com.

Designer Floating Dog BowlsDesigner Floating Cat or Small Dog Bowls
Sick of the same old pet bowls with silly fonts and paw prints? Keep it simple with this sleek, handsome, handmade bowl set we found on Etsy. Designed to give bowls a “floating” look, this set features natural stained pine and birch with a high gloss finish and ceramic (dishwasher safe) bowls. It’s clean look that is both modern and timeless. The bowls are a perfect fit for a sleek, modern home, but would also look great in a rustic kitchen. Click here to see more bowls, dog toy bins, and other designs from the artist, who hails from from Marion, IA. Note: these bowls each hold roughly one cup, so they are better suited for small dogs and cats. $27, Available at Etsy.

BigLeash V-10 Vibration Trainer from DogWatchBigLeash® V-10 Vibration Trainer from DogWatch
Rather than toot our own horn, let’s let Mike S. from Columbus, OH tell you why the BigLeash makes a great gift. “My dog is excited when she sees the BigLeash collar and loves to have the collar on because it means she is going to have fun!” The newest addition to the DogWatch family of products, the BigLeash V-10 Vibration Trainer offers 10 vibration levels plus an audible signal that can be used effectively for training and communicating with your dog, especially when he is too distracted or too far way to hear your verbal command. The vibration signal is also a great way to communicate with dogs who are hearing impaired. $189, Available at www.bigleash.com.

Action camera dog harnessAction Camera Dog Harness
Ever seen a cool YouTube video that features a “dog’s point of view” of the dog park or hiking trail and thought, “That would be fun to do on our own!” The Action Camera Dog Harness from Orvis® can help you do that. Strap on the harness, attach your GoPro® camera to it, and bring out your dog’s inner Spielberg. Sure, those mountain biking videos you filmed last year are cool, but Max the Lab’s video of his weekend run at the pond will be even better. The harness comes in four sizes, so there’s one for every dog, from a Yorkie to a Mastiff. Note: the camera is NOT included, so you’ll have to ask Santa for that one. Also, don’t leave it on the ground, unless you want your camera to be stolen by a squirrel and stuck in tree. All sizes $39, Available at Orvis.

Houndz in the 'Hood Fleece BodysuitHoundz in the ‘Hood Breed-Specific Dog Fleece
DogWatch dog Lucy, shown at left, swears by her dog fleece bodysuit to help keep her warm during the cold New England winter. The four-legged outfit is made by New York-based Houndz in the ‘Hood, which makes these bodysuits, sweaters and other cozy apparel specifically for short coated breeds like Greyhounds, Whippets, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Pugs and more. Not only are they arranged by breed, they are also available in different sizes, so you can compare measurements and order the best fitting clothes for your pup. The fleece bodysuits come in indoor and heavy-duty outdoor varieties, and in a range of colors and even some striking plaid prints. Just be warned: you will get a lot of attention when your pup sports these custom threads on her daily walk! $38-$80, prices vary by breed, Available at www.houndzinthehood.com.

iFetchiFetch
You may have seen videos of this device on blogs and YouTube this year – it’s one of the hottest new dog toys out there! Created and sold by a family-run business in Austin, TX, the iFetch started with an idea that then-teenager Grant Hamill had when he struggled to finish his homework one day. The family poodle, Prancer, wanted to keep playing fetch, but Grant had to focus on schoolwork. What if there was a device that the dog could use to keep playing fetch on his own for as long as he wants? The iFetch is just that toy! The iFetch website has a fun training tips page that shows how the product works and how to train your fetch-obsessed pup to use it. We bet Prancer is pretty proud of his buddy’s awesome new invention! Note: the iFetch uses custom small tennis balls, so don’t try to use the ones you have at home. iFetch plus 3 tennis balls $99.95, 5 extra tennis balls $10 Available at iFetch.

Custom Dog TagsCustom Dog Tags from critterbling
Your dog is special, right? Then why does he sport the same old bone-shaped dog ID tag? Another Etsy find, these handmade, custom dog ID tags are fun and useful, featuring a cute message on one side and a name and phone number on the other. Our favorite is “have your people call my people,” which comes in copper and four other metals. Other quirky messages include “Squirrel Patrol” and “Keep calm and call my mom.” The designer, based in Florida, makes each piece to order, carefully stamping each letter or number, then tumbling the tag for several hours to polish, and finally finishing it by hand polishing. Custom doggie bling – perfect for your pampered pooch! $12-$14, prices vary by choice of metal, Available at Etsy.

EZYDog Summit BackpackEZYDog Summit Dog Backpack
Here’s a gift for the nature-loving dog and his two-legged hiking companion. The EZYDog Summit Backpack is comfortable and secure, and allows your dog to carry his own supplies (bowls, food, toys, bags, etc.) just like his people. Now you’ll be able to take longer walks, and there’s even a strap to hold his leash when it’s time for some untethered running. (Hint: our BigLeash Remote or Vibration Trainer is great for off-leash walks!) The backpack is also great for service animals. It comes in red and black (shown at left) and black and charcoal. Here’s to a year of happy hiking! $57-$85, prices vary by size, Available at www.ezydog.com.

Click to find out more about our suggestions, and feel free to add your own gift ideas in the comments! And check back in to DogTails next week – Part Two of our Holiday Gift Guide features gifts for all the dog lovers in your life. Happy Shopping!

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Posted in Dog Products, Holidays

Thanksgiving Feast for Fido: What to Share and What to Avoid

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and folks around the country are preparing for their annual feast to be shared with family and loved ones. Of course, your dog is included among your loved ones. Should he be included in the meal as well?

While we don’t suggest saving a spot at the table for Fido, there are a number of Thanksgiving foods that you can share with your furry family member. DogTails has compiled a list of good and bad Thanksgiving foods for dogs, to help you put together that special bowl for your pup. These tips will also help you keep an eye out for dangerous foods that dogs should NOT eat on Thanksgiving (or any other day). Pay attention to ingredients, keep servings of the “good” people foods small, and don’t leave the food or trash unattended – these are some of the steps to making this a safe and healthy Thanksgiving for your dog!

Good and bad Thanksgiving foods for dogs

Foods you should NEVER feed your dog at Thanksgiving

Turkey Skin or Bones – We some may love the turkey skin, but it is too high in fat and filled with herbs and spices for Fido. Too much fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Cooked bones are even more hazardous, as they can break in the dog’s mouth or throat and cause serious damage. Stick with the dog toys shaped like bones, not the real thing.

illustration of wine and glassesAlcohol - This one should be obvious. We all know how too much alcohol effects people. It takes much less alcohol to have the same effect on dogs. It’s never ok for Fido to drink booze – so keep it far away from him at all times.

Nutmeg and Sage – Both of these ingredients, if consumed in large amounts, can be extremely dangerous to dogs. If you are cooking with this spice or herb, keep them away from the dog. Small amounts of nutmeg can cause stomach upset (so no pumpkin pie for Fido), while large amounts can cause increased heart rate and even seizures. Consuming large quantities of sage will upset the dog’s stomach and could harm the nervous system.

Walnuts, Pecans and Macadamia Nuts – In general, nuts are not good for dogs, as they are often high in fat. Large nuts like walnuts and pecans are hard for dogs to digest, are high in fat, and can cause stomach upset. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and have been known to cause neurological problems.

Onions, Garlic, Scallions and Shallots – Onions contains thiosulphate, which is toxic to dog as it causes damage to red blood cells. Remember, all foods cooked with these (including foods on our “good” list) should not be consumed by your dog.

illustration of grapesGrapes and Raisins – If a dog ingests grapes or raisins, it can damage their kidneys, and even result in kidney failure. Put these on the NEVER list.

Chocolate - This one is well known to dog people. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is harmful for dogs. It contains caffeine and theobromine, which dogs can’t break down and excrete like humans can.

Thanksgiving foods that are OK for your dog (in small quantities, of course!)

Turkey Meat (light only) – As long as it is boneless and skinless, turkey meat is a good lean protein for dogs. Darker meat is higher in fat, so it should be avoided in favor of lighter breast meat.

illustration of pumpkinPumpkin – Pumpkin is a great addition to a dog-friendly Thanksgiving bowl. Packed with fiber, Pumpkin is healthy for dogs and can help with digestion, which could come in handy if your dog accidentally overindulges on the holiday. As always, pure pumpkin is best, and pumpkin pie filling (with added sugars and spices) is not suitable for dogs.

Cranberry Sauce – Cranberries are a safe, healthy fruit for dogs. Cranberry sauce, the traditional side on the Thanksgiving table, is often filled with sugar, so keep Fido’s portions to a minimum.

Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are another great people food for dogs, and one that most of them love to eat! They are also a great source of fiber and vitamins. A good tip is to set aside some cooked sweet potatoes before you add any salt or butter (or marshmallows!) to them, and save those for the dog. They’ll love the spuds so much, they won’t miss the added ingredients.

Mashed or Baked Potatoes – Regular potatoes, while not quite as nutritious as the sweet variety, are also a safe and yummy treat for dogs. Again, set aside your pup’s serving of potatoes before adding butter, garlic, gravy, cheese, etc.

Green Beans – Don’t forget this healthy green vegetable when preparing your dog’s Thanksgiving feast.  Another great source of fiber and vitamins, green beans are also low in calories, so they make a great snack when those puppy dog eyes are calling you. Again, make sure you feed them the unseasoned kind, and not the buttery green bean casserole that Grandma made.

illustration of appleApple Slices – Apples (minus the seeds) are also a great, crunchy treat for dogs. If you have a guest that loves to share with your dog, having a few of these and other dog-safe treats on hand is a great way to keep everyone happy and healthy. Applesauce is also an acceptable treat for dogs, but stick to the unsweetened variety.

If you have any questions about the safety of foods and ingredients for your dog, contact your veterinarian. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving to all – both human and canine!

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Posted in Holidays

Facts About Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus made the news in DogWatch’s home state of Massachusetts in September, when an outbreak of the virus killed 15 dogs in the city of Lowell and infected hundreds more throughout the state. Outbreaks of the virus were also reported recently in Indiana and New Jersey. Parvovirus (parvo for short) is a very contagious infection that affects a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. It is often fatal, especially to young dogs, but it is also easily preventable. Here are some facts about parvo, and some tips to protect your dog from the virus.

Three puppiesHow is parvo spread?

Parvo is spread from one dog to another via direct or indirect contact with an infected dog’s feces. The virus can survive in the environment of an infected dog, meaning a contaminated leash, bowl, kennel, bed or even his owner’s clothing and shoes could potential spread the virus. Humans cannot contract parvo from dogs. Urban areas may see more outbreaks due to the denser population of dogs and the presence of more stray dogs. Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, American Pit Bull Terriers, English Springer Spaniels and German Shepherds are believed to be at increased risk of infection with parvo.

Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of parvo include lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, fever and bloody diarrhea. Colin Parrish, Professor of Virology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and an expert on parvovirus, writes: “If you suspect your dog has parvovirus, take him or her to the veterinarian as quickly as possible. There are diagnostic tests the vet can perform in the clinic using a swab or a fecal sample. If the dog is infected they’ll be able to tell right away, and early supportive treatment will give the best outcomes.” Meanwhile, infected areas of the home will need to cleaned thoroughly with a solution of one part bleach to 32 parts water, in order to disinfect the area.

Even with aggressive treatment, however, parvo can be fatal. This is especially true for young dogs. They have still-developing immune systems that are often not strong enough to fight off the infection.

Prevention

Veterinarian giving dog a vaccineThe best way to avoid infection, long vet hospital stays, high vet bills and possibly the death of a pet is quite simple – vaccination. At 6-8 weeks old, puppies can receive a combination vaccine that protects against parvo and other canine diseases, including canine distemper virus, leptospirosis, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and coronavirus. Four “boosters” are generally recommended every 2-4 weeks until the puppy reaches 16 weeks. After 16 weeks, boosters are typically recommended annually to maintain protection.

If you are unsure whether parvo was included in your dog’s vaccination protocol, consult your veterinarian. And if you are bringing a new dog home, be sure to inquire about their vaccination history and schedule a vet appointment right away to fill in any gaps. For puppies too young for a parvo vaccine, consider keeping them in the home or away from other dogs until they are old enough for the vaccine.

Finally, if you or someone you know is having trouble affording the cost of vaccinations for their dog, consult your local animal shelter or animal hospital. Many organizations offer discounted vaccinations for pets in their community, sponsoring clinics at local vet hospitals, vet schools or in neighborhoods via mobile pet clinics. The Humane Society of the United States has a state-by-state list of these resources. The risk of a parvo outbreak decreases with every vaccinated dog. Keeping your dog protected from parvo not only helps her stay healthy, but also protects the dogs in your community.

Photo Credit, Top Left: “3 puppies from the same litter: Miss Bambie Buttram, Miss Fuzzy Orange, and Miss Rose Alice Lane, without their brother Blue, Resturant [sic], Baja, Mexico” by WonderlaneCC2.0Rescue dog Bambie, far left, contracted parvo as a puppy, but survived thanks to treatment by a veterinarian.

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Posted in Dog Healthcare

5 Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs

Cold weather has officially arrived in many areas of the U.S. this week. Time to pull down the sweaters, put on the gloves and get those shovels ready! Now is also the time 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.

1. Bundle Up

dog wearing a coat and bootiesSure, dogs in sweaters may look silly to some, but doggie outerwear is actually necessary for certain dogs in the fall and winter months. Small dogs, dogs with short coats, and breeds from warmer climates simply do not tolerate the cold as well as larger dogs, dogs with thicker/longer coats, and dogs from colder climates. Investing in a nice sweater or coat can help you and your dog enjoy your walks more by keeping him safe, warm and dry.

2. Protect Those Paws

Dogs’ paws are naturally thick and leathery and offer some protection against hard surfaces and the elements, but winter weather can be too much for many puppy paws. Salt, sand, snow, ice, and de-icing chemicals can cause dry paws, cracking, irritation, injury, and even infection. Cloth or rubber dog booties are a great way to protect your dog’s paws and prevent slipping, yet not all dogs will tolerate them. In that case, another option is a paw wax like Musher’s Secret, which forms a protective coating over the paws and protects them from direct contact with harmful surfaces or chemicals. When you get back inside, make sure to thoroughly clean off your pup’s paws to remove all traces of the balm and any debris or chemicals your pup may have picked up on your walk. This will keep your dog from licking his paws and potentially getting sick, and will also keep the paws dry and warm.

3. Exercise and Food Check

Husky by lakeThe arrival of cold weather also means that your dog may be spending more time indoors. This is especially true for the thinner coated dogs mentioned earlier, as well as puppies and elderly dogs. You will want to make sure that they are still getting a healthy amount of exercise, though, so set aside some time for indoor play each day. If your dog is one of the cold weather breeds that doesn’t mind the cold (like the Husky on the right), they will enjoy playing outside, but it will require more energy to do so. For these breeds, you may want to increase their food for the winter months, especially if they spend part of the day outside. Check with your vet to find out if you need to make any changes to your dog’s diet.

4. Watch Out For the Ice

Be careful when walking in icy areas – for your sake and your dog’s! In particular, older or arthritic pets can be more prone to slipping, which could result in a significant injury. Picking up some pet-friendly ice melt (i.e. salt-free, available at most pet stores and home supply stores) is great idea to help clear a safe path for your pooch. If you have an active dog that like nature hikes, there’s no need to stop during winter, just be careful around bodies of water. That ice may look thick enough to support your pup, but the possibility of a break is one that’s too serious to risk.

5. Check Your Fence

dog in snowIf you have a DogWatch Hidden Fence installed, we suggest a quick pre-winter fence checkup. Make sure driveway and walkway cuts are sealed and that no wire is exposed that might be damaged by snow plows or shovels. Also, if you have had a fall yard clean-up or aeration, check your transmitter to make sure the wire has not been accidentally cut. If you have questions about your DogWatch system, check out our Customer Service page or contact your local DogWatch Dealer. And if you do not have a hidden fence but are looking to install one soon, think about scheduling an appointment soon, before the ground freezes.

Do you have any additional winter safety tips to share? Leave a comment here or on our Facebook page. Stay warm and don’t forget to have fun!

Photo Credits

“Dressed for the Maple Syrup Festival” by Laurel L. Russwurm via Flickr

“Husky” by stephen bowler via Flickr

Photo of Trilly in the snow from DogWatch of Cape Cod via Facebook

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Posted in Dog Care, Dog Grooming, Dog Healthcare, Winter

Veterans Day Salute to War Dogs

Every November 11, our nation honors the brave men and women who went to war to defend our country. The DogWatch team joins in this salute, and thanks all veterans for their courageous service. In honor of this important day, DogTails is devoting this week’s post to the subject of veterans. With so many heroes to praise, we turn our attention to the subject we know best: dogs.

military working dogsDogs have played an important role in the United States military since the early 1800s. These service dogs have many roles, both on the battlefield and off. They are messengers, trackers, scouts, guards and even mascots. A wide variety breeds – including German shepherds, pit bulls, St. Bernards, retrievers, blood hounds and even Yorkies – have been chosen based on their abilities and suitability for service.

With so many dogs serving over the years in various capacities, we cannot possibility fit all of their history into one post. So we’ve chosen a few remarkable examples of canine combatants, in an effort to show the important ways they helped the brave soldiers they stood beside each day.

In World War Two, the U.S. government recruited pet dogs for aid in the Pacific front. Thousands of dogs, many of them German shepherds, collies and doberman pinschers, were recruited for service, with the understanding that they would return home after the war. The best-selling author Susan Orlean wrote about these civilian pet recruits in her book Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, and appeared on the popular radio show “This American Life” in 2012 to discuss this program. You can listen to the fascinating story here. (Note: This story includes some of the graphic realities of war.)

The dogs served many roles during the war, including some who were trained as scouts, using their keen sense of smell and hearing to alert their handlers of dangers ahead. Cap. William Putney, a commanding officer of one of the “Dog Platoons” who fought in the battle for Guam in 1944, wrote that the dogs “saved hundreds of lives, including my own.” After the war, the surviving dogs were retrained and returned to their homes and their former families.

These WWII dogs paved the way for the increased number of Dog Platoons during the Vietnam War. It is estimated that the dogs and their handlers averted more than 10,000 casualties. In all, over 4,000 dogs served in the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, only 200 dogs came home from the war. Some of the surviving dogs who did not return were euthanized or left in Vietnam, despite the protests of their handlers.

In the years following the war, the dogs’ handlers wanted to thank the dogs who worked alongside them and helped protect them and thousands of others. The veterans worked to establish a War Dog Memorial at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA, and at four other locations. They also pushed for legislation to create an adoption program for war dogs. President Clinton signed that legislation into law in 2000, ensuring the dogs now serving will have a home when they have finished their battlefield jobs.

In the past decade, thousands more dogs have served alongside U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. These dogs, known as Military Working Dogs (MWD), are specially selected and go through five months of training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. The most common breeds of MWDs are Belgian Malinois and German shepherds. One of the primary tasks that modern war dogs perform is explosive detection. To see photos of some of these dogs and their handlers both on the battlefield and back home, click here to view this slideshow from The Atlantic.

In addition to their work in combat, dogs also perform a crucial role helping soldiers once they have returned home from war. Dogs assist veterans with physical and mental health challenges. Canine Companions for Independence is one of many non-profit groups that trains assistance dogs to help wounded veterans gain their independence back. This video tells the story of veteran Calvin Smith and his service dog Chesney.

Thanks to the efforts of decades of war dog handlers and their allies, more and more of these dogs are finding homes at the end of their careers. Some dogs even return home to live with their former handlers, continuing the bond they forged while at war.

Again, thank you to all of the men and women – and dogs – who served our country so bravely. We salute you.

Image credit: The U.S. Army via Flickr.

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Posted in Dog Stories, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs

And the Winners of the DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest Are…

DogWatch asked for the best Halloween photos of your dog in costume, and the results were fantastic! We saw Elvis, pumpkins, skeletons, a ladybug, lions, pirates, and even the Village People (all five of them). It was a difficult choice, but the DogWatch team voted and here are the winners.

Third Place: Pete the French Bulldog

Pete the ElephantWho can resist a tiny dog dressed as the largest land animal on earth? We can’t. Pete’s elephant costume fits his petite frame perfectly, and we love the way the photo captures him mid-waddle, with a big tongue-out smile and his adorable elephant ears and trunk swaying. Speaking of ears, who would have thought you could make a French Bulldog’s ears even cuter then they already are naturally? Bonus points for the spooky jack-o-lanterns in the background.

Pete’s photographer and pet parent is Ashley Edmond (@ashnation). According to Ashley, Pete is the “easiest going French bulldog you’ll ever meet and he loves all people and other animals,” especially his “cousin,” a Rhodesian ridgeback named Joanie. Joanie may be about three times as big as Pete, but that doesn’t matter – they are still “best buds.” Pete and Ashley live in New Mexico. They enjoy traveling together, be it to the beach or the mountains. Pete has even ridden in a motorcycle side car! He loves his pup-cups from Starbucks, his lamb chop toy (which doubles as a pillow), car rides, sleeping in and snoring! Pete will turn 10 next month. Happy early birthday buddy! We look forward to seeing photos from your birthday party.

Second Place: Fumble the Newfoundland

Grumpy Old DogGrumpy is the new cute, right? Fumble the Newfoundland gives a certain cat a run for her money in this great image. The large pup is dressed as Walter Matthau’s character in the 1993 movie Grumpy Old Men, and he’s got the frown and the flannel just right. We love Fumble’s pose, including his perfectly balanced hat. We also appreciate the creativity of the image – adding the wintery backdrop to match the movie’s setting. We can almost hear him barking, “get off my lawn, kids!”

This photo is the work of Eiren Menhennitt of Maine, who has had Fumble ever since he was 8 weeks old and 15 lbs.  Now 9 years old and about 180 lbs, Fumble (full name Ridgerun’s Fumble Recovery for a Touchdown) is Eiren’s “confidant and closest friend.” (aww!) We asked Eiren if Fumble is as grumpy as he looks. She says “in his old age, he is entirely grumpy!” He enjoys brief walks, early dinners, and sleeping all day along, but also likes a good “wiggle on his back” to stay young and silly. He has worn many costumes over the years, including lifeguard, Abe Lincoln and the Grinch, and he tolerates them for the cameras and for the sake of his mom. Eiren reports that the hardest part about capturing a photo of her dog in costume is getting him to look at the camera. It took about 20 shots to get this winning photo. Eiren’s Instagram account (@eirenm) regularly features photos of Fumble, who is becoming a bit of an Instagram star. Eiren reports that one of her Instagram followers ran up to her at a fitness conference recently and said “you’re Fumble’s mom!” Congrats Fumble, you’re famous!

First Place: Winston the English Bulldog

Winston English Bulldog Funny NoseSimple, beautiful and hilarious – our winning photo is all that and more. Winston the English bulldog wears one of those old-fashioned funny nose glasses, complete with a mustache and a pair of bushy eyebrows. We guess he is dressed as a person taking a selfie, but he could be a great Groucho Marx (minus the cigar). We love how the crisp black and white filter makes the image pop, and the New York backdrop is a perfect fit for this cool character. Finally, we love the pose – ears perked and sitting tall, with lots of signature bulldog wrinkles. Winston, you are the winner, and you look like you know it, too.

Winston is five years old and lives in New York City. When he needs a break from the hustle of city life, he visits the Hamptons and enjoys the beach. Winston shares his home with his “#stupidsistercat,” a beautiful white Persian with two different color eyes. Sister cat loves Winston, but Winston admits he is a little jealous of her youthful glow and vigor. Nonetheless, Winston enjoys a good adventure, be it at a dog-friendly espresso bar, an international film festival, on a ferry, or visiting the Apple store. You can follow all of Winston’s excursions on Instagram by following @winstonwinstonwinstonnyc. Be prepared for lots of outfits, fun destinations and of course, plenty of his irresistible jowly smiles.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our DogWatch Halloween Photo Contest! And if you haven’t already, follow us on Instagram (@dogwatchfence) to see the rest of our great Halloween photos as well as some great photos of DogWatch dogs (and cats) from across the country and around the world playing safely and happily in their yards!

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Posted in Halloween

Bath Time for Fido

Some dogs are wonderful bathers, right? They step into the tub willingly, and are patient throughout the shampoo, the rinse and the toweling off. They may shake some water in your face, but mostly, they are on their best behavior. Some dogs may even look forward to washing up time, like Lena the Rottweiler who can’t get enough of the shower.

If your dog is one of these special sweethearts, consider yourself lucky. Because bath time looks very different in some dog homes.

At DogWatch, we’ve known a fair number of pups who are definitely not fans of the bath. Case in point, this pup.

Ok, so we’ve never heard a dog like this one in real life, but you get the idea. Bath time can be stressful for a dog and his people, but it helps keep your pup (and your house!) clean and healthy. To make the process a little bit easier for everyone, here are a few tips.

    Dog in bathtub

  • For puppies and dogs unfamiliar with bathing regularly, start slowly. Get the dog used to the feeling of being wet and the process of moving into and out of the bathtub before you attempt a full bath.
  • Make sure the bath water is lukewarm, and not too deep (3 to 4 inches max).
  • If your dog is acting up in the bath, try introducing a toy into the water to keep their attention focused. Be sure to praise good behavior with a treat and a “good boy.”
  • Pay careful attention so as not to get water in the dog’s eyes, ears or nose.
  • Use a dog shampoo rather than human shampoo, which can dry out your dog’s skin and cause excessive itching.
  • End bath time with treats, toys and encouragement. You want your dog to associate bathing with something enjoyable!

For more bath time survival tips, check out this detailed and informative article from ASPCA. With time and proper encouragement, your dog may grow to love – or at least tolerate – the bath. He may never stop making those classic sad wet puppy faces, though. That look may be here to stay.

Video credits: “Lena the Rottweiler LOVES to take showers!” by Life with Oz the Rottweiler via YouTube and “Wet Dog” by Talking Animals via YouTube
Photo credit: “cosmo’s bath” by Ginny via Flickr

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Posted in Challenges, Dog Behaviors, Dog Grooming, Puppies

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