Posts Tagged ‘dog obedience’

Shy Dogs & Dog Parks

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Shy dogs have a special place in our hearts! Anyone who has ever loved a dog will tell you that they absolutely have their own personalities and funny quirks.  Though their temperaments vary from pooch to pooch, shyness is a fairly common trait. It’s especially noticeable in dogs who have experienced abuse or poor socialization early in life. Rescue dogs are even more susceptible due to trauma associated with being in a noisy shelter, going from foster home to foster home and essentially a lack of stability.  For a shy pup, the dog park can be an overwhelming and scary place at first. Thankfully there are ways to safely introduce Fido to the dog park to ensure that they have a life filled with fun visits and play.

Signs your dog may be timid or shy:

If your family has recently adopted a dog and you’re unsure about their temperament, body language can help give you some insight into how they feel. If your dog exhibits some or all these traits, they may need some extra TLC and training:

  • Ears are flat against his head
  • Often in a cowering posture
  • Shies away from interactions with other dogs and/or people
  • Tucks his tail between his legs
  • Panting or shaking
  • Excessive yawning (a sign of stress)
  • Skulking, pacing, hiding, or escape attempt
  • Whining or barking
  • Raised hackles
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Nipping, biting, or sneering
  • Submissive urination

Dog Park Introduction Techniques

Basic Obedience: For safety purposes, every dog should respond to basic commands before visiting a dog park. Obedience training can be your best friend’s best friend here! If a shy dog knows exactly what you’re asking/expecting, he may be less likely to panic during a stressful situation. Start at home with simple commands such as “Sit,” “Stay,” and “Come”, and be sure to use lots of positive reinforcement!  Once your dog has mastered those commands indoors, try taking them outside where there are more distractions. Working closely with your dog will boost their confidence and give you peace of mind as well.

Additional Training: Sometimes a timid pup can overreact when they feel threatened or nervous.  This can be something such as anxious barking, but can also be more problematic if they resort to fear-based responses such as nipping or biting.  Fortunately, most reputable trainers offer classes and/or one-on-one sessions geared towards shy dogs.  These classes build upon basic obedience and focus on confidence building and strengthening the dog/guardian bond.

Doggy Playdates: If your dog is timid around other dogs, consider an at home playdate before introducing him to the dog park. The best BFF candidate is a calm and gentle dog who is confident around both people and pets. Not only is this a big step in socialization, but your dog will learn appropriate behavior just by being around a laid-back canine. If you don’t have any dogs like this in your life, ask a local dog trainer!  Many of them would love to bring a “canine mentor” to a training session or allow your dog to test out a day at doggy daycare where they can learn those same skills in a managed environment.

Practice Park Activities: Teach your dog games like “Fetch” and “Hide and Seek” at home or in your backyard. This not only gives your dog a chance to learn while playing, it also trains them for activities you’ll likely engage in at the dog park. Giving treats or using a clicker can help him focus on the positive and stay out of worry-wart mode.  It may sound simple but for a timid dog, just learning that they can initiate an interaction with a predictable outcome can make all the difference.

Putting it All Together: When it’s time to load your pup into the car and head to the park, start slowly.  That means doing some background research first: does your local park have a shy/senior dog section?  What are the slowest and busiest times (so you can plan accordingly)? Are there any reviews of the park from other park users that might be helpful? Can your dog trainer meet you there to provide an extra set of eyes?  Do everything you can to set your dog up for success, but be patient! It might take a few tries, or visiting a few different parks for the stars to line up.  And it’s possible that Fido just isn’t a dog park kind of dog, and that’s fine too!

Hopefully these tips will make the dog park a happier place for both you and your pup.  Woof!

 

 

Who’s a Good Dog? Positive Reinforcement Training

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Dog training is today’s hot topic! Whether you’re working with a puppy or teaching your older dog new tricks, positive reinforcement is key in any successful program. Positive reinforcement is a method that focuses on rewarding the behavior you want instead of only pointing out what they’re doing wrong (because who really succeeds in that environment!?). Like humans, dogs love being praised and getting special treats. When you do an especially great job at work, you may be rewarded with a pat on the back, a bonus or even a promotion. This makes you feel accomplished, appreciated, and ready to take on new challenges. The same is true for your dog when he’s learning basic obedience, agility or fun tricks. The more you consistently praise and reward your dog, the more excited he will be to learn!

Positive reinforcement training should always include one of your dog’s favorite things…treats! When selecting the best training treats for your pooch, there are several things to consider. First and foremost, avoid anything with ingredients your dog may be sensitive or allergic to. Second, go for small treats – you will be doling a lot of them out during your training sessions!  You can try using peas, small pieces of carrots, or blueberries as training treats for a healthier option or for dogs who will eat anything (we’re talking to you Labradors!). The most important thing to consider is palatability; you want to pick a high value treat that your dog goes bonkers for to encourage him to do his best.

During training, a dog’s attention span averages about 10-15 minutes, so it’s important you keep sessions short and sweet. We recommend using a mark to help communicate with your pet quickly and clearly.  A mark can be a clicker, a verbal cue such as “Yes!” or a hand signal. Right after you mark the behavior, verbally praise your dog and give him a treat. If the behavior was an especially tough one to learn, throw your pup a “mini party” by rewarding him with several treats, pets, and tons of praise. When first starting to train your pet, it’s best to work on the same command throughout each training session. As your dog gets more experienced with the process, you can add other desired behaviors or tricks in as well.

Patience is key to positive reinforcement training. Your best friend genuinely wants to make you happy and of course get a treat! There will be times when more challenging commands may take longer for Fido to get the hang of. Never shame, scold, or punish your dog for not understanding right away. The best part of positive reinforcement is that it strengthens our relationship with our dogs by fostering mutual trust, affection, and encouraging cooperation. With time, consistency patience and treats, your dog will impress your friends and family with all his new skills!

The Essentials of a Good Dog Park – Guest Blog by ResMan

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

While multifamily properties are high in demand for a wide mix of renters, they have an unexpected demographic to cater towards. As more residents move into these developments, their pets are coming with them. Residents in the multifamily setting enjoy convenience and helpful amenities, but when looking for a new community, a good dog park is quite the deal breaker.

To accommodate residents and their furry friends, properties must adapt to be more pet-friendly. Making this shift will make your development more attractive to renters and keep current tenants (and their beloved pets) happy. We sat down with Nora VandenBerghe, the Sales & Marketing Manager of Dog-On-It Parks to learn just how to set your community apart with pet-friendly playgrounds.

Why Are Dog Parks Essential in Multifamily?

Dog parks have the versatility to entertain all age groups, making it the perfect meeting ground in the multifamily arena.

In 2015, the millennial generation surpassed the baby boomer generation as the largest cohort in history with 75 million members.

This generational shift means a shift in lifestyles, attitudes, and mindsets. Since millennials are waiting longer to have kids, they in turn, become parents to their dogs and are willing to spend more money on their dogs than ever before.

According VandenBerghe, “Our culture in general is becoming more pet friendly, as the pet service industry is the second largest revenue-generating industry behind consumer electronics,” says VandenBerghe. “This year the industry has raised about 62 billion in revenue.”

The point? This is a gold mine industry your development can take advantage of. According to Pet Food Industry, 57 percent of millennial households own a pet and 39 percent plan on owning a pet in the future. Dog parks have an incredible experiential value for residents that rival other popular amenities. In addition, there is a great social aspect associated with pet parks since dogs act as great icebreakers and conversation starters. What’s your puppy’s name? How long have you had her? Is she a social dog? It’s a great way to meet fellow neighbors and build a connected community.

Hartford 21 POD system - Hartford, CT

How Can a Dog Park Fit Into My Property?

Avoiding the 15-minute drive to a local dog park and simply walking outside to play with your dog is a definite luxury, but most developments have limited space to build a full on park. This is where you can get creative. Dog parks are a lucrative investment for developers. VandenBerghe points out that it’s actually cheaper to build a dog park than a children’s playground… and it serves a larger audience.

Companies like, Dog-On-It Parks, work with developments from start to finish when creating a dog park. Either they can help to build one from scratch or implement one after the complex is already built. By working directly with property managers, they find the best place to build a park, and they can get pretty innovative. VandenBerghe says she has seen it all. Communities are beginning to convert tennis courts, parking lots, parking garages, and open green-belt areas into dog parks.

What We’re Seeing in Dog Park Trends

Planning a good dog park is just as important as planning well-developed apartments. You must think of safety and how to accommodate dogs and people of all shapes and sizes. The best dog parks are those that provide amenities and equipment that make it fun for both the dogs and their owners.

Every dog park is unique to the community, so capture the atmosphere of your development and reflect it in the park. This is the fun part. Dog-On-It Parks manufactures all equipment within the U.S. and customizes the equipment to each customer. They strive to reinforce your brand on their products by customizing the products, creating a color theme to match the community, and engraving names and logos on the equipment.

The tail-friendly equipment is endless, but the most popular equipment pieces are one that incorporate agility. This gives residents something to do alongside their dogs, instead of sitting in the background on their phones.

VandenBerghe says, dogs are naturally curious, therefore agility structures entice them to explore their surroundings. Although dogs are curious, they are also extremely cautious. Keep structures low to the ground, sturdy, and slip resistant.

Along with agility equipment, water features are always a huge hit in parks. Try to find a water line nearby to build your park around. This adds a fun and convenient element. According to VandenBerghe, “We build pet fountains to play in, spray fire hydrants, and water stations so residents don’t have to lug water to the park.”

Get as creative as you want with your dog park, but keep in mind these fundamental aspects all dog parks should have:

  • Leave plenty of open space for running so the park doesn’t become overcrowded on a busy day.
  • A sturdy fence is one of the most important pieces of the whole park.
  • Plenty of seating for owners to take breaks on is critical. If there is no natural shading in your area, provide some type of roofing.
  • The busiest time to visit a dog park is in the warm months, so be proactive about residents needs.

City Market at O St - Washington, DC

How Dog Parks Benefit Property Managers

Investing in a dog park offers many benefits to your property, but the biggest are new potential residents and increased resident happiness — leading to retention.

“When we’re showing the building to prospective tenants, nine out of ten times we’ll be asked if we’re pet friendly,” says property manager Mary Swanson. “It gives us an advantage because we have a few more amenities than some of the communities in our area.”

An apartment with pets can be chaotic if property managers do not provide ways to accommodate the pets. Providing an outlet for pets to exercise on a daily basis reduces the chaos sprung from restless animals within the units. In other words, less noise complaints caused from neighbors annoyed by the barking dog next door.

VandenBerghe stresses that there is also a lot of responsibility placed on the property manager. Managers need to do their best to educate owners about dog park rules and city regulations. Just like a playground, liability falls on the manager. Be proactive about possible issues that can arise and know how to handle them.

For example, waste clean up is the top issue in dog parks. VandenBerghe suggests providing waste pick-up stations around the park stocked with bags for residents to easily use. Ultimately, it is up to the pet parent to know if their dog is a good fit for a park, but some owners may not know what behavioral signs to look out for.

VandenBerghe says she has seen managers bring in pet trainers to educate residents or check regulations with animal control to make sure dogs are healthy enough to interact with other dogs.

Since a dog park is a great socializing scene, take advantage of this as a property manager! Create monthly socializing events centered around the dogs, such as puppy playdates or Yappy Hours. Dog parks are a great way for property managers to build a strong community. Everyone loves to bond over common interests and this is especially true for pet lovers.

Colonial Grand Apts

Time to Be Positive: Dog Training Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Pawsitive Reinforcement:

When it comes to dog training, there are many options and opinions as to the best method, however we believe that positivity breeds more positivity! Positive-reinforcement training techniques use non-confrontational methods to engage your dog’s brain. This is done by rewarding positive behavior, and establishing rituals and training actions that are incompatible with negative behavior. Essentially, you reward the positive and either ignore the negative, or direct them to a behavior you do want.  Easy, right?  Doing this can help to lessen your dog’s frustration with the learning process, while still allowing the dog to feel good. There should be no forceful actions as this can damage your pup’s trust. Think about you it…how fast would you sit down for a cookie, some praise or a nice pat on the back? To a dog, those actions are not only treasured but an important part of their lives. Here are some tips on how to incorporate positivity in your dog’s training.

Treat Generously: 

First of all, when using positive reinforcement timing is key; the reward must be given within seconds or your pet might not connect the dots.  An example is when you give your dog a treat for sitting down at your command. You don’t give them the cookie after they’ve sat back up and their attention is on something else, you reward them when all of their attention is focused on you and what they are doing. There are several types of positive reinforcement, it can encompass treats, praise, petting, or even a favorite game. Although most dogs (including our office crew!) are highly food-motivated, and this type of reinforcement can often yield the best results.

Sit. Stay. Play: 

You also want to pay attention to the type of commands you are using with your pet. Keep them short! Use simple one-word commands which are easier for your dog to understand. Some examples are: Come, Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, Off, etc… You might also want to inform your family or those you live with of these to help avoid confusion for your dog later – consistency is key! Your training sessions should also be short and fun, and the goal is to have your dog associate good things while training.

More How To’s:

As time goes on and your pet becomes more skilled (and hopefully better behaved!), it is a good idea to gradually back off the treats and use them only on occasion. Eventually, the treats should no longer be necessary, however you should always reward Fido with verbal praise and a pet. It is important that you continue to use these techniques to maintain the behaviors you want from your dog.

Reward-based dog training helps create a range of desirable behaviors, which builds mutual feelings of trust and confidence, and a bond that will last for years to come. If you’d like more info on positive reinforcement and dog training, we highly recommend Victoria Stilwell’s website.  It’s a wonderful resource for all things dog. Good luck and woof woof!

Dog Park Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

As dog park enthusiasts, we know that running and playing off-leash improves the quality of life for our furry friends. Here are some etiquette tips to help ensure a fun, safe, and happy visit.

  • Take for instance your first act upon arrival to the park…you unclip the leash and pull out your cell phone or even a favorite book.  Stop right there.  Put your phone away!  Dog parks not only provide healthy exercise for your pup, but can also help us humans make better decisions by choosing to embrace the outdoors, time with our pets and being present.

 

  • Keep a close eye on Fido! One moment of playfulness can turn sour pretty quickly, especially near the entrance as new dogs come in and others are leaving. It’s especially important for your furry friends to have manners with other dogs, so if you notice rude behavior such as humping, body slamming, stalking etc, it may be time for a break.

rude-dog-012

  • Barking excessively is also something to be aware of. It can be stressful for the other dogs, which can also lead to aggression.  And let’s be honest, even the most avid dog lover may get a little fed up with the one dog who insists on “shouting” the whole time. Take Barking Buster home!

barking_in_dogs_1

  • While some dogs greet their fellow canines quite nicely, they may still need some help saying hello to people. Certain behavior while intended to be friendly, can be perceived as uncouth to the person on the receiving end. Jumping and enthusiastic sniffing of nether regions are both common (but rude!) greetings that can potentially make someone else’s dog park visit less enjoyable. Working with your dog on impulse control can be a huge help!

ID

  • Avoid clusters of both people and dogs; a concentrated area of too many pups in too small a space can lead to a pack mentality. Much like cliques in school, one person (or dog in this matter) can end up being picked on.

 

  • Utilize the entire dog park, it gives you a chance to get some exercise along with your dog and they’ll also enjoy all of the new smells. Many dog parks offer fantastic walking trails as well as agility equipment, so each visit can have some variety.

6401 - Greenwood Urban Wetland Park

  • Remember to scoop your poop! To make the setting clean and enjoyable for everyone please clean up after your dog. Stepping in poop is a sure fire way to make your outing way less enjoyable. If you want to go the extra mile, you could pick up poop that has been left behind by other dog owners. You score some doggy karma points and the park is a little cleaner for everyone else.  Win win!

Most importantly, do a little research before you go to the park. Does your dog need to be spayed or neutered?  Are kids welcome? Are there breed restrictions or any fees or license requirements?  Make sure you know the rules beforehand, so combined with your new etiquette knowledge, you and Fido can make the most out of your time together.

Newtown

Thank you for reading! If you have any more questions about dog park etiquette, please don’t hesitate to ask. Woof woof!

A-Frame: A Dog Agility Classic

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

A-Frame Storey Bark Park

The A-Frame is a traditional piece of agility equipment; it’s fun for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Now, not all dogs are natural climbers so it is important not to push them past their comfort level. Using treats, praise and positive reinforcement to encourage your dog can also be helpful! According to Pet Expertise there are four types of treats that work best and are healthy options for your dog. They recommend using regular dog kibble, cheese, chicken, and chopped veggies as healthy alternatives to dog biscuits or cookies.

dog-loves-cheese

There are several important differences between our A-Frame and others. First of all, ours is not as steep. We think all dogs should be able to safely and comfortably play on our equipment! When an A-Frame is too steep and/or too narrow, it’s not only unsafe, it will discourage dogs from using the equipment again if they lose their footing or feel they need to jump off the side. With that in mind, our A-Frame is only three feet high at the peak with an extra wide width of 38”. Another important consideration is the angle of the ramp; traditional (professional) dog agility requires it to be a very steep 98 degrees for large dogs and 104 degrees for the smaller pups. By design, our A-Frame is only 43 degrees, so about half as steep. This helps to ensure that any pooch, whether an agility champ or a novice, can feel like a top dog once they conquer the ramp. One last word of warning, if a dog park company says they are using AKC or USDAA standards for their equipment, be careful! It’s always a much safer bet to install recreation level equipment in a public park.

Our A-Frame is also coated with PawsGrip™, our exclusive highly textured material designed for maximum slip resistance. Other products may have rubber or textured polyethylene. Neither of these are really suited for the use a dog park sees, and the surface can crumble, degrade or crack quite easily. However, PawsGrip™ is made from the same materials used in truck bed liners, and provides a more stable and sturdy texturized surface that is super durable and holds up under frequent use and all weather conditions.

dog_on_it-189

So remember when comparing dog park agility equipment, we don’t just offer the widest range of products you will find, but also the safest and highest quality. Dog parks are essential in bringing your community together and sourcing safe equipment with a lifetime warranty will guarantee a long lived (and loved!) place for all the pooches and their people to play!

6401 - Greenwood Urban Wetland Park

Pet-Friendly Housing

Friday, March 6th, 2015

There’s been a huge trend with multifamily communities becoming more pet friendly, but what about the pet guardians who are renting? We thought it might be helpful to create a list with some tips for pet parents.

dog-cough

1. A Healthy Pup is A Happy Pup: As with any public place where dogs interact with one another on a regular basis, it is important for pet owners to ensure that their pups are all up to date on their shots. Oftentimes multifamily communities can have pretty tight quarters when it comes to designated pet relief areas. Keeping your pup properly vaccinated can help prevent the spread of disease or illnesses through pet waste and/or coming into contact with other resident’s pets. Many communities now require proof of vaccination with the rental agreement, but even if your community does not, your pup’s long term health is important too, right?

poop_fairy

2. Scoop Your Poop: As mentioned above, failing to pick up after your pet can result in the spread of disease from a neighbor’s dog to your furry friend. Although your coprophagic dog might convince you otherwise, poop from the new French Bulldog next door does NOT make the best treat in town! Pollution issues aside, it’s just not neighborly to leave your pet’s waste behind for Tammy in 3B to step in on her way to work. So make sure you know where the pet waste pick up stations in your community are located and even better? Carry extra bags with you – your neighbors will appreciate it!

just-paying-my-way-through-obedience-school

3. Mind Your Manners: Mark Twain said it best, “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in”. But…only if your dog is well behaved! A little obedience training can go a long way in not only strengthening your relationship with your dog, but also lets your neighbors know you’re a responsible pet owner. Dogs, much like humans, need parameters around acceptable behavior. Once they know what’s expected (positive reinforcement with praise & treats can help!) and can behave appropriately, everyone benefits.

barking

4. Respect Thy Neighbor’s Sleep: Even if you are a dog owner yourself and understand occasional barking, it’s never fun to listen to a dog singing you the song of his people while you’re trying to catch up on much needed beauty sleep. Making sure your pup is entertained during the day (doggy daycares or dog sitters/walkers are a great solution!) and giving them plenty of exercise in the evening will help to burn excess energy and reduce nuisance barking. Woof!

doggy-bath

5. Pet Friendly Perks: In today’s competitive housing market, many communities are offering some great perks for both you and your pup! Keep an eye out for a community that truly welcomes your pet and offers features such as dog grooming stations, pet relief areas, water fountains and best of all, a dog park on site.

Citra at Windermere

6. Dog Parks Are A Must: Finding an apartment community with its own dog park is a win-win. You have the opportunity to meet other residents you might not normally have connected with and if the park has some fun agility equipment, your dog can get some much needed exercise! Having easy access to an off leash area will make life much more enjoyable for your pup and if your community plans events at the dog park such as Yappy Hour, Howl-O-Ween or even obedience training, it can be just as much fun for you.

We hope these tips help make apartment living even better for both you and your furry family members! Feel free to contact us anytime for expert guidance on all things dog park.


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