Posts Tagged ‘fido’

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!

Bee Safe! How to Prevent and Treat Bee Stings

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Bee safe! Dogs are famous for being curious and playful, which are two of the reasons we love them so much! However, these personality traits don’t mix well with bees and other poisonous insects. To a dog, what could be more fun than scampering after a low-flying bee? Unfortunately, our best friends have no clue that what they’re chasing has a stinger on its rear end that could give them a world of hurt!

A Pound of Prevention

Before you and your dog go out and play in the back yard or park, take a quick look around for hives and bee attractants. Many bees build underground nests, so scan for hives at ground level as well as in trees. Should you discover a hive, leave it to the professionals and don’t attempt to move or destroy it yourself.

Traps are a great option for nuisance bees such as Yellowjackets and Wasps: the non-toxic pheromones only attract those varieties and not our beneficial Honeybee friends.  Placing a few of these  near high traffic areas can make a big difference.  Bees are of course attracted to flowers, so it’s a good idea to check for any activity in your garden before your four-legged friends go outside to smell the roses.

Food…who doesn’t love it? If you have your dog with you at a BBQ or picnic, burning a Citronella candle can help keep bees away (along with pesky mosquitoes!). Citronella isn’t harmful to bees, but they will avoid areas infused with its smell.

How to Treat a Bee Sting

If you notice your pooch has met the wrong end of the bee, keep a careful watch for an allergic reaction. Just like humans, some dogs are severely allergic to the venom. Symptoms to look for: difficulty and/or rapid breathing, weakness, vomiting, pale gums, diarrhea, and a large amount of swelling that extends away from the sting site. Contact an emergency vet immediately should you see any signs of an allergic reaction. If your dog is not allergic to bees, but is stung multiple times, you should also consult your vet immediately, as reactions can be more dangerous than a single sting.

Try to remove the stinger if possible; it will make your best friend more comfortable and decrease the likelihood of infection. You can treat the area with a mixture of water and baking soda, and by wrapping an ice pack with a towel and applying to the site to reduce swelling. Benadryl is a safe and effective antihistamine for bee stings.  Proper dosing for dogs is 1 mg per pound. Most Benadryl comes in 25 mg tablets, which is easier to dose for larger dogs but for small dogs, try children’s Benadryl in a 12.5 mg dose (the liquid option makes it easy!).

What happens if your dog swallows a bee? Trapped in your dog’s mouth, a bee will sting anywhere. If your dog has tried to swallow it, the stinger may be at the very back of the tongue or even down the esophagus. This can be a very dangerous situation as swelling could occur and block their airway.

Long story short, keep your vet’s number handy along with Benadryl, and keep a close eye on free range pups during these warmer summer months!  Bee safe out there!

Office Dogs: Pet-Friendly Survival Tips

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Truth: It’s hard to leave your best friend at home while you go to work. Saying goodbye each morning to those sad eyes can be the hardest part of the day. Thankfully, more and more companies (like us!) are pet-friendly. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself working for a company that lets your four-legged friend share your space, here are some office dog survival tips to help make life easier on you, your pooch and your coworkers.

Office dogs Otto & Gozer

     Must-Have Supplies

Being with you all day will make your dog’s tail wag with happiness, but there are several key items that will keep Fido healthy and comfortable. Create a cozy spot for your pup by bringing in a dog bed or fluffy blanket – even better if they smell like home. If they have a favorite toy, make sure to have it on hand along with poop bags and a pet safe disinfectant in case an accident does happen. Accessible food and water is a must, as well as any medication they may take during the day. Toys and bully sticks (tip: go for the odor-free ones!) are a great outlet for your dog to help pass the time while you work. For nervous dogs, plugging in a hormone releasing diffuser can calm them down and make them feel more at ease. Puzzle games are particularly fun for dogs and will keep their minds engaged all day.  And don’t forget the treats!

   Introductions Matter

Can’t we all just get along? Unless you work in office Babylon, there’s a good chance that a few of your co-workers might rub you the wrong way – just like Jim & Dwight from The Office. The same can be said about dogs. Fluffy and Muffins may never be best friends, but if you introduce them properly, they may be able to tolerate each other. To help prevent doggy drama, it’s important that dogs meet in a neutral place so nobody gets territorial. The office parking lot or a nearby park are both good choices; take several minutes for them to check each other out, do a few sniff tests and become familiar with each other. Then, walk them back into the office together. This can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping the puppy peace.

Doggy Proof Your Office

Things that seem boring to you at work can seem like a lot of fun to dogs! It’s a good idea to hide any electrical cords they might chew on, as well as secure any toxic materials that they could get into. Items like permanent markers, pesticides, office snacks, and poisonous plants are best kept away from your furry friend.

   Stay in Tune with Your Dog

Just like there is no “I” in “Team,” there is no “Pee” in “Office, so it’s important to know your dog’s bathroom schedule. Make sure that your pup has enough opportunities to relieve himself outside rather than in Barb from accounting’s office. And of course, keep lots of poop bags on hand to clean up after a potty break.

Office life agrees with some dogs, and stresses others out. You know your pooch best, so watch out for signs of agitation or stress at work. Additionally, if your dog is aggressive, excessively shy, or very excitable, the corporate world may not be right for him.

 Respect Your Coworkers

Although you love your dog with a capital L, some of your coworkers may not feel the same way.  Even if your pet-friendly office feels more like a zoo than not, it’s best to check and ask if anyone is allergic to dogs or doesn’t feel comfortable around them before bringing Spot in. There may be workarounds for these situations, and you’ll also know to keep him away from these particular colleagues.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram for more pet-friendly tips and tricks!

Home for the Howlidays: Survival tips, treat recipes and more

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

There’s no place like home for the howlidays…until it gets crazy, that is.  If you’re like us, one of your favorite things to do this time of year is throw on some warm PJ’s, settle in with a good book or movie, and pretend like your shopping expedition to the mall never happened.  If we get stressed, it’s no surprise that the holiday season is stressful for our pets too.  From a house full of guests, new and potentially unhealthy foods to be tempted by, and generally being a little off their game, here are some tips on keeping Fido calm and collected this Christmas.

Crate Training 

A dog’s crate can be its best friend and a much needed safe haven from all the hustle and bustle.  Crate training is actually quite easy if broken down into easy to manage steps (and be sure to use lots of positive reinforcement and treats!).  Unlike the crates of yesteryear, there are some cool ways you can incorporate these pet-friendly spaces into your home without it screaming “crazy dog person”.  The Humane Society of the United States has some helpful tips on training here, but this is the gist:

  • Keep the training short and sweet to start off.  Lure Fido in by dropping some high value treats inside, give them tons of praise if he goes in and allow him to come right back out.  We shouldn’t have to say this, but we will: People, do not force your dog into the crate, use it as punishment or leave them in there all day.
  • Transition to feeding meals in the crate and close the door while they eat.
  • Gradually increase the time spent in their crate and continue to give praise and biscuits.  The crate is a happy place, right?

If you notice your dog getting stressed, check out some of the most common signs here, make sure their crate is in a quiet location and tuck them in.  Caveat: Some dogs don’t like crates.  At all.  A bathroom, bedroom or some other confined, secure space can make a huge difference though.  Make sure they have a cozy bed to curl up in, and some classical music can help too – there are even dog specific soundtracks on Spotify you can play.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland 

Daily exercise – good for us and good for our pets.  Studies show that having a pet helps to lower blood pressure, manage anxiety and depression, and when you add walking or running into the equation, it’s a win-win! According to PetMD, most dogs should get 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day.  This of course varies by breed, age, health concerns, etc and can be anything from chasing a ball, nosework, playing with a flirt pole (our Great Dane LOVES this), or an indoor game of hide & seek – you’re looking to get the heart rate up a bit and also some mental stimulation.

For regions that see snow and ice, please keep in mind that it’s really important to protect those sweet feet.  Grooming the fur in and around the pads will help prevent ice from forming which can lead to chapping and even cracking.  You can make or purchase paw balm to prevent and heal those cracks, or go all out and buy a snazzy pair of booties.

We love the Freedom No-Pull Harness for our office dogs; it has the traditional loop on the back and also one on the front which is helpful when walking a dog who would prefer to be dragging you.  The additional pressure (safely distributed) across the front of the chest slows them down significantly.  It also features a velvety soft lining on the inside to help prevent chafing on their delicate undercarriages.

Scooby Snacks 

‘Tis the season for counter surfing! Unfortunately, this is a busy time of year at emergency vet clinics.  Pancreatitis from overindulging, choking from a bone, eating poisonous plants or chocolate – the holidays can be downright dangerous.

You can help keep your pet satiated with some healthy, easy-to-make treats and dog food toppers.  Here are a few favorites:

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream (you could eat it too!)

Slow Cooker Dog Food

Bacon & Peanut Butter Glazed Biscuits 

Turmeric & Fish Treats 

And some breath fresheners after indulging in those fish treats…Frosty Breath Dog Treats

 

Here’s to a healthy, happy, stress-free (or at least manageable) holiday season! Woof woof! 

 

Dogs: Our Four-Legged BFF’s

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Sitting on a bench next to your dog…what could be better? To Fido…nothing!  While your mind is on the house and car and kids and work…his mind is on the feeling of being next to you. Just enjoying the casual scratch of his ears and listening to all the sounds and smelling all the smells the world has to offer. Dogs are incredibly therapeutic; their calming presence reminds us to slow down and their curiosity is a good reminder to appreciate the small things. They love us unconditionally, are pure in their intent (especially if it involves treats!), and spread love and joy with a happy wag of their tail.

BFF

 

Dogs add almost an immeasurable value to the family unit. With childhood obesity becoming an epidemic in the United States, getting a dog could be a way to help your little munchkins stay fit and healthy. If your child wants a dog that means they will be outside playing with their furry friend and taking their dog on walks, not to mention the regular trips to your local dog park! All of this can mean less time playing video games or watching television, and instead developing new and healthier habits.

Young girl with golden retriever walking away into sun

Pets can also provide a sense of security in a family, especially by “alert barking” when they let you know they’ve heard something out of the ordinary or become protective of you when strangers are near. Many dogs have gone above and beyond to protect the ones they love. There was a recent story of a dog who saved its seven-year-old human from a rattlesnake by allowing itself to get bitten while the girl made her way to safety. Who doesn’t need a hero in their family?

Hero

Now you don’t have to pay extravagant prices for special pups when you’re looking for a furry friend. While many people do pick out a breed they are fond of and purchase their pets through reputable breeders, that is not the only avenue. Adopting or rescuing a dog is incredibly rewarding (just ask the guardians of our office dog Rory!), and you save a life while doing so. Visit your local humane society for more information on the adoption process, as each rescue organization does things differently.  It may involve a home visit, a meet and greet with all family members including your current pets, as well as an adoption fee or recommended donation.

Here at Dog-ON-It-Parks, we encourage you to take a moment and give your pup a hug…but only if they enjoy it!  Even better, take them for a walk or visit your local dog park to show your appreciation.  Dogs have the ability to enrich and change our lives for the better…that’s what makes them best in show!

 

Seattle Pride: Parade with your Pet!

Friday, June 24th, 2016

It’s that time of year again…Seattle Pride is this Sunday June 26, 2016, so get ready to walk and celebrate the LGBT community! What better way to mark the occasion than to bring your pooch to the parade with you? Here are some helpful tips to ensure you and your pup have a wonderful time this weekend.

rainbow-chalk-dog-1400

First of all, remember water! It’s going to be a warm one and it’s important to stay hydrated. We love these lightweight, collapsible bowls from Amazon; they have a handy clip that attaches to Fido’s leash or collar, so you can be (mostly!) hands free.  You may also want to plan for dog-friendly places to stop and rest.  The parade route runs along 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle, beginning at Union Street and north to Denny Way. Consider popping into Bandits Bar on Denny; it’s small, quaint and the drinks are good! After the parade, there’s a wide selection of pet-friendly eateries including Le Pichet and the Belltown Pub (which has an exclusive menu for your pooch!) on 1st, The Pink Door down in the Market, of course Seattle’s iconic Norm’s in Fremont.

dog beer

There are more attractions for you and your furry friends on this day of celebration! There are some fantastic dog-friendly hotels to stay at while in Seattle, including the Hotel Monaco.  Did you know that all Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly?  It’s true!  There’s no additional charge for Fido, no size/weight restrictions and they also offer loaner pet beds, water and food bowls, and the concierge always has a handy list of nearby attractions that will welcome both you and your pet.

Milestone-Hotel-dog

Want your pooch to look it’s best for the parade? Book a pre-parade appointment at Posh Paws groomers.  They specialize in a variety of services, including bath, brush, haircuts and more, and offer accessories and toys so Sparky looks his best!

pug

Hopefully these tips will give you some ideas on how to make Pride fun for you and four legged friends!

Hound Heroes: Strays Who Saved the Day

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Hero Dogs

We all know dogs are loyal companions, they perform acts of selflessness, courage and even stray dogs can have a sense of duty and protection. Here are several stories of hound heroes who not only saved the day, but saved lives. Dogs truly are man’s best friend!

Firefighting dog

 “Firefighting Fido”

In 1935, a stray dog came to the rescue of a family whose house had caught on fire in San Mateo, California. The family was unaware of the fire and had it not been for the dog barking and alerting them to get out of the house, they might have perished. Dogs have an incredibly strong sense of smell and can detect smells much better than people. Whereas humans use sight as their strongest sense, for canines it’s their nose and they use them for everything, from wet nose wake up calls in the morning and saving strangers from house fires!

nanny

“Nanny Dog”

In 2005, near the Ngong Forests in Nairobi, Kenya a caring canine came across an abandoned newborn baby. The child was wrapped in tattered clothes and a plastic bag. The dog carried the child across a busy road, through barbed wire and into a shed where she was keeping her puppies. A man who owned the shed discovered the baby and alerted the local authorities. A dog’s maternal instincts are something to be admired. They are loyal, loving, caring, and protective creatures.  Did you know Pit Bulls used to be referred to as Nanny Dogs? They earned this nickname in the 1900’s and were considered to be the strongest, most protective, loyal, and loving animals towards children.

aussie

“Aussie Hero”

During 2009, in Maningrida Australia, a stray dog intervened in a domestic fight.  A man had beat his partner in front of family members, and then dragged her outside where our Aussie Hero Dog came to the rescue.  The dog stopped the violent assault by biting the attacker and saved the woman from further harm so authorities were able to capture him. Dogs have been protective of their owners since the beginning of time, but what provokes a dog into helping a stranger? Studies have shown dogs have a sixth sense about people’s intentions. One breed that is particularly protective is the German Shepherd who are characterized as dogs who listen well, learn quickly and are obedient – all of these characteristics are also why these heroic dogs are used so often by police departments and the military. They’re also pretty cute! sheps

So the next time you see a stray dog, remember these stories of our hound heroes! Help prevent animal abuse by helping a dog in need.  If you come across a dog who may be lost, check Fido for any tags with guardian information.  If he doesn’t have one, please take him to a local vet clinic or humane society where they can scan for a microchip and provide a safe haven. They would do the same for you!


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