Category Archives: pet socialization

Responsible Dog Ownership

When you think of a responsible dog owner, what key characteristics come to mind?

For some, it’s waking up at 5am to let Fido out and fill his food bowl.  Others feel that they are responsible pet owners because they feed only the most expensive dog food and go for walks at the same time of day every day.  However you choose to define responsible dog ownership, there are a few basic ideas that fall under the category of “common courtesy” that you should always bear in mind.

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Pick up after your dog!  This is one of the most basic responsibilities of owning a dog.  As a courtesy to your neighbors and other members of your community, always pick up pet waste during walks and off-leash play.  There a few things worse than walking in your front door and realizing that you’ve brought a nice smelly surprise home with you.   Don’t be the guy who left that mess behind for someone to step in.

Don’t let your pooch roam the neighborhood unattended.  Okay, so maybe this doesn’t happen so often anymore, but this version of irresponsible pet ownership still exists.  No matter how friendly or well socialized your pup may be, it’s not cool to let him or her wander through the neighborhood.  Our pets are the best version of themselves when we are with them.  In your absence, it’s very likely that he is begging for food from the neighbors, leaving “gifts” in their yards, digging in their trash, or any number of other naughty canine behaviors.  Keep your pets next to you – they’re happier that way, anyway.

Remind your dog to mind his manners.  Everybody loves dogs (right?), but nobody likes a dog who knocks them down every time they visit.  Try to discourage your dog from jumping on people, begging your dinner guests for table scraps, and licking them to death.  We understand that these are friendly behaviors that really aren’t harming anyone, but it’s still a nuisance to guests in your home, and they will definitely not earn you the “Responsible Dog Parent of the Year” award.

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September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month (not to be confused with Responsible PET Ownership Month, which occurs in February).  This month of recognition was created by the American Veterinary Association as a way of celebrating the efforts of the dog moms and dog dads who make the world a better place for our canine companions.

To learn more about the American Veterinary Medical Association’s definition of responsible dog ownership, visit the AVMA’s Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership.

 

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Include Your Pup in Your Labor Day Fun!

Most pet parents will probably agree that no holiday celebration is complete without their favorite furry sidekick, and Labor Day is no exception!  However, since most Labor Day celebrations don’t typically include many dog-friendly activities, you’ll need to employ a little creativity when choosing how you’ll spend today with your best friend.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Host your own last-minute dog-friendly grill out.  Since pets aren’t usually invited to the neighborhood barbeque, your friends and neighbors will probably be surprised when you call with an invitation specifically for their dog.  We think it’s a super fun idea, though, however unusual it may be.  Of course, it’s always a good idea to reserve the human food for the humans.  Instead, be prepared with a lot of treats, toys, and water stations.  Let the pups run and play together while you enjoy socializing with their owners.

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Visit a Dog Park or a Dog Beach.  Why not bring your pooch along while you’re out enjoying the last bit of summer?  Instead of going to a regular beach (where pets are usually not allowed), visit a dog beach instead.  Whether you choose a dog park or dog beach, pack a few snacks and bring enough fresh water for both you and Fido.

Take a Hike!  The majority of national parks and forests are pet-friendly, and taking a hike with your best friend is a great way to spend the day.  It’s fantastic exercise for both of you, and we guarantee that your dog will enjoy this activity as much (if not more) than you!  To make it even more fun, invite some friends, and encourage them to bring their dogs, as well.

Do a little digging.  If you’re looking for a specific dog-friendly event, whether it’s for this holiday or for any other day of the year, Bringfido.com is a fantastic resource.  This is a worldwide directory service, which lists dog-friendly resorts, parks, beaches, restaurants, events, and anything else you can think of.  Check online for events or play groups that you think may be fun for your pup.

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Whatever you plan to do this Labor Day, make sure you’re making the most of these last few weeks of summer.  Of course, we are also very interested in your pet’s safety, so we can’t resist reminding you to bring tons of water and keep him/her as cool as possible.  Although it is late in the season, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are still common this time of year.  Do your best to keep your beloved pooch safe from the harmful effects of extreme temperatures.

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The Joys of Adopting a Senior Pet

Veterinary medicine has made incredible strides over the last couple of decades, and as a result, our pets are living longer and fuller lives.  For those of us who have made a lifetime commitment to our furry family members, having them around longer is a joy and a blessing.

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However, there seems to be a significant number of families who have “outgrown” their aging pets.  At least, that’s the most logical conclusion that can be drawn from the growing trend of homelessness among senior pets.  Well, as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  If yours is among the thousands of families who are interested in adopting a new pet, we’d like to urge you to consider a senior.

Still need some convincing?  We’ve come prepared.

  1. They’re a lot less messy.  If you’ve ever been the proud parent of a brand new puppy, you know that all that playful affection comes along with its fair share of chores.  While we love puppies just the same, this high level of energy can be absolutely exhausting.  When you adopt a senior pet, you will most often find that they have already been housebroken.  They are also a lot less prone to chewing your baseboards and your favorite pair of shoes.  Of course, anything is possible, but most of the time with a senior pet, your wardrobe and home will be safe from harm.
  2. What you see is what you get.  When you adopt a senior pet, there’s no guesswork involved.  You will never have to wonder how big they will get or what sort of demeanor they will have.  They are already grown, and you can get a feel for their personality right away.
  3. Speaking of personality… Senior pets are often some of the most gentle and loving creatures you will ever meet.  They love to take it easy, and they’re never short on cuddles.  Don’t mistake that gentle nature for laziness, however.  If you’re looking for a dog to jog alongside you or a kitty to play chase with, senior pets can keep up with the best of them!  However, they always recognize when playtime is over, and they will be the best couch-cruising copilot you could ever ask for.
  4. They are generally well-adjusted and acclimate easily.  Once you’ve brought that old gem home, you’ll wonder how your family ever survived without him or her.  Generally speaking, older pets settle into new environments with greater ease than their younger counterparts.  They’ve also already learned how to coexist and function as part of the group.  They’ll slide right into your house and your heart in no time flat.
  5. They need you.  When they make their way into a shelter, it’s a shock to the system.  Trust us when we tell you that the family who rescues a senior pet from an animal shelter will be rewarded ten-fold.  If you don’t believe that these animals recognize the incredible act of kindness that you have performed for them, give it a shot.  We don’t need to convince you.  Your future best friend will spend the rest of his or her life doing that.

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In many American animal shelters, senior pets are considered to be among the least adoptable pets, and they are often the first candidates for unnecessary euthanasia.  We would love for that to change.  If you’re in the market for a new pet, consider a senior.  We can say with absolute conviction that you’ll be so glad you did.

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Fun Facts About Cats and Dogs!

Did you know…

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While adult cats only have 30 teeth, dogs have 42.  The reason for this difference is their individual dietary needs.  Cats and dogs have the same number of incisors and canines, which are the teeth that are used for tearing meat.  However, dogs also require vegetation in their diets (your best kitty friend is strictly carnivorous).  Because of this difference, dogs have more molars and premolars, which are the teeth that are used for crushing and grinding plants.  Regardless of their diets, though, our pets need their teeth cleaned regularly… just like we do!

The Basenji is the only breed of dog that is unable to actually bark.  Instead, they make an unusual sound, often referred to as a “baroo”.  It sounds similar to a yodel… check out the video below!

Do you ever wonder why your cat can climb gracefully upward, but when it is time to come down, she is either stuck or forced to jump?  It’s a kitty paw design flaw! Because their claws are curved inward (like a hook), they are perfect for digging in to a surface so that she can then pull her body upward.  However, this doesn’t work quite so well on the way down.  Tell that to the neighborhood firemen the next time they need to rescue your cat from a tree.  It’s not kitty’s fault!

A common misconception about dogs is that they are colorblind.  This actually is not the case.  While they don’t have the pleasure of experiencing the same robust color spectrum that we do, they do see some hints of color.  Don’t worry that they are missing out on visual stimulation, however.  Dogs have superior peripheral vision and can see extremely well in the dark.

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Black cats have GOOD luck!  The same gene that causes their fur to hold such a rich dark color comes along with the added benefit of increased resistance to certain viruses and bacteria.  While this is certainly no reason to skimp on your best friend’s necessary preventative care, it’s still a fun fact to have on hand for the next time someone accused your adorable black feline of bringing bad luck.

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International Assistance Dog Week: August 3-9, 2014

As you know, our team loves to recognize animals doing great things for their human companions, and we place tremendous value on the countless ways that animals make our lives better.

International Assistance Dog Week was created to pay tribute to all of the devoted and hard-working dogs who spend their lives providing independence and security for individuals with disability-related limitations.  These dogs give people a quality of life that would otherwise be out of reach to them, and there is simply no amount of praise that is adequate for what these animals are doing.

The goals of International Assistance Dog Week include:

  • Recognize and honor assistance dogs
  • Raise awareness and educate the public about assistance dogs
  • Honor the people who raise and train puppies to become assistance dogs
  • Recognize heroic deeds performed by assistance dogs in our communities

For more information, visit the International Assistance Dog Week website.

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Agility!

If you’ve never heard of dog agility or never considered having your dog participate, it’s definitely something that is worth a second thought and some internet research.

Dog agility is a sport that is enjoyable for both the pup and its owner.  It promotes socialization for your pet, encourages them to be more active, and gets the handler in on the action, too!  Agility is a fantastic first step toward a healthier lifestyle for your dog, and it’s even better if you can get your pooch started early.

One of the biggest advantages of agility is that it provides an outlet for dogs with a lot of pent up energy.  This way of using your dog’s vitality to his advantage is a great way to circumvent some of the more destructive behaviors that result from restlessness and lack of stimulation.  The best part?  Dogs of any age, size, or breed are able to participate in canine agility, as long as they are well-mannered (especially around other dogs).

Essentially, you can think of canine agility as an obstacle course of sorts.  There are different organizations for the sport, and each has its own regulations for the constructions of obstacles.  The general idea is the same across the board, however.

The most commonly used agility obstacles are the A-Frame (it looks exactly the way it sounds), tunnels, teeter-totters, hurdles, and the “dog-walk”.

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For many pet parents, the cost of building or purchasing the equipment is prohibitive.  This is the primary reason that most choose to join an agility class, rather than construct their own home training equipment.  As an added bonus, agility classes and clubs give your pooch the chance to make friends and interact with other dogs in a positive social environment.

If you don’t think that agility is right for you or your pet, we want to still encourage you to speak with your pup’s veterinarian about alternative steps that you can take toward a healthier, longer, happier life for your pet.  Just as it is with people, a healthy lifestyle is essential to your dog’s longevity and overall well-being.

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June 20th is National Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day!  If you’re fortunate enough to have an employer who is willing to let you and your pooch participate, definitely take advantage of such a fun occasion!

Before you do, though, be sure to keep your pup’s well-being in mind.  Check out this article, Puppies in the Workplacefrom Worms and Germs (a blog created to promote safe pet ownership).

After you do that, check out www.TakeYourDog.com to learn more about this exciting annual event!

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Monday Morning Fun!

A new week has begun! With that, we have a whole new set a reasons to love our pets. Here’s a video to get you into the right frame of mind for the busy week ahead of you. Don’t forget to take the time to have a few laughs with your best friend.