Kevin lives in Arlington, Virginia. Kevin’s owner is Christopher Steinke, and Kevin’s walker is Beth. At Waggy Walkys we love our client’s and their owner’s. 🙂

#Kevin #Arlington #Virginia #dmv #waggywalkys #dogwalkers #doglovers #dogwalking #dc #maryland #virginia #dmvarea #dogwalkingdc #dogwalkingmd #dogwalkingva #petsitting #walk #dog #dogsofinstagram #pet #petstagram #animal #animalsofinstagram #beautifuldog #

We know we can never take your place in the loving eyes of your pet – but we sure as heck can serve as an awesome fill-in when you’re at work, too busy or away on vacation. Waggy Walkys has been catering to pets of all shapes, sizes and breeds since 2002, growing a trusted network of pet care professionals throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia area.

It’s not just what we do that sets us apart – it’s how we do it. Your pet’s health and safety are our main priorities, with extensive training, vetting and background checks provided for all pet care professionals in our network. Most of our trusted dog walkers and pet sitters have cared for animals for much of their lives, ensuring they have the know-how and skills to properly tend to the needs of your pet.

When you entrust your pet with Waggy Walkys, you enjoy daily updates, detailed reports and, best of all, peace of mind that your pet is being cared for with the compassion, attention and adoration he deserves. Our second priority? Having tons of fun, of course! Give us a ring today.

Our services cover all kinds of stuff you and your pet would need help with, from dog walks to family-style boarding, overnight house sitting visits to daily pet sitting visits (morning, afternoon, evening) for dogs, cats and any other pets you may have! We even offer a pet taxi to transport your pet to appointments or to and from your designated dog boarding house. Need something extra special? We gladly customize our services to meet you and your pet’s exact needs. Contact us now to learn more.

Waggy Walkys LLC is a professional Dog Walking and Pet Care company that has been in business since 2002. We pride ourselves on pet safety, thoroughly screened staff, and excellent customer service. Please contact us today for our current promotions!

N/A lives in Alexandria, Virginia. N/A’s owner is Clayton Bernacki, and N/A’s walker is Angela. At Waggy Walkys we love our client’s and their owner’s. 🙂

#N/A #Alexandria #Virginia #dmv #waggywalkys #dogwalkers #doglovers #dogwalking #dc #maryland #virginia #dmvarea #dogwalkingdc #dogwalkingmd #dogwalkingva #petsitting #walk #dog #dogsofinstagram #pet #petstagram #animal #animalsofinstagram #beautifuldog #

We know we can never take your place in the loving eyes of your pet – but we sure as heck can serve as an awesome fill-in when you’re at work, too busy or away on vacation. Waggy Walkys has been catering to pets of all shapes, sizes and breeds since 2002, growing a trusted network of pet care professionals throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia area.

It’s not just what we do that sets us apart – it’s how we do it. Your pet’s health and safety are our main priorities, with extensive training, vetting and background checks provided for all pet care professionals in our network. Most of our trusted dog walkers and pet sitters have cared for animals for much of their lives, ensuring they have the know-how and skills to properly tend to the needs of your pet.

When you entrust your pet with Waggy Walkys, you enjoy daily updates, detailed reports and, best of all, peace of mind that your pet is being cared for with the compassion, attention and adoration he deserves. Our second priority? Having tons of fun, of course! Give us a ring today.

Our services cover all kinds of stuff you and your pet would need help with, from dog walks to family-style boarding, overnight house sitting visits to daily pet sitting visits (morning, afternoon, evening) for dogs, cats and any other pets you may have! We even offer a pet taxi to transport your pet to appointments or to and from your designated dog boarding house. Need something extra special? We gladly customize our services to meet you and your pet’s exact needs. Contact us now to learn more.

Waggy Walkys LLC is a professional Dog Walking and Pet Care company that has been in business since 2002. We pride ourselves on pet safety, thoroughly screened staff, and excellent customer service. Please contact us today for our current promotions!

Keep an open mind when adopting, and you’ll find the dog (or dogs) that will fit your needs and lifestyle.

The best thing about adopting a dog from an animal shelter or rescue group? So many amazing pooches to choose from! Man’s best friends come in all shapes, sizes and—of course—personalities.

While almost any shelter dog can make a wonderful, lifelong companion for you and your family, some dogs will need more training, some will need more exercise and some will be happy to just sit on your lap staring into your eyes, trying to hypnotize you into providing more kibble.

Which kind of dog are you looking for?

You may have an image of your perfect dog in mind, but is your heart open to a canine Mr. Right you weren’t quite expecting? Browse adoptable dogs near you at The Shelter Pet Project, and consider the following questions:

What’s your lifestyle?

If you live alone in a small, third-floor apartment, for instance, adopting a large, active retriever-mix might not be the best choice … but then, if you’re a runner and want a partner for your jogs, or you have a large family of kids who will play with the dog all the time, it could be fine! A dog’s size, exercise requirements, friendliness, assertiveness and compatibility with children should all figure into your decision.

Remember, you’re not just getting a dog; your new dog is getting a family!

Purebred or magical mix?

How do you find out which dogs have the qualities you’re looking for? Information is the key: learn about the personalities of various breeds, visit with animals at the shelter and speak with an adoption counselor for guidance.
Dogs fall into one of two categories: purebreds or mixed breeds. Most animal shelters have plenty of both. The only significant difference between the two is that purebreds, because their parents and other ancestors are all members of the same breed, are similar to a specific “breed standard.” This doesn’t always tell you much about a dog’s good health or how she’ll behave, but it will help give you an idea of how big she’s likely to get and whether her ears will be adorably droopy or sharp and perky (and other such physical traits). With mixes, you’ll get a unique, never-seen-before blend.

More About Mixed Breeds

Of course, the size, appearance and temperament of most mixed breed dogs can be predicted as well. After all, mixed breeds are simply combinations of different breeds. So if you know the ancestry of a particular mixed-breed puppy or can identify what type of dog he is (e.g., terrier mix), you have a good chance of knowing how he’ll turn out, too.
Mixed breeds are also more likely to be free of genetic defects common to certain purebred dogs because of overbreeding.

Visit with Shelter Animals

While you’re at the shelter, keep in mind that the animals there will be stressed out; quite often, a dog’s true colors won’t show until he’s away from other animals and the shelter environment. So even if you walk past a kennel with a dog who isn’t vying for your attention, don’t count him out. He may just be a little scared or lonely.
An adoption counselor can help you select canines who will match your lifestyle. When you spend time with each animal, consider the following questions:

How old is the dog?

You may be thinking about getting a puppy, but young dogs usually require much more training and supervision. If you lack the time or patience to housetrain your pup or to correct problems like chewing and jumping, an adult dog may be a better choice.

How shy or assertive is the dog?

Although an active, bouncy dog might catch your eye, a quieter pooch might be a better match if you just want a TV and hanging-out buddy.

Is the animal good with kids?

Ask questions of the adoptions counselors, but remember, not all shelter dogs will have a known history. In general, a friendly dog who likes to be touched and is not sensitive to handling and noise is a dog who will probably thrive in a house full of kids. If you get a puppy for your kids, remember that baby animals can be fragile and that, regardless of the dog’s age or breed, you’ll want to supervise his interactions with kids.

Choose a Pal for Life

Shelter animals deserve lifelong homes. If you’re looking for your perfect pal, check out The Shelter Pet Project’s website, which can help you with your search. After all, you’re choosing a pal likely to be with you 10 to 15 years—or even longer. There’s a dog out there who will love being part of your family!

Puppy Looking Guilty

You mark your stuff by putting your name on it; your dog marks their with urine. We’ve covered why dogs mark territory, now here’s how to prevent urine-marking behaviors before they happen in your house.

Before doing anything else, take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for the urine-marking behavior. If they get a clean bill of health, use the following tips to make sure they don’t start marking their territory.

Spay or neuter your dog as soon as possible. The longer a dog goes before neutering, the more difficult it will be to train them not to mark in the house. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.

But if they have been marking for a long time, a pattern may already be established. Because it has become a learned behavior, spaying or neutering alone won’t solve the problem. Use techniques for housetraining an adult dog to modify your dog’s marking behavior.

More Tips

  • Clean soiled areas thoroughly with a cleaner specifically designed to eliminate urine odor. Read more about removing pet odors and stains.
  • Make previously soiled areas inaccessible or unattractive.If this isn’t possible, try to change the significance of those areas to your pet. Feed, treat, and play with your pet in the areas where they mark.
  • Keep objects likely to cause marking out of reach.Items such as guests’ belongings and new purchases should be placed in a closet or cabinet.
  • Resolve conflicts between animals in your home. If you’ve added a new cat or new dog to your family, follow our tip sheets to help them live in harmony.
  • Restrict your dog’s access to doors and windowsso they can’t observe animals outside. If this isn’t possible, discourage the presence of other animals near your house.
  • Make friends.If your pet is marking in response to a new resident in your home (such as a roommate or spouse), have the new resident make friends with your pet by feeding, grooming, and playing with your pet. If you have a new baby, make sure good things happen to your pet when the baby is around.
  • Watch your dog when they are indoorsfor signs that they are thinking about urinating. When they begin to urinate, interrupt them with a loud noise and take them outside. If they urinate outside, praise them and give them a treat.
  • When you’re unable to watch them, confine your dog (a crateor small room where they ha never marked) or tether them to you with a leash.
  • Have your dog obey at least one command(such as “sit”) before you give them dinner, put on their leash to go for a walk, or throw them a toy.
  • If your dog is marking out of anxiety, talk to your vet about medicating them with a short course of anti-anxiety medication. This will calm them down and make behavior modification more effective.
  • Consult an animal behaviorist for help with resolving the marking issues.

What Not To Do!

Don’t punish your pet after the fact. Punishment administered even a minute after the event is ineffective because your pet won’t understand why they are being punished.

If you come home and find that your dog has urinated on all kinds of things, just clean up the mess. Don’t take them over to the spots and yell and rub their nose in them. They won’t associate the punishment with something they may have done hours ago, leading to confusion and possibly fear.

Puppy in a Play Pen

Preparation and patience are key to building a happy relationship!

The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient. It can take anywhere from two days to two months for you and your pet to adjust to each other. The following tips can help ensure a smooth transition.

Prepare the things your dog will need in advance. You’ll need a collar and leash, food and water bowls, food, and, of course, some toys. And don’t forget to order an identification tag right away.

Establish House Rules

Work out your dog-care regimen in advance among the human members of your household. Who will walk the dog first thing in the morning? Who will feed them at night? Will they be allowed on the couch, or won’t he? Where will they rest at night? Are there any rooms in the house that are off-limits?

Plan the Arrival

Try to arrange the arrival of your new dog for a weekend or when you can be home for a few days. Get to know each other and spend some quality time together. Don’t forget the jealousy factor — make sure you don’t neglect other pets and people in your household!

Prepare for Housetraining

Assume your new dog is not housetrained and work from there. Read over the housetraining information given to you at the time of adoption and check out our housetraining tips for adult dogs. Be consistent, and maintain a routine. A little extra effort on your part to come home straight from work each day will pay off in easier, faster house training.

Ensure All Pets are Healthy

Animal shelters take in animals with widely varying backgrounds, some of whom have not been previously vaccinated. Inevitably, despite the best efforts of shelter workers, viruses can be spread and may occasionally go home with adopted animals. If you already have dogs or cats at home, make sure they are up-to-date on their shots and in good general health before introducing your new pet dog.

Take your new dog to the veterinarian within a week after adoption. There, they will receive a health check and any needed vaccinations. If your dog has not been spayed or neutered, make that appointment! There are already far too many homeless puppies and dogs; don’t let your new pet add to the problem. Most likely, the shelter will require that you have your pet spayed or neutered anyway. If you need more information about why it is so important to spay or neuter your dog, read our online information on spaying and neutering.

The First Weeks

Give Them a Crate

A crate may look to you like the canine equivalent of a jail cell, but to your dog, who instinctively likes to den, it’s a room of their own. It makes housetraining and obedience-training easier and saves your dog from the headache of being yelled at unnecessarily for problem behavior. Of course, you won’t want to crate your dog all day or all night, or they will consider it a jail cell. Just a few hours a day should be sufficient.

The crate should not contain wire where their collar or paws can get caught, and should be roomy enough to allow your dog to stand up, turn around, and sit comfortably in normal posture.

If a crate isn’t an option, consider some sort of confinement to a dog-proofed part of your home. A portion of the kitchen or family room can serve the purpose very well when sectioned off with a dog or baby gate.

Use Training & Discipline to Create a Happy Home

Dogs need order. Let your pet know from the start who is the boss. When you catch them doing something they shouldn’t, don’t lose your cool. Stay calm, and let them know immediately, in a loud and disapproving voice, that they have misbehaved. Reward them with praise when they do well, too! Sign up for a local dog obedience class, and you’ll learn what a joy it is to have a well-trained dog. Also be sure to read our tip sheet on training your dog with positive reinforcement.

Long-term

Let the Games Begin

Dogs need an active life. That means you should plan plenty of exercise and game time for your pet. Enjoy jogging or Frisbee? You can bet your dog will, too. If running around the park is too energetic for your taste, try throwing a ball or a stick, or just going for a long walk together. When you take a drive in the country or visit family and friends, bring your dog and a leash along.

Patience is Key!

Finally, remember to temper your expectations. Life with you is a different experience for your new companion, so give them time to adjust. You’ll soon find out that you’ve made a friend for life. No one will ever greet you with as much enthusiasm or provide you with as much unqualified love and loyalty as your dog will. Be patient, and you will be amply rewarded.

Veterinarian Appreciation Day

This Veterinarian Appreciation Day, June 18, we take a moment to say “thanks” to the veterinary professionals who dedicate their lives to helping our pets stay happy and healthy.

This industry can be misunderstood, so we did some research and identified a few fun facts about these heroes. See the infographic below to see just a few reasons why we admire veterinarians and all of the great work they do.

Infograph below from Trupanion.

Dog Walker Hugging Dog

Just say yes to training your dog with treats and praise.

Remember how happy you were if your parents gave you a dollar for every A on your report card? They made you want to do it again, right? That’s positive reinforcement.

Dogs don’t care about money. They care about praise … and food. Positive reinforcement training uses praise and/or treats to reward your dog for doing something you want him to do. Because the reward makes him more likely to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior.

Rewarding your dog for good behavior sounds pretty simple, and it is! But to practice the technique effectively, you need to follow some basic guidelines.

Timing is Everything!

Correct timing is essential when using positive reinforcement.

  • The reward must occur immediately—within seconds—or your pet may not associate it with the proper action. For example, if you have your dog sit but reward him after he’s stood back up, he’ll think he’s being rewarded for standing up.
  • Using a clicker to mark the correct behavior can improve your timing and also help your dog understand the connection between the correct behavior and the treat.

Keep it Short!

Dogs don’t understand sentences. “Daisy, I want you to be a good girl and sit for me now” will likely earn you a blank stare.

Keep commands short and uncomplicated. The most commonly used dog commands are:

  • watch me
  • sit
  • stay
  • down (which means “lie down”)
  • off (which means “get off of me” or “get off the furniture”)
  • stand
  • come
  • heel (which means “walk close to my side”)
  • leave it

Consistency is Key!

Everyone in the family should use the same commands; otherwise, your dog may be confused. It might help to post a list of commands where everyone can become familiar with them.

Consistency also means always rewarding the desired behavior and never rewarding undesired behavior.

When to Use Positive Reinforcement

The good: Positive reinforcement is great for teaching your dog commands, and it’s also a good way of reinforcing good behavior. You may have your dog sit

  • before letting him out the door (which helps prevent door-darting)
  • before petting him (which helps prevent jumping on people)
  • before feeding him (which helps teach him good meal-time manners).

Give him a pat or a “Good dog” for lying quietly by your feet, or slip a treat into a Kong®-type toy when he’s chewing it instead of your shoe.

The bad: Be careful that you don’t inadvertently use positive reinforcement to reward unwanted behaviors. For example, if you let your dog outside every time he barks at a noise in the neighborhood, you’re giving him a reward (access to the yard) for behavior you want to discourage.

Shaping Behavior

It can take time for your dog to learn certain behaviors. You may need to use a technique called “shaping,” which means reinforcing something close to the desired response and then gradually requiring more from your dog before he gets the treat.

For example, if you’re teaching your dog to “shake hands,” you may initially reward him for lifting his paw off the ground, then for lifting it higher, then for touching your hand, then for letting you hold his paw, and finally, for actually “shaking hands” with you.

Types of Rewards

Positive reinforcement can include food treats, praise, petting, or a favorite toy or game. Since most dogs are highly food-motivated, food treats work especially well for training.

  • A treat should be enticing and irresistible to your pet. Experiment a bit to see which treats work best for your pet.
  • It should be a very small (pea-size or even smaller for little dogs), soft piece of food, so that he will immediately gulp it down and look to you for more. Don’t give your dog something he has to chew or that breaks into bits and falls on the floor.
  • Keep a variety of treats handy so your dog won’t become bored getting the same treat every time. You can carry the treats in a pocket or fanny pack.
  • Each time you use a food reward, you should couple it with a verbal reward (praise). Say something like, “Yes!” or “Good dog,” in a positive, happy tone of voice. Then give your dog a treat.

If your dog isn’t as motivated by food treats, a toy, petting, or brief play can be very effective rewards.

When to Give Treats

When your pet is learning a new behavior, reward him every time he does the behavior. This is called continuous reinforcement.

Once your pet has reliably learned the behavior, you want to switch to intermittent reinforcement, in which you continue with praise, but gradually reduce the number of times he receives a treat for doing the desired behavior.

  • At first, reward him with the treat four out of every five times he does the behavior. Over time, reward him three out of five times, then two out of five times, and so on, until you’re only rewarding him occasionally.
  • Continue to praise him every time—although once your dog has learned the behavior, your praise can be less effusive, such as a quiet but positive, “Good dog.”
  • Use a variable schedule of reinforcement so that he doesn’t catch on that he only has to respond every other time. Your pet will soon learn that if he keeps responding, eventually he’ll get what he wants—your praise and an occasional treat.

Caution! Don’t decrease the rewards too quickly. You don’t want your dog to become frustrated.

By understanding positive reinforcement, you’ll see that you’re not forever bound to carry a pocketful of goodies. Your dog will soon be working for your verbal praise, because he wants to please you and knows that, occasionally, he’ll get a treat, too.

Puppy on absorbent litter

Housetraining your dog or puppy requires patience, commitment and lots of consistency. Accidents are part of the process, but if you follow these basic housetraining guidelines, you can get the newest member of your family on the right track in a few weeks’ time.

Establish a Routine

Like babies, puppies do best on a regular schedule. The schedule teaches them that there are times to eat, times to play and times to do their business. Generally speaking, a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is two months old, they can hold it for about two hours. Don’t go longer than this between bathroom breaks or they’re guaranteed to have an accident.

Take your puppy outside frequently—at least every two hours—and immediately after they wake up, during and after playing, and after eating or drinking.

Pick a bathroom spot outside, and always take your puppy (on a leash) to that spot. While your puppy is relieving themselves, use a specific word or phrase that you can eventually use before they go to remind them what to do. Take them out for a longer walk or some playtime only after they have eliminated.

Reward your puppy every time they eliminate outdoors. Praise or give treats—but remember to do so immediately after they’ve finished, not after they come back inside. This step is vital, because rewarding your dog for going outdoors is the only way to teach what’s expected of them. Before rewarding, be sure they’re finished. Puppies are easily distracted and if you praise too soon, they may forget to finish until they’re back in the house.

Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. What goes into a puppy on a schedule comes out of a puppy on a schedule. Depending on their age, puppies usually need to be fed three or four times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that they’ll eliminate at consistent times as well, making housetraining easier for both of you.

Pick up your puppy’s water dish about two and a half hours before bedtime to reduce the likelihood that they’ll need to relieve themselves during the night. Most puppies can sleep for approximately seven hours without needing a bathroom break. If your puppy does wake you up in the night, don’t make a big deal of it; otherwise they will think it is time to play and won’t want to go back to sleep. Turn on as few lights as possible, don’t talk to or play with your puppy, take them out and then return them to bed.

Supervise Your Puppy

Don’t give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house; keep an eye on them whenever they’re indoors.

Tether your puppy to you or a nearby piece of furniture with a six-foot leash if you are not actively training or playing. Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go out. Some signs are obvious, such as barking or scratching at the door, squatting, restlessness, sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately grab the leash and take them outside to their bathroom spot. If they eliminate, praise them and reward with a treat.

Keep your puppy on leash in the yard. During the housetraining process, your yard should be treated like any other room in your house. Give your puppy some freedom in the house and yard only after they become reliably housetrained.

When You Can’t Supervise, Confine

When you’re unable to watch your puppy at all times, restrict them to an area small enough that they won’t want to eliminate there.

  • The space should be just big enough to comfortably stand, lie down and turn around. You can use a portion of a bathroom or laundry room blocked off with baby gates.
  • Or you may want to crate train your puppy. (Be sure to learn how to as a method of confinement.) If your puppy has spent several hours in confinement, you’ll need to take them directly to their bathroom spot as soon as you return.

Mistakes Happen

Expect your puppy to have a few accidents in the house—it’s a normal part of housetraining. Here’s what to do when that happens:

  • Interrupt your puppy when you catch them in the act.
  • Make a startling noise (be careful not to scare them) or say “OUTSIDE!” and immediately take them to their bathroom spot. Praise your pup and give a treat if they finish there.
  • Don’t punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, it’s too late to administer a correction. Just clean it up. Rubbing your puppy’s nose in it, taking them to the spot and scolding them or any other punishment will only make them afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Punishment will often do more harm than good.
  • Clean the soiled area thoroughly. Puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces.

It’s extremely important that you use these supervision and confinement procedures to minimize the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, they’ll get confused about where they’re supposed to go, which will prolong the housetraining process.

Make Plans for When You’re Away

If you have to be away from home more than four or five hours a day, this may not be the best time for you to get a puppy. Instead, you may want to consider an older dog who can wait for your return. If you already have a puppy and must be away for long periods of time, you’ll need to:

  • Arrange for someone, such as a responsible neighbor or a professional pet sitter, to take them for bathroom breaks.
  • Alternatively, train them to eliminate in a specific place indoors. Be aware, however, that doing this can prolong the process of housetraining. Teaching your puppy to eliminate on newspaper may create a life-long surface preference, meaning that even as an adult they may eliminate on any newspaper lying around the living room.
  • If you plan to paper-train, confine them to an area with enough room for a sleeping space, a playing space and a separate place to eliminate. In the designated elimination area, use either newspapers (cover the area with several layers of newspaper) or a sod box. To make a sod box, place sod in a container such as a child’s small, plastic swimming pool. You can also find dog-litter products at a pet supply store.
  • If you have to clean up an accident outside the designated elimination area, put the soiled rags or paper towels inside it afterward to help your puppy recognize the scented area as the place where they are supposed to eliminate.
Dog walking on leash

Going out for a nice brisk walk with your pooch is one of the great joys of pet ownership. But, it can turn into a battle if you don’t have the right equipment. A tough, stylish and durable collar is an important purchase, and having the correct lead can make a huge difference to the enjoyment and safety of the walk for both you and your dog.

COLLARS

A collar is absolutely essential for your dog. There are a wide range of collars available, from traditional nylon and leather to those used for specific training purposes. If you walk your pet with a collar and lead rather than a harness, perhaps consider a collar that will not come undone with excessive pulling like the durable EzyDog Double Up Collar. The type of clasp is important: metal can rust and the smaller plastic clips can break. Consider spending a bit more to get proper stainless steel and secure clasps.

A collar should be snug enough not to come off over the head, but you should be able to fit 3 fingers underneath. As a general rule, try to choose a wider collar so that if your dog lunges against the leash, the force applied by the collar against the dog’s trachea is spread over a larger area.

Also think about your dog’s daily activities, for example, if your dog likes to swim regularly then a leather collar is not ideal. If your dog does swim, we like the EzyDog Neo Classic, made of neoprene so that it repels water. This style is safe to leave on even when your dog gets wet.

TAG

An ID tag should be easy to read and the engraving should be durable so that continual rubbing is not going to fade the print. Plastic tags can be a little fragile for adventurous pets, but a stainless steel tag should last for a lifetime. Having a mobile number on the tag is ideal, as you need something that can always be contacted. If you also include your address or the name of your Vet, if your pet is found roaming the finder has somewhere to take your dog. Impounding fees can be expensive and if your pet is taken to a shelter over holidays or long weekends, they may end up locked up for longer than you would like.

If your dog is unlikely to allow someone to read their tag, there is also the option of a personalised pet collar that allows you to have your phone number stitched on, so it can be read from a distance.

HARNESSES

If your dog is very boisterous and energetic or frequently lunges against the leash, a harness will be safer and more comfortable when walking. Collars can cause significant trauma to the vital structures in the neck for dogs that pull. Harnesses are also much more secure for dogs that have a tendency to slip their collars.

A front-clip harness gives you much more control, as most harnesses that attach behind the shoulder blades actually allow your dog to pull with his entire body-weight, similar to a pulling a sled. This can be particularly bad if you have a strong dog or shoulder issues. With a front attachment point your dog soon learns that if he pulls ahead it is very difficult to walk in a straight line, and walking by your side is much easier.

Harnesses are also recommended for very small dogs because their tracheas can easily be damaged when they pull against a collar, which is why they will often cough. Dogs that have flat faces and shallow eye sockets are also at risk of eye damage when pulling on a collar or choke chain.

If you regularly take your dog in the car, many harnesses have an additional loop that allows you to thread through the seat-belt. It is a legal requirement to have your pet restrained while travelling in a car and this ensures the safety of your pet should you brake suddenly.

HALTI OR GENTLE LEADER

These are both head halters, similar to what you would use to lead a horse. The lead attaches under the chin, so when your dog pulls ahead, their head turns back towards you. Think about how much control a horse owner has when leading a much larger animal and you will see how this could work for you. These are a great short-cut to getting your dog to heel and to listen to directions. The first time you use one your dog will most likely try to get the head collar off, but give lots of treats, associate it with going for a walk and your dog will soon adjust. View this instructional video on how the Gentle Leader works.

Head harnesses are such a great way to get back control on a walk with a larger, stronger dog and again are excellent for people with shoulder injuries or for those with dogs that can be a little unpredictable on a walk.

BARK COLLARS, PRONG COLLARS, CHOKE CHAINS, ELECTRONIC COLLARS

Collars that aim to use punishment to train are ineffective, add to stress and anxiety and are unnecessary. Trainers that advocate these types of methods are using outdated methods and research has conclusively shown that punishment is highly stressful for the dog and is therefore ultimately detrimental for their training.

If your dog is barking, there are many ways to curb this nuisance behaviour that are much cheaper and more effective than a shock or citronella collar. These collars are also particularly unreliable and most will eventually learn to bark despite them.

Choke chains are very traumatic to the delicate veins and nerves in the neck, increase pressure in the eyes and really do little to stop your dog pulling until you are actually choking your dog (which is why they are called ‘choke chains’). They should never be left on your dog when unattended due to the risk of accidental strangulation. Appropriate use of a choker chain involves having the collar slack and using the sharp ‘check’ noise of the chain as a correction, not the actual choking method which most employ. If your dog is trained enough that the choke chain is always in the relaxed, loose position, there is really no need to use it.

LEASHES

There are several main types of leashes:

Retractable leashes

These allow your dog free reign, while still giving you some control. They are not suitable for larger dogs, as the thin rope can often snap. They can also be a little fiddly to keep in the ‘locked’ position if you regularly need your dog to stay close (for example, when you stop to cross the road).

Double leashes

If you have two dogs, consider a double leash that will allow you to walk both dogs at once. We love the EzyDog Vario 6 multi-function leash.

Hands-Free Leashes

If you run, ride or walk long distances with your dog, a hands free leash can be clipped to your belt or looped over your shoulder. The EzyDog Vario 6 has the versatility of this feature.

For Dogs That Pull

A great option for dogs that pull is the Zero Shock leash from EzyDog. This includes a bungee section that absorbs shock, sending it back out to your dog rather than up your arm. This really can save you from shoulder injuries when walking a larger, strong dog.

DOGGY BAGS & TREATS

Whenever you go out and about, don’t forget your doggy bags. Look for a leash that has an attachment point for a little satchel, where you can store your doggy bags and treats. Having treats with you at all times allows you to reward good behaviour. You also have a way of getting your dog’s attention and rewarding your dog for coming back when off-leash.

We hope this guide has helped you decide which basic equipment you need to walk your dog safely and identify your dog. Buying good quality products ensures longevity and durability. For something that is used daily it is worth spending a little more for something that will last and reflect your personality and lifestyle.

Yorkshire Terrier, Yorkie with his food bowl

Food and water bowls are an essential part of your dog’s kit. You’ll want to put a bit of thought into what you choose for your dog.

Here are some pros and cons of the 3 most commonly used materials.

Plastic Bowls. They’re durable and long-lasting. But if you notice your dog gnawing or chewing on the bowls, plastic isn’t your best choice. Ingesting bits of plastic can harm your dog internally. Plastic can also stain and will often develop a biofilm if not scrubbed and cleaned daily.

Ceramic Bowls. They’re heavy and very stable – a good thing if your dog tends to push its bowl around the floor while eating. But ceramic bowls are also porous and will need to be scrubbed and cleaned daily.

Stainless Steel Bowls. The #1 choice of vets because they are so easy to clean and sanitise. Stainless steel bowls are also the most durable. Look for bowls with a rubber coating on the bottom to help prevent sliding.

BOWLS FOR FAST EATERS OR THOSE AT RISK OF BLOAT

In some situations, you need a specialised bowl for your dog. Dogs that are at risk of bloat or gastrointestinal volvulus are typically large deep-chested breeds (like a great dane), but dogs can bloat even if they don’t have the typical conformation. Eating too quickly is one of the risk factors for this devastating condition. Dogs that eat very quickly often don’t feel satisfied and immediately look for more food, so they could also benefit from a bowl that will slow down their eating. You can buy specialised bowls with ridges in them to slow eating, or simply place an upturned bowl on a flat plate, so that your dog eats the food around the outside of the bowl.

RAISED OR NORMAL FEEDING HEIGHT

There is much misinformation out there about how to feed your dog. Unless your dog suffers from megaoesophagus feeding on the floor is fine. Having an elevated feeding bowl does not reduce the risk of bloat in dogs!

FOOD BALLS

Another option to slow fast eaters and to keep dogs occupied during periods of absence is using a food ball like a Buster Cube. Your dog needs to work at the ball and roll it around to get the food out. There are also a great number of puzzles you can use to deliver your pet treats and there is no reason you can’t use regular dry food for these, rather than high calorie treats. Kongs are also great to fill with food, whether that be soft or hard foods. For the thrifty and crafty among us you can easily make your own food delivery device with an old plastic drink bottle with the lid removed. If you place some dried food inside your pet can roll the bottle until he gets at the food. Just make sure you don’t do this with a dog that is likely to chew the bottle and ingest pieces of plastic! For smaller dogs you can recycle cardboard toilet paper rolls and simply seal one end with paper and masking tape and put some food inside.

CARE OF YOUR FEEDING EQUIPMENT

Whatever bowl you decide for your pet, make sure you clean the bowls daily and do not leave meat or soft foods out for more than an hour (particularly in warmer climates or outside where there are flies). Wash and scrub the bowls with normal dishwashing detergent and rinse well. Many are safe for the dishwasher too, and having more than one water and food bowl means you can rotate them as one set is being washed. Having multiple bowls in different locations and a constant source of fresh drinking water is also important for your pet.

We hope this guide has helped you make an informed choice on the best type of bowl to choose for your pet. This important purchase should be durable and functional, as well as being safe for your pet.