All posts tagged: doggy exercise
Urine-Marking: Why Dogs Mark Their Territory

Much like the miners during the Gold Rush, dogs are territorial animals. They “stake a claim” to a particular space, area, or object by marking it, using a variety of methods at different levels of intensity.

For example, a dog may bark to drive away what he perceives to be intruders in his territory. Some dogs may go to the extreme of urinating or defecating on something to say “mine!.”

Pets Aren’t People

Dogs don’t urinate or defecate out of spite or jealousy. If your dog urinates on your baby’s diaper bag, it’s not because he is jealous of, or dislikes, your baby. The unfamiliar scents and sounds of a new baby in the home are stressing him out a bit and he feels the need to reaffirm his claim on his territory.

Likewise, if your dog urinates on your new boyfriend’s backpack, it doesn’t reflect his opinion of your taste in men. Instead, he has perceived the presence of an “intruder,” and is letting the intruder know this territory belongs to him.

Urine-Marking is Not House Soiling

House soiling is when your dog empties his bladder or his bowels inside the house. There are a few reasons he may do this.

  • He’s not housebroken.
  • He has a medical issue.
  • He’s terrified and has lost control of his bladder and/or bowels.
  • Urine-marking, on the other hand, is a territorial behavior. Your dog feels the need to assert his dominance or ease his anxiety by laying out his boundaries. He does this by depositing small amounts of urine on anything he feels belongs to him—the furniture, the walls, your socks, etc.

Urine-marking is most often associated with male dogs, but females may do it, too. Leg-lifting is the primary way of marking, but even if your pet doesn’t lift his leg, he may still be marking.

The amount of urine is small and is found primarily on vertical surfaces, but dogs do sometimes mark on horizontal surfaces.

Reasons for Urine-Marking

  • Your dog isn’t spayed or neutered. Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to marking than neutered ones.
  • There’s a new pet in the household.
  • Another pet in your home is not spayed or neutered. Even spayed or neutered animals may mark in response to other intact animals in the home.
  • Your dog has conflicts with other animals in your home. When there’s instability in the pack dynamics, a dog may feel a need to establish his place by marking his territory.
  • There’s someone new in the house (spouse, baby, roommate); your dog puts his scent on that person’s belongings as a way of proclaiming that the house is his.
  • There are new objects in the environment (a shopping bag, a visitor’s purse) that have unfamiliar smells or another animal’s scent.
  • Your dog has contact with other animals outside your home. If your pet sees another animal through a door or window, he may feel a need to mark his territory.
Ten Dog Care Essentials

Learn how to keep your dog safe, healthy and happy

It doesn’t take much to make your dog happy, and the rewards last a lifetime.

Your dog gives you a lifetime of unconditional love, loyalty and friendship.

In return, she counts on you to provide her with the basics, such as food, water, shelter, regular veterinary care, exercise, safety and companionship. Read on to find out the 10 things your dog absolutely needs.

Take care of these 10 essentials, and you’ll be assured to have a rewarding and long-lasting relationship with your canine companion.

1. Identify your dog

External Identification: Outfit your dog with a collar and ID tag that includes your name, address and telephone number. No matter how careful you are, there’s a chance your companion may become lost—an ID tag greatly increases the chance that your pet will be returned home safely. The dog’s collar should not be tight; it should fit so two fingers can slip easily under his collar.

Microchip Identification: Have your dog microchipped by your veterinarian. Microchip ID will ensure that your dog will be returned to you if he is lost, even if his collar came off. When scanned by a veterinarian or animal shelter, your phone number, address and other vital information will appear, and you can be contacted.

2. Follow local laws for licensing your dog and vaccinating him for rabies

Check with your local animal shelter or humane society for information regarding legal requirements, where to obtain tags and where to have your pet vaccinated.

3. When you’re off your property, keep your dog on leash

Even a dog with a valid license, rabies tag and ID tag should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard. It is best for you, your community and your dog to keep her on a leash and under your control at all times.

4. Give your dog companionship

A fenced yard with a doghouse is a bonus, especially for large and active dogs; however, dogs should never be left outside alone or for extended periods of time. Dogs need and crave companionship; they should spend most of their time with their family, not alone outside.

5. Take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups

If you do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or a pet-owning friend for a referral and check out our information on choosing a veterinarian. If you are having trouble paying for veterinary care, you may be able to employ creative options or find sources of assistance.

6. Spay or neuter your dog

Dogs who have this routine surgery tend to live longer, be healthier and have fewer behavior problems (e.g., biting or running away). By spaying or neutering your dog, you are also doing your part to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation. If you feel you can’t afford to have your pet spayed or neutered, we can help you find low-cost options.

7. Give your dog a nutritionally balanced diet and constant access to fresh water

Ask your veterinarian for advice on what and how often to feed your dog. Dietary requirements change as dogs get older, and a dog’s teeth need to be cleaned and monitored regularly to ensure she can eat properly. Also keep an eye out for pet-food recalls and foods and plants that can be toxic to you dog.

8. Enroll your dog in a training class

Positive training will allow you to control your companion’s behavior safely and humanely, and the experience offers a terrific opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your dog. Check out our information on choosing a dog trainer.

9. Give your dog enough exercise to keep him physically fit (but not exhausted)

Most dog owners find that playing with their canine companion, along with walking him twice a day, provides sufficient exercise. Walking benefits people as much as it benefits dogs, and the time spent together will improve your dog’s sense of well-being. If you have questions about the level of exercise appropriate for your dog, consult your veterinarian.

10. Be loyal to and patient with your faithful companion

Make sure the expectations you have of your dog are reasonable and remember that the vast majority of behavior problems can be solved. Remember, not all “behavior” problems are just that; many can be indicators of health problems. For example, a dog who is suddenly growling or snapping when you touch his ears may have an ear infection. If you are struggling with your pet’s behavior, contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice.

Dog Coughing - Kennel Cough Image

What Is Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough (also known as canine infectious tracheobronchitis) is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Dogs commonly contract kennel cough at places where large amounts of canines congregate, such as boarding and daycare facilities, dog parks, training groups, and dog shows. Dogs can spread it to one another through airborne droplets, direct contact (e.g., touching noses), or contaminated surfaces (including water/food bowls). It’s highly treatable in most dogs but can be more severe in puppies younger than six months of age and immunocompromised dogs.
What are the Symptoms of Kennel Cough?

If your dog is affected with kennel cough, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • a strong cough, often with a “honking” sound – this is the most obvious symptom
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • low fever

Although kennel cough is easily treatable in healthy dogs, it’s important to report a coughing symptom to your veterinarian because it could be a sign of a more serious disease.

The canine distemper virus and canine influenza virus both start off with symptoms nearly identical to kennel cough,” he said. Other conditions that can cause coughing include a collapsing trachea, bronchitis, asthma, and even heart disease.

How Is Kennel Cough Treated?

Typically, mild cases of kennel cough are treated with a week or two of rest, but a veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and cough medication to ease the symptoms.

Nebulizers and vaporizers utilizing inhaled antibiotics or bronchodilators have been reported to be beneficial but are usually not prescribed. Speak to your veterinarian for treatment recommendations. Also, it’s important that owners use a harness rather than a collar to walk a dog with kennel cough because irritation of the tracheal can aggravate the cough and possibly even cause damage to the trachea. If you have a household with multiple pets, it may be useful to separate them as much as possible or at least to separate their water and food bowls to prevent the sick dog from infecting the other animals. Humans cannot catch kennel cough.
Can Kennel Cough Be Prevented?

A vaccine is available for the bordetella bacterium, which is the most common agent to cause kennel cough. Dogs who are frequently boarded, visit doggie day care, compete in canine sports, or otherwise are exposed to large groups of dogs may benefit from the vaccine, and many training, boarding, and daycare facilities require proof of vaccination. The vaccine is available in oral, intranasal, and injectable forms, and depending on the form, it is usually initially given in two doses two to four weeks apart, followed by a booster every six months to a year.

Although most cases of kennel cough are caused by bordetella, some are caused by other agents, including the bacteria bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine respiratory coronavirus, and mycoplasmas, so the vaccine may not prevent your dog from catching the disease.

If you notice your pet coughing or if you plan to introduce your dog to large groups of animals, speak with your veterinarian.

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.

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.
Woman sitting with Labrador photo

If you have a dog in your life, you already know what joy your pooch brings. We’ll show you some benefits that you might not have known about.

Walk down any residential street in the early hours and you’ll find one unescapable fact: Dogs are popular pets in the US. In fact, a recent study estimates that 44% of all US households have at least one canine member of the family.

If your family is one of these households, your dog is giving you some surprising benefits.

COMPANIONSHIP

You already know how good a friend your dog can be. What you might not have noticed is how much more you talk to other people when you’re out with your dog. You’re simply more likely to interact with other humans when your dog is with you than when you are out for a walk by yourself.

EXERCISE

Having a dog also increases the chances you’ll go for walks and play in the park. It’s harder to skip your morning run when your exercise partner is bouncing excitedly at the door with his leash in his mouth. How can you tell him you want to skip walks today?

Evidence is starting to show that children with dogs have a 50% lower chance of being overweight, as compared with those without. With all the running and walking involved in playing with the family dog, even in the house, maybe this isn’t so surprising after all.

NURTURING

You might have noticed that families are smaller these days. Most people feel a need to nurture that used to be fulfilled by raising a baby or helping to take care of smaller siblings. For people without children and children in small families dogs are increasingly fulfilling the role of substitute child or sibling. The dog gives them someone to care for and nurture with all the positive physical and mental benefits that come with doing so.

EMPATHY

Perhaps the practice in nurturing is the reason behind the observation that kids with dogs tend to be more empathetic than other kids, all else being equal. They also tend to be more popular with their schoolmates and have healthy self-esteem. These are all good things for a child’s emotional and social development, whatever the connection with their canine friend might be.

SOCIAL CAPITAL

Dog-owners tend to interact with other dog-owners in their neighbourhoods. This is true of most groups of people brought together by a common interest, but dog-owners might well meet up several times a day, by chance or design, during walks and playtime at the park. This frequent interaction strengthens the entire community.

READING

Some children read to their dogs. These kids often have higher reading levels than those children who don’t. It’s great for the child and the dog: the dog gets attention and the child gets reading practice. Playing “teacher” with a canine student is fun, anyway.

MEDICAL BENEFITS

Some researchers have noticed that pet-owners tend to have shorter stays in the hospital, fewer visits to the doctor’s office, and lower levels of stress overall. Having a pet might also lower your risk of heart disease, by possibly as much as 4%. If this turns out to be true over the long term, that would be a benefit similar to going on a low-salt diet.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

Many of the studies looking into the benefits of pet ownership took into account differences of wealth and social standing. As a result, the benefits of dog ownership are believed to be connected to the pet directly, and not just linked to having the money and leisure to be able to afford a dog.

It’s good to know that having a dog is good for you. However, it is not a wise plan to purchase a pet with only these benefits in mind. Remember that the pooch is a living creature with its own physical and emotional needs.

Let’s face it, there are literally hundreds of dog walkers out there and 99.999% of them are not professional, and are not reliable.  Professional dog walking has steadily grown in popularity over the years. As a result, more and more businesses are popping up, offering dog walking services. Some people believe this is a good thing, as customers have more options to choose from and a growing variety of services to purchase for their dog. Others believe that the increase in professional dog walking businesses has caused the market to be flooded with amateur companies that are stealing customers away from more experienced, qualified establishments.  These amateur new comers don’t carry insurance and aren’t bonded.  They typically are single owner operator entities with no backup plan should something happen to the single employee.

With such a strong sense of competition, popular businesses like Waggy Walkys have to stay up to date and fresh to keep up and stand out from amateur companies. When new customers research companies to use for dog walking services, they look for a number of qualities. These can include:

  • Flexible hours
  • Reasonable prices
  • Experienced employees
  • Professionalism and organization
  • Prompt response time
  • Variety of services

A combination of these traits are usually what attracts new customers to a successful dog walking business, and they are also what keeps old customers loyal to the company. Still, with so many options for dog walking in the DMV area, it helps to know what makes Waggy Walkys, or any other company, different from the competition.

Pros And Cons – How Does Waggy Walkys Stand Out?

One of the major advantages we here at Waggy Walkys have over similar businesses in the area is the variety of services we offer. Besides dog walking, Waggy Walkys also offers dog park play, house sitting, pet sitting, dog boarding, and pet taxi services. This feature is key when looking for a credible dog walking business to patronize. Amateur businesses often advertise dog walking as their one and only service, as they are not experienced or organized enough to provide a larger variety of services.  They typically are not insured or bonded.  And if the single employee owner gets sick or cannot fulfill his or her duties then the customer and his or her pet suffers.

Another benefit of using Waggy Walkys is our large service area. Waggy Walkys services customers in the entire DMV, while most competitors only service one small area or county. Larger businesses are always a sign of experience and credibility, while smaller businesses can indicate a newer, less professional company.

 

keeping your dog in shape

There are plenty of people who claim to love dogs but there are few who can actually handle the demands that come with being a professional dog walker. Taking care of a stranger’s dog requires extensive experience and training, and is not something that should be taken lightly. Here at Waggy Walkys, we have a reputation for hiring extremely qualified, caring people to become “Waggy Walkers” for our company.

Due to the popularity of Waggy Walkys, more and more people are choosing to apply to become a dog walker for the business. However, most of them are unaware of the experience and personality traits necessary to qualify for the job. With basic guidance and research, the average dog lover is capable of becoming a professional dog walker. Waggy Walkys even offers training for new employees to guide them when they are just starting out. Still, exploring the industry and finding out more about the business is key to preparing for the process of applying to Waggy Walkys or any professional dog walking company.

General Requirements And Qualifications

As a guideline for our potential applicants, our website lists basic requirements and skills a person should have before applying to become a waggy walker. These include but are not limited to:

  • Must enjoy and be comfortable around dogs
  • Must be reliable, responsible, and trustworthy
  • Must be able to work independently
  • Must be able to pass a background check and possess professional references
  • Must have outstanding customer service and communication skills

These are the basic requirements any person considering a job as a dog walker should fulfill. If a person believes they are a good fit to be a dog walker for Waggy Walkys, the next step is to apply on the website.

Applying To Be A Waggy Walker

Those interested in applying to work for Waggy Walkys should fill out an application on the website, www.waggywalkys.com. The application asks questions to learn basic information about the applicant as well as a few more detailed questions such as “what experience do you have with dogs?”, “are you willing to sign a non-compete?”, and “why do you want to work for Waggy Walkys?”. Applicants should review these questions in depth before applying and draft their answers beforehand to ensure the best possible application. They should also include a resume and any professional references that can speak to their abilities as a dog walker.

After applying, the applicant should continue to hone their skills as a dog walker to ensure top notch performance should they be chosen for a working interview. Not all businesses hold working interviews, however they are very common. In working interviews, the applicant will normally walk or pet sit a dog accompanied by another employee or owner of the business. That person will evaluate the applicant’s performance and determine whether or not they are a good fit for the job.

Final Tips For Applying

The most qualified people for a job at Waggy Walkys will always be people who have experience as a freelance dog walker. However, people who are new to the business and think they have what it takes should still apply. Being a professional dog walker is unique in that experience is not always necessary. The main qualities a person should have are a love for dogs and a fun, outgoing personality. As with any job, experience will come, but personality is what often secures the position.

Apply online on our “Jobs” page.