All posts tagged: house sitting
Photo of Frisco by Tiara Raiford
This month’s photo of the month was taken by Tiara Raiford.  All of this months submissions were amazing, but we selected the post from November 23rd of Frisco as the photo of the month!
Congratulations Tiara and special thanks to Frisco and his owner for being such amazing clients.
Be sure to follow us on any of our social media pages to see who wins next month’s photo of the month.
 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.
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Toxic foods for dogs

Find out what foods are safe for people but dangerous for pets!

Some foods that are considered good for people can be very dangerous for pets. The list below highlights some of the most common foods that can be dangerous to animals.

This is not an exhaustive list, and any decision to provide your pet with food not specifically intended for animals should be discussed with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist. For more information on foods that could be unsafe for pets, visit the ASPCA’s “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets” page.

The following foods may be dangerous to your pet:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot pits
  • Avocados
  • Cherry pits
  • Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
  • Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
  • Hops (used in home beer brewing)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy foods
  • Mushroom plants
  • Mustard seeds
  • Onions and onion powder
  • Peach pits
  • Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
  • Raisins
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Salt
  • Tea (because it contains caffeine)
  • Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
  • Walnuts
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
  • Yeast dough

This information was compiled from various sources.

Teaching Dogs the "Come" Command

For dogs, learning to come when called is not only a behavior issue. It’s a safety issue.

For instance, if your dog slips out the front door and races down across the yard, you must be able to get him to stop and come back before he runs into the street.

Bear in mind that the “come” command isn’t always the best option when you want your dog by your side. For instance, if you haven’t fully trained your dog to understand what you want when you say “come,” don’t use that command and expect results. It’s better to go and get him than to say “come” repeatedly.

Keep practicing the “come” command until you are certain your dog will respond immediately the first time you call.

Method 1 for teaching your dog to come: The back up and recall method

You can practice this method in the house or while out on a walk with your dog.

  • Put your dog on a leash.
  • Hold the other end of the leash, say “come” once, then quickly move backward.
  • Keep moving backward until your dog gets all the way to you.
  • When your dog catches up to you, say “Yes!”
  • Give your dog a treat.
  • Training tip: Teach your dog polite leash behavior
  • The Back Up and Recall is a good way to teach your dog not to pull on his leash when you take a walk.
  • Each time he starts to pull, say “come,” and move backward until your dog gets to you. Say “Yes!” and reward him with a treat.

You may spend much of your first few walks going backward, but it won’t take long for your dog to learn that he must pay attention to where you are going instead of choosing his own path and speed.

Method 2 for teaching your dog to come: The long line

You can also practice “come” outside using a long (20-foot) training leash. The long leash makes it easy to catch your dog if he gets distracted and wants to wander around the yard. For this method, you’ll need the help of another person.

  • Attach the long training leash to your dog’s collar.
  • Your assistant should stand behind your dog and hold him by lacing her hands across his chest.
  • Get your dog’s attention by holding a treat in front of his nose and talking to him in an excited voice.
  • Run away a few feet then call your dog to “come.” Encourage him by clapping your hands or making noises but don’t repeat the “come” command.
  • When your dog runs to you, say “Yes!”
  • Give him a treat.
  • As he gets better at “come,” run farther away before you call him.

Training tip: Make it a game for your dog

As your dog learns “come,” practice inside (a leash isn’t necessary) by having your assistant distract or hold your dog while you go out of the room. Call out, “come.”

When he finds you, say “Yes!” and give him a treat. Over time you can make this game more difficult, by moving to more distant rooms of the house before you call “come.”

Why Dogs Bark

Check out some of the reasons why dogs sound off!

Dogs have a lot to say, and they do it by barking. They bark to go out, come in, to tell you a stranger’s in your yard, and at people, cars, and other animals.

Too much barking or barking at inappropriate times can be a problem. You want to be respectful of your neighbors as well as local laws, so you need to get your dog’s barking under control.

In order to determine why your dog barks, you may need to do some clever detective work—especially if it occurs when you’re not home. You can ask your neighbors what they see and hear, go around the block and watch and listen, start a tape recorder or video camera when you leave the house. After some sleuthing, you may be able to find out which of the following common problems is causing your dog to bark.

Common Causes of Barking

Attention/Demand: Your dog may want to eat, go outside, or your undivided attention.

Boredom/Frustration: Your dog may have been left outside day and night, or confined to one room for a long period of time.

Fear: Your dog may be afraid of objects, people, places, other animals, or loud noises such as thunder and fireworks.

Tip: Your dog’s posture can tell you if he’s barking out of fear. Typically his ears are back, and his tail is held low.

Territoriality/Protectiveness: Your dog is barking in the presence of “intruders,” which may include people and other dogs in adjacent yards.

Tip: If your dog is being territorial, his posture appears threatening with his tail held high and his ears up and forward.

Playfulness/Excitement: Your dog may be overly playful and excited when greeting people.

Health Issues: Your dog may have Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or deafness, causing him to bark because he’s unable to hear himself bark.

Dealing with health-related barking

Some dogs bark because of age-related dementia or deafness. Be patient with your dog. Keep his environment simple and orderly; don’t make frequent changes. Talk to your vet about medications that may help the dementia. Teach your deaf dog the “quiet” command using hand signals or a flash of light or a vibrating collar (NOT a shock collar) as the cue instead of saying the word “quiet.”

Dealing with multiple barking dogs

If you share your home and your life with more than one dog, you know how they can set each other off. The doorbell rings and deafening, out-of-control barking ensues. You must train each dog individually before you can work with them as a group. It takes a little more effort to settle your pack of wild hounds, but you’ll be rewarded with a group of well-mannered dogs. And your friends and relatives will no longer dread coming to your house!

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.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging

Has your dog turned your yard into a moonscape with craters everywhere? If so, the first thing you should know is that your dog isn’t doing this out of spite or a desire to destroy your landscaping.

Dogs may dig for entertainment when they learn that roots and soil “play back.” Your dog may be digging for entertainment if:

  • They’re left alone in the yard for long periods of time without the company of their human family.
  • Their environment is relatively barren—with no playmates or toys.
  • They’re a puppy or adolescent and don’t have other outlet for their energy.
  • They’re a terrier or other breed that was bred to dig.
  • They’re an active breed who needs a job to be happy.
  • They’re recently seen you gardening or working in the yard.

What to Do

Expand your dog’s world and increase their people time in the following ways:

  • Walk your dog at least twice daily. Lack of exercise is a leading cause of problem behaviors.
  • Play with them using active toys (balls, flying disks) as often as possible.
  • Teach your dog a few commands or tricks. Practice these every day for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Take a training class with your dog and practice what you learn daily.
  • Keep interesting toys in the yard to keep your dog busy when you’re not around. Kong®-type toys filled with treats or busy-box dog toys work especially well. Rotate the toys to keep things interesting.

Hunting Prey

Dogs often dig in an effort to catch burrowing animals or insects who live in your yard. This may be the case if the digging is:

  • Focused on a single area rather than the boundaries of the yard.
  • At the roots of trees or shrubs.
  • In a “path” layout.

What to Do

Search for signs of burrowing animals, then use safe, humane methods to fence them out, exclude them or make your yard or garden unattractive to them.

What Not to Do

Don’t use any product or method that could be toxic or dangerous to your pets or other animals. Anything that poisons wildlife can poison your dog, too.

Comfort and Protection

In hot weather, dogs may dig holes to lie in the cool dirt. They may also dig to provide themselves with shelter from cold, wind or rain or to find water. Your dog may be digging for comfort or protection if:

  • The holes are near the foundations of buildings, large shade trees or a water source.
  • Your dog doesn’t have a shelter or their shelter is too hot or cold.
  • Your dog lies in the holes they dig.

What to Do

Provide your dog with the comfort or protection they seek. Bring them inside more often, and make sure their outdoors shelter is comfortable, protected against heat and cold, and has access to water in an untippable bowl. If your dog is still a dedicated digger, try setting aside a digging zone »

Attention

Any behavior can become attention-getting behavior if the dog learns that they receive attention for engaging in it. Remember, even punishment is attention. Your dog may be looking for attention if they dig in your presence or have limited opportunities for interaction with you.

What to Do

Ignore attention-seeking behavior and give your pooch lots of praise for “good dog” behavior. Also, make sure your dog has enough walk and play time with you on a daily basis.

Escape

Dogs may try to escape to get to something, to get somewhere or to get away from something. Your dog may be digging to escape if they dig under or along a fence.

What to Do

Figure out why your dog is trying to escape and remove those incentives. Make sure their environment is a safe, appealing place for a dog.

To keep your dog in your yard:

  • Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence. Be sure to roll the sharp edges away from your yard.
  • Place large rocks, partially buried, along the bottom of the fence line.
  • Bury the bottom of the fence 1 to 2 feet below the surface.
  • Place chain-link fencing on the ground (anchored to the bottom of the fence) to make it uncomfortable for your dog to walk near the fence.
  • Work with your dog on behavior modification to stop them escape efforts.

What Doesn’t Work

Regardless of the reason your dog is digging, don’t:

  • Punish your dog after the fact. This won’t address the cause of the behavior, and it will worsen any digging that’s motivated by fear or anxiety.
  • Stake out your dog near a hole they’ve dug or fill the hole with water.
  • Punishing your dog after the fact never works!

Next steps: A Digging Zone

If your dog is a dedicated digger, set aside an area of the yard where it’s OK for them to dig, and teach them where that digging zone is:

  • Cover the digging zone with loose soil or sand. Or use a child-size sandbox.
  • Make the digging zone attractive by burying safe items (such as toys) for them to discover.
  • When they dig in the digging zone, reward them with praise.
  • If you catch your dog digging in an unacceptable area, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise and firmly say, “No dig.” Then immediately take them to the digging zone.
  • Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive (at least temporarily) by placing rocks or chicken wire over them.
  • If you’ve tried all these strategies and still can’t solve your dog’s digging problem, keep them indoors with you and supervise them during bathroom breaks in the yard. You may also want to consult a behavior professional for additional help.
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.

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.

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.