All posts tagged: pet sitting
Beautiful Penny Puppy

Penny’s owner is Nora Diamond Jones, and Penny’s walker and photographer is Marc Jaster.

At Waggy Walkys we love our client’s and their owner’s. 🙂

About Waggy Walkys

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!

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.

Santiago Walking a Dog

We here at Waggy Walkys know that we have some of the very best Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters in the DMV. They’re caring, punctual, and always willing to ensure that your pets get quality socialization time, so that when you return home you are assured they have been well taken care of. But what about those wonderful people who go above and beyond to provide the very best care for your furry family members? The ones who have become so important to your pet that they’ve practically joined the family? The ones who leave Christmas and birthday presents for your dog or cat, and call even when they’re on vacation simply because they miss spending time with your pet?

We’ve been overwhelmed and touched by the thoughtfulness and care shown by quite a few of our walkers, and wondered how best to acknowledge their efforts. That’s why, starting this month, we’re introducing a Walker of the Month!

Each month we’ll be highlighting one special Dog Walker who has demonstrated time and time again that their love and passion for their job knows no bounds.

We are thrilled to reveal that Deneise Tan is our first official Walker of the Month! While we debated over quite a number of our fantastic Walkers and Pet Sitters, we chose Deneise as our winner for August because of the sheer amount of positive feedback we’ve received about her.

For September’s Walker of the Month, we look to the District of Columbia, where we have quite a few fantastic people to choose from. After much debate, we decided that we simply had to acknowledge one of our walkers with the most tenure: this person has been with the company for going on five years, which should speak for itself!
Santiago Berdichevsky began walking with Waggy Walkys back in 2012, and he’s been one of our very best from day one! He somehow manages to walk upwards of 16-18 dogs a day, which is amazing in and of itself, but when you take into consideration that all of his clients claim he provides excellent care, it becomes truly incredible!
He treats each and every pet like a member of his own family, and his clients can tell! One said “My dog adores Santiago. He does a great job walking Goose and Goose is always super excited to see him.” If Santiago becomes your Walker, not only will he become your pet’s best friend, but he also makes sure you’re always kept in the loop! He’s always responsive to both his clients and the office staff, and you’ll never have to worry about the health and happiness of your pet while in his care!
So, here’s to Santiago! Thanks so much for all you do for our furry friends and family members! Keep up the great work!
Dog Aggression

A dog’s bark may be worse than his bite, but most of us would rather not find out one way or the other.

Growling, baring teeth, snarling, snapping, and biting are all aggressive behaviors. Although these messages are among the handful of communication tools available to dogs, they’re generally unacceptable to humans.

Because dog aggression is so complex, and because the potential consequences are so serious, we recommend that you get professional in-home help from an animal behavior specialist if your dog is displaying aggressive behavior.

Types of Dog Aggression

Fear-motivated aggression is a defensive reaction and occurs when a dog believes he is in danger of being harmed. Remember that it’s your dog’s perception of the situation, not your actual intent, which determines your dog’s response. For example, you may raise your arm to throw a ball, but your dog may bite you because he believes he’s protecting himself from being hit. A dog may also be fearfully aggressive when approached by other dogs.

Protective, territorial, and possessive aggression are all very similar, and involve the defense of valuable resources. Territorial aggression is usually associated with defense of property, and that “territory” may extend well past the boundaries of your yard. For example, if you regularly walk your dog around the neighborhood and allow him to urine-mark, he may think his territory includes the entire block. Protective aggression usually refers to aggression directed toward people or animals whom a dog perceives as threats to his family, or pack. Dogs become possessively aggressive when defending their food, toys, or other valued objects, including items as peculiar as tissues stolen from the trash.

Redirected aggression is a relatively common type of dog aggression but one that is often misunderstood by pet owners. If a dog is somehow provoked by a person or animal he is unable to attack, he may redirect this aggression onto someone else. For example, two family dogs may become excited, and bark and growl in response to another dog passing through the front yard; or two dogs confined behind a fence may turn and attack each other because they can’t attack an intruder. Predation is usually considered to be a unique kind of aggressive behavior because it’s motivated by the intent to obtain food, and not primarily by the intent to harm or intimidate.

Individual Variation

The likelihood of a dog to show aggressive behavior in any particular situation varies markedly from dog to dog. Some dogs tend to respond aggressively with very little stimulation. Others may be subjected to all kinds of threatening stimuli and events and yet never attempt to bite.

The difference in the threshold prompting aggressive behavior is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. If this threshold is low, a dog will be more likely to bite. Raising the threshold makes a dog less likely to respond aggressively. This threshold can be raised using behavior modification techniques, but the potential for change is influenced by a dog’s gender, age, breed, general temperament, and the way in which the behavior modification techniques are chosen and implemented.

Because working with aggressive dogs can be potentially dangerous, behavior modification techniques should only be attempted by, or under the guidance of, an experienced animal behavior professional who understands animal learning theory and behavior.

What You Can Do

First, check with your veterinarian to rule out medical causes for the aggressive behavior.

Seek professional advice. An aggression problem will not go away by itself. Working with aggression problems requires in-home help from an animal behavior specialist.

Take precautions. Your first priority is to keep people and other animals safe. Supervise, confine, and/or restrict your dog’s activities until you can obtain professional guidance. You are liable for your dog’s behavior. If you must take your dog out in public, consider a cage-type muzzle as a temporary precaution, and remember that some dogs are clever enough to get a muzzle off.

Avoid exposing your dog to situations where he is more likely to show aggression. You may need to keep him confined to a safe room and limit his contact with people.

If your dog is possessive of toys or treats, or territorial in certain locations, prevent access and you’ll prevent the problem.

In an emergency, bribe him with something better than what he has. For example, if he steals your shoe, trade him the shoe for a piece of chicken.

Spay or neuter your dog. Intact dogs are more likely to display dominance, territorial, and protective aggressive behavior.

What Not to Do

Punishment won’t help and, in fact, will often make the problem worse. If the dog aggression is motivated by fear, punishment will make your dog more fearful, and therefore more aggressive. Attempting to punish or dominate a dominantly aggressive dog may actually lead him to escalate his behavior to retain his dominant position. This is likely to result in a bite or a severe attack. Punishing territorial, possessive, or protective aggression is likely to elicit additional defensive aggression.

 

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!

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.
Stop Dog Chewing

Sooner or later every dog lover returns home to find some unexpected damage inflicted by their or their dog; or, more specifically, that dog’s teeth. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore the world, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work.

Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn’t destroying things you value or jeopardizing their own safety.

Until they’ve learned what they can and can’t chew, however, it’s your responsibility to manage the situation as much as possible, so they don’t have the opportunity to chew on unacceptable objects.

Understand Your Dog

Puppies, like infants and toddlers, explore their world by putting objects in their mouths. And, like babies, they teethe for about six months, which usually creates some discomfort. Chewing not only facilitates teething but also makes sore gums feel better.

Adult dogs may engage in destructive chewing for any number of reasons. In order to deal with the behavior, you must first determine why your dog is chewing—and remember, they are not doing it to spite you. Possible reasons for destructive chewing include:

  • As a puppy, they weren’t taught what to chew and what not to chew.
  • They’re bored.
  • They suffer from separation anxiety.
  • Their behavior is fear-related.
  • They want attention.

Be aware: You may need to consult a behavior professional for help with both separation anxiety and fear-related behaviors.

Teach What to Chew

Take responsibility for your own belongings. If you don’t want it in your dog’s mouth, don’t make it available. Keep clothing, shoes, books, trash, eyeglasses and remote controls out of your dog’s reach.

Give your dog toys that are clearly distinguishable from household goods. Don’t confuse them by offering shoes and socks as toys and then expecting them to distinguish between their shoe and yours.

Supervise your dog until they learn the house rules. Keep them with you on their leash in the house so they can’t make a mistake out of your sight. Confine them when you’re unable to keep an eye on them. Choose a “safe place” that’s dog-proof, and provide fresh water and “safe” toys. If your dog is crate trained, you may also place them in their crate for short periods of time.

Give your dog plenty of people-time. Your dog won’t know how to behave if you don’t teach them alternatives to inappropriate behavior, and they can’t learn these when they are in the yard by themself.

Give your dog plenty of physical and mental exercise. If your dog is bored, they’ll find something to do to amuse themself and you probably won’t like the choices they make. On the other hand, a tired dog is a good dog, so make sure they get lots of physical and mental activity. The amount of exercise should be based on their age, health and breed characteristics.

If you catch your dog chewing on something they shouldn’t, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise. Offer them an acceptable chew toy instead, and praise them lavishly when they take the toy in their mouth.

Build a toy obsession in your dog. Use their toys to feed them. At mealtimes, fill a Kong-type toy with their kibble.

If your puppy is teething, try freezing a wet washcloth for them to chew on. The cold cloth will soothe their gums. Supervise your puppy so they don’t chew and swallow any pieces of the washcloth.

Make items unpleasant to your dog. Furniture and other items can be coated with a taste deterrent (such as Bitter Apple®) to make them unappealing.

Caution: Supervise your dog when you first try one of these deterrents. Some dogs will chew an object even if it’s coated with a taste deterrent. Also be aware that you must reapply some of these deterrents to maintain their effectiveness.

Offer your dog a treat in exchange for the item in their mouth. As your dog catches on to this idea, you can add the command “Give” as their cue to release the object in exchange for the yummy treat.

Don’t chase your dog if they grab an object and run. If you chase them, you are only giving your dog what they want. Being chased by their human is fun! Instead call them to you or offer them a treat.

Have realistic expectations. At some point your dog will inevitably chew up something you value; this is often part of the transition to a new home. Your dog needs time to learn the house rules and you need to remember to take precautions and keep things out of their reach.

Take Care With Punishment

If you discover a chewed item even minutes after they’ve chewed it, you’re too late.

Animals associate punishment with what they’re doing at the time they’re being corrected. Your dog can’t reason that, “I tore up those shoes an hour ago and that’s why I’m being scolded now.” Some people believe this is what a dog is thinking because they run and hide or because they “looks guilty.”

In reality, “guilty looks” are actually canine submissive postures that dogs show when they’re threatened. When you’re angry and upset, your dog feels threatened by your tone of voice, body postures and/or facial expressions, so they may hide or show submissive postures. Punishment after the fact will not only fail to eliminate the undesirable behavior, but it could also provoke other undesirable behaviors.

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.

We here at Waggy Walkys know that we have some of the very best Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters in the DMV. They're caring, punctual, and always willing to ensure that your pets get quality socialization time, so that when you return home you are assured they have been well taken care of. But what about those wonderful people who go above and beyond to provide the very best care for your furry family members? The ones who have become so important to your pet that they've practically joined the family? The ones who leave Christmas and birthday presents for your dog or cat, and call even when they're on vacation simply because they miss spending time with your pet?

We've been overwhelmed and touched by the thoughtfulness and care shown by quite a few of our walkers, and wondered how best to acknowledge their efforts. That's why, starting this month, we're introducing a Walker of the Month!

Each month we'll be highlighting one special Dog Walker who has demonstrated time and time again that their love and passion for their job knows no bounds.

We are thrilled to reveal that Deneise Tan is our first official Walker of the Month! While we debated over quite a number of our fantastic Walkers and Pet Sitters, we chose Deneise as our winner for August because of the sheer amount of positive feedback we've received about her.

Deneise has been with our company for a year and a half, and she has left a positive impression on everyone she has met – whether they have two legs or four! When we asked her clients how satisfied they were with her job performance, one of her clients replied: "Deneise is an awesome walker. Very punctual, spends the right time with the dogs and is very caring. We love the pics she send us to reassure us that all is fine. Please keep her and do not let her go!!!"

Her friendly and upbeat demeanor is one of her most glaringly obvious traits, she is always happy to help out with last minute walks, and she has yet to find a dog she couldn't get to fall in love with her. Deneise isn't just a Dog Walker – she's the best friend to many dogs and cats in the Silver Spring area.

Let's put our paws up for Deneise!