January 14th is National Dress up your Pet Day, and of course, this calls for
a celebration… but how? These tricks will help you prepare your pet to feel confident and
comfortable in their snazzy outfits!
Keep it Pawsitive
Positivity is key in any new experience for your pet! Training your dog to see their outfits
as a positive is all about how YOU, as your dog’s trainer and leader, approach it. Show your
excitement as you work with your dog when it’s time to get dressed up.
A great way to introduce clothes to your pet is to lay out the sweater or shirt and throw a
few treats on it. Let Fido sniff and eat the treats, showing them that the shirt is safe and nothing
to be afraid of! Praise them for approaching the clothing, and continuously use treats to make
getting dressed up a positive.
When it comes time to finally put Fido in their new snazzy outfit, remember your food
lure. Anything that goes over Fido’s head should be led with a lure aka a yummy treat. Read our
blog post about using treats in training for tricks on luring!
Fido may not feel like his/her stylish self at first so continue to praise them and give them
those delicious treats they crave! Confidence is key for any new experience Fido goes through.
Practice taking the cute outfit off and on, letting Fido get used to the whole process.
Alongside National Dress up Your Pet Day, winter itself is a time to think about using
clothes to keep your fur babies safe and warm. We wouldn’t walk barefoot on ice and salt, so
neither should fido! Dry air and ice salt easily dry your pup’s paws and can cause cracking,
even bleeding. To avoid bandages and booboos, invest in some winter booties your dog can
strut in! (P.S. For a laugh, watch this video of some pups learning to love their booties.)
Winter is a great time to start building a dog’s closet and will provide an extra incentive
for your dog to warm up to clothing is warmth itself! The comfort of a sweater and some warm boots during the winter will make your dog into the fashionista we ALL hope to be.
For even more information on how to protect your dog in the winter, watch our informative news segment here.
Nothing feels better than putting on a show-stopping outfit, and with the right training and
encouragement, your dog can experience that feeling too! So prepare your pups for National dress
up your pet day and be sure to share your pictures on facebook and tag us!
Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center
Monthly Email Specials:
- Buy 6 Full days get 1 Free
- Buy 6 Half days get 1 Free
- Save $10.00 on Puppy Preschool or Bark to the Basics Group Classes
- Save 15% on an Ultimate or Deluxe Groom with Lyndsey
Not valid with any other discounts or offers. Not valid for Members.
Monthly Member Specials:
- Free Holiday or New Years Photo with Bailey. Call to schedule your appointment.
- Save 15% on on an Ultimate or Deluxe Groom with Lyndsey
- Save $15.00 on Puppy Preschool or Bark to the Basics Group Classes
Not valid with any other discounts or offers.
Thanksgiving is a time to fill up on delicious, decadent food. An array of dishes ranging from sweet, to savory. Most of which are dangerous to the one member of the family who may want it all the most: the dog. So instead of hoping that that one Uncle doesn’t pass Fido something that’ll make him sick, try whipping this yummy recipe up for the fur baby sitting under your chair.
¾ Cup Canned Pumpkin
¼ Cup Peanut Butter (Try Sunbutter if any of your guests have allergies)
1 Egg beaten
¼ cup shredded carrots
1 cup whole wheat flour
1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2- Stir Pumpkin, peanut butter, carrots, egg and flour in a large bowl until thoroughly moistened.
3- Roll batter into small balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet
4- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
5- Let cool and hand your pup a treat that’ll make them forget what turkey tastes like!
Giving back during the Holidays doesn’t have to cost one dime! While you make your yearly list of gifts for loved ones, consider wrapping up some donations for those pets in need. Here are five ways to give back to animals by opening your heart and not emptying your pocket! ‘Tis the season for hot chocolate, tree decorating and most importantly, giving.
1. Save and donate used goods
With the receiving of new gifts and household items, instead of tossing your old stuff, donate those goods to a shelter/ foster network. Used towels, blankets, and sheets are always in need to keep those pups warm in the winter. Anything dog or cat related they can most likely reuse. Set aside those old dog collars, sweaters, leashes and toys that your dog outgrew or lost interest in. If your dog could use it, so can others. Betcha didn’t know empty cereal boxes can be used as enrichment toys for homeless dogs!
During the Holiday season at Wag ‘N’ Tails, we partner with local businesses and dog rescues to host a donation drive with Detroit Animal Care and Control. This drive grows each year and watching the love grow from filling a pickup truck years ago to now filling U-Haul trucks is quite a sight to see and a feeling of pure goodness to look forward to every year.
2. Harness the power of social media and share, share, SHARE.
If it seems as though you have nothing to give, don’t forget about the one place where you can ask ALL your friends and family to help – social media. So many people want to help during the holiday season, but just don’t know how. By sharing a rescue’s fundraiser or donation drive you’re reaching dozens of potential happy-dog loving helpers! Being there for a needy pet is as easy as a mouse click away and the events are so much fun. You might even consider hosting an event with all proceeds going to your rescue of choice. Check out our Foster Friday dogs and as always we appreciate your shares!
Alyssa and Jordan at the Annual Mistletails Event December 2017
Ice Cream Social Puppy Yoga
Christine at the “Stand Up for Pits” event September, 2018
3. Become a foster parent for a rescue pet
If your heart is melting for a furry friend to help, consider opening your home to foster dogs. Rescue leagues and shelters are always looking for loving people willing to take in a foster pup for long-term or short-term periods. A simple google search of ‘local animal rescue’s/fosters’ will bring up networks you can help in your area. Fostering is a great way to prepare a dog for their forever home, all while giving you a temporary cuddle bug, how great is that? The foster program we proudly offer at Wag is called, Teach and Reach. Learn more here!
Shea and Clarice the Chihuahua
Shelters and Rescues are always in need of common groceries and supplies. While you’re out buying a family dinner and household goods, consider throwing in an extra pack of laundry pods or dog treats. While you’re shopping for holiday gifts for your own pets, throw in an extra bowl, a warm sweater or other dog-necessities for a rescue/ shelter pup. I heart dogs even has coffee you can purchase and proceeds go towards feeding homeless dogs. “Best enjoyed with wet noses and wiggle butts!” Check it out!
You can never give enough treats for homeless dogs
5. Volunteer your time
The holidays are a busy time for rescue organizations. Rescues and shelters are always looking for volunteers to run adoption events, transport dogs or even just to cuddle up a pup! Contact local rescues and ask about volunteer opportunities they may have. It can be as easy and fun as a car ride with an adorable fur baby.
Puppy Love. Literally.
Life in the slammer.
It’s that time of the year that people love to shop, while you’re out and about this holiday season, consider helping out your local animal rescue or shelter, because these guys are so worth it.
Thanksgiving can be a time to fill up on delicious, decadent food for your dog too! An array of dishes ranging from sweet to savory will tempt most any pet. Most of the items we delight in are dangerous to the one member of the family who may want it all the most: the dog. So instead of hoping that that one Uncle doesn’t pass Fido something that’ll make him sick, try whipping this yummy recipe up for the fur baby sitting under your chair.
Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
¾ Cup Canned Pumpkin
¼ Cup Peanut Butter (Try Sunbutter if any of your guests have allergies)
1 Egg beaten
¼ cup shredded carrots
1 cup whole wheat flour
1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2- Stir Pumpkin, peanut butter, carrots, egg and flour in a large bowl until thoroughly moistened.
3- Roll batter into small balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet
4- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
5- Let cool and hand your pup a treat that’ll make them forget what turkey tastes like!
- Pre-pay for a boarding visit of 7 days or more and receive $20.00 off
- Save $15.00 on a mini class with Nick, Abbey, or Michael
- Free holiday photo! Schedule your free holiday photo with Bailey. Must have an appointment!
- Save $15.00 on a mini class with Nick, Abbey, or Michael
Not valid with any other discounts or offers. Expires December 15th, 2018.
- No time for a six week group class? Let us train you and your dog in just 3 weeks!
Save $15.00 on a Mini Class with Michael or Abbey
- Not sure where to start? Meet with Christine, Jordan or Nick for a Service Evaluation.
Get an Evaluation for only $69.00! Save $70.00!
- Send your dog to school this month and get a FREE Halloween photo! Make sure you
let the staff know at drop off and send a costume for an even better picture.
- No time for a six week group class? Let us train you and your dog in just 3 weeks!
Save $20.00 on a Mini Class with Michael or Abbey
Not valid with any other discounts or offers. Expires November 15th, 2018
Stand Up for Pits and Bark Nation Inspire and Educate us about Pit Bull Type Dogs.
Saving the lives of “pit bull type” dogs, “Stand Up for Pits” was created to end the discriminatory bans and abuse on pitbull type dogs. The “Stand Up for Pits tour stopped by to visit Detroit last weekend and Wag ‘N’ Tails had the opportunity to meet and laugh uncontrollably at the president, founder, and comedian Rebecca Corry.
Rebecca has dedicated her life to these “hippo” type breeds and her love for these “beefcake” dogs is evident. Stand Up for Pits is on a mission to educate people about the discrimination and abuse pit bull type dogs face. Myself and Rhonni Vescosky were thrilled to be a part of this fundraising event and look forward to collaborating with all the wonderful fellow dog lovers we met to save even more lives.
Bark Nation, together with Stand Up for Pits put on one heck of an event at the Majestic Theatre in Downtown Detroit. Because of this fabulous annual event, Bark Nation made just over $5,000 in merchandise sales and the silent auction. The rescue received just over $9,000 worth of life-saving supplies for all the deserving dogs they serve. Kelly McLaughlin, president of Bark Nation is something else, read more about her here from her story featured in The Dodo last year. Her dedication is outstanding!
Consider Adoption or Fostering: In addition to the wonderful donations several dogs such as Daryl and Holly, have now found forever homes or foster homes! Our very own Jordan Covington, personally knows all these babies because of her volunteer work and is happy to know these guys don’t have to wait anymore for a loving home. This is me below with Daryl, he was a real sweetheart!
Did you know that so many famous people like President Theodore Roosevelt, Helen Keller and Fred Astaire all loved Pit Bulls as their family pet? Take a look at even more celebrities BarkPost tells us about, who are also in love with the breed, here.
The ASPCA holds this position, and says the following:
“All dogs, including pit bulls, are individuals. Treating them as such, providing them with the care, training and supervision they require, and judging them by their actions and not by their DNA or their physical appearance is the best way to ensure that dogs and people can continue to share safe and happy lives together.”
It is a fact that the “Pitbull” dog breed makes an excellent Therapy Dog. Yep. You read that right. Despite many communities imposing breed-specific bans on the Pitbull and “Bully” breed types, there are just as many regions trying to break that stigma. To learn more about the Pitbull Breed as a therapy dog, check out this link here.
“When we say “Pitbull,” it may unfairly conjure up images of a blood-thirsty beast out to destroy anything in its path. Nothing could be further from the truth.” – Service Dog Certifications
National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) was created in 2007 on October 25th. As that date draws near, it’s time for us to become more educated and aware so that we can bring positive attention to all dogs and acknowledge the stereotypes and misconceptions these types of dogs face.
“Stand Up for Pits” and Bark Nation Inspire and Educate us about Pit Bull Type Dogs.
Written by Christine Fox, Owner, and Founder of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center
OCTOBER 1ST THROUGH OCTOBER 24TH-
Bring your dog to school in their Halloween costume and our trainers will take a picture of your pup during their school day and they will be entered into our contest for a chance to WIN!
OCTOBER 25TH THROUGH OCTOBER 30TH-
On October 25th All pictures taken of our applicants will be uploaded to Wag ‘N’ Tails Facebook page and our Facebook fans will have 5 days to Vote for their favorite costume. The dog with the costume that receives the most votes will win a prize!
TRICK OR TREAT- $10
OCTOBER 1ST AND 4TH
Bring Fido to school for our Halloween obstacle course!
PUMPKIN PATCH FUN- $10
OCTOBER 9TH AND 11TH
Extra enrichment and fun games that involve pumpkins!
HOWL-WEEN PHOTOSHOOT- $10
OCTOBER 10TH AND 16TH
Bring a costume…… if you dare!
BOBBIN’ FOR BONEZ- $10
OCTOBER 22ND AND 25TH
This festive fun will be sure to tucker them out!
HOWL-WEEN PAWTY- $10
30 minute HALLOWEEN party, includes gift bag and Halloween treat!
LET’S STOP THE SPREAD OF DOG FLU TOGETHER
The dog flu is here and this bug isn’t messing around. Humans aren’t the only ones who suffer from a contagious illness – dogs can share the flu germ too. As our pets advocates, let’s stop the spread of dog flu together. This nasty virus going around gets passed through the air when dogs sneeze or they can become infected by people when germs jump on hands or clothing, where they can live for hours. This beast is much more powerful than the good ol’ kennel cough that we’ve all become familiar with.
LET’S WIPE IT OUT
With this flu, a dog can be infected for five to seven days before showing any symptoms, and as many as 20% may not show symptoms at all. The H3N2 flu is VERY contagious and spreads through respiratory secretions. Although this germ is nasty, it’s also a bit of a wimp, it CAN be wiped out in 48 hours with help from our community and dog care centers.
If we, as our pets advocates, continue to allow our dogs to socialize – this wimpy flu wins – over and over again. We don’t necessarily know where this ugly virus starts, but what we DO know is how it survives, where it hides and how to conquer this beast. With a little work, we can stop the spread of dog flu.
We MUST vaccinate.
We really don’t have a choice anymore and quite frankly, I’m surprised we made it this long flu-free. Here we are now with another flu outbreak. Only this time it’s an epidemic in our area.
SOCIALIZATION COMES WITH RISK
In 18 years since the first big outbreak, so much has changed. We as pet parents, finally understand the importance of socialization and training. Options for our dogs have grown substantially. We have organized sports for our dogs, care facility choices, we’re taking grooming more seriously, and we’re finally socializing our dogs the way they deserve to be. We’re exercising our companions more, greeting dogs on our neighborhood streets more confidently, and even going shopping at local outdoor malls that allow our family pets.
That being said, with this socialization comes risk. We have the fear of dogfights, unforeseen accidents, play injuries, and yes, contagious illnesses.
THE COMMUNITY SUFFERS
Here’s the thing. If we don’t vaccinate and plan to socialize our pet in an organized facility it will soon be the norm that this vaccine is required. If you don’t wish to vaccinate, you will need to find alternate care or activities for your dog. There’s just no way around it. Dogs are at serious risk, pet parents are understandably disappointed when their dog gets the flu and businesses suffer horribly.
TACKLE THE BEAST
According to reports from the American Veterinary medical association, less than 10% of pets who have the dog flu will die. That number is quite low. In my estimation, 100% of the dedicated dog lovers working in the animal care industry are absolutely exhausted from tackling this epidemic and trying to stop the spread of dog flu. The intense disinfection process coupled with contacting parents one by one with the disappointing news that they need alternate care on the fly is daunting, to put it mildly. Veterinary clinics have to be extra cautious and many are requiring that patients wait in the car until they are ready to be seen. Some are even doing exams in their patients’ car wearing protective gloves and gowns to prevent cross-patient handling.
PET CARE ADVOCATES WORKING TOGETHER
In our local community both in Macomb and Oakland Counties, I’ve never seen anything like this in all my years of experience. Not only with this flu epidemic, but also with the camaraderie between veterinarians and care facilities. I have to admit at first I thought, “Here we go, another vaccine, UGH! My clients are going to be so annoyed. Is this really THAT big of a deal? Why do we have to use MORE drugs with our dogs to keep them safe?”
Our veterinarian friends have been outstanding in providing us with the tools and information we need. They have reached out personally with their concern, offered educational resources, and guides for distribution for our pet parents. For example, Oakland Animal Hospital can’t stress enough how important it is that care facilities along with help from the wonderful people at Merck tame this flu beast. Please refer to https://www.dogflu.com/ for SO much more information. This website has a wealth of helpful information. Not only for pet parents but for care facilities as well.
Many care facilities are shutting down, and some are no longer taking new clients. MOST have gotten on board and are now requiring the flu vaccine because they too are taking this epidemic seriously. That’s the “camp” we’re in. At Wag ‘N’ Tails, as you know, we offer our clients only the best. The trust of our clients and the care of their pets come first. We may upset some of the clients, but we have to do what’s right. In the long run, if there’s another outbreak, our clients will thank us for this decision knowing their dogs are well protected and knowing we’ve done everything we can to stop the spread of dog flu.
THE TIME HAS COME FOR OUR NEW POLICY:
ALL DOGS attending Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center will be REQUIRED to have the flu vaccine in order to begin and continue care with us for any service.
Due to the lengthy gestation period for the dog flu vaccine, once your dog is vaccinated you must wait 4 weeks prior to returning if your dog has been infected. We will only be allowing non-clinical dogs at this point who are veterinarian approved to return to school.
We will be calling our clients with upcoming boarding reservations, although if you have a trip booked or even a grooming appointment scheduled, please be advised that you are on a bit of a time crunch to begin the flu vaccine process due to the 2-step process.
Please consider keeping your pet away from others until the vaccine for dog flu is administered. Otherwise, the cycle will continue. We can only do so much with medicine and science although, there are quite a few things as pet parents that we can do. Help us stop the spread of dog flu by keeping your dog away from other dogs until they are safe. Your dog will love you for it and so will your fellow dog lovers in our local community.
Note: If your veterinarian feels for any reason that your pet should not receive the flu vaccine, we will absolutely accept your pet with a doctors note.
WHAT NOW? IN-HOME CARE
Stay tuned loyal pet parents! We know how difficult this is for you. We’ve been wearing booties, gloves, gowns and working tirelessly. Not only to follow the Infectious Disease Handbook rules but to also fine tune our IN HOME CARE details. We will soon have more info coming on how we plan to come right to your door to help you get through this change in your routine. We’re sure your dogs aren’t thrilled about this either!
Be sure to follow us on all social media and that you are on our email list so you don’t miss out on the details. We are already creating a waiting list. You may also call the office at 586.781.6400 for more information. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Years ago, most would’ve thought that dogs would want to “play” or socialize while their family is away. Why not? Perfect! This service could ease the guilt of being gone all day, one might think. Most pet parents use doggie daycare centers regardless of how it affects their time and their budget mainly because their dog is part of the family and they wholeheartedly want to provide something special, that they just can’t provide from home.
I was 21 years old when I started working at a dog daycare center called Yuppy Puppy. My formal education started at Trainers Academy for Obedience and Behavioral Sciences, which now has new ownership and is called Woofology, based out of Troy, Michigan. My experience there with phenomenal Instructors truly made me who I am today. I owe a lot to the entire team of wonderful people that I worked with who taught me everything I know. Back then, we were very adamant about the importance of training during the socialization process and to this day I am devoted to continuing that passion with my staff and my community of followers.
When I decided to open Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center several years later I was teased by everyone I knew since “doggie daycare” was such a new thing. So many people still had never heard of such a thing! A daycare center for dogs? I had friends who were graduating from college and going off to pursue fancy careers or “real” jobs and I was immediately nicknamed the “dog lady.” At that time in 1999, there were three dog daycares in three counties. Now there are 63 “dog daycare” centers, doggie camps, canine worlds, or dog-mania’s” located in my county alone in the state of Michigan.
Today, people are beginning to realize the importance of the following:
1.Tailored Group Sizes
Over the years, things have changed. I’ve watched what was once a great idea to “poop out pups” while people are away, turn into a booming business idea that is quite frankly creating aggression and fear. There. I said it. Whew! Feels good. You see, this is the thing. Somewhere along the way, people got this wild idea that allowing 15, 20, 30 and even 40 dogs to intermix together in one room and “run wild and free” would be a great way to “poop out pups.” Although, the methods of training used with dogs that are intermixing in this manner is critical to any dogs success in the future. Especially when they are in the presence of other dogs outside of that environment on a leash for example or just simply on a walk with their owner later on. If and when methods such as squirt bottles of water are used in these play arenas or when adverse punishment methods are part of that interaction routine, this will many times cause behavior problems and can actually be counterproductive to the dogs success and comfort level, even on simple walks around the block. Group size and proper pairing of dogs must be considered. Many times at a typical dog daycare center it’s simply not possible to operate this way. In a school type environment, education comes first, not group size.
2. Reasonable Length of Time for Groups
Where along the way did we, as humans decide that dogs wanted to “party” with other dogs for hours on end? Well, I’m here to tell you that they don’t. If dogs could thank me (and they do every day) for letting the cat out of the bag, they would. Just because dogs are pack animals, that doesn’t mean they should be expected to get along with others simply because they are dogs. People are people, and many of them can’t even get along! Why oh why, would we expect it to be any different for dogs? There is an extreme amount of skill, patience and experience involved in controlling any environment with large pack numbers of canines. There is much to be said for offering short burst of time in order to “jazz them up and then settle them down” from the words of Dr. Ian Dunbar, veterinarian and dog trainer. There is a difference between constructive interaction which creates calm contentment in dogs, opposed to absolutely overwhelming them into pure and utter exhaustion. Short play and train times are difficult to maintain in a daycare center opposed to a school-type environment where education comes first and length of time is tailored according to each individual guest.
3. Off Leash Control
Wag ‘N’ Tails has serviced thousands of pets and their parents since 1999. Within that service we include the feelings of home. Walks outside to eliminate, quiet time, the sound of television, and most importantly, small controlled groups of socialization performed in a timely manner. These are just a few examples of how we simulate our care to feel like a home away from home. Our strategically planned groups of dogs always include activities such as counter conditioning methods using word cues and hand signals so we have off leash control from a distance. Dog School is in session when you bring your dog to Wag ‘N’ Tails and we pride ourselves on first teaching with leashes and eventually being able to maintain the same control without the leash in a group setting.
4. Well Trained Staff
Our talented group of dog trainers know the signs to watch for when play is becoming inappropriate or overwhelming to a dog. They are able to swiftly identify when a particular dog may not do well another dog based on size, age or temperament. Our specially chosen staff is trained to keep a safe environment with the use of not only leashes and various motivational tools, they use control exercises that involve ongoing learning techniques.
Examples of the learning process for our staff includes:
- Mandatory training classes
- Written comprehension essays
- Webinars on dog body language, health and safety, and canine behavior
- Book reports
- Attendance to in-home training consultations and private training lessons
At Wag ‘N’ Tails, we offer an enrichment program which includes confidence building, education, prevention of fear and prevention of aggression. Do we play and exercise the dogs in our care? Absolutely! Our experienced “dog teachers” go through a significant amount of training to have the positions they proudly hold to offer safe play. We do have play and socialization as part of our service but it’s conducted in a very controlled setting using only science-based, force-free training.
When you visit Wag ‘N’ Tails, you have chosen your dogs’ school, we sincerely take pride in offering a service that is truly hard to find. We will continue to strive at making sure that your dog continues to enjoy the benefits, while you enjoy them as well. With a well mannered, well-adjusted dog who can’t get in our dog house door fast enough and goes home confident, well mannered and happy!
Rewards in Dog Training
If I use food rewards in dog training, does that mean I’m “bribing” him? There is still such a misconception in the dog training world that if we use food treats, we are essentially “talking the dog into…” listening. Bribing doesn’t work. It won’t work with any type of reward, whether it’s treats, games, attention or even affection. It certainly won’t work for long!
There is a difference between a bribe and a lure. The lure and reward system of learning in dog training is undoubtedly the fastest, most humane and FUN way to teach a dog.
When using food treats as the reward, bribery is basically offering a yummy tid bit AFTER the dog has knowingly refused to perform the behavior asked. The dog said, (if the dog could ‘talk) “Nope! There’s a squirrel over there, and I’m NOT sitting!” If you offer the reward BEFORE and THEN they follow your cue given, this is a bribe.
Lure and Reward
Reinforcement is your PAY for a “job well done.” The dog made the right choice BEFORE following the cue or “command” given. When the lure is presented before the desired behavior, this allows you to teach the “meaning” of the command given. In other words, when the dog makes the right choice to sit regardless of the presence of the squirrel, a reward is well deserved! Job well done! You saw the squirrel, sat, made the right choice, so BOOM! The “pay” is yours.
If you use the effective technique of “luring” this is perfectly acceptable and not bribing if you are teaching FIRST, the meaning of what the command is and what you expect.
The mistake that many pet parents make when using reward based methods of learning is that their timing is off. The trick is to keep your treats hidden! You only want to show the treat after the dog has successfully completed the task asked, and not before. If the dog is making mistakes, you have set him up to fail. You’ve expected too much too soon and most likely the dog isn’t ready to be instructed to sit that close to the squirrel for example.
The Empty Hand Transition
Once your dog understands the hand signal or verbal cue and can perform the behavior asked, simply use a closed hand gesture keeping the treat hidden in your pocket or bait bag. You don’t keep the treat in your hand anymore. It’s the surprise treat for acting properly after the command or cue was given.
Phasing Out The Treat
Bribing just doesn’t work, and when it does, it certainly won’t be a long lasting method of learning. The “teacher” must have impeccable timing and more importantly once the command or cue is learned, be sure to phase out the food treat. Gradually, with success it’s important to phase in various other rewards in dog training. Your voice, your touch, a squeaky toy, a ball, a game, dinner time, an allowance onto the couch with you, whatever you choose.
The world of rewards in dog training is “your oyster!” Only you know what your dog loves most and holds dear. Use those things as the reward for behaving and responding and eventually you won’t need the food anymore. The food isn’t a bribe. It’s a way to teach the dog that listening is a part of life, and that life with you, is all that and a bag of chips…or liver treats!
Treat based methods of learning can be a powerful tool in teaching dogs and it’s the easiest, almost foolproof way to motivate. Overuse of treats can lead to bribery where the dog will only respond if you have food so be sure to avoid this at all costs! If you always remember that the treats are for a reinforcement after the good behavior and you phase out the food with various other rewards, you are on the right track to keeping learning fun for the dog, and for you!
Oh what a day it would be at dog school, if we could say with certainty that we walk our guests at 10am, feed at 11am promptly every day and we always train precisely at 2pm. What a glorious day that would be, although definitely wishful thinking!
Think of how a school classroom operates for a moment. Imagine kindergarten aged children finishing up reading time and it’s time for coats and shoes. “Recess time!” the teacher Mrs. Smith calls out. The excitement fills the room while the screams are kept to a minimum considering it’s the best Mrs. Smith can do. The utter joy in the room is irreplaceable, yet needs to be managed in order to make it to the playground. Daily there is an agenda, but there will always be a few twists in the day!
This is the same energy and excitement of a dog school classroom in session. Only the kindergarten students are dogs, lots and lots of dogs! Some little, most big. Some rescues, some not. Some abused and being rehabilitated, others just there for the pure joy it brings.
Every day is a new adventure! Truly a new day filled with energy, wonder, education and unexpected surprises. At Wag ‘N’ Tails, we give our pet parents an idea of what the “routine” is for the day, but we prefer to continue running our show based on the needs of our guests, and believe us, their needs change daily. Sometimes those changes are based on how much exercise they’ve had at home over the weekend. Sometimes their needs can change based on the weather, age, medical needs, or simply just being tired! Certainly, there is a policy and a procedure in place for the daily dog school routine, and we proudly follow all of them. That’s what keeps our tails waggin’ since 1999. We like to say that we operate much like a school, only our kids, are dogs! The picture below depicts a perfect day in the life at Wag ‘N’ Tails!
Never hesitate to schedule time with our Director of Services, Jordan Covington and she’ll be happy to answer your questions on your tour. She also schedules 15-minute meetings with our pet parents as needed!
Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the daily fun too!
Education Comes First Since 1999
Education comes first at both Wag ‘N’ Tails locations in Shelby Township, Michigan. We appreciate that you are a parent to your dog, not just a dog “owner.” That’s one of the reasons why education comes first for us. This is also why we prefer to be called your dog’s school – We’re so much more than a doggie daycare. As professionals, we take pride in knowing what makes your dog happy – and healthy.
Buddies hanging out! Many of our dogs grow up together with coordinated days and visits.
Who Is Worthy of Your Dog’s Attention?
As pet parents ourselves, we know that choosing a trustworthy care provider and/or a care facility is an important decision. We appreciate that price and location is certainly a consideration, although, much like finding care for your child, there’s even more to consider. At Wag ‘N’ Tails you have found your dog’s school – so much more than a “doggie daycare.” We think there’s a difference! With so many dog care centers to choose from, how do you decide? We’ve listed our reasons, well…a few of them!
Wag ‘N’ Tails is different and this is why:
Tour Time: We’ll take you all the way through our dog house. We love when company comes over!
Teaching cues such as stay and “watch me!”
Caregiver ratio: Our trainer -to-pet ratio is no more than 10 dogs per handler. This means that at all times, there is more than enough qualified and experienced staff to accommodate your pets every need – safely and professionally.
Methods and Experience: Our dog trainers on staff have skill sets that give them the positions they have. Trainers must advance throughout their education in order to proudly offer their talent. The best way to explain it, is that we employ people looking for careers, not just a job.
Happy dog – Happy parent!
Here is a great list of questions from the International Boarding and Pet Services Association that might help you know if you’ve chosen the best care center for you and your family. The Dog Gurus share a few tips here on knowing if your dog is happy with the care center you’ve chosen. When your dog is happy, you will be happy! Keeping in mind, that when your dog isn’t happy or comfortable, you would know.
We always encourage you to “speak” on behalf of your dog, and we vow to forever do the same! All dogs are unique with their own individual needs and preferences. Together, we will find the program that suits your needs best! As our dog’s age with us at Wag ‘N’ Tails, their needs change along with their health and even activity preferences. The open communication we have with our pet parents is one of our number one compliments! Dog’s don’t talk, (not like us!) so we always count on our pet parents to talk on their dog’s behalf enabling us to provide the service needed most.
Down stay and Leave it Cues.
There’s something to be said for community involvement and trust.
Our loyal referral partners include:
- Local veterinarians
- Rescue leagues and fosters
- Fellow grooming salons
- Fellow pet care providers
- Supply stores
- Friends and neighbors
Our certifications are from the most elite network of pet care providers in the country:
- The Association of Pet Dog Trainers
- American Kennel Club
- Pet Sitters International
- Fit Paws International
- Do More With Your Dog Trick Training
Education is number one and always will be at Wag ‘N’ Tails
When we are passionate about the learning process, we aren’t just referring to the dogs, their lessons, and their future. In order for us to live by the words of our mission statement, education must be offered to not only the dogs but their families as well. For us to achieve those goals, it’s imperative that our amazing staff is educated in order to offer our skills to the community. Education is the key to our success and what makes us awesome! We are proud of who we are at Wag ‘N’ Tails and who we continue to be! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about our unique services and care.
Here is what a few of our dedicated parents have to say:
We had our 6-month-old old German Shepherd Diesel boarded at Wag ‘N’ Tails while out of town. We also scheduled extra training sessions while he was there. I have seen so much improvement in such a short period of time. Diesel is no longer pulling when being walked & although he still barks like a maniac at other dogs I am now able to get his attention with the “watch me” command…refocusing his attention every time. Diesel had a blast & can’t wait until next time his pack leaves town 🙂 Erica Adams Keesee.
Wag ‘N’ Tails helped us LOVE having a dog again! Our pup Rosie has been enrolled in puppy classes, daycare, boarding, and grooming. The lessons taught us class work! Day Care is a blessing to both dog and busy family, as well as boarding. And Maire the groomer takes great care of Rosie. She always looks and smells great! Best of all, Rosie loves going! She used to be shy but now jumps up joyfully in the lot. I highly recommend this place. It has helped to make dog ownership so enjoyable! Alex Van Almen.
Cannot speak highly enough of Wag ‘N’ Tails! All of the staff is wonderful! When I adopted my dog, Koba, he had been attending Wag for daycare and training as a foster. Even though it is over an hour from my house I still take Koba here to play with his friends as it’s worth the drive. He loves it! Additionally, I love the Wag isn’t just a free for all play space. They work with him on solidifying basic commands while he’s there. They are an amazing center that really knows how to handle dogs and look out for the animals best interest. Wag really becomes family for the animals and their humans! Jolene Kijorski.
Wag ‘N’ Tails dog training is a place I refer many of my current clients to. They only use force-free, scientific based techniques that follow proven teaching methods like classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Training here taught me a lot about dog behavior and how to successfully communicate with my dog! – Laura Byrd, Wilson Veterinary Hospital.
Travel more. Worry less.
Deciding who will care for your dog during long days away from home or for extended travel can be a difficult decision to make for loving pet parents. Many times, taking your dog with you just isn’t an option. Having a regular care provider that you can count on, plus having a backup plan will alleviate a lot of the stress involved when leaving your pet.
There is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to caring for a pet. All dogs are different with varying personalities and needs, just like people. Not all dogs would do well in kennel type environment. Alternatively, there are plenty of dogs who would do much better away from home while the family is gone.
Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the most respected and highly recognized advocates for pet sitting throughout the world. Wag ‘N’ Tails has been a proud member since 2005. PSI has many valuable resources that can help to get you started on finding the right care environment for your dog in your area. They also provide lots of great downloads and resources. Learn more here.
There are several options to consider when you plan to be away from your pet. The same six tips below apply to any type of care you decide on. Whether you will be trusting a friend, a family member, or a professional boarding facility or pet sitter, following these quick tips will allow you to travel more and worry less!
GET YOUR SNIFF ON.
Go with your gut instinct when you interview your pet potential sitter. If you don’t feel warm and fuzzy inside, your dog probably won’t either! Once the caregiver or facility has been selected, allow your pet to become familiar with the care providers and/or the place you have chosen.
The more opportunities your dog has to bond with their caregivers, the better! This will give you a chance to sniff out how you and your dog feel with each experience before you travel. Utilizing a care provider only when you’re going to be gone for a period of time, is not a good idea. It’s important that your dog is comfortable with the care providers, the change in the environment and routine, and becomes familiar with what to expect. If you only use a caregiver when you are gone for extended stays, your dog might not have a very good association with this person or place since they are associated with your absence!
PACK IT UP!
Most dogs appreciate routine and consistency. Keep this in mind when packing your dog’s belongings for their adventure. Pack the bed they frequently use at home, a favorite toy, a safe and tasty chew bone, yummy treats and do the best you can to keep your dog’s diet the same to prevent stomach upset. Providing a scent filled item with your scent is always a good idea too! A sweatshirt you wear, a washable blanket, etc. Using the same bag every time is also recommended. Eventually, your dog will know what’s happening when you grab that special bag!
When you’re nervy, this can make your dog a nervous nellie too! If you followed tip #1, you should be looking forward to your time away. You deserve it after all! Be excited for your dog. Enjoy the drop-off experience and most likely your dog will too. You took the time to research and feel comfortable with your choice in a caregiver, and you’re confident your dog will be happy, safe and healthy.
Picking the same word or cue each time you leave your pet with a care center or person is advised so you can create a clear expectation for your dog. As your dog ages with the care centers, simply saying, “Look! We’re at Wag!” for example, can go a long way.
Times have changed, and pet parents are finally realizing the benefits to having a crate trained dog. A dog that can manage being independent and comfortable in a place they can call their own can make all the difference when it comes time for travel. Even teaching your dog how to feel comfortable behind baby gates is better than no confidence with confinement at all. Learn more about crate training here.
Remember, when you’re chill, your dog should be fairly calm too. If you arrive to pick up your dog or come home and GO CRAZY with wild and exuberant “I missed you’s!” this is not a good idea. Be breezy. Humans come, humans go. It’s a part of life. If you act like it was the end of the world, most likely your dog will too. This will make things very hard on you, and most especially, your dog next time you need a little get away.
If you follow these tips and tricks, you will find that with all the details involved in travel, caring for the dog will be the easiest thing for you on the “to do” list.
You’re a devoted pet parent, and you deserve a vacation, remember? Travel more. Worry less.
Introducing our new name for the foster dogs who live in our board and train center waiting for their forever homes.
The Teach & Reach Program, TA-DUH!
Without education, the number of dogs being re-homed just can’t change. We need your help! That’s why we added the “reach” after the “teach!” So many dogs, so many homes – with continued training and spreading the word, we just know that Wag ‘N’ Tails can help make a difference.
We can’t thank you enough for your donations, volunteering your time and most especially for spreading the word and sharing our posts and announcements about our dogs in need.
We thank you, the dogs thank you!
Meet Hardy, our Latest Foster Friday Dog.
Every Friday we post our dogs in need. Those pups who live at our school and remain in training until we find the perfect family they’ve always dreamed of.
Hardy and his buds
Hardy is pictured here (the one with those ears to die for!) with his buddies in school. He is a very affectionate dog, loves to learn, although he loves his chill time just as much! Hardy is in training to treat and modify his resource guarding, he’s learning very quickly that he no longer needs to hoard and hang on to things. Using our positive methods of learning, he’s coming along great and we’re moving in the right direction. Hardy has not bitten, although he would be better suited for a home with other children who can follow safety rules.
Hardy hanging with Austin
Hardy will do best with a family who will have the time to continue with his “resource” training. He’s crate and potty trained, very well socialized and loves, loves, LOVES people!
At Wag, as you know, education and training is the primary part of our mission in reducing the amount of homeless dogs. It’s a requirement that the families who adopt our dogs are educated with either private lessons or classes on the lessons taught to our residents. This requirement ensures continued success and consistency. Please share with your friends to help us with our mission.
In 2016: 56 dogs were trained and found their forever homes.
To Date: Wag has rehabilitated, trained and found forever homes for: 16 dogs with your help in sharing.
For more information on our latest Foster Friday dog, contact our office at 586.781.6400 and speak to our Director of Services, Jordan Covington.
When we fill out applications for employment, many times it’s page after page of material for the employer to get to know us; our history, our present thoughts and of course our goals for the future. Online social media profiles ask us about our favorite movies, sports, and music. Dating sites? I can only imagine how organized and thorough those are!
Caring and reputable breeders, long-standing and successful adoption centers, and community rescue organizations work tirelessly to ensure the continued health and safety of the dogs they breed, rescue or foster. When they require you to fill out a detailed questionnaire, consider this your application to your potential dog.
Think about all the requirements most of us have in our daily lives for a moment. There are a lot. Are you ready? Here are just a few: we put thought into our vehicle – and not just the type – but the color, the sound system and the upholstery. Our phone type, which includes the carrier, the case and all of our apps. Our house location, career, home decor, gym and we definitely put thought into who our significant other will be. In fact, some people are so picky about who their partner should be they might stay single until they know they’ve found “the one,” no matter how long it takes.
Don’t you want to be your dog’s “the one?”
If I were a dog, I know I would have a few requirements; How long do you plan to leave me at home alone? When will you be back? Am I going for long walks by the beach or will you be sending me a dog walker? If so, can I pick someone that likes to hike? How about sleeping arrangements? Are you going to be one of those “no dogs in the bed” people? If so, I can’t guarantee that I won’t continue to whine hoping to convince you to change your mind.
Whether a dog has been down a few rough roads, or has been bred to carry on a trustworthy lineage, the least we can do is research to find the right type of dog best for us.
According to the American Kennel Club, there are over 180 canine breeds. Considering that fact, the list below is quite general, but fun and helps you get the idea! If you are considering a mixed breed you would combine these categories to get some insight as to the main traits your dog may have.
Working Breeds – Examples: Doberman, Akita, Malamute, Husky or Great Dane
Smart, loyal and determined. These guys might jump out of an airplane for you. If you’re not up for that, they’ll at least have your back when the doorbell rings. If you’re looking for a lifelong companion that would pass up a cheeseburger just to be near you, then this is your dog partner! If you like to exercise, keep busy and crave learning this pup has been waiting for you.
Hound Dogs – Examples: Coonhound, Beagle, Bassett, Basenji, Rhodesian Ridgeback
They can smell the potato chip you dropped under the couch yesterday and will refuse to let their discovery go unnoticed. The strong will and determination of a hound dog won’t stop until you positively acknowledge their finds. If they aren’t discovering birds, bunnies, treats or lost potato chips, then they’re most likely deciding when and where the next find might be. If you are always contemplating where your next adventure might be, you will spend a lifetime discovering together.
Terriers – Examples: West Highland, Airedale, American Staffordshire, Jack Russell, Scottish Terrier
These dogs are sassy, funny, smart, can be quite vocal, and might be a little needy. They’re affectionate most times (usually on their terms) and loyal to their family. Terriers always keep you on your toes! If you would run (and/or burrow) for those you love, this is your lifelong friend.
Sporting – Examples: Spaniels, Retrievers, Setters, Pointers
These pups are smart and generally very happy dogs. They’re lovable, but can be a bit stubborn. They may be a tad bit aloof with strangers, but very trainable. Their keen sensitivity mixed with a little bit of bossiness needs regular attention and guidance. If you have to size someone up a bit before they win your heart, this might be your pup. You can win hearts together!
Herding – Examples: Collies, Shepherds, Corgis, Sheepdogs and Berger Picard
Smart, curious, fun-natured and lovers of learning describes these types dogs. If you enjoy learning new things and relish in the company of various other animals (especially farm animals that can be herded), then this is the choice for you. Be sure not to disappoint this breed or break their spirit, they won’t soon forgive, they tend to hold grudges. If you are a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of person, you will herd through life together beautifully.
Non-Sporting – Examples: French Bulldog, Dalmation, American Eskimo, Boston Terrier and Bichon Frise
This group is your classic “little bit of this, little bit of that”. This diverse group of dogs includes intelligent and fun breeds such as the French Bulldog, could be a Lhasa Apso or perhaps a Chow Chow. Maybe the spotted Dalmatian melts your heart. No matter how you look at it, if you are ready for anything life has to throw your way, this is your group. Day-to-day you’re probably pretty breezy, and your dog would be too!
Toy – Examples: Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug, Yorkie and King Cavalier Charles Spaniel
Oh, don’t let their size fool you! They may be little on the outside, but most times they’re big on the inside. If you live in a small space or live a fairly inactive lifestyle, these cuddle bugs will keep you company and at the same time be high and mighty when needed. If you’re looking for a buddy true and true, this might be your match!
Christine Fox: Writer and Top Dog of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center in Shelby Township, Michigan.
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Do you have a purebred or a mixed breed with a little bit of everything? Tell me in the comments below, I would love to hear your stories!
So you think you found your dream dog? Before you decide if it’s love at first sight, remember it takes much more than providing a heart and a home to that 4-legged dream boat. Most likely you are a dog lover, most people are. Although, when offering a dog a happy and healthy life with you, there is so much more to consider than just simply being your companion.
When you are bringing home a creature who will love you, honor you in sickness and in health until death do you part, the least we can do is take the time to find the right fit! Sometimes people put more thought into what’s for dinner for the week, than they do what breed of dog will suit them best for potentially the next 15 years. Follow these 5 steps and you will be bound to create a lifelong, irreplaceable bond.
1. Know Your Breed
Scientists and researchers determine dogs came to be somewhere between 16,000 and 30,000 years ago. Geeze. That’s a hot minute. Sometime along the years, people forgot that dogs were once bred for a reason, and that has not changed. Retrievers want to retrieve and will most likely steal your socks. Border Collies will relish in rallying up the kids and chasing them when they run because they are bred to herd. You can pretty much expect a Husky to pull on the leash and have a lot to howl about since technically they are sled pullers on a mission. Knowing your breed and researching the breed ancestry will help you keep your patience pants on. You really want to know your dog’s hardwired characteristics.
Knowing the history and heritage of your dream dog is important, although that information is not always available. Most especially with rescue, shelter or foster dogs. Whenever possible, it’s best to teach puppies during the optimal learning time which is typically between 7 and 16 weeks of age. If a dog is acquired after that time, you are going to be “untraining” what someone else or the environment has already taught that dog, knowingly or unknowingly. Dogs are counting on us to find them safe and sound homes, so it’s up to us to fully research how dogs think and learn. With adoption dogs, you’ll need to consider the time after the optimal learning time that you’ll be adding to their history. Otherwise, if you purchase from a breeder, it’s up to you to know hereditarily and what you are getting yourself into so you’re better prepared.
When you dream of your family growing one day with a baby (human) or puppy, the rules should always apply. Manners! Manners! Manners! I hope to goodness the whole idea of professional (or nonprofessional) training for that matter as being cruel is long over. Most likely parents wouldn’t think they were coming on too strong when teaching their child how to say please and thank you. Teaching dogs should be no different. #makelearningfun
4. Establish Safety and Control
Many times when dogs don’t feel safe they will put themselves in a position of hierarchy to gain control and keep things in order in their dog mind. If the dog sees the human parent as the figure in the family (the pack) who is in position to keep things under control and safe, than the dog (in most cases) won’t put themselves in that role. This in turn, reduces barking, guarding, territorial type behavior problems. Making sure that the pet parent is viewed as the safe place or person, will also reduce many behavior problems such as leash pulling, jumping up and chewing. A dog won’t take the job of top dog if the position isn’t available.
A dog won’t take the job of top dog if the position isn’t available.
5. Bark ‘N’ Burn
What are your exercise plans? Indoor activities because you live in an apartment? Do you have limited mobility? Are you a busy college student? Whatever your lifestyle, you must come up with a plan to expose your dog to the environment and increase their heart rate daily with a walk or some type of exercise. No exceptions. Really doesn’t matter the breed, all dogs need and want to get out of the house if they are exposed properly. Exercise and socialization is critical to a dog’s overall well being and happiness.
Making sure your dream dog is happy and healthy. Isn’t that really what’s it all about? I know it is for me.
Most of us probably spend some time with daily hygiene. Let’s hope so, otherwise going to work and having to sit next to that stinky person every day is the worst. With dogs, there really is no difference. So why oh why are we skipping daily hygiene? If your dog is family you wouldn’t skip brushing your son’s teeth and give him a bath every six weeks. So let’s stop skipping the basics with the dog and then sleeping in bed with them. Ew.
These tips and tricks take minutes to keep your dog smelling great and staying healthy in between professional groom appointments. At the same time, you will feel better too!
1. Use Pet Wipes
These are a must have for all pet parents. Just as you might have sanitizer nearby with little ones at home, this is the same thing in dog world.
2. Brusha! Brusha! Brusha! Sorry. You have to brush your dog.
You don’t skip brushing your teeth and you just can’t skip brushing the dog. It’s so important to reduce the amount of allergies, dirt and dander on your dog’s coat. Maintaining their coat with a regular routine should be a bonding experience. It’s more about brushing, than bathing. Most humans think it’s a bath that’s needed to clean the hair, when really it’s the skin and the coat that needs attention. The brush and especially combing, is what it’s all about. Bathing can actually exacerbate stinky problems.
3. Dry Shampoo. Yep. They have this stuff for dogs too.
Baking soda and cornstarch are great for removing that “dog smell” most pups have. You can massage the powder through your dog’s coat using a towel. They also make commercial dry shampoo for dogs that you can give a try. There’s also great all natural freshening spray for those stinky days.
4. Wash all your dog’s stuff!
Their bed, their toys, their blankets. Clean them all! This will keep your pup AND your house fresher and cleaner. Use pet-friendly cleaning products.
5. Clean the face, feet and fanny.
No one wants to be around doggie bad breath. Dental chews are an easy way to maintain clean teeth, but monitoring the fruits and veggies they eat can also help with this. Keeping the gunk out of the eyes, ears and fanny can be life changing too. Learn more about our face, feet and fanny class.
Christine Fox: Writer and Top Dog of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center in Shelby Township, Michigan: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our professional grooming services:
Wag N’ Tails Grooming. Your dog will lick your face!
Dogs: Thieves, hoarders and runners… Unless we teach them safety first!
Pet parents around the world must truly realize the value of investing in a positive dog training program to fix “problem” behaviors. Although, dogs don’t think running away is a problem; they certainly don’t think stealing things that don’t belong to them is anything but fun either. As a matter of fact, all of the wild, running, seeking and finding makes for a pretty perfect dog day.
But dogs don’t live in the wild some days, much to their chagrin. This is why we, as loyal pet parents, are responsible for teaching our dog’s safety first in our human world, and most especially to prevent “problems” from occurring in the first place, as much as we can.
I believe there are three cues or commands that every dog should know and understand. And, knowing the meanings behind these cues could be a matter of life or death.
What is it about the wastebasket tissue that our dogs love so much? How about when the remote control is considered to be a perfectly reasonable chew snack? Everyday household items can be extremely dangerous for dogs including socks and undergarments which are a common choking hazard, and additional vet visit offenders include toxic foods and over-the-counter or prescription medications. Teaching a dog to willingly let go of any item in their mouth and relinquish could be, and has proven to be, a lifesaver. Teaching the drop it cue is also essential for dogs to understand in encouraging “polite play” as well.
This cue is taught to help the dog understand that whatever item he is “eye-balling”, he must leave it alone. Leave it means ‘don’t touch it’ and to look away. If your dog already took off with the sock, it’s too late to use the leave it command. In that case, you would use ‘drop it!’. Dogs need to understand that just because you accidentally dropped a bottle of medicine on the floor, this doesn’t mean the scattered pills are fair game. Teach this command and your dog will thank you later.
The Recall or Come Command
Likely, every pet parent has experienced this next gut-wrenching feeling at least once in dogdom. I remember the day like yesterday when my pup got the neighborhood in an uproar and created my first experience with high blood pressure. I was unloading my car which was filled with boxes on moving day. My Golden Retriever, Charley, was in the backseat, only 6 months old. The second I opened the car door to grab a box, his eyes met the movement of a squirrel that was running across the street. I tried to stop him from pushing past the open car door, to no avail; he was on a mission. A car was quickly approaching the both of them during their intense game of chase and of course, Charley was completely oblivious. I was much too far away to do anything about the fact that his little innocent face was only inches away from the car’s back tire in his hot pursuit of the neighborhood pest. My frantic call to, “Come!” actually worked. I had laid enough foundation with that command and thankfully, our lessons proved to be my dog’s lifesaver and mine too, since I obviously thought I was having a heart attack. When he returned to me with a look as if to say, “Mannn…I almost had that bugger!”, I had to catch my breath and be thankful we made it through a day that could’ve easily been his last.
I would love to hear your stories! Have you ever found the drop it, leave it or come comma
nds to be a life saver for you and your dog?
Christine Fox: Writer and Top Dog of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center in Shelby Township, Michigan: Email: email@example.com
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next Bark to the Basics class. Your dog will lick your face!
Wag ‘N’ Tails just completed our first charity walk to benefit Jack’s Place for Autism, an organization
Most of us pet parents (dog owners) have heard about the dreaded “kennel cough”. At first, it may seem that your dog is having difficulty breathing or maybe swallowed a foreign object. Then when you put the leash on and the slightest pressure is applied, that hacking cough might exacerbate the problem, causing you to think your dog might have a sore throat. Some might think the worst and rush their dog to their trusty veterinarian thinking after a persistent cough it’s a tracheal collapse. If your dog is active around other dogs or goes on lots of adventures to parks, outdoor malls, or car rides to visit with friends and their dogs, it’s most likely a harmless virus.
When your dog has any type of health issue it’s so scary, especially when you think your buddy is in some sort of danger. Send your dog for a boarding stay or a day of play or training, and there is always the possibility that your dog could catch a cold, a germ of some sort or even yes – “kennel cough!” If you go the grocery store, you could catch the flu. When you send your child off to camp, they could come home with a head cold from their camper buddy. As a matter of fact, dogs and humans can actually share not only affection (in addition to reducing each others’ blood pressure) but they can also share germs. Don’t worry, it builds a stronger immune system!
When your dog isn’t feeling good watch for the symptoms so you know when a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.
This is life. We can get sick. Does that mean we don’t go to the grocery store because it’s germy? Should your kids just forget about camp this year? Does this mean the dog care center you have chosen is dirty? I doubt it. I think you would have noticed when you originally toured and decided on the best care option for your pet that it wasn’t sanitary – if that were the case.
Disinfect. Repeat. Repeat again.
As long as your dog’s care center has policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and health of your pet, there is not much more that can be done. If you are at all in doubt, be sure to ask what methods are being used. Keep in mind that the more regular exposure your dog has to other dogs, the stronger their immunity will become to most airborne illness, such as kennel cough.
Health records should be checked, verified, and updated regularly by the administration office at your dog’s care center. Keep in mind, the required inoculations really only protect against certain strains of viruses, just as with human vaccinations. For example, the bordetella vaccine is to protect dogs from acute tracheobronchitis (also known as *gasp”, KENNEL COUGH!).
However, it only reduces the severity of the contracted cough if it’s caught. The vaccine is absolutely no guarantee that your pet will not catch the nasty bug. Keep in mind, this very annoying (to your pet), hacking cough is typically not serious if caught early on. Also, be sure to ask what the procedure is when “kids” are called in sick. At Wag ‘N’ Tails we have a two dog policy rule. If two pet parents call with dogs having the same symptoms we send out parent notices. Notes are taken off display from the front entry doors and the front counter after a 14 day period of no other callers. We honestly have such a great system in place, we rarely have issues with contagions at our school outside of the norm.
Whoever Named the Virus Kennel Cough and Why?
Why isn’t it called “Dog Park Cough?” or “Sniffed-the-fire-hydrant-with-the-neighborhood-dogs cough?” When pet parents hear “Kennel Cough” they can’t help but think their dog’s upper respiratory infection came from a kennel. Remember, tracheobronchitis comes from anywhere dogs are in close contact with other dogs. The reason it’s called kennel cough is because it’s HIGHLY contagious and can quickly spread through a kennel. At home, a pet parent loves up their pup, gives them antibiotics and they baby their “baby”. What can be done at a kennel? Sometimes they have to shut down if there are enough cases.
“Kennel cough is VERY contagious. It is named kennel cough because it can quickly spread through a kennel and infect every dog.” Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM
Can Anything be Done to Prevent Kennel Cough?
Not really much can be done to prevent kennel cough. Well, there is one VERY important thing you can do. No one knows your dog like you do! Watch for the symptoms at home so that you aren’t bringing a sick “kid” to school. Children might moan, groan or whine perhaps to alert or alarm a parent or teacher, but not dogs, no way! Most dogs are just too tough! It takes a lot for a dog to give in and admit that they have to slow down. Many dogs, depending on their age and temperament, of course, can withstand quite a bit of activity, even if they are a bit under the weather. Be sure to make yourself aware.
A few of the symptoms aren’t really obvious but indeed could be clear signs to watch for. Dogs don’t talk – not with words. So that means we, as humans owe it to our dogs to be good (and most times, better) listeners! Be sure to call the school to report the illness and most likely you will able to continue socialization and training programs for your dog. If your dog could talk he would thank you!
Do you find it difficult to diagnose when your dog is sick as a dog? If so, leave a comment below and we will reply!
Yes, they do. There’s just no place like home! Maybe you have a favorite chair or relaxing area? Knowing where the remote is (well, most of the time). Knowing when the kids will be home.
Home: comfortable and, for the most part, predictable.
Our boarding dogs feel right at home!
Dogs need all those things too! They like to know. They crave routine. And of course, most of them love comfort and have a favorite chair.
When we go on vacation we sacrifice the comforts of home, although it’s usually worth it! A beach? An adventure? Visiting with family and friends? The first thing I do in a hotel room is unpack into my new dresser drawers and immediately claim most of the closet. I can’t wait to check out the view. Does the hotel have a continental breakfast? I love those things!
If our boarding dogs could talk, this is what we think they would say, “Snacks in the morning BEFORE breakfast? This is great! A long leash walk right when I wake up to sniff out an adventure? Wow! Lots to do, so much to learn and, hey! I know that dog from last time!”
It’s certainly not home, but it’s worth the adventure! Many times when you get home and need a vacation from your vacation, your dog will too. Keep in mind though, dogs crave consistency. Most dogs like routine. Boarding would be compared to your small trips like going to a cottage, or to your sibling’s house. It’s not home, but you know what to expect because you’ve been there before.
That’s how we feel Wag ‘N’ Tails is viewed by your dog. If and only IF, you regularly visit. Once a year? Not enough. Twice a year? Nope. Three times? Not gonna work. It takes several visits to give a dog that feeling of “knowing.” Knowing what time dinner is. Knowing when it’s nap time. Anticipating bed time stuffed animals from home. Dogs cannot just force a feeling of comfort; the same way that you can’t force yourself to be comfortable.
There’s no place like Wag ‘N’ Tails!
Our dogs that stay the night with our specialty boarding service can’t get in the door fast enough. Will they miss their family? Of course! There’s no place like home, but if they see us regularly and know what to expect they can’t wait for that snack before breakfast and that special morning leash walk! There’s no place like home, but Aunt Wag ‘N’ Tails is pretty awesome too!
Last week, Charley and Hollywood went out for their morning walk in the yard. Strolling around, sniffing rabbit poop, looking for birds, giving squirrels the paw – you know, the usual. We came back inside, and only moments later Charley was ferociously barking at the sliding door. My first thought was maybe it’s the landscapers, since Spring is coming. I thanked him for barking and alerting me to something strange outside, but when I came to look, I was quite surprised. Instead of the landscapers I was expecting, it was two great big dogs that were off-leash, wandering about my yard. Charley was just hysterical. He was not very happy that there were dogs on his property and he was most likely protecting me. I wasn’t going to open the sliding door because I knew that could create a problem. So instead, I went to look out the front door and there they both were. They had already gone around the side of the house and were now beginning to investigate the front.
They were approximately a hundred yards away from the front door, but when I came out and stood on the porch, they both stopped sniffing and gave me prolonged eye contact. After 20 years in the business of “dog talk,” I was quite certain in reading their body language that they weren’t stopping over for a pow wow. The large white dog, probably a pit bull mix, looked as though she may have had a litter. The black one was a beautiful un-neutered male pit bull mix. They were most likely a “couple,” on a neighborhood date.
Their body language indicated to me that these dogs could potentially be a threat to any passerby and most especially to someone that would have a dog on a leash. I went back inside called animal control and described what the dogs looked like so that the situation could be addressed. What would we do if my dogs and I were on a walk and approached by these dogs? What would the cute little old lady across the street and her little Yorkie do if they were approached by these two dogs at large?
Here would be a few of my suggestions if you ever run into a situation like this one:
Most importantly – never run. Running will only cause a dog to chase and will likely create more arousal in the dog, especially if he is already in a state of high arousal. Instead, stand still at first. Do the best you can to stay calm and then walk away slowly.
Shout “Go HOME!” or even “Sit!” – Shouting will often make the average dog nervous enough to leave you alone. Although you should be serious and deliver the message with confidence.
For more persistent dogs, I would do the following:
Fill up your pockets!
I always have massive amounts of highly valuable treats on walks with me. Not just boring biscuits – yummy, smelly treats! All of my jacket pockets are full of treats (my coat closet probably smells just like liver treats!). If you are walking and you see a loose dog, throw a big handful of treats at the dog in the hope that he will stop to eat the treats while you move away.
Robin Bennett, author, consultant and APDT Board Treasurer offers this suggestion: Take an umbrella with you on walks – the automatic kind that allows you to push a button to open it. Most times, having an umbrella open suddenly into the face of a quickly, oncoming dog will scare the dog enough to confuse him and cause him to run the other way.
There is also a product called Spray Shield. It’s an animal deterrent that you can take with you on your walks. This is a form of citronella spray you can spray at a dog (think “doggie mace”). The downside to this product is the dog has to be really close which is why I prefer using treats, but if you wind up trying to break up a dog fight, this might help. At Wag, we also carry a safe, humane product called the Pet Convincer. It uses a blast of CO2 to interrupt and redirect. This product could be used for your safety as well as the safety of your dog.
Now that Spring is upon us, there may be dogs just itching to jump the fence and go on an adventure. Hopefully, these tips could help you in time of need. Despite the hype from the media, most dogs wandering off leash likely won’t harm you, but being prepared and calm is key in any case.
Christine Fox, CPDT