Posted in Bloggies on September 04, 2013 by Emily West
While visiting family this past week, my Aunt was marveling at our Miniature Schnauzer, Potter. She says that almost all dogs really cause her allergies to act up, but Potter never has. She went on to explain that sometimes she can handle being in a house for an hour that has dogs, sometimes not even that.
After this conversation, I thought it might be interesting and helpful to do some research on the best types of dogs to have if you or a family member is allergic to dogs. Dogs can be an integral part of our family, so to miss out on the chance to have one, especially as your children grow up, is a travesty.
The first thing I learned is that there is no such thing as a “hypoallergenic” dog. All dogs, even hairless ones, have hair and dander. Dander and not hair is what most people are allergic to, so shedding isn’t really the issue at hand. It’s more about the amount of dander that dogs produce – some naturally produce more and some naturally produce less.
So the key is to find a dog that produces a low amount of dander. Some smaller breeds include: American Hairless Terrier, Bichon Frise, Chinese Crested, Mini Schnauzer, Havanese, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle, and Yorkshire Terriers. Middle to larger size breeds that produce a low amount of dander include: Labradoodle, Portuguese Water Dog, Standard and Giant Poodle, Standard and Giant Schnauzer, and Wheaton Terrier.
Dogs with the most dander generally consist of dogs with a double-coated fur and include: Hounds, Cocker and Springer Spaniels, Collies, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Irish Setters.
If you already have a dog and are suffering allergies or are planning on having guests over and they suffer allergies, there are some steps you can take to help.
- And obviously, clean and vacuum often to help remove dander from carpet and furniture.
- Allowing your dog to be outside as much as possible is great for exercise, but also may keep him from losing that much more dander within the house.
- Bathe your dog often to help discourage dander build up.
- If possible, keep your dog out of your bedroom and especially off the beds, since a good portion of our day is spent sleeping there.
We hope this helps to answer any questions you may have about human allergies to dogs. We especially hope it helps people who otherwise thought they were unable to have a pet to make the wonderful leap into pet ownership. Dogs can be a great addition to any family, some may just need to be chosen more carefully than others. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or call us at 614-527-3799.
And after reading this, my cousin may finally get that dog he’s wanted from my aunt after all these years…
Posted in Bloggies on July 03, 2013 by Emily West
As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, everyone is looking forward to the upcoming events. Picnics, parades and fireworks are so much fun for families and children of all ages.
But what does your family dog think of all these festivities? The answer is they are probably not as excited about it as you are. Crowds of people and loud noises are not a favorite for most dogs, so here are a few tips to help make the Fourth of July weekend more enjoyable for your four-legged friend too:
It may be best to leave your pup at home for this one. There is a lot of activity at parades – crowds of people, loud noises, items being thrown - it may just be too much for your dog.
If you really want to include your dog in this tradition, be sure to take the following precautions:
• Keep your dog on a leash. We would suggest a 4 or 6 ft non-retractable one in order to best be able to maneuver your dog through a crowd or keep him away from things he shouldn't have.
• Watch out for thrown candy. Candy wrappers, chocolate and sucker sticks could be lethal to your dog. Keep an eye out to make sure he doesn't snag a stray piece or two.
• Bring water and offer it often to keep him hydrated.
• Don’t stay out too long if you’re dog does not handle the heat well.
• Definitely do not leave your dog in the car during the length of the parade. Hot cars are extremely dangerous even for short periods of time.
As we’ve stated in other holiday related articles, the biggest danger for dogs during gatherings like these is food. Be sure to keep the “people food” on the people plates. This will avoid any stomach irritations for your dog, which is good in any case, but especially if fireworks are that evening.
Sparklers, at home fireworks, and other related products could also present several dangers to your pet. For instance:
• Anything that you light is obviously potential for burns for people and animals alike. Be careful and be very aware of who is around you.
• Fur could catch fire easily. Be especially careful with your kids and the sparklers they may be having fun with.
• Some of the firework “toys” could frighten dogs. Especially the snapping, growing or popping ones. Best to keep your dog inside during these demonstrations to make sure they don’t get spooked or try to eat the remains. Do not let children (or adults for that matter) tease the family dog with any of these toys. Even the most passive dog can be very unpredictable when frightened or hurt.
Fireworks are tough for dogs. We all know how loud fireworks are for us, but keep in mind dogs have much more acute hearing than we do. Even from inside the house, fireworks can be downright frightening. A dog’s reaction to fireworks may be similar to thunderstorm anxiety.
Specific tips for an uneventful fireworks experience include:
• No question on this one. Leave your dog home safe in his crate, favorite room or even a bathroom.
• Play some soothing music (or your dog’s favorite) to help drown out the noise of the fireworks.
• Be sure all doors and pet doors are locked in the unlikely event of an escape. In a moment of panic, your dog may try and come to find you (wherever you may be) to find comfort.
• Be sure his or her collar and tags are on in case of an escape.
• If there are accidents when you get home, try not to be upset. Keep in mind the reaction was due to fear and nothing else.
We wish you and your family a very safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend!
Posted in Bloggies on June 21, 2013 by Emily West
Training is the most important aspect of Hidden Fences. Without it your electric pet fence will be ineffective and possibly do irreversible damage to your dog. Your four legged friend needs to be taught how to react when encountering his boundary and how to mentally deal with it as well.
- While training your pet to a DogWatch Hidden Fence it is important to know that your attitude and feelings play a very important role in how he responds. The reason for this is that dogs and cats can sense your moods and they respond to how you are feeling. If you are afraid, he will be afraid too. If you are happy he will be too. Keeping this in mind, it is important for you to have a positive and upbeat attitude while leading your pet around the yard.
- It is very common to be tentative while walking around the yard because nobody wants to see their dog get shocked. Don’t let this deter you. If your dog does receive a correction praise him immediately and then move on as if nothing happened.
- Do not linger on what just happened and don’t baby him. If you do he will think something bad is happening. Remember, this is supposed to be a positive experience for him.
- It is also important to not drag your dog around the yard if he is acting afraid to walk around. By doing this you are making a scary situation for you dog worse. Let him walk anywhere he wants to in the yard while not going straight for the house. You also don’t need to walk a perfect circle following right next to the flags. He needs to know that it is ok to walk everywhere in your yard with the exception of his boundary.
- If he is showing signs of not wanting to walk anywhere at all don’t panic. Get down on the ground and reassure him by rubbing his belly, praising him, and/or give him a treat. Then, get up, move to another area, and repeat the process.
- If he is afraid to follow you, try holding the leash in your hand while facing your dog and have him walk towards you. While he is walking to you slowly back up still keeping eye contact. Stop at another location get down with him and repeat your reassurance with him.
- This doesn’t happen often but when it does discontinue training for a couple of days while you are getting your dog used to walking around his yard, staying inside his boundary of course
- Training should only be 10 to 15 minutes per session. No more than twice a day. Any longer is overkill and might make your dog afraid to walk around the yard with you.
- Also, don’t go inside immediately after your pet receives a correction. Doing so will make him see the house as the safe area and not your yard. Reassure your dog by going to various safe areas in your yard to let him know it is still safe to be outside. It is also good to praise and do a lot of belly rubbing to put him at ease before going inside.
Just remember to have fun and enjoy your dog. In a little over a week he will be able to come outside without a leash and you will be able to enjoy him even more than you already do. If you have any questions, please contact us or call us at 614-527-3799. In addition, here's a link to our 14 day training schedule if you should need it.
Posted in Bloggies on June 12, 2013 by Emily West
With the approaching storm tonight, we thought it appropriate to repost this article:
It is not unusual for people to be afraid of thunderstorms…so why should it be any surprise that dogs may be afraid of them as well. Signs that your dog may be anxious about an approaching or current thunderstorm include panting, trembling, pacing, cowering, hiding, destructive behavior and “potty” accidents.
And don’t be surprised if your dog senses a storm coming before you do. Dogs can be especially sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure so they may start showing the warning signs of anxiety before you even know the storm is approaching.
Many experts recommend you do not encourage your dogs’ fears by comforting them during a storm. We disagree to a certain extent. If a family member is scared, of course you should comfort them and your dog is absolutely a part of your family. Allowing your dog to rest up against your leg or giving a petting or belly rubbing session could give the dog the comfort he or she needs. However, if your 120 pound dog all of a sudden crawls up in your lap or some other line is crossed, you may need to try some other options.
Here are 10 suggestions that might make a thunderstorm a more pleasant experience for your whole family:
- Dogs, like children, absolutely play off your emotions. If you are scared of the storm, many members (both two and four legged) may join you in your fear.
- While talking to your dog, keep your voice happy and calm. Even if comforting words are being spoken, if there is apprehension there, your dog will not be convinced all is fine.
- See if your dog responds to background noise. Try the television or different types of music. Soothing music may be best, but like people, dogs may enjoy different genres.
- Provide your dog with a safe place. Some dogs like to be under the bed, kitchen table, or other piece of furniture. Others may prefer a dark room, closet, or even the shower or bathtub. It may be as easy as leaving their crate open and allowing them to relax there, but these other suggestions might give you some options.
- Some dogs may just need a good long hug. The closeness and calmness of you may be enough to calm their nerves and get them through the worst of the storm.
- Do your best to distract your dog with his or her favorite game or toy. Keep their mind off the storm with a long game of fetch or teaching them a new trick.
- Keep “special” treats on hand just for storms. If there are treats your dog normally does not get that he or she is especially fond of, he or she may learn to look forward to a storm rather than fear it.
- Some suggest wrapping your dog up. Similar to the sometimes calming effects of swaddling in an infant, wrapping your dog with a t-shirt or an Ace bandage may help them to remain relaxed during a storm.
- If your dog becomes particularly agitated or destructive during a storm, it may be time to talk to your vet. They may be able to prescribe a mild sedative to keep your dog calm. You could also ask your vet about the use of Melatonin, which is a natural herbal supplement typically used by people experiencing insomnia. However, it is important to get a solid recommendation from your vet about the use, dosage and brand of supplement of Melatonin to give your dog as some pills may be mixed with other vitamins and size of the dog definitely matters when using this supplement.
- If you want to try a proactive approach to prevent further fear of storms, pick up a thunderstorm cd or find a storm soundtrack on YouTube. Play the cd at a very low volume level and see how your dog reacts. Use some of the tricks listed above if your dog becomes agitated during the cd. Continue the process at higher volume levels until your dog seems more comfortable. You’ll know if you’ve made any progress when the next Spring or Summer storm rolls around.
We wish you the best of luck in dealing with thunderstorm anxiety during this storm season. Do your best to remain patient with whatever unusual behavior your four-legged pal may display and keep in mind all the time you dog has been understanding of your fears or high levels of emotion.
Posted in Bloggies on May 20, 2013 by Emily West
Did you know that approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year and children are the most likely victims? May 19 through May 25 is Dog Bite Prevention Week. We, at DogWatch of Columbus, feel it is extremely important to not only train your dog, but train your children as to the do’s and do not’s of dog safety.
We’ve compiled our 21 years of working with dogs into a few tips below that can help keep your children safe. Check out these tips and be sure to share them with your kids. Who knows, it might prevent one of them from being bitten some day. Teach your children:
- To never approach a dog they don’t know. Be especially wary if the dog is behind a physical fence. Never tease a dog that is behind a fence.
- To always ask the owner before they pet a dog. Teach them to then ask how the dog prefers to be petted (behind the ears, on his back, etc).
- To slowly put their hand in front of the dog’s nose before they pet a dog. This way the dog can get their scent and it will help to put the dog at ease.
- To never put their face in the face of an unknown dog. Bites to the face are the most heartbreaking.
- To never attempt to hug or pick up a dog. On the opposite side, never attempt rough play with a dog you don’t know.
- To avoid eye contact with an unknown dog as in dog talk that means a challenge of authority.
- To always approach a dog so they can see you. Never “surprise” a dog from behind as a scared dog is more likely to bite or nip, if only for self defense.
- Signs that a dog may not want to be approached. An unapproachable dog may have his ears back, the hair on his neck may be raised, his teeth may be showing, and he may be growling or skittish.
- The signs of a friendly dog. A wagging tail, tongue lolling out of his mouth, a dog “smile” if you will, eagerness to interact, and ears perked are all signs that a dog is ready to be approached, so long as permission has been granted by the owner.
- To never approach a dog that is off leash without an owner present. This is doubly important if the dog appears skittish, aggressive or confused. Tell them to find an adult immediately so that the adult can call animal control.
- To never to run from a dog even if it is charging them. It is far better (though harder) to stop and stand with your arms in and head down. Avoid eye contact so that the dog does not feel threatened. The child will no longer seem like a threat to a dog if they are still and quiet and the hope is they will not attack. If the child continues to run, the dog will pursue until the “prey” is caught.
- A tip from one of our customers, Bridgett Shoemaker, who is an avid runner. While running, slow to a walk if you are approaching a dog on a run. Dogs get nervous when someone is running towards them and should relent if the runner approaches more slowly and avoids eye contact.
Obviously, it is important to properly socialize and train your dog as well, but we feel it is just as important to teach your kids about other dogs because you never know how well other dogs have been trained.
We hope this helps educate you and your family and helps to create awareness during National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Please call us at 614-527-3799 or contact us if you have any questions.