Doggy Day Care sounds awesome, just like day care for our kids while we are going to work, doesn’t it?! Our children play all day, are having fun and learn things for life. Now, while we look at our dogs as being part of our family, a Doggy Day Care might be perfect for some dogs while others don’t take well to it at all.
It depends on the temperament of your pooch, how well he takes to a noisy place full with other dogs of all sizes and temperaments and overall there is still a difference between our two-legged and four-legged kids regarding interaction which with the latter there are certain risks to calculate.
Possible Problems Of Doggy Day Care? – Versus Using A Daily Dog Walker/Pet Sitter.
- Doggy Day Care: Some dogs might actually get quite nervous and anxious in the hyper and noise surrounding with all the other dogs. Especially if they haven’t been raised to socialize with others, the group dynamic might be rather stressful and changes in his overall behavior might be observed. If a dog is rather on the shy side, he might be bullied from the more confident dogs and be left out of the group as in nature the strong are followed, similar to what our two-legged kids experience in school.
Daily Dog Walker/Pet Sitter: Your dog is visited at his home and can be as shy or as confident as he wishes. It’s all about him in his own surrounding, enjoying outside time too potty and play or go on a daily walk. Overall a very serene and calming experience with the value of a certain routine and just as two-legged children, our dogs need and thrive of routines. It allows them to feel safe and content as they know what to expect.
- Doggy Day Care: Your dog has to be dropped of in the morning and picked up in the evening within their facility’s opening hours. That’s fine as long as nothing out of the ordinary happens but if work calls for staying late or that traffic jam keeps us on the road for the extra half hour, it’s a struggle and stress.
Daily Dog Walker/Pet Sitter: Since the dog walker or pet sitter visited your dog at home, no extra trip after work is needed and not even the traffic jam is too much of a deal other then maybe the frustration about the situation itself. Pooch is patiently waiting at home for Mom and Dad.
- Doggy Day Care: With a setting of numerous dogs at a time there is not much to no room to one-on-one attention as the norm is just one or maybe two staff members attending and watching over the entire group where there also lies the risk of eventually not recognizing signs of a starting ‘disagreement’ amongst the dogs before it may come to an actual fight.
Daily Dog Walker/Pet Sitter: The dog walker or pet sitter is solely there for your dog during the visit and it is all about what your dog needs and wants, including cuddles and kisses.
- Doggy Day Care: Mingling with other [strange] dogs carries the risk of picking up on a disease like kennel cough or other contagious diseases. Though there is a vaccination requirement for Doggy Day Care, their is still no 100% protection. Factors like stress and anxiety can alter your dog’s immune system, making him prone to catching illnesses.
Daily Dog Walker/Pet Sitter: Your dog is home in his own surrounding and going on walks by himself, not getting in touch with other dogs you don’t know. The risk of picking up on a disease is at almost zero.
- Doggy Day Care: Depending on the facility and their set up, it is at some places not more then gathering dogs [usually at least by size] in a gated room for a free play scenario which is fine for a short period of time but at a setting of many hours it can cause young dogs to pick up on bad habits of their play buddies as their is no guided play.
Daily Dog Walker/Pet Sitter: Your dog is supervised even for play time as not every game is good for every dog. Exercise here is not only provided with toy play but also age depending with a easy to brisk walk [or run], calling on other senses like smell and sight which gives just the right amount of excitement without being too overly excited.
I know, I know I said the Top 5 Problems but a 6th doesn’t hurt to mention
- Doggy Day Care: Prices are per each dog taken to day care, depending on the facility and their pricing structure this may be with our without a discount for each additional pooch.
Daily Dog Walker/ Pet Sitter: The majority of Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers charge one price for at least up to 3 dogs and after that maybe an additional $2 or $3 per dog [we at EaseMyMind have one flat rate, no matter how many dogs]
It’s almost guaranteed that for multi-dog-Moms/Dads a Doggy Day Care is more pricey.
Some Things To Consider Before Deciding
Whether a Doggy Day care or a Daily Walker/ Pet Sitter, consider your options or why not even try out both for a few days each.
Ask yourself: “What do I want for my dog/ what is my goal to achieve? Is it….”
- Potty break during long work hours?
- Socialization time for my dog?
- Convenient service around my day’s agenda or am I myself flexible?
- Companionship for my dog as I feel a bit guilty being gone all day?
- Which service is more affordable since I have more then one dog?
Please find out more about our dog walking, midday potty breaks and companionship for your dogs while you are at work.
Our ‘Dailies’ LOVE it!
How Does YOUR Dog’s Toy Basket Look Like Or Do You Have “roadkill” all over the house?
You are probably wondering why your dog are so attracted by anything noise making, squeaky things and find nothing more important at that moment then getting to the cause of the noise and tearing it out. Depending on the size of the dog and durability of the dog toy that can take not but a minute or he spends a great deal of time nibbling holes until the squeaker is out~ even better for Mr Pooch if there is fluffy stuffing to pull out of the way to the goal.
Why Do Dogs Not Care For The Toy To Last?
Even speaking of the domesticated dog from nowadays, the hunting instinct in most is still the same as in their ancestors and wild living kind. The toy is prey and must be hunted and destroyed and hey, you gave it to him like food is freely given to him so in dog’s mind it must be ey okay to kill the prey.
Pooch only needs little to no provocation to tear into this smaller then him “thang” which squeaks like a mouse or alike when chewing on it which startles him even more.
And ah ya, a lil fuzzy squeaky stuffed animal in the mouth of a Great Dane or Rotty really doesn’t last but a short time.
Another reason might be boredom and access energy when there is nothing else to do as dogs are needing to be challenged and need to work~
Work in the shape of daily walks once or twice to get the energy out or even interactive toys might be all the pooch is needing to get away from tearing things up!
Finding Appropriate Dog Toys
Nowadays there are an awesome variety of chewing toys and I mean, size- and material (strength) appropriate toys from extra tough cloth to durable hard rubber, with or without squeakies, treat releasing or edible.
Check out your local pet store(s) and online, Amazon for instance has a great selection.
How Many Dog Toys Did Your Pooch Already Go Through And Have You Ever Bought Several Of A Kind?
What’s Up With This Annoying Scratching
For cats the scratching is what a Pedicure is for us, taking care of their claws and especially to remove the outer dead layer of the nail [sometimes you can see a cat trying to pull it off with their teeth].
Of course it’s also a form of play and stretching out from head to toe and when you watch a cat closely, you will recognize that the scratching is also used to communicate with humans and other cats alike.
So overall an inherited trait of species cat, no matter if tiny kitten or huge tiger.
The Humane Alternatives To Keep Kitty From Destroying Your Furniture
Instead of amputating a cat’s toes [what declawing really means] here are the safe, humane ways to save your furniture from Ms Kitty’s claws:
Keep Your Cat’s Nails Trimmed
Clipping the sharp point of your cat’s claws makes it less destructive and less painful while playing of course
It may take a while for your cat to get used to this pedicure session but it can really be trained and a routine be established.
The easiest is to have Ms Kitty on your lab and pet her while touching the paws and eventually apply pressure which exposes the nails. Now it is important to just clip the white portion of the nail and not get into the pink part, the quick.
The white is the dead part similar to our fingernails but the quick is full of nerves and will bleed when cut.
If this should happen, dip the nail into simple flour and it will stop bleeding.
Applying Soft Nail Caps
You can even get really fashionable with colorful or sparkly claw soft caps [neutral available too ] which are applied after trimming the nails with an adhesive similar to faux fingernails and last for about 4-6 weeks and save your furniture and yourself when ruff housing with your cats.
They are now readily available at Petsmart and Petco or directly online at i.e. SoftClaws Nail Caps
Providing Scratch Surfaces For Your Cat
When your cat tends to scratch inappropriate areas, observe if those areas are vertical or horizontal and what the material is like and what height or coverage is affected.
This can determine the best cat scratching device for your cat which could be a scratching post covered in sisal rope or a flat or slanted corrugated cardboard scratch pad.
By now there is a good selection in store to choose from and many already come with catnip to rub or sprinkle on Ms Kitty’s new scratch parlor to attract her to it.
I would recommend to stay away from carpeted material as the cat cannot define an allowed and forbidden carpeted area to scratch and the soft material is not sufficient enough for the cat to condition her claws.
Keeping the new scratch post or pad near the undesired area and later gradually moving it to a more desired area usually works with patience and a treat for rewarding.
Training Your Cat To NOT Scratch Where You Don’t Want Her To
Covering the affected areas of attack can happen with draping a blanket, applying double sided tape or aluminum foil which Ms Kitty doesn’t like for the sensation those cause.
Don’t try to correct her with yelling or hitting, it will have no or worse, reverse effect –> bad attention is attention too!
Catch her in the act of scratching [after is too late!] with a loud noise giving a quick scare and your cat will start associating the noise with scratching. An air can for the noise [and the noise only, do NOT spray a cat with the air] is working beautifully.
Squirting water with a spray bottle is a way too but means you must be close and of course have the water to clean up after.
I think when understanding that Ms Kitty isn’t viciously scratching just to annoy her owner, it is easier to work WITH the cat’s trait instead of taking away a vital part of inherit behavior and worse, her claws/toes.
1.) photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc
2.) photo credit: .robbie via photopin cc
Candy Candy Everywhere
Dishes full of candy, ready for the Halloween night and even full dishes of candy after from what the kids collected. Not even out on the streets it might be candy-free as there is probably plenty dropped Tootsie Rolls and Starburst.
Keeping sweets out of reach of our pets is the safe way to go as sure some are curious or plain out gobble everything up they can find, once they have a spurt of boredom at least and watch the sidewalk on the next walk extra careful for pooch not find a left over candy!
Chocolate – lethal to dogs and the darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is for our four-legged friends! What makes chocolate so dangerous for dogs and cats as well is the ingredient theobromine which can cause vomiting and diarrhea but get even far more serious with seizures, cardiac arrest and respiratory failure!
Xylitol – Many are not aware of this sweetener being extremely dangerous for our pets when ingested and it’s more and more widely used in gum, mints, candy, baked goods and even toothpaste and kids vitamins!
Only a very small amount is needed to get a big dog seriously ill and be fatal for a small dog!
The most obvious signs for Xylitol poisoning is seizures as it impacts the insulin level which leads to a drastic drop of the dog’s blood sugar level and most often followed by liver damage and clotting.
Keeping Your Pets Safely Inside
Dogs and cats don’t know and cannot understand the big deal about Halloween and suddenly one night amounts of people running out in the streets, hollering and screaming, door bell ringing, shouting out ‘Trick or Treat’.
All pets should be safe and sound in the house and away from the door to avoid running outside in fear or work themselves out of the backyard and be lost or even get into ‘Flight or Fight’ mode and biting a kid out there.
And there are always the less friendly and harmless Trick or Treaters out there what find it funny to open back yard gates and see dogs run the neighborhood or even the cruel and superstitious individuals in the believe that cats [and especially black cats] on All Hallows Eve’ are a bad omen and need to be abused and worse!
Decorating Your Home For Halloween
Take extra care of safely decorating you home as your pets could get tangled up in these extension cords we all like to use since we don’t have enough outlets for all those cool deco pieces.
Lighting that pumpkin is safer with an artificial candle rather then a real one in a pet household for sure, especially with our felines getting even on every shelve.
Small or fragile ornaments should be considered to be up high out of the reach of your dog as you just never know when that spurt of curiousness or boredom hits to go explore how this new thing taste.
Pet Costumes And Taking Dogs To Halloween Events
It sure is totally cute to see the little Dachshund wearing a hotdog outfit or the Dalmatian changing his spots for some skunk stripes but to be honest, I think we are the only ones finding it cute! It may frighten your cat or dog to suddenly be put in clothing and in warmer States the risk of a dog or cat overheating is not to take lightly.
See it with the eyes of your dog [on a much lower] eyesight, being amongst a crowd of people and actually weird and scary looking people and eventually loud and before unheard of noises. This is definitely stress for every dog, no matter how socialized he may be. We tend to forget that just because we have fun being out and about at big and noisy events doesn’t mean that our companions share this personal view.
Yes I can hear some saying “Cats and dogs cannot see that well to be frightened of a costume”. I totally disagree as my youngest daughter dressed up like a cat last Halloween with face painting, ears and all. One of our boy cats, Teddy, suddenly noticed her and was scared to death, ears back, all puffed up, back arched and growling like we never heard him growling before. That’s proof that yes indeed, they see well enough!
You And Your Pet Have A Safe Halloween!
We see a broad variety of dog collars and harnesses at our client homes while being out on our visits. While all those tools are readily available to purchase online or at the local pet supply stores, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are all safe and with no risk for dogs or that the choice of walking tool is best for the particular dog.
Note: For most safety of the dogs in our care, the sitter and to overall keep risks as low as possible we at EaseMyMind carry No-pull-harnesses in our equipment box as a generic solution.
The walking gear or walking tool should match the individual need, behavior and body of a dog and may it may take a couple of trials and errors to find the best solution for your companion.
Let’s take a look at some of the nowadays available dog collars and harnesses as there would be several categories you could list them under:
- Flat or rolled collars in different materials (ie. leather, rope, weaved fabric, etc)
- Choke collar
- Pinch Collar
- Back-attaching Harness
- Front-attaching Harnesses
- Head Halters
Flat And Rolled Collars
Flat Dog Collar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By far the most common gear is the regular flat or rolled collar which comes in various materials and with either a buckle or plastic snap clip and a metal loop for attaching rabies and ID tags to and clipping the leash into.
Though they are great for the purpose of wearing your dog’s information in the event of getting loose, these collars also bear quite some dangers!
- It can become hazardous when dogs tend to play rough and mouthy with the possibility of getting the mouth and teeth stuck in the collar, leading to panicking in both dogs and possible suffocation of the collar wearing dog and injury to mouth and jaws in the caught dog.
Where several dogs are together and collars are the choice, it should be a collar with a ‘Break-Away’ clip like known from cat collars, which break/open when getting stuck to avoid injuries and suffocation.
For indoor only dogs, roaming or crated it is the safest to take the collar
off when by themselves and not supervised, even if just one dog.
- A second downside of these collars are the risk of injuries to the esophagus and trachea when a dog is a notorious puller or tends to lunge on the leash when seeing other animals or people and the pressure which builds up through pulling, also raises the eye pressure which could potentially lead to or worsen existing conditions like glaucoma for instance.
- Last but not least [and it happened to us too], the risk of slipping out of a collar! Some dogs are masters with switching into reverse and right out of where they don’t wanna be and that mostly follows by a dog chase down the road or worse.
Choke Collar (also called Slip Collar)
Choke (Slip) Collar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Choke Chain belongs to the family of correctional collars and are not necessarily easy and CORRECT to handle hence can either have no wanted effect, the wrong effect or bare risks to injuries to trachea and esophagus resulting in breathing difficulties and coughing. Another risk is neurological damage from jerks too strong [imagine someone jerking on your neck with a chain]
The Choke Collar should never be used on a short muzzled dog like Bulldogs or Pugs for instance and never be left on a dog who is unsupervised to avoid suffocation if the collar gets caught in something.
The purpose of the choker is to enforce a correctional forceful jerk to get the dog’s attention and away from what needs to be corrected like pulling, lunging, bolting but the jerking must happen too quick and too forceful for the most people to achieve.
The collar must be put on the right way in the means that the long end (the back of the ‘P’) is on the side of who handles the dog to get this force as again, if not correct, the choker has next to no effect.
A Choke Chain should if need be only be used by a dog trainer, though in nowadays it really is old school and thank goodness less people believe in force based (pain based) training methods.
Martingale Collar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These Martingale Collars are pretty much like the regular flat or rolled collars but with the difference that they tighten at the front upon a pull on the leash from either end.
Not strong and forceful as a choke chain, the Martingale has no real correctional effect but rather avoids slipping out of the collar as it pulls tight.
Here it has to be ensured that even at the tightest setting the collar is still loose enough to not strangle the dog.
Pinch Collar (also called Prong Collar)
Pinch or Prong Collar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Pinch Collar too is from the traditional trainers world and works very similar to the choke chain and though it doesn’t apply as much pressure but rather pain from pinching, it still holds the same risks as choke chains, martingales and regular flat collars.
Here it should also be pointed out that trying to correct pulling with this collar might indeed work as the dog tries to avoid the discomfort and even pain but might have a reverse effect or ‘side effects’ when for instance your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, this paired with the pain from lunging may accelerate the aggressiveness as the pain may be associated with strange dogs or excitement paired with the pain may be accelerated to more barking and lunging.
Back- Attaching Harness
Back-Attached Harness (Photo credit: see end of blog)
These type of harnesses are often recommended for small dogs and dogs which tend to be short on breath due to their flat muzzle like pugs.
Though some claim to be ‘No-Pull’, it often doesn’t keep what it promises as it rather trains the dog to ignore your intention to stop pulling and redirects the attention to the harness instead of paying attention to the handler.
So, what may work fine for small dogs may not be the best for handling bigger and stronger dogs.
Front- Attaching Harnesses
PetSafe Easy Walk Harness (Photo credit: Petco and PetSafe)
Front- attaching harnesses redirect the attention back to the handler as with the pull on the leash it turns the dog around by his chest [with no impact on the throat].
The PetSafe Easy Walk Harness allows for this directional control, however with the way it is designed it may hinder shoulder movement which might limit it’s use for running dogs.
On the bright side, this hindering may be beneficial for dogs larger then their handlers~ limiting the dog’s capability to take off with you
Freedom Harness (Photo credit: Wiggles, Wags & Whiskers and Amazon)
The Freedom Harness allows with it’s strap between the front legs and higher chest strap for more freedom in shoulder movement.
The leash is clipped at the front for directional control but can additionally also be attached on the back which, like the principle of a Martingale collar, tightens at a pull, distributing the tighter fit around the dog throughout the harness.
Head Collars (Head Halters)
Gentle Leader Head Collar (Photo credit: Gentle Leader and Amazon)
The Gentle Leader Head Collar is great for a leash training and dogs which tend to be distracted by numerous more interesting things out there.
The head collar allows for GENTLY directing the attention back to you and they can best do that with looking at you.
Why does a head collar work? Because the body goes where the nose ..umm.. head goes, as we already know from horses, same principle.
Depending on the dog, it may just take a little bit for a dog to get used to the new halter but encouraging to put the nose in the halter for a piece of food or a treat works fairly quick in most instances.
After that it now is crucial to train you dog that when they reach the end of the leash that there is no going anywhere after that.
This means that at this point the handler must hold absolutely still, no step forward and not even moving or giving in with the leash holding hand.
Once the dog figures out that not even with pulling harder he gets to go anywhere and turns around or even comes back to where the leash is hanging loose, walking can be resumed. Even better is to praise and reward the dog with a treat to come all the way back before resume walking.
This step is very important for the dog to understand that he must stop at a tight leash.
Leash Training And Awareness Of The Dog Walker
As with any walking gear, darting out from a long leash and hitting a sudden stop always bears the risk of neck wrenching, neck pain and possibly injury.
Leash training is important and should be taught early in puppy age for the safety of the handler and the dog alike as well as other animals and people crossing their way.
Last but not least the walker should always be alert and foreseeing on walks to see possible distractions or dangers before they dog can spot them and gradually shorten the leash to avoid darting from long leash.
photo credit: mpclemens via photopin cc
photo credit: kennethkonica via photopin cc