Research Reveals New Information on Dog Training Tactics

Did you know many dog breeds can pick up on training tactics pretty quickly?  It’s true. In the past we were conditioned to show our dog’s what to do by using treats. The idea was that they would learn with positive reinforcement like praise and a treat whenever a correct action is taken. 

Today, dogs are shifting to more companionship roles and becoming integral members of the family, so there is an argument that some of these older tactics could be becoming outdated. Instead using science backed ideas like non-treat based reinforcement and rewards to help your dog learn the correct actions. 

One recent report in the Science section of TIME looks at how new tactics like early socialization, enrichment tools and better understanding your dog are changing relationships and training methods. Knowing their needs can help correct negative actions. An example is a dog that is whining all the time. Instead of looking for a negative way to try and scold them into removing this trait, stopping to find out the source of their whining and what you can do to help stop the possible discomfort causing them to make this noise. 

New toys and other reward systems that get dogs to engage and test their abilities to complete a task are also gaining in popularity. Kibble in a bowl with a maze, or with flip boxes that reveal a treat after doing the work to get to it and locate it helps train dogs in new ways. 

Enjoy freedom for your dog and peace of mind for yourself with pet containment and training products from DogWatch of Western Mass. – a great choice to help keep your dog happy and safe.

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Training Treats to Get Your Pup Obeying in No Time

Training a new dog can be tricky. Especially if that dog is new to your home, but older in age. While the saying “you can’t teach a new old dog new tricks” might apply in some scenarios, there are things you can do to get your dog obedient and even doing some fun tricks. 

Treats are key to this process, but you need to choose the right types and understand how to give the treats to them to enforce the training. 

Here are some of the ways you can use treats to get your pup obeying in no time! 

Separate the Treats by Value

While the type of treat your dog enjoys can vary depending on their preferences, you can make progress in the training by separating treats based on their value. Any dog feels especially great should only be given when a difficult multi-step trick or command is completed. As you’re working on getting the dog to realize these steps, you can use the smaller, lower end treats and offer a reward each time they complete an action correctly. 

Keep it Small

Indeed treats are a great way to train dogs. But they can also harm their health if given too much volume. Many treats are rich and can create issues with consuming their regular meals or even cause stomach irritation. It’s best to limit overall treat sizes. You should choose items that are smaller in size and squishy so they can be broken apart and given to the dog throughout the training sessions.

If you’re not able to dedicate the time necessary to train your dog, you can also hire an expert who will come to your home and teach your pup commands. When you purchase our DogWatch wireless fencing systems, you’ll also have an opportunity to get your dog familiar with the new boundaries and trained to respond to them with comfort. 

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Transitioning Back to Work Post-COVID: Tips for Your Dog

With nationwide social distancing orders in effect and many states issuing stay at home orders, the last few months have dynamically changed our work and personal lives like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. Even our pets, who may have been used to our regular routine of leaving in the morning and returning hours later to feed them, sleep and repeat. 

Especially if you’re a dog owner, many have been loving the extra time with their owners, sitting near their remote workstations and even spending less time in the crate than ever before. 

As many states reopen any people transition back to work, making this change an easy one for your pet is important. Depending on your dogs age and usual demeanor they may experience loneliness and even separation anxiety when you’re suddenly leaving again. 

Here are some tips for transitioning back to work post COVID-19 that keeps your dog in mind. 

Start Practicing Now 

Sudden changes to a comfortable routine for your dog can be quite uneasy. One of the best ways to transition them back to the old way is to start slowing incorporating different elements back into your days. Even if you’re still at home working, you should designate some time for crating or being separated from you for them to get readjusted. You should also begin your morning routine and walk and feeding schedule now, rather than a sudden shift. 

 Find New Distractions
Dogs can also be easily distracted and appeased with something fun like a new toy or even having the TV on for some background noise. If your dog is not a fan of sitting in a quiet, empty home with no noise or nothing to do, then find some ways to fill those areas and put them at ease. 

Invest in Your Pet’s Freedom 

If you’re heading back to work and want to maintain the freedom your pet has had around the house, consider a wireless containment system. Dogwatch of Western Mass provides a way to set-up indoor perimeters where you dog is allowed to roam or cannot gain access too. You’ll have peace of mind and they’ll be safe until you return! CALL TODAY! 

Are You Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth?

If you ever wondered whether or not you should be brushing your dog’s or cat’s teeth? It’s not really a silly question. Just like humans the food that they are eating can build-up and cause tartar and plaque to form overtime which eventually leads to cavities and tooth loss. 

While the process might take some getting used to, it doesn’t have to be aggravating for you or your pet. Here are some tips and tools you can use for improving your pet’s oral health.

Choose a Quality Toothpaste & Toothbrush

While Toothpaste that is safe for dogs comes in various flavor options, that doesn’t mean you should ever substitute it for human toothpaste.  The ingredients in our toothpaste are very strong for their digestive systems and the mint flavors are likely a turn off. Even with safe for dog toothpaste, it’s important to only use a very small dab on the toothbrush to work up a lather in their mouth as you scrub.  The same is true for toothbrushes. A human toothbrush is typically larger to cover the surface of our teeth but dog toothbrushes are smaller to reach confined areas and not irritate their gums when brushing.

Start Slow and Use Positive Reinforcement 

The actual act of brushing your dog’s teeth can be a bit awkward and they will likely pull away or not want to sit still while you try to insert this object into their mouth and rub it against their teeth.  However, it is critical that you use positive reinforcement and start slow. Rewards should come in the form of praise for a good job. Once they get used to sitting still for the scrubbing you can show them what a good job they are doing instead of giving them a treat after you’ve just cleaned their teeth.

Dental Focused Toys and Treats In-Between Brushings

While brushing your dog’s teeth is vital for oral health there are some tools you can use to help you in the meantime;. If you’re having trouble getting your dog to sit still for the brushing or you just want something in between those sessions to keep their mouth fresh clean and the debris scrubbed from their gum line. Choose dental-focused toys and treats that are aimed at chewing and feature different raised textures that will get into the grooves of the teeth as they manipulate them in their mouths.

Want to keep your dog happy and safe around your home? Check out our wireless pet containment system and training solutions. 

Beach Safety Tips for Dogs

With a heatwave upon us here in New England and stay at home orders not completely lifted yet, there are many people taking trips to the beach for some relief from the hot weather. While there aren’t many places you can take your dog during the summer months in Western Mass as far as beaches (dogs are welcome October 1st -April 30th as long as they are leashed) if you’re planning a trip to a nearby location where your pet will be accompanying you by the water, it’s important to know some of the key safety protocols to follow so your pet is safe. Here are some important things to keep in mind

Not All Dogs Can Swim 

You should always use a safety vest for your dog while at the beach. There is no telling when a current will get too strong or if your dog can handle the water depth. Not all dogs can innately swim so if you’re unsure if your furry friend has swimming agility, do not take the chance and allow them to go out into the water. 

Dogs Should Drink Only Fresh Water 

Your pet should always stay hydrated and have plenty of fresh water to drink. Do not allow them to drink any other water while you’re out and about. Sitting puddles, salty ocean water and anything other than clean, fresh water can be toxic. 

Baths Should Always Follow 

The first thing we do when we get home from the beach is shower to get off all the sand and salt from the day. Don’t leave your dog behind. He too should be showered after incase there is sand within his fur or other mites and sand insects on his coat. 

Dogs Get Very Hot

While we can wear a swimsuit and light clothing at the beach to stay cool, keep in mind that your dog has lots of fur and they will get hot much more easily than you do. Especially if you have a large bread with long hair – they can have a quick increase in body temperature while being outdoors in extreme heat. It’s always best to leave your dog home during the hottest times of the day where they can stay relaxed and in a familiar setting. They can also burn their delicate paws on hot sand, so there is a lot of consideration prior to a trip to the beach with your dog.

Provide your four-legged friend with ample space to roam about safely indoors while you venture to the beach. Set-up wireless pet containment systems around the home. 

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Pets Top of Mind During COVID-19

We love to talk about your pets here on our blog. We have a giant part of our hearts that belong to your four-legged friends. After all, it’s why we do what we do! Helping you to create a safe place for both your pet and your family to enjoy time with each other indoors and outside. 

Our wireless pet containment systems are great for both cats and dogs and create the boundaries you define as safe and okay for them to stay within. We also provide perimeter training where we come out and interact with your dog or cat and help them to understand what those boundaries mean so they can feel comfortable using your new DogWatch system. 

With a global pandemic still underway, it’s important to take extra precautions for the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. In fact, social media image site Pinterest found recently that pet-related searches are topping the list of what people are doing while online. 

We already talked about how shelters are getting emptied out across the globe thanks to the companionship pets bring with stay at home orders. This brings to light some more interesting points about our beloved furry friends. 

People are searching for things like how to best care for your pet, doing research on different breeds and even getting suggestions from the Internet on unique pet names. 

What else are people looking for? DIY tips for creating special toys for their new friends as well as easy homemade food options and treats and even grooming and training tips to help keep their pets safe and clean. 

We love this new movement to love your pets even more and are here for all of your needs. Call DogWatch of Western Mass and give them a safe and spacious area to run around and play around your home! 

Get in touch today! 

Don’t Let Fleas & Ticks Ruin Your Pet’s Summer

The summer months are arriving here in New England, and with temps fully warmed now there is a giant concern for ticks on our pets if they travel outdoors. Both fleas and ticks can be bothersome and risky to your dog and cat’s health.

Here are some tips for treating and preventing these pesky parasites from invading this summer’s fun.

Take Steps for Prevention

Flea and tick medications specially formulated to help ward off the insects are critical in the line of defense for your pet. Whether you choose an oral tablet, collar or special spray or shampoo, it’s important to follow up with daily checks of your pet’s coat to ensure the medication is working and no ticks have attached to them.

Treat the Spaces They Frequent

You can also be proactive about prevention by treating the areas of your home inside and outside where your pet frequents. Special non-toxic sprays can be purchased for application to your lawn or your pet’s bedding. You should also ensure you are combing and bathing your pet regularly as well as washing and dusting areas around the home where they typically lay.

Set-up Safe Perimeters

If you want your pet to enjoy more freedoms while outdoors but are worried about a key area in the yard – such as pine trees where ticks might be in greater frequency, you can set-up a hidden wireless fence around your yard that dictates specifically the areas you feel safe letting your pet roam. Total control and peace of mind.

DogWatch Western Mass serves the Pioneer Valley and provides installation, training, and great customer service for all DogWatch Hidden Fence products. 

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Pet Behavior Problems? Try This

Anyone who has pets knows that sometimes there can be a little adjusting to get them used to their new dwelling when you bring them home. Sometimes, older dogs, or those pets that know better will still have a behavior problem or act out of character and you may come home to torn couch cushions or chewed up shoes.

There are many reasons why a pet may have behavioral issues but some of the more common ones can be a sign of boredom, anxiety, or another issue that is important to know about.

Here are some common behavior issues pet owners are always seeking solutions for and what your dog or cat might be trying to tell you.

Barking that is Uninterrupted

While most dogs will bark from time to time to get their owner’s attention or for other reasons when it is a consistent, uninterrupted barking that seems excessive or even a nuisance your pet might be in danger of trying to tell you something important. Always be sure to give them attention to ensure they or someone else is not in immediate danger. To help teach them to stop barking using the command “quiet” or try to hold your hand quickly over the mouth like a muzzle to indicate quiet time.

Chewing Everything They Can

As we mentioned earlier, destructive chewing – especially of pricey items around the house or dangerous materials can be a very hard situation to deal with. If you find your pup is always reverting back to this behavior (even if they let it go for a while) they could be bored or in need of more exercise. Try to take them on an additional walk, provide chew toys to occupy them, or spend some more cuddle time easing their anxieties.  

Constant Licking or Scratching

Besides the unnerving sound of your dog licking and scratching at himself, they could be dealing with allergies that are also uncomfortable for them. Skin irritations are common in dogs or bacterial infections could be present as well. Try diverting their attention from the habit, but if it gets to be out of control talking with a professional may be warranted.

Dogwatch Western Mass provides perimeter training for your pet to help them better understand commands and get accustomed to having a hidden fence for protection around your home and yard.  We love your animals just as much as you do. Give us a call today to learn more about our products and services.

Stay Home with Your Pet & De-Stress Together

With social distancing orders still in place for much of the nation and even as we slowly begin to open up some of the businesses, it’s important that we all do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. What that looks like is a summer 2020 season that is spent more at home then out and about.

If you have a backyard and children maybe it means more time poolside or grilling together in the yard. Whatever it means for you, be sure to call and utilize technology to check in on those you love who may be alone or have less human contact.

 Our pets are a great resource for de-stressing and maintaining a critical social and emotional bond. Many four-legged friends can also sense when we are worried or stressed and could begin showing behaviors of that anxiety. It’s worth it to spend some time cuddling together as we navigate this new normal for all of society. 

Here are some things you can do with your pet to help you both stay at ease and decompress. 

Clean and Create a Cozy Place 

You may not realize it but all of the clutter in your living space could be adding to your stress levels. One of the best ways to relax is to clean up all of that mess and then decorate, minimize, and make a cozy space that you can sit in and enjoy. Cuddle with your pet, a warm cup of coffee or a good book and forget about the outside for just a bit. 

Start a Workout Regimen 

They say movement is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Take some time during this quarantine to set yourself a regular workout regimen. One that involves your pet will be mutually beneficial. Plan a walking route and aim to go twice a day for the best cardiovascular health and stress reduction benefit.

Treat Yourselves 

Rewarding good behavior isn’t the only time to think about treats. Sometimes a taste good treat can change the mood or make the last few hours of the day unwinding on the couch a little more pleasurable. Don’t overindulge but allow yourself a little extra something nice once in a while.

Caring for Your Pet’s Skin

We all know the furry and cuddly feeling of snuggle with our pet. Cats and dogs can be great comfort givers and they surely love having their coats combed and fur rubbed. One thing to also consider when it comes to your pet’s health is the condition of their skin underneath the fur.

Skin conditions are common in both cats and dogs and sometimes they can signal a larger issue. It’s important to recognize the difference between a regular itch and something that’s irritating your pet – or worse.

Here are some tips for caring for your pet’s skin and what signs to look out for.

Allergic Reactions

It can be difficult to spot an allergy to your pet. Unlike humans who may sneeze or sniffle during allergy season, our pets could display signs they’re also suffering from allergies by obsessively scratching or even nibbling at their own fur. In addition to dander, mold, and other common allergens, your pet could also be having a reaction to a food such as soy or wheat. If this is happening to your pet you will need to have a professional look further into it and perhaps start a regimen of allergy shots.

Infected Skin

Another common skin condition you should know about in pets is commonly referred to as “hot spots” and they appear in the form of red lesion-like inflammation. What starts as a small cut can quickly grow into these painful spots and antibiotic and medicated topical will be needed to aide your pet in clearing up the condition.

Facial Acne

Yes, you read that right. Our four-legged friends share in our human experience of zits on the face! They too can end up with small pimples on their chin area if they become too stressed (sound familiar) or are not being properly groomed. Similar to treating human acne, benzoyl peroxide or other topical will be needed to treat the pimples.