Tips for Choosing a Family Dog

Here at Dogwatch of Western, Mass. we’re self-proclaimed dog lovers. We believe every breed, size, and type is a lovable and amazing option for welcoming into the home. There are, however, many conditions to consider if you’ve made the decision to bring a dog into your family.

Here are a few of the things to think about before you welcome a new pet into your home.

What Age Should Kids Get a Pet?

Now that the holiday season is well underway and last-minute gifts are being bought, you might be considering giving in to your child’s wish for a pet. Before you head to the local pet store to buy one for under the tree, remember that having a pet is a giant responsibility – especially a dog. One you may end up having to take over if your children are still young. These animals must be fed, bathed, cared for just like another human in the household. If that doesn’t sound like something you’ll have the extra time and resources for, try moving to a different item on their wish list or starting out small like with a fish.

Speaking of age, a lot of people wonder when a good time is to give children the responsibility of caring for a pet. Experts suggest homes with children as young as 5 could have pets if the parents are going to help, or 10 years and older if they plan to lean on the child to do more of the caring. It really depends on each individual child and the living situation.

Don’t Forget About Shelters

If you will be getting a pet, consider going to shelters that are already overcrowded with animals who need a good home rather than buying from a pet store or breeder. If you can save one animal’s life and give them the affection and attention they are longing for, you’ve already accomplished a major holiday miracle.

Family-Friendly Breeds

The great thing about bringing a dog into your home is that they can be a terrific source of love for all members – young and old. Dogs provide an unconditional affection that is unique while also helping to teach children about responsibility and compassion. Choosing a dog that works well in your home environment and with the members of your family can be tricky. It’s important to do your research and talk to a professional about the breed you’re considering adopting. Knowing about their energy levels, how much training they are going to need and how patient they are will all play a role in how well they blend into your home. According to the AKC, some of the top dog breeds for families include the: French Bulldog, Pug, Golden Retriever and Bulldog.

Once you have your new furry family member, be sure to reach out to us to set-up safe perimeters for containment around your home and yard. This gives pets the ultimate freedom and offers you peace of mind knowing your restricted areas of the home will remain off-limits.

Contact us today!

Perimeter Training and Wireless Fencing Go Hand-in-Hand

We talk a lot on the blog about the ways you can make living with your pet a more pleasing and comfortable experience for both. We care about your dog’s health and safety and want to help make that process a smooth and seamless one for you.

With our DogWatch hidden dog fence, you can keep pets out of dangerous situations and those areas indoors or outside that you’d prefer they keep away from.

Anytime your pet gets close to a boundary they receive a warning signal – either an audible warning or a vibration – so they know to stop the action.

Our transmitters and receivers come with a lifetime equipment warranty when you choose DogWatch of Western MA for hidden dog fence installation and our patented FM radio signal protects your pet from unintentional correction.

In addition to electric dog containment systems for both indoors and outdoors we also offer professional perimeter training services that help dogs and cats feel more confident about their new boundaries and freedoms. We believe these elements go hand-in-hand for long term success.

As your pet learns the warning needs corrective action to be taken (turning back away from the boundary) over time they will adjust to their new space.

In the training sessions, we work with dogs on an individual level to teach them based on their unique personalities. Working through voice commands and visual flags a few minutes each day over the course of a week can help build the confidence your dog needs to run and play safely.

Take the next step to peace of mind and comfort. Contact us today!

3 Tips for Choosing Healthy Dog Treats

There’s no doubt about it. We love our pets. More than ever, families across the globe are growing the members of their household by adding furry friends to their tribe.

As the care and love we feel for our cats and dogs grows, so too does the money we’re putting toward spoiling them with treats and goods. New research shows that the pet treats and chews market is trending upward. In 2019, the report found sales grew to $6.7 billion.

As you’re deciding which treats to spoil your pet with, consider these important factors.

Don’t Over Do Portions

Too much of a good thing can be bad for your pup. Even if they seem to be enjoying the treat you’re providing, calories can add up quickly and belly upset can occur. Instead, it’s wise to break your treats up into smaller bits for the dog while you are working with them to learn new commands. Treats should be used as a reward for a job well done not “just because” snacks.

Stick to Natural

Just as it’s best for humans to consume the least processed foods without any additives and other chemicals included, it’s also critical to keep it simple with dogs. Reading ingredient labels on packaging, or better, yet, cooking your own snacks up from natural food sources is your best bet. Apples, carrots and green beans are a few great options.

Choose Food Alternatives

While dogs have certain foods they favor, it’s important to remember that whatever you think would taste good to you could actually be harmful to your pet. Instead of risking overindulgence or possibly dangerous foods, you could opt for a different type of treatment. Consider a walk, ball tossing session at the park, or a good game of hide-and-seek that will make your pet feel just as terrific.

At DogWatch of Western MA, we care about your pet and want you both to enjoy the freedom and benefits of a four-legged companion in your family’s home. Our indoor and outdoor pet containment system offers total peace of mind and allows you to set-up safe boundaries where your pet can roam freely and independently.

Give us a call today!

The Benefits of Professional Electric Dog Fence Training

Whether you’re thinking about purchasing an electric dog fence, or you’ve already bought one, it’s important that your dog learns to live with it safely. In order for this to happen, they must be trained effectively. 

Now you might be thinking that you have the skills needed to train your dog appropriately. After all, your dog loves and respects you; therefore, they’ll listen to you every step of the way.

While it is possible for some owners to train their dogs efficiently on their own, there are some key advantages to having a professional–like Dogwatch of Western Mass–do it instead.

Your Dog’s Training Will Be Customized To Their Personality

Like people, all dogs have unique personalities. While it might sound easy to watch a YouTube video about perimeter training, not all of these videos should be seen as universal training manuals. Sure, dogs do exhibit similar reactions, but a naturally aggressive dog needs to be trained differently than a dog that is shy or timid. When you hire professional perimeter trainers, you’re enlisting the help of people who have experience working with a variety of dog personalities.

You’ll Alleviate The Fear of Hurting Your Dog

To be clear, no electric dog fence system will cause your dog harm; however, if you’ve never used one before, you may be scared to discipline your dog with one. Professional dog fence trainers will do everything they can to make the training process as comfortable as possible, but in order for your dog to know and respect their boundaries, it is necessary to administer shocks. 

Ready to Have Your Dog Fence-Trained The RIght Way? Call DogWatch of Western Massachusetts

We at DogWatch of Western Massachusetts love dogs. It is this love that makes us want to keep them as safe as possible. Let us give your dog the professional perimeter training they deserve! 

3 Tips To Help Improve Your Dog’s Manners

Are you having a hard time getting your dog to listen to you? Is he barking a bit too much? Does he not seem to understand what “stay” or “no” means? Don’t worry–you’re not alone. Like humans, dogs need to be taught to respect and respond to social cues.

Now you might be thinking that your dog is too old to learn manners now. While it may be slightly more challenging to teach old dogs new tricks, it’s certainly not impossible.  Whether your pup is 6 months old or 6 years old, they can learn to control their impulses and respond appropriately to your commands.

 Today we’ll explain 3 actionable ways to achieve this.

Use Rewards to Teach “Sit” and “Please”

The best way to teach your canine to obey your commands is to reward them when they get it right. First, ask them to sit or lay down. 

Next, lower a treat toward them. If your pup stands or jumps, pull the treat behind your back.

Tell them to sit again. Once they’re in position, lower the treat as you did before. Repeat this process until you’re able to lower the treat to them while they remain seated.

Once “sit” has been properly engrained, you can…

Teach “Hello” with a Friend

Not everyone who walks into your home will love dogs as much you do. In fact, some people can be frightened by an overly excited canine who greets them by barking, jumping, whimpering, or licking. 

To teach them control, ask a friend to come over and stand still. In a happy voice, encourage your dog to “say hello!” 

Next, start walking toward your friend. If your dog begins to get overexcited, take a few steps backward and tell them to “sit.” Once they are seated, walk to your friend again.

Repeat this exercise until you are able to approach your friend while your dog stays or remains seated. 

We’ll use a similar approach when we…

Use Your Car to Teach “Stay”

Most dogs love going for car rides; so much so that they’ll often dart out into the open driveway or street, which makes them susceptible to injury, and we don’t want that!  

While standing outside of your car, tell your dog to “stay.” Open the door slowly; if your dog starts moving toward you, close the door immediately.  

Wait 15 minutes and try again. The point is to get your dog to stay in the car until you open the door and decide that it’s ok for them to exit. Once your dog learns to “stay” in the car, teach them that it’s okay for them to go with phrases like “ok, go” 

Need to Teach Perimeter Training? Call DogWatch of Western Massachusetts

 If you live in western Massachusetts, then consider DogWatch. Not only do we install electric dog fences, we also provide professional perimeter training services

Celebrate Halloween with your Dog

Halloween has become a giant commercial holiday today. It’s not just a chance to get into some spooky, fun and dress-up, but it’s also become an event that entire households and neighborhoods partake in over the month.

If you’re planning this year’s ghoulish agenda and thinking about how you can incorporate your four-legged family member in the festivities, we have some important things you’ll want to consider for their safety and also some tips for having fun with your pup this Halloween.

Can’t Go Wrong with Costumes

Nothing warms the heart of passersby and guests more than seeing what creative Halloween costumes the kids are wearing for the night. You can carry this tradition with your dog too. There’s a wide variety of pet costumes available on the market today that range from simple elastic top hats to entire intricate outfits. Feel free to go as wild and crazy as you’d like as long as your dog is cooperative with these shenanigans.

Stay in for the Night

If your dog isn’t a fan of scary costumes and neighborhood kids running about to grab candy for the night, it makes sense to plan a night in. Keep the Halloween spirit going and make it a night of scary movies together on the couch instead. You can even bake some dog-friendly Halloween cupcakes with peanut butter, cream cheese, and whole wheat flour as a special treat for the day.

Safety First

As tempting as it is to take your dog out on the town for the night with you, it can be traumatic for some dogs to be walking their usual block and suddenly seeing costumed creatures moving towards them. If your dog has any apprehensions about the night, safety comes first. Keep them safely indoors and away from the constantly opening front door and especially out of any candy.

Need help with perimeter training or indoor and outdoor hidden fences? DogWatch of Western Mass is your go-to source for everything pet safety. We want you to have an amazing Trick or Treat experience with the family and keep your dog’s best interest in mind too.

Happy Halloween!

October Is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sponsors Adopt a Shelter Dog Month each October to encourage people across the country to welcome a new pet into their family. Millions of dogs wind up in shelters each year, and a large percentage are euthanized.

Why Are So Many Dogs in Shelters?

Most dogs in shelters are there not because they did anything wrong, but because their owners didn’t properly care for them. Some owners abuse or neglect their pets. In other cases, people give up a dog because of a financial hardship, the amount of work required to care for the pet, or behavioral problems that might have been remedied by enrolling the dog in obedience classes or simply by allowing it to get more exercise.

How Do Shelters Get Dogs Ready for Adoption?

Some dogs come into a shelter sick or injured, but dedicated veterinarians and other workers nurse them back to health before they are put up for adoption. Shelters generally spay and neuter dogs to cut down on the number of unwanted pets in need of homes and vaccinate animals before placing them with new owners.

Why Should You Adopt a Dog from a Shelter?

Despite their often troubled pasts, shelter dogs have plenty of love to give and thrive when they are placed in safe homes with caring families. Shelter dogs realize that their new owner rescued them and feel gratitude, which helps pets and humans form strong bonds.

Dogs and their owners enjoy going for walks and hikes together and playing fetch or Frisbee. Regular exercise is good for both animals’ and humans’ physical and mental health. Some dog owners also enjoy teaching their dogs to perform tricks.

Children can benefit from growing up with a pet. They can learn important values, such as patience, kindness, compassion, and responsibility. In addition, dogs are often extremely protective of the littlest members of the family and have been known to risk their own lives to keep children safe.

Adopt a Dog from a Shelter If You Can

Shelters house dogs of a variety of breeds and ages. Consider adopting a dog from a shelter this month. If that isn’t possible, you can volunteer at a local shelter or donate money or supplies.

If you decide to adopt a shelter dog, you will need to keep it safe. Dogs can be injured or even killed if they run into the street or wander off. DogWatch can install a hidden fence to keep your dog in your yard. A fence can also be configured to keep your dog out of a specific area, such as a garden or pool. Contact DogWatch today to learn more about invisible fencing.

Are Grain-Free Pet Diets Okay?

We talk a lot on this blog about how to give your pet the ultimate freedom indoors and while outside. We love all animals and want to also touch on the topics that are important to pet owners and keeping our furry family members safe.

You may have heard the news reports floating around of late regarding grain-free pet foods not being as healthy as they once were thought to be. Including talk that feeding your dog strictly grain-free foods can lead to heart disease.

Since there are very few regulations around pet foods it can be hard to know the right answer and discern what you should be feeding your dog for optimal health.

The concern has grown so much so that the FDA conducted its own investigation into grain-free cat and dog foods and whether or not it has been the cause of increasing incidences or canine heart disease.

From Jan. 1, 2014 through April 30, 2019, the FDA received 524 reports of DCM (515 canine reports, 9 feline reports).

Pet foods that contain a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds or potatoes as main ingredients in place of grains, are being targeted as possibly causing the issues in dogs.

Canine dilated cardiomyopathy has been linked to dog food marketed as grain-free from over 16 brand name dog foods. Many popular brands also come highly recommended by the pet community.

Naturally, any loving pet owner wants to uncover what the right thing to do is. There have not been any direct recommendations made by the FDA yet, but understanding that gain-free is not the optimal diet is important.

It’s also important that your pet is seen regularly by a qualified Vet professional who has an overall view of their health and history and that if issues are occurring that they are made aware of the grain-free diet so that modifications and recommendations can be made to their food choices.

You should also do your own research from reputable sources online and choose pet food brands with longstanding track records as they’re likely back by scientists and constant research. Trendy and pricey food options for pets are not always the best option as animals have many different needs from humans.

Looking for perimeter obedience training or pet containment systems? Get in touch today!

3 Things to Do As Soon as You Bring a Puppy Home

So, you’ve taken the plunge. You brought that new puppy home you’ve been wanting since you were a kid or that your own children have been begging you to have for some time now.

First, congratulations on the heartwarming adventure of dog ownership you’re embarking on! Your days are going to be filled with lots of snuggles and a codependence on your furry pal you might never have expected possible.

Now What?

Whether you waited until you brought your puppy home to start researching what you should do to be prepared for the weeks ahead, or if you are doing your research early, the below tips are sure to offer some key insights and tips that will help get you through the adjustment phase. Whatever your experience, enjoy every moment of it because it passes by quickly just as with growing children.

1.      Set-up a Dedicated Space

While everyone is likely going to want to get some snuggles in with the new member of the household, it’s important that you set them up with a space that is their own. Typically a crate for puppies to start out is somewhere they can feel secure and also keep bathroom accidents contained. As they grow, they’ll need an area that they recognize as their place to sleep, eat and stay.

2.      Secure the Home and Yard

As you’re thinking about what area of the home you’ll likely allow the dog to roam freely in, you’ll also need to consider your yard especially if you don’t already have a fence. Pet containment systems that work wirelessly to set-up a perimeter are a great way to allow them to play and roam freely while keeping them safe and giving you peace of mind.

3.      Get Training Help

As you’ll come to find, puppies will need some guidance in learning what to chew, what not to chew and even how to let you know if they need to go out. Using a professional trainer who can work with your dog can go a long way in getting them to understand boundaries and commands.

At DogWatch of Western Massachusetts, it is our goal to assist families and pet owners with creating a comfortable area around the home where they are safe and can still feel free. Get in touch today to learn more about our hidden fences and services.

Try Positive Reinforcement for Dog Training

Dogs are much like people. (Some would say they’re much better than people!) They respond more to positive reinforcement than they do to negative. After all, nobody likes to be yelled at or reprimanded. So why would your dog?

If you’ve got an unruly canine friend who isn’t taking to standard training methods or a young dog in need of some help, there are some things you can try to build comfort and confidence between you and your dog to improve behavior. Consider it a way to teach your dog (and maybe you, as well) to “think positive!”

Dogs Aim to Please

It’s important for your dog to know when he or she has pleased you. Speak to the dog in a happy and enthusiastic voice that signals a reward for the dog, and be generous with petting and head scratches. Try to use the same upbeat tone of voice for all verbal commands. Praise your dog excessively when she does something well (even if only by accident!)

Use Play as a Reward

Sometimes boredom can lead to bad behavior in man’s best friend. It helps to train the dog to understand that if he completes a certain behavior, you will respond by allowing a game of run and fetch, for example, which may encourage him to curb any bad behavior. Regular exercise will keep your dog healthy in both body and mind.

Finally, Use Treats

Dogs are food-driven and should be used to encourage good behavior through more difficult situations, whether it’s training or getting past a scary situation such as a visit to the vet.

Positive reinforcement works by de-emphasizing bad behaviors and focusing on good behaviors. Your dog is far more likely to repeat good behavior when it’s properly rewarded rather than avoid bad behavior after punishment. Just be sure you’re taking it step-by-step and not overly complicating the training tasks.

Call a Professional

Voice commands and visual flags are appropriate when getting your dog used to a yard fence, for example, or letting him know which areas of the home are out of bounds. In Western Massachusetts, Dogwatch of Western Mass employs experienced, professional trainers to help adjust your dog to the new boundaries in your yard and home. Call 888-749-2657 or visit our website for advice.