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.

Do You Need to Cut Your Dog’s Nails?

Trimming a dog’s nails is an often stressful, but necessary, aspect of caring for a canine friend. Allowing your dog’s nails to grow too long can lead to trouble walking, pain, and infections.

Why a Dog’s Nails Need to Be Trimmed

If nails grow too long, it can be difficult for a dog to get traction when walking on a slippery surface, such as tile, linoleum, or a hardwood floor. Long nails can also scratch and damage the floor. If a dog walks on a harder surface, such as pavement, its claws can hit the ground with each step and cause pain.

Long nails can put painful pressure on toe joints and can even affect the alignment of joints if the problem isn’t addressed. Untrimmed nails can curl and eventually grow into the dog’s paw pads or skin, which can be painful and can lead to an infection. Long claws can also get caught on objects such as furniture and can get torn off when the dog tries to free itself.

How Often Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?

A dog’s health and how it spends its time influence how often trims are required. Some infections and autoimmune diseases, as well as diet, can affect the rate of nail growth. A dog that often runs on hard surfaces will have its nails naturally ground down, but a pet that spends most of its time on soft surfaces won’t have its nails ground and will need more frequent trims. As a rule of thumb, you should trim your dog’s nails often enough that the nails don’t touch the floor or ground when the dog is standing.

How to Cut Your Dog’s Nails

Keep your dog’s nails short, but don’t cut off so much that you cut the quick, a blood vessel that runs through the nail. Doing so could cause bleeding and pain. Have a clotting product on hand in case you accidentally cut a nail too short and damage the quick.

Some dogs have a fifth nail, called a dewclaw, on some or all of their paws. Those nails also need to be trimmed.

Take it slow. Pet and praise your dog and offer treats. If the dog becomes particularly agitated, you might have to take a break to play with your pet and try again later.

The younger your dog is when you start trimming its nails, and the more often you do it, the easier it will be for your dog to get used to it. If cutting your dog’s nails yourself is too stressful for you or your dog, you can have a groomer or veterinary technician do it for you. They have plenty of experience and know-how to keep dogs calm.

Keep Your Dog Healthy and Safe

Trimming your dog’s nails can keep it healthy. Keeping the dog in the yard or on a leash can also prevent injuries. DogWatch of Western Mass offers collars, leashes, and hidden fences to keep your pet safe and contained. Gain peace of mind and give your pet freedom. Order training products today!

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing Everything in Sight

For most families, getting a new puppy is one of the most heartfelt experiences that can be had. Nothing beats the small, adorable yelp of a new puppy. In addition to being “man’s best friend,” numerous studies show the connection between those who have pets at home and their success in other areas of life. From improved career performance to less stress and even better physical health, there are so many reasons to consider adding a furry, four-legged friend to your family.

The one thing that has many of us reconsidering our decision though is their chewing habits. Some dogs have been known to chew their way through furniture, door frames and even shoes (somehow they always choose the expensive ones).

The issue of dogs chewing items they shouldn’t be is behavioral and can be adjusted with some training and some other key steps.

Here are our tips to get your dog to stop chewing everything in sight.

Chewing is Good or Dogs

While the items they choose to chew are usually painful for us to find mangled, chewing can be healthy for dogs. With the right chew toys, dental bones and other dog-specific items to chew on throughout the day, they can keep their brains engaged, while also cleaning plaque off their teeth and strengthening their masticatory muscles.  

Pay Attention to Surroundings

The responsibility also falls on owners to ensure they’re not leaving shoes or other “interesting” items around for the dog to pick up in boredom and start to explore and chew on. This will help to curb a lot of the surprise chewing events. The other thing it can do is prevent dangers for dogs. Ingesting small particles and other harmful items is never a good thing. Pay attention to your surroundings and pick up anything questionable so it’s not in the dogs reach.

Go For More Walks

If you want to get your dog to stop being so bored and chewing on things to entertain themselves, you should establish a regular walking routine. In addition to stretching their limbs and improving cardiovascular health, many breeds of dogs require exertion for mental and physical health. If you’re noticing your dog is getting bored more often than not, perhaps it’s time to add a second walk to the day or to go a little further with the walks to help tire them out.

Call DogWatch of Western Massachusetts

At Dogwatch of Western Massachusetts, we want you to have an enjoyable experience with a dog as a member of your household. We can set-up boundaries that protect your dog from harm and your belongings from being reached. Our hidden fences can be set-up inside or outside and we also offer obedience training to help get your dog get used to the perimeters so they can feel free to run and play.

Get in touch today!

Pets Improve Mental and Physical Health for All Ages

Most homes today have at least one pet. Whether a large breed dog, small cat or even a bird – there is a sense of connection that comes from furry friends that exceed even human connections. Numerous studies have pointed to the benefits of an animal companion to help reduce loneliness, depression and more.

One recent poll conducted by the University of Michigan found that pets for the elderly are also bringing lots of benefits like better physical and mental health.

The National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed 2,000 adults in the U.S. aged 50-80 and looked at the ways having pets have helped to improve their lives. Having a pet (dogs were found to be the most common) many respondents said, helped them to feel more loved and enjoy their lives.

Other areas of improvement included adding in more physical movement and health and even lessening the feelings of loneliness that plagues the aging generation.

Not just for the elderly, loneliness has become a public health issue that’s very serious. So much so that many are pushing for legislation focused on improving mental health and combatting loneliness. Even young teens, who should arguably be the most social age group are more and more becoming lonely because they’re not communicating and socializing out in public in the real world and instead rely solely on video games, TV and the Internet.

To combat this, advocates are urging that cities become more pet-friendly and that government officials start encouraging people to start interacting with pets and building key bonds. Pets are a great place to start with loneliness because they offer unconditional love and attention all humans require. Once humans form special bonds with their pets, they become more confident in sharing connections with other humans.

Want to give your pet freedom and confidence around the home and yard? Dogwatch of Western Mass offers Pet Containment systems that answer to the need. Get in touch today to learn more!