Why Perimeter Training for Your Pet Is Essential

A dog that spends most of its time cooped up indoors needs opportunities to exercise to protect its physical and mental health. Taking your dog for walks on a leash may allow it to get some exercise, but it won’t let your dog run, jump, play, and explore in a way that can promote optimal overall health.

Your dog may be much healthier and happier if you give it chances to run and play unencumbered by a leash. Setting up a hidden dog fence on your property can give your dog the freedom to exercise in its own way while keeping your pet in your yard and away from potential dangers. For a hidden dog fence to be successful, your dog will have to undergo perimeter training.

How a Hidden Dog Fence Works

A hidden fence can be either wireless or in-ground. Though the two types work differently, either can allow you to designate a specific area where your dog is permitted to go and keep it from venturing into places where it may face cars and other dangers. If your dog tries to cross the predefined boundary, it will receive a shock from its collar letting it know that it has ventured too far.

Why Perimeter Training Is Necessary When Using a Hidden Dog Fence

Since a hidden fence isn’t visible, your dog will have to learn where the boundaries are located so it can understand where it is and is not permitted to go. Perimeter training can use a series of voice commands and flags to teach your dog where the boundary lines lie so your pet will learn to stay within them.

Training takes just minutes per day, and most dogs are fully trained in a week to ten days. Once your pet has learned where the boundaries are and understands that it must respect them, you will be able to set your dog loose in the yard without having to worry that it might go somewhere it shouldn’t.

Get a Quote for a Hidden Dog Fence

DogWatch sells several models of hidden dog fences that are designed to suit the needs of specific pets, pet owners, and properties. With a hidden fence, you will be able to define the boundary to suit the design of your yard and your needs and preferences. For example, if you want your dog to have the freedom to run around the backyard, but you want to keep it out of a garden, the boundary lines can be set accordingly.

One of our experienced trainers can work with you and your pet to teach your dog to respect the boundary. Our trainers have experience working with dogs of many breeds and personality types. Contact us today to learn more.

The Differences Between Wireless and In-Ground Dog Fences

A hidden dog fence can keep your pet on your property without the need for a physical barrier that will block the view. If you do some research on hidden dog fences, you will find that they fall into two categories: wireless and in-ground. It’s important to understand the differences between them so you can select the type that’s best for your needs.

How Wireless and In-Ground Dog Fences Work

A wireless fence will give your dog a static correction if its collar no longer picks up a signal from the transmitter. That can happen if your dog ventures outside its boundary, but it can also occur if something between the transmitter and your dog, such as a hill, blocks the signal. A metal object or building can also interfere with the collar’s ability to pick up the signal from the transmitter.

Wireless signals can be inconsistent. That means that the exact parameters of your dog’s boundary may change due to fluctuations in the signal.

If a wireless fence wouldn’t work for you, an in-ground fence may be the right option. A boundary wire can emit a signal and activate your dog’s collar whenever it picks up the signal. Since the boundary wire is underground, interference isn’t an issue.

Areas Hidden Dog Fences Can Cover

A wireless fence can cover a circular boundary area, usually up to 25 acres. If you have a large property or one with an irregular shape, a wireless fence may not be the right choice.

An in-ground fence can be customized to suit the unique layout of your property and your specific needs. The boundary wire can be laid in a way that allows your dog to go into certain areas and keeps it out of others. An in-ground dog fence can cover a larger area than a wireless fence (generally up to 100 acres).

Set-up and Maintenance

A wireless fence is easy to set up. If you take your dog with you somewhere else, such as a vacation house, you can take the wireless system with you and use it there. Installing an in-ground fence is more difficult and time-consuming, but you may decide that it’s worth it due to the ability to customize the boundary area.  

Maintaining a wireless dog fence is simple and straightforward. You will just have to replace or recharge the collar’s battery and may have to replace other components from time to time.

If you choose an in-ground system and the boundary wire breaks, it will have to be repaired. First, you’ll have to locate the site of the break, which can be challenging.

Learn More about Hidden Dog Fences

DogWatch offers several types of outdoor hidden dog fences, as well as other products that can help you train your pet and keep it safe. Contact us today.

New Alerts Feature Added to DogWatch SmartFence WebApp

One thing we care most about when it comes to assisting with your pet’s freedom is ensuring they are always comfortable and secure in the boundaries you have set. In addition to hidden fence technologies, we also believe in behavioral training and ongoing monitoring for your peace of mind and your pet’s comfort.

Recently, a new feature was rolled out for the DogWatch SmartFence App called Boundary Challenge Alerts. This new option provides text and/or email alerts whenever your dog gets close to the areas marked to be avoided. Getting closer to the boundary of the hidden fence already releases an audible or vibration warning and correction – when this is triggered it will now also issue the new alert notification.

The SmartFence® underground fence system uses patented FM radio technology and mobile connectivity features so your dog will stay safe and happy, and you’ll stay connected at all times.

Other features customers already enjoy as part of the offering include SmartCollar™ alerts, like a Low Battery Alert.

After listening to requests from customers and dealers for features they’d like to see available, this feature was created to not only provide data but also help reveal areas where pets may need some retraining or additional reinforcements. It can even show the frequency and timing of these attempts to get past the boundaries for further investigation of potential events causing the behavior (like a mail person, lawn care company or school bus arrival.)

The new alerts are being automatically rolled out for customers. There will also be a link to easily disable the notifications being sent for Boundary Challenges.

Have questions? Want a DogWatch connected hidden fence installed on your property? Give us a call today!

The Importance of an Invisible Dog Fence

Keeping your dog confined to your yard can protect it from danger. A fence can keep your dog from being hit by a car, getting into a fight with another animal, or wandering off and causing damage to a neighbor’s property. You have several options when it comes to fencing, but an invisible dog fence offers unique advantages compared to a physical barrier.

How an Invisible Dog Fence Works

A radio frequency is broadcast and travels along a cable that is buried in the yard a few inches underground. The cable creates a clearly defined boundary that limits where your dog can go. A receiver in the dog’s collar detects the radio frequency.

If your dog gets close to the boundary line, it will receive a warning via an audible sound or a vibration. If your dog attempts to cross the boundary, it will receive mild stimulation from the collar. The settings are easy to adjust to suit your pet. Your dog will learn where the boundary is located and will learn to stop before reaching that point.

An Invisible Dog Fence Is Easy to Install and Affordable

Installing a physical fence can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, especially if you have a large yard. An invisible dog fence is easier to install, even if it has to cover a large, irregular space or enclose an area with water or woods. It may also cost less than constructing a physical barrier.

An Invisible Dog Fence Won’t Block Your View

If your yard is surrounded by an attractive landscape, you probably don’t like the idea of blocking it with a wood or metal fence. If you decide to install an invisible dog fence, you will still be able to enjoy the view without worrying about your dog escaping and getting into trouble.

An Invisible Dog Fence May Do a Better Job of Keeping Your Dog Confined Than a Physical Fence

Countless homeowners have installed a physical barrier to keep their dog in the yard, then found that their pet simply dug under it to get out. Some dogs may chew a hole in a fence so they can squeeze through, and some may even jump or climb over a fence. With an invisible dog fence, those methods of escape won’t work.

A physical fence can’t keep your dog in the yard if you forget to shut the gate or don’t check to make sure that it latched securely. If you install an invisible dog fence, you won’t have to be concerned about slipping up and having your dog run loose through the neighborhood.

Learn More about Invisible Dog Fence Options

If you have been struggling to figure out how to keep your dog in your yard without blocking the view of the surrounding area, an invisible dog fence is a solution. DogWatch of Western Massachusetts offers several models with a variety of helpful features. Contact us today to learn more.

Can Booties Help Protect my Dog’s Feet?

The winter season has been extreme across most of the U.S. this year. Here in New England, we’ve seen our share of snow accumulation and bitter cold temps. These weather events have created a challenge for travel, keeping our homes warm and especially for many dogs and their parents. Long exposure to cold snow can harm your pet in many ways but when they must go outside for bathroom breaks it’s hard to avoid having them walk through frozen, cold snow. Over time this can dry the skin out and cause painful cracking and bleeding.

One option for protecting their paws is to have your dog wear dog booties or dog shoes. If you’ve ever tried getting your dog to use this, perhaps you have seen how funny they walk or unsure they are about taking steps while using them.

In this post, we’re reviewing some important tips for teaching your dog how to wear shoes and feel confident while they do.

First, it’s important that you choose the correct shoe size and type for your dog. There are numerous options on the market, from soft bootie style shoes to rain-resistant material and shoes with rubber soles for better grip. Understanding which shoe you’ll need should take into consideration your dog’s age, activity level, and the surfaces where they’ll likely be walking.

Choosing a proper fit for your dog is also important. You don’t want anything too tight or even too loose that slides of their feet as they are walking. There are some online guides you can use for measuring the span of your dog’s paw and length but trying shoes on for comfort is best.

Once you are trying shoes on your dog, or the first time they actually wear them, be sure to be overly excited and happy with them and give them a treat so they know this new behavior and accessory is a positive thing.

If you’re slowly working on getting your dog used to the new shoes you can even try putting just the hind shoes on first so they still have their front footing and can ease into the feeling of wearing and walking with shoes on. After they show comfort and ease with the hind shoes on you can slowly start adding on the 1 front shoes and continue to provide positive reinforcement as they do.

The most important thing is to be consistent, and keep trying. Some dogs will jump right into using their shoes with no problem and some will need to slowly become comfortable with using them. Trust the process and most importantly have fun!

Tips for Doggy Dental Health

Taking good care of our pets is important for their livelihood, health and safety. There’s so much more to caring and raising an animal in your home than a few walks and vet visits. Today, pets are an additional member of the household that enjoys family outings, bonding time and provides companionship for all.

One important aspect of their health that isn’t always thought of is their teeth. Dental hygiene and health are just as important for dogs. Dental disease is a very common problem for dogs so understanding the best care you can provide is important. 

Since February is dental health month, we thought it was a great time to review some of the steps you can take to help protect your pet’s teeth and gums.

Brush Your Dog’s Teeth 

In case you never knew about it, there are dog toothbrushes and toothpastes available that can help with the task of keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. If you’re unable to do the task on your own there are professionals that can assist with a tooth cleaning service. If your dog does allow it though, it’s good to brush up to every day before bedtime if possible – just like you do with your own teeth and for all the same reasons – prevent cavities, decay, etc.

Choose Tooth-healthy Treats 

While treats should not be given too frequently to dogs, it’s important to choose a quality option when you do. This should include treats that are created to assist with tooth and gum health. Often they will feature fresh minty scents to help with breath and even ridges and bumps that dogs will chew on and can help prevent tartar buildup between dental cleanings.

Schedule a Dental Exam

If your dog’s teeth are a concern, you should schedule a visit with your vet and arrange for a dental exam where they can look more closely at the teeth, any issues that may be occurring and even address any problem area before they become an issue for your dog.

4 Tips for Keeping Indoor Cats Comfortable

Cars, dogs, and wild animals can cause serious harm to cats, which is why it’s best to keep your pet feline indoors. Cats can be healthy and happy living inside a house, as long as they’re provided with opportunities to exercise and plenty of mental stimulation. 

Here are some tips to keep your indoor cat comfortable and content indoors.

Encourage Your Cat to Exercise

Being active is important for your cat’s physical and mental health. If they don’t exercise, cats can become overweight, anxious, and destructive. 

Purchase a variety of toys that will encourage your cat to run, jump, climb, and pounce. Those may include toys that your cat can bat around with its paws, a laser pointer with a light that your cat can chase, a piece of string that the cat can jump and reach for with its paws, and toys that will require your pet to solve a puzzle to access food inside. Switch the toys out regularly so your cat doesn’t get bored.

A cat tree is a structure that has several levels so a cat can jump and climb. It’s a great way to let your cat act on its natural impulses and get some exercise. Having your pet jump on a cat tree is also better for you than having it jump on your kitchen counters.

Let Your Cat See What’s Going on Outside

Cats are naturally curious, and they want to know what’s going on in the world around them. You don’t have to let your cat outside, but you can allow your pet to see what’s happening there. Let your cat sit or lie on a windowsill so it can watch people and cars pass down the street and see birds and other animals fly and run. Observing the scene outdoors can give your cat lots of mental stimulation.

Provide for Your Cat’s Physical Needs

Talk to your veterinarian about what type of food to feed your cat, how much, and how often. Make sure your pet has access to quality food and fresh water. Also be sure to clean the litter box regularly, especially if you have two or more felines who share a litter box. Not doing so may cause a cat to act out.

Use Indoor Pet Boundaries to Keep Your Cat out of Trouble

Cats like to explore, and they sometimes go places where they shouldn’t, such as in trash cans, on countertops, and on new furniture. It can be difficult to teach a curious and stubborn cat not to do what it wants to do. 

DogWatch sells indoor pet boundaries that you can use to keep your cat out of areas that you want to be off limits. You can block off small areas or entire rooms, depending on your needs. Contact us today to learn more.

Socializing Adult Dogs

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an uptick in pet adoptions as families spend more time at home and people find companionship to ease social distancing loneliness. The rise in adoptions has been seen in a positive light as so many animals enter shelters yearly who need homes and this year many of those shelters were emptied! 

Some of the things new pet owners may have had to work on as they brought an older dog into their home was training them. They say it is far easier to condition a dog to learn patterns from a young puppy age and that older dogs don’t easily adapt to changes in their routines, but there are ways you can train an adult dog. The same goes for socializing. Even while social distancing is in order there is still a need to help dogs feel comfortable out in public, while on walks and if you have visitors. Encounters with other dogs and humans should not create tension or an issue. 

With some extra patience and care, anything is possible!

Here are 3 things to do now to start training and socializing your adult dog. 

Find Root of Bad Behavior

Some of the most common problems with dogs that will not listen aren’t just a bad attitude, a lot of times this is a sign of another issue – like anxiety or distress. Simply taking your dog to a crowded park with other dogs doesn’t mean you can let him run around and play with his mates. Most dogs are territorial and some would rather keep their distance. Other training issues like bathroom accidents and chewing through shoes and furniture may also lead back to this issue of anxiety or boredom. To find a solution it’s best to get to the root reason why.  

Show Excitement 

Believe it or not, part of how your dog acts has to do with how you act. They usually will follow the lead of their owner so if you are quiet, withdrawn or angry and keep a distance, they will do the same. It’s important as you’re teaching them new things and taking them around other dogs that you show it’s okay that you’re overly excited when they do a good job and that this experience is new, but an okay one to reassure them. 

Take it Slow

As your pet adapts to a new home and living space and any other family members they first meet, it’s important to take it slow and allow them to sniff it out and get comfortable. The same is true for easing into training and socialization – it’s not an overnight thing. Try first taking your dog out with another pet owner you know and see how they do. There will be less action going on and it might be easier to warm up to the idea of sharing you and your space with another dog. If you’re trying to train them to sit, go, come and any other command and you feel like giving up, maybe it’s time to take a break. Give it some time and come back to a daily schedule of trying until they get it – sometimes they do! 

There are also professional dog obedience training options and things like wireless containment systems that can help tremendously. 

DogWatch of Western Mass proudly serves the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas providing committed, trained professionals with years of experience in installation, training and customer service!


Return to Work Tips for Adjusting Your Pet

Ever since the shutdowns that began due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, most families have been spending more time at home. From work to school and even weekend activities – the home has truly become a central hub for all activities. For some this slow down and time to connect has been a welcome change. For others, the timeline to get back to old routines and out of the office can’t happen soon enough.

One family member we may not be thinking of is our furry friends. They’ve also now over these 9+ months become comfortable with more snuggle time with their families, perhaps a change in feeding routines, bathroom breaks, and even playtime.

All of these things will drastically change back once going back to work and school begins.

One recent study even found that 78 percent of working pet owners are concerned about anxiety and/or confusion for their pets when they return to their normal work schedule and 75 percent are worried over their own personal anxiety when they return to work and will be without their pet.

To help ease your pet into this time in advance we are offering a few key tips for helping them to readjust to the old ways.

Begin with Old Rituals Early

Your pet is smart. They know when changes are occurring so it’s important to have a plan in place early on. If you will need to change feeding times to make it out onto the road start waking up early and getting that routine started now, in case there are any hiccups along the way and to help them get comfortable and readjust to the new patterns.

Keep an Eye out for Stress Indicators

Most pets – especially dogs, will show signs of stress in very predictable ways. Things like chewing up shoes and couch pillows or having sudden potty accidents can typically be traced back to stress, boredom and under activity. As your pet gets used to you not being in the home or taking mid-day walks and bathroom breaks, it’s important to be patient and perhaps spoil them with an extra chew toy or extra after dinner outdoor playtime to make up for the gap.

Increase Bonding and Togetherness at New Times

The great thing about pets is that they’ll take the extra love whenever you want to give it to them! So if you’re lacking in that department because you’re all busy at work and school again, be sure to leave some extra time to dedicate attention and snuggles with them when you are home. Plan weekend outings that involve your dog if you can or share movie time together.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

Depending on what size dog you have you might spend more time in between baths for the simple fact that getting a very large or long hair dog wet, cleaned and dried off is no easy task. You might also be worried if you’ve become immune to the odor of your pet and cannot tell if it’s actually offensive. If you’ve been wondering just how long in between bathing you can go – here’s your answer. 

Technique Over Frequency 

While there is no cut and dry number for how often to bathe your dog – it could range from once a week to once a month – the more important factor to consider is your technique. Since dogs have a natural self-hygiene routine to keep clean you can assume they already do some of the important stuff themselves. You should still clean their coat to detangle, remove dust and dirt and check for other things like fleas ticks or lumps. If you’re doing this frequently, then you want to use a very gentle wash that is mild and won’t cause over drying. Just like human hair, washing too much can strip natural oils and cause issues too. If you are bathing less frequently and know your dog has been rolling around the yard for quite a while between washes then you’ll want a good lather, scrub and rinse to break up and remove the particles. 

What Experts Recommend

If you’re still trying to come up with a standard bathing routine for your pup, most experts recommend a once a month bath schedule. This can change if your pet has other conditions or fur that requires more or less frequent washes. It’s important to understand your specific breed and the type of hair their coat is made of to make the best decision. 

Call DogWatch of Western Mass !

In need of perimeter training of a wireless dog fence? Call DogWatch today! Our products and services help you to effectively keep your pet off the couch, away from the trash and out of the dining room or kitchen.