7 Important Dog Training Tips

There are many different ways to train your dog. If you have a puppy, you’ll need to be patient and consistent while he learns the ropes and while it could be slightly easier for some older dogs to get it, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some hurdles to overcome. In both cases though, love and mutual respect for your dog is the most important tool when it comes to training them. 

Here are some tips for effectively training your dog. 

Tip #1: The dog must respect you.

When it comes to training your dog, you must be the alpha and the one in charge. This is an important concept for anyone who owns a dog and wants to have their pet follow their commands. The relationship between you and your dog must be based on respect, which cannot be forced upon them—it must be earned through leadership.

If you want your dog to listen when you tell him or her something, they must respect you as a leader first. A lot of people are tempted by positive reinforcement methods when training dogs because they feel like this will make things easier; however, if there is no sense of authority or respect in place between owner and pet then these methods won’t work very well at all because neither party will feel confident with the relationships between them.

Tip #2: Speak directly to the dog in a confident, sweet tone.

When you sit down with the dog, talk sweetly to him in a calm voice. Remember to use your dog’s name at the beginning of each sentence and speak in a high-pitched tone that encourages listening. It’s important that you keep talking until he sits down, but it’s also very important not to make eye contact with him while he’s still standing. If his eyes are on yours, then he will know this is an invitation for playtime or other attention and may not want to listen as well as possible when sitting down!

Tip #3: Teach your dog his name first.

Dogs should be taught their name first, even before other commands. A dog should respond to his or her own name and not someone else’s. If you train your dog with this in mind, it will be easier for you to get your dog’s attention when needed.

Tip #4: Be very patient.

Be patient. Your dog is new to this and needs time to learn. Be patient when teaching your dog new things and as they are learning to obey. If it takes 10 minutes for your dog to sit on command or walk on leash without pulling then that’s fine! Just keep at it until they get the hang of it.

Tip #5: Be mindful of what your dog is feeling

As you are working on training your dog you should also be aware of the dog’s body language. If the dog is showing signs of stress, stop the training session for a break. If the dog is showing signs of aggression, stop the training session and if the dog is showing signs of fear you will not get very fair in training and should attempt it at another time.

Tip #6: Reward with treats, praise and love.

Dogs make mistakes—even the best-trained dog will occasionally have an accident or get into something they shouldn’t. When this happens, it’s important not to punish your dog for their mistake. Punishment is not the way to train a dog. When you punish your dog for making a mistake, you are essentially telling them that it is unsafe to trust themselves or others because if they make mistakes, there will be consequences (namely hurt feelings) from their mistakes. This can lead to other problems down the road such as aggression issues if your dog feels threatened enough by something else happening around them.

Instead, use it as a teaching moment and correct them immediately after the mistake has happened with a verbal command that tells them what’s wrong. Then reward them with praise and treats (if appropriate). This will help them learn from their mistakes so that they can avoid making it again in the future. The most effective way to do this is by rewarding your dog immediately after they’ve done something correctly with praise or petting (depending on their preference). The more often you do this type of training, the faster your dog will learn!

Tip #7: Love is the most important tool in training your dog.

Love is the most important tool in training your dog. Yes, you read that right: love is the best reward for your dog. When you’re playing with your pup, use positive reinforcement to encourage him to do what you want him to do. Let’s say he’s doing something naughty like chewing on your couch; if he stops after being scolded and given a stern look by his owner, praise him lavishly! This will encourage him not only to stop chewing on things but also to repeat behaviors that earn praise from his owners. Some people may think this method is too simple or even “icky,” but there’s no denying it works wonders when paired with other methods of behavior modification such as shock collars and punishment-based training (which I vehemently oppose).

The most important thing to remember when training your dog is that you need to love him and be patient. You can’t get frustrated if he doesn’t understand something right away, because that just means he needs more time with you in order for him to learn. 

Dog Training Treat Options

While treats are a great way to reward your dog and to help when teaching them commands and actions, you’ll want to make sure that they’re healthy and safe as well. While some treats can be made using human food (like peanut butter or bananas), other options are specially designed to meet the needs of dogs. Here are some popular dog treat ingredients that you can use as rewards for training or just because!

Freeze-dried meat treats

Freeze-dried meat treats are a great choice for training your dog. They’re high in protein, low in calories and have a long shelf life. The best part? Freeze-dried treats are extremely affordable.

The trick to finding the best quality freeze-dried treats is to look for freeze-dried meat that’s made in the USA or Canada with no preservatives added. You’ll also want to check the expiration date on any package you buy! The longer you can keep these treats around before they go bad, the better!

Freeze-dried meats come in all shapes and sizes (just like real meats!) but some of our favorites include: beef liver, chicken breast and turkey hearts. We love these three because they’re not only tasty but they also contain various nutrients that may help promote healthy skin and coat health.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are nutritious, healthy treats that can be used in place of regular dog food for training purposes. If your dog has bad breath, try giving them a piece of fruit or vegetable to chew on instead of a treat that is full of sugar. Be cautious however as there is a long list of unacceptable and even deadly fruits (like grapes) that you’ll want to avoid.

The best part about using fresh fruits and vegetables as training treats is the fact that they are usually easy to find at local grocery stores, farmers markets or even community gardens if you have one nearby! Some people like to use their own garden produce but make sure they wash it very well before you give it to your pup.

Regular dog food

Regular dog food is not the only option, but it’s an important one. As with most things, moderation is key: too much and you’ll end up with an overweight dog that lacks proper nutrition; too little and your pooch will be underweight, weak and have a harder time learning new skills. Dog food should also be varied so that your pet gets all the nutrients they need from different sources (meat protein instead of carbs, for example).

Treats that aren’t food!

Consider non-food options as treats as well. Things like toys, balls, and other objects can be used as rewards for good behavior and to reward the dog for good training. Treats that aren’t food are great because they get the dog’s mind off of food and onto something else entirely!

Keep in mind, you should never use food as a reward for bad behavior or as a bribe to get your dog to do what you want them to do. In order for them to work as rewards, treats should be given at the right time and in the right amount. It’s important not only that your dog likes the treat but also that he knows what behavior it’s associated with so that he’ll continue doing it when he needs another one later on—for example, coming when called or sitting nicely when asked by guests who might be afraid of big dogs.

If you have a dog that is difficult to train, try using small treats as rewards during training sessions.

Common Eye Problems in Dogs

Like people, dogs can suffer a wide range of health problems. Some are caused by old age or genetics, while others result from injuries. These are some of the most common eye problems that dogs experience.

Cataracts in Dogs

Cataracts can make a dog’s eyes look cloudy, white, or bluish-gray. Cataracts can cause a dog to suffer from blurry vision, or even blindness. Genetics, an illness, aging, or trauma to the eye can cause cataracts. The condition can be treated with surgery.

Corneal Ulcers

Corneal ulcers occur when the thin, outer layer of the eye gets damaged. Chronic dry eyes or an eye infection can cause corneal ulcers, but the problem can also be a result of trauma. For example, a dog’s eye might get injured in a fight with another animal. Corneal ulcers can sometimes be treated with ointment or eye drops. In other cases, surgery is necessary.

Dog Glaucoma

Dogs can suffer from glaucoma if fluid in the eye doesn’t drain properly. Over time, fluid can build up and put pressure on the eye. The condition can cause pain, as well as dilated pupils, bulging eyes, and other symptoms. Glaucoma can be a result of trauma, infection, inflammation, or another cause. Medication can be an effective treatment, but surgery is sometimes required. 

Entropion in Dogs

Entropion is another common eye problem in dogs. The condition causes the top or bottom eyelid to fold inward. The eyelashes then rub against the cornea, which can irritate the eye and affect the dog’s vision. Injury, corneal ulcers, and genetics are some of the possible causes of entropion.

Keep Your Dog Safe

Dogs can experience several types of eye problems, and some of them can be painful and can even cause permanent vision loss. You don’t want your furry friend to suffer, and you also don’t want to have to pay expensive bills for veterinary care. 

You can’t necessarily prevent all eye problems, since some are caused by genetics, but you can take steps to protect your dog from trauma and injuries that could affect its eyes. Keeping your dog in the yard is a simple way to do that. If your dog stays on your property, you won’t have to worry about it getting into a fight with a neighbor’s pet or a wild animal, getting hit by a car, or running off into the woods and getting injured. 

An outdoor hidden fence from DogWatch MA is an effective and affordable way to keep your dog in your yard. You won’t have to go through the time and hassle of putting up a physical fence, and you won’t have to worry about maintenance and repairs. We offer several types of hidden fences that can keep your pet safe and make life more convenient for you. Contact us today to learn more.

4 Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Stay within Boundaries You Set

Let’s face it, dogs love to run and play. When you have a dog that loves to explore and run freely – then setting up boundaries is essential. To give you peace of mind, it’s important to teach your pup how to stay within its boundaries. This can be essential for both peace of mind and safety for all.  Here are some tips to do so successfully.

1. Set Boundaries by Setting up a Physical Fence

For so long, the most effective way to keep your dog in your yard was to put up a physical fence. This still works and can be done by either building a perimeter or contracting a service provider to install one. Besides cost, and blocking your view, you’ll need to also ensure that the fence has been constructed properly so that it keeps your dog in and others out. This includes making sure that:

  • The materials used are sturdy enough to hold back even larger animals such as bears or wolves
  • It has been erected tall enough so no small children can climb over it but also in accordance with town regulations.

2. Use a Wireless Hidden Fence with Collar

Thankfully there is a better and easier way now. A wireless hidden fence is one of the best ways to keep your dog in your yard without having to close in your view or get permits and builders to construct an actual fence. All you’ll need is a wireless fence with collar and perimeter training to start enjoying freedom.

3. Perimeter Training is Essential

Whichever method you use to keep your dog safe and contained to a specified area, training will be essential. As they learn the new boundaries, be sure to walk them out to the edge of the perimeter so they will learn that it’s as far as they should be going. Over time they will begin to understand and avoid going in that direction, or at least know it’s time to turn around.

4. Have Patience with Your Pup

One of the most important things you can do to help your dog understand what is right and wrong is to have patience with them and use positive reinforcement. Things like treats and praise will help build their confidence and make training easier for both of you.

Setting boundaries for your pet is a process but it helps protect both pets and people who may be injured by a stray pup. Plus, teaching your dog to stay within the boundaries you set is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.

Whether you live in a house, apartment or condo, your canine companion needs to learn where they’re allowed to go and what they can do there. With the right wireless containment system in place, consistency, and patience, your pup will learn its boundaries quickly.

We’re here to serve you and your pet with the best user-friendly products and safe effective containment for your dog or cat-no getting around it.

 

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Does My Dog Have Allergies?

If you notice your dog is itching a lot more than usual or seems to have a runny nose, this can be an indication that they are suffering from allergies. Dogs will often develop seasonal allergies, which means they’re more likely to react to certain allergens in their environment at certain times of the year. This is why you can suddenly notice an increase in this activity as if it started out of nowhere. It’s important to note that while allergies are often seasonal, they can also be year-round though.

Seasonal allergies in dogs can be caused by pollen, mold, grasses, trees, weeds, and even dust mites.

If you suspect that your dog has a seasonal allergy, the first thing you should do is schedule a visit with your vet. The vet will examine the dog and determine if there are any physical symptoms present. If there are, he or she may take samples from the dog’s skin or fur for testing. Those tests will determine whether or not your dog has an allergy and what types of allergens may be causing it.

Things like fungi or mold spores can also cause allergic reactions in dogs. There are also things like bacteria – Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes – for example, that can be present.  It’s important to have the vet run these tests to figure out what exactly is causing your dog’s allergies.

Allergy symptoms in dogs can be skin rashes as well as respiratory issues. They may also have gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting if they’re allergic to something they eat or drink regularly (like grasses).

Other signs to look for are if your dog struggles to breathe and seems to be wheezing or coughing a lot, this is a sign that they might be suffering from allergies.

Another sign that your dog might have allergies is ear infections. If a dog is constantly scratching at their ears, which is often a symptom of an allergy, it’s important to get them to a vet to rule out any other issues and help them get some relief.

If you think your dog might have an allergy, it’s important for you to take her to the vet for testing. The vet will be able to run tests and tell you what kind of allergy she has and what kind of treatment options are available for her condition.

Possible treatments could include antihistamines and immunotherapy (allergy shots).

To help alleviate some of these allergy issues for your dog, it’s important to keep a dog’s environment clean by sweeping or vacuuming regularly to remove allergens from the home or even using a HEPA filter vacuum to control what gets sucked up into the machine. For those dogs that have indoor/outdoor lifestyles, you may not be able to avoid allergens completely; however, experts do recommend at least keeping them indoors when there are high pollen warnings happening.

Dog-friendly Gardening

Love to garden and love to spend time in the yard with your dog? Seems like these can be conflicting hobbies but there are ways you can both enjoy the outdoors this summer without sacrificing your love for plants or your desire to keep your pup safe. 

Dogs can get into all kinds of trouble when left to do as they wish in the yard. From eating plants that are toxic to them to digging up flower beds and destroying the landscaping. 

If your dog just wants to spend their days lounging in the sun – you can let them do just that in confidence by planting safe-for-dogs plants.

The best gardens to plant if you have dogs in the yard are ones that have a lot of plants with low-growing, wide leaves. These plants will be resistant to chewing, and they’ll also help keep your dog cool during the summer.

Here are some great options:

  • Ferns
  • Cherry trees (especially if they’re grafted)
  • Roses (especially hybrid tea roses)

Of course, if you have a dog who loves to spend time unattended out in the yard, you won’t want to plant any of these plants.

These plants are toxic to dogs:

*Azalea
*Daffodil
*Lily-of-the-valley
*Oleander (Nerium oleander)
*Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

While there are some plants that are toxic to dogs and should never be planted in your yard if you have a dog, there are many other plants that are perfectly safe for dogs to eat. 

Here are 5 plants that are safe for your pup to nibble on:

  1. Rosemary 
  2. Mint
  3. Parsley 
  4. Thyme
  5. Basil

    Imagine never having to worry about your dog wandering off into the woods or going out into the street again. With a pet containment system from DogWatch, he can roam and play freely within the boundaries you set.

Our outdoor dog fence is the best system for containing dogs in the yard and out of restricted areas. Safely keep your pups on the lawn and out of the flowerbed. Our dog fence also works great for cat containment.

Dog Friendly Places to Visit in Western Mass

We love finding dog friendly places in western Mass. – in case you couldn’t already tell. While being home and enjoying time with your pup is some of the best quality time, we also know that people are loving to also get out, in nature, be social, and have a great time with their dog along for the ride too!

As most dog owners know, there’s a lot to consider when planning to take your dog on an outing with you. Like will the location be dog friendly? Is there access to an area for them to relieve themselves, will the temperatures be too hot.

Of course, once you have the perfect opportunity and conditions for an outing with your four-legged friend, we want to help you make the most of it.

Here in Western, Massachusetts, we have some of the greatest attractions to visit in New England. From the Berkshire Mountains to the Connecticut River Valley – there’s something great for everyone looking for recreation to get into.

Here are some dog-friendly activities worth considering next time you’re heading out in Western Mass.

Trip to an Orchard

Apple picking is a very popular activity around the area in the fall season. You can take your dog out to enjoy the orchards and pumpkin patches too. Of course, you’ll need to make sure with the local orchards policy, but many will allow dogs on leash to enjoy the outing too. A popular pick in Western Mass is Hilltop Orchards located in Richmond. There are woodland trails to hike and get a spectacular view at the top.

Beach Days

Many dogs love to swim. If your pup is an avid water lover then a trip to a beach location where dogs are allowed is a must. In Western Mass, there are many locations such as Crane Beach in Ipswich, Plum Island Beach in Newbury Port, and Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. Be sure to check and see if there is a restriction on which season dogs are allowed on the beach and any other rules.

Parks & Gardens

If you’re just looking for somewhere serene and peaceful to escape to and enjoy a stroll with your dog there are lots of options for parks and gardens all around Western Mass. Some rich in history and others filled with beautifully manicured landscapes you’re both sure to love! Just a few to check out include Borderland State Park in Easton, Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, and Maudslay State Park in Newburyport.

On the Water

Of course, if your dog is more of a thrill seeker and you want to take them on an unforgettable adventure with you what better way than out on the open waters. There are local options in town such as Dog Gone Sailing Charters that goes around Cape Cod Bay or the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown where you can enjoy whale watching with your best bud.

Does Your Dog Have a Fitness Routine?

Physical fitness is critical. For humans and for our furry friends. Many breeds of dogs thrive off of the ability to exert the energy that comes naturally to them through play, time outdoors, and an actual fitness regimen.

First, no matter what breed or age of your dog, everyone needs physical activity for strength and for mental health as well. Short walks around the neighborhood tossing a ball or even running with your dog may be what’s needed to help them feel their best. It’s important to understand your specific pup and his needs.

For example, if you have a sports dog – one that was bred for work in the wilderness – hunting and long days of work, you want to factor this into how much exercise they’re getting. A short walk may not be enough for them to exert their full potential for the day. You may want to consider something a little more strenuous.

Large breed working dogs differ in that while they can also handle heavy workouts their preference is more task-driven and steady-paced. Instead of high-intensity jogging with your dog, think about a hike up moderate terrain for 1-2 hours. This type of activity is what allows these dogs to use what they’re born with in terms of physical strengths and energy.

For those with small breed dogs, short and interactive fun works best. These types of dogs don’t want to max out their heart rates but would rather play small games of fetch or hide and seek or take short walks.

There are many different breeds, mixes, and types of dogs and while they were originally bred to do one thing, they’ve long been doing things differently so be sure you know your dog’s limits and what constitutes an enjoyable activity for them or something that could be pushing them beyond their limit and could lead to injury.

If you want to give your pet freedom to run around and enjoy the backyard at your home, then a connected hidden fence is just what you need. The DogWatch intelligent pet containment system keeps your dog safe within the boundaries you’ve set and also offers you the ability to stay connected to them at all times.

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Employers Add Pet Stipends to Return to Office Perks

The COVID-19 pandemic dynamically changed how people work. For more than a year many were forced to switch to remote working from their homes while social distancing rules were in effect. Now with many employers trying to get their workers back to in person working, many have noticed the apprehension to return to an office where they’ll lose their work-life flexibility and comforts of working from home.

While some businesses have moved to fully remote work now or have added some flexibility to the work-from-home offering, many others are requiring that staff come back to the office and their pre-pandemic setup.

To make the return a little more appealing many are also adding new perks to sweeten the pot. One of the best we’ve seen is new pet stipends being offered to employees. These are meant to provide employees with additional resources to fund important pet sitting, walking or other activities they and their pets have gotten accustomed to during the time they worked from home.

In addition to being a particularly sweet perk, it also comes at a time when the number of pet owners has skyrocketed. In fact, pet adoptions increased drastically during the pandemic as people sought the companionship and affection of a furry friend.

Other big brand offices are even listing their jobs with “pet-friendly environments” to attract workers who would be compelled to take a job if they could also take their pup along with them.

Outside of pet perks, many companies are trying things like 4-day work weeks, free lunches, and relaxed dress codes to try and attract workers back to in person working.  

The Root Causes of Excessive Scratching in Dogs

Spring brings showers, flowers, and nicer weather. For dogs, it can also bring parasites that cause itchy skin conditions. While all dogs need a good scratch now and then, if your dog is showing excessive scratching, it may be due to an underlying cause that requires treatment. 

If your dog is showing signs of frequent scratching, biting, licking, or shaking, it may be time to investigate for parasites – particularly fleas or ticks – as a cause. Fleas, ticks, and other parasites bite your pet’s sensitive skin, and the resulting itching (known to the medical world as pruritis) will lead to telltale behavior in your pet, particularly if the dog is hypersensitive to flea saliva. Regardless of the reason, if your dog is showing signs of excessive itching, it’s important to identify the source of the problem as quickly as possible to keep your pooch healthy. 

Fleas

Fleas are small flightless insects that survive as external parasites of mammals and birds. Essentially, they live on animals and bite to consume their blood. (And yes, humans can get fleas, too). Untreated fleas can cause health problems for your dog, so it’s important to consult with a vet and find the right flea treatment and prevention regimen. 

Ticks

Ticks are common throughout North America and often return with a vengeance in the spring. While your dog may love to snuffle about in the undergrowth or in piles of old leaves, these are the primary places dogs pick up ticks. Ticks are parasitic arachnids that are part of the mite family, and like fleas, they thrive on blood. Ticks can also carry dangerous pathogens – Lyme disease, just for starters – that can lead to illness in animals and humans. The good news is that many of the treatments for fleas in animals are also highly effective against ticks. 

Infections

Your dog’s itching problem may not always be caused by parasites. Bacterial and fungal infections of the skin can lead to itching, as well. When the dog scratches, it may open up small skin wounds, leading to scabs and discharge that can further irritate the skin. These small infection “hot spots” can make your beloved pet miserable. 

Allergies

Like humans, pets can have allergies, and these allergies often manifest as skin conditions. Dogs can be allergic to certain foods, or they can show sensitivity to pollens, molds, dust, and grass. You’ll need a vet to help you identify the cause of your dog’s allergy so you can limit its exposure to the allergen. You may also need medication, oral or topical, to reduce the itchiness. 

A vet can help root out the cause of your dog’s itchiness and guide you to the appropriate treatment to relieve the symptoms. Solving your dog’s itch means he or she is able to enjoy the outdoors without the resulting scratching. 

DogWatch of Western Mass is committed to providing the safest, most effective electronic pet fences on the market. DogWatch has proudly served the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas since 1990 and belongs to the international DogWatch Dealer Network. We are committed, trained professionals offering years of experience in installation, training, and customer service. Being locally owned, we have a vested interest to keep our customers – and their pets — happy!