Top Tips for Puppy Proofing Your Home

If you’ve made the decision to welcome a four-legged friend into your family, congratulations. The years of companionship, loyalty, and warmth these pets bring to a household is undeniable. If you’ve also taken the plunge as owners to a newborn or young puppy, hats off to you! Much like young children, puppies require attention, extra care and careful assimilation with others in the household.

With the right steps you’ll be on your way to a house with an additional family member everyone loves and soon those chewed up slippers and accidents on the floor will be long past.

Here are our top tips for puppy proofing your home.

Keep Things Tidy

Puppies are curious creatures. They love to explore and they love to chew. If you’ve got belongings you care about, you should exercise caution when leaving them behind. Don’t keep them in reach of the puppy and be sure to hide dangerous wires, plants or other small objects that can present a hazard for these little fellows. Even if you can’t keep a close eye every second keeping a tidy and neat space for them will eliminate some of your concerns.

Learn to Share the Space

One thing most families don’t consider when opting to bring home a pup is that they will now become part of the shared space in your home. Teaching toddlers to pick up their toys, to respect the dog’s space and to avoid chasing or antagonizing them is key to growing successful relationships and bonds.

Start Training Early

One of the best ways to show dogs how they can be comfortable with their family members is to offer them obedience training early. This teaches them proper tools for commands, communication and even how to be understood by their owners. Trainers work with canines on socialization, enrichment and primary behaviors they should know.

Set Boundaries

One of the best ways to protect and give your pup a sense of security is to set boundaries for them. There is speculation about whether or not crate training is needed but even if you’re not going that route, giving a young dog free reign of the home isn’t the right choice. With indoor hidden fences, you can set up safe boundaries so that your dog and roam freely inside and still protect them when you can’t be there to monitor their every move. Keep them off the couch and out of the trash with ease.

Contact DogWatch of Western MA for a free estimate.


Study: People Connected to Dogs More than Other Humans

For most dog-loving families it’s easy to understand the bond our four-legged friend shares with us. They aren’t just the family pet or an accessory. They complete the home. They are loyal, loving and for most families, an additional member of the family unit.

If your dog is more like your child and experiences the same joys with you as the relationships had with human children, you’re not alone in your love for your canine companion.

One recent study even found that humans are connecting and feeling more empathetic toward dogs than they even do with other adult humans.

According to the research, which was published in the journal Society and Animals, people showed more empathy towards staged news reports about attack victims when they were either a human child or a dog – puppy and full grown, more so than other adult humans.

It makes sense that hearing about the pain inflicted on the dogs would evoke pain and sorrow if they are being seen as a child family member.

And just as we’re reshaping our relationship with dogs, they too are seeing their human owner’s in new ways over the course of time.

This is especially true as the domestication of dogs has continued to shape their behaviors and they are now responding to their human companions in more communicative ways.

So what does all of this mean?

It means our dog friends are here to stay and their permanent role in the household is becoming solidified.

The more we care for our pets, the greater the need to protect them from harm. You can make their safety a priority both indoors and while outside with the help of DogWatch.

Using a hidden fence ensures the dog stay within the safe boundaries you set without sabotaging your scenic view or the look of your home.

The system works using buried wire that carries a harmless radio signal around the boundary you designate. Wearing a small receiver on the dog’s collar will warn them with light stimulation when they get too close to that boundary.

Let your doggy companion roam freely outdoors and enjoy the yard or give them freedom in the home while keeping them away from the kitchen, trash or other possible dangers.

Contact us today to get a pet containment system from DogWatch!

Including Pets in Disaster Planning

Natural disasters are important risks for families to consider regardless of where they live in the country. Everything from hurricanes to wildfires has potential to put you and your loved ones in harm’s way. Coming up with an emergency plan that your family understands and is confident in following should Mother Nature strike is a great tool for survival.

What we don’t always talk about, and that’s become an issue in many news reports following up on the aftermath of recent catastrophes is a plan for wildlife and pets who are also affected by these events.

As a responsible dog or cat owner and family with a four-legged friend, it makes sense that these members of our home are also included in the disaster planning phase. They should have the same accommodations and advance preparations made as other members to make it out safely should disaster make its way to your home.

Here are some tips for including pets in your emergency preparations.

Make Plans to Take Them

You should never leave your pet behind if you and your family are evacuating. They could be injured, lost or worse.  Even if you are unable to carry them along find a friend or a safe shelter for them to go to as the dangerous weather situation passes.

Microchip & Collars

In the event that your dog does take off because they are startled and is separated from you during evacuations, having their collar with emergency contact information and a microchip is a sure way to help you get reunited with them.

Make an Emergency & Pet First Aid Kit

Just as humans may run into danger during an emergency situation, pets too can become injured or need medical attention. With a first aid kit, you’ll have the all proper tools required to address their needs.

In addition to bandages, scissors, ointment and flea and tick spray, you should also have a few days worth of food in an airtight container and clean fresh water for your pet. To help reduce any stress from the change in the environment it’s also a good idea to pack some familiar toys to keep your pet occupied.

The last thing you want in these trying times is to be worried about any member of your family’s safety (your pets included). By making plans in advance that include them in the route to safety you’ll save yourself time and heartache.

Collar or Harness: Which is Better for Dog Walks?

Taking your dog for a walk is likely one of the favorite parts of their day (other than mealtime of course). Dogs truly love their outdoor time and take pride in the ability to be outdoors sniffing around in nature and stretching their legs. Not all dogs, however, are as comfortable with walking alongside their owners in public places like parks and in many locations leashes are even mandatory. Choosing the right option (harness or collar) can be the difference from an uncomfortable walk for both you and your pup or one that’s fun and relaxing.

Here are some tips on choosing the right collar for your dog and the ways a harness may help you stay in control while you walk.

Collars for Everyday

It’s difficult to compare collars to harnesses in terms of walking since they can serve different functions. Collars are a terrific option to keep identification on your dog, quickly snap on a leash when needed or walk with ease if there are no distractions in the environment. However, they are not the best option for walking if your dog is apt to use their neck to pull as injuries can result. Even dogs that aren’t inclined to pull on the leash, are small and lightweight or can walk alongside their owners off leash with no issues are at risk with a leash attached only to their collar.

Get Maximum Control with a Harness

Harness options are best if you walk your dog frequently and in areas that have potential dangers such as car horns or a squirrel scurrying in the roadway. If you have a larger breed dog that pulls with strength you’ll also find control is easier with a harness. Since most harnesses are wrapped around the body, it gives dog walkers more control holding a dog in place or keeping them from taking off and being put in potential danger. Differently designed harnesses can be chosen to restrict pulling and even provide additional comfort for pups.

Skip the Walk

If your dog prefers his own space (like your backyard) to get in activity for the day, protect him by setting up boundaries with invisible electric fencing. The outdoor hidden fence options allows you to keep your property aesthetically pleasing to look at while giving your pet enough freedom to run around, roam and play freely within the boundaries you’ve set.

If you’re in Western Massachusetts and looking to have a hidden fence system installed at your home, contact DogWatch today!

Positive Reinforcement is Key to Dog Training

Training your dog is a great way for yourself and others to truly enjoy the companionship and love your four-legged friend provides. From young puppies still learning and growing, to senior dogs that we’re never truly shown proper behaviors in their young years, there is a large range of times and ages when training can happen for dogs.

Each of these will have their own unique set of challenges, but once training is successful and you’re able to confidently have your dog with you and others around or while you’re out and about, you’ll be happy you put the effort.

Here are some of the reasons positive reinforcement is key to successful dog training.

As with Humans, Rewards Motivate

Earning a reward for a job well done is something most can relate to. All those allowances you earned as a kid when you did chores around the house are one way to think about it. For dogs, the motivation works much the same. Once they learn what actions evoke a positive reaction and enjoy the reward they receive after doing it, they’ll soon make the connection that repeating this in the future will likely get them rewarded again. That is how positive reinforcement works in dog training. What the reward is can vary though. It could be a treat, an overly excited petting or some additional snuggle time. How you present these rewards, when and how will all affect how well the dog is trained.  Fine-tuning your plans to match your needs is key.

Punishment is a Difficult Tactic All Around

While using punishment tactics like losing your attention or being put on the leash can also work good to train your dog on certain actions, it is not the optimal way to help them learn new habits. There is a very thin line between having a dog understand the punishment being given to them and correcting their action without them possibly becoming afflicted by it.

As an added bonus, dogs who are given positive reinforcement are typically also, happier, more confident and the types of dogs that make dog/human companionship admirable.

If you’d like to incorporate dog training as a way to give them more freedom around your home or while outdoors, DogWatch of Western Massachusetts has professionals that tailor their training programs to help your pet learn voice commands and their boundaries in that space. Together with a hidden dog fence, that means your pet can enjoy more freedom and you can have peace of mind knowing their safety won’t be put at risk.

Ready for a Hidden Fence?  Get a free estimate!

Pets & Road Trips – Tips to make it Enjoyable for All

Summer road trips can be some of the most enjoyable adventures. Whether you’re riding solo and taking in nature’s scenic beauty or bringing the whole family on a destination vacation, there are precautions and preparations that help ensure the ride is enjoyable for all.

Bringing your pet along can add to the need for careful planning. Here are some tips for taking road trips with your pet as the copilot.

Plan Bathroom Breaks

While this is a pretty standard element for any road trip, planning for pet bathroom breaks is important. Since the ride may be scary or new, they may need to go more frequently along the way and the best way to prevent an accident is to plan in the extra stop. As an added bonus you’ll have time to stretch and rest your eyes.

Comfortable Seating

While not extremely high on the list of priorities, having comfortable seating for your pet to enjoy the long ride will help them to relax better and can even provide valuable protection for the car’s upholstery. If they’re not sharing the backseat, a hammock style pet seat protector can keep them safely on the seat while you drive.

For pets that will be in a crate for the duration of the road trip, you should also ensure they have enough room to move around and lay comfortably. You may also want to purchase a harness designed for use with a seat belt to best protect your pet during any sudden stops or impact.

Monitor Window Use

Depending on the size of your dog, it’s a good idea to monitor how low you’re lowering your windows while you drive. It’s never advisable to let your dog hang his entire head out of a fully open window as you’re driving. There is a danger not only of foreign objects hitting them in the face like rocks and branches but their ability to suddenly leap out of the window in search of a squirrel they spotted while the rest of traffic is still moving creates a very hazardous situation. Not to mention the fact they could mistakingly go hurling out of the open window should an accident occur.

Alternative Vacation Options

If the thought of getting into a vehicle that will be moving, forget about for many hours, terrifies your pet, there are options that can leave you with peace of mind. Consider hiring a sitter you trust to stay at the house with your pet. They’ll get the added advantage of being in their own comfortable space, not having to brace for the bumpy ride and the freedom to roam around those areas designated safe for them throughout the house.

Contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts to give your pet ultimate freedom. A pet containment system for the outdoors or indoors combined with expert training makes it so that your pet can roam and play freely and you can focus on having fun and relaxing on your trip.

Summer Hot Weather Advisory for Dogs

We’ve had our share of extremely hot temps this summer in New England. Like each year, the warnings about spending time outdoors have been made. And while it’s important to care for workers tasked to be out in the heat and the children and elderly who are especially susceptible to the rising temps, it’s just as important to remember our four-legged friends who too can become seriously ill – or worse in scorching temps.

Here are some hot weather tips to keep your dog safe.

Keep Water On Hand

Like humans, the increased heat outdoors can cause issues from sweating to sunburn and even dehydration in dogs. It’s important if you’ll be taking your dog out for activities on these extremely hot days that you keep a clean source of water available in regular supply to help keep them dehydrated and their body cool.

Understand Heatstroke in Dogs

While extreme heat may feel like a condition easily resolved by cooling off with a cold water hose down, that’s not how heat stroke works at all. It’s best to learn the signs of heatstroke and how to best address the risks to improve the situation as quickly as possible should your dog become a victim. Heavy panting and sluggishness are a few of the signs to watch for.

Add Freedom Indoors

One of the best tips dog owners can take, especially on hot summer days, is to leave their dog behind at home. Not only will they be more comfortable in their usual habitat, but the extra heat and work they will need to do to withstand that heat can take a real toll on them. Walking on burning hot asphalt, for example, isn’t exactly enjoyable. That’s not to say crating them is the best choice either.

And thanks to DogWatch it doesn’t have to be.

Enjoy some time outdoors with the kids in the yard while giving your dog the freedom and cool temps he’ll appreciate.

With an indoor pet containment system, you can set-up a perimeter around the house that is safe for your dog to be in and limits their access to those areas of your home that can be dangerous or you’d prefer he not get his curious paws into.

DogWatch of Western MA offers Hidden Dog Fence systems as well as training programs to help families take the best care of their pets. If you’re in need of indoor or outdoor hidden fences or training and are located in the Hampden, Hampshire or Franklin counties as well as the Sturbridge to Sutton Area, we’d be happy to help you and your pet gain that freedom and you some peace of mind.

Contact us today!

Stress-Free Picnics with Your Dog

The summer season is in full swing now and picnics, road trips and fun in the sun have likely already begun. If you’re looking for a way to take your dog along for a picnic or allow him to spend time with the rest of your guests outdoors, you’ll want to follow these tips to ensure safety and an enjoyable time for all.

Be Practical

Remember that dogs need shade too. Extreme temps and warm sun are hard on dogs so you want to ensure there is plenty of areas with shade, fresh water and somewhere your dog can retreat to when he wants to relax.
Keeping your dog’s best interest in mind may even mean leaving them behind at home where they are cool and secure. If there won’t be accommodating conditions or large crowds that may confuse or frustrate your dog, you’ll actually do them a favor by not dragging them along.

Include Your Dog in Activities

Make time to toss the ball, share some safe foods with them and make them feel included in the day’s activities. If your dog’s favorite thing to do outdoors is playing fetch, don’t keep him from that fun time because you’re mingling with others. With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, it also makes sense to find out if any fireworks will be used at the event as dogs can be scared and run away. Plan to leave early or have them go indoors to avoid issues.

Use Wireless Fencing

Pet containment systems also offer a stress-free way to allow your dog the freedom to spend time outdoors without worrying if they’ll run into the roadway and be in danger or leave the boundaries of your home area.

DogWatch Hidden Fence is rated a Consumer Digest “Best Buy” in the underground pet Containment category. The hidden fence works by transmitting a coded FM signal through a wire buried around the perimeter of your yard. If your dog gets close to the boundary wire, an audible warning reminds your dog not to cross and if they ignore it- which is rare after training – the collar then emits a mild stimulation to stop the dog.

Dog Watch of Western Massachusetts provides user-friendly products and safe effective containment for your dog or cat as well as the training and support needed to allow you and your pet to enjoy your yard and freedom more than ever.

Interested? Contact us for a free estimate!

Dogs Better at Communicating Than Previously Thought

For most dog owners, the bond they share with their four-legged friends stretches beyond a household pet. For many that relationship is closer in relation to that of a parent and child, or even as another member of the family. Understanding one another is one of the main reasons pet lovers share this special bond with dogs.

Now, new research shows that there is actually a greater link between dog gestures and commands and how man and dog are actually communicating with one another.

How Dogs Communicate with Humans

More specifically, “referential gestures,” which are similar to pointing and signaling for humans, are what’s being used as a main mode of communication between domestic dogs and their families. This type of intentional request is rare among cross species and proof that bonds are only getting stronger.

According to the study by researchers at the University of Salford, dogs aren’t just listening to commands from their owners and learning to obey them, they’re also doling out their own gestures and commands that they too have conditioned their friend to learn to abide by.

The study links 19 dog gestures to commands that once given, humans typically understand and carry out for their pooch. Those gestures observed by researchers got owners to do things like scratch, feed and play with the ball and we’re communicated by actions like reaching with their paw, gazing and standing on their hind legs.

Dr. Hannah Worsley, who co-authored the study which was published in Animal Cognition Journal, commented, “After 30,000 years of cohabitation, dogs and their human companion have become skilled at identifying and understanding each other’s referential cues.”

Factors Effecting Communications

The study even found that dogs will push to speed up their human friend’s response to their command if they are not following through.

Factors including how long the dog has lived with the humans, how many people they are communicating with daily and their socialization skills all play a role in how well they can communicate with their families.

So what does this mean for your beloved pal? He might not be telling you when it’s time to turn the TV off and go to bed just yet, but he is already talking to you every day and with the right training and boundaries set, the lines will continue to blur between pet and another member of the family.

Invisible Fences & Dog Training

In need of perimeter fencing for containment and looking to help your dog better understand commands so he can enjoy more freedom? DogWatch of Western Mass offer professional dog training tailored to specific needs.

A DogWatch hidden dog fence installation for indoors or out, is safe and effective for all dogs – young, senior, shy or energetic.

Get in touch today!


Tips for a Dog-Friendly Garden

Summer weather and picnic season is upon us here on the east coast. After a long, cold winter, most of us have been waiting with anticipation for the time we can spend outdoors soaking up some vitamin D and breathing in the fresh air. Our dogs love the outdoors just as much as we do and are also looking forward to the opportunity to spend more time with you in the yard.

If you adore the outdoors and your yard maybe you even have a garden filled with seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant and basil which do well in the summer seasons in New England. Maybe you haven’t planted a garden anymore once you noticed your dog wasn’t as respectful of the space as you needed him to be.

There are ways you can plant a dog-friendly garden so both you and your pup can get the full benefits of time outdoors. Here are some tips for planting your garden with your canine friend in mind.

Design Your Garden with Your Dog in Mind

Knowing which flower and brush will suffer from dog marking and avoiding planting those around areas the dog will access is important. Some perennials will continue to thrive regardless, while others will quickly wilt and die from the acidity in dog’s urine.

Be sure to also do your research and choose plants that won’t threaten your dog’s health if ingested. Some plants and even mulch can become toxic if eaten in large amounts. If you can avoid planting those you’ll lower the risk of having an emergency situation arise.

As you’re planning the layout of your vegetable and flower gardens keep your dog’s use of the yard in mind. If you can create a barrier to keep plants out of his way and sight or plant those dangerous and easily wilting items toward the back you may be able to keep a garden with less hassle.

Choose Your Invisible Fencing Layout Carefully

Another terrific choice for safe pet containment is invisible fencing. Not only do you get the protection of a fence to keep a dog within the boundaries of your yard, but you also do it without having to block your view or put up actual fencing.

As you’re designing the layout and perimeters for which to allow the dog to roam freely you can keep the garden area off limits. As an added bonus, your pup will get lots of free space to roam around and play and the more activity time they can get in, the less they’ll be concerned with getting into areas where they don’t belong.

DogWatch of Western Mass is an official provider of the DogWatch Hidden Fence System. From installation of electric fences to training we help ensure your four-legged friend is safe and happy at all times.

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