3 Myths About Dogs Debunked

Dogs have been an integral part of human culture for decades. As a result, many so-called facts about dogs have come to be considered “common knowledge” by dog lovers everywhere. Realistically, though, just because many people believe in something doesn’t make it true. For example, just a few years ago, astrologists declared that Pluto is no longer a planet. Can you believe it? We all believed this for so long, and now it’s considered something of a myth. Well, the same can be said about dog facts. Here’s 3 common myths about dogs debunked.

Myth #1: You Can’t Teach Old Dogs New Tricks

Just as younger kids today believe that old folks are so stuck in their ways that they can’t change, so too do many people think that their 8 year old dog can’t learn new commands. While it is true that senior dogs will require more practice, they certainly CAN be taught new manners, tricks, commands, and cues. Whether you feel like you neglected training your aged dog properly during his lifetime, or adopted an already elderly pup, remember that they can learn–all it takes is patience and persistence.

Myth #2: To Housebreak Dogs, ‘Rub Their Nose In It’

Nobody likes coming home to dog pee or poop on the floor. “Common wisdom” tells us that in order to teach a dog that they should not urinate or defecate inside, we should “rub their nose in it.” In reality, though, this kind of discipline can cause more harm than good. You can only teach a dog that pottying in the house is wrong if you catch them in the act. Even then, you should not rub their nose in it. Instead, just give them a sharp “no” and take them outside immediately. If you try rubbing their nose in something that is essentially ancient history to them, you may end up causing them serious anxiety. For example, they may come to believe that you disapprove of them pottying altogether. This could, in turn, lead to them eating or trying to hide their feces so that you don’t punish them. 

Myth #3: Dogs Are Color Blind

We’ve seen it in mainstream cartoons and movies for years: dogs only see in black and white. This “knowledge” was based on outdated research. The truth is that dogs can see shades of yellow, blue, and violet. Interesting, right? While it’s true that they can’t see all the same colors that we humans can, they can certainly detect many more shades and hues than people had once believed. Now that you know this, be sure to shower your furry friend with lots of colorful toys!  

3 Tips to Improve Your Dogs Oral Health

Oral health is something most humans take seriously. From a very early age, we’re taught to brush, floss and take care of our pearly whites. We wouldn’t consider going a day without cleaning the plaque off with a toothbrush and removing any offensive odors from our mouths. We should be doing the same for our dogs.

Today families are taking their pets on vacations, having mealtime together and even sharing the same bed. If you want to help your pup keep his oral and physical health intact then adding a mouth cleaning routine to their day should also be part of the plan.

In addition to brushing, regular check-ups for oral health should also be done by a professional veterinarian.

Many dogs suffer from periodontal disease and even fractured teeth. Since they cannot speak to tell us about any pain or discomfort then we must be proactive in protecting their teeth.

Here are 3 things you can start doing to take better care of your dog’s oral health.

1. Look Inside Their Mouth

Take the time to look into your pet’s mouth and visually examine their teeth. If you notice any cracks or dark spots on the teeth it could be a sign that there are other underlying issues or an upcoming tooth problem. Catching these early on is critical to keep your dog comfortable and safe.  

2. Use Pet Safe Dental Brush and Paste

Doggy breath might be cute when they are puppies but as your dog grows, the odors in his mouth can become quite noticeable. If you can keep the inside of his mouth clean he will feel fresh too. You may choose to just wipe their mouth clean with a damp cloth or there are different pastes and brushes made specifically for pets. Be sure they are veterinarian approved. There are also dental dog treats that can help with scraping debris off their teeth and masking odor.

3. Clean up Their Diet

Food plays a major role in how healthy your dog’s mouth feels and looks. You can help keep their teeth in good condition by feeding them a notorious healthy and balanced diet. Talk to your vet about a good kibble choice and avoid giving your pet any scraps of food from the human diet. There are far too many sugars and carbohydrates in the food for their teeth and bellies to withstand.

DogWatch of Western Mass provides peace of mind knowing your pet is protected and can roam freely around the areas you’ve designated in the home and around your yard. We also offer training, service, and repairs.

Get in touch today!

How Getting a Dog Can Take Your Relationship to the Next Level

With Valentine’s Day nearing and love in the air, we thought it was only right to talk about a love-centered topic here on the blog.

Did you know that when you’re ready to get a pet together, it can mean great things for your relationship? Today our four-legged friends are as much a part of the family as any other members so making the commitment to get a pet together is a very serious step.

Here are 3 reasons that deciding to get a dog together can take your long term relationship to the next level.

1.      A Taste of Parenting

If you are not yet married or do not have kids, this is a great way to get a taste of parenting together. Pets – especially puppies – require a lot of love care and attention. Much like a small child. As you work together to love and nurture your pet you will find even more to love about one another.

2.      Grow Closer Together

Most pet households will confess that having their furry friend around has brought their relationships closer together. Whether you’re bonding over a new trick or cute thing your pet is doing or the snuggles they come to give the both of you when you’re just relaxing together, there’s something to love about the warmth of a pet already added to a loving home.

3.      Greater Communication

Having a pet can certainly be beneficial in the communication department. Scheduling vet visits, chipping in with daily walks and ensuring feedings happen are all must-do, daily tasks that you’ll learn to work together on and see your communications channels open up with one another more as a result.

At Dogwatch of Western Mass. we want you and your pup to feel safe and confident around the house and yard. Our pet containment systems make it possible to set-up boundaries so your pet can roam and play freely.


Do Dogs Need Coats in the Winter?

The number of families that are adding a furry friend to their homes is growing today. Not only are these pets becoming just like other members of the family – vacationing and even eating holiday meals with the family, but they’re also spending a lot more time together with their owners in public.

On the East Coast, where temperatures can fall well below freezing in the winter months, you might be considering purchasing a coat and some snow boots for your pup. Before you do though, here are some things to keep in mind regarding dogs and coats.

Fashion Can Be Pesky

If you’re buying your dog cute coats because you want to make a fashion statement you should definitely consider whether or not your dog is comfortable or even likes wearing the gear at all.  If they are putting up a fighting or scratching at the clothing trying to remove it, chances are your dog doesn’t like the clothing and may not need it anyways. Clothing that is too tight can also cause scaring and other issues so be careful when dressing your pup.

Not All Dogs Need Coats

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to purchase a coat for your dog because you are genuinely worried that they will get cold outdoors, it makes sense to learn a little more about your particular breed and what they can tolerate. If your dog is long-haired for example, they may naturally be equipped to handle cold temps as their fur works just like a coat.

Other Factors to Consider

Dogs that would benefit from the use of a sweater or coat on cold days either way include those with medical conditions, old age or who have shown signs of disliking the cold weather whenever you head outside. Very small dogs and those that will be outdoors for extended periods of time in the cold could also benefit from a coat. Remember to size accurately including a covering that will protect their neck and tail.

Need a pet containment system and perimeter training? DogWatch of Western Mass. offers experts to set-up areas of freedom for your pet in and outside of your home and who guide you through the process. 

Call today!

Resolve for Pet Health in 2020

With New Year’s resolutions on the minds of many, now’s a great time to incorporate new wellness initiatives for your pet too. Physical activity is a necessity for animals as they thrive over the ability to use their energy (some dogs more than others). Even with winter weather here, it’s important to get enough walks and active time in daily.

Here are some tips for helping your pet stay healthy this winter.

Monitor Paw Health
During the cold season, with snow and ice on the ground as well as salts and other ice-melting materials being throw down, it’s more important than ever to check your pet’s paws for signs of damage or injury and to take extra care to keep them protected. After all walks and bathroom stop outdoors wipe your pet’s paws clean with a towel to remove extra ice, salt, and other chemicals. You can also purchase booties to protect their paws or use a petroleum-type jelly to protect their paw pads while they’re outdoors.

Less Bathing
Your dog can deal with dry, itchy skin in the winter months just like you. One way to help reduce the chances they’ll be dealing with this choose a moisturizing wash that conditions their coat and skin with extra moisture. You should also reduce the number of times you bathe your dog. There are a number of wipes, spray shampoos and other coat fresheners to help in between baths.

Plan for Activity Time
Depending on where you live and what weather conditions are like at the time, it might be difficult to get outside for extended periods of time. In addition to frostbite threats for you and your dog, some pets simply won’t tolerate being out in the elements. Since activity time is still vital, consider adding more space indoors where your dog has the freedom to roam. Play hide and seek or tag in a safe space and set-up a wireless indoor containment system so running around freely without posing harm or risk to your home is possible.

Dogwatch of Western Mass is a local authorized dealer and installer of DogWatch Hidden Fence products. Servicing Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties as well as the Sturbridge to Sutton Area in Massachusetts, Linda Smyth is also a Divine K9 Animal Behaviorist. Contact us today!

Tips for Choosing a Family Dog

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

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

What Age Should Kids Get a Pet?

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

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

Don’t Forget About Shelters

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

Family-Friendly Breeds

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

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

Contact us today!

Perimeter Training and Wireless Fencing Go Hand-in-Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Tips for Choosing Healthy Dog Treats

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

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

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

Don’t Over Do Portions

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

Stick to Natural

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

Choose Food Alternatives

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

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

Give us a call today!

The Benefits of Professional Electric Dog Fence Training

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

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

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

Your Dog’s Training Will Be Customized To Their Personality

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

You’ll Alleviate The Fear of Hurting Your Dog

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

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

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

3 Tips To Help Improve Your Dog’s Manners

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

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

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

Use Rewards to Teach “Sit” and “Please”

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

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

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

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

Teach “Hello” with a Friend

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

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

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

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

We’ll use a similar approach when we…

Use Your Car to Teach “Stay”

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

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

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

Need to Teach Perimeter Training? Call DogWatch of Western Massachusetts

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