Category Archives: Dogs

Pro’s and Con’s of Having a City Dog

I love having dogs in the city. I love city dogs so much, I dedicated my job to them. Having a dog in the city is sometimes HARD and is not for the faint hearted. However, most of the times we make sacrifices as city pet owners that are totally worth it for the pleasure (and honor) of owning a dog.

Before you decide on getting a dog (especially a dog in the city), its important that you think long and hard about why you want a dog and also the pros and cons of having a dog in an urban environment.

As many of your long time readers may know, my city dogs have lived in Scotland, America (NYC and Orlando) and are currently residing with me in London, UK. We have many unique tales of the joys of having a city dog but also the miseries of city dog ownership. This isn’t going to be a sugar coated view on city life with city dogs but serves as a guide written by some of the most famous and adorable dogs on social media. Our expertise range from big dogs, to small dogs. From herding dogs to lap dogs. Every city dog and every city dog owner is unique with a unique set of circumstances and locations.

Pro: Having a dog in a city means we get to meet and talk to a lot of people, every day, when walking him. It made us (even more) sociable which is great as people in big cities tend to keep to themselves.
 
Minus: Incivilities can be a challenge to the dog owner/walker – things like chicken bones chucked everywhere make the pavement a very unpleasant obstacle course at times.
 
@Marcel.LeCorgi
We totally agree with Marcel’s owners that one of the best things about having a city dog is the fact that you meet so many wonderful dog lovers. Our city dogs are instant magnets to every dog lover in town. The best thing is that it always means someone wants to jump up for puppy sitting (score).
For me, I have always met my initial City friends though my dogs. There is nothing like you and your dog having a play date while a new friendship blossoms.
One of the major cons of city dogs is City mess. No matter the city, chicken bones seem to be the “trash” of choice for the streets. Eating street “snacks” isn’t just gross but also very hazardous for your dog. They not only give your dog food poisoning and prevent a choking hazard, but also increases your dogs risk of leptospirosis.
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The best and worst things about having a city dog are two sides of the same coin. This is specific to London as that’s where I live. The city centre is not the ideal place for a dog; too much noise and stress. But people love to see them, it brightens everyone’s day. And dogs are so very welcome, especially in a local community. Pubs? Sure. Bars? Often. Restaurants? More than you would think. Corner shop? Hairdresser? Hardware store? Ladies boutique? Sure! Come on in! Who is this? What’s her name? Isn’t she beautiful! A dog on the tube makes everyone smile; even more so on the way home after a long day out where she’ll fall asleep on anyone’s lap if they welcome her.

But. Buses. Oh dear buses. A quick read of the conditions of carriage confirm that dogs ARE allowed. So many drivers refuse. And bus journeys are often the only way to link two non central parts of the city. For example, the lovely long canal walk and where you actually live. And these long walks are essential for any dog. But getting to them can be an absolute nightmare. Or getting home from a friends house late at night. And being stranded in the rain when the driver refused to take my dog on an empty bus. 

@Rileythedog

We can vouch that London is a city of dog lovers. It is super easy in the UK to take your dog to the pub, restaurant, etc and we often do. Having transitioned from having dogs in NYC, it was very weird to be allowed and even welcomed to places I was’t used to going into because I had the dogs. Hoping that one day all cities around the world will be this dog friendly

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The best things about living in the city are that there are usually some sort of fun pop up doggy friendly events which we can attend! It’s also great for networking with brands and we usually get to meet companies to do exciting jobs!
 
The worst things about city life are the busy roads and tubes (which we try to avoid where possible!)

@Brunotheminidachshund

Yes, cities are perfect for having dog events. Online FB groups and meetup groups exist for socialization and healthy and safe interactions between dogs.

Rush hour in the city is never fun so like Burno’s owners, we plan all our journeys at calm times to try and make it easier for the dogs. In NYC, all dogs must be kept in a dog bag. In London, this isn’t necessary which is great but also presents another hazard if you have small dogs…the hazard of other people’s feet.

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The best thing about having a city dog is the company. I always know Caleb’s there and it does make me feel safe, even though he is little.

The worst thing about having a city dog is the fact that you have to go find dog friendly places to walk them. You can’t just open your door and find yourself in a forest or fields.

Caleb @selkiephotography

The added security of having a dog is often underrated but is of equal value to all others pro’s. Many insurance policies can lower your premiums if you have a dog at home as statistically, dogs owners are victims of crimes less often than those who don’t have dogs. This also applies when outside walking your dogs. The security of having a dog is sometimes invaluable when walking on the streets.

Coming home to a dog that loves you unconditionally is sometimes exactly what you need after a busy day in the City and is the best feeling in the world (no matter where you live).

What else would you add to the list of pros and cons of having a City Dog?

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Top 3 products to help with Firework Phobia

Fireworks are the nemesis of many a dog; their big lights in the sky and crashing sounds can turn even the bravest dog into a shivering wreck who is foaming at the mouth.

While the level of anxiety caused by fireworks can vary from dog to dog, it is sensible as an owner to start building your dog up to the sounds a few weeks before any local firework displays.

ThunderShirt ($39.99 here)

thundershirt-dog-anxiety-solution-large-45

These shirts wrap tightly around your dog and work on acupressure points on the dogs body to encourage calmness in Fido. We have used Thunder shirts during storms, fireworks and even vet visits with great success.

They have a very high success rate and in some countries/states, they have a money back guarantee if you find they don’t help.

We buy our thundershirts here

Adaptil Spray and Plug In ($29.99 here)

adaptil-dap-dog-appeasing-pheromone-electric-diffuser-48-ml-35

This spray or plug in is used to connect with your dog on a chemical level. They release a dog appeasing pheromone that helps calm your dog down in stressful situations. The plug in you can leave in the room the dog will be kept, and the spray is perfect for spraying bedding or a thundershirt.

You can buy Adaptil The Dog Appeasing Pheromone here

Puppy School App ($2.99 Apple or Google Store)

image3

The Puppy School app is a fantastic tool for building up a dogs tolerance to certain noises. Using the app, you have the particular noise very slow in general every day calm situations (rewarding your dog if they don’t react). Then over the next few weeks, you gradually increase the volume with the end goal being that Fido can listen to fireworks without any issues at all. The app comes with full instructions.

You can read our detailed review of the app here 

A free tip you can use for your dog with firework phoebia is make them a safe area that they can burrow or hide. This may be as simple as a crate on the floor covered in blankets, or a pile of blankets under the bed that Fido can bury himself in.

Keeping the curtains closed and the radio on low can also help drown out the noise of any fireworks.

Do you have any other tips for dealing with Firework phobia in dogs?

Puppy Socialisation

What is Socialisation?

Socialisation is a broad term used to describe mentally and physically preparing your pup for the world around them.

These imporatant skills are developed in the first few months of your dogs life and will last it’s lifetime.

Puppies that are socialized well are less prone to reacting badly to noises, other dogs or other people.

A well socialised puppy is more likely to integrate into human life easier starting your lifetime together on the right path.

Socialization is divided into to parts. The first part of socialization is teaching our pups to be well mannered around other dogs and people. The second part is referred to as habituation which is teaching our pups that situations and noises are not scary (traffic, cars, buses, etc).

Sadly, a lot of people do not understand the importance of this stage in a puppies life. This results in behavioural problems in adolescent and adult dogs (the majority being fear based issues). This is the most common call we get- a dog fearful of other dogs, strangers or new situations.  The first 16 weeks of a pups life are so important in preparing your puppy for the rest of its life.

Some breeds are referred to as “reactive breeds” and it is in their nature to be more guarding of their owners or property (terriers are a perfect example of this). It is especially important for dogs like this to be socialised and habituated as soon as possible.

1024px-Jack_Russell_Puppy

Good Breeders

It is the job of a good breeder to start puppies out on the right track with socialisation.  Breeders establish the foundations for a puppy’s social skills, learning skills and problem solving abilities.

Breeders handle puppies from birth ensuring they are used to human touch. Introducing a puppy to a variety of different noises, surfaces, toys and textures contribute to a puppies early development.

In addition to asking your breeder about your new pups health checks, make sure you ask what efforts have been made to socialise the puppies so far so you can continue the good work.

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The Fear Stage

From 5 weeks old to approx 16 weeks, our puppies go through a transition where a puppies fearfulness starts to increase. It is vitally important that pups are socialised and habituated with as many things as possible during this stage and making all experiences as positive as possible.

Getting out and about with your puppy is key to them excepting everyday things like traffic or farm animals. Also think about your lifestyle. If you live in the City, taking your dog to see horses is not the most obvious choice. But exposing your puppy to traffic, police sirens, subways, etc would be a more constructive use of your time (and vice versa).

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Puppy Parties or Group Socials

Use resources such at www.meetup.com, facebook etc to meet other puppies in your local area. Many trainers (including us) offer socialisation walks which are perfect for puppies to make new friends and learn to play appropriately. Having a dog trainer or behaviourist on hand is a nice way of learning what is appropriate and isn’t appropriate in your pups play style.

 

Hope that gives you a nice introduction to the importance of socializing your puppy. If you have any questions, please contact us at any time

Pet Sitter or Dog Boarding

When leaving Fido alone for a period of time, make sure that someone experienced and reliable is in charge so you can get on with having fun knowing your dog is in safe hands find here. $9 Levitra at Walmart

Pet Sitters and Boarding facilities are the most popular options for leaving our pets so we decided to give you a quick guide to both

House Sitter

Comes to the house and has the benefit of watching both house and your pets

Great for a multi-pet household as all pets can stay together (especially great if you have a mix of different species)

Keeps the same routine as normal with the same comfort of home (same bed, sofa and garden as they are used to)

Always ask for references  either in person or on sites such as Yelp

Reduces risk of catching diseases like kennel cough from other dogs

Vaccination history not needed

Make sure the person is insured, and your house is insured

Cage Free Boarding

Cage free boarding means your dog has the comfort of a home environment without cages

Home boarders often have multiple dogs so it is great for sociable dogs

Make sure you choose a Company that is fully Insured and Bonded (if in America)

Compare Prices online and read reviews

Ask local pet shops and dog walkers if they know of anyone that supplies this

If shared boarding facility, your dog will need to be up to date on its vaccinations

 

 

Do you need to train your dog?

Training a dog is a great way to keep your dog’s mind active and busy. It is also a great way to build up a bond and understanding of your dog in every day life.

Training is a great way to teach your dog how to cope within the human world and understand the rules of what is expected of them (no jumping, walk nicely on lead, etc)

Dogs (and humans) find it easier to learn when it is fun. Dogs learn through actions and behaviours so it is important to show your dog clearly what you want of them. Remember that it is easier to train your dog to do it correctly from the start than untrain “naughty” behaviour afterwards

Mental and Physical training are both important when raising a happy and healthy dog.

Mental Stimulation can take the form of formal training, trick training and using boredom buster toys such as food distributing treat balls, Kongs and Busy Buddy Twist and Treat to have your pet work for their food and treats. Mental stimulation involves the dog having to work things out with their mind.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons

Physical training involves on or off lead walks, games of fetch, fly ball and agility. Anything that physically tires your dog is a form of training also. Us your daily walks to encourage good on lead walking, eye contact and impulse control. Dogs no matter the age can learn something new

A hairless Chinese Crested taking part in an agility competition. Creative Commons
A hairless Chinese Crested taking part in an agility competition.
Creative Commons

Every Day Checklist

 

  • Teach your dog basic commands by joining a training class
  • Regularly use boredom buster toys to give your dog a mental workout
  • Make sure your dog has daily walks and practising good manners

 

 

Don’t blame dog, blame handler, says KC in response to new aggressive breeds list

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Blanket Treasure Hunt Game

Winter is officially here and with it comes snow, wind and lots of rain. On those day, we always try and make being inside “fun” with a few indoor games. This is one of our favs (and easiest)

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BLANKET TREASURE HUNT

Layer a few blankets or towels and hide treats and toys within the folds.

Allow the dog to dig at them and use their nose to find all the goodies.

Start off making the treats easy to find and gradually make them more and more difficult as your dog gets faster and faster at finding them.

It’s a great way of keeping Fido out of mischief and encouraging them to start using their nose

Car Sickness

Most people in the city do not have cars meaning urban canines are not exposed to car travel everyday. Not being used to car travel can become a serious problem when you want to take your dog in a cab or out of the city for a road trip.

Here are a few things you can try to prevent Fido from suffering from car sickness

No Food– 6-8 hours before your car journey, take away any food

Exercise– before you get into a car, take Fido for a nice long walk in the hopes that he will nap during the journey

Safe Zone– using a crate or carrier can help give your dog a safe zone. Constantly pacing from person to person or window to window is not only unsafe but increases anxiety in Fido

Front Seat– like with many people (including myself) sitting in the front makes a huge difference . Make sure Fido has a pet safety belt on

Cool– keep the ac on or a window open to keep Fido cool

Short Trips– build up Fidos tolerance to the car by gradually increasing the duration of car trips. The idea si to end the car journey before he gets sick

Make it Fun– if the only time Fido is every in a car is to go to the vet, there is no wonder he enjoys the experience. Try and use cars and cabs for fun dog adventures to the park and beach

Crate Training Tips

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Crate training is a great way to keep your house and new puppy safe in it’s home. It is also an essential tool for house training and building up bladder control.

It takes puppies and dogs a little while to get used to crate training but using “boredom buster toys” and treats help ease the process.

Introducing the Crate

Think of the crate as a studio apartment for your puppy. A studio apartment can be the worst place in the world if you have nothing to do in it. However, the same space filled with a flat screen tv, wifi, video games and pizza arriving every hour suddenly becomes the best place in the entire world! Now our job as “real estate” agents for crates is to make the space as appealing to our K9 clients as possible. We can use our dogs food, boredom buster toys and chew toys to make the crate a fun place to be check my source.

Make the Crate a Palace

Start off by feeding your dog in the crate without locking the door. Start creating positive associations with the crate. If every meal and fun treat comes from inside the crate, Fido is going to start loving the idea of going in there. We love using food stuffed Kongs, bully sticks and flossies with our dogs undergoing crate training.

Don’t Isolate your Dog

A lot of people will make the mistake of setting up a crate in the corner of a room or in a closed bedroom (away from the family)and be surprised when Fido fusses. Start off having the crate next to you while you are watching TV, at your desk and next to your bed. Once Fido loves the crate at that proximity, start building up more and more distance.

Build Up Muscle

Think of “crate training” as being similar to “weight training”. Just like you are not going to be able to lift a 100lb weight on your first attempt, your puppy will not be able to tolerate 5 hours in the crate first time. However if you practice often, slowly and within your dogs comfort zone you will make fast progress and your dog will start to love being in his crate.

Ignore Barking

If your dog barks, whines or scratches to get out, you have to ignore it. If you pay attention to these behaviors and let your pup out all you are doing is teaching Fido that barking, whining and scratching gets him out of the crate! You need to reduce the amount of time spent in the crate next time and make a mental note to not push your pup for as long when practicing.
Always make the crate a positive place and avoid using it for punishment. Keep your expectations realistic and reward your dog when they have done a good job.