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You Can Prevent a Disaster: A Step by Step Guide for Teaching Your Dog to Wait at the Door

Dog in front on door with leash resting on paws.

Teaching your dog to wait at the door may one day save their life.

You are running late and need to leave for work. You say goodbye to your beloved pooch and open the front door to leave. Just then your pup gets a twinkle in his or her eye and out the door they bolt with you running behind them yelling for them to come back, pleading with them to come back, begging them to come back, but your adorable dog is playing keep away and catch me if you can. Ugh! You are going to be late for work, again! If only you have gotten out the door faster! But wouldn’t a better way be that your dog had waited at the door and never went through unless he or she was granted permission to do so? Teaching your dog to wait at the door will not only help you get to work on time but may save your dog’s life.

Here is a Step by Step Guide to Teaching Wait at the Door:

Start working on this exercise when you have time. Do not start working on this when you are in a hurry, you are distracted, you are stressed, or your dog needs a walk or potty break.

Step One

Peron with a dog on leash at a door.

Start with your dog on a leash when teaching them to wait at the door.

You will start teaching wait at the door with your dog on a leash. Have him or her sit at the door and slowly turn the doorknob. If your dog continues to sit open the door slowly, an inch or two at a time. If your dog gets up and moves towards the door, take your hand off the knob or close the door and try again. Be careful when you are closing the door that you do not close it on your dog. You want to keep your training sessions short and end on a high note, so if your dog will sit and wait at the door while you turn the doorknob, give him or her a release word such as “okay” or “let’s go” and take them for a nice walk. Unless your dog does not enjoy walks, the act of taking him or her for a walk should be reward enough.

When you get back from your walk you can have another short wait at the door training session. Make sure you use your release word and take another short walk.

Step Two

Step two is the same as step one, but just a little more difficult for your dog. Open the door a little wider and ask your dog to “wait” for a second or two. If your dog gets up, make sure you close the door and try again. If your dog stays put for a second or two use your release word “okay and take your dog through the door and for a quick walk. When your dog can wait at the door without trying to walk through the door a minimum of four out of five tries you can proceed to make it even more difficult with the exercises in Step Three.

Step Three

Now you will challenge your dog by opening the door even wider. Work on this until you can have the door fully open and your dog will not attempt to go through unless you give him or her the release word.

Dog in crate with the door open,

Teaching wait at the door can be used to teach your dog to wait in their crate.

This is only the beginning! Work on this behavior with your dog exiting their crate and your car. And just because your dog knows to wait at your front door doesn’t mean he or she will know to wait at your back door, so you will need to work in different locations within your home too. You will also need to work on how long your dog will wait at the door and you will want to proof for distractions. It’s great that your dog will wait at the door when there is nothing going on, but will he or she wait if another dog walks by? You will also want everyone in your home to work with the dog. Your dog may wait at doors for you, but not your spouse.

While having a polite dog who waits at doors is wonderful, it could also save your dog’s life. A dog that knows to wait at the door is at less risk of getting lost or bolting into traffic.

Have you tried this exercise? What is your biggest challenge? Let us know!

 

Lost Pet Prevention: 7 Tips for Protecting Your Pet

Lost dog poster on light post

Lost Pet poster.

July is Lost Pet Prevention Month. It only takes a second for one of our beloved pets to get away from us and become lost. Here are 7 tips for keeping your pet safe so that you can prevent having to go through the heartache of losing your precious pet.

1. Entryways

Always make sure doors and windows are secure. It only takes a second for your beloved pet to slip out of a door that wasn’t properly latched or an open window. Teach your dog to wait at doorways until released. By teaching this valuable cue you could prevent your dog from walking or running out the door and becoming a lost pet before you even realize he or she is gone. Ask your friends and family to be quick when entering and exiting your home so that doors do not have to be open for too long.

2. Gates and Fences

Before you let your dog in your yard make sure all gates are closed and latched. It a good idea to do periodic checks of your fence perimeter to look for holes or gaps your dog could slip under or through. And never leave your dog in the yard unattended. 

3. Collars and Harnesses 

Avoid a Lost Pet, make sure your dog has a properly fitting collar with an identification tag.

Make sure your dog’s collar or harness fits properly. A loud noise or aggressive dog could cause your dog to panic and back out of his or her collar or harness. Always keep a firm grip on the leash when out for a walk.

4. Recall

Teach your dog to come when called. This could save your dog’s life in numerous situations, but if your dog does get away from you a good recall could prevent your dog from running away and getting lost.

5. Seatbelts and Crates

Avoid a lost pet when transporting to your veterinarian or groomer. Secure your pet in a crate when in the car.

Always have your pet secured in a crate when transporting him or her to the vet or groomer. If you have a large dog, you can secure them in a harness that attaches to your car’s seatbelt. Pets can find travel stressful and if they accidentally get loose in a strange environment they may startle and run. 

6.Identification

If your dog or cat does get loose it is important for them to have identification so that you can get your lost pet back to you as quickly as possible. Your pets should have a collar with an ID tag attached. But tags come loose, and collars come off and get lost so your pet should also be microchipped. Read our blog on microchipping to learn more about this invaluable form of identification.

7. Proof of Ownership

If your lost pet is found, you will probably be required to show proof of ownership. Having your pet’s records and a few photos of you with your pet will go a long way to you getting your pet back quickly.

Contact us to learn more about teaching your dog to wait at the door and come when called.

Choosing a Dog Walker? 5 things to Look For and Consider

Dog waiting and begging to go for a walk with the dog walker.

Is your dog left at home for long periods of time because you work long hours, you have a long commute, or because you are often asked to stay late? Or maybe you would like to stay at work later to work on that well-deserved promotion. No matter your reason you have decided you need to hire a dog walker to come in and give your dog a much-needed potty and some exercise break during the time you are at work. But how do you go about choosing a Dog Walker that is right for you? Here are 5 things to consider.

1. Are they a professional Dog Walker?

A lot of people offer to walk dogs to earn some extra cash, but are they true professionals? Do they have the availability you will need? What happens if they are unable to fulfill their commitment to walk your dog? Do they have an emergency plan in place?

Another thing to consider when choosing a dog walker is do they know how to handle emergency situations when walking your dog? Do they know what to do if they encounter an off-leash dog? Do they know how to keep your dog safe during hot summer walks? Will they be able to manage if your dog should become ill? Have they had any formal pet first aid/CPR instruction?

A lot of people love dogs, but not everyone can be a dependable, skilled Dog Walker.

2. Are They Online?

There are so many ways to check out a company. Read reviews from some of their clients via review sites, such as Angie’s List.

Do they have a professional presence on social media? What kind of information are they writing about and sharing?

Visit the website of the company you are considering. Do they make contacting them easy?

3. Ask Your Friends and Family Who Their Dog Walker Is.

Dog walking with a dog walker.

You most likely know someone who has a dog. Who do they use to walk their dog? If they love their Dog Walker they will be happy to share their experiences.

This is also a great way to find out what dog walking services their dog walker offers and why they chose to use that company.

If your friends

4. Can You Call and Talk to Someone?

What better way to start learning about a business than picking up the phone and talking to someone. It will give you a chance to not only learn about the people working for the company but also learn about what services they offer.

The initial contact with a company will give you a good indication of what you can expect in the future. 

5. What Types of Walks Do They Offer?

Professional Dog Walker Exercising Dogs In Park

Dog Walkers may offer group walks as well as private walks. While it is lovely to think of your dog out with a group of his or her friends on a group walk, it may not be a situation your dog is comfortable being in. If your dog is not the social type, walking with a group of dogs may not be fun for them. You should consider your dog’s comfort level around other dogs.

Private walks give your dog more one-on-one attention. If your dog is not the social type, private walks may better suit them. On a private walk, your dog will be able to go at his or her pace, taking time to take in the scents along the way. Getting a chance to sniff is very important to your dog’s health and well-being.

Contact us to learn more about our commitment to providing you and your dog with the highest standard of service and care.

 

 

 

 

What is Ehrlichiosis and How Can It Affect My Dog?

Here in South Florida, we enjoy warm weather year-round. We have the luxury taking our dogs out with us to enjoy the Florida sunshine throughout the year.

Ticks love warm weather too. The tick-borne disease, Ehrlichiosis, is found in dogs more frequently than you might think. In fact, there are some veterinarians who think their canine patients should be checked yearly for the disease just like they are checked for heartworm.

What is Ehrlichiosis in Dogs?

Lone star tick in finger

The lone star tick is one of the most common ticks to spread Ehrlichiosis

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection that is caused by a tick bite. The rickettsial organism is responsible for this tick-borne disease. There are two types of Ehrlichiosis in dogs: Canine Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis and Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis.

How Can My Dog Get Ehrlichiosis?

Ehrlichiosis is transmitted when a dog is bitten by an infected tick. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the lone star tick is the most common tick to carry Canine Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis. The brown dog tick is the most common transmitter of Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis. As the name implies, the brown dog tick feeds mainly off dogs and is, therefore, most commonly found in areas where dogs frequent, such as dog parks.

What Are the Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis In Dogs?

Dogs infected with Ehrlichiosis may show symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, weight loss, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, lameness, chronic eye inflammation, fever, respiratory distress and bleeding conditions, depending on the type. Occasionally there are signs of neurological disorders. When dogs are exhibiting these symptoms, they are at the chronic stage, having had the infection for some time. 

Dog being examined by veterinarian

There are several symptoms your dog may exhibit if infected with Ehrlichiosis.

Dogs in the early stages of the disease do not normally show any signs. One of the ways the disease may be diagnosed early is if blood is taken and shows a low platelet count. Some dogs that are exposed never show any signs of the disease.

How Can I Prevent Ehrlichiosis In My Dog?

There is no vaccine for the prevention of Ehrlichiosis, so the best way to prevent the disease is to protect your dog from tick bites. Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention for your dog.

What Happens If My Dog Is Diagnosed with Ehrlichiosis?

The most common treatment is the antibiotic doxycycline.

If your dog is experiencing a bleeding disorder, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Once your dog receives treatment the prognosis for a complete recovery is good and you should see improvements within the first day or two.

Can I Get Ehrlichiosis?

Yes, but only from a tick bite. You cannot get it from your dog as the disease is only transmitted through tick bites.

Ehrlichiosis is a very serious disease and it is wise to check your dog regularly for ticks. Please make sure you know the correct method for removing ticks as doing this incorrectly can cause the tick head to break off and cause infection or cause the tick to excrete more saliva increasing your dog’s chances of becoming ill.

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How to Train Your Dog to Sit

English bulldog sitting next to a person looking up at them.

Sit can be the basis of other behaviors you can train your dog to do.

Whether it is your new puppy or older dog, teaching them the sit command is an important lesson for them to learn. It is also, usually, one of the easiest commands to teach. Here is an easy way to train your dog to sit.

Having your dog sit when asked can come in handy in a variety of situations from sitting before going out of a doorway, sitting at the veterinarian’s office, sitting for a nail trim, to sitting beside you at an outdoor café. The sit command is a versatile command and will serve you and your dog well throughout your years together.

What is the Best Training Method?

Here at Dances with Dogs, we only use positive reinforcement training. What does that mean? We only use treats, toys, and praise. We ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. Wouldn’t you work harder if you knew that every time you got it right something great was going to happen? How hard would you work if you knew that if every time you got it wrong something bad was going to happen?

Why Should You Train Your Dog to Sit?

Having your dog learn the sit command is essential, so this is one of the first commands they should learn. It is also the base for other behaviors they should learn, so learning the sit command is the start of great learning experiences for your dog and great training experiences for you.

How Long Will It Take?

Each dog learns at a different pace just like people, so be patient. Learning sit is a fairly easy command for dogs to learn, so it shouldn’t take too long. It also depends on how much time you invest in the process. You want training to be fun, so it is important to keep your training sessions to about 10 minutes in length. If you try to train your dog for longer periods of time you run the risk of him/her getting frustrated, distracted, bored or just tired.

How to Train Your Dog to Sit 

Before you get started, you need lots of yummy treats. These treats should be small (pea sized) and something your dog finds incredibly delicious. Some things that work well are small pieces of cheese, cooked chicken, dried liver, a dog food roll cut into small pieces, cut up hot dogs, etc. You want something that really keeps their attention and doesn’t take too long for them to eat. If your dog is not motivated by food try using their favorite toy or praise. 

Step 1 

Hold a small piece of treat in your hand, so that your dog can smell it and then slowly raise your hand up and back over their head so that they have to look up. This should cause them to have to sit down. If your dog tries to jump up to get the treat your hand may be too high above their head. Lower your hand a bit and try again. 

Black and tan puppy lifting his head up and beginning to it.

When starting to train your dog to sit hold the treat just above his head so that he must lift his head. This should cause him to sit.

Step 2

Just as your dog sits say “yes!” or “good” or whatever word works best for you and pop the treat in their mouth.

Step 3

Once your dog is consistently sitting 5 times in a row during your practice sessions you can then put a command word to it. So, say “sit” as you raise your hand above their head and as soon as their rear end hits the ground reward and praise.

Step 4

Once your dog has the behavior down, you can phase out your treats by only giving them occasionally. Mix it up. Sometimes give your dog a treat every three sits, then every 5 sits, then every two sits. Keep them guessing, that is part of the fun.

Step 5

Always have fun and end on a high note. Always try to end your training sessions when your dog has done the behavior correctly. Even if your dog is having a great training session don’t be tempted to push it. You want every session to be fun.

Things You Should Never Do

Never push on your dog’s back end to get them to sit. You could do physical harm to your dog and it does not help your dog to learn to sit.

Never repeat your command. In other words, ask your dog to “sit”, but never say “sit, sit, sit,” if your dog doesn’t sit after the first request.

Never yell or shout at your dog. If you are getting frustrated it is time to call it a day. Try to end your training session on a positive note even if that means asking your dog to do something they already know like fetch a ball or give kisses. But, if you are finding yourself raising your voice it is time to take a break.

Papillon surrounded by dog toys

When you train your dog to sit you may find that toys motivate your dog more than food does.

Troubleshooting

If your dog just won’t sit there could be several reasons. Make sure it is not medical. Does your dog sit on her/his own when not being asked? If not, a trip to the vet may be in order. Are your treats yummy enough? Make sure you are using very high-value treats when teaching a new behavior. If your dog still isn’t interested in treat maybe food isn’t his/her thing. Try using a ball, toy or praise as a reward instead. Are there too many distractions? If there is a lot going on when you are trying to train it might be a good idea to move to a quieter area.

If You Would Like to Learn More About How to Train Your Dog, Please Contact Us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids and Dogs: Preventing a Dog Bite

Young smiling boy holding a puppy

Teach kids to respect dogs to prevent a dog bite.

 

Kids and dogs just seem to go together. There is nothing better than growing up with your best pal by your side. I loved having a dog when I was growing up. But not all dogs are kid friendly, so it is extremely important for you and your children to be able to understand when a dog, including your own, is stressed. It is also very important to teach your children to treat the family dog with respect and treat, to prevent a dog bite.

For most parents, when the family dog bites, it seems like it came out of nowhere. But dogs give warning signals that they are uncomfortable. It is our job as parents and dog owners to make sure to not only protect our children but also protect our dogs. We need to keep our dogs out of stressful situations so that they do feel the need to protect themselves. Here are a few things you can teach your kids not to do to or around the family dog or any dog. 

The Don’t to Prevent a Dog Bite:

 

Teach kids to not hug the dog to prevent a dog bite.

Teach kids to not hug the dog to prevent a dog bite.

  • Never hug any dog. While we humans love hugs, dogs do not like to be hugged.
  • Do not step or stand on your dog. Just like we do not like to be stepped on, neither do our dogs.
  • Do not pull on any dog’ ears or tail or handle roughly. Nobody likes to be treated that way.
  • Do not disturb a sleeping dog.
  • Never run up to a strange dog.
  • Do not yell or scream at or near your dog. Loud noises can startle a dog.
  • Do not get in your dog’s face. Teach your kids that dogs need personal space just like people do.
  • Do not put your hands or face near the dog’s food bowl, especially while they are eating. How would you like it if someone stuck their hands in your food?
  • Do not take your dog’s toys away from them while they are chewing on them.

The Dos to Prevent a Dog Bite: 

Respecting dogs can prevent a dog bite.

Respecting dogs can prevent a dog bite.

  • Always ask permission from you and from the dog’s owners before petting a strange dog.
  • Play with your dog. Fetch is always a good choice.
  • Get involved with training your dog. I loved teaching my dog cool tricks. Well, I still do.

Teach your kids to be polite to the dog and teach your dog to be polite to the kids and everyone can have a safe and happy life together.

 

 

 

If you would like to learn more about keeping kids safe around dogs, please contact us about our Dog Bite Safety Education program.

Microchipping Pets: Costs and Benefits

Losing a pet is a pet owner’s worst nightmare.  Sometimes, pets are never recovered, but microchipping your pet increases the odds of being reunited with your lost pet. According to PetFinder.com “Only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent (a 238 percent increase). Less than 2 percent of lost cats that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families.” 

Little girl reunited with her dog

Microchipping your pet increases the chances you will be reunited if they are ever lost.

What is microchipping?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. This electronic chip is enclosed in a glass cylinder and when a scanner passes over the chip, the chip is activated and transmits an identification number unique to your pet. It is inserted under your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades, through a hypodermic needle. There is no surgery required and it should not be any more painful than a normal injection.

What Information Does the Microchip Contain?

Your pet’s microchip will contain an identification number and is registered with a microchip registry where your contact information is stored. If your pet should become lost a veterinarian, shelter or rescue group can scan your pet and contact the microchip registry to notify them that they have your pet. The microchip registry will then contact you. Your contact information is not shared with the rescuer.

Cat being scanned for microchip

If your lost pet is found a veterinarian or rescue will scan for a microchip.

Do Microchips Have GPS?

No, microchips are not the same as GPS and do not have the capability to track your pet.

Do I Still Need Identification Tags if My Pet is Microchipped?

Yes! Identification tags are the quickest way for you to be reunited with your pet. While a microchip is a permanent identification that cannot be tampered with, having an identification tag attached to your pet’s collar makes it easy for the person who finds your pet to contact you immediately. However, if your pet’s collar is removed or lost, a microchip may be the only way you will be reunited with your pet.

Are Only Dogs and Cats Microchipped?

No, all kinds of pets are microchipped including rabbits, horses, cows, ferrets, reptiles and many more.

At What Age Can my Pet Be Microchipped?

Most Shelters and veterinarians will microchip your dog or cat once they are 8 weeks old. It is actually the size of your pet that determines when they can be microchipped.

What Are the Risks of Microchipping?

Complications from microchipping your pet are very rare. There have been cases of a pet developing a cancerous tumor at the microchip site, but those cases are very rare. The benefits of getting your lost pet back far outweigh the risks. 

Veterinarian injecting microchip into a dog.

Microchipping can be done by your veterinarian or local shelter.

How Do I Get My Pet Microchipped?

Your veterinarian or local animal shelter can microchip your pet for you. If you adopt a pet from your shelter or local pet rescue it will most likely already be microchipped.

How Much Does Microchipping Cost?

The average cost is about $45 however, your local shelter or Humane Society will usually offer microchipping at a discounted price. The price is a one-time fee. If you are adopted your pet from a local shelter or rescue, it is likely that your pet is already microchipped.

Do I have to Register My Pet’s Microchip?

Yes. When your pet is microchipped the shelter or veterinarian will provide you with the information you need to have your pet’s microchip registered. If you move or change phone numbers, you will need to update your contact information.

May is National Chip Your Pet month. This is a great time to get your pet microchipped if you have not already done so. This is also a great time to have your pet’s microchip checked by taking them to your local veterinarian to have them scanned.

Is your pet microchipped? Tell us what type of pet you have and why or why not you have chosen to have your pet microchipped.

 

The Benefits of Hiring a Pet Sitter and Why You Should Use a Professional

 

Pet sitter with pets on sofa.

Your pets get to stay in the comfort of their own home with a professional pet sitter.

Why Choose a Professional Pet Sitter?

So you have decided to take that much-needed vacation. Or maybe you need to travel for business. What do you do with your beloved pets? You could impose on friends, family or neighbors. You could send your pets off to a strange boarding facility.  Or you could hire a professional pet sitter.  

A professional pet sitter is just that, a professional. They have the experience and training to make sure your pets get the best care possible and your pet never has to leave the comfort of their own home.

What are the benefits of hiring a pet sitter?

  • You may want to go on vacation, but your pets will usually be happier staying in their own environment.
  • Your pets get to stay on their normal diet and exercise routine. 

    Dog sleeping with teddy bear

    Your pets keep to their regular routine with a pet sitter.

  • You limit your pet’s exposure to illnesses.
  • Your mail, newspapers, and packages are taken in so that your house looks lived in and not like you are away.
  • You don’t have to impose on your friends, family or neighbors.

Why should you hire a professional pet sitter?

  • Caring for your pets is their first priority.
  • They have experience and training working with all types of pets.
  • They are experienced in dealing with all types of pet personalities and will be knowledgeable in helping your pet feel relaxed and happy in your absence.
  • They can tell if your pet needs veterinary care.
  • They have the training to administer medications to your pet if needed.
  • They are experienced in recognizing and avoiding situations that may be potentially dangerous for your pet.

What to look for when choosing your professional pet sitter:

The person you are considering hiring should have the following:

  • A business license for your county.
  • Bonding to protect against theft and liability insurance in case there is an accident.
  • Back up in case they have an emergency and cannot make it to your home.
  • A detailed contract which includes pricing and services.

Things to ask your pet sitter:

  • What kind of training have they completed, such as pet first aid/CPR courses? 

    Black cat eating from bowl

    Your pet will stay on their regular feeding schedule with a pet sitter.

  • Will they come to your house before your departure to meet you and your pets?
  • How will they communicate with you in your absence?
  • Are they a member of a professional association such as Pet Sitters International?
  • What other services do they offer, such as mail and package retrieval, light rotation and plant watering?

So, if you decide that hiring a pet sitter is right for you and your pets make sure you hire a professional pet sitter.

Even if you don’t have a trip planned for the near future start your search well in advance. You want to make sure you and your pet sitter are a good fit and that you feel comfortable leaving your pets in their care.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be very grateful if you would share it with a friend.

Thank you!

Here are a couple of ways to locate the perfect  professional pet sitter for you:

Pet Sitters International and Angie’s List.

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to learn more about our pet sitting services please contact us.

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What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs? Does Your Dog Suffer From It?

What is separation anxiety in dogs? Does your dog suffer from it? Here is my experience of living with a dog with separation anxiety, the signs to look for and what you can do to help your dog if you suspect he or she is suffering from separation anxiety.

Dog looking out window

Dogs with separation anxiety may chew through walls to get out and find you.

Many years ago, I adopted a beautiful four-month-old puppy from a couple who kept him in a dark, hot garage 24 hours a day. They rarely let him out, even to relieve himself. It was four horrible months for this little guy, so when I brought him home he was immediately attached to me and panicked every time I had to leave him. The first two weeks weren’t too bad as I had taken vacation time to help him adjust to his new life with me, but I did notice that when I left the house, even for a brief time, he would panic.

I once ran up to the local store, leaving my puppy gated in the kitchen, only to receive a call from my alarm company stating my alarm had been triggered, again. This time the poor guy had pulled the microwave off the counter. One of the previous times he had knocked over the cabinet where I kept my china. He ate through the drywall by my front door and urinated and defecated all over my house, no matter how many times I took him out. All because I left him.

A well-meaning friend suggested I crate him. He turned that crate into a twisted mass of metal. It was incredible he didn’t physically hurt himself. I cannot imagine what torment that poor dog went through.

I hired a trainer to help me help him, but he needed more than a trainer. This was 30 years ago. Today, trainers, veterinarians, and behaviorists know so much more about how to help dogs with separation anxiety. This is not to say that there is an easy fix for separation anxiety, there isn’t. But you can help your dog if you are willing to put in the work.

What are the symptoms of separation anxiety?

  • Getting upset as you are getting ready to leave.
  • Overly excited when you return.
  • Urinating and defecating in the house while you are away even though they have had ample opportunities to relieve themselves before you left.

    Dog destroying item

    Dogs with separation anxiety may become destructive

  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Panting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Destructive behavior
  • Vomiting

What you can do to help:

  • First things first, see your veterinarian in order to make sure there isn’t some underlying issue that is mimicking separation anxiety.
  • Feed your dog just before leaving the house. This can help your dog associate something positive with your departure.
  • Keep your departures and arrivals low key.
  • Provide your dog with lots of interactive toys to keep them occupied.
  • Sometimes adding another dog to the family can help, but there is no guarantee.
  • There are medications that may help, but they are not long-term solutions.
  • Hire a dog walker or pet sitter to keep your dog company while you are away.

    Sad dog

    A dog with separation anxiety may be helped if you are willing to put in the work

One or more of the solutions above may help your dog cope with their separation anxiety. Be patient, it may take some time to figure out what works best for your dog.

Do you think your dog suffers from separation anxiety? Contact us to see how we can help.

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog?

So, you have decided you would like to add a dog to your family. Wonderful! Dogs are great for getting you out of the house for some exercise, they are therapeutic and lots of fun. But how much does it cost to own a dog? 

Puppy in lap

Should you purchase a dog or adopt one? Weigh the cost.

Before adding a dog or any pet to your household it is important to determine how much your dog is going to cost you on a yearly basis. Not just how much it will cost to purchase or adopt your new pal, but how much it will cost for food, training, veterinary bills and more.

Let’s look at some of the costs you will incur.

Purchase or adoption

If you are set on a pure breed puppy your purchase price could be as much as $5,000 if you get your puppy from a reputable breeder. Shelters and rescue organizations also have purebred dogs up for adoption, but you may not get that cute 8-week old puppy (see our blog on the pros and cons of getting a puppy). If you have your heart set on a particular breed there is a rescue group for every breed out there. Shelter adoption fees can range from $35-$75, and usually include vaccinations and spay/neuter and microchip. If you decide to adopt from a rescue organization, adoption fees can be anywhere from $200-$700 depending on the breed and the rescue’s expenses. These dogs too are vaccinated, spayed/neutered and microchipped.  

You can save quite a lot of money if you are willing to adopt a puppy and even more money if you adopt an adult dog.

Veterinary Care

Just ordinary annual vet care is going to cost somewhere between $100 to $400. This does not include possible emergencies which can run into the thousands of dollars. While pet insurance can help with some emergency expenses, most companies do not cover annual vaccinations. If you insure your pet, which we think is a great idea, you will usually have to put out the initial expense of emergency or extraordinary veterinary care. You then get reimbursed for a portion of that care. In the long run, pet insurance can save you a considerable amount of money.

You will save a good amount of money if you adopt from your local shelter or rescue as these dogs are already spayed/neutered, which is a big expense. Rescue dogs are also vaccinated, so you could have as much as an entire year before your new dog needs to be vaccinated again.

Heartworm, Flea and Tick Control

Heartworm can cost as much as $300 per year depending on the size of your dog. Flea and tick control will run anywhere from $50-$250 per year.

Dog balancing cookie on nose

The cost of food will depend on the quality.

Food and Treats

If you want to feed your dog nothing but the best, it can cost you as much as $600 per year depending on the size of your dog. If you are not picky about what your dog eats you can most budget for about $150 per year, but you may spend more on vet bills.

Bowls, Beds, Toys, Leashes, and Collars

This is an area where your personal style and tastes can affect your monetary output. If you are looking for designer items, you will usually spend more than if you are shopping at your local dollar store.

You might be able to find some great items at your local garage sales or local buy, sell trade groups.

Training

Yes, your new dog is going to need training. Group classes usually start at around $125 for a six-week class, but if your new buddy needs more personalized private training you could spend anywhere from $60-$100 per hour depending on where you live and the experience of your trainer.

Grooming

Dog grooming can be very expensive depending on your dog’s breed and coat length. You also must take into consideration how often you want your dog bathed and how much effort you are willing to put into the process. Are you comfortable trimming your dog’s nails and expressing their anal glands? If this gives you pause, then your grooming bill will be more. In other words, your short-haired Labrador that you are willing to bathe, and trim nails is going to cost considerably less than your Goldendoodle that needs monthly professional grooming. So, if you are willing to get a little wet and have the patience to trim your dog’s nails and such you could be looking at grooming costs as low as $30 per year, but if you have a higher maintenance dog and/or if you are using a mobile groomer, your grooming bills could run as much as $1,500 a year or more.

Dog getting a bath

The cost of grooming will depend on how much effort you are willing to put in.

Other Considerations

If you live in a house will you need a fence to keep your new companion contained? What about taking your dog out for a car ride? You will then need a crate or other restraint. And what about if you want to or need to go out of town? You will then need someone to care for your dog.

Having a dog is a lifelong commitment and being aware of the possible costs of dog ownership can give you a good idea if you are ready to make that commitment. We hope the answer is a resounding yes! Dogs are a wonderful family addition.

Would you like to learn more about caring for your new dog? Contact us.