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Leash Training Your Dog: Tips & Tricks

Leash training your dog will make walking more enjoyable for you both. Prolonged pulling on a leash can cause your dog to gag or cough from pressure on their trachea and neck. Whereas, for you, your dog lunging forward on the end of the leash will make your arm feel like it’s going to fall off. Training your dog to walk on a leash properly will give them the freedom to explore while still following your lead (and preserving your biceps.)

leash training your dog

Getting The Right Equipment

Before you can begin leash training your dog, you need to have the correct leash and collar. Choke chains and prong collars can cause your dog serious injury, according to the Humane Society. There is no way to control how much a choke chain tightens, risking injury to your dog’s trachea and esophagus. Prong collars pinch your dog’s loose skin and cause pain.

It is far better to use more humane collars; flat collars, head collars, and martingale collars are all excellent options. You will also need a 6-foot leash and a few treats to reward good behavior during leash training.

Choose A Cue Phrase

Pick a phrase that will signal to your dog how to behave while on a leash. For example, “with me” or “let’s go” indicate it’s time to get walking! When you are beginning your walk, have your dog at your side before giving the cue. This repetition helps your dog understand your expectations during leash training.

Be Persistent While Leash Training

When your dog tugs at their leash to keep going forward, immediately stop walking and refuse to move. You should not allow them to keep walking when they keep pulling, as this only encourages bad behavior. As soon as your dog creates slack in the leash again, give them the cue phrase and continue walking. This training method  deters tugging by using walking as a reward for good behavior.

Give Encouragement

The outside world provides a lot of distractions for a dog. After all, there are so many unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells to explore! So, you will need to make leash training more entertaining than these distractions. When your dog turns to look at you, give them praise. This will encourage your dog to pay attention to you rather than keep pulling at their leash.

If you’d like to adopt a pet, visit getyourpet.com to start browsing cats and dogs for adoption near you.

Help Your Pet Adjust to a New Home With These Tips

Moving to a new home is difficult enough, but moving with a pet can be even more stressful! Here are some tips to help your pet adjust to a new home and help you lower the stress level on the moving process:

Help your pet adjust to a new home

Keep a Consistent Routine

The easiest way to help your pet adjust to a new home is to keep their routine consistent. If your dog likes to get up, eat breakfast, then go outside for a walk, try to continue that routine in your new home. If your cat likes outside time or your dog takes a nightly walk, arrange for those things. Maintaining your old routine as much as possible will help your pet settle into their new home much easier, and allow them to make a smoother adjustment to a modified routine, as well.

Help Your Pet Stay Safe

Safety is always the top concern for any pet owner. Yet, its importance is further heightened when transitioning to a new home. Get to know the other animals in the neighborhood, research dog-friendly areas, and always use a leash when exploring. Some animals get skittish in new homes and may attempt to run away. So, make sure your pet has the proper identification and that you have several copies of contact information and medical records.

Consider Moving Anxieties

When you travel to your new home, would your pet do better in a crate or at your feet? How will your pet behave around unfamiliar movers and loud noises? Should you keep your pet in a separate room when you unpack? Or would your furry friend prefer to be at your side? These are all questions to consider when you help your pet adjust to a new home.

Pet-Proof Your New Home

Help your pet adjust to a new home by modifying it in simple ways for your pet! Make sure that all windows, doors, and electrical areas are secure. Also, check for any dangerous items left behind by previous homeowners, such as poisonous rat traps. If you have small children, keep their toys and any small items out of your pet’s reach. Check out “How to Puppy-Proof Your Home” for more tips and advice.

Give Your Pet Some Lovin’

During a big move, it’s easy to forget about giving your pet some extra affection. However, that little ear scratch or belly rub can make all the difference and may alleviate some of their moving anxieties. Remember that you are not the only one experiencing change – your pet is, too! Giving your pet the attention  they need will minimize bad behavior and make them more comfortable in their new surroundings.

For more information on how to help your pet adjust to a new home, see this article by The Bark.

Looking to adopt a pet? Visit getyourpet.com to browse pets available for adoption near you.

Dog Breeds For People Who Work All Day

When adopting a dog, it’s important to be honest about how much time you’ll be able to devote to them. Those with busy schedules or who work full time should not adopt a high maintenance dog or a puppy who needs constant attention. With that in mind, read below for recommendations on lower maintenance dog breeds that are appropriate for people who work during the day. Keep in mind that no dog should be left alone or unattended for more than 8 hours a day! (P.S. Our partners at Rover.com have the solution for those extra-long days – a friendly visit from your local dog-walker!)

dog breeds for people who work all day

Lhasa Apso

According to the American Kennel Club, the Lhasa Apso was traditionally bred as a guard dog for palaces and monasteries in the Himalayan mountains. Today, we characterize the Lhasa Apso not as a palace dog, but as a family companion. Their independent nature and comfort with being alone makes them a great dog breed for people who work. However, their independent nature also makes them extremely stubborn, so training can be difficult. Overall, this breed is confident, comical, and playful — the perfect addition to any busy household!

Basset Hound

Basset Hounds are perfect for people with busy work schedules because they are big couch potatoes! These lovable dogs don’t require rigorous exercise and spend most of the day sleeping. For that reason, Basset Hounds are prone to obesity, so their Guardians must walk them daily. Not only are Basset Hounds great for people who work all day, they also make fantastic pets for families with kids and other pets. With their big brown eyes and easy-going personality, the Basset Hound makes the perfect companion.

French Bulldog

Whenever you’re home, your Frenchie will want your attention! However, they are also content with napping throughout the day when you are away at work, which makes them a fantastic dog breed for people who work. The French Bulldog is a great fit for apartment dwellers because they tend to bark much less than other small breeds. Make sure that when you leave for work, your Frenchie is cool and comfortable, as this dog struggles to breathe in hot and humid environments.

Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a wonderful dog breed for people who work all day. They are playful, affectionate, and their high level of intelligence makes them quick learners! Although Miniature Schnauzers are sweet to their owners, they are natural guard dogs and distrustful of strangers. Expect them to bark at every person who comes to your door! These little ones are full of energy, and require walks and play time as soon as you get home, but they are perfectly happy being alone all day – as long as you give them lots of toys.

Chihuahua

The Chihuahua may be the world’s smallest dog, but they have the biggest personality! Chihuahuas are cute, cuddly, and make extremely loyal pets. This breed requires minimal grooming and exercise, so they make great low-maintenance pets for apartment dwellers and first-time dog owners. This breed tends to suffer from separation anxiety, so it may be best to get your Chihuahua a friend to play with during the day. Another strategy is to give your Chihuahua a good walk before you go to work so that they will sleep while you’re away. For more information on Chihuahuas, check out our blog all about the breed.

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

Winter Pet Safety Tips

Most pet owners are aware of the health risks that come with hot weather, but what about cold weather? Winter brings a new set of environmental challenges for pets. As a responsible pet owner, you should know these essential winter pet safety tips.

winter pet safety tips

Protect Dog Paws From Salt

Salting sidewalks, driveways, and roads prevents slipping and sliding for humans. However, prolonged contact with road salt wreaks havoc on paws. The salt causes irritation, discomfort, and even burns unless quickly washed off the skin. Pet owners can avoid this problem by applying a balm or putting booties on their dog’s paws. This winter safety tip will keep your pup happy and allow you both to enjoy the winter weather!

Bring Your Pets Inside

If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s definitely too cold for your pets! Despite the fact that dogs and cats have fur, they are as susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as humans. No pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather. On a chilly day, your pet is happiest snuggled up right next to you!

Check Under The Hood

Before starting your engine in the morning, remember this winter pet safety tip! A warm vehicle engine attracts cats looking for a heated place to rest.  To avoid causing potential harm, be sure to bang on the hood of your car to discourage any roosting kitties.

Avoid Any Spillage

This is our most important winter pet safety tip! Be sure to clean up any antifreeze that has spilled from your vehicle. Cats and dogs are attracted to antifreeze because it is sweet to the taste, but it is extremely poisonous. Consider switching to propylene glycol, which is less toxic than ethylene glycol. Additionally, knowing the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning may save your pet’s life.

A Stylish Winter Pet Tip

Dressing your pet in a cute outfit is not only adorable but also functional! Pets with shorter hair can lose warmth faster when exposed to cold weather. Dog sweaters and coats provide warmth and fight off the winter chill. Dress your pet in a dry coat or sweater each time you take them out to prevent them from catching a chill!

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

Poodle Breed Info: All You Need To Know

Because of their high intelligence, hypoallergenic fur, and fun personality, poodles have become a popular breed choice for families. Keep reading to learn all about the poodle breed!

Poodle Breed Info: All You Need To Know

Personality

The poodle makes a fun-loving, affectionate, and active addition to any home. They are a smart breed, eager to please, which makes them highly trainable and excellent at canine sports. These dogs love to stay close to their families, and are always up for a game! However, they do get bored easily. So, make sure that your canine companion receives plenty of playtime.

Sizes

Poodles come in three sizes: Standard, Miniature, and Toy. Although all three sizes exhibit friendly, energetic personalities, they have their differences. Specifically, the Standard Poodle requires the most exercise and thrives in a large household with lots of children. On the other hand, Toy Poodles make better apartment pets and are susceptible to injury from small children. If you plan on adopting a poodle, consider their size to choose the right breed for your lifestyle!

Breaking Stereotypes: Poodles Are Not Prissy

Despite their regal appearance and proud personality, poodles are far from prissy! According to Dogtime.com, the poodle breed was used in Germany as a water retriever, and in France as a duck hunter. Even their stylish coats have a practical purpose! They protect them from getting snagged underwater and keep them warm. This breed is athletic, fun, and not afraid to get a little dirty!

Common Health Issues

Most poodles live long, happy lives. However, like any breed of dog, they can experience certain health issues. Hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism are all common in poodles. As with their personality, size can make a difference in health issues. Toys and Miniatures are at greater risk for joint-related issues. Standard poodles, however, are more likely to experience bloat, or GDV, a big-dog health concern. Keep your pet healthy by feeding them high-quality dog food and taking them for daily walks.

Grooming

This breed’s beautiful coat requires daily brushing to prevent matting. Therefore, most poodle owners prefer to keep their pet’s coat trimmed shorter. For baths, nail care, and general grooming, professionals advise owners to take their dog to the groomer every four to six weeks. Don’t let their grooming needs scare you off! Poodles make great family pets and are one of the funniest dog breeds in the Animal Kingdom.

Interested in adopting a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to start searching pets for adoption near you.

Do I Need Pet Insurance?

One of the most common questions new pet owners ask is, “Do I need pet insurance?” The answer is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ In deciding whether or not you need pet insurance, consider the following factors.

Do I need pet insurance?

Cost of pet insurance

Pet insurance can offset some of the expense of diagnosing and treating illnesses your pet may face down the road. But it comes at a cost. In general, the cost of veterinary care has risen in recent years due to advancements in technology. So, although it can be expensive, having insurance can help save your pet’s life. Your are the person responsible for any vet bills your pet’s care might incur. So, think carefully about what an unexpected trip to the vet might mean to your finances.

Coverage

Before settling on a pet insurance provider, make sure you understand what their insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Most providers cover hereditary conditions, such as elbow and hip dysplasia, diabetes, and thyroid conditions. Some will also cover unidentified issues that don’t necessarily have a diagnosis. While each provider is different, most do not cover pre-existing conditions. You usually have to enroll before your pet is of senior age, as well.

Breed restrictions

Unfortunately, not all pet insurance companies provide insurance for every dog breed. Some insurance companies do not extend coverage to Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, German Shepherds, Akitas, Doberman Pinschers, or Rottweilers, to name a few. If you have one of these dog breeds, don’t worry. There are some more inclusive options out there! But you may find that securing insurance for those breeds is a bit more expensive than it is for others.

So, do I need pet insurance?

At the end of the day, whether or not to get pet insurance is highly is highly specific to you and your situation. If you’re in the market for affordable pet insurance that offers comprehensive coverage, check out our partners at Trupanion. Every Get Your Pet adoption package includes a certificate for 30 days’ pet insurance from Trupanion (offer varies in California).

If you’d like to adopt a pet, visit Getyourpet.com to start browsing cats and dogs for adoption near you.

New Year’s Pet Resolutions

The new year marks an opportunity for change, and not just for humans! Early January is the perfect time to fulfill our promises to our pets. Here are a few New Year’s pet resolutions to make sure that 2019 is a fantastic year!

New Year's pet resolutions

Devote More Time to Playing

A great (and fun) New Year’s pet resolution is making time to play with your furry friend! Playing with your cat or dog is an excellent way to bond. Cats love the thrill of chasing laser toys and pouncing on bounce toys. For their part, dogs love running after frisbees and playing tug of war! Plus, increasing play time with your pets has the benefit of keeping them active! Playing can be a great form of physical exercise for both cats and dogs. So, try to incorporate at least an hour of playtime into each day to make sure your pet is entertained and getting enough exercise.

Always Measure Out Their Food

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, roughly 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Excessive weight gain in pets can cause many health problems such as heart disease and decreased life expectancy. Often, we overfeed when we “eyeball” the amount of food we give. To combat this, a good New Year’s pet resolution is to measure out the amount of food you give your pet. This will ensure that your pet is getting the correct amount of calories.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Speaking of keeping your pet healthy, a great New Year’s pet resolution is to maintain an oral hygiene schedule. Like humans, pets need their teeth brushed between professional cleanings. You can improve the length and quality of your pet’s life with good dental hygiene. For this reason, be sure to take your pets to their vet for an annual cleaning this year.

Be Consistent With Grooming

Regular grooming is essential for a healthy and happy pet. Pets love the attention, which makes it a an excellent way to strengthen your bond. Additionally, regular brushing brings excessive fur, dirt, and oil away from the skin. This feels amazing for your pet! Above all, daily grooming prevents matting, which can cause pain and infection. A consistent grooming schedule will help your pet feel (and look) their best.

And The Most Important New Year’s Pet Resolution…

Love your pet! Take the time to give your dog or cat the love that they need. Pets spend their lives entirely devoted to their owners. We are their world! So, do something kind for your pet. This could mean getting them a new toy, buying their favorite treat, or even just giving them some extra cuddles. Our pets certainly deserve it.

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

What to Expect When Caring for a Senior Pet

Senior pets are wonderful companions, and caring for them can be extremely rewarding. Whether you’re considering adopting a senior pet, or your pet is showing signs of aging, you should be aware of what to expect when caring for a senior pet.

what to expect when caring for your senior pet

When is a pet considered “senior”?

It depends on the breed of your pet, but most cats and small dogs become “senior” when they reach seven years of age. Larger dogs typically have shorter lifespans, so they tend to reach senior status a bit earlier, at six years old. Other factors that may influence the aging process include your pet’s diet and exercise routine, genetic history, and exposure to stressful environments.

Expect more frequent trips to the veterinarian

Many owners only take their pet to see the vet once a year. However, once your pet reaches senior status, most veterinarians recommend scheduling appointments semi-annually. Senior pets need more thorough exams due to their increased risk of age-related diseases. Some common health problems vets look for are arthritis, cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes. Veterinarians can also update your pet’s vaccinations, if needed.

Your senior pet’s dietary and nutritional needs will change

When your pet reaches old age, expect their diet to change. Animals, like people, grow more sluggish as they get older. Aging increases their risk of developing obesity and weight-related health issues. That is why professionals recommend diets low in calories and high in fiber for senior pets. If your pet refuses to eat, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to check for potential underlying health problems. Overall, make sure that your furry friend is getting the nutrients they need, as well as plenty of water for hydration.

Expect to make changes at home when caring for your senior pet

When caring for your senior pet, expect to make tweaks to their environment. They may not know it, but senior pets are much slower and less agile than they were as puppies and kittens. This means that they are more likely to slip on wet surfaces, fall down stairs, or have trouble jumping onto the sofa for cuddle time. If your dog slept upstairs before, now it might be safer to move their bed downstairs to avoid falls. Senior pets might also experience trouble getting into cars and traveling from place to place. Luckily, small staircases and ramps can be purchased at pet supply stores.

Give your senior pet plenty of love

You may have gone on hikes with your pup, or played with toys for hours with your kitten in the past. Now that your pet is older, spending time together won’t be as physically active as it used to be. Even though your senior pet is slower, they still need your love and affection. The way you spend time together will change, but the bond between you and your senior pet will remain strong. All pets, no matter what stage of life they are in, need love to reduce stress and anxiety.

Still have questions about senior pet care? Check out these Frequently Asked Questions from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Want to adopt a senior dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

Why Do Dogs Dig? Understanding Canine Instincts

If you find your dog rearranging dirt in the yard, it should come as no surprise. Digging is one of the most common (and messy) behaviors to manage in dogs. Here are the most common reasons why your dog has become your resident gardener.

why do dogs dig

1. It’s Fun!

Fido may be digging in the backyard because it’s enjoyable! According to the Humane Society, your dog may dig when they learn that roots and soil “play back”. Many dogs dig if they are left outside alone without any other forms of entertainment. As an antidote, be sure to give your dog plenty of exercise, love, and other outlets for his energy! At least, consider creating a special digging area to help contain your dog’s messy habit.

2. Genetics

Some dogs are more genetically predisposed to digging than others. Hunters originally bred terriers and hounds to track, hunt, and burrow after their prey. So, their natural reaction to hearing a small animal or insect underground is to chase after them! It is difficult to discourage this behavior. When you see your dog digging, firmly tell them “no” and give them a different activity focus on. They will be less likely to create a mess if they can play with you!

3. Escaping

The outside world tempts even the most well-behaved dogs. There are so many new sounds and smells to explore!  Or, sometimes a neighbor’s dog or a thunderstorm can scare your pup into trying to escape from the yard. To naturally discourage this particular digging behavior, remove incentives for them to escape. This could mean installing chicken wire at the base of your fence to keep out wildlife. Also, make sure your yard is a safe environment for your dog.

4. Denning

Have you ever seen your dog digging at their bed before snuggling in? This is called “denning”, an instinctive trait inherited from their wild ancestors. When a dog was ready to whelp her young, she would dig up a safe and dry environment in which to raise her pups. Dens tend to be cooler in warm weather and warmer in the cold weather. This is a very difficult behavior to break because it is such a strong instinct. Give your dog the safety and reassurance they seek: protection against harsh weather, access to water, and a comfortable bed.

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.

Introducing Dogs and Cats: Understanding Body Language

Bringing home a new pet can be very exciting, but if you already have a pet at home, there may be complications. Adopting a new dog and introducing them to your cat, or vice versa, is a process that is unique to those two animals.  Paying close attention to each animal’s body language can help alert you to that a  meeting is about to turn south. Body language in cats and dogs can have various meanings, so pay attention to…

introducing dogs and cats

The Tail

For cats, a tail held high usually indicates positive body language. For instance, if a cat is holding their tail high, they are probably feeling very confident. However, watch out for a high tail with fur that looks erect. This can mean that your feline friend feels threatened! Dogs, on the other hand, usually carry their tails high when feeling agitated or aggressive. If your cat’s tail is held high and your dog’s tail is in a neutral position the first time they meet, it is a great sign.

The Ears

If your dog has pricked ears, use caution. This body language usually indicates that they may ready to take an aggressive action. Make sure that your dog is relaxed and look for ears lying back before introducing them to your new cat. In contrast, cats prick their ears forward when they feel self-assured and confident.

The Belly

We all know a dog who rolls over immediately to get a good belly rub! For dogs, showing the belly is a submissive type of body language that signals relaxation. However, this body language exhibited in cats tells a different story. If your cat is lying belly up with claws out, they are acting in self-defense. Both animals should be in an upright position when introduced for the first time.

The Mouth

When introducing dogs and cats, look at their mouths. Panting is body language that communicates stress for both cats and dogs. If your new dog or cat is panting when interacting with other animals, he or she may feel frightened. Both animals should have relaxed breathing when meeting for the first time.

Their Posture

Both species will shrink in on themselves when they feel afraid. A cat or dog holding their head low, with their tail curled under their body, is probably in an extremely frightening situation. When introducing your cat or dog to their new brother or sister, look for good posture to indicate that both animals are feeling safe and secure.

The Eyes

It’s all in the eyes! Dilated pupils in both cats and dogs is body language that indicates fear, aggression, or arousal. Blinking, on the other hand, usually means that both animals are feeling friendly. Beware of direct eye contact that has no blinking. If your cat is intensely staring down your new puppy, this could mean that they are challenging him or her.

When introducing your dog to your cat, look for overall body language that indicates relaxation and positive moods. For information on this topic, check out Introducing A New Dog or Cat to Resident Pets. Looking for more ways to help your dogs and cats get along? Here are some great ideas!

 

Want to adopt a dog or cat? Visit getyourpet.com to browse adoptable pets near you.