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How to Read Dog Body Language

Dog Body Language

We went to a great seminar, How to Read Dog Body Language, given by renowned dog trainer Colleen Safford of New York Walk & Train. It was held at the Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital (part of Downtown Veterinary Medical Hospitals.It was an absolutely amazing seminar and I can highly recommend going to it if you get the chance (or perhaps contact New York Walk & Train). Here are a few highlights:

  • Dogs use “calming signals” to convey harmless intentions. They also use these as self calming techniques.
  • Dogs work diligently to avoid conflict. As a human, it’s important to watch their various body language signals. Often humans don’t interpret them correctly.
  • Calming Signals include:
    • Lip licking
    • Yawn
    • Head turn (yep, your dog is not ignoring you but rather using a calming signal)
    • Scratch at collar or neck
    • Shaking it off
    • Soft blink
  • Aroused Dog Signals include:
    • Ears up, forward
    • Hard stare
    • Tail up, stiff wag
    • Stiff legged, weight over front legs
    • Closed mouth
  • It’s rude human behavior to do the following to dogs:
    • Approach a dog head on
    • Bend over a dog (including to put on a leash)
    • Making direct eye contact
  • Never punish a growling dog. The dog is warning us. It is a way for dogs to communicate stress and discomfort. If you punish the growl, you risk that they might escalate next time to biting without the warning of a growl.

 

Want to learn more? Check out our post on How to Properly Greet a Dog!

Protect Your Dog’s Paws from Getting Burned

hot asphalt awareness

Hot Asphalt Awareness

Press the back of your hand firmly against the asphalt for 7 seconds to verify it will be comfortable for your dog. The last thing anyone wants is a dog with burnt paws.

If needed and your dog is small enough, pick him up if the asphalt is too hot. Alternatively, you can get your dog some summer dog boots to protect his paws from the hot ground.

paws

paws

Dog Safety for Summer Parties

We hope you enjoy all the summer parties this season with your best friend and wanted to share a few dog safety tips.

Food at the Party

I’m sure your dog will be enjoying the party as much as you will,bad foods for dogs but they’ll also be using their cute brown eyes and charm to entice your guest to give them food. Clearly you need to be watching your dog, but also politely inform friends what your dog food rules are.
Make sure your dog doesn’t eat these human foods (see our list) and if your hosting the party, we would advise you don’t have grapes or chocolate finger food snacks just to be on the safe side. If you think your dog has eaten something dangerous, contact your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline.

Grass

dog_in_grassWhile many dogs love to roll around on the grass (and eat it too), many people do spray their lawns and grass with insecticides. Unfortunately, these can also be toxic to your dog.

Fireworks

It’s best to leave your pet at home (or indoors) during fireworks displays. Many dogs are very frightened of the noise. If your dog has a lot of anxiety from the sound of fireworks, you might want to consider getting a Thunder Shirt.
ThunderShirt

If you have fireworks at your home, be extra careful. Curious pets can easily get traumatized &/or burned if they are too close to a firework. Unlit fireworks can contain toxic ingredients if eaten or chewed on by your dog.

Heat

You definitely also want to check out our our “Hot Weather Tips for Dogs” which will get you the latest on keeping your dog cool while it’s hot!

Bugs

All the creepy crawlers come out to play in the warm summer months. Be sure your dog is receiving monthly preventatives to protect against fleas, ticks and heartworm disease. See also our category of Anti-Itch and Anti-Insect products.

Now that we’ve got that all covered – go out there and enjoy those amazing summer parties!!!

How to Find a Dog Walker

How to Find a Dog WalkerIf you’ve recently moved to a new city with your dog or have a new dog, you probably need to find a dog walker. It’s always good to ask your neighbors for recommendations, but you probably want to do your own research as well. We recommend looking on Yelp and doing a Google search for your neighborhood. Read the reviews – this will really give you some insight on potential dog walkers. Some businesses will only provide dog walking and others will have a retail/doggie daycare facility that also provides dog walking. Here’s our list of tips to find a dog walker:

Questions to Ask A Potential Dog Walker

  • Do you provide single/individual dog walks?
  • If you provide group walks, how many dogs you do walk at the same time? Personally, we don’t recommend more than 3 dogs at a time.
  • With group walks are large and small dogs separated?
  • What is the price for single vs group walks?
  • What are the different prices for the length of time, i.e. relief break, 30 min walk, 60 min walk?
  • How far will they walk your dog? Depending on the energy level of your dog, this is important to establish. We have a younger dog and don’t want the walker just to go around the block and let our dog sniff everything – the dog needs some exercise.
  • Do you have any credentials? What’s their experience walking, training and/or handling dogs?
  • Are they bonded and/or do they have insurance?
  • Do they have emergency procedures?
  • Do they ask for your vet’s details and a release form so they can send your dog to your vet in case of an emergency?
  • Do they ensure your dog has all the required vaccines / shots?
  • Will they take photos of your dog? This can be nice as you can see what your dog is doing during the day. However, we had a bad experience with this, as the dog walker took loads of photos of our dog and then put it on their blog with various personal comments about our dog. We wouldn’t have minded 2 or 3 photos, but they clearly went over professional boundaries.

Other Items to Consider in Selecting a Dog Walker

    • Price – How does it fit into your budget?
    • Price – How much will a potential dog walker charge?
      Is it in line with the average dog walking prices in your area?
how to find a dog walker

You DON’T want this for your dog!

 

  • If you want your dog to have a group walk, will the dog walker be bringing other dogs into your building / apartment? Some buildings do notallow outside dogs (from dog walkers) to come into the building.
  • Make sure your dog meets the potential dog walker. The walker and your dog should have some rapport.
  • Determine a pick up and drop off routine.
    What time(s) will the dog walker walk your dog?
    Will your dog be crated or free in the home?
    Do you want thedog walker to give your dog food or water (this might be an extra charge)?
    Do you want your dog’s paws wiped off when they come back from the walk (this might bean extra charge)?
  • Does the dog walker require a key to your home or can you have your doorman (if applicable) keep the key and give it out/pick it up from the dog walker. Our preference is to not give a key and have our doorman handle it. If you do give a key, remember to have a “do not duplicate” stamp on it.
  • Determine payment terms. Are you paying in advance? Can you get a package discount (e.g. 10 walks for 15% less)? Can you pay online (e.g. Paypal) or via credit card?
  • The relationship should preferably be written into a contract so the terms and conditions are clear.