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Duluth Dog Trainer on How to Train Your Dog to Love the Crate

Puppy Crate Training

Crating is the mantra for many of today’s dog parents.  It can save your furniture, your shoes, and your sanity when training a destructive puppy, and can be the refuge for an older dog in a chaotic house.  Despite crates being the savior for many new puppy owners. They are sometimes impossible to introduce to their dog.

Fortunately, training your pet to enjoy their crate is a matter of lots of treats and gentle introduction, no matter the age of the dog.  Follow these simple steps on Crating your dog, and you find a more secure and well-adjusted dog.

 

Why You Should Crate:

In the wild, your dog would naturally seek out a secure area to make themselves feel secure and comfortable.  Despite getting comfortable on the carpet and eating Kibble, dogs still retain this instinct to seek out a dark, cave-like enclosure.  Providing them a designated space to satisfy this need will create an area for them to relax and call their own.

In addition to maintaining a dog-only space, Crating your pet will keep them out of trouble while puppies or new additions learn impulse control. By Crating your dog, they are learning new household manners. You are helping them to control their instinct to destroy out of boredom, and learning to control their bladders.

What to Look for In a Crate

The ideal crate depends on the size of the dog.  A dog should have room enough to turn around in and stand up comfortably, but not more than that.  If renting a crate for a growing puppy isn’t an option, buy the size that will suit them when fully grown.  While too small is not good, too big isn’t either; puppies will be more likely to use part of the space to eliminate in if given enough room.  By purchasing a crate new at a pet supplies store, you are ensuring your purchase is safe and approved for a puppy.

The location of the crate is also important.  It should be kept out of the way of heavy traffic, but also in a location where the family spends a lot of time. Many dogs prefer to stay close to people, even while taking a break.  During the initial stages of training, a crate should also be kept close to the bedroom for night crating to make the dog feel safe.  It can then be slowly moved out to general areas when the dog feels comfortable.

How to Get Your Dog to Love Their Crate

The number one mistake of new pet owners is introducing the crate in a way that makes the dog hate it.  Using the crate as a punishment space, crating for too long, or using a crate with no adjustment period are all excellent ways to make a dog hate their crate.  Crating is not a quick fix for behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, and should be introduced positively to reap the benefits.  Through careful training, your dog can learn it is a positive place instead of a someplace to dread.

Once the perfect crate is purchased and placed in the ideal location, you can start the introduction to your dog.  The key to success is a slow introduction with lots of treats.  Start by placing treats just inside the entrance to the crate.  Let the dog get comfortable retrieving treats from further inside the crate.  Always leave the door open, and stop whenever the dog becomes uncomfortable.  Start saying the command word, such as “kennel” or “crate” to let them associate the word with the location.

Crate Timing

If the dog seems comfortable, introduce feeding times in the crate, again, always leaving the door open.  Once they are happy eating in the crate, try closing the door during mealtimes.  Start closing the door during mealtimes, at first for only a minute, then extending the time to thirty minutes with the door close.  Immediately open the door if the dog becomes distressed.  Once thirty minutes with the door close is reached, it is now time to graduate by leaving the room.  Work on leaving the room, and eventually the house, for longer periods of time until the dog is happy in the crate for up to three hours.  Make sure to give regular bathroom breaks and access to water during longer stays.

Within three weeks, it is entirely possible to have most dogs happily spending time in their crate.  Crating can bring amazing results, especially when housebreaking a new dog or puppy, and requires only a little bit of patience.  Many dogs adapt very quickly to positive crate time and are happy to use the space as their own.  For the reluctant dogs, slow and calm will win the battle, and always back off if the dog becomes uncomfortable.

Share Your Story

Are there any success stories for our readers?  Let us know in the comments your story of teaching to Crate. If you have a new puppy, or a rescue dog, one of our dog trainers would be happy to give you a free 15 minutes telephone consultation or call an schedule a home visit. Your dog doesn’t have to be a puppy to learn how to love their crate. We can help!  Give us a call 770-695-3096 or email our lead dog trainer Daylan, at daylan@2pawsupinc.com

Snellville Pet Sitter Talks About The Benefits of Pet Dental Health

They’re furry, have a tail and love to eat food off the floor – but their teeth are just like ours.  In fact, our pets’ teeth are much more important.  From stealing socks to playing tug of war with the neighbor’s dog, cats and dogs rely on their teeth for every moment of their daily routine.  Dental care is an important aspect of health that pet owners must take into account.

In honor of February as National Pet Dental Health month, 2 Paws Up Inc. is taking a look at the importance of pet dental care in yearly checkups and how to include it in your daily life.

Why is Pet Dental Care Important:

Veterinarians will always include a quick peek at the teeth whenever you bring your pet in, and for a good reason.  Teeth can be the foundation of either complete health of chronic illness.  The reason for this is that periodontal disease often goes unnoticed, but can develop into kidney disease, liver disease, and heart muscle changes if left untreated.  Infections in the tooth or gum can also progress to abscesses and interfere with eating and drinking, leading to more complications.  Preventative care and proactive cleanings are essential to prevent this.

Infections in the teeth can often go unnoticed since they happen below the gum-line, so yearly checkups and visits for dental cleaning are the first lines of defense.

What Does Pet Dental Disease Look Like:

When cats and dogs are young, their teeth look white and even, with pink gums and neutral-smelling breath.  It is estimated, however, that at three years old the family pet will have some form of periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease, or dental disease, is when there is infection or inflammation of the gums or teeth due to the buildup of plaque or injury.

How Will You Tell?

You may be able to tell if your pet has the start of dental disease if they have any of the following symptoms: bad breath, broken teeth, discolored teeth, food dropping from the mouth, chewing only on one side, loss of appetite, changes in temperament or swelling around the mouth.  These symptoms can develop from a range of reasons; the most common is the simple buildup of tartar, which hardens into plaque.  Plaque causes inflammation of the gums and allows decay of the tooth to occur if left alone, sometimes even causing teeth to come loose.  Puppies will lose their puppy teeth naturally, though, so losing teeth in their first year is completely normal.

Broken Teeth

Other causes of dental disease can include broken teeth from excessive chewing, abscesses, misalignment of teeth (unfortunately no doggy braces are available, yet) and injuries to the jaw.

Preventative Pet Dental Care:

The number one tool in an owners’ preventative care for a dental disease will be brushing at home.  This requires quite a bit of training, especially when teaching cats to accept tooth brushing, but a couple of times a week routine is very effective.  Pet toothpaste comes in fun flavors such as liver, tuna, and chicken flavored, so your pet will grow to love the experience, too.  There is a range of products which advertise helping with dental care for pets, but it is always best to speak with your veterinarian before choosing one of these methods.

Veterinary Dental Cleaning

Veterinary dental cleaning is also highly recommended as the best way to do a yearly removal of plaque buildup but also to check for further dental problems.  Your vet will perform a visual check of the teeth to check the overall health of the gums, and possibly to recommend a cleaning.  During this visit, your pet will be anesthetized, which allows for a thorough cleaning without your pet being stressed by invasive inspections and loud machines.  During this cleaning, your pet will be put on a machine to help with their breathing, possibly have x-rays taken, and their teeth will be cleaned with the same machine your dentist uses on your teeth.  Teeth may be removed if needed, and the teeth polished.  Your pet will wake up with fresher breath and a healthy appetite.

February Is National Pet Dental Health Month

As it is national pet dental health month, speak with your local vet office to see if they are providing any special pricing for dental visits.  The next time Fido or Mittens wakes you up by staring intently into your face, only one of you will have to worry about morning breath. If you like this article let us know your thoughts and share your pets pretty smile. We love all our furry friends. If you would like a conversation how we can make your life less stressful knowing you have a pet sitter, dog walker or dog trainer who will be here 365 a year. Please call us 770-695-3096 or email barbie@2pawsupinc.com

 

Do Dogs Benefit from Watching Television? Ask a Snellville Dog Walker

Often, the last step on our way out the door is to click on the TV, so pets don’t feel like they are alone.  Owners can spot Fido staring intently at the show they are watching, and sometimes they even bark back when Rin Tin Tin reruns come on.

Some owners might ask; do pets even benefit from having the television going?  If dogs do, how can owners choose programs that stimulate pets while they are gone?  2 Paws Up Inc. did the research and is here with the results.

Which Dogs Respond to Television?

The facts are in; some dogs are fully capable of watching television when the subject matter interests them.  All dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than they do vision, seeing the colors of yellow and blue most clearly handicaps them a little.  Dogs who are most likely to watch TV also have better vision, such as Greyhounds, Whippets, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.  These breeds, among others, were bred to hunt by sight and speed, so would be able to track motion on television much easier than a bloodhound.

Not all dogs will show interest in television.  Breeds with the best eyesight are most likely to respond to a TV being left on for them as opposed to breeds who use mostly scent.  To test this, show your dog videos of dogs barking and running.  If your dog shows an interest in YouTube videos or Animal Planet episodes, chances are they would enjoy some digital companionship.

What are Dogs Responding To?

A dog will be most interested in exciting stimuli, such as other dogs running, dogs barking, or dogs socializing.  When the dog shows interest in another pet running through a field barking, they will try to interact with the video as they would in real life; by barking and trying to sniff or approach it.  When faced with a new experience, a dog would normally do exploratory behaviors; sniffing, barking, approaching.  It is likely that a dog would lose interest once these exploratory behaviors stayed one-sided.

Once a dog loses interest in TV, they are less likely to pay attention to it so that an ideal TV program would have constantly changing subjects.

How to Use Television in Training

Knowing which dogs will respond to TV and what they are interested in is one thing, but knowing how to use this interest to your advantage can be a game-changer.  If your dog is a habitual watcher, including a television in your training habits, can give you an extra edge.

If your dog has separation anxiety when you leave your home, try recording your family during social interactions, such as dinner or when having friends over.  When leaving for a short time, put this taped encounter on your television.  Hearing your voices and the sound of humans in the home can distract your dog from destructive behaviors, and your immediate return before they can lose interest in the recording interrupts the anxiety loop.  Start making your trips from home longer and longer while playing this tape to help your pet ease their separation anxiety.

If your pet barks like a maniac every time, the garbage man comes by (or postal worker, or Girl Scout entrepreneurs, etc.) try making a tape with several visits from this aggravating visitor.  Play this video on repeat so that your dog hears the sounds of the approaching truck or person and can see them approaching on the TV.  By getting your dog used to the sounds of this guest without them invading their territory, they will become less likely to respond to it in real life.  The mad barking that wakes the dead will become less and less likely as you play the tape.

These training aids are only a few of the several ways you can incorporate television into your pets’ life.  Even if your dog shows no interest in the TV, there is no harm in leaving it on.  Maybe your pet will still get a few benefits when it comes to screen time, and maybe it is only you who will get peace of mind while you are away.  Either way, it is worth the extra screen time.

Do you have any funny stories about your dog interacting with your TV?  Please share them in the comments! We, at 2 Paws Up Inc Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, and Dog Training would love to hear your story!

 

 

 

 

Snellville Pet Sitter Talks About How Does Catnip Actually Work?

Catnip, that magic plant that can send your cat into ecstatic leaps and comatose naps all within thirty minutes!  The real question is; how does catnip work and who should you buy it for?  This green and grassy plant can be purchased in holistic therapy shops, pet stores, and in garden nurseries.  It also comes in several forms; dried, fresh, spray form, and essential oil.  Potential buyers should be aware, though, the secret is in the oil, so the liquid spray version and stale dried catnip will be less powerful.

How Does It Work?

Specifically, catnip contains nepetalactone oil, which is the active ingredient in catnip.  Nepetalactone is breathed in through the cats’ nose, with the cat kneading and bruising the plant with their face and paws to facilitate the release of oil.  The nasal membranes absorb the nepetalactone and cause a neural response in the amygdala and hypothalamus, eventually causing reactions in these areas controlling responses to hunger and emotions.  The cat responds to this stimulus for about ten minutes and then will have a cool down period of about thirty minutes.  When being stimulated by catnip, the cat can do anything from periods of high activity (jumping, rolling, racing) to drooling and meowing.  Afterwards, the cat will typically become very calm and relaxed, and will not respond to new exposure to catnip for about two hours.

Who Does It Work On?

Unfortunately, this chemically-induced ecstasy does not affect all cats at all ages.  A kitten must be sexually mature, or around six months, to respond to catnip at all.  Additionally, only about 70% of cats are genetically able to respond to nepetalactone.

How Can You Use it?

Because catnip causes a response in the majority of cats, you can use this wonderful plant to your advantage:

Redirection:

Any cat owner knows that cats will find any way possible past an obstruction, such as the towels you put on your new couch to avoid it turning to an impromptu scratching post.  By rubbing dried or fresh catnip onto a scratching post of your choosing, you may redirect your cats’ scratch-fever in a more appropriate direction.  This also follows for enticing them to a new bed or litterbox.

Enrichment:

Cats are curious creatures, and if left to their own devices will find something to explore that you would rather they didn’t.  By providing toys and interactive environments, such as cat trees and toy mice, your cat will be less likely to find trouble their own way.  An addition to your cats’ environment could be dried catnip knotted into a sock, or a fresh catnip plant growing on their favorite windowsill.

Stress management:

Catnip provides the same affect for cats as a nice cup of tea and bubble bath does for us – it mellows them out.  If you have a new feline addition to the home who is still adjusting, or cat living on the edge after a change in household dynamic, think about stocking up on some ‘nip.  Store the excess in your freezer to maintain the oils, and introduce small amounts to your cat to see a relaxed Felix.

If your cat is part of the lucky majority who responds to catnip, be sure to acquire some to add to their life.  Whether they need it to relax or as encouragement to use the new litter box, catnip can be a useful addition to your grocery list.

Cats can get up to some crazy antics when playing with catnip, what is your favorite story from your frisky feline?  Let us know in the comments!

By Lauren Pescarus

The Cat’s Meow: What’s my cat really trying to say?

If you own a cat, you already know that your feline friend has a very large vocabulary. Chirps and trills, meows and yowls, purring or hissing, or just an intent, silent stare are all part of your cat’s vocal communication. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the visual cues your cat is giving you.

Amongst themselves, cats communicate by sound, body language, and smell. For us humans, however, we’re more attuned to the vocal cues and the more obvious visual cues while the scent cues are completely lost on us. For this reason, it seems that cats use meows most often when communicating with humans.

Another reason why cats meow at us could relate back to each cat’s experience as a newborn kitten. Kittens are blind and deaf when they’re first born, yet they still meow to alert their mothers of their presence and needs. When we become the cat’s primary caretaker, the all-around distributor of food and love, the cat’s tendency to meow probably becomes directed at us.

Cats have common patterns of communication (as outlined below) but you could also say that each cat has its own “dialect” or unique way of communicating. You help build this dialect as you communicate back to your pet and give her what she wants. Rewards usually reinforce certain behaviors, so if your cat does a funny trill and you laugh and give her love and affection, odds are she’ll keep that trill in her vocabulary. Similarly, if you respond to a meow by giving your cat food, or opening a door, or doing whatever it is she wants you to do, you’re helping your cat to create a code of behaviors and meows that allow her to communicate with you.

When listening to the sounds your cat makes, also pay attention to the context and the body language of your cat. If you’re just walking in the door and your cat meows at you with her tail and ears up, that’s probably a friendly hello. If you find your cat crouched in a corner, ears flat, tail wrapped protectively around her, and she’s making a low, growling meow, she’s probably letting you know she’s feeling threatened and is not interested in your company right now.

Here’s a basic break down of kitty communication:

The All-Purpose Meow
Hello, I’m here, I want food, please pet me, open this door, let me in there… The many meanings of the meow could go on and on. A meow alone won’t tell you much. Pay attention to your cat’s tail, ears, position, and intent. Is she rubbing against your leg or is she on the other side of the room, half-way out the door, trying to get you to follow? Does she seem happy, scared, sad, lonely? Sometimes kitty just wants to get your attention, and for that, a meow is perfect.

Purring
This throaty rumble is a sign of contentment and happiness. It can be communicative, meaning your cat wants you to know she’s happy, but it is also just comforting for kitty. In some cases, cats will actually use purring to comfort themselves if they are sick.

Chirps or Trills
You’ll notice that mama cats use trills to communicate with their kittens. It may signal that the cat wants you to follow or do something. Humans often interpret trills as questions because they end on an up note. Trills can also mark confusion or frustration. Watch your cat to see if she seems to be waiting for something from you. Who knows, maybe she is just asking where you’ve been.

C:
This is a very recognizable vocalization that primarily shows up when your kitty is bird or squirrel watching at the window. It looks like an almost knee-jerk reaction of the kitty’s jaw, and some suggest that it’s a mark of frustration or anticipation of the cat wanting to catch what she is seeing outside.

Growling
A cat’s growl sounds like a deep, drawn out, gutteral meow. The mildest type of growl simply expresses displeasure. For example, if you’re holding a cat that simply doesn’t want to be held, she will make a long, deep, growl or whine but will not lay the ears back or seem intent on striking out. Still, it’s wise to respect this growl and give the kitty her space. Other growls come out of an awareness of danger that the cat perceives, either for herself or for someone else. Cats are not as people protective as dogs, but they still have those protective instincts. If you hear your cat growling, it’s best to look at her and figure out what is threatening her or someone around her.

Hissing
This clear signal, whether directed at another cat or at a person, always means, “Back off.”

Yowling or Caterwauling
Loud, drawn out, and repetitive yowling is a female cat’s mating call. This call is distinctive from the more frantic yowling of a cat in distress.

It’s important to note that a sudden change in your cat’s meowing and body language patterns can indicate a change in her health. If you’re aware, your cat can let you know if she’s sick or in pain. Cats also use meowing to express a change in mood. If you bring a new kitten into your home, it may spend the first few nights loudly meowing because it’s looking for its mom and it’s confused by its new surroundings.

Take the time to get to know your cat’s meow. You’ll be surprised to find just how well you can understand your feline friend.

Why Choose 2 Paws Up, Inc Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

The choice when choosing a professional to visit your home, you want to be sure you are selecting the best. Making the choice on who to care for your pet can be overwhelming, especially with all the choices available in Gwinnett County. Whether you live in Lilburn, Snellville, Grayson, Loganville or other surrounding areas, we are your answer. We are here to tell you why 2 Paws Up, Inc is the best choice for you and your furry friend in the following five ways:

In Home Pet Care Means Less Stress for Everyone:

Traditional boarding or kenneling business are often run like jails: you drop your pet off in an unfamiliar metal and concrete pen amid other vocal and confused pets where they receive twice daily exercise with minimal contact. Kennels are also prime environments for infectious illnesses like kennel cough, internal parasites, and fleas. Elderly, sick, or anxious cats and dogs suffer in these environments.

With in-home care, your pets are never exposed to new germs or stressful places. They can sleep in their bed, drink from their water bowl, and greet the 2 Paws Up, Inc professional at their door. You will never need to schedule an extra stop to drop off and pick up within business hours, just come home to a calm and relaxed pet and notes from your pet sitter telling you what a Good Boy or Girl you have.

Home Security and Care When You Are Out:

Home security is everyone’s concern when they turn the key to leave, whether on the way to work or for a weekend break. Maybe you are home all day but unable to give your pet the walk they need, so you are looking for a little help. In all these situations, having a professional over once or more a day can ease your mind both for personal and home safety.

At 2 Paws Up, Inc our pet sitters and walkers maintain a presence in your home when you are not there. Often, we bring in mail, turn on and off lights, and are sometimes the first to notice household problems. One comment from a happy client:

“I wanted to take the time to thank you for your pet sitting services. You have a wonderful way with animals, and my dog, Sawyer and two cats love you. I love it that you come to the house. You not only take care of the animals but also check on the house. That is peace of mind while I am gone. You are so great about calling me if you see anything questionable. I know you would go over and beyond to make sure the animals are safe and taken care of.” – Review from Anonymous

Not only do we provide excellent care for your pet, we also provide peace of mind as well, preventing you from having unexpected surprises on your way home!

With 2 Paws Up, Inc You Get a Built-In Backup Plan:

The last thing you want to hear on your way out the door to your vacation or work is to hear your pet sitter has an emergency and cannot come. Cue the last-minute scramble to arrange walks and feeding. With 2 Paws Up, Inc you will never get this call. When you hire a professional with us, you get two professionals assigned to your pet who are available in case one cannot make it. These two experts become familiar with your pets’ needs and personality and will make sure your pet needs are fully covered in case one cannot make it.

No more last-minute surprises, only peace of mind.

You Get Trained Professionals Passionate About Pets:

All of our pet sitters and dog walkers are enthusiastic about their job (and the furry friends involved). You can rest assured you are getting expert care in your home. 2 Paws Up, Inc also considers all our employees our family, who are vetted and interviewed to ensure the best care possible.

Our team continues their education weekly to ensure they are up-to-date on all training and behavioral methods needed. Our team includes pet trainers and skilled enthusiasts, all of whom are lifelong animal lovers. If you have training concerns about your pet, we are on hand to guide you and can continue the training you are already practicing.

We Provide Care According to You:

Want your pet to always have Animal Planet running when we leave? Does your cat have a special medication they must take with food? Do you want us to work on sitting and rolling over when we play with them? Your priorities in pet care are our priorities. No matter the request or concern, we will work with you to make sure it is addressed. Not only do we listen to your requests in caring for your furry friend, but we also include you in our care through daily electronic journals emailed to you at each visit letting you know about how our visit went.

No matter if it was an afternoon social call to Felix or a slumber party with Fido, you will stay in the loop of what happened.

At the End of the Day:

In choosing 2 Paws Up, Inc you are making the best choice in professional pet care, both for yourself and your furry companion. Our team of trained pet experts is ready to help you in any way possible, from advice in training your pet to mid-day walks for a more relaxed evening. With the added security of a knowledgeable team prepared to help you with any problem, and a professional business respected in the Gwinnett community, give us a call to schedule your consultation. When you do, you’ll know that next time you come home you will be greeted by a calm and relaxed pet who was in good hands. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you best!

For current clients, how has 2 Paws Up, Inc professionals helped you out lately?

Suggested tags: pet care, choosing a pet professional, benefits of home care, pet behavior, dog care, cat sitting, training, Gwinnett County