With the beautiful fall weather we’ve been having (okay, except for the smoke from the North Georgia wildfires going on right now), you might feel more apt to get outside with your dog on the weekends. Even though 2 Paws Up’s dog walkers might be walking him or her for you on a regular basis as well, there’s nothing quite like getting out in nature with your dog to bond and get him out of his routine. Getting outside is a perfect way to feel more grounded in your life too, and who couldn’t use more of that?
Georgia is full of beautiful places to hike with dogs, even if you don’t consider yourself much of an outdoor person or skilled hiker. You don’t necessarily even have to buy a whole bunch of gear to get started. But there are a few products that might help walking your dog a little easier, especially if you have a strong puller or dog who is easily distracted.
Whether you’re interested in hiking or just going to a park or around the neighborhood, here are 3 of our favorite harnesses for a smoother, more enjoyable walk for both you and your dog. These harnesses will encourage him to pull less without putting pressure on the throat and hopefully save your arms!
A long-standing staple for owners of strong dogs who pull, the Gentle Leader fits around your dog’s face in such a way that they are gently reminded to stay on track beside you, yet they are still unencumbered enough to eat and drink water while wearing it (important when you’re on a long adventure!).
These harnesses are very strong and durable, and some can even convert into seatbelt harnesses for the drive to and from your outdoor adventure, so it’s like you get two products in one. Some have plastic buckles, and some have metal interlocking buckles. They’re comfortable and easily adjustable with chest and back leash attachment options.
With a variety of types to choose from, this brand is focused on comfort. Your dog can wear a breathable mesh harness or even one with padded cushions for their armpits to prevent skin irritation. These harnesses are advertised as guaranteed to prevent your dog from pulling.
Remember to respect leash laws wherever you end up going, and let us know what your favorite local hiking spots are below or on Facebook or Instagram!
If you’re thinking about adding a new pet to your family, or if you have a foster or friend’s pet visiting for a while, there are ways to make the introductions and transitions smoother for all. All animals respond to new animals and certain triggers differently, so please remember this is only a guide. What works for one pet might not work for another, so if you have a multi-pet household, you might need to take it slow and introduce each pair separately in a different way.
First, what to avoid. Simply bringing a new animal into your house with no warning for the existing pets – or sticking two stranger dogs in the backyard together – is usually asking for trouble. Being suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar situation often makes the new pet and the existing ones overwhelmed and feel they have something to defend or flee from because the expectations haven’t been laid out for them. Also, dogs who are spayed or neutered are usually going to have an easier time acclimating to each other than those who aren’t.
Start off on neutral ground if possible.
A great way to introduce new dogs to each other is by having two people walk them separately, but a few feet away from each other, on neutral territory so they can get used to each other while they have a task (the walk) at-hand. When you can tell they’re relaxed and calm about the situation, you can gradually decrease the distance between them until they are sniffing and checking each other out, and then ideally they can finish the walk together. Keep an eye on their body language signals – stiffened bodies, yawning, and either avoiding any eye contact or staring down are all signs that you need to pull away and try again once things are calm before they have the chance to turn hostile. You must also stay calm yourself; if either walker feels nervous, that energy is going to travel right down the leash to the dog and make him nervous too.
Give the new pet a small space to get adjusted to first.
Sometimes a walk just isn’t possible right away, like if you pick up a stray off the street and don’t exactly have the chance to get him fitted for proper walking gear or even know how he will act on a leash. After all, some dogs are naturally more leash-aggressive but will do perfectly well interacting with another dog off-leash. So other potential options are crating the new dog while the other pets sniff through the bars or putting him in a bathroom for a short time if he doesn’t seem to panic from the closed door. New dogs sometimes feel more secure this way, and it protects anyone from getting hurt.
Many new cats will prefer to be kept in one room for a while as they acclimate to all the smells and sounds of their new environment before they even want to venture out and explore and meet anyone. This also gives all the pets a chance to sniff each other out under the doorway without anyone getting too upset.
Above all, be patient, and put yourself in your pets’ place.
It is your responsibility to set them up for success, not theirs. Sometimes adding a new pet to your household is a welcome breeze for your current pets (“yay, I have a playmate!”)…but sometimes they might feel jealous or upset, and there might even be a complete shift in the pack dynamic based on each dog’s personality. Sometimes when a beloved dog dies and the family adopts another one, they’ll find their first dog’s personality in the hierarchy changes altogether. This is a natural response but one they should be allowed to work out gradually and safely. You’ll want to allow for a lot of separation, even in close proximity, until you know you can trust everyone’s behavior will be safe and calm. Make sure to give all your pets lots of praise and treats for healthy interactions, and never punish them for negative behaviors or yell; you want them to associate being around each other with only positive things. For example, if your dog starts chasing your cat, distract him with a treat – this won’t cause him to chase your cat to get a treat; it will teach him to come when you call and get distracted from the cat until she’s no longer such a novelty.
Most of the time, animals just need time to get used to their new family arrangement and will become friends (or, at the very least, tolerant) with lots of time and positive reinforcement. We wish you all the best with your new family member or visitor!
If you have more questions about specific issues, please contact us today; we can refer you to someone who has behavior and basic training certification if you need more help to ensure a successful introduction!
Dog are chewers by nature, so to make your pet happy (and to keep your shoes and other belongings safe) it pays to invest in some really nice chews.
The most important thing is to pick a chew your pet can handle. A small dog needs a small chew and a large one a big one. Ideally, your pet should be able to hold one end of the chew comfortably in its mouth and use a paw on the other end to hold it.
The second issue is to recognise that chews come in two basic varieties: the ones you’re supposed to eat and the ones you try to destroy.
The best edible chews entertain while also massaging gums, cleaning teeth and freshening breath. Some are loaded with extra vitamins. They should also taste good.
Edible chews are often made from rawhide, compacted starch, and antlers. These give your pet real chewing experience and when tiny bits break off, they’re designed to pass safely through your pet, just like in the wild where canines chew on bones. However, do be careful not to keep them around too long as they pick up bacteria.
The best other chews are made from tough materials that are designed not to split or break down. They have a really long life, and they can be spread or filled with treat paste. Some are puzzle chews with hidden bells or treats.
These chews are primarily for entertainment, and you can also wash these, which is useful if your pet loves to chew outside.
With all chews do be careful to buy a quality product. A toy made from ordinary plastic and just formed into a bone shape will break down and could harm your pet. If in doubt, talk to your vet – or ask us!
Do you wonder why your pet keep barking its head off at the postman, and all the other people who trail regularly to your front door? And are you driven insane at trying to control the noise? Here are some ideas as to what’s going on and how you can deal with it.
First, you have to think canine. For your pet, there are certain universal truths. One is that you are the best person in the world. Another is that you are a complete dolt, unable to recognize a threat when you see one.
You see, your pet knows that territory is vital. You need to keep your ground free and clear of all enemies so that you and your loved ones are safe.
Now, you have your territory and every single day there’s this evil person sneaking up and trying to invade! He tries to dump things like letters and parcels too, the scoundrel! But it’s okay because your brave pet is scaring him off.
Yes, every single day your best friend is making sure you and the rest of the family are safe from the assaults of the postman and his fellow friends the paper boy, the trash collectors and the meter readers.
Now you are seeing your pet’s point of view, the solution is fairly clear. Instead of yelling (which your pet takes as encouragement like you’re barking along) you should very quietly calm your pet.
Teach your pet to bark once, say “well done” and then very gently put your hand over his mouth and say “Quiet now.” Praise the silence and get your dog into a routine where one bark is enough. Click and treat works well too. Try having them look always to you for command. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes a day to teach a dog a new trick.
Also, if you can, introduce the postman to your dog so that your pet knows its not the enemy but a friend.
When you have a house with dogs, sometimes this means that they are going to fight. It is your job to make sure that you are able to keep them from fighting or getting into a situation that will escalate quickly. Pets are like our children and that means that like them, we have to gently guide them not to poop on the carpet and fight from time to time. Here are some steps that will help you keep your dogs from fighting.
Remember to Trust Your Instincts! This means that you want to make sure when you see things begin to escalate that you are able to stop things before they continue to get out of hand. When you do this you will be able to see before a fight is about to start. You will be able to look at their body language and you will see how things are going with them. You will notice that you are able to stop this behavior before anything else begins.
Make Sure That You Keep Your Cool! It is important to realize that you have a job to do and that means that you need to be completely cool and ensure that you are ready for whatever may ensue. You cannot do this if you are not focusing on the right things at the right time.
Do Not Scream At the Dogs! This is a waste of time and it will not help you. You need to make sure that you are focused on how to break them up. The dogs will not listen to you and that means that you are going to just waste your energy in something that is fruitless.
You Want to Break Up the Dogs Without Getting Hurt! It is very important to realize that you need to be very careful as well because it is completely possible to get hurt if you are not paying attention to what you are doing and that means you need to be safe.
Get a leash! This will allow you to get control over one of the dogs quickly.
Dogs will be focused on one another which mean that you will have enough time to go behind the dog and clip the leash onto the collar; this requires that the dog has a collar.
After you do this, you will want to drag the dog to something that you can hook the leash to; when you do this you are creating a circle of separation between the two dogs.
You want to make sure that you go behind the back legs of the second dog and pull it away as well so that you will be able to protect yourself as well as pull back the other dog.
Then pull one of the dogs into a pen so that the two are separated.
When two dogs are fighting, it is very important for you to realize that you can end up in the middle of the fight if you are not careful and you do not know what to do. What that means for you is that it is mission critical that you take the utmost care to make sure that you are able to break up the fight without ending up in the center of the fight. That can be very challenging to do. One of the main reasons that you want to make sure that your dog is wearing a collar is so that you can hook a leash to it in a situation like this as it is the only way that it is possible to make sure that you are able to break up the fight and know that the pets are going to behave properly. It is not uncommon for a person who is trying to break up a fight to instead end up in the middle of it and have to deal with some bites and wounds. Remember when you see a fight to always act quickly and remember that as much as dogs are our best friends, they are not people. That means that we need to treat dogs as though they are smart animals but animals nonetheless. Without this sort of immediate action, there will be problems because you will end up in the middle of a fight. After this is over as well it is important to look back at the dog and see if he or she may need some training.
We love these little dogs with their plumy tails, their big brown eyes and the haughty way they strut, saying, “I know you’re looking at me. Because I’m GORGEOUS!”
Shih Tzus are happy, lively dogs who adore being with people. Add their compact size into the mix and you can see why they are so popular.
The challenge with walking these small dogs is that they need exercise to keep themselves trim and healthy but as they have little paws, they do overtire easily. Also, if you exercise in busy places, your pet may worry about being stepped on.
What we recommend is that you focus on packing in the fun in a small time frame.
Adult Shih Tzus need 15 to 20 minutes of exercise twice a day, with puppies needing 10 to 15 minutes. Regardless of age, they love going for walks but they also adore playing fetch.
So what we suggest is this: to accommodate little paws, find a dog friendly park. If it’s nearby, then do walk your pet there. However, if the street is busy or it’s more than a two minute walk, then carry your pet to the park.
When you get there, enjoy a short walk where you take in interesting bushes, trees and get your business over with in comfort. Then take out a ball and play fetch.
Keep an eye on your pet. When you see panting, or a slow down in running and bouncing, spend a minute or so with a cooling off walk and then go home for a bowl of water and a nap.
Too busy? Get us to walk your pet! Call us 770-695-3096 we would love to walk your little or big furry family member.
I always feel completely comfortable leaving my 3 dogs in Barbie's care. She is dependable and follows all of our instructions so everything is routine for the dogs while we are gone. I don't know what we would do without her! Read More..