51°Mostly Cloudy

The Chew: Benefits of CBD for Pets

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

By Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

If you’ve ever had a dog that gets nervous around thunderstorms or a cat struggling with arthritis, you know that pets often have problems that we want to fix, but they seem unsolvable.

As owners, it is hard to see your pet suffering and feel powerless to help. For some health troubles, however, there may be a new solution: CBD.

What, exactly, is CBD? Its longer name is cannabidiol, and it is a compound found in the cannabis plant, which, yes, is primarily associated with marijuana. Perhaps the most important thing to note is that CBD won’t get your pet high. Cannabis has another compound, called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

It is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and what leads to the high for humans. Even though it comes from the same plant, CBD does not have psychoactive effects on humans or animals, and it is becoming used more frequently for health issues in humans. Recently, vets have begun realizing it can be helpful for animals as well.

CBD Can Help Reduce Anxiety

If your dog barks excessively, exhibits destructive behavior, or seems overly restless whenever you leave the house, there is a high chance they’re suffering from separation anxiety.

Just like in humans, CBD can help relieve anxiety so your dog can be calmer when you’re not home. It can also help reduce anxiety associated with noise phobias, so that your dog won’t cower every time there’s a thunderstorm or fireworks nearby.

CBD Can Treat Seizures and Epilepsy

This is a common use for CBD in humans, but pets can also suffer from seizures, and CBD can help. There are other medicines often prescribed to help animals with seizure activity, but these can be harmful to their liver and may not always work.

CBD Relieves Pain

It is well-reported that CBD has been effective against various types of pain, including inflammation and nerve-related pain. It can also help alleviate the effects of arthritis, helping with joint and mobility pain.

CBD Can Help with Appetite and Nausea

Although humans often report getting the “munchies” during or after consuming marijuana, your pet doesn’t have to get high to feel this effect. If your furry friend isn’t showing much appetite, CBD can help get them to eat. It’s also been shown to help with vomiting and nausea, even when toxins or drugs cause these symptoms.

CBD Might Help Fight Cancer

Preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence have suggested that CBD can have an anti-tumor effect, stopping cancerous cells from growing and increasing tumor cell death by blocking their ability to produce energy.

It’s important to remember that the effects of CBD are still being studied, particularly as they relate to animals. Not every company that offers CBD for pets is trustworthy, so always be sure to do your research before buying a product for your pet. Since CBD is still not legal at the federal level, in most states veterinarians aren’t allowed to bring up the topic with their patients.

But if you think CBD might be helpful to your pet, don’t be afraid to talk to your vet about it. If you do decide to try CBD, it’s crucial to purchase products specifically made for animals. Human CBD products often still contain small amounts of THC.

While this compound produces a high for humans, for animals it can be toxic, even in the small doses found in human CBD products. CBD may not turn out to be the magic cure-all for every problem our pets have, but for many owners, it offers them another way to help their furry best friends.

CBD can be easily administered to your pet in treat or liquid form. Treats are a more appetizing option, however, the liquid drops option can provide easier ways to administer various dosages. Come in to Bark + Boarding and mention this article for 15% off Suzie’s CBD Treats or Drops.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: How To Help Stray Cats During The Winter

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Winter brings below-freezing temperatures and icy or snowy conditions, and for stray cats this can pose a potentially deadly problem.

Cats’ fur can only keep them so warm, but there are plenty of ways you can help. If you’ve seen a stray cat hanging out in your neighborhood, don’t assume it is able to take care of itself or that someone else will help it. There are a few simple steps you can take to help these animals.

Provide Food and Water

Leaving out food and water for cats is helpful for several reasons. Besides the obvious of keeping the cats fed, it also keeps them from consuming scavenged food or water that might make them sick.

It also means they don’t have to roam as far looking for food, which can lead to them getting hurt by a cars, predators or other dangers. Wet food requires less energy to digest, leaving more energy to keep warm, but it is also in danger of freezing.

Serve it in a plastic bowl and warm up the food before putting it out to help prevent this. If it keeps freezing, switching to dry food is always better than nothing.

If you put food out at the same time each day, you create a schedule that the cats can come to expect, meaning that both the food and the animals spend less time in the cold.

To keep water from freezing, use bowls that are deep rather than wide, and place it in sunlight. Avoid using a metal bowl, and adding a pinch of sugar lowers the freezing point of water, ensuring it stays liquid longer.

To take extra caution, you can spray insulation foam into the underside of plastic feeding dishes and water bowls. Another solution is to place a microwaveable heating pad under the bowls, and you can even make your own heating pad using a sock filled with rice.

Make a Shelter

Creating a shelter doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming. A few modifications to something as simple as a heavy cardboard box make a perfect place for cats to sleep.

Raise the bottom of the box a couple inches above the ground so it doesn’t get soggy, and cover the top with plastic, such as a garbage bag, to protect from the elements. Cutting a hole in a plastic storage bin is also an easy way to create a shelter. Generally, a good size is about two feet by three feet, and 18 inches tall.

Smaller spaces keep the heat close and allow the cats to lay next to and on top of each other to share heat. The door should only be large enough for a cat, about six to eight inches. Adding a flap is a good way to keep out ice and rain and keep in heat.

Straw is by far the best choice for bedding in a shelter. Blankets, towels and even hay will absorb moisture and then potentially freeze, providing no help at all. Straw will help insulate the cats while staying dry.

Be sure to shovel snow away from the entrance so it doesn’t pile up too high and prevent the cat from entering or exiting.

Practice Winter Safety

There are a few things you can do around your house to help keep stray cats safe. One is to check under your car before starting it and driving away. Animals are often drawn to the heat emanating from the car, and may be curled up underneath to stay warm.

Don’t use antifreeze in areas that are accessible to cats, as consuming it can be lethal. Similarly, be sure to use a pet friendly ice melt to melt snow.

Trap-Neuter-Release

Possibly the best thing you can do for the feral cats in your area is something often referred to as TNR: trap, neuter, release. Trapping cats and giving them to an animal shelter may just add to an already overcrowded shelter, and, depending on where you live, may just lead them to be euthanized.

Neutering or spaying the cats and then releasing them allows them to continue to live as they like, while also limiting the population. Spaying and neutering also improves cats’ overall health.

Contact your local shelter for more information on how best to do this in your area.

0 Comments

The Chew: 7 New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Pet

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

The start of the New Year is often a time when we, as humans, decide to make a change in our lives and set higher goals. But making resolutions isn’t just for us! There are lots of little ways you can decide to improve your pet’s life this year by changing some habits.

Eat Healthier

Just like us, what pets eat can affect their quality of life.

This year, you can help keep them healthy by incorporating new habits into your routine. Measuring their food, instead of eyeballing it, every time you feed them ensures they’re not overeating.

You can also make a goal to stop feeding your pet table scraps. Their dog food is specially formulated to give them the nutrients they need and the appropriate amount of calories. Feeding them leftovers can cause them to gain weight and possibly suffer from gastrointestinal issues.

Create a Grooming Routine

The type and frequency of grooming that your pet needs will depend on their breed and type of coat, but there’s no time like the present to figure out what works best for your furry friend.

Brushing your pet removes excess fur, which means there’s less getting on your furniture and clothes. It also helps spread oils from the skin to the fur, causing the coat to look shiny and healthy.

Part of your routine should include oral hygiene. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth prevents tartar and plaque, and helps fight bad breath. Regular appointments with a professional groomer are a great way to easily maintain your pet’s good looks and hygiene.

Don’t Forget the Details

Within the span of a year, a lot can change such as addresses, phone numbers and more information that is key to making sure your pet gets returned to you if they’re lost. In too many cases, people only realize the info on their pet’s tag is out of date after they’ve escaped.

If any of your contact information has changed within the past year, be sure to update their tags and microchip as soon as possible.

Learn Some New Tricks

Your pet doesn’t need to be young or disruptive to attend a training class. These classes offer a challenge to dogs to keep them stimulated and also encourages bonding between pet and owner.

Even if you don’t want to go to an official class, there are plenty of resources online you can find to help you teach your dog a new trick at home. Learning new tricks and practicing old ones help keep your dog’s brain healthy and engaged.

Focus on Their Health

Yearly examinations for your pet are an important part of a good healthcare routine. If you haven’t already, schedule an appointment for your pet to make sure they are healthy.

Regular check-ups can catch conditions like diabetes, arthritis and obesity in much earlier stages, which makes them easier to treat and manage. Similarly, be sure to stay on top of preventatives like monthly flea, tick and heartworm medicines.

It may seem like a big cost up front, but it’s sure to save you money in the long run by not having to pay for these problems after they arise.

Do Some Cleaning

When was the last time you cleaned your pet’s food and water bowl? Or their bedding?

Their eating dishes should be washed weekly with hot, soapy water. Any bedding they use should be washed weekly as well and if they frequently use a crate or carrier, it should be cleaned using pet-safe products. All of these prevent the build-up of disease-causing bacteria and keep your pet (and you!) healthy.

Send an Update

Just like the holidays are a common time for humans to send cards with family updates, the New Year can be a great time to do the same with your pet.

If you adopted them from a shelter or a rescue group, take a moment to snap a photo and send them an update so they know how their old friend is doing. We know that the volunteers will be thrilled to know how much your pet loves their forever home!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Cold Safety for Pets

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Most of us are aware of the dangers that hot weather holds for pets, but you may not realize the dangers that cold weather can pose. While it is tempting to think that your pet’s fur coat makes them more resilient to cold weather, they are still susceptible to things like frostbite and hypothermia.

There are several simple steps you can take to keep your pet safe, no matter the temperature outside.

The most important thing is to know your pet’s limits. Animals that are young, old, ill or arthritic are more susceptible to the cold. Other factors like your pet’s coat, stores of body fat, activity level and health will play into how quickly the cold affects them.

To help keep your dog active and still safe during the cold weather, dressing them in a sweater or coat and putting booties on their feet will help them stay warm and keep their paws dry. It’s best to have several sweaters on hand so that you always have a dry one to use — putting your pet in a wet sweater is worse than no sweater at all.

If your pet won’t wear booties, you should check their paws frequently for cold-weather injuries like cracks or bleeding. Rubbing paw protection wax onto their pads can help keep them protected, both from these injuries and from salt and other deicers.

Clip the hair between your dog’s toes to prevent ice from accumulating, which can cause sudden lameness on a walk. When you return from the walk, be sure to wash off their paws to remove ice, antifreeze, deicers or other chemicals they may have picked up. These chemicals are toxic to dogs and may be ingested if the dog licks their paws.

Even when your pet is indoors, take extra care during the cold weather. Give several options of places to sleep so they can choose where they feel warmest, and make sure their bed isn’t in a drafty area. Use space heaters with extreme caution when pets are around, as they can burn themselves or even knock the heaters over, potentially starting a fire.

The dry air plus fluctuation in temperatures between going outdoors and coming inside may cause your pet’s skin to become itchy and flaky. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as they come in, taking extra care to remove any build-up of snow between their foot pads.

Bathe your pet as little as possible during the winter months. Washing them too often strips their skin of helpful oils and can increase the chance of dry skin. Ask your vet or groomer about a moisturizing shampoo to help prevent this.

Cars can present dangers of different kinds. Just like when it’s hot outside, you should never leave your dog unattended in a car when the temperature drops. Your car can quickly become like a refrigerator, rapidly dropping your pet’s body temperature to dangerous levels.

For stray pets, they may be attracted to the heat coming off your car even when it’s off. Before you get into your car, be sure to check underneath it or make a loud noise to encourage any animals to come out from under the car and find a safer spot to rest.

If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, lethargic,  weak or begins looking for places to burrow, they could be suffering from hypothermia and should be brought inside to a warm place immediately. Cover your pet with warm water bottles, blankets or towels. Heating pads can burn your pet, so be sure to always have several layers between your pet and a heat source. Frostbite is harder to detect, but if you suspect your pet has either, call your vet immediately and take your animal to receive medical help as soon as possible.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Holiday Survival Guide

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for us humans, but when some of our favorite holiday decorations and traditions can be dangerous or even deadly for pets, it’s important to be vigilant about ways in which you can keep your dog or cat safe.

To help, we’ve got a handy holiday survival guide so your Christmas festivities don’t include an emergency trip to the vet!

O Christmas Tree

Be sure to anchor your tree securely so it doesn’t fall on your pet (or your family!).

If you’re buying a live tree, don’t allow your pet to drink the water in the tree stand. Additives like fertilizer, sugar, aspirin and others can be toxic for pets, and the stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause your pet to get sick.

Pine needles can also injure your animal’s digestive tract if consumed, so be sure to vacuum the area around your tree regularly. Stay away from edible decorations like popcorn chains or cookie ornaments, as these will likely prove too enticing for your pet to ignore.

When you’re not around, unplug the lights, as many dogs and cats like to chew on these wires, and, if turned on, this can cause burns or even electric shocks.

To help prevent ornaments from breaking, set up your Christmas tree but wait to decorate it for a few days. This will help your pet adjust to the strange new object in the house, so, hopefully, by the time you add ornaments their curiosity will have worn off.

If you have a particularly determined cat, place aluminum foil on the floor around the tree to give you warning of a potential disaster.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Other holiday decorations can be harmful for your pet as well. Tinsel can add some shimmer to your holidays, but if ingested by a pet it will often lead to a blockage in the digestive tract, which often requires surgical intervention.

Plants like mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are toxic for pets to consume. Keep these well out of reach, or consider buying artificial alternatives to be on the safe side.

Candles, whether they’re holiday-scented or atop a menorah, require extra supervision with pets around. Never leave them unattended and always place them far out of reach of any curious paws or wagging tails. This will prevent your pet from being burned, or even causing a fire.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

If you have guests coming over for the holidays or if you’re traveling yourself, it’s important to ensure your pet stays safe and comfortable.

If you’re playing host to guests, be sure your furry friend has a quiet place to retreat to if they get overwhelmed. Make sure your pet has updated information on their collar or microchip and that they’re wearing the collar at all times, since the opportunities for them to escape increase with extra people coming and going.

If any guests ask to bring pets of their own that you don’t already know will get along with your pet, either respectfully decline or arrange to spend some time together before the holidays allowing your pets to get to know each other.

If you’re traveling, be sure to know how to keep your pet safe and cared for, whether you’re bringing them on a road trip or on an airplane. If you don’t want to travel with your pet or want to make sure they’re out of harm’s way when you have people over, bringing them to a safe and secure boarding facility is a great way to make sure they stay safe, have fun and save you from stress.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

If the unexpected and unthinkable happens, make sure you’re prepared to get your pet the help they need. Talk to your vet ahead of time to know where you will need to take your pet in case of an emergency, and know your travel route to get there so you’re not trying to navigate while stressed.

It’s important to have your vet’s clinic phone number, a 24/7 emergency vet number (if different), and the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (1-888-426-4435, a fee may apply) handy in case you need them.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: 7 Perfect Items for Any Dog Lover’s Holiday Wish List

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Cindy Aldridge

Admit it, you care more about getting your dog the perfect holiday gift than you do about getting yourself anything nice.

That’s okay, we love our dogs. This holiday season, don’t settle for a bag of bones and a new dog bowl. Think big. Here’s how you can stock your wish list with some truly useful items to help you, as the dog owner, as well as make your pooch happier, safer and more comfortable.

A dog-monitoring camera

Most of us work and therefore cannot spend all day with our dogs, however painful that reality may be. If you have to leave your dog home alone for long periods of time or you travel a lot, you can give yourself some extra peace of mind if you know that your dog is happy and safe at home (or at the sitter’s).

One of the best ways to do this is with a dog-monitoring camera. The tech for this has really improved over the past few years, with most new doggie camera models linking directly to your smartphone for 24/7 viewing.

A GPS tracking device

In the same vein as a monitoring camera, a dog-tracking device that uses GPS and links up with your smartphone will allow you to locate your beloved canine in the horrific event that they run away, go missing or even worse — get stolen. You don’t need to implant a tracker under your dog’s skin or anything. Modern trackers can be affixed gently to your dog’s collar.

A Thundershirt

Many dogs suffer from anxiety, are quick to frighten during loud events like parties and thunderstorms, and suffer from a variety of behavioral issues. Many vets and pet experts recommend a tight-fitting shirt, branded as a Thundershirt, to help with this. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there that it works, too. Many dog owners swear by them. At under $30, they are worth a spot on your holiday wish list.

A puzzle toy

Sure, plenty of dogs enjoy your classic tennis ball or frisbee. But some dogs require a little more of a mental workout. Puzzle toys are great, inexpensive items to add to your wish list. These toys are highly varied but most require dogs to use problem-solving skills to access treats or food.

A new dog bed

If someone got you a brand-new, comfortable bed for the holidays, would you be happy? You bet. Your dog will be too. Dogs spend a lot of their time sleeping, so a nice bed is crucial to their happiness. Bed sizes vary, and there are options available for both large and small breeds.

A year’s supply of dental bones

Dental bones are great ways to kill two birds with one stone – they give your dog something to eat and they help with their dental care in the process. There are dental bones out there that help remove plaque, freshen your dog’s breath, and prevent the buildup of biofilm on your dog’s teeth.

An automatic ball thrower

Ok, you’re allowed one sort-of silly item. It is the holidays after all.

Does your arm get tired throwing that tennis ball hundreds of times? Would you like to sit and read and book but also give your dog a workout? Automatic ball throwers may not seem like a worthwhile expense any other time of the year. Now’s your chance.

So, what are you waiting for? Starting building that dog-centric holiday wish list today!

0 Comments

The Chew: Thanksgiving With Pets

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

A table full of food and a house full of people to pet them — Thanksgiving seems like every pets dream! Before letting your dog or cat join in on the fun, it’s important to know which Thanksgiving favorites can be dangerous.

To make sure your furry friends have a safe holiday, check out this guide to what holiday treats you should and shouldn’t feed your pet.

Keep the Feast Fat-Free

Fatty or rich foods, like beef fat, poultry skin and gravy can cause severe gastrointestinal issues for animals. These include vomiting, diarrhea and excessive gas, but can also lead to more serious conditions like pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

Save the Sweets for Humans

Most desserts will be harmful to your dog’s digestive system. Chocolate is highly dangerous for dogs and can be fatal if too much is consumed.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many candies, low-sugar desserts and sometimes even peanut butter. Just a small amount of it can cause a drastic drop in blood pressure for dogs and lead to liver damage.

While many vets recommend feeding plain pumpkin to help dogs with bowel and stomach issues, pumpkin pie is not okay for dogs to consume. Not only does it have a variety of spices that can be problematic for canines, too much pumpkin for dogs will only lead to a mess you don’t want.

Say Bye to Bones

While we often associate dogs with chewing on a nice bone, tossing them the leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal will almost certainly do more harm than good.

At the very least, swallowing the bones can cause an upset stomach, but frequently the bones splinter and cause serious damage to the intestines that can quickly become fatal.

Pick up a dog-friendly bone from the pet store if you want your pup to have something safe to chew on.

Clean Up Quickly

The trash is tempting enough to most dogs on a normal day, but with the remains of a Thanksgiving feast in there, it becomes just about irresistible.

Make sure the trash can is in a place the dog doesn’t have access to and be sure any visitors in the house know to keep the dog out. Don’t leave leftovers on the table or counter where a daring dog might attempt to reach them and don’t forget to put leftovers in the fridge quickly.

Packaging around the turkey such as string, plastic holders and bags may smell like meat and convince some dogs to chew on them. These foreign objects can cause dangerous blockage in your dog’s digestive system if swallowed. If you choose to brine your turkey, make sure your dog doesn’t drink the brine afterwards, as the excessive salt can lead to salt toxicosis.

Be Aware of Decorations

The danger for pets isn’t just found on the table — many popular seasonal plants can pose a problem too.

Amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, hydrangeas, Poinsettias and more can be toxic to dogs and cats when chewed or eaten. It’s best to keep any plants out of reach to make sure your pet doesn’t get into something they shouldn’t.

What’s OK to Share?

There are some Thanksgiving favorites that are okay to give your pooch.

Turkey is fine as long as it doesn’t have any bones or skin. Plain, undressed mashed potatoes are okay to share, but once you add butter or other toppings, it’s best to keep them to yourself.

Plain green beans and carrots are a great snack to share with dogs even when it’s not the holidays. Of course, to be on the safe side, it’s usually best to pick up some doggie treats from the store before the holiday to make sure your pup can have fun and be safe.

If you believe your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, acting quickly is key. Call your veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital. You can also call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435.

Sometimes it’s best for you, your guests and your pet if your furry friend has a safe place to play and enjoy the holiday away from home. Whether you’re traveling or just want peace of mind for Thanksgiving, boarding or daycare are great, safe options for your pup.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Separation Anxiety in Dogs

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Getting a new dog can be exciting but what do you do if you realize your new pooch hates being home alone? Howling, destructive behaviors and urinating in the house are all habits no one wants in their pet, but there can be a simple explanation: separation anxiety.

Being aware of this common trait in dogs can help you identify the signs and get the help your pet needs so that you can both feel relaxed whenever you leave home.

There is no single defined cause of separation anxiety, which can make it hard to diagnose. Potential causes usually stem from a major life change, such as a new owner, moving to a new residence, a shift in their regular schedule or a missing household member, perhaps due to death or moving away.

Separation anxiety in dogs can manifest in a variety of ways. Common signs include excessive barking or howling, destructive acts like chewing furniture or scratching at doors and urinating in the house. Sometimes the signs aren’t as obvious, like intense pacing or excessive drooling, panting or salivation. If the dog is confined, separation anxiety may also cause him or her to try and escape, whether by digging if outdoors or clawing at their cage.

If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, it’s important to first rule out some other potential causes. Incontinence might be a result of a number of medical problems, old age or lack of training. Boredom can also be a cause of destructive behavior.

Be sure your pup has plenty of toys left out for them to play with when you leave, so that they always have something to do. Try using interactive toys that allow you to hide a treat inside for the dog to find to keep them occupied.

Howling or barking can be caused by triggers in the environment, like a new sound or something they see through the window. If this is the cause, it will often happen whether or not the owner is home.

If you determine that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, there are several measures you can take to help. Ensure that your dog has had the opportunity to expel some energy prior to leaving. When you do leave, don’t make a big deal out of it, if you act as if leaving is normal it helps your dog get the message that it’s all part of a standard routine.

If this doesn’t work, you can also mix up your ‘going away’ signals. Use a different door, put on your coat and shoes but don’t leave immediately, or keep your keys, purse or shoes in a new location. The goal is to change the fact that your dog associates these behaviors with leaving, causing them to get anxious before you even step out the door.

You can also help relieve separation anxiety by giving them a distraction. Leaving them with a toy, particularly something like a Kong with peanut butter, helps them not notice you leaving. You can also leave a radio or TV playing while you’re gone. The sound of human voices has often been shown to help calm down anxious dogs while their owners are away.

If you’ve tried working with your pup and are still seeing signs of separation anxiety there are many over-the-counter, prescription or all natural supplements that may help. Pheromone collars and/or diffusers, like Adaptil, send calming messages to your dog helping them relax in stressful situations.

Supplements, like NaturVet’s Quiet Moments Calming Aid, use all-natural ingredients like tryptophan & melatonin to help your pup in times of stress. Many vets now recommend CBD oil, which can be put directly in the dog’s mouth or come in treat form to help relieve anxiety.

If all else fails, talk to your vet about starting your dog on an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant.  Remember that none of these are a magic fix and should be combined with training to ensure the best possible results.

If your dog is struggling to overcome separation anxiety, bringing them to doggy daycare is also a good solution. At daycare your dog spends time with other dogs and humans all day long, keeping them far too busy to experience separation anxiety.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Fun Fall Outings for Fido

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

As the weather cools off, there are plenty of fun activities for us humans to enjoy to celebrate fall. But there’s no reason to leave your dog at home to miss out on the fun! From pumpkin patches to trick-or-treating, local venues allow you to bring along your dog to enjoy the fall festivities too.

Bark or Treat
October 26
6:30-8 p.m.
Alexandria City Marina
105 North Union Street, Alexandria

Bring your dog on a cruise of the Potomac River and enjoy the fresh air, changing leaves and fall fun! The cruise takes you on a sightseeing tour of Alexandria’s Seaport, and on October 26th, you and your dog are welcome to wear costumes and get into the Halloween spirit.

Wine Down Wednesdays
October 17
5:30-8 p.m.
1575 Keswick Winery Drive, Keswick

Fall can be a busy season, so why not spend an evening chilling out with a glass of wine at the Keswick Winery? Live music will be performed by Chamomile & Whiskey and food is provided by Spice Sea Gourmet. Of course, your pooch is invited!

Howl-o-ween Parties

A popular fall tradition are “howl-o-ween” parties hosted by local pet stores. These often include games, prizes, pet-safe fall treats and more. Check with a pet store near you to see if they have any events going on this season!

Scenic View Orchards

Nothing says fall like visiting an apple orchard! Enjoy the cool weather and some favorite fall treats when you stop by Scenic View Orchards. Pick your own apples, visit their farmer’s market and explore the outdoors with your pup.

Saints Row Brewing Company

Saints Row is a family-owned nano-brewery that is new to the area, but sure to quickly become a favorite. Your leashed dog is welcome to keep you company while you tour the facility and sample some of the beers they have on tap. You can also bring in outside food, so enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the other dogs!

Montpelier Farms Family Park

Just about every activity you want to do during fall is available at Montpelier Farms. They have a pumpkin patch, corn maze and even a fall festival open until November 4th. Your dog can join you in wandering the grounds of the farm, and even accompany you through the corn maze.

Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market

Even though this market is open year-round, something about fall makes farmer’s markets seem even more special. Bring your dog and support local farmers while getting fresh food such as fruits and vegetables, pastured meat, poultry and eggs, farmstead and artisan cheeses, sweet and savory baked goods (including gluten free options), jams and jellies plus home goods such as potted plants, soaps, cut flowers and more.

For any of the fun fall activities where dogs are not invited, daycare is a great alternative to ensure your pup is safe and having fun while you are doing the same!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Pet Ownership 101 — Adopting a New Pet

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Jessica Brody

Thinking of getting a pet? You’re not alone! Half of all Americans own a dog and nearly a third own a cat. Pets often become our faithful friends, constant companions and four-legged family members. If you’re new to pet ownership, you may feel overwhelmed or uncertain of what to expect. Take a deep breath — we’re here to help. Here are some of our favorite tips and advice for new pet owners:

Choosing the Purrfect Pet

If you’ve never owned a pet before, try to resist the urge to bring home the first cute face you see. There’s a lot that goes owning a pet. Just like humans, each pet has a unique personality and temperament.

Before adopting a pet, you’ll want to do some research to determine the kind of animal and the breed that will be the best fit for you. But if you’ve never owned a pet, how will you know which pet is right for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How large is your home?
  • Do you have a yard? Is it fenced?
  • Do you have time to regularly walk a dog?
  • Does anyone in the family have allergies?

These questions can point you in the right direction when choosing a pet.

Bringing Your Pet Home 

Prior to bringing your pet home, you’ll want to prepare. You can start by purchasing the basics such as bedding, food and water bowls and toys. When purchasing items for your new pet, you might also consider how to help your new pet acclimate to your home. For pets that might be nervous or fearful at first, you might buy some natural anxiety remedies or calming and stress-reducing pet care products.

You’ll want to be prepared for cleaning up after your new animal. One option is to invest in a new vacuum to pick up hair and dander. You’ll also want to have a plan for your pet in case of emergency. Make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations and has proper identification.

Bonding

There are many ways to bond with your new pet. For dog owners, one of the best ways to bond is through games like fetch, taking walks together, or obedience training. Lack of obedience training is one of the top mistakes made by pet owners each year. All dog owners should enroll their dogs in obedience training soon after bringing them home because you’ll learn to communicate while building trust and rapport.

Food

Your dog’s food matters more than you might think. When you give your dog healthy foods, you give their body the energy it needs to play and protect you and your family. But you have to feed them the right food. Many store-bought kibbles are made of mostly grain and inert fillers and don’t provide your dog the nutrients he needs. Most veterinarians advocate a diet of lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. Your veterinarian can help you determine the right type of food and feeding schedule for your dog.

Exercise

Dog owners should consider how they will ensure their pet gets enough exercise as it’s crucial for dogs to move throughout the day. Exercise isn’t just good for your dog; it’s also good for those who are trying to lose weight or recovering from addiction. A little fresh air and sunshine can go a long way toward helping you accomplish your goals.

If you have a busy work schedule or work long hours you may consider hiring a dog walker. That way, you’ll get caught up on work while Fido burns off some extra energy, gets some exercise and enjoys some outdoor relief.

Become the Purrfect Pet Parent

Although you might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to be a “perfect” pet owner, there’s really no such thing. If you’ve taken the steps listed above to find the right pet and prepare your home for pet ownership, you’ll be on the right track. Just prioritize your pet’s health, happiness and needs and you’ll be on your way to a happy and fulfilling relationship with your new pet.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Fall Treats for Your Furry Friends

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

For us humans, the coming of fall means sweet treats like pumpkin spice everything and Halloween candy. But our pets shouldn’t miss out on the fun! We’ve rounded up a couple fall treats for your furry friends that are tasty and healthy.

Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats

Nothing says fall like going to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Try this recipe that uses both of these favorite fall flavors. Not only will your dog love the taste, it’s also good for them. Pumpkin can be used to settle an upset stomach, and apples are a good source of fiber and vitamins A and C.

Ingredients:

4-4.5 cups oats plus additional
1 medium apple
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
Cookie cutter in the shape of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Grind oats in a food processor or blender. Transfer to mixing bowl.
  3. Core apple, being sure to remove all of the seeds. Grate apple, and add to bowl with oatmeal.
  4. Add egg and canned pumpkin to bowl and mix well. The mixture will be thick and slightly sticky.
  5. On a surface dusted with oats roll the dough out to approximately 1/2″ thick. Cut with cookie cutter and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and crispy. Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Of course, dogs shouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy some homemade treats. Try out this simple and healthy recipe for your cat as well!

Salmon Cat Treats

These treats use only three ingredients and are super easy to make, while also being packed full of protein to keep your kitty full, healthy and happy.

Ingredients:

10 oz canned salmon, undrained (can substitute canned chicken or tuna)
1 egg beaten
2 cups whole wheat flour
Cookie cutters in the shape of your choice!

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Pulse 10 oz. canned salmon (undrained) in a food processor or chop as finely as possible.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine salmon, 1 egg (beaten) and 2 cups whole wheat flour until dough forms. If dough is too dry, add up to 1/3 cup water. If dough is too wet or sticky, add a bit more flour. Dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  3. Roll out dough on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter to create shapes like pumpkins and leaves, if you want to keep them fall themed.
  4. Place treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350ºF for about 20 minutes. When they’re slightly browned and crunchy, they’re done.
  5. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Dos and Don’ts of Introducing Your Pets to Each Other — Part 2

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

For Part I of this article, click here.

We’ve all seen the cute videos and photos of dogs and cats cuddling together on the internet. But how can you make sure your pets become the best of pals? While some animals are just made for the single-pet life, others can live well with and even become friends with other animals, but it largely depends on having a proper introduction.

Here are some tips of what you should and shouldn’t do when introducing a new animal to your pet.

Don’t be panicky, anxious or overbearing.

Animals pick up on how their humans are feeling, so the tone of the meeting between pets can be impacted by how the owners behave.

When handling a dog, keep the lead loose (though it shouldn’t be an extendable leash). If the person is anxious or the leash is tight, the dog will react accordingly and feel threatened and fearful. In many meetings, a calming voice is enough to diffuse tension. You should only physically separate the animals if they become overly aggressive.

Reacting too hastily on your part can reinforce to the dogs that this is a threatening situation. As the pets meet, you may feel the need to micromanage the situation, but it is often best to let them figure out the interaction on their own, only stepping in if it becomes clear a fight is looming or one of the animals is overly excited.

Do separate them while you’re gone.

After the animals have met while on a leash or partially separated without conflict, you can allow them to interact in an enclosed environment while you are present. For dogs, this should still be a neutral territory at first. For cats, it can be in a room where each has access to a safe space.

Even if these times go well, you should still separate them when you aren’t available to watch them. This can mean while you’re out of the house, or even if you are just going to be busy and unable to give them the supervision they need.

It only takes a second for a fight to break out and someone to get hurt. Only after several months of conflict-free interactions should you consider allowing them to roam freely together without your supervision.

Don’t force it.

In some cases, you might be able to make a pet situation work. Cats may require separate litter boxes, or dogs may need to be fed separately if they get possessive of food.

For some animals that seem aggressive, you may need to call upon a trainer or a behavioral specialist to see if the situation can be worked out. But there will be times when it simply won’t happen. Some animals are made for the single-pet life, and it would be detrimental to both pets (and you!) to try and force it.

Having multiple animals can prevent loneliness and stress for your pets while you’re gone, and thus keep them from destructive behaviors. But it’s important to be prepared going into the introductions so that everyone gets off on the right foot–er, paw.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Dos and Don’ts of Introducing Your Pets to Each Other — Part 1

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Having multiple pets can be fun for the owner and keep the animals from getting lonely, but can also present problems. The best way to avoid these problems is introduce the animals to each other slowly and give them time to adjust to this change.

Do get to know your animals individually beforehand.

You may think your dog is friendly, but if they’ve only ever interacted with a couple of dogs, they may not be as social as you think.

Likewise, some cats are just more social than others. Make sure you choose animals with matching personalities. A rambunctious, playful dog may overpower a shy cat or possibly even injure an older cat unknowingly.

An older, relaxed cat might get annoyed by a kitten who insists on playing, and while they might grow out of this stage, it could be stressful for the older cat and lead to fights. Some dogs or cats just may not have the right personality to put up with the other one and should be single pets.

Don’t forget that scent is very important.

When introducing one dog to another, walk the dogs going the same direction with a safe distance apart, but still within eyesight of each other. Then allow each dog to smell where the other dog has walked. If either of them snarls or lunges toward the other consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behavioral specialist before having the dogs meet.

For cats, begin by feeding both cats on either side of a door. Start with each bowl a couple feet away from the door, and slowly decrease the distance until they are eating directly on opposite sides of the door without reacting.

Next, take a blanket that each cat has used and give it to the opposite cat, again, allowing him or her to become more familiar with the other one’s scent. From there, allow the newcomer cat to explore outside of their room while confining the resident cat to the newcomer’s room.

Use a similar approach when introducing dogs to cats. Give the newcomer a room of their own to adjust to their new situation. Then begin feeding the animals on opposite sides of the door.

If your dog obsessively digs or barks at the barrier for more than a day or two, you may want to consult a behavior specialist before allowing them to meet face to face. If both animals seem comfortable, allow them to switch spaces, giving the newcomer time to explore the house and the resident to get used to the new scent.

Do have the animals meet in a controlled setting.

For dogs meeting dogs, it should occur on neutral ground, like a park or pet supply store. Both dogs should be on a leash as they are introduced and allowed to sniff each other.

The first interaction between cats can occur by partially propping open the door to the room where the new cat has been staying. It should be wide enough so the cats can see each other, but without being able to really interact or claw at each other if things go poorly.

When introducing dogs and cats to each other, keep the dog on a leash. The cat should be able to leave the room if they wish. Eventually, your dog should be able to ignore the cat and stay calm, and the cat should be able to eat and use the litter box regularly even with the dog nearby.

Check back in two weeks for 3 more tips on introducing your new pets!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Protect Your Pet From These Three Risks This Summer

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

For many pets and their owners, summertime offers a chance to be outdoors, spend more time playing and enjoying the great weather.

Unfortunately, there are also several dangers that summer can bring with it. With some preparation and knowledge you can keep your pet safe and make sure summer stays fun. To help you, we’ve gathered the top three risks that face your pet and how you can prevent and recognize them.

  1. Ticks

One of the top concerns as pets spend more time outside is tick-borne diseases. While outdoors avoid places ticks hide, such as long grass and thick underbrush. Once inside check your dog for ticks and remove any that you see. Your dog should also be on flea and tick preventative to kill anything they may pick up.

Lyme disease is transmitted through deer ticks. While it is more prevalent in the New England area, it can be found all over.

Symptoms: Joint pain, lethargy, decreased appetite and fever. Typically takes several months for symptoms to appear.

Ehrlichiosis is one of the most common tick-borne diseases.

Symptoms: Fever, decreased appetite and weight loss, depression, runny nose, watery eyes, frequent bloody noses and enlarged lymph nodes or limbs. Takes several months for symptoms to appear.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, despite its name, this disease is not restricted to the Rocky Mountain area but can be found throughout North and South America.

Symptoms: Fever, joint or muscle pain, anemia, skin lesions, and vomiting. Signs typically appear within a few days.

  1. Dehydration and heatstroke

With higher temperatures comes an increased risk of dehydration and heatstroke. Short-nosed breeds are especially prone to heatstroke, as are animals that are overweight or have thick coats.

Bring water with you when you go on walks and stay in the shade as much as possible. If you’re walking in a paved area, be aware of how much hotter concrete and asphalt can be for your dog. If it is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.

Instead try a grassy area for a walk or purchase a set of booties or paw protection wax to protect their feet. Try to take your walks in the morning or in the evening to avoid the hottest hours of the day. You can also take advantage of an air-conditioned dog daycare during those extremely hot days of summer.

Symptoms: Excessive lethargy, decreased urination, dry gums, refusing to eat and sunken eyes.

  1. Common infections

Infections, particularly those caused by parasites, tend to increase in the summer as the temperatures allow them to thrive and your pup spends more time outdoors.

Coccidiosis

Cause: Coccidiosis can be found in cats and dogs, and is typically transmitted through infected feces, or through consuming a smaller animal that carries it, such as a mouse, rabbit or bird.

Symptoms: watery, mucus-like diarrhea which can progress to bloody diarrhea.

Giardia

Cause: The Giardia infection can be contracted by playing in or ingesting contaminated soil or water. Remove any standing water in your backyard and keep your dog from drinking from unknown water sources.

Symptoms: Diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort, dehydration, listlessness and a poor-looking coat.

While summer can be a time of great fun for pets and owners alike, it is important to know the dangers so that you can protect your pet. By arming yourself with this knowledge, summer can stay fun for you and your furry friend.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments

The Chew: Training Your Dog

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Having a dog can be a fun and rewarding experience, but without proper training, any dog can be a handful. Taking your dog to a training class and reinforcing these lessons at home is a key part of making sure your dog stays safe and you both stay happy!

Not all types of training are created equal. Rather than using fear and domination to punish unwanted behaviors, training with positive reinforcement gives your dog positive motivation to repeat desired behaviors and results in a stronger bond based on trust between dog and owner.

Sometimes called reward-based training, this style focuses on rewarding behaviors you want your dog to have, like sitting and fetching, and ignoring and withholding rewards for unwanted behaviors, like jumping on people. Rewards typically take the form of a small treat, verbal praise or even a favorite toy.

There are several things to know about training with positive reinforcement. The first is that timing is key. The reward must occur immediately after the desired behavior, within a few seconds, or the dog won’t associate it with the behavior.

Second, keep your commands short and clear. Saying something like “Max, be a good boy and sit down for me” won’t make any sense to your dog. Instead, use one to two words commands like “stay” or “leave it.” Being consistent in what commands you use is also important.

Make sure everyone who will be frequently interacting with the dog, such as other family members or a dog walker, know which commands to use and to always reward good behavior while ignoring bad behavior.

When training your dog, don’t spend long stretches of time working on it. Spend ten to fifteen minute bursts working on a command, otherwise your dog will get bored or tired and not respond as well.

One of the most important things to realize about positive reinforcement is that it can happen accidentally — and not in a good way. If your dog barks at noises in the backyard and you always let him out, you’re training him that barking gives him a reward.

Even what you might consider negative attention can have unintended results. Yelling and pushing at your dog when she jumps up on you seems like a clear “no” to you, but she might still perceive it as attention, and therefore continue to do it.

Instead, don’t reward these behaviors. Ignore your dog barking, and when your dog jumps up, simply turn around and act as if they aren’t there. When they calm down and greet you in the way you want, then you can pet them and give them your attention as a reward.

Another important but often forgotten aspect of training is crate training. Sometimes dismissed as cruel, crate training your dog has numerous benefits for both you and your pet.

If your dog is trained to stay in a crate without being disruptive or destructive, it gives you peace of mind while away, makes it easier to house-train your dog, and ensures that your pet has a safe place to go when they need to be out of the way, such as when a repairman is needed or guests are over.

For your dog, having a crate means they have a safe den to retreat to when they’re feeling tired, scared or sick. It also allows them to still be a part of the family even when they can’t be out wandering the house.

Dogs are social animals, and so keeping them outside by themselves for long stretches of time will cause them stress and often result in unwanted behaviors such as digging, barking and chewing.

Crates also make traveling easier. A crated dog in a car has a much better chance at surviving a car crash, and having a familiar space even when staying in a hotel or elsewhere will help reduce anxiety your pet may have from traveling.

Properly training your dog can be a big task, and so attending a class with your new dog can be a great way to make sure they get the training they need while strengthening your bond as you learn together. Attending a class ensures that you aren’t making any mistakes without realizing it, provides accountability so that you stay consistent with your training and gives your new pup the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and humans.

Bark+ Boarding offers three levels of classes based on age and skill level so that whatever your dog needs, we can help. And of course, all our classes use positive reinforcement so dogs and their owners have the best experience possible.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list