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Madison Dog Blog

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Learn more about our pet services by reading our weekly articles.

By Doghaus University, Jun 16 2017 06:15PM

How To Avoid a Bad Dog Sitting Experience

If you are in the market for a dog sitter, you have likely happened across more than a few horror stories about some pretty bad ones. Stories about dog sitters stealing from clients or, in the worst cases, abusing the dog are common and it is important that they aren't ignored. Not only do they make sure that bad dog sitters no longer get business, but it educates those looking for a dog sitter on what to look for. If you are looking to avoid a bad dog sitting experience, you merely need to take information away from those horror stories to know what to look for because you better believe there are noticeable signs of a bad dog sitter before you even hand over the leash.

Hobbyist Versus a Professional

It is important that you make the decision between choosing a dog sitter that is a hobbyist and choosing a company that does professional dog sitting. This isn't saying that hobbyist dog sitters are bad, necessarily. There are a lot of hobbyists out there that truly love dogs and do a great job caring for them. However, choosing a hobbyist comes with more risks. There are hobbyists that don't know what to do if your dog has an emergency, your dog might not get along with their pets, and they may not provide the dedicated care that you would want.

Alternatively, professional dog sitters need certifications for both their business and their ability to care for dogs. They do this for a living and naturally they take their livelihood very seriously, so often you get better dedicated care for your dog as well. However, just like with hobbyists, there are also bad professional services as well. However, with both, you can usually tell by looking and typically their dirt isn't buried very deeply beneath the surface.

Do Your Digging

When choosing a dog sitter, take a cue from your dog and do a little digging. Some services might just be one Google search away from a number of scandals or a series of bad reviews on service websites. On the flip side, you can also dig up a series of raving reviews that praise them for their services and all the little things they do to create a great environment for your dog. You would be surprised what just a small bit of digging can uncover.

Looking for a Company's Due Diligence

There are a few little things that a dog sitter can have that shows they are dedicated to providing top quality service. This includes running background checks on their employees, having insurance that protects pets while they are sitting from accidents, and filing the necessary paperwork to obtain a license to show that they are indeed regulated by a government entity.

These small little touches should be a major influence on your choice of dog sitter as it shows that they make your dog's safety a top priority and try to prevent things from going badly.

Set Up a Meeting

You know what they say, the nose knows. Well, your dog's nose, anyway. If you want to see that your dog is well taken care of, set up a pre-sit meeting so you can watch how the dog sitter and your dog interact with each other. Make sure they are friendly and aren't too forceful with your pooch. If they can confidently answer questions while interacting with your dog, it is a pretty good sign that they can handle things.

If you are looking for a great dog sitter in the Madison area, one that is both professional and loves dogs, contact us today.

By Doghaus University, Apr 23 2017 04:33PM

5 Reasons to Walk Your Furry Friend Everyday

Having a lovable, energetic pup in your home is one of the greatest joys there is. Dogs have been beloved animal friends of people for thousands of years and the bond that people share with their dogs is unlike anything else. When it comes to owning a pet, whether you are a first time "dog mom or dad" or you have several furry friends in your home, there is plenty you can do to keep your dog healthy and happy. And in this post, we will discuss the five benefits of walking your puppy pal every day.

It Gets You (Both) Moving: Dogs are naturally active creatures and need to get their own physical fitness in everyday in order to maintain optimum health. Not being walked regularly doesn't just affect their physical health; they can also suffer from psychological problems if they aren't getting their daily exercise in. Dogs are happiest and at their best when they can be outdoors and being energetic. And the added benefit of regular dog walking is that you too are getting your daily exercise! The two of you can enjoy the fresh air, get in some great cardio, and feel refreshed afterwards.

Get Rid of Destructive Behavior: If your dog is developing bad habits such as scratching, digging, and clawing, a walk may be the cure. When dogs are not routinely active, it is not uncommon for them to become destructive in their behavior. But these problems can easily be addressed with a brisk walk every day. Think of pets in a similar manner that you would think of children; if they aren't given something constructive to do, it will lead to destructive tendencies.

Regular Activity Has Calming Effects: Think about it. When you have had a particularly intense a day at work, sometimes the best thing you can do is go for a walk somewhere scenic or hit the gym to sweat away the stress. It's the same for dogs. If your furry friend seems hyperactivity and filled with energy, even late at night, a walk is just the medicine he or she needs. After an energizing walk, your dog will be much more likely to sleep better at night and be calmer in your home.

Establish a Greater Bond: Walking your dog is one of the easiest and most effective ways to establish a strong bond. Especially if you have just welcomed your dog into your home, get in the habit of walking him or her everyday. With consistency, your furry friend will look forward to the daily walks they get to have with their favorite human. In no time at all, you will have developed a strong relationship in which your dog fully trusts you.

Promotes Better Behavior: Young puppies especially need to be trained to behave properly around you, small children, and strangers. One great way to teach them proper dog manners is by walking with them on a routine basis. You can teach them how to walk by your side the right way instead of pulling ahead or running toward every little thing that captures their attention. When your dog has developed great behavior on their walks with you, it will be easier for them when someone they don't know has to walk them, such as a pet sitter or professional dog walker.

At our pet day care center, we pride ourselves on providing every dog with an energizing, adventurous walk to maintain their health and happiness. If you are in need of a sitter for your dog or are looking for other pet services, don't hesitate to contact us today.

By Doghaus University, Apr 11 2017 09:31PM

Creating A Safe Dog Sitting Experience

A good dog sitter has a comfortable and friendly environment in which your pup will feel at home and relaxed. However, simply throwing your dog at the sitter without preparation can create a dangerous situation for both your dog and the sitters. Here's how you can create a safe dog sitting experience for all involved.

Take Your Dog To Meet The Sitter

One problem that dogs often have when being introduced into a pet sitting environment is being left with somebody they don't know well enough to trust. This puts both your pup and your sitter in danger by creating a situation in which your dog may react poorly. That's why it is important to introduce them to the sitter (or other sitters in the company) in advance.

Meet them in a neutral area and let your dog examine them in the typical way. This includes sniffing their hands, rubbing against their legs, and playing with them. A good dog sitter will bond with a dog during this period and learn a lot about their personality. This is crucial for a safe dog sitting experience.

Explore The Sitter's Area And Their Other Animals

After your pup feels comfortable with their sitter, take them to the sitting center. Here you should let your dog explore the area, including the fun play area, and interact with other dogs. They should be leashed during this experience, though, to avoid any chances of conflict. Remember to be confident when letting your dog explore to give them the strength they need to have fun.

Introducing your dog to the center in this way minimizes the type of anxiety and panic that can occur in dogs in this situation. This anxiety and panic are not safe because they can cause the dog to lash out in frustration against its handlers or behave in erratic and difficult ways.

Include Leashes And Muzzles With Their Care Kit

Send a small care kit to the center with your dog, one that includes treats, toys, leashes, and muzzles. The latter two items are very important for situations in which your dog may end up misbehaving. All the best planning in the world can't account for those situations in which a dog's behavior goes wrong. Muzzles and leashes create a safer situation by allowing your sitters to take control of the situation quickly.

A good leash should be able to attach to the dog's collar quickly without much struggle. It should also include a locking mechanism that keeps them from roaming too far. A muzzle should be able to be snapped on quickly and without struggle. Getting one on a panicking or attacking dog can be tricky, so finding an easy-to-use one is necessary for ensuring the safety of your dog and their sitters.

The Importance Of Comfort Items

As mentioned above, a good dog sitting care kit should include toys. Make sure to include toys that you know comfort your dog or remind them of home. These toys are typically those that your dog favors or treats like their "baby." Most dogs have one or two toys that they connect with emotionally in this manner and including them can serve as a calming mechanism for an upset dog.

However, they should only be used when necessary because many dogs will get possessive of these items. This can lead to fights if curious pups in the center try to take a look at or even take their toy. Let the sitter know which of these toys is a "comfort" item so that they know when to use them properly.

By following these simple steps, you create a fun environment for your dog and let your sitters work with him successfully. Your dog will actually look forward to visiting their friends at the sitters and will come home with a big sloppy grin on their face. To learn more about the benefits of dog sitting or other topics like this, please contact us today to learn more.

By Doghaus University, Mar 14 2017 09:50PM

Helping Your Dog Sitter Earn Your Pup's Respect

Dog sitters are a great way to create a friendly and comfortable environment for your dog when you leave town. However dog sitters often run into problems with some dogs, mostly because the dogs don't respect them.

Helping your dog sitter earn your pup's respect requires walking them through these steps and helping your dog understand the importance of their new pack mate.

The Important Of Earning A Dog's Respect When Dog Sitting

Your dog may love their pet sitter and look at them as an important and valued member of their pack. However, if they don't respect them it will be very hard for your sitter to get them to behave.

Dogs are pack animals and they need an alpha leader who they respect and who tells them what to do and how to behave. This respect isn't given out lightly and it must be earned.

As a result, it is important for your dog sitter to be established early as an alpha or controlling member of the pack. They don't necessarily have to be the major alpha or the primary alpha, but just hire on the social ladder than your dog.

Respect Is Earned By Being Firm

Many homeowners and even dog sitters mistake “respect” with fear. Your dog may be afraid of a very strict and demanding pet sitter, but they won't respect them. This means they won't enjoy their time with the sitter and will instead dread being around them.

Unfortunately this also means that they aren't behaving out of respect for the sitter, but because they're afraid of what might seem like unpredictable behaviors from the sitter. Dogs respect a leader who is firm, but fair, someone who treats them with respect and affection.

Alphas in a wolf pack don't treat their pack horribly. They work hard to provide direction for their pack in order to create a stable environment in which they have food, protection, and affection. Creating this situation with your dog sitter is crucial.

Praise Is So Important

Good dog sitters constantly praise the dogs in their care to show them affection and to build a trusting relationship. All dogs must be touched, hugged, petted, and embraced with enthusiasm in order to show respect to them.

This is because an alpha dog is energetic and will show this kind of affection in a pack environment. As a result, it is important for a pet sitter and you to constantly show praise to the dog when they're good and to know how to punish them (and show affection after) when they are not good.

Punishments Must Be Fair And Quickly Given

Dogs are smart and they like to test the limits of their leader's authority. Introducing a dog sitter to this environment will be a challenge and may cause the pup to work hard to see what bad behaviors they can get away with. As a result, bad behavior must be quickly punished, but in a fair way.

Dogs should never be hit, as this creates fear. Instead they can be verbally reprimanded and confronted with their bad behavior (such as chewed furniture). Hands-on punishment could be as simple as a collar shake or an enforced sit down. This will grab the dog's attention without hurting them and force them to pay attention to the dog sitter.

After they are reprimanded and punished, affection must be shown to let them know they are still a respected member of the pack. Grudges are not held in the dog world, so moving on immediately is important.

By following these steps with your misbehaving canine, you can help them learn to not only respect their dog sitter, but love them. This will streamline the process and make everything easier for everyone involved. Please contact us if you need help finding a good dog sitter near you.

By Doghaus University, Jan 7 2017 09:02PM

Do You Need to Leave Instructions for a Dog Sitter?

If you are going out of town and can’t bear the thought of your dog locked up in some kennel, a dog sitter can be an excellent option. It keeps your dog in a home environment that isn’t filled with a couple dozen scared and nervous other dogs, and it assures your pooch will get the same one-on-one attention they get with you. However, there are a lot of things that you might want to prepare before leaving your dog with a sitter, but should instructions be one of those things?

No matter how small of a task it is, you should always leave instructions for your pet sitter. Don’t just tell them either, make sure they are written down. Leaving written instructions for a pet sitter ensures that you won’t forget an instruction, and they won’t forget either.

What Are Some Important Instructions to Leave a Dog Sitter?

Feeding instructions

Medication instructions

Rewardable behaviors and what treats to use

Allergy notifications

Where the doggy bags and leash are located, if staying in your own home

What their favorite toys are

Emergency numbers

Special notes (like your dog hates thunder, they like to hide under beds, ect)

Most of these instructions are minor, but assure that your dog and the dog sitter acclimate to each other easier. However, while many of the above are okay to leave out, there are some that are not. Feeding instructions and allergies are pretty standard instructions, just so your sitter feeds the dog at their scheduled times and gives them the right amount. Allergies are good to include just so they don’t bring their own treats that might include something that the dog can’t handle.

However, one of the most important pieces of written information to include is your emergency numbers. This includes your cell phone, hotel number, and veterinarian’s number. If you are going somewhere where you won’t have phone access, it might be best to leave the number of someone you trust to make decisions for your dog.

Verbal Instructions vs. Written Instructions

You know how sometimes someone tells you something and you are trying so hard to listen that your brain just kind of erases it a few minutes later? That happens a lot, and it is no one’s fault really, but that is why it is important to always leave a written copy of instructions for your dog sitter.

However, it also depends on the length of time you are going to be away. If you are just out for the night, you can leave a copy of your emergency numbers and simply tell them how much and when to feed your dog. However, the longer you are away, the more detailed your instructions need to be.

For longer periods of time away from your dog, this is the time to get more detailed with your instructions. Your dog is going to miss you, and some pooches do get pretty depressed when their owners are away. A familiar routine, treats, and their favorite toys can help alleviate this somewhat. If your dog is prone to not eating or being lethargic while you are away, it might be best to let your sitter know a little bit more about what they like first.

Leaving your dog isn’t easy, but leaving them with a pet sitter is better. Instructions can help assure a smooth transition and a pet’s happiness. If you are looking for quality pet sitting services that allow you to keep your pet at home or at the safe home of one of our quality professionals, contact us today. At Dog Haus University, we love dogs, so we give you a wide array of different ways to care for your pet while you are away to assure that they are kept safe and happy.

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