On Saturday, May 25th I brought home an energetic new puppy to join our family. Jarvis has quickly settled into his new life with Ryan, Gatsby, Dr. Seuss, Joe, Mr. Moore, Zoey, Rory, and me, and the whole process has really made me miss all the times I got the privilege of helping my Get Pet clients with their new dogs. A couple evenings ago I tortured Ryan by reading several of my old blog posts about puppy training to him, but being the ever-supportive boyfriend, it resulted in him encouraging me to start blogging again - so here I am.
Selling Get Pet was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make, and having Jarvis around has reminded me why the decision was so hard. It brings me so much joy to watch this little guy learn and adapt, and I am always so proud of Gatsby's ability to appropriately interact with every dog he encounters. He truly is the reason that Get Pet was a success, and he immediately helped Ryan and me get Jarvis started in the right direction.
Since the puppy training is so close to home this time, I thought I will focus on Jarvis' development over the next few months here on the blog, and I hope my stories and experiences can be a resource to you from one dog parent to another. Please feel free to comment and ask questions. You can always reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for another reason to spoil your pup? Be sure to mark your calendar for the following special pet holidays in 2013.
Would you like to have a mobile app that allows you to locate dog-friendly places nearby like housing, bars, groomers, vets, and more plus gives you access to dog-friendly deals and events?
I am at Startup Weekend working on a mobile app for AllRoverTown to do just that, and if our team is chosen by the judges we'll receive funding to get it going.
Please help show your support so that I can use it to convince the judges that this app is viable and a solution that dog owners want. Think Foursquare for dogs with the functionality of Groupon Now, Yelp deals, Meetup, Craigslist and more.
To show your support, please visit www.allrovertown.com and enter your email address. You will receive a unique URL to share with all the people you know to use your social currency to help make this happen. You can also Like AllRoverTown on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
PLUS, you'll be entered in a drawing for a $100 Gift Certificate to redeem in the Get Pet Online Shop when you Like the AllRoverTown Facebook page.
Thanks for your support!
Kyle and Gatsby
Congratulations to the winner of last week's "Tricks and Treats" drawing. Emily T will receive a gift pack including a KissAble Toothbrush and Toothpaste kit and Dogswell Breathies Jerky Treats to help her keep up the good work of brushing her dogs' teeth! She'll also receive a $40 certificate to spend in the Get Pet Shop.
I'm very disappointed that so few of you care about your dogs' teeth! It's National Pet Dental Health Month after all. So, since so many of you are going to end up having to give your dogs pain medication when they have to get teeth removed, I decided it is best to focus this week's "Trick" on how to give your dog a pill. Watch the great video below from Howcast so you can learn how to give your dog a pill.
To be entered in this week's drawing for a "Treat" next week, respond to this week's Facebook poll "How do you get your dog to swallow a pill?"
I am pleased to announce that Gatsby and me are official bloggers on ChicagoNow.com. Please check out our first post http://www.chicagonow.com/dog-friendly-chicago/2012/02/city-dog-versus-country-dog/ and be sure to follow the blog as we will be updating it on a regular basis with reviews about dog-friendly places in Chicago and tips about having fun with your dog in Chicago.
How do I teach my puppy to stop barking? It's all too common of a question, and the first thing to note is YOU'RE NOT ALONE! Dogs bark, that's a fact, and we should never forget that humans actually taught dogs to bark more than their wild cousins.
How did we teach them to bark? When dogs were first domesticated, it's most likely that dogs who were better at alerting their human counterparts to threats were considered more desirable and therefore more likely to be chosen for breeding. Today, however, we teach our dogs to bark because we don't communicate correctly with them.
Dogs are pragmatic; they "deal with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations." For this reason if a dog receives a certain response when he presents a behavior, he'll keep presenting that behavior in the future in anticipation of receiving the same response, ultimately creating a habit. For example, dog barks and you fill her food bowl, dog barks and you get her leash, dog barks and you open the door to let her back inside...etc, etc, etc. We have to shift our thinking from expecting our dogs to tell us what they want to a mindset of telling our dogs what we want.
There is a widely accepted theory that one of the reasons domestic dogs bark is because they have been bred to remain in a more juvenile state. If this is true, then is your dog really mature enough to run the household or do they need some guidance from you, the adult.
Ok, so enough about why dogs bark; you wanted to know how to make it stop, right?
As outlined in the 7 Facts about Canine Communication there are four main categories of methods used to stop barking: 1. Collars/Devices, 2. Desensitization/Counterconditioning, 3. Psychotropic drugs, 4. Surgical debarking. I would NEVER recommend surgical debarking, and it is indeed illegal in most states. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers also takes a firm stance against surgical debarking.
Ask your vet if you want to know more about psychotropic drugs like buspirone, clomipramine and amitriptylene, and don't go doing a Google search about them either. Since psychotropic drugs can have side effects, be sure to also ask your vet about homeopathic remedies like Problem Pet Solution or Rescue Remedy for Pets You can also talk to your vet about collars and devices, or you can talk to a certified dog trainer, and guess who I suggest can give you the best recommendation...YOUR VET :-)
The first thing to keep in mind is that change takes time! Don't rush your dog, and remain patient. It might also be a good idea to tell your neighbors about how you're working with your dog. I advise all my new puppy clients to slide a letter under the door of each neighbor on their floor to invite them to reach out if the puppy is barking. What's that saying? Oh yeah, "it takes a village."
I am a strong believer that Step 1 to solving your dog's barking problem is to give your dog an appropriate level of exercise, obedience training and time for enrichment. Working your dog's mind is guaranteed to tire him out. Why else do you think kindergarten children require nap time when they're only in school for half a day? And you'd be amazed what an extra 30 minute walk can do for your dog's overall happiness.
Step 2 to solving your dog's barking is to be consistent when you are around. If your dog barks in the crate while you're home, wait to take him out of the crate until he is quiet...even if you have to wait for an hour. If your dog stares out the window barking at dogs who walk past, tell him "No", and if he doesn't stop then close the blinds for 30 minutes. If he goes right back to barking at the window when you re-open the blinds, then close them again for 30 minutes and keep doing that until he realizes that the his barking removes his fun view of outside. Oh, and don't forget to tell him "Good boy" when he stops barking; it's even more important that you praise your dog for good behavior even if that good behavior is the act of stopping bad behavior.
To summarize it all: Try to think like your dog. If someone "barked" at you to make them dinner, would you? Or would you correct them for being rude and wait for them to ask nicely? If your mom gave you a piece of candy every time you set the table without her asking, I bet you would have set the table a lot more, but if she gave you a piece of candy when you yelled "where's dinner!?!" then please don't ever let anyone in my family go on a date with
For more detailed information, I recommend reading:
Barking: How to Get Your Dog to Quiet Down by The Humane Society of the United States
Dog & Puppy Barking Training Info by PerfectPaws.com
I've been talking with my friends for several weeks now about the need for a website that allows you to set a recurring order for dog food delivery since I somehow always seem to end up running out of Gatsby's food.
Boy oh boy was I excited to find PetFlow today! It's a website that allows you to order dog treats, dog food, cat food and other supplies, and you can setup automatic shipping for recurring orders. Plus if you use discount code "ship49" shipping will be free for life, and the prices are below retail!
This is amazing! Such a great way for me to start off the new year, and I know Gatsby is going to love knowing that his food bin will always be full :-)
There are several opposing schools of thought about whether dogs need a coat, and below is the post I feel sums it all up the best. Although it may seem like common sense, I just need to add one thing: If a dog coat is not water resistant, don't use it when it's snowing. Also, Gatsby's personal choice in coats is Ruff Wear. http://www.ruffwear.com/
Copied from Does My Dog Really Need A Coat? February 24th, 2009 by Dan
While you may think that a dog’s natural fur coat is enough protection against the elements, this isn’t true for every individual canine. While some dogs (Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernards, etc) have thick fur that is designed to keep them warm in cold temperatures, others would be more comfortable with an extra layer.
So which dogs *do* need coats?:
- Dogs with very short fur (Pit Bulls, Boxers, Dobermans, etc) can all benefit from wearing a coat due to their lack of insulating fur.
* Dogs with little body fat (Greyhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, Italian Greyhounds, etc) that can’t retain heat as well as their stocky canine cousins should wear an additional of insulation in cold or wet weather.
* Toy breeds that can’t retain heat as well as larger dogs and will be more affected by the cold.
* Elderly dogs or those who are suffering from illnesses. Keeping warm puts extra stress on a dog’s system. A coat allows them to preserve their energy.
* Dog’s that are accustom to warmer weather and are then brought to a cold region may need an extra layer as they are not acclimated to the new climate.
* Any dog that is hesitant to go outside in the chilly weather or shows obvious signs of being cold while you’re outside (shivering) will probably be more willing to spend time outdoors if they are wearing a coat.
Keep in mind that if a healthy dog is actively exercising in cold weather that he probably won’t need a coat for his entire time outside. However, if you’re just going for a leisurely walk, a coat will keep your dog more comfortable.
You might be wondering, "What is giardia?" Or maybe you've had the misfortune of watching your dog suffer through vomit and diarrhea caused by this nasty parasite. If you want to get the official scoop on what giardia is all about, I recommend visiting the Center for Disease Control's website at http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/ It's written in relation to giardia in humans, but it's still a great resource.
The general explanation on the CDC's website is:
Giardiasis is a diarrheal illness caused by a microscopic parasite called Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). The parasite is found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals. People [or dogs] can become infected after accidentally swallowing the Giardia parasite.
Dogs ingest the parasite most commonly from contaminated water or by licking their paws after walking over contaminated surfaces. The biggest symptoms of giardia are:
- Loss of interest in food
- Weight loss
If you suspect your dog could have been exposed to the parasite and he displays these symptoms, please contact your vet immediately.
How can you prevent your dog from contracting giardia?
1. Don't let her drink water from puddles outside. In the winter giardia becomes much more common in cities where it snows. Poop that is left on the ground gets covered by the snow, the snow melts creating a puddle filled with poop, and your dog drinks from it. ICK!
2. Practice good hygiene for your dog. When you return inside, wipe your puppy's paws and backside with wipes right away. If you clean your dog before he has the chance to lick off the bacteria, you can help keep him from ingesting the parasite.
3. Keep in mind that humans can also be infected with giardia. After wiping down your pup, be sure to wash your hands and/or use an antibacterial wipe or lotion.
4. Continue your dog's heartworm preventative year-round (i.e. Interceptor or Heartgard). Although we think of this medicine to be solely intended for heartworms, it actually helps guard against many other parasites. Just because the cold weather scares away the mosquitoes who transmit heartworms, there are still other parasites that survive winter.
Sandra, Sam and I are diligent about keeping the dogs we walk from having an opportunity to explore areas that could be breeding grounds for poop, and we do our best to keep our four-legged clients clean so that they remain healthy. But don't forget to let your dog be a dog! He can't live in a bubble, but you don't have to make it extra simple for him to eat poop and drink from poopy puddles :-)
Please forward this blog to every dog owner you know...giardia is serious and I've found that very few dog owners know about it.
6/30/2010: UPDATE - Less than 24 hours after posting this blog, the fake review from Helen (referenced below) mysteriously disappeared from my Yelp page...funny how Yelp seems to have responded to my social media blast rather quickly about Helen but is still "unable" to reactivate Christy and Lauer's reviews until they "become more active on Yelp".
Two of my very loyal clients posted 5-star reviews on Yelp, and their reviews were "filtered" off the site because they are apparently not active enough in the Yelp community. To show my appreciation to both Lauer and Christy, I have included their reviews below for you to enjoy. Additionally, at the bottom of this blog you will find the e-mail discussion I had with Yelp's client services team...
To summarize what was discussed in the emails:
There is actually a review on my Yelp page from someone who I do not know at all. I do not have a dog client named Boris and I do not have a client named Helen, but somehow I have a review on my page from a woman named Helen with a dog named Boris who very clearly references my name and Get Pet. If you read the review (pasted below Lauer and Christy's reviews here), you will see that Helen's review almost seems to be a compilation of all the other reviews I have received from actual clients.
Of course, Ms. Helen has 110 reviews on Yelp and Christy and Lauer only have one each - their glowing review of Get Pet :-). From what Yelp is telling me, the only way that Lauer and Christy's reviews will start showing on my Yelp page again is if they each become more active on Yelp by reviewing more businesses and providing more reviews. Hmmmm...what if they don't have any other businesses they think are exciting enough to warrant a review? Should they lie and make up reviews so that their legitimate review can be viewed by the Yelp community? I certainly hope that's not what Yelp is encouraging....
Of course if that is what Yelp recommends, then that might explain why Helen created a fake review of Get Pet. Or maybe Helen doesn't exist at all and it's just a robot at Yelp creating content to entice me to start paying $300/month to be a premium business listing...I do keep getting calls from the advertising department after all....
Whatever the case, THANK YOU so much Lauer and Christy for taking the time to share your love for Get Pet online. I'm so sorry that Yelp thinks it's best for a computer to decide that you are not real people with valued opinions that other consumers might want to read because I definitely value the time you took.
2 Filtered Reviews for Get Pet
Note: The reviews below are not factored into the business's overall star rating.
***** 6/1/2010 We were extremely nervous parents when we brought our puppy home from the breeder. How would we find a good dog walker? One that we could trust in our home and to care for our new, precious family member. Also, how would we find someone in the Streeterville area since parking can be an issue? I found Kyle and Get Pet on Yelp and took a leap of faith. Within minutes of meeting him, I knew we had hit the jackpot. He showed up on time, was VERY professional and spent an hour and a half answering questions and making training recommendations. He provides so much more than just walking your pet. He provides such great tips, is so trustworthy and is extremely thorough! You can tell right from the start that he adores animals and knows a ton about them! I honestly don't know what we would have done without him. I am certain that we will look back on this time and thank Kyle and Get Pet for what a fabulous, well-trained dog we have. Kyle is the BEST! Thank you for making our puppy experience filled with lots of already cherished memories! ;)
I wish they had more stars to give!
***** 5/13/2010 My husband and I were having a difficult time figuring out what to do with our dog, Burnham. We had just finished obedience school and we were in the process of learning to manange our impulses and behave like a gentleman on walks.
We had a dog walker, but when I asked our obedience trainer about it, he indicated that if the dog walker is not reinforcing, on the walks, everything that we are learning, then "Burnie" would lose all we had worked so hard to learn.
It took months of calls and research to find Kyle, Gatsby and Dr. Seuss, but WOW what a blessing when we did. Kyle completely understood the "wait, watch, leave-it" commands as well as the inter "personal" communication that needed to take place between him and the pup (he understood, the "letter" and the "spirit" of what we needed).
We decided to give Kyle a try, and instantly we could see improvement in Burnie's behavior on walks. As the weeks have passed, we have continued to be impressed. We love Kyle almostas much as our puppy does.
Apart from being a wonderful teacher/walker/trainer for our dog, Kyle truly and sincerely loves his clients. He takes the time to discover who your pet is and caters to the personality nuances and needs of your dog. Our dog doesn't like to have his harness put on. So, Kyle will sit with him and give him a belly rub and really take his time and ease Burnie into the harness. He has also offered insights into our dog's personality that we didn't know and offered pointers and advice when we have sought it.
I cannot say enough about Kyle. 5 stars is definitiely not enough!
***** 6/1/2010 For some people who are aversive to the prospect of having children, or need a trial run with Chia-Pets to see if they can keep the plants alive, pets are wonderful substitutes for human babies.
I rescued Boris from an area shelter and found out to my surprise that, yes indeed, I have a nurturing side. As my work schedule and overnight business travel became more frequent, I needed a reliable dog-walker to come into my condo and exercise my little boy. I also wanted a company that would also be able to pet-sit on occasions when none of my friends were available to help me out and I'd be gone for more than a day (i.e. out-of-town weddings, weekend getaways where I could not take Boris with me.)
I am always leery about letting strangers into my home, let alone the prospect of entrusting my little furry pal to someone else. Because of the reviews on Yelp, I reached out to Get Pet for a trial dog walk and to see if Boris would take to the walker.
Enter Kyle. From the moment that I met him, I felt completely at ease. Boris loves Kyle and it is embarrassing almost to see how much PDA Boris gives. I knew I found the right person who would take care of my dog and love him as much as I do. Plus, as an added bonus, the price structure is highly competitive, so I have used GetPet liberally for a multitude of services.
Boris has become a better walker on the leash, and is less "talkative" in the evenings, now that he is getting walked regularly during the day when I'm at the office. It is great that I no longer have to rush home to let him out, if something unexpected pops up and keeps me at work longer or I want to meet up with colleagues for a quick happy hour.
Kyle is the consummate professional and respects animals - he is patient, reliable, and he always picks up after his 4-legged clients. Hands down - hire him. He just may have inspired me to give up the Chia-Pets.
Click "Read More" to see the email chain between Yelp's client services team and me:
Growing up in the country in Pennsylvania gave me tons of experience with animals from a very early age. I later pursued a career in horseback riding and also have experience as a veterinary technician. I have a strong passion for animals and have an uncanny ability to connect with all sorts of furry friends.