Have Dog, Will Travel – Road Tripping with Your Dog

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Have Dog, Will Travel: Whether its hiking trails in state parks, hitting the beach or visiting the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, there is nothing like a good vacation. Taking in different scenery, indulging in new experiences, spending time with loved ones is good for all members of the family, dogs included. With a bit of planning, you can avoid a Griswold style catastrophe and make traveling with your furry family member an epic success.

First, do your research. Determine which accommodations, attractions, and parks are pet friendly. Contact places you are considering to confirm their policies. Ask about size, restrictions on multiple pets, extra fees, or any other rules you need to know about. Websites may not be up to date and policies may have changed. You don’t want to arrive at Wallyworld to hear “Sorry folks, No Dogs Allowed. The moose out front shoulda told ya.”

Know your dog and be realistic. If he believes it’s his job to bark and alert you of strange noises, people, or blowing leaves, staying in a hotel may not be the best choice. The privacy of renting a cabin is a much better, and less stressful option.

Crate train your dog. Crates are basically canine mobile homes and will make your dog feel more secure in a strange environment. Most accommodations are much happier to have four legged guests if you can assure them your dog will be crated in your absence. Owners of a great little resort in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula once told me, “I’d rather have dog guests instead of human ones, because dogs never leave the bathtub running and flood the room.”

Brush up on the obedience basics: sit, stay, no jumping or barking, walking politely on leash. Like it or not, we are ambassadors for all pet travelers. Good manners go a long way to ensure venues continue to welcome furry travelers. Make sure everyone you come into contact with, from hotel and wait staff to park rangers and other guests, have a positive experience with your canine companion.

Before hitting the road, inspect all collars, harnesses, leashes, and seatbelts to make sure they are in good working order to keep your pet secure. Make sure your dog is wearing a current ID tag with your mobile number.

Unfortunately dogs can’t pack for themselves, and if they did it would be a backpack full of tennis balls. Although you don’t need a suitcase full, do pack a few toys and a blanket for his crate. Bring plenty of food, treats and water from home. Switching suddenly from city to well water or even to different municipality water can cause digestive problems that no one wants to deal with. If you are hitting multiple destinations, you may want to use bottled water.

Also be sure to be prepared for emergencies. Pack an animal first aid kit, as well as current vet records, vet phone number, microchip information and have a current picture of your dog available.

By doing a little research and preparation, you can ensure vacationing with your dog far is more enjoyable than any Griswold family trip.

—Kim P.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.

Game On – Building A Strong Relationship with Your Dog

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Game on – You can’t play Jenga with your dog. But you can teach him to fetch the pieces when they fall. Building a relationship with your dog can be more challenging, but also far more rewarding (and less precarious) than a game of Jenga.

Regardless of the species involved, trust is the base of any good relationship. For your dog, nothing builds trust like consistency. It can be very confusing for him if sometimes he’s allowed to jump on you — such as when you are doing yard work — and sometimes he’s not — such as when you are dressed for a wedding. Although smart creatures, dogs have no discernable fashion sense so they don’t realize you are wearing your “good clothes”.

Positive reinforcement training helps strengthen the bond between the two of you because you are stimulating his mind while spending time with him. Training helps him trust you because he learns what behaviors are consistently expected. Well-trained dogs are also allowed more freedom and time with their pack. If you know he won’t jump on Aunt Martha, knock over your 3 year old like she’s a bowling pin, or steal the turkey off the Thanksgiving table, you are more likely to allow him to be out when company visits.

Exercising both his body and his brain aid in deepening your relationship. A tired dog is a happy dog! Time spent walking together, not only allows him to experience new smells, and see new things, but also burns off some energy. Playing hide and seek, fetch, or doing puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit, repeat), incorporate physical and mental exercise by reinforcing commands (sit, stay, etc) during fun activities. This kind of training tends to be more productive because we think it’s more fun and transmit that positive energy to them.

Research shows physical touch increase the bond not just between people, but between animals too. Giving your dog a scratch behind the ears or a good belly rub throughout the day reinforces he’s an important part of the pack. Snuggling in together and binge watching an entire season of “The Dog Whisperer” isn’t being lazy, it’s relationship building!

Through stacking the blocks of training, exercise, and attention, you and your dog can build an awesome relationship, but he still won’t be a good Jenga player.

Kim P.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.

When I was eight, I threw treats so my Alaskan Malamute would pull my sled like the Iditarod dogs I saw on TV. Unknowingly, I also was throwing myself into an awesome lifetime adventure of helping people and animals improve their relationships. I’ve worked with businesses, individuals, and local rescue organizations, teaching private lessons, group classes and seminars, as well as private behavior consultations.

Currently I am lucky enough to share my life with Fia, aka The Chalupa, a fabulous rescued mixed breed.

Summer Fun with your Dog!

It may be almost August, but summer certainly isn’t over yet! There’s always so much going on in the summer—barbecues, pool parties, vacations and get-togethers—it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle. But while you’re out soaking up the warm sun, don’t forget about your best friend at home!

Summertime offers plenty of opportunities for fun, pet-related activities. Thanks to ModernDog, we are happy to share some activities to fill your calendar with that will help you and your furry friend enjoy the rest of summer together:

Splash zone!

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Kids love playing in the sprinklers, and if your dog loves water, I bet he/she does too! Set up a sprinkle while you’re out in the yard and watch your dog go crazy with fun, or grab a ball or Frisbee and play catch through the water!

Go site-seeing

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There are many historical sites, museums and parks all over that are dog friendly. Leash up your best friend and enjoy the day site-seeing together.

Host a Dog Swap!

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You’ve heard of clothing swaps—host a doggie swap! You know that toy you bought for your dog that was never played with, and is just collecting dust in the toy bin? Swap it! Invite follow pet-parents and get socializing. Encourage other pets to join in on the swap party & score big with new or gently used items that your dog actually likes!

Start a walking group

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Chances are you know other people with dogs—set a date and time to meet up and get walking. This not only is great exercise for your dog, but it gives him/her an opportunity to socialize with other dogs too!

Float around the pool

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Perhaps it’s just too hot outside to work up the energy to do anything. This happens! If you have a pool, or if there’s a dog friendly pool around go take a load off & enjoy the refreshing water—it is summer after all! Get your water-loving pooch swimming with some encouragement: float treats in the water!

Whatever you decide to do with your dog, make sure to pack lots of water & treats!

For more summer activity ideas, click here

Check back with us soon for more of Howie’s Howl!

 

Memorial Day

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Believe it or not, Memorial Day is finally upon us! As we anticipate a 3-day weekend, what better way to spend it than by going on a (much-deserved) vacation with your favorite furry friend.
Thanks to this guide by Visualistan, we have a list of things that may be helpful to remember before you take your pup on vacation this holiday weekend. Read more

Enjoy Spring with Your Pet

 These happy, smiling dogs and more can be found on Pinterest.


These happy, smiling dogs and more can be found on Pinterest.

Spring has sprung, and the snow has officially melted away to make room for longer, warmer days!

With the warmer weather, comes opportunity for fun, pet-related activities. Thanks to Pet360, we are happy to share some activities to fill your calendar with that will help you and your furry friend enjoy spring to the fullest: Read more

Indoor Winter Activities for your Dog

fidoAlas, the ground is covered with ice and/or snow, and the cold temperatures are here to stay for a while. Even if your dog likes the snow, it may be difficult to get him or her outside to run around and get some energy out. Needless to say, when it gets cold outside it can be difficult to find physical and mental stimulation for your dogs—we can’t blame them for not wanting to be out in negative degree weather, brr!

The Solution? Simple INDOOR activities that will keep your dog happy, healthy and entertained for the cold months ahead:

Tricks and Training

Are there some tricks that you’ve seen and thought it would be awesome to teach your dog? Now is the perfect time! There are so many tricks that your dog can learn. Make it a goal to help them master a new one—stop begging, how to come/stay, to shake, sit pretty, etc. There are many to choose from, including one of our favorites: how to train your dog to give a hug.

Feeding Time Challenge

When its time for food, make your dog work for it! Hiding their food somewhere in the house will make them work to find it—giving them the mental stimulation they need. This is also great with treats—Happy Howie’s meat rolls are perfect for cutting up & hiding, and they are trainer-approved. Leaving a trail of food may help them find what they are looking for!

Obstacle Course

Creating a simple obstacle course doesn’t have to take much time or effort, especially if your dog has mastered over, under and through. Boxes, couch cushions, chairs and steps are enough to get your dog moving around—even in a small space! Not to mention stairs are great for expelling a lot of energy.

Hide-n-Seek

Do you remember having fun playing this game when you were a kid? Well, just because you may not be a kid anymore doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun with your dog. Put your dog in a stay position while you run and hide. When you are ready, call for him/her! Make sure to have a reward waiting for them. Hide-n-seek is a perfect way to wear your dog out.

Mind Games

There are many mind games that are a perfect way to exercise your dog’s brainpower—while giving you a break. One toy is a seek-a-treat shuffle bone dog puzzle: a fun toy that makes your dog not only use his/her nose to smell out the treats, but to move the sliders so he can get to them. There are many different types of puzzles, 10 of which can be found here

Remember, Happy Howie’s dog treats are PERFECT for training, and are dog tested & trainer approved. Don’t let the cold, winter weather be your reason for not actively playing with your dog!

Check back with us again soon for more of Howie’s Howl