Six of the most common training mistakes that dog owners make are:
1) Training for an extended period of time. Remember, your dog does not have the same attention span that a human does, so make sure to keep your training sessions brief! You will accomplish more with a short, focused training session than a long session that drags out beyond your dog’s patience limit.
2) Sending your dog mixed signals when training. Make sure not to confuse your dog and be consistent with your signals. For example, do not use positive and negative reinforcement at the same time…your dog will not know how to respond. It is recommended that trainers use positive reinforcement to achieve the best results, and you should consider sticking to that method to have a happier, healthier, more obedient pup!
3) If you doing “click” training, make sure not to overuse the clicker. Use it only when making a point and grabbing your dog’s attention during training. Over-clicking will cause your dog to be confused about the instruction he or she is trying to absorb.
4) Overuse of commands. Much like over-clicking, constant and unreinforced repeating of the same command over and over will instead teach your dog that he or she does not need to obey the command if they don’t do it the first time. You should always aim to use your commands one time, and expect that your dog will obey it.
5) Training in only one location. If you train your dog in the same location without practicing in various other locations, you may find that the dog is only obedient in that same setting. In order to properly train your dog, you need to take that training regimen on the road!
6) Failing to practice. With dogs, practice really does make perfect! You cannot expect your dog to learn and retain the lessons without reinforcing it with plenty of practice. Make sure to stay consistent, be positive, and reinforce their good behaviors!
At Walk ATX, we understand that your busy schedule sometimes makes it hard for you to complete the training regimen your dog needs. We have the experience, knowledge, and advanced techniques that can help your pup learn how to be a happy citizen! Contact us at 512-655-9557 to discuss how we can help you and your furry friend!
Some say house training your dog is one of the healthiest behaviors you can instill early on. By learning the proper place to do their business, your right-hand pup can learn good habits while ensuring a healthy relationship between pet and owner. All dogs are different, so the time it takes each pup to become house trained will vary; smaller dogs—which includes small puppies that will one day be big dogs—may require more maintenance since their bladders are smaller and they will have to “go” more frequently. While house training may seem like a difficult feat, the key to success is patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency. Here are some tips to ensure that the journey to appropriate waste elimination is a smooth and seamless one.
1. Choose a consistent location
Most owners want their dog to do their business in the backyard or another confined space. Whether it’s outside or in a section of their kennel, make sure the place your dog is trained to relieve themselves is consistent each time. This makes it easier for your pup to associate that particular place with that particular behavior. Before long, whenever they feel the need to “go,” they will go to that designated area on their own; for example, if you consistently take your dog to the backyard when you’re training them, they will learn to scratch at the backyard door whenever they feel need to relieve themselves.
2. Reward your pup with a treat after they get it right
As always, positive reinforcement is the way to go when trying to foster any type of behavior in your pet. So after they successfully do their business in the correct place, reward them with a treat (at least while they are still learning). This will allow them to associate going to the bathroom in the right place with a tasty reward and warm feelings of positivity.
3. Make sure the times you take your dog out are consistent
Early on, you will probably have to take your dog to the backyard (or other designated area) even if they don’t need to go. As such, it is good to get your dog used to a consistent schedule. If you take your pup out in the morning, after meal times, and before bed, their behavior will be more regulated and this will lessen the likelihood of an accident.
House training can take anywhere from four months to a year, depending on your dog’s age and the behaviors they were taught from a previous owner. The process requires some patience, but the payoff of a successfully house-trained pup is worth it for owner and pet alike!
Contact the Walk! ATX Team
House training is pivotal, but can also be a time-consuming process that not everyone will have the luxury of engaging in. If you are in need of basic training services, don’t hesitate to contact the dog enthusiasts at Walk! ATX. Our team offers a variety of pet services and can help your dog be the best they can be. Reach out to us today at (512) 655-9557 for more information.
There’s a reason why dogs are thought of as man’s trusty sidekick. The emotional bond between a pup and their owner is unlike any other connection. Dogs can provide support to humans emotionally, physically, and psychologically to the extent that they are relied on as a coping mechanism for many struggling with anger, loneliness, and anxiety. The depth of the emotional bond built is often a two-way street— many dogs experience feelings of intense anxiety when they are separated from their guardian and act out in response to those stressful feelings.
Separation anxiety is common, even when dogs are separated from their owners for mere hours at a time. A dog may howl, bark, chew, destroy, defecate, or try to escape in the absence of their owner as a response to feelings of stress and anxiety. Dogs that have changed owners, were relocated, or abandoned are more likely to exhibit these behaviors. So how does a pet owner cope with their distressed pup? Surely, we cannot be with our dogs every minute of the day (no matter how much we may want to be). Encouraging your pup to employ healthy behavior when they are faced with bouts of separation anxiety is beneficial for both pet and pet owner alike.
Tips for Separation Anxiety
Sometimes, a sudden change to the normal everyday routine can trigger separation anxiety. This can include changes in schedule, changes in residence, changes to members of the household, and—most prevalently—changes in guardianship. To minimize your pup’s negative feelings, you could employ the following tips for reducing separation anxiety:
1. Provide a puzzle toy
Boredom and anticipation can cause dogs to misbehave when they are not in the presence of their owner. A toy that a dog is able to chew on and play with while they are rewarded with periodic bits of food or peanut butter is an excellent way to occupy a pup’s time. These toys encourage chewing and licking, which is known to calm frenzied dogs.
2. Walk or play with your dog before the separation
Tiring your dog out before leaving the house is a great way to expend the pup’s energy so that they will be less likely to act out once you’re gone. A period of fun exercise will also allow your dog to relax and fall asleep once you leave and stifle feelings of anxiety.
Counter-conditioning is a treatment that involves associating items that a dog loves with things that make a dog anxious. For example, giving your pup a treat before you leave and when you get home will teach it to expect something good when you get back. This can induce positive feelings in your dog when you leave and make it less likely that they will misbehave.
Dealing with your pet’s separation anxiety can be hard, but—like all training—positive reinforcement and practice can significantly lessen your pup’s anxious feelings and make for a happier, healthier dog.
Contact the Walk! ATX Team
Providing your pup with basic training skills is invaluable and will provide for a healthier relationship between pet and owner. If your dog is in need of training, don’t hesitate to contact Walk! ATX for information about our services. We provide professional, quality services like pet sitting, basic training, and dog walking for pups of all kinds. Reach out to our Austin offices at (512) 655-9557 to learn more.
We’ve all done it—you’re sitting at the dinner table when your dog appears in the corner of your peripheral vision and flashes you those irresistible puppy eyes. Your pup sends you into a spiral of guilt and moral ponderings of how-bad-would-it-be-if-I-gave-you-a-little-piece until you finally succumb to their relentless gaze and sacrifice the last bite of your chicken taco. In truth, although we hear feeding your dog human food isn’t good practice, “people food” has no perilous effect on a dog’s health if you are smart about which foods to feed them. Being aware of which foods are safe for dogs to eat—and ensuring human food does not exceed 5-10% of their diet— will keep your pup both satisfied and healthy. Foods you can let your dog gobble with a clean conscience include:
Carrots are ideal snacks for dogs because of their crunchy consistency and nutrient-rich composition. They are high in fiber and vitamin A while being very low-calorie, making them great for dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Brown rice, particularly, is a healthy whole grain that can be served plain or as a mixture in your pup’s regular dog food. Just make sure the rice is fully cooked and not seasoned, spicy, or otherwise hard on your dog’s stomach.
Chicken—and just about any meat—can be fed to dogs as long as it is completely cooked. However, you should be especially careful with internal food temperature when it comes to steak and beef. While humans can withstand eating meat that is a little rare, dogs can quickly become ill if their meat is not cooked throughout. You should also be aware of the amount of seasoning and marinade in the meat. Too much salt or flavor is not good for a dog’s digestion. Never feed a dog cooked chicken bones, as they can easily splinter and hurt your dog’s stomach once they chew them. Furthermore, if you plan on feeding your dog meat, it should always be cut into small, easily consumable pieces so as not to present a choking hazard.
4. Peanut Butter
What dog doesn’t love peanut butter? The tasty spread is even incorporated into dog toys to keep rowdy pups busy. Peanut butter is a great treat for dogs because it is packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamin B, and vitamin E. Plain peanut butter is best, as crunchy peanut butter containing nuts can get stuck in dogs’ teeth. Just be sure not to feed your pup salted peanut butter or peanut butter with Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that—like all sugary products— can be toxic for dogs even if it is consumed in small amounts. The substance is known to cause low blood sugar, seizures, or even liver failure for dogs.
Knowing what constitutes a dog’s healthy diet is essential for any owner or sitter. There is no reason why a dog can’t experience a tasty treat now and then, as long as they do not eat substances harmful to themselves, such as chocolate and sugar.
Contact a Pet Sitter in Austin
If you are in need of a pet sitter in the Austin area, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Walk! ATX for qualified pet care. We have extensive knowledge on how to properly look after your pet that exceeds any kennel and can care for your pet in the comfort of its own home. To learn more about our services, reach out to us at (512) 655-9557 for an estimate.
There is no question that dogs and humans go together like peanut butter and jelly. But have you ever wondered why? Recently, scientists started to utilize advances in genetic sequencing to explain this profound friendship. In two separate studies, researchers looked at the genomes of various dogs as a way of exploring two questions. First, which genetic characteristics may be responsible for an increase in sociability in dogs? Second, how have dogs evolved throughout history?
A genome is a set of genetic instructions that acts like a recipe for the development of an organism’s mind and body. Genomes copy and paste to supply offspring with genetic instruction, and imperfections in these copies account for changes in behavior and appearance over generations. Since all these genomes are related, scientists can explain the behavior of dogs today by examining the similarities and differences in the genomes of different breeds of dogs.
In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers aimed to identify the specific sequences of genetic code that might give dogs their characteristic sociability. In this study, scientists took group of dogs that ranked high in sociability and a group that ranked especially low in sociability, and compared their genomes. They were able to identify specific genetic similarities within each group, which suggests that there is some relationship between DNA and sociability in dogs. Still, the question remains: how did those genetic similarities come to be? A separate 2015 study might have answers to this question.
In a study published in the life science journal Cell Research, scientists compared the genomes of 58 dogs from various locations around the globe. By identifying which of these dogs had similar genomes, scientists were able to trace relationships and lineages between groups of dogs around the world. Based on their research, scientists found dogs originated in southern East Asia 33,000 years ago, long before civilization began to develop in the Fertile Crescent. When asking the question “Why are dogs and humans such great companions?” we can look to this research, which suggests it’s because we spent thousands of years sharing experiences and working together with dogs.
With the countless different varieties of dog foods in today’s market, many new dog owners are left confused about which to choose. Each dog food’s brand, flavor, and meat all can play an important role in your dog’s health, so it is imperative that you, as a pet owner, choose wisely. Below are a few tips that will ensure that your dog will love their next meal.
Learn the Lingo
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has set in place restrictions on pet food labeling to end big corporation marketing gimmicks. These restrictions require that dog foods that use specific keywords on its packaging meet set percentage amounts for their ingredients. For instance, the term “single ingredient” or “combination” must mean that at least 95% of its content be of the specified ingredient. Furthermore, while terms like “entree”, “dinner”, or “platter” may sound like upscale pet food, these terms only need to contain 25% of the named ingredient. For more information, visit the AAFCO website.
Check the Nutrition Label
Many dog foods have pertinent information about its nutritional value spread all over its packaging. The guaranteed analysis, which can be found on every dog food package, lists the minimum content of specific nutrients such as crude protein, fats, and fiber. Also, the ingredients section for dog foods are listed in order of weight, so look for foods with meats listed first.
Consult Your Vet
Unbeknownst to many, dogs can have food allergies that can create adverse impact towards your dog’s health. Vets can test for these allergies and recommend the appropriate diet for your puppy. Also, if your dog is over or underweight, be sure to consult your vet to guarantee that you are taking the healthiest route to achieve your dogs desired weight. Food plays an important role in the vitality of your pet, and using professionally recommended food is always and excellent choice.
Contact a Pet Specialist
If you need a pet sitting service, let the professionals at Walk! ATX watch over the health and safety of your pet. Our qualified pet sitters are trained to care for, play with, and love your pet to ensure that they will be nothing but excited for your return. Please contact our office at (512) 655-9557 to learn about the best food for your dog and our other pet services!
Even though school is back in session, Texas’ characteristically warm weather keeps those sunny summer days alive and well! Even though fall is on the horizon, there’s still ample opportunity to kick back and relax with your pup poolside. However, like children, dogs require a watchful eye to keep them happy and healthy at the pool. Following some simple safety precautions will minimize the risk of your dog getting hurt and ensure that you both have a great time. Some tips for bringing your right-hand pup to the pool include:
- Be Aware of Hot Cement
Experts say that when weather is hotter than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of the ground can rise up to 125 degrees. We all know the feeling of walking on concrete in the middle of the summer barefoot. To a dog, whose paws can be more sensitive than human skin, this can be extremely uncomfortable. To keep your pooch from suffering burns, blisters, and scorched paws, lay a towel down in a shaded area for your pup to relax on. Keep to grassy areas if possible. You can test if the ground is reaching dangerous temperatures for your little one by touching the ground for at least ten seconds and seeing if you experience pain. If you can’t handle it, neither can your pup.
- Be Cautious of the Water Source These tips apply to creeks, rivers, lakes, and swimming holes as well: be cognizant of water sources with parasites, algae, sharp rocks, or harmful bacteria. Don’t let your dog near those areas. A good rule of thumb is not to allow your pup to swim anywhere you wouldn’t. Remember, an innocent wade in the water can quickly turn into an unplanned trip to the vet!
- Make Sure There are Easy Exits Available
Contrary to popular belief, dogs can tire out pretty quickly when they are frolicking in the water. Something commonly overlooked by dog owners is the accessibility of a pool or body of water. It’s important to know that your dog can easily get out of the water if it gets tuckered out. Pools with steps or slopes are ideal. Pools that only have ladders for entrances are a major no go. If you are at a lake or creek, make sure there is an obvious path that your dog can use as an easy exit. Just be sure you’re not leaving your pup helpless in the water.
- Bring Plenty of Drinking Water
This tip may seem counterproductive at first, but pools and other bodies of water have harmful chlorine, chemicals, and bacteria that is bad for dogs. Think, would you want to swallow globs of water from your pool? Additionally, beaches consist of large concentrations of saltwater, which can get into your dog’s eyes, make it hard for them to breath, and dehydrate them. Pack your dog lots of drinking water, and it will make them less inclined to lap up unsafe water from the pool.
- Rinse, Repeat
You should always rinse your dog after they are done Michael Phelps-ing in the water. Chlorine and salt can irritate a dog’s skin, coat, eyes, nose, and ears. Use cotton balls or a small towel to get the water out of their ears. A thorough rinse will cleanse your pup of any agents of irritation and ensure a happy, tired dog!
Contact the Walk! ATX Team
Untrained dogs can be unruly and hard to control at the pool. If you and your pup are in need of some proper training or additional exercise, the team of dog lovers at Walk! ATX can lend a hand in helping your dog become the best they can be! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (512) 655-9557 to learn more about the dog services we offer so that the fun with your best friend never has to end.
What better way to explore the open road than by bringing your pup along for all the adventures? Embarking on a road trip with man’s best friend in tow can be a great way to travel while training your dog to acclimate to new environments. You may be skeptical as to whether your pup can handle extended hours on the road without ripping up the car seats or making a break for it, but these tips might make it easier to keep your canine happy and healthy on any road tripping expedition.
Before sticking your dog in the car, it is always a good idea to walk them or engage them in some sort of exercise to release any pent-up energy or anxiety. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog! Additionally, you shouldn’t feed them an exuberant amount of treats before embarking—this can make them susceptible to stomach problems, car sickness, and can make the poor thing more ornery. Feeding them and then exercising afterward to tire them out will make your pup more receptive to spending hours in a compact space. Furthermore, it will get rid of the temptation to medicate your dog with a sedative—you don’t want to create a pattern of relying on medication for your pup to be calm when it can be avoided.
The Crate Is Your Friend
Since the cutie will be in a car, it is generally a good idea to crate them to minimize distractions for you while you drive. Crating your pup also protects them from becoming airborne if you stop too fast or get in an accident. If you do decide to crate your pup, it is advisable to stay positive and upbeat. Do not act sullen and speak in the “sad mommy voice.” They will immediately detect that something is wrong and become anxious. Instead, be calm, assertive, and jovial. Reassure your pup that everything is okay. Coax them into the crate with positive affirmations and let them walk in on their own—do not force them. If you treat the crate like it’s a prison, so will your dog.
Take Walking Breaks Often
Use each rest stop as an opportunity to walk or play with your pup and let them stretch out their paws. Bring their favorite toys along to increase comfort and familiarity. When your dog is introduced to new environments and smells, they will likely get a little rowdy—this is normal and expected. Remain calm and assertive and let them know that things are okay.
As more and more facilities begin to be dog-friendly, the option of traveling with your pup becomes increasingly enticing. Hitting the road with your right-hand pup at your side can be an excellent way to teach strengthen your bond and make some unforgettable memories.
Reach Out to the Team at Walk! ATX
Not all dogs are created equal and some lack the proper basic training that a long road trip necessitates. At Walk! ATX, we’re here to help! If you need support or guidance in training your pup to behave in new environments or simply need a pet-sitter while away traveling, don’t hesitate to contact our team at (512) 655-9557. We have the resources to help your pup be the best they can be so that your adventures together are limitless!
Regular exercise is known to improve the health and overall happiness of dogs. It is also capable of improving behavior, for a multitude of reasons. If your dog has behavior issues, then making sure your dog gets regular, long walks could be a way to effectively address this problem.
Here are a few reasons why walks are linked to better behaving pets:
Release of excess energy – The saying “a tired dog is a good dog” holds a lot of truth. A long walk allows dogs to get rid of their extra energy, making it more likely for them to rest when they are at home. Behavioral issues related to overly active breeds or chewing often subside when dogs are tired.
Improving health – Much like humans, dogs can be cranky when they are not feeling their best. Dog walking can build a stronger core in your pet, preventing common health issues like arthritis. A dog that feels well is more likely to behave well.
Socialization – Dog walking allows for a controlled setting in which your pet is introduced to new settings, smells, sounds, people, and animals. Well-socialized animals typically lack aggressive behavior, as they are not overwhelmed and frightened by external stimuli.
Mental stimulation – Your dog may become bored without mental stimulation, which can result in destructive behavior. Going on walks and presenting new situations and environments to your pup can help keep them entertained and mentally engaged.
Leash training – Using a leash is a great way to teach a pet some basic behavioral skills. Teaching your dog to become comfortable with a leash is a great first step in working with an unruly pet.
Contact an Experienced Austin Dog Walker
Regularly walking your pet is key to their health, happiness, and behavior. Finding the time to routinely walk your dog can be difficult, but Walk! ATX is here to help. From long walks to training, our Austin dog walkers can help improve your pet’s behavior keeping both them, and you, happy. To schedule an appointment, call (512) 655-9557 today.
Teaching your dog a few simple commands is a great way to spend time with them. It also teaches obedience, and can be used to stop them from engaging in any dangerous or disobedient actions. The following four commands are fairly easy for any dog to learn, and can make communication easier between you and your pet.
1) Sit – Teaching your dog to sit is fairly simple, so its a great command to start with. Whenever your dog is rambunctious, telling him or her to sit can help calm them down.
- Show your dog a treat at eye-level, then move the treat up towards the ceiling. When your pet watches the treat raise up, their bottom will naturally go down to a sitting position. After your pup sits, say “sit” and give him or her the treat.
2) Stay – After your dog has the sit command down, try teaching them to stay.
- Tell your dog to sit, but don’t give him or her the treat. Say “stay” and take a few steps back. If your dog stays, give him or her a treat. As your dog learns, add more distance before giving a treat.
3) Come – The come command is valuable, especially when your dog is unleashed.
- Leash your dog and lightly pull her to you after saying come, and give her a treat after she walks towards you. After mastering the trick with the leash, practice without it.
4) Down – This is a trickier command to teach, but is great if your dog tends to jump up when excited.
- Allow your dog to smell a treat in your hand, and then lower your hand towards the floor. After following your hand to the ground, pat on the ground until he lays down. Do not push him down, but if he does lay down, say “down” and offer him the treat.
Working on these commands just a few times each day will usually allow your pet to catch on. If your dog is especially stubborn, or you just can’t find the time to incorporate training into your daily routine, you may need help from a professional. Call Walk! ATX to set up a walk or training session for your furry friend by calling (512) 655-9557 today.