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Three Reasons To Professionally Train Your Dog

As dog owners, we all want to give our furry friends the love and attention they deserve. Unfortunately, when life gets busy with work, travel, and children, we may start to feel like we are neglecting our dogs. One way to ensure that your dog is happy, healthy, and well cared for is to hire a professional trainer. Whether you are unsure of how to train your dog, or if you simply do not have time, a professional dog trainer is a great option. The benefits of training your dog are endless, and when you let a professional take the reins, you can trust that your dog will be in good hands. The following are just a few reasons to train your dog professionally:

1) To Avoid Problem Behaviors

If your dog in untrained and acts out by barking excessively or tearing up shoes and furniture, you may start to feel yourself building resentment towards the dog. Having your dog trained by a professional will provide you with the tools and commands you need to build a strong and happy bond with your dog. A skilled trainer will be able to teach your dog basic manner skills that can be essential in preventing your dog from developing any anxiety or stress-related behaviors. When your dog is well trained and responsive to you as an owner, you will be able to create a trusting and loving relationship.

2) To Socialize Your Dog

Socialization is incredibly important for dogs. If you do not have time to take your dog to places where they can interact with other people and dogs, hiring a professional trainer may be the best choice for you. A trainer will be able to expose your dog to different environments and ensure that they are comfortable in new areas.

3) Less Work For You

A professional dog trainer can take a major burden off your shoulders. All dog owners want their pet to be well behaved, but many don’t know exactly how to achieve this goal. With the help of an experienced trainer, you will be able to trust that your dog is on the road to becoming an obedient, respecting, and overall happy pup.

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The dog trainers at Walk! ATX are here to help you. If you are considering professional dog training, contact us today by calling (512) 655-9557.

Avoid restlessness and destruction at home by making sure your dog gets out of the house!

When dogs are home alone, they have a hard time finding a productive, nondestructive way to keep themselves entertained. They build up energy and become more and more restless, and eventually take it out on your shoes, or your couch cushions, or anything they are not supposed to touch. A great way to keep this from happening is to take your pup on daily walks. A tired dog is a content dog, and the healthiest, most productive way for them to release all of their energy is to go on daily walks.

Walking has so many health benefits for your dog. It allows them to explore the world and become sociable, as they meet new dogs and humans. On the same note, walking is a great way to train your dog. They can learn how to walk on a leash, follow orders, and appropriately interact with others. Most importantly, walking provides your dog with daily exercise, which helps with weight control and keeping a smooth digestive system. Making sure your dog stays healthy is a way to ensure that they can live a long, happy life by your side.

Now, it is understandable that while you love your pup and want to be there to walk them yourself, you don’t always have the time with your busy schedule. That is why we are here to help. At Walk! ATX, our passion is making sure dogs get all of the walks they need. With our walking service, we will make sure that your pooch gets the perfect walking experience, whether that is a short and slow 30-minute walk or a two-hour long hike. Our trained walkers won’t rest until your pup is happy and worn out. If you have a hound that needs walking, contact us at (512) 655-9557!

Why is choosing a dog sitter healthier than boarding my dog?

Leaving home for an extended period of time can be stressful enough without having to worry about your beloved pet’s well-being. On top of packing and making travel plans, many dog owners struggle with the choice between boarding and hiring a sitter. Which option will keep your dog happiest and healthiest while you are away? Choosing a pet sitter provides several specific advantages that can make the separation between you and your furry friend easier—at least for your pup!

  • Reduces anxiety: any change of habit induces anxiety, and of course, your pup will miss you while you are away! Even so, you want to keep the emotional pain of the separation to a minimum. Boarding a dog for your trip means they will encounter a strange place full of strange smells, sights, and sounds without your soothing presence. The stress of such a jolting experience can be avoided by hiring a sitter to care for your dog in the comfortable, familiar surroundings of your home.
  • Maximizes playtime and one-on-one attention: dogs rely on daily play and stimulation to stay healthy. Most pet sitters offer more one-on-one time with your dog than boarders, and that amount of attention can go a long way towards making a lonely pup happy. A sitter can also use your dog’s favorite toys, and you can teach a sitter your pup’s preferred walks and games.
  • Maintains normalcy: when a pup’s favorite human goes missing, it is hard to keep to a healthy schedule. Boarding completely lifts your pup out of their accustomed routine, but hiring a pet sitter can preserve a sense of calming normalcy. You can also communicate special requests to your pet sitter about your pup’s habits that a boarder may not be able to accommodate.

At Walk ATX, we understand the importance of providing your pup with the comfort of familiar surroundings and the reassurance of lots of attention during an owner’s absence. If you would like to hire a pet sitter to care for your pet’s emotional, physical, and mental well-being while you are away, you can contact Walk! ATX at (512) 655-9557.

The Indispensable Benefits of Walking Your Dog Daily

Dogs provide their human companions with so many gifts. Time and again, our furry counterparts give us joy, comfort, company, and love, unconditionally and without pretext. Unfortunately, as much as we want to reciprocate this love, too often we become busy and entrenched in our own lives, forgetting the physical and emotional needs of our beloved pups. We forget that we constitute the whole of their world, and that they only see and experience what we allow them to explore. We may leave our happy hounds at home all day and come home too exhausted to take them out, but that means your dog spent their whole day in the confines of the same four walls. These confines can cause negative effects on your pup, such as anxiety, depression, and even physical ailment. Daily walks can combat these issues and have a number of benefits of their own.

Walks promote physical health and a healthy weight. Daily walks have a number of health benefits, including heart health, constipation relief, and weight management. In addition, walks keep dogs limber and can help with joint pain over time. They also ensure pets maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce risk of heart disease, high-blood pressure, and diabetes, among other ailments. All of these positive health benefits affect not only the pet, but the walker as well, and are equally beneficial to human health.

Walks improve emotional well-being. Regular walks reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional and behavioral issues in pets. Walks also generally improve happiness and mood by allowing your pet to get exercise, see other parts of the world, and interact with new animals and humans. The same goes for the people who walk their pets, as walks can have the same emotional and social benefits for humans, particularly in regard to stress.

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Daily dog walks are vital for the physical and emotional well-being of your pet. Unfortunately, because of the busy nature of life, owners may not be available to walk their dogs every day. This is where Walk! ATX can help. Our experienced dog walkers will handle your precious pup with care and will ensure a healthy and productive walk on the days you simply cannot take your dog yourself. If you have any questions or want to set up an appointment with one of our dog walkers or trainers, please contact Walk! ATX at (512) 655-9557 today.

Three Benefits of Hiring a Dog Walker

Your dog is always there for you when you need some affection, but it can be difficult to be there for your pooch 24/7. Your life is busy, and even though you want to do what is best for your pet, it is a challenge managing the full responsibility of owning a dog with your work and social life. Owning a dog should not be a stressful experience, and hiring a dog walker can put the fun back into your relationship with your pet. Here are a few of the many major benefits that hiring a dog walker can provide.

1. A Healthier Lifestyle

Your dog needs exercise. Veterinarians agree that while exercise needs can vary between breeds, your dog should spend between 30 minutes and two hours exercising each day. With animal obesity becoming an increasingly common problem among dogs, exercise can keep your dog’s weight under control while also making sure they stay healthy and agile for years to come.

2. Increased Socialization

Beyond being a great form of exercise, walking may be the most exciting part of your dog’s day. While they walk, your dog sees, smells, and hears new and interesting things along the way that they can’t experience while sitting around the house. Walks also give your pet some time for socialization. Meeting new people and animals is an important part of your dog’s life and can help reduce aggression and anxiety around strangers in the future.

3. Reduced Stress

Hiring a dog walker can reduce stress for both you and your dog. Regular walks help your dog maintain a routine and healthy lifestyle while relieving stress through activity. Knowing your dog is cared for while you’re gone can relieve stress from your life as well. You can focus on your work and social life without worrying about rushing home.

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6 Common Training Mistakes Owners Make

Dog Training in Austin, Texas
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!

Tips for House Training Your Dog

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.
potty training your dog

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.

Dealing with Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety

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.
separation anxiety dog

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.

3. Counter-conditioning

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.

Four Human Foods Your Dog Can Safely Eat

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:

1. Carrots

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.

2. Rice

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.

3. Chicken

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.

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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.

Explaining the Friendship between Dog and Man

Austin dog walkerThere 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.

At Walk! ATX, we do everything we can to ensure that dog and man stay best friends. To learn more about how our services can bolster the relationship between dog and owner, call us at (512) 655-9557.