Attitude is Everything at Fit ‘N’ Furry

“Attitude is everything,” especially when it comes to training your dog!

Keeping a positive attitude and perspective is critical for the success of your dog’s training. A proper attitude and mindset should be considered the prerequisite to training your dog.  Your outlook and disposition towards training are even more important than the tools purchased, system used, or even the breed of dog.  Owners with a negative outlook on the training process can prove detrimental to the prospect of effective training.

Developing a solid bond between owner and dog is the key to creating a successful foundation for training.  It is a dog’s nature to reflect the personal temperament of their owners.  A pleasant owner who maintains a calm, confident, friendly disposition while training will see results in a pleasant dog.  Using positive reinforcements such as: compliments, encouragement, and praise will motivate your dog to perform well and eliminate the need to rely on treats or other methods.

As a trainer you need to manage firm and friendly control, but remember to make it fun for both you and your dog.  Trainers who keep a solid positive attitude are guaranteed a successful outcome. Owners with negative tendencies will come to find the training process an undesirable chore.  Their dog will sense this negative attitude, pick-up on it, and start to mirror their owner’s behaviors.  The training progress is then sidelined, causing frustration and undermining the process.

Canines, by nature, are routine oriented and naturally crave a balanced, structured lifestyle.  Maintaining a productive behavioral routine is your job as an owner/trainer to provide consistency throughout your dog’s training. Make training a treat with continued exemplary actions and nurtured reinforcements.

Positive-Proven-Effective

Holiday Safety Tips by Fit ‘N’ Furry

With Christmas and New Year’s just right around the corner we want to make sure that both you and your four-legged companions enjoy this festive season safely.  It’s best to keep-up your pets eating and exercise routine as much as possible. During this busy time we often get distracted and tend to break away from our normal daily activities, and since pets, dogs especially, are so routine based, they too can pick up on our bad behavior and start acting up. Here are a few tips to keep in mind this holiday:

  • NO TABLE SCRAPS – We know it’s tempting to give your furry pals a treat from the dinner table, but holiday foods tend to be richer than what they are used to eating and can cause severe diarrhea and stomach upset.  Bones are really bad idea because they can be swallowed and get stuck in the digestive tract, causing painful stomach cramps for your pooch and painful cramps in your wallet from the visit to the vet.  Avoid the passing of human foods and opt for a pet-friendly treat, you’ll be thankful when you’re not stuck cleaning up a dog mess right before the friends and relatives arrive.
  • NO TINSEL – These shiny, light reflecting strands are very attractive to kitties. They love batting it around and getting all tangled up in it, but whats even worse is when they start biting on these little strands. If swallowed your cat may suffer from severe vomiting, dehydration, and an obstructed digestive tract, which could require expensive surgery.
  • NO HOLLY or MISTLETOE – When ingested by four-legged pals gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems may occur. Try artificial plants. Contrary to popular belief Poinsettias, also known as the Christmas Star plant, are not poisonous to you or your pets.  Also be sure your Christmas tree is safely secured to prevent it tipping over and possibly injuring a pet, family member, or guest.
  • NO WIRES – Be sure to keep wires such as tree lights or electronics up off the floor and out of reach from your pets. They could get a severe shock if they took a nibble on those wires.  Be especially aware of new puppies, we all know they find everything to get into.

If you are traveling this season keep your pets in mind.  Ask yourself,  “Who’s going to take care of Sparky and Garfield?”  Check out local pet care facilities and ask the right questions.

  • Are they able to provide the care and attention you give at home? Remember, pets are very routine-based, they probably let you know when it’s time to eat or go to the bathroom, right?
  • Are the pets indoors or outdoors for most of their visit? Keep in mind the weather temperatures and climate of your area or the area you are traveling to.
  • What vaccinations are required for your pets?
  • Will the facility need to meet your pets before they come to visit?
  • What kind of pet food they serve?  Can you bring your own?
  • Can they administer medication for pets who need extra-special care?

These are all important things to know before checking your pets in for a holiday.  Hope everyone and their beloved furry, four-legged friends have a Happy Holiday and a Merry New Year!

Canine’s and Leadership According to Fit ‘N’ Furry

Whether you’re looking to train your new pup or teach your old dog new tricks, it’s never an easy task. It’s always a good idea to start training right away with a new pooch, they learn to take direction and understand that you’re the pack leader. Socialization is also key when acclimating a new puppy. Basic and foundation commands should be established between you and your dog. Dogs sense of hearing tend to be much better than humans, so when giving commands, you don’t need to yell, just use a very “mater-of-fact” tone.

We tend to humanize our pets with lots of affection and not enough discipline. Because of this, many of us find it difficult to scold our pets or provide consequences in regards to behavior.  It is important for us to find a balance between affection and discipline. The most important thing to remember is to not expect results immediately, especially with an older dog. A dog’s behavior might take weeks to break, but consistency is of the utmost importance.

Many trainers use different techniques when training. When looking for a trainer, keep in mind the necessary tasks that may need to be incorporated into your pet’s home life, for example: new commands, feeding habits, new accessories, etc. Be sure to ask your trainer questions and follow up on their recommendations. Many trainers can customize training sessions for the specific needs of you and your dog. Call around to local trainers in your area for more information on the kind of training they provide. Like children, dogs crave structure, discipline and leadership. Remember to be patient, calm, and balanced, but also have fun when working with your pet!

Fit ‘n’ Furry’s Pet Grooming Tips

If you’re a new pet owner, you may be surprised by all the necessary tasks and things it takes to raise a pet. For example: the cost of food, the veterinary visits, daily activities such as walks, trips to the dog park, and did you ever imagine the grooming upkeep of a pet? Maintenance grooming of your pet varies by type of pet and breed. Some breeds need more routine upkeep of their coats. They may require more frequent hair cuts or trims and daily brushings to keep their coats from getting matted. Nail trims are also recommended for all dogs about once a month. Ear cleaning should also be incorporated into your pet’s grooming routine. Pets can also develop cavities, just like humans. Most grooming facilities offer teeth brushing, and for a more thorough cleaning, ask your veterinarian.

Many think grooming is just for the dogs, but cats sometimes require upkeep too. Cat’s fur tends to require brushing and occasional hair cuts to keep from matting. It’s not necessary to cut the nails of a cat, but if you want to keep them from scratching you when you pick them up or tearing apart your furniture, you may want to consider routine nail trims. Don’t forget about your cat’s ears and teeth, they too may need some cleaning.

Some pets are self-groomers, but still require some help to ensure that they are properly groomed. Grooming isn’t just about keeping your pet’s coat clean, maintenance of all parts help in keeping your pet more hygienic and contributes to their physical appearance. Check with groomers in your area, some specialize in hair cuts/bathing of certain breeds; many also do a variety of breeds. Most groomers will need to assess new pets and speak to the owners about their temperament; you can schedule appointments to guarantee a convenient time for you and your pet. Here’s to a clean, healthy, beautiful pet!

Fit ‘N’ Furry says, “Make Sure Your Pet Is Safe And Has Fun On The 4th of July!”

Are you and your pets ready for the 4th of July festivities?  More pets are lost on this holiday than at any other time during the year.  To keep your pets safe the first step is securing a safe location for your pets.  Look for an indoor facility to occupy and shield your pets from the loud blasts of the fireworks. These are exciting times for both you and your pet, but your pet may start to demonstrate some nervous behaviors he or she normally wouldn’t, such as: chewing through leashes, jumping over walls, bolting away from you, running into traffic, etc. I suggest taking them to a facility where they’ll be kept busy playing with the other pets and monitored closely.

Keeping the pets at home this year? Here are a few tips to keep them safe:

  1. Do not bring your pets to a fireworks display. (This should go without saying)
  2. Keep a collar and ID tag on them at all times, even if they are micro-chipped.
  3. Keep pets indoors in a cool, quiet, familiar room with music or the TV on to mask the sound of the fireworks.
  4. Do not leave your pet outside in the yard on a leash or chain.
  5. Do not leave them in the car.
  6. If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like fireworks and thunder, consult your veterinarian before the 4th of July for ways to alleviate the fear and anxiety your pet may experience.
  7. If you find a lost a pet, please take it to your local animal shelter immediately so that it may be reunited with its family.

Whether you’re celebrating at home or joining the community to watch your local fireworks displays make sure your pets are in a safe and secure place.  Happy 4th everyone!

FitnFurry Asks, “When Is The Time To Say Goodbye To A Faithful Friend?”

To put your pet down, or to not put your pet down, that is the extremely difficult question many of us pet owners are faced with at some time or another.  Some questions to ask yourself are: Is my pet suffering or in pain in any way?  How has his/her quality of life changed? Is my pet exhibiting severe or dangerous behavior? Ask yourself these questions and I feel you might have an answer to our first question.

Everyone has their own role in a household, including your pet. Both you and your pet know what role they are there to fulfill.  Dr. Nancy Kay, author of “Speaking for Spot” suggests these questions: “Does my pet still respond enthusiastically to the things that would normally excite him/her?  Do the good days still seem to outnumber the bad?  When you get down on the ground and go eyeball-to-eyeball with your dear companion, do you still see that familiar spark in his/her eyes that let you know that he/she wants to keep on going?  Do you sense your pet is ‘hanging in there’ and putting on his/her game face in order to take care of you? Your always-loyal best friend may feel that he/she doesn’t have ‘permission to pass away’ because you, his/her most beloved human, aren’t quite ready to let go.”

A lot of times your pet will know when it’s time to go. They might even start distancing themselves from the family. Such as if your pet sleeps with you at night, he/she might start sleeping in another part of the room or house. Pack animals are known to separate themselves from the pack if they’ve become injured or weak to help prevent the stronger pack leaders from being hurt by protecting them.

The decision to put a pet to sleep is always difficult and intensely personal.  In most cases you will probably have some time to weigh your options and to speak with family and friends, unless there is some urgency, such as an untreatable injury or illness.  It’s a heart breaking experience for all pet owners, but surrounding yourself with people who knew and also loved your pet can bring a sense of closure.  Remembering your pet in a positive way and all the loving moments you shared together can be a comforting exercise to do with your family, especially with younger children.  Let them know that Buddy isn’t suffering anymore, that he’s no longer in distress, and encourage them to think of all the fun/happy times.  Celebrate the times your family shared with Buddy and always remember the unconditional love you and your family experienced during Buddy’s life. If you have loved and lost a pet, I wish you serenity and acceptance over the sadness of your pet’s passing.

Going To The Vet With FitnFurry

Going to the vet can be a very frightening or stressful experience for your dog. Your furry friend may exhibit behaviors that they normally would not in the home setting. These behaviors can range anywhere from a usually timid dog becoming aggressive to a confident dog becoming frightened and scared. These are all behaviors that can be avoided with the proper training and simple exercises. For more on these training techniques and exercises please visit Dr. Kay’s web blog: http://speakingforspot.com/blog, where she gets tips from Jennifer Hack, a Chicago based professional dog trainer and behavior specialist.

FitnFurry is Wild about Doggie Daycare!

There is nothing that can take the place of quality time you spend with your furry companion, going for long walks, throwing the ball or running on the beach but we don’t always have the time they need .  Some might argue that if you don’t have the time you shouldn’t have a dog but I disagree.  It is possible to be a good, responsible pet owner even if you have to work and take care of a family. Luckily, there are  pet care facilities that offer services to help you keep your dog socialized and exercised and won’t break the bank!

Doggie daycare facilities are popping up all over the country. A good doggie daycare facility will  require an  interview where they will get proof of current vaccinations and make sure the dog is not aggressive towards other dogs. This is for the health and safety of all the dogs who participate.  It is normal for a dog to be a little shy at first, especially if it’s a new experience but once they get  used to it you can bet they will be excited to come and play with all their friends. You will be able to drop them off at your convenience and when you pick them up they will be happy and tired! There are indoor facilities that are great when it’s raining, snowing or just plain too hot outside for the dogs to be comfortable. They also lessen the chance for fox-tails, flees and ticks or other hazardous things they might get into.  It’s an extremely beneficial service to help you raise a social, well adjusted animal.

If you are interested in having your dog participate in doggie daycare take the time to research  a few different facilities in your area. Ask to have a tour and try to get to know the dog handlers a little bit to make sure it is a good fit. Once you find a place that works for you, bring them to play regularly and ask them to give you updates on how your dog is doing. Some doggie daycares even have live web-cams where you can watch your dog play from work or home. Take advantage of these places who are here to serve you and your pets and make life a little easier.

FitnFurry is Excited About a New Dog Sport!

There is a new, exciting, detection-style dog sport called Nose Work! It was developed by professional detection trainers in Southern California and is now sweeping the country. There are opportunities to enter competitions in scentwork after you learn it or you and your dog can just do it for fun! It develops their natural scenting abilities by using their desire to hunt and their love of toys, food and exercise. It is a great way for your dog to have fun, build confidence and burn lots of mental and physical energy.

The primary goal of this class is fun. Even if your dog has had little experience playing with toys, with several repetitions of this class they can be transformed. It will give them a good foundation in “find it games” and play in general. Anytime you participate in activities with your pet it helps to strengthen your bond and respect for each other as well.

All dogs work one at a time and will be crated when it’s not their turn. You will start by  setting up cardboard boxes in different arrangements, using the same one to hold the toy or food that you would like them to find. It’s a great class for dogs that need a lot of mental and physical stimulation, but may have a hard time in class with other dogs. They will have an opportunity to build confidence in new environments, and working around obstacles without the stress of interactions with other dogs.

There are  training classes in Nose Work popping up all over the nation. If you think you  might be interested you can check with your local pet care facility and see if they are offering it yet. You and your dog will love it!

FitnFurry Answers the Question “How Important is Training For My Dog?”

Training is the best way to keep your pet safe and establish a healthy relationship between you and your dog. There are so many factors involved with caring for a pet and if you start training at a young age you can save yourself a lot of worries in the future.  Training can make walking your dog more enjoyable, taking them to the dog park safer and  having people over to your house a lot less hectic.

Whenever you start basic obedience training the most important thing you can do is BE CONSISTENT  . Dogs are creatures of habit and any training you do must be re-enforced  regularly in order to stick. So this means you are being trained as much as your dog is.  It’s very hard to resist your cute, adorable, furry baby when he tries  to get up on the couch or bed with you or when he gnaws on your hands but habits like this could mean disaster as he/she gets older. Your dog is happiest when he knows what you want from him so when you train him it helps to strengthen your bond and gives him a way to make you proud.

When you walk a well-trained dog on a leash, YOU are in control at all times and not being dragged down the street. If  you come across another dog you do not have to worry about your dogs reaction. You can enjoy the fresh air together and get some healthy exercise without dreading a misbehaving dog.

When you take your dog anywhere off leash whether it be the beach, a dog park or even  your front yard, basic commands like come, stay or heel can save their life.  You don’t want your dog to chase things unexpectedly or take off in front of a car.

It can be a pleasure having people over to your house when your dogs are well behaved. They won’t jump all over company or try to get out of the house and take off when people are coming and going. Without the proper training some dogs become so territorial that they won’t even let anyone in your home without going crazy.The peace of mind of having a well- mannered pup makes entertaining much more enjoyable.

Having a dog is a long term commitment and a lot of responsibility. As cute and loving as they are, they can also be challenging and maddening, especially if they are not trained. When you take the time to create structure, teach commands  and give your dog boundaries it feeds their desire to please you. It makes them more relaxed when they know what you want from them.. so teach them. Give them positive re-enforcement when they do good and don’t tolerate bad behavior. This means you can’t be lazy and confuse them because sometimes they get away with it and sometimes they don’t. There are reputable trainers and pet facilities that can help you. Train your dog, they will love you for it and your life will be a lot easier in the long run.