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.

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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!

You’re Going On Vacation but What About Me? Can I Go to FitnFurry?

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It’s the time of year when we are making plans to get out of town to celebrate with friends and family but what about our furry family members that can’t always come along for the ride?  The main thing to remember is that you have options.

If taking  your pets with you is not an option you can find a reputable in-home caregiver to come and feed and walk your  pets while you are away. Make sure they are bonded and insured and most of all make sure you feel comfortable with having someone come into your home and that your pets will get the care they need.

Another option is leaving your pet with a professional caregiver.  Boarding facilities can be a reliable choice when you are away.  Most places are reasonably priced and well equipped to give the necessary care your pet needs.  It is always a good idea  to check out a few different options  and find one that is the best fit for you and your pet.  Places are popping up all over the country that are not your standard “kennels”.  There are all inclusive pet resorts that can offer training and grooming while they are boarding so you can go on your vacation and when you pick up your furry friend they will be well mannered and looking great!

If you are home for the holidays you may still want to board your pets for a day or two or drop them off for some doggie daycare.  With the hustle and bustle of the season doggie playtimepeople may be coming and going more than usual which increases the chances of having a lost pet.  Also, there are many poisonous things for your pet to get into such as poinsettia plants, christmas tree water or turkey bones.  When our schedules get hectic our animals sometimes suffer so why not drop them off for some doggie playtime while you’re doing your shopping or entertaining.  Make the holidays fun for everyone including your furry family members!

FitnFurry Looks at Leash Aggression in Dogs

100_2245 There is almost nothing worse than having an uneasy feeling when another dog comes to meet your dog. If you have a dog that has displayed aggression towards other dogs or even people when it’s on a leash it’s important to know what you can do to manage the situation.

There are many reasons that dogs become aggressive and they should be individually assessed by an experienced trainer before starting any “treatment”.  Once a dog displays this behavior it usually means something has already happened to cause them to react this way.  It could be something as simple as the dynamics changing within your household, a dog or human moving in or out, or a traumatic event like being attacked by another dog. The key is how we react to the behavior and understanding  that we may not be able to completely resolve the issue but we can manage it and not make it worse.

One of the most important things is to know your dog’s body language and how to respond to signals.  They need to feel that you are in complete control at all times.  If you are nervous, tense or fearful they will pick up on that and be much more prone to react adversely.  Putting them in situations where they succeed and using positive reinforcement as much as possible can help break bad behaviors.  Be careful using harsh corrections with your dog as they can back-fire, making matters worse.  Try to avoid using prong collars or choke chains because they may associate the pain and this may cause more aggression.  Gentle leaders or martingale collars are more effective.  It takes a lot of effort on your part to recondition your dog and still you must never assume that your dog will not have setbacks.

One thing you can try is finding a spot about 25 feet from where other dogs will be walking by and sit with your dog with some very tasty treats like pieces of hot dog or tasty meat.  Every time another dog comes into view make eye contact with your dog and start feeding the treats and praising. When the other dog is far enough away or out of sight, stop the feeding and praise. You should do this for about 30 minutes several times a week until you notice a change in the behavior.  Eventually you can start to  walk your dog at a distance and repeating the same rewards. The goal is to have your dog completely focused on you and what you want them to do whenever they see another dog.  You want to create a new response. Once you start seeing the desired results you should keep up with this exercise as often as possible. You can give treats a little less every time but keep up with the praise.  If you are consistent you should see results in as little as a few weeks.

Leash aggression can usually be controlled through proper techniques. It is important to be consistant with training remaining in control at all times. Remember, your dog picks up on how you are feeling so try not to get nervous or overreact when you see other dogs coming. Be calm and give praise whenever possible. If you need help, seek advice from a reputable animal behaviorist. The goal is to enjoy your pet and the time you have together.

FitnFurry is Hosting a Benefit For Two Great Organizations!

The “No Fleas” Flee Market at Fit’n’Furry will be held on October 24th and all proceeds go to benefit the Petaluma Animal Shelter and  Sonoma  Humane Societysadshelterdog. We value your time and want to keep those of you who love to help animals updated on our progress as we get closer to this critical event for these two wonderful and giving organizations.

What We’ve Received So Far:

Three dog beds, a crate, many toys, a few collars, a scratching post, feeding dishes and some doggie clothes.

What We Still Need:

We need many more donations to make this a success. Slightly used leashes, dog colars, harnesses, doggie gates, dog or cat bowls, crates, beds, blankets, toys, and any unused flea medications.

When You Give Fit’n’Furry Will Give Back to You

When you bring in your donations you will be eligible to draw  from our “Dog House” of prizes. Among the prizes are: 1 night of boarding, a nail trim, a dog bath, and various other prizes. If you bring in a new visitor who wants to donate something you will receive $5 in Bark Bucks. If this new visitor becomes a client you will receive $20 credit on your account once they use our services.

We want to be able to sponsor and give back  to two of the organizations that do so much for ‘homeless’ pets so please help us as we reach out to support them. You can make a difference so please tell everyone you know  about this event and make it a success!!

We will keep you updated  on how we are doing and how much you are helping the Petaluma Animal Shelter & Sonoma Humane Society.

FitnFurry’s Tips On How to Choose the Right Dog for Your Lifestyle

daycare15_stillSo, you are thinking about adding a furry friend to your family.  There are many things to consider before making your decision.  It is important to figure out what pet would be the best fit for your home and your lifestyle.

First, do you have the time and energy to give your pet the care it needs? Dogs need quite a bit of interaction in order to be happy.  How much space do you have for them to roam?  Do you have time to take them out for exercise?  checkin09If you already have a busy life  you can supplement exercise with a good doggy daycare facility.  These places are great even if it’s just to keep your dog socialized in a safe environment.  They come home good and tuckered out from playing with all their furry friends during the day.

Second, are you prepared to deal with pet hair?  Bathing and brushing regularly will help with pet dander and shedding for all dogs but certainrubadubdogs_01 breeds need to be groomed at least once every 2 months which can be an expense you didn’t expect.  In any case, regular nail trims and keeping a nice healthy coat is good for your dog and your home.

Third, when you travel you will need someone  to care for your pet.  It is always a good idea to have a boarding facility that can keep your pet safe and healthy while you are away.

Next, what is your activity level?  There are certain breeds and mixes that are very active and others that are better for a more sedentary lifestyle.  Working with a good trainer will help to have a well behaved pet regardless of the breed or activity level.  It’s great when your dog inatr09walks nicely on a leash, comes when you call and doesn’t snatch treats out of your hand.

Remember that having a dog is a long-term commitment that can enrich our lives greatly if we are thoughtful about choosing the right pet for our home. There are many tools out there today that can help give your dog a full and happy life. Find animal facilities that are safe and your dog enjoys and you will be amazed at how they can help you care for your pet.