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Are you struggling with a reactive dog?

Are you struggling with a reactive dog?

Turn reactivity to calm confidence with our new program. 

Crockett’s Critter Care is now offering reactive dog training.  As I have been working with several pets and their owners, I’ve created an eight week program to take reactive dogs to calm confident companions.

During this pilot program, your feedback will be invaluable to refining this new specialized training. As part of the first session you’ll have input on determining handout effectiveness, communication between sessions, and confirmation of the success of your practice sessions.  In appreciation for your contribution this eight-week individualized course is being offered at introductory rate of $600.

The pre-launch session has just a few more spots available for this summer. If you have a reactive dog that you’d like to train to be calm and confident, contact me to learn more and reserve your spot.

It is uncomfortable when you have a reactive dog. I know what it’s like: you peek out the window to see if it is a good time to venture out.  Then holding the leash very tightly in your hand, in case your dog pulls, lunges, or barks, you head out the door. You dread it when a bicycle rider approaches, children ask if they can pet your dog, or the mail truck passes you on the street. And worst of all is the cat or squirrel that magically appears and sends you pet into full alert.

Having a reactive dog can be worrisome, isolating, and physically wearing.  Walks are a challenge, going to the vets is a nightmare, and you stopped inviting visitors over a long time ago.  You love your dog, but sometimes you don’t like him.

I’ve been there.  In fact, that is why I am so excited about helping you and your dog cope with reactivity, calm your anxieties, and develop a better partnership. 

The program I offer is science-based, positive, fun, and a game changer.  My formerly reactive German shepherd Davy and I can now walk in the neighborhood, meet other dogs for a walk in the park, and remain calm when faced with challenges that used to be seen as threats.  Take advantage of the pre-launch introductory rate package of $600 for the full eight week program and transform your relationship with your dog.

Did you Know…?  Cool Ideas for Hot Dogs

Did you Know…? Cool Ideas for Hot Dogs

You and your dog don’t have to swelter in the heat and humidity on hot summer days.  There are awesome alternatives to walking your dog that can be done inside the comfortable temperature of your home.  After all, why do we walk our dogs?  We want them to have exercise, mental stimulation, a chance to rummage around a bit, and have a special time with us. But, when the weather too hot, there are other options.

Exercise can be high or low impact.  For an active experience – take them to a secure field, a friend’s large yard, a tennis court, or a dog park.  For low impact exercises, ACE (Animal Centered Education) Free Work such as distributing food on different surfaces and at different levels instead of filling a bowl, provides opportunities to seek, find, chew, and eat. 

Swimming is a fun activity that dogs love.  Games are awesome activities – try a flirt pole, urban agility (rudimentary course on your property – Parkour can even be done in your living room), tug games, playing pattern games (left to right, up and down, circle, figure 8’s), tossing a Frisbee or a ball are all great forms of exercise in place of a walk.  

Mental stimulation can be satisfied through games and smell.  Consider sniffing games, scent work, sniffaris, hide and seek around the house, snuffle mats, licky mats, food puzzles, and trick training.

Scavenging – snuffle mats, snuffle boxes, ACE Free Work, and peanut better filled Kong toys can delight your dog for longer than it takes to catch a treat!

Companionship – play games, give your dog a brushing or a massage, talk to them or just relax with them.

Davy, my German shepherd, loves attention, being brushed, brainwork activities, and exploring.  Ginger, my hound dog, likes sniffing and eating.  Both are easy to please without taking them for a walk on a hot summer day.  You can keep your dogs safe, comfortable, happy, and content with some new exciting choices.   What would your dog choose if they could?   I challenge you to include three things besides a walk that you can do with your dog this week.  Share your experience with a post and a picture.

Pet Tips for Spring

Pet Tips for Spring

Spring has arrived! Here are some tips to keep your pets safe and happy as the weather warms up.

  • Use pet-friendly products for spring cleaning; follow the directions for cleaning and storage.
  • Hide the antifreeze. If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a poisonous substance – call the Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.
  • Clean up the yard. Pick up sticks and acorns that you pet could chew on. These can cause harm to your dog’s mouth and throat. Remove leaf litter where ticks and fleas could hide. Make your yard and garden unattractive to snakes by keeping them tidy.
  • Cats and screens: Be careful to use strong and sturdy screens in your windows and have them fit snugly. Curious cats can pry screens off their hinges and storms can blow screens off their frames.
  • Never leave your pet in a parked car. Travel with pets inside the car (not in the back of a pickup) and in a secure crate or seat belt harness to keep them safe, unable to stick their head out the window, or interfere with your driving.
  • Watch your pet for signs of seasonal allergies. Pets can be allergic to pollen, dust, grasses, and plants. For many pets, this reaction shows up in skin issues. You may notice itching, minor sniffling and sneezing or life-threatening anaphylactic shock from insect bites and stings. If your pet suffers each spring, see the vet to ease their suffering.
  • Flea and tick control. Check your pet for these pesky critters regularly – especially after they have been in tall grass.
  • ID tags will help your pet be returned to you, if they go astray.
  • Xylitol poisoning: there is a significant increase in pets being poisoned by ingesting this artificial sweetener. A tiny amount can be fatal. It can be found in some sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, pudding snacks, cough syrup, children’s chewable or gummy vitamins and supplements, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Xylitol is also showing up in over-the-counter nasal sprays, laxatives, digestive aids, allergy medicines, and prescription human medications, especially those formulated as disintegrating drug tablets (sleep aids, pain relievers, anti-psychotics, etc.) or liquids.
  • Prep for storms. Gather your hurricane kit together, teach your pet to go into a crate or carrier, and have important papers handy. If your dog is frightened of thunderstorms, ask your vet about medications that can ease your dog’s fears.
  • Standing water can cause health concerns (Leptospirosis) so don’t let your pet drink from puddles. Steer clear of communal water bowls.
  • Blue-green algae – keep your dog out of water sources that have been known to be contaminated with this toxin. Always wash your dog after swimming outside. Last August three pets died hours after swimming in a pond in Wilmington, NC.
  • Sign up for alerts from Dog Food Advisor regarding pet food recalls.
  • Take your dog out for a special treat to any of our beautiful parks.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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DID YOU KNOW? – Cats are Complex Creatures

DID YOU KNOW? – Cats are Complex Creatures

Cats have always been mysterious and even mystical as well as the first defense against rodents. Here are some cat facts to help you understand your feline companion.

It’s in the genes! You know a lot about your cat except, for many cat owners, you don’t know what type of cat you have. Basepaws, an animal health company specializing in genetics, can analyze your cat’s DNA for breed type, health markers, and its wild heritage. (You may have a cute kitten that is descended from a lynx!)

How it works: you purchase their kit, send them a cheek swab, and wait for your cat’s genetic report. You’ll discover what breeds and breed groups your cat descended from and what health issues can affect your cat’s life.

Personality
Is your cat social, confident, and easy going or timid, shy and unfriendly? Studies have confirmed that not only is personality inherited from the mother, but that friendliness specifically is, in part, inherited from the father. The best time to begin gently handling a cat is before 8 weeks old. Feral cats may become adjusted to humans who regularly feed them, but they generally don’t like to be handled.

Foraging
Cats in the wild eat numerous small meals each day and spend a lot of time hunting. This is why food puzzles instead of food bowls are so enriching. They mimic the cat’s natural choice.

Senses, habits, and interesting facts:

  • Each cat has its own signature scent. They spread their scent over their fur through grooming. Friendly cats rub up against each other to transfer their scent. This friendly behavior is called allorubbing.
  • Cat’s ears can be rotated at 180 degrees. The average cat’s hearing is at least five times keener than a humans.
  • Domestic cats spend about 70% of the day sleeping and 15% grooming.
  • Most cats don’t have eyelashes.
  • Cats can jump up to six times their length.
  • Cats use their whiskers to feel the world around them and to determine if they can fit into small spaces. A malady called whisker fatigue is caused by too much stimulation. For this reason many cat owners prefer to feed their cat on a plate instead of a small bowl.
  • Cats were first brought to America during Colonial Times to hunt rats.
  • Two hundred feral cats prowl the park at Disneyland on rat patrol.
  • Cats have also contributed to the extinction of 33 different species. Placing bird feeders in safe areas will save a lot of feathered beings.
  • Kittens often seek warmth in car engines. Always thump on your hood before starting your car to scare them off to a safer space.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!


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DID YOU KNOW? – Furry Pets Still get Cold!

DID YOU KNOW? – Furry Pets Still get Cold!

A coat for your pet is not just a fashion statement, it is a safety measure. Even with shaggy fur coats your pets can still suffer the impacts of cold weather.

Just like people, your pets all react to cold differently depending on age, breed, and size. Like most seniors, older cats and dogs have a hard time maintaining body heat. Meanwhile, puppies and kittens shouldn’t be outside in the frigid air even when well-dressed because they don’t have the fat, metabolism, or the full fur coat they need to stay warm when temperatures plunge.

Of course, it’s not a good idea to shave your dog’s coat during colder seasons. The fur helps keep your pet comfortable so just wait until spring to give Fifi a new do.

Winston in red sweater
Winston in red sweater

A fabric coat or knit sweater for your pet can be fashionable and warm. Add a reflective collar or some reflective accents on the covering to make it easier to spot you and your dog on the dawn and dusk patrols. Take the coat off as soon as your pet comes inside and never leave a wet coat on your pet otherwise they will get chilled from the damp material and you’ll have defeated the purpose of the protective garment.

When it’s cold or wet out, veterinarians say it’s vital to keep young, old, and sick pets indoors. If the temp is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s too cold for pets to be left outside for extended periods and below 32 degrees is when frostbite occurs. It’s up to you to watch the thermometer and keep your pet warm and snug.

Rather than chilly hours in the yard unattended, keep those outdoor breaks short, just 10-15 minutes for a romp 3 or 4 times a day is a better option. When it is cold, watch your pet closely for signs of distress which may include shivering, lethargy, disorientation, and whining. If you think your pet is hypothermic, call your vet to determine the best way to warm them up.

While you can’t bundle up your outdoor pets, expect to add 10-15% more food in the winter. Birds (and squirrels) love to get peanut butter and suet when it is cold outside and those extra calories may help maintain their body heat.

Thankfully, we in NC don’t have to contend with severe and lengthy bitter cold seasons like other parts of the country. Our cold snaps may be brief but our concern for every pet’s well-being is for all seasons.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!


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DID YOU KNOW? You Need Hurricane Prep for Your Pets

DID YOU KNOW? You Need Hurricane Prep for Your Pets

How prepared are you?  A little, a lot, gone overboard, never crossed your mind?  North Carolina is no stranger to hurricanes so that will be my focus today.

Here are some things to think about:  the internet and tv may go down; power may go out; rain may cause floods; wind may cause damage; evacuations may be ordered.  Everyone is under a lot of stress scrambling to get what they need to survive and protect their belongings.

Make a plan for your pet ahead of time:  decide where they will go, how they will get there, what supplies and records you will take, and know what you can do to help keep them calm.

Prepare an emergency kit for each animal.  Take water, food, can opener, carriers or crates, litter box and litter, puppy pads, plastic bags, pickup bags, medicine, medical records, leash, collar, harness, pet photo, ID tags.  Suggestion:  take paper records and a photo.  While you may have excellent records and pictures on your smartphone, you may not be able to access them.  Store paper reports in a waterproof container (zip lock bags are handy) and take them with you.  You may also scan records and photos to a file and email the file to a friend or family member who lives in a safe area. 

Before the bad weather approaches, bring your pets inside.  Keep them safe.  You don’t want to search for a terrified pet that has escaped from the yard.

Stay calm – your pets are sensitive to your feelings.  You can help them stay relaxed by packing their favorite blanket or toy, bringing a long-lasting chew toy, spraying Feliway (cats) or Adaptil (dogs) on bedding or towels that can be put into their carriers or crates. 

If your pet is not familiar with going into carriers or crates – teach them to love them.  Leave them up in the house, toss treats in them, feed them next to them and gradually move the food inside.  If they have to spend time confined in one, they will be more comfortable if they have a good association with them. 

Stay tuned in to the weather reports and, if you have to leave – don’t dilly dally.  You are your pet’s best guardian so plan to take them with you. 

Good luck and stay safe.

For Fear Free professional pet sitting and dog walking, contact Jeanne Crockett, owner of Crockett’s Critter Care.

Happy Pet! Happy Home!

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