Even before you picked out your pooch, you were daydreaming about serene strolls around the neighborhood or out in a park. Is that your reality?
It’s enjoyable for you.
It’s enjoyable for your dog.
Both you and your dog feel better at the end of your walk than when you started.
Those three things sound so simple, don’t they? Yet there are so many things that can get in the way of a happy dog walk: a squirrel, a cat, another dog, the mail truck, skateboarders, bicycle riders, birds, airplanes, loud noises, neighbors coming and going, voices, laughter, windy days, thunderstorms, lightning, and a dog that pull’s us down the street with or without the presence of these triggers. Some days the activity we most looked forward to doing when we first got our dog has become one of our most challenging experiences.
The struggle is real for both ends of the leash. Having a stressful walk is horrible. We tend to tighten our grip, pull back on the leash, and let our frustrations get the best of us. Our dogs get all worked up and may pull, lunge, bark, and embarrass us. Subsequently, these responses are just the opposite of what we dreamed walking our dog would be like, look like, and feel like. So how do we fix this?
Our Walk and Train programs are designed to help you understand your dog and take the steps needed to reach the results you want. We offer training programs that will help you and your pet live a happier life. We look forward to helping you both. Our website has more details. Message us or call us to schedule a consultation. In a short time, you and your pooch will be enjoying your new partnership.
Most likely your daily walk is pretty boring for both you and your dog. Here are ways to make it memorable.
Many dog owners view their walk with their dog as a cornerstone of their routine. But it doesn’t have to be just a potty break. A run-of-the-mill dog walk can be turned into an exciting and enjoyable daily adventure by spicing it up with fun, novel activities, and new games.
An adventure walk is a great way to burn off extra energy, solidify obedience skills, soothe nervous dogs, improve your dog’s fitness, and strengthen your bond. Let ho-hum walks be a thing of the past. Different activities result in different benefits and dogs love to learn and try new things.
Training during a walk is not just heelwork and basic commands. It can involve game playing that makes your dog think and respond. Engaging your dog leads to happier vet visits, calmer walks, easier nail trims, better manners, and less reactivity to triggers (cats, other dogs, delivery trucks, or loud noises).
In general, games are an important way to enrich your dog’s life. Besides being fun for you and your dog, they promote:
Physical Exercise – including a 3 to 5 minute sessions of play can make a huge difference. Frisbee or playing with a flirt pole (high-energy dogs in good shape) are physically demanding so adding them to your dog’s regular exercise routine is a great way to let off some pent-up energy.
Mental Stimulation – games have some basic rules and your dog learns to use his brain to figure those out. A ball needs to be dropped in order for it to be thrown again.
Stress Buster – games are a simple way to improve your dog’s mood. They bring you together and can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Social Skills – exposing your dog to new scents, sights, and things is good for them at any age.
Decrease Problem Behaviors – engaging your dog in regular play keeps boredom at bay which means they are less likely to entertain themselves with chewing and barking.
Bonding – games are a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. For dogs, playtime can be the highlight of their day and engaging with their owner can make this their favorite pastime.
Training – games are a fun way to reinforce some daily training like sit, stay, down without it feeling like a drill.
These are simple ways to bond and train your pet while obliterating boredom for both of you. To make it even easier for you, Crockett’s Critter Care is now offering Adventure Walks.
Quarantine has been a boon for pet shelters. Many people have found that adding a dog or cat to their household relieves boredom and loneliness during Covid-19. The challenge with having a new pet is that your training options are limited since in person obedience classes for dogs are on hold. And cats, being cats, need special one-on-one training to make them good family pets. While there are lots of books and online tutorials, with everything going on at home, pet training may be necessary but it can be low on the to-do list and that can have negative consequences.
If you have a dog that likes to jump up on people, pull on their leash, and misbehave around other canines, Crockett’s Critter Care now offers Walk &Train. In addition to walking your pooch for exercise, potty breaks, and mental stimulus – we will include Fear Free better behavior training to address common pet concerns. While you’re taking care of your children, attending to Zoom meetings or conference calls, we can give you a break and your pup the attention it needs to be a charming companion.
Jeanne Crockett recently achieved Fear Free Elite Status which she earned after three years of Fear Free Training. Fear Free promotes awareness of the animal’s emotional welfare. Fear Free professionals are trained to recognize and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. Through calming techniques and gentle guidance things like giving medication, trimming nails, and visiting the vet can become hassle-free happy experiences.
These techniques work with cats as well as dogs. Click the links to learn more about Walk &Train and the Fear Free methods on our website, or call Jeanne at (252) 635-2655 to see how she can help you have a harmonious household.
Happy Pet! Happy Home!
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Dogs love your companionship so it is a great way to strengthen your dog-human relationship. It’s an easy thing that you can do together. Do you notice how many times your dog looks pleadingly at its leash and back at you? It’s waiting for you to attach his leash and spend some quality time with each other. Most of the time, all you have to do is step out the front door.
Sometimes a vigorous walk is great for exercise but not always what your dog wants. A slow and steady walk gives your dog a great chance to read the environment. Their sense of smell is so powerful that they know who was here, which way they came from, where they went, and how long ago they passed through. Let them read the stories that the environment offers them.
Dogs would love to have more control over where they go. After all, we control every aspect of their life so why not let them pick and chose the direction they want to go? We just need to make sure the direction they are selecting is safe and allow them to lead the way.
Slow down and listen to what your dog is saying to you. Sometimes you can just stop and observe what they are doing. Give them a moment to do what they are interested in. We don’t need to pull them away from something they are attracted to every time. How would you feel if you were reading the newspaper and were constantly interrupted before you finished the article?
They want to explore different surfaces so vary your location. When it’s convenient, walk them on a sidewalk, at the park, on a hiking trail in the woods, down a path by the river, or on a sandy beach. Many dogs love to take in new experiences.
Dogs love a routine. Walking them at the same time every day calms them. Just like our morning routine gets us off to a good start – the same is true for your dog. Consistency is calming.
My Davy cues me when he wants to walk. He looks at his leash and back at me until I oblige. He loves tracking and looking for squirrels, bunnies, deer, and reading who else was visiting his world. He knows where the neighborhood cats are hiding and which trees the birds are perched in. He stops to look down along the common grounds to see if any other critters are in sight. He is alert and interested in everything. He reminds me to live in the moment.
Ginger, on the other hand, is content to meander on the front yard and across the street and back. She can sniff the same spot for five minutes and then walk a few feet away and then back where she was. She is excited to meet up with her friend, Max, but ignores the other critters that are around.
I walk Davy and Ginger separately. They have different styles of walking and I want to spoil them both on their walk. They trust me and enjoy our relationship. Each one is special and different. Both are allowed to be dogs and are happy pets.
I would be happy to walk your dog too. Contact me to get started.
We expect that a Halloween mask can set off a pet’s defense mechanism. Dogs may growl and cats may hiss at the site of something they perceive as scary. Imagine how we must look to them now that our new protocol is to wear a face mask?
Our pets may get anxious when they can’t see our full face whether we are with them daily or just showing up on occasion. They don’t know if, behind the mask is a smile or a scowl. They hear us speak, but they don’t see our mouths move.
Peek-a-Boo without the BOO!
Make it easier for your pets, especially your canine companion, by getting them accustomed to seeing a mask on their household members. To get started at home, go slow and make sure your dog is relaxed.
First cover your mouth and nose with your hand and give your pet a treat. Repeat this several times until they expect the treat and look forward to the training exercise. Your pet is creating a good association with having your face covered and getting a treat. Now try it with your mask of choice and repeat the exercise (and reward) while wearing the covering for longer intervals.
Get Everyone Involved
Walk around your house, wearing a mask while talking to your pet and offering treats. Also have the other members of your household do the same. This will help your pet get used to seeing a mask on people in general. Once your pet is comfortable in the house, you are ready to do the exercise outside.
When someone walks by with a mask give your dog a treat. The treat is now a reward for learning how to take masks in stride. The key to success is keeping your pet undisturbed at each phase of learning. If your pet starts to get anxious – go back to the last step where it was calm. There is no hurry. Masks are going to be around for a while.
After this training, your pet should be a little more comfortable to the visit the veterinarian, unconcerned about walking past other people wearing masks, and happy to see their favorite pet sitter and dog walker.
Let me know how the training goes or contact me if you have any questions about keeping your pets happy and relaxed as we start to venture out into our new world.