Archive | May, 2017

Dog Swimming Safety

dog swimmingSwimming can be an exciting and enjoyable way to stay cool during the summer, for you and your dog.  Many dogs love the water and learn to swim quickly, but swimming can be dangerous for dogs, just like for humans, so it is important to take safety precautions to keep everyone safe this summer.

  • If you do a lot of swimming or water activities with your dog, consider buying them a life jacket. Dogs can quickly become cramped or tired while swimming, putting them at risk of drowning. Becoming certified in dog first aid, including CPR, could also be an excellent way to ensure your dog’s safety.
  • Never leave dogs unattended while swimming. If you have a pool in your yard, fence it off or always monitor your dog while they are outside.
  • If you are unsure of your dog’s swimming ability, spend some time practicing swimming in a shallow area, just like you would when teaching a human to swim. You can support them at their torso if they seem to be struggling. Some dogs start by only using their front legs to paddle. Supporting them up can help teach them how to stay afloat and encourage them to use all of their legs.
  • Work on training a recall while in the water so that you can prevent your dog from swimming too far away from you. This can help keep them from getting caught in a current, or help in directing them to the shallow end of a pool. Use the recall to show them where stairs or ramps are so they know how to get out of the water.
  • Certain breeds enjoy swimming more than others. Brachycephalic dogs or dogs with short legs can have an especially hard time swimming. Never force a dog to swim or throw them into a pool. If you have a dog who is not good at swimming, providing them a kiddy pool can be a great way to keep them cool without putting them at risk of drowning.

Frozen Treats for Dogs

frozen treats for dogs

Here are some fun ideas for providing your dog a cool, refreshing treat on those hot summer days. With all these recipes, be sure you are using dog-friendly ingredients and do not feed in excess!

  • Frozen fruit and veggie pops: Puree your dog’s favorite fruits and/or veggies with some peanut butter and yogurt. Pour the puree in ice cube trays and stick in the freezer for a fun, easy treat (that you could enjoy yourself!).
  • Stuff a Kong with their food, some treats, and peanut butter. Stick in the freezer. The next day, give it to your dog to chew on to keep cool.
  • Meat pops: freeze meat broth in an ice cube tray with a few chunks of meat for a delicious, refreshing addition to daily meals. For an extra special treat, take leftover hot dogs and cheeseburgers from cookouts, put them in ice cube trays with some water and freeze!
  • If you want to be really creative, you could freeze your dog’s favorite treats and toys in an ice block made with water and chicken stock to keep them busy for hours.
  • More fun summer treat ideas can be found on Pinterest!

Yes, ANY Dog Can Bite

We take our staff and pets safety very seriously at the Good Dog Spot. We recently had an incident we wanted to make you aware of and to answer any concerns you might have.

Our Office Manager, Jacob, was badly bitten by a dog who came for a walk in nail trim and slipped out of his collar in the lobby.  Jacob sustained serious lacerations to his face and will require plastic surgery.  We’re not sure when he’ll be back but we’re in close contact and will let everyone know more as we learn more.  Please keep him in your thoughts. (We have a card in our lobby for you to sign if you want to wish him well.)

This is the first time in 10 years we have had such a serious incident. While grateful for that fact, there are several take-aways from this troubling event that we can all learn from.

1) While your dog is in our lobby, your dog is your responsibility. You must supervise them at all times. This also means they must be on a well-fitting collar, harness or gentle leader and leash, and under your control at all times. When the dog is in our care, then he/she is our responsibility.

2) Any dog can bite. Your dog may be well behaved at home or in a comfortable environment, but they may not be as well behaved in an unfamiliar environment or around different people. Please don’t assume they don’t need a leash because they don’t require one at other times. Dogs can get nervous around people, animals and new situations, so “Better safe than sorry” is the rule to follow.

3) Please make sure your pet’s equipment fits properly! Similar to child safety seats, there is a correct way to fit your pet’s collar or harness to ensure they don’t escape from them and they stay safe. They should be checked regularly to ensure that nothing has changed.  Weight loss or gain, thickening or thinning of coat and also excessive pulling all can contribute to collar or harness that is too loose or too tight for your pet.  If you have questions about it, PLEASE ask one of our staff experts. We want to make sure EVERYONE in our facility stays safe.  If you forget your leash or do not feel safe with your pet’s equipment, we have slip leads available in the lobby.  Please leave your pet in your car and get a leash from us.  We will gladly let you borrow one!

We also also found this group on Facebook called The Yellow Dog project which helps owners identify a dog who needs space. Read more about it here.

Let’s keep people and pets safe!






Impulse Control

Teaching Dogs Impulse Control

Dog sitting and waiting

Teaching dogs impulse control will help in all facets of life with your dog. Dogs are very impulsive animals and often act without assessing situations or thinking about consequences. Examples of impulsive behaviors are jumping on people when greeting them, rushing out of doors, eating unknown food or items quickly, and pulling on the leash to sniff things. Teaching impulse control is teaching your dog to think before acting and gives them self-control in exciting or stressful situations. To teach your dog impulse control, think of all the things your dog LOVES and then make them work to get them. By doing this you are requiring that they stop and think about how to get the rewarding item (going for a walk, getting a treat, going out in the yard, etc.) and you are also teaching them about consequences. By listening to you and doing what you ask they get rewarded with the item they want. If they do not listen to you, they do not get rewarded. All good things now come through you. Here are some examples:

  • Train a wait or stay command. With this you ask your dog to stay put in one location while you go about your business. This is useful when making food or going through doorways.
  • Ask your dog to sit and wait at meal times. Your dog should not run up to you and start eating out of the bowl before you even put it on the ground! You could even set up a mat they have to sit on while you put the bowl down and they can only get off of it when you say OK. Every time your dog moves towards you before you say OK, pick up the bowl and start over. Gradually increase the amount of time they have to wait.
  • Ask your dog to sit and wait at all doors and gates. This will help you walk through doors safely without getting pushed over, and can also prevent your dog from running out into a busy road.
  • Teaching your dog leave it. There are many times our dogs try to eat unsafe things in our house or out on walks. Training a leave it commands help teach them to control their urges to immediately eat unknown items, and to instead come to you for a safe, yummy treat.
  • Ask your dog to sit while you put on their collar or harness before a walk. It is no fun having to chase your dog all over because they are so excited to go for a walk that they cannot stay still. If at any point they get up before the collar is snapped, start over.
  • Make your dog sit or stand calmly when greeting people. The general rule should be “all 4 on the floor” meaning all four paws should be touching the floor before they get to say hi to a person. If at any point they jump up, immediately stop giving the dog attention and wait for them to calm down again.

At The Good Dog Spot we work on impulse control all day long. Dogs have to sit and wait at all gates until their name is called to come through. They have to be calm in their crates before getting let out after nap-time. They have to maintain low arousal at playtime and listen to staff members, or else they get a time out from playing. Be sure to carry these practices over at home and soon you will have a dog with excellent self-control!