Get Ready to Bark in 2015!

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

B4YP1Now that we’ve had a month to recover from all of the excitement from the Bark for Your Park winner announcements, we wanted to make sure you were prepared for next year!
We know the contest is still a bit down the road in 2015, but getting started early is a fantastic way to get your leg up on the competition.
• Start to gather your documents: Each year when we start Phase I of the voting, we ask that any city participating in the contest provide a land verification letter and a civic support letter. We know preparing these documents can take some time, so why not get started early? Even if you don’t have the letters drafted right now, you can still find the necessary people in your community to help you get on the right track with these.
• Community support: How do you get votes for your community if your neighbors don’t know about the contest? Well, you don’t. But spreading the word that the contest is coming in 2015 and that your community has a shot at winning… well, THAT will get you votes! So, how do you spread the word?
• SOCIAL MEDIA: We cannot stress the importance of social media in this contest enough. Bark for Your Park voting is completed through our website and our Facebook page, and getting your community members to LIKE your own Facebook page gives you the opportunity to update them all on what is to come. Show pictures of where you’d like your new park to go. Share any of our Facebook updates on the contest. Upload photos of dogs in your community that would benefit from having their very own dog park. Share articles of how having a dog park can help socialize your dogs and revitalize your community. Share, share share!
• Have fun: We have a saying here at the PetSafe® office. You can’t teach passion. If you are passionate about getting a dog park in your community it is certainly going to be obvious. Host some Yappy Hours throughout the year to gain even more support. Create shirts that give a clear message: Your community wants to win a dog park!
We hope you will enjoy the 2015 Bark for Your Park contest, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated throughout the year!

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Jack and Lil: Ready to Rally!

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By Heather Owens, Category Manager

anddogI was first introduced to rally obedience through a class offered at my training facility. After completing the set of classes, Jack and I competed in UKC rally obedience trials subsequently earning his RO1 and RO2 titles. So what is rally? The dog and handler team move at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing, through a course composed of 10-20 stations. Scoring is based on the correct completion of each of the station instructions. Examples of stations would be “Right Turn” or “Halt, Sit, Down.” They progress in difficulty to exercises such as “Send to Jump” which includes a hurdle to jump over or “Offset Figure 8” which consists of weaving through bowls of food. Communication from the handler to the dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required. There should be a sense of teamwork and enthusiasm as the pair go through the course.

Competitions are held by various groups including the AKC and UKC. There are also various levels of difficulty including on leash, advancing to off leash. Rally is a great next step past basic commands towards either obedience competitions or just to further challenge your dog. What I love about rally obedience is the interaction allowed with the pet. In beginner levels the dog is on leash and the handler is encouraged to interact with the dog through voice and gestures. While treats and touching the dog is not allowed, patting of the leg or saying “Come on Jack! Let’s go!” as he or she follows the handler around the ring is acceptable.

courseAnother great thing about rally is that any dog can participate! I enjoy watching other competitors interact with their dogs from Rat Terriers to Newfoundlands and everything in between. Each handler and dog have their own dynamic and communication style. There is also a sense of support between handlers. I attend competitions with others from my training facility and we all encourage and clap for each other.

My personal experience in rally has been fantastic. I can tell Jack has fun and he always seems proud when we have finished the exercise and I am able to praise him. During our first competition, Jack received qualifying scores in his first three trials, advancing him to the next level of competition off leash. Jack and I had never practiced off leash before but I was already at the competition, so why not try it? I went in to the ring and slowly took off his leash. His little tail started going crazy. In my mind I was prepared for him to run around the ring and throw himself a party for being free. However he didn’t do either of those things. We went very slowly through the course as I encouraged him to stick right by my side. To my shock, he not only did well, he received a perfect score. In rally, rankings are determined by highest score with speed only used as a tie-breaker if two or more teams receive the same score. To add to my surprise, I received the High in Trial, beating all of the competitors who competed in that round, including much more experienced dogs and handlers.

awardsMy biggest lesson was have faith in your dog! More than once I’ve thought “That trick is too challenging” or “There’s no way Jack can do that!” only with him to turn around and prove me wrong. Challenging your dog’s skills will not only improve them as a pet, but you as an owner/trainer. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Jack came to me a very spooked dog. Attending competitions in unknown environments, with strange dogs and lots of action has built the trust he has for me and helped him work on his focus.

Sound like something you and your dog would enjoy? I encourage you to reach out to your local AKC, UKC clubs or training facilities to see if there are rally obedience classes offered near you!

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Our Favorite Cat Videos

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We had posted a blog about our favorite videos that included some of our canine companions, and the obvious question was asked: What about the cats?!

Well readers, fret no more, as we bring you the best videos featuring our favorite furry feline friends!

3) The PetSafe® 2-Meal Automatic Feeder video:

Have you ever felt guilty about leaving your pet at home while you are at work or happen to be away for more time than usual? This awesome feeder lets you set a timer up to 48 hours in advance. If you have a cat that has issues with portion control, you can measure out the appropriate amount of food you’d like to feed your cat, as opposed to the free-feeding option that can lead to pet obesity.

2) The Holiday to Remember video:

Ok, ok. You saw some dogs in this video, but we had so much fun bringing this video to you that we couldn’t leave it off the list. It certainly wasn’t easy to coordinate a shoot with two dogs and a cat, but all of our talent did a fantastic job!

1) The PetSafe® Fountain video:

And our favorite is our favorite for a reason! Just check out the video below to see why. Can you imagine anything cuter than a set with these adorable cats? If you don’t already have a PetSafe fountain, what are you waiting for? You can give your pet freshly-filtered drinking water, with less fill ups to his water bowl throughout the day! This fountain shoot was even better because of the talent that was brought in. Read more about these special kitties here.

So there you have it. Our favorite cat videos! Which one was your favorite?

 

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Deciding on Doors

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

Fall isn’t here just yet, but now is the perfect time to start preparing for the cooler weather to move in. Making sure your pets get outside to relieve themselves isn’t always a relief for you, especially when you live in a frozen tundra (at least that is what I thought I lived in during my time in Minnesota). Fall and winter weather is not always fun for you to stand around in while waiting for your pet to potty, so here are my picks for great pet doors to consider this upcoming season:

CaptureFor those of you living in the colder areas when Old Man Winter makes his debut, the Extreme Weather Door is a fantastic choice of pet door. Choose from small, medium or large to fit your pet’s size. So why is this a great choice for colder climates? Welcome to the world of the 3-flap system! The energy efficiency on this door is 3 ½ times higher than other single flap doors, so you’ll leave the weather where it belongs… outside! This is also great for the other extreme of climates, as it can keep that super warm air away from your air conditioned home.

Electronic Smart DoorHave you ever wanted a pet door but worry about the neighbor’s dog (or that creepy raccoon in the woods) entering your home? Worry no more with the PetSafe® Electronic SmartDoor™. This door comes with a SmartKey™ that unlocks it for your pet (and only your pet) to use. After your dog or cat has gone through the opening, the door will relock once it no longer detects the key. You can program up to 5 different keys to this door, so your whole family of pups and kittens will be happy!

Another awesome and innovative door is the Passport™ Pet Door. Similar to the SmartDoor™, this system allows your pets access in and out of the door with a key worn on your pet’s collar. This door will allow you to customize specific entry and exit options for up to 20 different pets. With a cool LCD screen, programming is easy and convenient for any pet owner. Check out the fun video on this door here:

We hope you’ll find the right door for your pet. A product expert can also walk you through this process M-F 8am-8pm or Saturdays 9-5, ET at 1-800-732-2677.

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Importance of Microchipping

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

Sitting with one of my favorite former clients.

Sitting with one of my favorite former clients.

Animal hospitals are filled with warm puppy kisses, kitten cuddles and lifesaving surgeries. While I managed the office side of a clinic, I still had the joy of meeting new clients and their pets. With joy can come sadness, and emotions ran high when it was “that time” for one of those precious patients. I remember reciting a little poem that I held in my pocket when this time inevitably occurred during one of my shifts, and in a way it was comforting to know the families were present to say their goodbyes. This wasn’t always the case though, and for those pets I took an extra moment of silence.

When a Good Samaritan would drop off a lost pet, my job was to call the family once I identified the pet through a microchip. Nothing can explain the happiness on a child’s face when that pet becomes reunited with the owners. Even if a pet came in under tragic circumstances, the sense of closure was obvious when the family members were notified. For the dogs and cats that did not have a microchip after a tragic accident, not much else could be done. I had no job at that point. No family to notify. No special arrangements to be made. All that I could do was read aloud my little poem and wonder what kind of life that pet had lived. Was she a regular at the dog park? Did he like a good biscuit after his meal?

The day we rescued our hound mix, Tyson.

The day we rescued our hound mix, Tyson.

My dog was rescued by our clinic, and quickly became a part of my family. I had him neutered and vaccinated immediately, and was asked by our doctor if I would also like a microchip for him. My mind flashed to our computer screen when entering information on a dog or cat that had not made it and had no identification, and we were to enter, “Unknown,” as the name, followed by the current date. My heart sank thinking of my Tyson being another “Unknown” in the world, and a microchip was the most important decision I could make as a pet owner.

Some may think that a microchip could hurt a pet. While the needle is a little larger than one used for routine vaccinations, most pets do well with the injection. The cost is manageable, especially if added on during a spay or neuter. Many rescue organizations will microchip a pet before adoption, and this cost is often included in the adoption fee. Remember to keep your information updated as well, as this is critical when trying to contact you if your dog or cat is found. If you have ever contemplated a microchip for your pet with any hesitation, just remember the unknown pets that never return home or receive a proper goodbye. A five-minute procedure for your pet has the power to give your family peace of mind if circumstances arise that are beyond your control.

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Teach Your Dog With a Treat Dispenser

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By Roslyn McKenna, PetSafe® Web Content Specialist

PDT00-14016 Components 02Treat training is a fun and easy way to teach your dog new tricks and obedience commands. You give a command, your pet gets a treat. Sounds easy, right? Well, sometimes it’s tricky to use a clicker while holding a treat bag and leash, especially with a squirming puppy. A remote controlled treat dispenser lets you treat train your dog without a clicker. The dispenser gives your pet a treat when you hit the button on the remote, so it’s faster than fumbling for a treat in your bag. You can quickly teach your dog better house manners with the push of a button.

 

Potty Training with the Train ‘n Praise™ Potty Training System PDT00-13649_e

  • Place your dog on the pee pad when he normally has to use the bathroom. The best times are before bedtime, first thing in the morning, and after eating or drinking.
  • When your dog is on the center of the pad, give a command such as “Bathroom” or “Potty.” Give a treat from your hand when your dog does his business on the pad.
  • Practice treating your pet with the dispenser. Every time your pet pees on the pad, use the handheld remote to dispense a treat.
  • Attach the pee pad clip to the pad. Every time your pet pees on the pad, the dispenser will automatically give him a treat whether you’re at home or away. Most pets learn quickly in 2-4 weeks to consistently use the pee pad.

After your puppy is house trained, you can use the treat dispenser to teach other commands. You might need to wait until he’s at least 3 months old before starting training. Already have a potty trained pup? The treat dispenser also comes without the pee pads.

Basic Command: Sit

  • Hold a treat over your dog’s head. Hold it higher if he tries to jump up to get it.
  • When his butt touches the ground, praise him and use the remote to give him a treat.
  • Repeat and add the command by saying “Sit” and dispensing a treat each time he sits.
  • Practice this until he associates the command with the action.
  • Give your dog the “Sit” command and give him a treat when he sits.
  • Practice in different locations and with distractions.

No More Jumping on Guests: Place

  • Place your dog’s bed near the treat dispenser.
  • Use a leash to bring him to the bed.
  • Wait until he has all 4 paws on the bed, then use the remote to give your dog a treat.
  • Add the command by saying “Place” and giving a treat when your dog is on the bed.
  • Practice this until he associates the command with the action.
  • Give your dog the “Place” command to make him go to the bed, then give him a treat.
  • Practice with the bed in different places and standing farther away from the bed each time.
  • Practice with distractions. Get your dog on the bed and throw a toy or have a friend ring the doorbell. Practice until your dog stays on the bed each time.

Better Recall: Come

  • Get your pet to Sit and Stay a short distance away from you.
  • Stand next to the treat dispenser.
  • Call your pet with the “Come” command.
  • Hold out a treat or drop a treat by your feet to encourage him.
  • Practice this until he associates the command with the action.
  • Give the command and use the remote to dispense a treat.
  • Practice in different locations and with distractions.

These are just a few commands you can teach your dog with a treat dispenser. With the power of positive training, the possibilities are endless! Get creative and you can teach your dog lots of fun tricks with a treat dispenser.

What trick do you want to teach your dog?

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Balancing Football Season and Your Furry Friends

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By Jessie McDowell, Content Marketing Specialist

Summer vacations may be coming to an end, but as school starts back, so does football season. Middle school, high school, college and professional, no matter what games you watch, your weeknights and week days just got busier. With all the hustle and bustle of a new school year and a new start for your favorite team, it may be easy to forget your furry friend waiting at home. Don’t let your best bud’s care fall by the wayside as you get busy. With these simple tips, your pet will be happier than ever and may even enjoy a little alone time.

Never forget necessities.

Your pet may get lonely, but you have to make sure they still have their necessities. Food and water are easy to forget as you run out the door, but Pet Parent 101 says they always need to be available. Luckily, there are a few products that can keep you on time while keeping your pet hydrated and healthy.

autofeederThe 2-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder

Set the timer for morning and night for your cat or dog, and you don’t have to think about freeing them all day! It’s as simple as that. You can make sure your pets stay on their current schedule even if you are staying out a few late nights…

platinumThe Drinkwell® Platinum Pet Fountain

This fountain is awesome. With a constant circulation of water and a reservoir on the back, you have to fill your pet’s water less often. Plug it in and feel free to go about your day knowing your pet is taken care of.

Lonely pets are reckless pets.

With all the craziness this season, you aren’t going to be able to spend that quality summer time with your pet. Make sure they have something to keep their mind stimulated, so they won’t take their loneliness out on your furniture or shoes.

The Busy Buddy® Bristle Bone® bristle bone

For lonely pups, a boring toy won’t do. This bone packs treats on each end to keep your pet hunting and chewing longer. As an added bonus, the bristles and multiple textures help clean teeth while your pet plays. Hello, fewer vet bills!

The FroliCat™ BOLT™ bolt

You know how your cat (or even your dog) feels about laser pointers… They can chase and pounce at that laser all day, which is good for you. With this toy, you can simply set it somewhere out of reach, and quietly back out of the doorway.

Enjoy your time cheering for your favorite team without feeling pet parent guilt. With proper care and some fun toys to keep them company, they will hardly notice you have left. Just remember to give a big hug to the one patiently waiting for you when you get home!

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Pet Arrangements During Your Travels

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

Sarah, with husband, Doug, and happy hound, Tyson.

Sarah, with husband, Doug, and happy hound, Tyson.

With the holiday weekend upon us, there will be a lot of you traveling to soak up that last real weekend of summer. Sometimes you can easily bring your pets with you to your fun destination, and other times it doesn’t seem as easy. If you are looking for a place to keep your pets while you are out of town, here are some helpful hints for your different options!

1) Your Pets Stay at Home: Some pets do best with staying in their own home, as change can be difficult. If you are looking for a pet sitter that you have not used before, make sure to do a little bit of research. Ask your other pet parent friends for referrals of who they have used in the past. Remember that you are allowing this person to not only take care of your pets, but you are also allowing this guest to come into your home. That’s not to say that people can’t be trusted, but you’ll want to feel comfortable with the person that you choose. Allowing your 13-year-old niece to drop by and take your pets out may not be as great of an option as getting an experienced pet sitter to stay with your pets during the time that you are away.

2) Your Pets Stay Elsewhere: Do you have family members or friends who are available to watch your pets? It’s acceptable to ask for their assistance if needed, but you will want to make sure they have a good place for your pets to be. Do they have other pets or children in the home? These are factors to consider, as your pets may not be used to other animals and their behaviors, and that could cause issues. If you have found a place that you feel is a good fit for your pets, that is great! Just remember to offer to watch their pets at a later date, send a thank you gift, or ask what you can do to show your appreciation.

3) Boarding Your Pets: The option of boarding your pets may be the most expensive, but it can also be convenient. If you have not boarded them before, their vaccinations will need to be up-to-date, and you’ll want to have a copy ready to send with them. You can do your research online for finding an appropriate facility, and it is okay to ask questions or ask for a tour. You wouldn’t schedule a hotel for a vacation without researching it first, so research, research, research!

I hope you all have a great holiday weekend, and that your pets will be happy wherever they are staying!

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Our Favorite Dog Videos

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Yesterday was National Dog Day, and we hope you all celebrated by giving your dog a special toy or treat… or just a big hug!

In honor of this special holiday, we wanted to point out our top 3 favorite PetSafe® brand videos that have starred some our our own pups. Video shoots are always fun, and they make us love our dogs even more. Seeing them perform a trick on camera, follow a trail of treats to get “the shot,” or just watching them from behind the camera. These are all great moments of being stage pet parents. Without further delay, here’s what made the list:

Spot # 3 – Emmitt and His Remote Trainer – We loved seeing this funny and realistic scenario play out on camera. An owner (our very own blogger, Jessica) has a few behavioral issues to correct with her dog. So what does she do? Runs out to buy an Elite Little Dog Remote Trainer! Smart girl!

Spot # 2 – Finn and His Water Needs – Our Senior Brand Manager’s pup, Finn, did a fantastic job in this commercial for our fountains. We really loved the realistic approach to this video. How many times have you caught your pet drinking out of the toilet? There’s a PetSafe fountain for all types of pets!

Spot # 1 – Our Social Dogs – A variety of our associates had playful pups who had a lot of fun in this shoot. They basically romped around for hours on camera, socializing and showing our customers our fun new product. We hope that you’ll enjoy this comical clip!

Happy Belated National Dog Day!

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