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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The World According to Cooper

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By Stacie Greene, Supply Chain Cost Manager 

If You’re Happy and You Know It Wag Your Tail…

cooperThanks to everyone for all of the great comments about my blog last month. I just love to know it when you enjoy what I write. I am happy to report that training my mom is getting easier. She has started to pay attention to the fact that we need some spontaneous fun in our lives.

Did you know that dogs are empathetic to our humans? I am serious. It is not something that is automatic. I just learned about it six or eight months ago. When my mom yawns, for some strange reason so do I. If we are in one of our staring games and she licks her lips, so do I. It is so weird. I have also noticed that this goes the other way too. When I yawn, my mom usually does as well.

I have a theory that this does not just happen with yawns. You see when I smile; my mom and others smile as well. I have a trick that I do, I try and talk but only when I have a tennis ball in my mouth. You see, I have to be careful and not break the number one rule in the canine world to never let humans know that we can talk, so I only try when I have a tennis ball in my mouth. People always smile when I try and talk with that tennis ball in my mouth. I catch my mom smiling when I smile at her or when I wag my tail. It is just the easiest thing in the world to do, making someone smile with something so easy as a tail wag or a trick with a tennis ball.

There doesn’t seem to be enough happiness in the human world. Dogs are always happy, well, almost always. We can spread a lot of happiness to our humans if you just pay a little bit of attention. In turn, when one human smiles at another, that too spreads happiness.

You see it is in these small ways that we can all work together to make a happier world. That is the primary goal of the dog world. So after you read this, try it. Let a wagging tail bring a smile to your face and pass that smile on to someone else. See if after a few weeks of letting your furry best friend increase the happiness level in your life if the happiness level in those around doesn’t increase as well.

Please let me know how our experiment in happiness is going. I know the Jedi Puppy Mind Tricks that I have been playing on my mom are working out great!!

“Talk” to you soon.

Cooper

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Fur Family Meets New Family

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By Toni Gibson-Mark, KPA-CTP

Adding a new member to the family can be a very exciting time. Whether it be a brand new baby or a new marriage, it is often heartwarming to see families expand. While family additions might be exciting for the people, our dogs might have a different view.

Dogs really thrive with a routine. They enjoy seeing the same people, doing the same daily activities and eating at the same mealtimes.   Adding a new family member might disrupt the routine. Further, the dog might not know how to interact with this new person, so it’s important to consider your dog’s comfort level as the change is occurring.

If you’re introducing a new baby to the family, you’ll really want to do some prep work. Pregnancy requires some accommodations, so your dog has probably already experienced some changes. For example, maybe the dog is being walked by a different person or can’t play-wrestle with you on the floor anymore.

Here are my puppies smelling my newest arrival in March!

Here are my puppies smelling my newest arrival in March!

When the new baby comes home, this will definitely be a shock to the dog. To help the dog prepare, bring home a blanket that the baby has been wearing before the baby comes home with you. This will allow your dog to smell the baby before even meeting him or her. When you arrive home with the new addition, have someone wait outside with the baby while you go in and greet your dog. Chances are your dog missed you while you were away and will be excited to see and smell you. This will also prevent your dog from being so excited initially that he jumps up while you’re carrying the baby.

Babies and children make movements that are very unpredictable for a dog. This can easily make a dog nervous (remember- they thrive on predictability!). It’s very important that children are educated on staying calm around the dog and giving the dog his personal space. The Doggone Safe “Be a Tree” program (http://doggonesafe.com/) has excellent educational materials for children on bite prevention. Additionally, The Family Dog training company (http://www.thefamilydog.com/) has an entire program designed to educate children on dog body language and how to interact with dogs properly.

When a new baby is introduced, it is so important to maintain space between the dog and baby. The dog might be interested in sniffing the baby, but one unpredictable movement by the baby might make it an unpleasant experience for the dog. Always supervise your dog whenever he is around the baby.

Although dogs might be interested in the baby, it is best to create a safe space between them

Although dogs might be interested in the baby, it is best to create a safe space between them

When a new child is introduced to the family, you should provide a safe space for the dog to have to himself. When the dog is in this spot, nobody should approach him. If this child is old enough, they can offer treats to the dog when the dog is interacting with the family and is supervised. This will make a positive association with the child. Children should avoid hugging the dog—dogs usually don’t like to be hugged! The key to success when introducing new children to the family is educating them and keeping the children and the dog comfortable.

When you’re introducing new adults to the family, the dog might still be unsettled. They might be used to being the “apple of your eye”, and when someone else is introduced, the shift in attention might not be appreciated. Make positive associations with the new person by having the new person offer lots of treats and praise. Create a fun activity for the new person and the dog to engage in such as training tricks using positive reinforcement or going on walks.

Most of all, just be aware that this is a change for your dog. Many dogs will accept the change with open hearts, while others might be timid or uneasy.   Assess your dog’s comfort level and consider how you can make him feel more comfortable, without assuming that he “just needs to get used to it”. If you take your dog into consideration, chances are he’ll be much more accepting of the change for the long run.

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Potty Training for Apartment Pets

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

For those of you that happen to live in an apartment or condo, getting your pet outside can be difficult. Whether it’s the fact that you live in a high-rise, you have to wait a long time for the elevator or sometimes the urban setting is difficult for your pet to find a nice grassy space, we completely understand your frustrations. Accidents happen, but they certainly aren’t fun to clean up. If you are a renter, expensive cleaning fees for carpet stains are also a factor. The PetSafe® brand has a variety of indoor potty solutions, but the newest comes with an added bonus: A treat for your pets!

We do a great job of rewarding ourselves for performing a task that may be uncomfortable. We also reward our children when they obey the rules. So why not do the same with your pet when training to use an indoor pet potty? The Train ‘n Praise™ Potty Training System uses a moisture-detecting pee pad that sends a signal to a sensor. Once the sensor has detected the moisture, a treat is dispensed for your pet. This is a fantastic way to reward your pet for learning how to use this system, and gives them a small treat when you’re away from home to give them plenty of affirmation.

Train n' Praise Potty Training SystemAnother great aspect of this system is that the treat dispenser also comes with a remote control. This is great in helping your pet have better behavior in your smaller space. Simply click the remote control from up to 25 feet away, and a treat will be dispensed. When your friends come over on a Friday night, you can press the button to have your pet go to the treat dispenser versus excitedly jumping all over your guests.

You are able to put dry treats or kibble into the dispenser, up to ½” in size. Rounder treats will roll down the ramp, and your dog will love waiting for the treats to come out. You can even set the dispenser to have an audible tone that will alert your pet that the treat is coming.

We’ve also made it easy to reorder the pads for the system. You can purchase these in either a 10-pack or 30-pack, that way you’ve got plenty to stock up on. Once the colder weather moves in you’ll be happy you have this option in your apartment!

We are actually giving a complete system away right now! Enter our sweepstakes through August 25th, and we will announce the winner the next day. You and your pets will be on your way to a more convenient apartment life in no time.

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The Fight Against Canine Cancer

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By Jim Tedford, Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives and Alliances

Jim and Ann Tedford enjoy an evening raising money for canine cancer research.

Jim and Ann Tedford enjoy an evening raising money for canine cancer research.

Cancer stinks. There is no way around it. Whether it strikes a close relative, a good friend…or you, it is a devastating disease. It stinks!

A few facts about the impact of this killer on man’s (and woman’s) best friend:

  • HALF of all dogs will be affected by cancer.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 2.
  • Risk increases with age.
  • As many as 60% of Golden Retrievers are impacted by cancer. Some other breeds are more susceptible, as well.

If you have ever loved a dog who has been impacted by this disease, you are not alone. It seems that everyone I encounter has been touched. Either they have lost pets to cancer or they’ve had close friends or relatives who have lost dogs.

In our case, his name was Otis. He was a big black Lab with a heart of gold. He loved us all, but he especially loved his “Mom.” At the end of the workday he would wait anxiously at the door and would follow her every step. Thankfully, Otis lived a long, happy life. But ultimately, he was taken by a nasty brain tumor that robbed him of his spirit in his waning days.

A treats buffet was a big hit!

A treats buffet was a big hit!

Our friends at the Morris Animal Foundation are doing something about it, though! Driven by their passion for all life and their desire to improve veterinary science, the Foundation awards grants to the best and brightest researchers out there. Ultimately, that research will lead to better treatments and a cure for canine cancer.

PetSafe is proud to partner with Morris Animal Foundation. Together we want to give dog lovers more and more “best moments” with their best friends! On August 2, 2014 we held the third annual PetSafe Black Tie & Tails Gala benefiting Morris Animal Foundation. This dog-friendly gala was held in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee –home base of Radio Systems Corporation, the PetSafe parent company. The festive event was attended by nearly 170 dog lovers and about 40 dogs dressed to the “caNINES.” Attendees were treated to a delicious dinner, fabulous entertainment and the opportunity to bid on dozens of wonderful items donated for our silent and live auctions (I walked away with a weekend getaway to Naples, Florida!).

The event had Emmett as the guest of honor.

The event had Emmett as the guest of honor.

There were many dignitaries present including Radio Systems Corporation CEO Randy Boyd and Morris Animal Foundation President/CEO Dr. David Haworth. But, in true canine fashion, the spotlight was completely stolen by our guest of honor, Emmett and his humans Maggie and John. Emmett is living with hemangiosarcoma, a form of blood cancer. He and his folks recently made the PetSafe headquarters one of the stops on “Emmett’s Epic Road Trip” as he checked things off his “bucket list”. Guests at the gala enjoyed the premier screening of a video cataloguing Emmett’s journey through life and cancer. Enjoy Emmett’s story yourself by clicking here!

The PetSafe Black Tie & Tails Gala gave lots of dog lovers the chance to dress up and celebrate all the love we have for our canine companions. But, more importantly, we raised $40,000 for Morris Animal Foundation to support the ongoing fight against canine cancer.

Take a moment to hug your dog..take him for an extra walk today. And, when you get home, log on to the Morris Animal Foundation website and show your support for canine cancer research. We wish you many more happy years and miles and miles of long walks with your best friends!

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Introducing: Jack and Lil

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By Heather Owens, Category Manager

Heather, Jack and Lil.

Heather, Jack and Lily.

First, I would like to introduce myself and my two furry sidekicks. I am new to the blog as well as to the PetSafe® office! I have two Australian Terriers: Jack is 2 ½ and Lily is 4 months. My free time is often occupied by walks, throwing toys and my favorite activity: training. I plan to focus my blog posts on my experience training from an owner’s perspective, as well as any fun or unique activities I do with my dogs.

A little background on my training experience thus far: I rescued Jack at 7 months old and at that time he had zero training and didn’t even know sit. He was very insecure, would startle at every little noise, and rarely wagged his tail. I really saw his insecurities come out at our first basic obedience class. This sweet puppy I adopted turned in to a monster. He was dog reactive and his screaming, lunging and pulling was horrifying. I was practically in tears after our first class. I felt helpless and out of control of my dog. Luckily that is why I was going to class!

Fast forward to now, celebrating his second adoptaversary and having taken 6 sets of classes, Jack is a well behaved, nub-wagger that has his CGC certification and two rally obedience titles. He is even well behaved enough to come to work with me every day. Not only did taking classes give me the tools to work with him, it gave him an opportunity to build his confidence and for us to strengthen the owner/pet bond. He is certainly not perfect and I am always sure to be present and in control when he is introduced to new dogs. But just like a person, Jack is a work in progress and there is room for both him and me to grow.

Lily on the other hand is just getting started! She is the smartest little dog. She quickly learned to ring bells on our door to signal to go outside and already knows a handful of tricks. She is fearless and I predict is going to be a great agility dog. I will face a very different set of challenges with her than I did with Jack and I look forward to learning new teaching methods as I train her.

I can’t wait to share more of Jack and Lily’s training journey with you!

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Creating a Routine for Your Pet

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By Toni Gibson-Mark, KPA-CTP

1Changes can be pretty difficult for a dog. Believe it or not, they really thrive on routine. Waking up, going outside, having breakfast, taking a nice nap, playing with family, taking a walk, having dinner, and going to bed for the night sounds boring to us, but it gives dogs something they can follow. Have you ever had a dog that reminds you it’s dinner time even if you aren’t even near the kitchen? That’s a well-established routine that a dog counts on.

Unfortunately for a dog, there are tons of disruptions to routines. Sometimes they’re small changes– like not being home during the normal dinner time to feed them. Sometimes the changes are much bigger—like moving to a new house. Some dogs cope with changes easily, while some dogs really struggle with even the smallest change. The key to success is understanding your dog and being proactive about the changes.

When you’re dealing with small changes, you might not need to do very much. For example, your weekends probably look very different to your weekdays. Your dog might wake up to you at 9am and think “hey… you’re late for work, aren’t you?”, but then quickly recover by nuzzling you in bed. These changes might even be in the dog’s favor—maybe you’re home to give them playtime at noon on Saturday.

Many dogs will accept extra snuggles on a Saturday morning without complaint!

Many dogs will accept extra snuggles on a Saturday morning without complaint!

For bigger changes, you should really consider your dog’s personality. Big changes can include moving to a new home, human or animal additions/removals to the family, owner employment changes, shelter changes (i.e. if you went on vacation and boarded your dog), and much more. Some dogs are go-with-the-flow, while others might start to get very anxious. You might see your dog exhibiting symptoms that indicate that they are nervous, such as pacing, licking their lips, panting, or whining.

Whether you anticipate that your dog will be nervous or not, you should take steps to make your dog comfortable during the big changes. For example, the process of moving can be very stressful. Strange people come in, take all of your stuff and put it in a big scary truck, move it in a new house with strange new smells, and then expect you to accept that it’s their new home. In this case, you can try to make your dog more comfortable by introducing them to the new house first. Perhaps put their bed in it so it has a familiar smell when they arrive. Then have someone else doggysit while you or the movers load and unload the moving truck. When everything is settled and you have time to be calm with your dog, bring your dog to the new house. Reward them for exploring the new house with treats and praise.

Some big changes for dogs might not seem like big changes for you. For example, if your dog attended doggy daycare or a dog park a few times a week, but then stopped because your funding or timing ran low, this is a huge change for the dog but might be a minimal change for you. That was an outlet for a dog to socialize, run off some energy, and enjoy themselves. Although you might not see symptoms that indicate that your dog is nervous, you might see other symptoms that show that your dog isn’t coping well with the change. Your dog might have pent up energy or seek additional attention to make up for what they were getting.

Some dogs need a lot of stimulation every day, so removing some of it might not be a good change for them.

Some dogs need a lot of stimulation every day, so removing some of it might not be a good change for them.

The most important part when making changes in a dog’s life is to make the change a good one for your dog. If you’re introducing a new place, thing, or person, making positive associations is the best thing you can do. Give your dog treats and praise whenever they interact with the new thing. If you’re removing something from the dog’s life, consider what that will do for them physically, socially and emotionally. Prepare something to fill the hole that will be there when the change occurs. Provide ample physical, mental, and/or social stimulation if they are things that your dog counts on.

As the summer comes to an end, children will be going back to school. This is a big change for a dog—their playmates are gone for a good portion of the day. For a dog that is used to the hustle and bustle of kids being around, expecting them to go to an 8+ hour day without the stimulation that they’re used to might be frustrating, stressful, or disappointing. Remember to keep your dog stimulated. If you aren’t able to provide human contact stimulation, purchase a few enrichment toys to keep your dog active and engaged. The Busy Buddy® line carries a fantastic selection of toys that will keep your dog occupied.

Put your dog’s food in a Kibble Nibble to keep them engaged and working for their food.

Put your dog’s food in a Kibble Nibble to keep them engaged and working for their food.

Lastly, even when big changes occur, try to establish a routine for your dog as quickly as possible. They thrive on routine and will feel safer and more secure if they are familiar with the day’s activities.

And if you don’t believe me- try to see if your dog notices if you feed him late. I’ll bet you’ll get a little nudge to say “Hey! It’s that time of day!” from your four-legged pal.

 

 

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