Why You Need a Dog Park


By Jessie McDowell, Content Marketing Specialist

PlansThe dog park seems to be my go-to place to fill time or to procrastinate tasks I don’t really want to do (i.e. cleaning, dishes or anything house work). Who can fault you for taking your dog to play and socialize with friends? It is the perfect excuse. This may not be the use a dog park was first intended for, but neither are the other 6 benefits that come to mind when I think of a dog park!

1. Tire your dog out before a big trip

sleepBefore every pet-friendly road trip, there is a long trip to the dog park. I have had enough of the 15 licks to the ear and the puddle of drool on my arm that I have to endure on a simple trip to visit my parents. Why my pup wants to breathe right in my face for 6 hours, I will never understand. I much prefer the adorable sleepy puppy that barely moves, tired from a great day playing with friends.

2. Meeting other people who are just as obsessed with their dog as you are

It’s weird, as soon as you step foot in a dog park, baby voices are accepted, everyone speaks like they know what their dog is thinking and cute dog stories are a dime a dozen. Fellow dog lover, you have found where you belong. The dog park is the mother ship for us freaks that genuinely enjoy seeing our dog have a good time and run free.

3. Feeling like you got exercise, even if you were just watching your dog runrun

I might be the queen of this tactic. Watching your dog run tricks your mind into thinking you had a workout as well. Though most of the time you were just standing there, you did have to throw the ball a couple times, and I consider that a workout.


4. Finding ways to feel your dog is superior to everyone else’s dog

Being a proud pet parent is one of the best feelings ever. When you see a rowdy puppy going berserk around the park and your dog is sweetly playing, “good dog,” smugness comes over you. The idea of “Ha, my dog would never do that,” lets you leave the park with a new-found pride in your awesome dog and even more awesome training skills.

little dog5. Your dog will be able to deal with unfamiliar situations

I love to take my dog everywhere with me. I don’t want to have to wonder how he is going to react when he sees an elderly man, a child, a Great Dane or Chihuahua. At the dog park, you are in a controlled situation, and you can introduce your dog to unfamiliar people and situations. If you start your dog young, they’ll only embarrass you once by running away from a Yorkie (true story).

6. Your dog loves it

Really this is the only reason you need to understand the benefits of a dog park. As pet parents, we love to see our dogs happy. That’s just how it is. If a park makes your dog have slobbery smiles like this: it’s the best place in the world.

mooseDid you know you could win a dog park for your community? Join us for the 2014 Bark for Your Park contest, and vote for your community to win $100,000 for a dog park!

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The World According to Cooper


By Stacie Greene, PetSafe Supply Chain Specialist

Terror in the Garage

CooperI have a story to share with all of you out there that read my blog. I recently had one of the scariest mornings of my life. I mean it was horrible and has taken me a couple of weeks to try and put it behind me. Here is my story:

It started off like any other weekday. The only difference was that it was raining, but other than that it was business as usual getting ready to come to work with mom. I was wasting time outside getting wet and so was mom. That kind of makes her mad, so I took extra time. I got back in the house and got dried off and harnessed up and was ready to go. Mom, however, looked like she had stood in the shower with her clothes on. We headed out to the garage. We have a breezeway between our house and the garage. There are 3 steps that go down into the garage. Here is where the terror began.

Mom opened the door, she had a lot of stuff she was carrying and I was already down at the bottom of the steps. I turned around to look at her hoping she would hurry because I couldn’t wait to get to work, and then it happened. My mom somehow missed all 3 steps. She actually took flight off the top step. Her flight didn’t last long because she came down with a huge crash to the garage floor. I was frozen with fear, absolutely frozen. She yelled and then “THUD.” The sight of my mother laying on the floor was terrifying enough, but then something else happened.

My mom always puts me on my retractable leash when we leave the house in the morning. As she was on the floor in a heap in the garage she accidentally let go of the leash. It started chasing me all over the garage and mom was not able to save me from it. It was horrible. It took a long time for her to finally get up and help me. She found me paralyzed with fear with this blue plastic thing sitting close by watching me. I couldn’t move and mom was limping badly. Then she started laughing, almost uncontrollably. That scared me too, cause I thought she had completely lost it!

Mom is getting better now. I am better too. It’s been a long 3 weeks and I still have nightmares about that thing chasing me in the garage. I just had to share my story.

Talk to you soon!


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BlogPaws 2014


By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

Setting up the booth was fun!

Setting up the booth was fun!

The PetSafe® Brand team members were excited to be a part of this exciting event again this year! BlogPaws is a conference attended by pet bloggers, writers and media professionals in the pet industry. Our team went to talk about our incredible brand, and to meet the great people in the pet industry!

The night before BlogPaws launched, the PetSafe team had a chance to officially launch the 2014 Bark for Your Park contest from the beautiful Lake Las Vegas. Our group did a live broadcast at 7 p.m. EST, and we were all so happy to get to launch such a fun contest. Are you barking for your park right now? You have until June 7th to nominate your city, upload your land verification and get as many barks (votes) as possible! The 15 finalist communities will be announced June 13th, and then the official Bark for Your Park 2014 contest winners will be announced on August 7th.

Now back to BlogPaws…

Cardiff belongs to our guest blogger, Dr. Patrick Mahaney!

Cardiff belongs to our guest blogger, Dr. Patrick Mahaney!

From May 8th through May 10th we got to show conference attendees and pet lovers so many of our great products. Our SocialPet™ system got a lot of interest, as this is a really cool way to check on your pets when you are not at home. The bloggers loved the fact that you could give their pets a treat, and that they could set it up for their friends and family to also give treats through our Facebook app. They also loved the Train ‘n Praise™ Treat Dispensing system that can help with unwanted behaviors from their pets.

We even sponsored a pop-up dog park at the conference! It was so much fun to watch all of the dogs in attendance get to socialize with each other, and to watch the conference goers  enjoy the PetSafe sponsored Yappy Hour. We talked to many people about the benefits of a dog park in a community, and it was such a great feeling to know that our brand has been making such a difference in the lives of pets and pet owners. We handed out some pretty adorable Bark for Your Park towels, Lickety Stik® treats and some of our newest indigo™ line of made in the USA treats.

Bow TieMy favorite part of the conference was getting to know the writers and pet bloggers better. So many people shared stories of why they chose to enter this field, and knowing that there are good-hearted people out there makes such a difference. It was nice to be surrounded by people who adore their pets. Some even dressed their dapper doggies up for the closing night awards ceremony.

If you are a writer or blogger in the pet industry, BlogPaws is a great place to meet others in the field, learn about new and upcoming trends and to learn about great brands like PetSafe. Oh, and you may even run into a Capybara…




Dog Restaurant Etiquette


By Roslyn McKenna, PetSafe Web Content Specialist

Spring is here, which means it’s time for more hikes, walks, and swimming. My dog Doc loves going on outdoor excursions with me, especially when he gets to explore new places. I’ve worked on training and socializing him quite a bit, and now he’s well behaved enough to join me for an occasional lunch or dinner at a pet-friendly restaurant. Many restaurants across the country welcome dogs on their patios and rooftop gardens. As part of the initiative to make Knoxville the most pet-friendly community, there are lots of restaurants for us to choose from.

Now’s the perfect time to start bringing your dog to a restaurant too. Follow these tips for taking your dog to a dog-friendly restaurant this summer.

1  Training Preparation

- Practice your dog’s commands. Your dog should reliably respond to commands including Sit, Down, Stay, Leave It, and Come. Do some training at a dog park, which will have similar distractions as a restaurant.

- Exercise your dog. A tired dog is a good dog! Take a walk or play fetch until your pooch is dog tired. Get your dog to do his business before you arrive at the restaurant, and bring a spare poop bag just in case.

- Feed your dog. Your pup might beg or try to get your food if he’s hungry and everyone around him is eating.

- Bring a portable water bowl. Many dog-friendly restaurants have extra bowls for dogs, but it’s better to be prepared. Slip in a few ice cubes from your drink to keep your dog cool.

- Pack a chew toy or frozen treat. Bring any long-lasting chewy treat or a chew toy your dog can go to town on. A Busy Buddy® Squirrel Dude filled with peanut butter and frozen overnight is the perfect way to keep your dog licking while you’re eating. Frozen dog desserts like Frosty Paws (Doc’s favorite) are also great options.

- Stay up to date on shots and flea meds. Your dog might meet other doggie diners, so make sure your dog has had his monthly flea and tick preventative. It’s also a good idea to make sure your dog’s shots are current.

Location, Location, Location

3- Make sure the restaurant has a dog-friendly patio. Check this list from BringFido.com. You should also call ahead to make sure the restaurant’s policies haven’t changed. Mexican restaurants are a great choice for bringing your dog. They often have free chips, which are great for treating your dog when he’s behaving. Just don’t give him too many chips!

- Pick a less busy time to go. If it’s your dog’s first time at a restaurant, have an early lunch or dinner. You can gauge your dog’s behavior when he won’t have as many people or other dogs to interact with. You’ll also have a better chance at picking a good table when it’s not as crowded.

- Choose a corner seat or table. Keep your dog out of the aisle or waiter’s path. Ask for a corner table if you can so your dog is out of everyone’s way.

- Find a well-shaded patio. Your dog will appreciate the shade of a cool patio on a hot summer day. An outdoor patio without any shade won’t be much fun for you either.

Restaurant Rules

- Tie your dog to your chair with a standard leash. Tying your dog to the table is not a great idea. If you go off to the bathroom, your dog might try to follow you and end up flipping the table over. Most dogs will wander a little bit, so check your dog’s leash regularly and untangle him when needed.

2- Tell your fellow diners your dog’s rules. Does your dog have an allergy? Make sure everyone knows not to feed your dog or drop food on the ground. Are you working on training? Tell people a command to give your dog before giving a treat. High Five, Shake, and Bang (like Play Dead) are always crowd pleasers.

- Keep your dog to yourself. Don’t let him hang out with other dogs or diners, especially ones at other tables, unless they ask to say hi to your dog.

- Don’t overstay your welcome. Your dog is like a baby. If he starts to get noisy and disturbs other people, try to quiet him down. You might have to get a “doggie bag” for your food and leave if he won’t calm down.

- Clean up your dog’s mess. If you give your dog food from your plate and he doesn’t eat it, pick it up before you go. And as cute as it might seem, don’t let your pocket pup get on the table. Some restaurants don’t clean outdoor tables after every party, so you may be leaving muddy paw prints on the table for the next diner.

- Tip your waiter for serving you and your dog. Your waiter will probably bring out a bowl of water for your dog or an extra napkin for that spill your dog caused. Since your server will probably have to accommodate for your dog at least a little bit, you should tip accordingly.

Don’t forget the #1 rule: practice makes perfect. Let’s say your dog starts barking when he sees another dog, or he knocks over a glass or plate. Keep training and working on those social skills. Go to dog parks to get your dog used to strange people and dogs. Practice obedience commands until your dog responds reliably. Bring better treats or more interesting toys to keep your dog occupied. Throw a tennis ball for an hour before you go. Pick a quieter restaurant or a less busy day. Try lots of ways to improve your dog’s behavior, and make sure you reward your dog when you get the behavior you want.

Do you bring your dog to restaurants? What are your training tips for a more enjoyable meal?

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Here’s to a Happy Mother’s Day!


By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

Sometimes it's hard to tell what toys belong to the baby...

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what toys belong to the baby…

Being a mother is the most difficult and most rewarding job. The past 10 months have been a learning experience for me. Having a child opens a new world of lessons, and if you happen to have human babies along with fur babies you know this adds to the chaos. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve almost handed the baby a dog toy, or started to scoop out baby formula to put in a dog’s food bowl. So this Mother’s Day, I wanted to provide a list of the Top 10 Reasons being a mother to multiple species makes you the coolest person on the planet today.

10) You handle a lot of… Stuff – Nowadays you can easily run to the store and pick up a convenient trash receptacle for all of your baby’s diapers. But what do you do about what your pets leave for you, minus the diapers? Relax, the PetSafe® Brand has plenty of waste management solutions to help!

9) You handle a lot of crying – Babies cry. They cry so often that you have a permanent ringing in your ears when you show up to work, and your coworkers have to convince you that the fire alarm isn’t going off. Your dogs bark. Unless you have a cool indoor or outdoor bark control unit. These products help to keep your household peaceful… until the baby wakes up from that long nap.

8) You are great at saying no – Parenting has a lot of ups and downs, and as hard as it is to say no, you still master the art of it. Whether you are teaching your child that bedtime means bedtime, or keeping the people food away from your pets, you’ve got this!

7) You are great at saying yes – Sometimes the hard lessons in life deserve a bit of pampering once learned. You do a great job of buying the boo-boo ice packs when your little one scrapes a knee or falls down, and you love to treat him to an ice cream cone when the neighborhood truck rolls down your street. And when it comes to your pets, rewarding them with treats is easy. Why not try some Made in the USA snacks from our indigo™ line?

indigo™ Fresh Dental Sticks are a daily treat and dental benefit!

indigo™ Fresh Dental Sticks are a daily treat and dental benefit!

6) You believe in keeping the family healthy – After providing the human kids and fur kids plenty of love and guidance, you still make sure they all stay fit and get plenty of exercise. Even if it means coming home and being spit up on (Did he eat peas or mashed-up asparagus for dinner?), you take the time to simply take a walk with the whole family.

5) You create security – Baby proofing a house is probably the most tedious task you’ll ever face, but you made it through to make sure your kids stay safe. You probably never understood how a tiny human could be so uncoordinated, but you prevented any disasters anyway. You took that stitches magnet of a glass table and replaced it with a plush ottoman. Good for you! And for your pets… you made sure they stayed out of the trash and out of the Easter chocolate with some of our deterrent products. And Mother of the Year goes to…?

4) You create happiness – Moms always make their babies (human or furry) happy. Even if your kids don’t tell you (because they haven’t learned how to speak yet or they are angry teenagers), you make them happy just by being their mom. Fur babies have unconditional love for you, regardless, but you still do little things to get them excited!

3) You know when to give space – Now I haven’t had the pleasure of getting a door slammed in my face, but those glory years are probably not too far off with my son. For those of you who are already at this stage of parenting, you deserve a medal. The great thing about your pets is that you can give them their own space with a pet door from PetSafe, and don’t have to give them a lecture on how not to be snippy with their parents.


2) You know when to create boundaries – Yup. You know how to teach healthy boundaries with your kids, and you can easily create boundaries with your pets with a Stay+Play Wireless Fence® system from PetSafe. Set it up in 1-2 hours, and train your pet to a whole new yard!

1) You love your babies (fur or human) no matter what they do – For all of the times you’ve shown up to work with no sleep, baby food or dog food on your shirt, braved the traffic to pick the kids up from the sitter and cleaned up after your loved ones… You. Still. Love. Them.

From all of us here at the PetSafe Brand, have a Happy Mother’s Day. You deserve it!

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Throwing the Best Birthday Pawty Ever


By Jessie McDowell, Content Marketing Specialist

1Some may find it odd that some dogs get a birthday party (or pawty in their case), but I think it is only fitting. Your dogs are like your furry children, needing care, love and attention. They are constantly giving you love, so why not celebrate them with their own day each year. Don’t you think they deserve it?

Throwing Best Birthday Pawty ever doesn’t have to be some extravagant ordeal that costs a bunch of money. Your pet won’t notice the table cloth or the matching napkins you worked so hard to find, and he can’t eat chocolate cake. The Best Pawty for your pet should be filled with what he enjoys. Here are the elements you need for a great pawty.

1. Food – For Moose, this is the most important birthday gift, though it only lasts for seconds. Instead of a birthday cake, Moose’s Barkday cake was a sale steak from a local grocery store complete with a candle. He LOVED it. It was a special treat that cost me under $5, and it made his year.

32. Activities

For activities, the party had a few balloons for Moose and friends to keep in the air. We had to be very careful to not let the dogs eat the balloons after they popped, but it was hilarious watching them bat the balloons with their noses. Your dog may be afraid of balloons, but you can always have plenty of toys out to keep the pups active. Encourage all of the dogs to socialize and get physically active. It will keep them engaged for the whole pawty.

3. Friends

4Finally, Moose was given the company of his furry and human family. A few people came over with their dogs (who could resist a doggie birthday pawty), and we had a great time. He ran and played, and the dog parents socialized. It made me so happy to see him have a good time and to realize how much he has matured in a year.

Your dog grows up so fast, and celebrating his birthday is a great way to create lasting memories with your pet. It doesn’t have to be a big deal to you, but to him it will be the Best Birthday Pawty Ever.

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Important Skills to Train Your Dog


By Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA

Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA

As a professional dog trainer I get asked one question more than any other, “What is the most important thing to train a dog to do?” My answer is usually, “It depends,” because what you need your dog to know probably is not the same as what someone else needs.   When asked to write a blog post about this subject I decided to share the things that will keep them safe, healthy and build a strong bond to you. This is certainly not a list of all the important things you can teach your dog. Ask another trainer and you will probably get a slightly different list. There are additional behaviors I teach including walk on a loose leash, sit, stay and lay down. I find the five here valuable throughout my dog’s life and help me establish some basic behaviors I use in many situations. You can also build on these to train other behaviors.

1) Look at Me/Attention

This means having your dog voluntarily give his attention to you. If you don’t have his attention it’s pretty much impossible to train anything so I always start with this one. Hold food in your hands out of your dog’s reach. Your dog will focus on the food and may try to jump to get it. Just ignore the behavior (but do not let him get the food) until he looks at you (makes eye contact). As soon as he makes eye contact, click or mark the eye contact with a clicker or a word(like “Yes”) and give him a piece of the food. Repeat a few times. Make sure you click/mark the second his eyes meet yours. After 3 days of clicking the second his eyes meet yours, have him hold eye contact for 2 seconds, then click and treat. You can slowly increase time he is holding eye contact, working up to 10-20 seconds eventually. Once you have the behavior established you can add a cue such as “Look.”

2) Touch a Target

trainingEstablishing a target behavior will aid in teaching recall, loose leash walking and to move your dog into a certain positions, like sit or down. It can be used to substitute for food lure where you might be tempted to use one to get the dog in a particular position. You can teach your dog to touch his nose to your hand or, if he is a smaller dog, a long wooden spoon or target stick as this limits the amount of bending you will need to do. To teach this target, place your hand about 4 or 5 inches in front of your dog’s nose. Most dogs will sniff your hand. When your dog’s nose touches your hand, click/mark and give a treat. Repeat this several times. If your dog shows little interest in touching your hand practice a couple times with a treat in the target hand to get the game started. As the dog begins to quickly touch your hand for the click/mark and treat, begin moving your hand slightly farther away and to different heights and sides. Each time your dog touches the target, mark and reward with a treat. If the dog is slow to respond (more than three to four seconds), remove your hand target for a couple seconds and offer it again a little closer. Focus on getting several quick repetitions in a training session.

3) Come When Called

The following are some tips and fun training games to help your dog learn coming to you is the most exciting thing on earth!

  • Make your recall signal very unique and save it for when you need it- only when you are prepared to reward it with your dog’s favorite reward (like a tidbit of steak or a game of fetch with the tennis ball) at first.
  • Practice recalls when you are feeding the dog dinner, getting ready to go on a walk, etc. things your dog likes to do. This builds a history of rewards which strengthens the behavior of coming to you.
  • Make sure that you are going to be more interesting than the environment when you are working on the recall.
  • Keep treats (small jars of meat baby food work well) hidden around in each room and practice often.
  • Don’t call your dog for things he/she doesn’t enjoy – baths, trips to the vet, nail trims, etc., that weakens the behavior. No dog wants to come to you when everything you call him for is no fun!
  • While learning a good recall, if you think there is a very good chance your dog will not come to you – don’t call him (go get him instead). Otherwise the word “come” will mean “come when you aren’t doing something you think is more fun!”
  • Begin in the house and increase distractions gradually.

Training Games for teaching your dog to come when called.

o   Dinner! This is as simple as it gets. We often miss this as an opportunity to build a strong recall. Call your dog and then feed him.

o   Treat & Dash – Soon your dog will love running to you! Remember, the best way to get your dog to come to you is to run away – not come toward and chase him.

  • Have dog sit or wait – walk across the room – drop a tasty treat on the floor and call your dog to come at the same time
  • As he runs toward you and the treat, run to the other side of the room
  • As your dog is eating the treat call dog to come and drop another treat, run back to the 1st side of the room and repeat

o   Hide and Seek- Simply hide from your dog and reward him enthusiastically when he finds you. Surprise him with an amazing food treat or some play time! Dog’s love to hunt and this exercise allows him to do a “fun dog thing” and learn to come to you at the same time!

o   Double-Good-Guy-Game- This exercise requires two people, a distracter and a trainer. The distracter holds the dog’s favorite toy or treat, and the trainer carries hidden treats. The distracter begins feeding the dog treats while the trainer walks a few feet away and begins calls the dog. As soon as the trainer calls the distracter freezes, stops giving treats and/or the toy disappears and ignores the dog. Most dogs will continue attempts to solicit treats from the distracter, but the distracter must continue to ignore the dog. The dog will eventually turn its attention to the trainer, and the trainer says “Yes!” when the dog turns toward them. When the dog reaches the trainer, give a hidden treat. The end result of this exercise is a dog that will recall to the owner even with a delicious distraction present.

4) Leave It/Drop It or Trade It

Treat Pouch & Dog overhead 0412 LRTeaching your dog to leave an object alone or to drop it if he already has it is extremely important for the safety of both the dog and the people who live with him. Dogs naturally want to investigate items dropped on the floor, food on the counter, trash on the street, etc. Many of these situations could present danger to the dog for example a pill dropped and scarfed up by your dog could poison him. In the other instance, grabbing something a dog has, like your best shoes and snatching them away could prompt your dog to guard the item he finds so valuable and snarl or snap. These are two separate behaviors but they are related in that they are both safe ways to keep your dog from things that are inappropriate for him to have.

Leave it is teaching your dog to not grab or take something. Fill your hand with treats and make a fist on the floor (or in the air). Let your dog investigate your hand. He may paw and lick and even push your hand around. Do not let him have any treats for doing that. The instant he removes his head and paws from your hand click/mark and treat him from your other hand or a pocket where you have some additional treats. Work up to having your hand slightly open over treats on floor, and finally progress to dropping food to the floor. Don’t rush the process. Focus on making steady progress. Once he eagerly ignores the treats you can start to add the cue, “Leave It.”

Sometimes your dog may get something you don’t want him to have before you can even react or when you aren’t watching. I teach the version of Drop It called Trade It. Safety first! – Never pull something out of your dog’s mouth or remove forcibly from his possession if you can avoid it. Teach a reliable drop it/trade to ensure safety. One great way is to teach a dog the proper rules of tug. You will need an appropriate toy and some very tasty treats in your bait bag or pocket.

  • The game only starts we you initiate it by asking the dog to sit and then offering the toy.
  • Once your dog is tugging with you for 20 to 30 seconds cue the dog to “Drop” or “Trade” and follow the cue with an offer of a tasty treat. This is the trade!
  • Let them finish the treat
  • Reengage him by offering the toy
  • Repeat the play and trade every 20 to 30 seconds during the training session
  • Practice these rules – be consistent and patient.

Once your dog learns the game “Drop” or “Trade” becomes great fun. The first time you ask him to drop something like your cell phone and he does, run, don’t walk, to the kitchen and give him a very nice tasty reward.

5) Let Me Handle You

Teaching your dog to accept handling can go a long way in ensuring proper healthcare and grooming is easy to do and safe. By associating being handled with some tasty treats and following it with some fun playtime your dog can learn to accept the type of handling needed for veterinary care and grooming. I like to start by gently petting the animal while feeding a few treats. In later sessions I focus on touching the ear and giving treats a few times. The next session I might work on handling the leg and foot while making it a fun experience. Work on handling different areas each session keeping the sessions short and gentle. Once your dog learns this can be fun start moving the sessions to different areas like the bathroom or car. Speak with your veterinary staff and groomer about how you are working to make handling a comfortable experience for your dog. I’m sure they will be glad to help as it will make their jobs much easier.

So these are my top five things to train your dog. What are your top things and why?


Keep Your Pet From the Dark Side


By Andrick Buggs, PetSafe Video Coordinator

Training your pet doesn’t have to be difficult, and we have a lot of products that make it even easier to have a better relationship with your pet!

May the Fourth be with you and your pets, and here’s to a happy and exciting journey!

In case you were wondering what the cool robot is in the video, that’s our SocialPet™ system that lets you give your pets a treat from your mobile device or computer!

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