Pet Tested, Owner Approved: The Train ‘n Praise

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By Jessica Medlin, PetSafe Marketing Research Specialist

The PetSafe® Train ‘n Praise™ is a reward system that uses a handheld remote and treat dispenser to positively reinforce good behavior at home. The Train ‘n Praise remotely dispenses dry treats or kibble at the push of a button, and it can be used with or without an audible tone. In 2013, we conducted an In-Home Usage Test (IHUT) with pet owners looking to eliminate unwanted behaviors and help with training their dogs.

How does the Train ‘n Praise work?

Rumor, the Golden, seems to be doing training well when working with the Train ‘n Praise!

Rumor, the Golden, seems to be doing training well when working with the Train ‘n Praise!

Simply remove the treat dispenser and handheld remote from the box, insert the batteries, fill the hopper with your dog’s favorite dry treats or kibble, place the treat dispenser on the floor for initial introduction to your dog and begin! When you push the button on the handheld remote, the dispenser will alert the dog that treats are going to be dispensed and immediately following the alert the treats will come out. Initial set-up should only take minutes. Even our IHUT participants said it is “simple to set-up” and “simple to use.”

In our IHUT, we had an even mix of small, medium and large dogs. The majority of dogs were characterized by their owners as playful along with 33% of participant dogs classified by their owners as being hyper, 5% being territorial and 5% being stubborn.

Would the Train ‘n Praise help with certain dog behaviors and training?

Barking, potty training, chasing household cats (yes, the cats would appreciate the Train ‘n Praise too!), getting into the trash, obedience commands (sit, down, place, etc.), jumping on visitors, table begging… You name it. The Train ‘n Praise can assist in helping to correct behaviors and with training.

In the beginning, we found that it was important for users to use the treat dispenser to simply give treats in order to get their dogs used to it before proceeding with any other training. Throughout the remainder of the test, almost all of our participants used this product as a training tool, but also used it to give their dogs an occasional “just because I love you” treat.

Will the Train ‘n Praise work for a multiple-dog household?

Pretty sure these two cuties have the training part down pat!

Pretty sure these two cuties have the training part down pat!

YES! We tested the Train ‘n Praise with single-dog households and multiple-dog households and found successful results in both scenarios. If you have multiple dogs, we suggest separating your dogs for training to avoid confusion and distraction among the pack. To begin, train one dog at a time in 15 minute sessions a few times per day.

The Train ‘n Praise added more interaction between owners and their dogs, and training with this product became another bonding opportunity! The product allowed many owners (testers) to be calmer in situations when their dog is exhibiting unwanted behavior instead of adding to the anxiety of the situation by yelling at their dog or getting frustrated.

And the Train ‘n Praise is quite a versatile product! If your puppy or senior dog has frequent accidents in the house, it can be paired with our Moisture Detecting Pee Pads to act as an indoor potty training system which can be especially useful when you’re away from home. Also, if you’re wondering what your pets are up to while you’re away, or wondering which one is the culprit of your gnarly, chewed up couch, the Train ‘n Praise can also be paired with our SocialPet™ camera and will help you train your dogs when you’re not even home. The possibilities are vast with the Train ‘n Praise, and it’s a super portable device that can be taken basically anywhere!

Participants were able to eliminate unwanted behaviors and able to teach/reinforce basic obedience commands by using the Train ‘n Praise. Overall, testers were happy with the product and expressed relief that they now have control over their dogs’ unwanted behavior and have something to help with training. Join our testers in Happy Land (yes, this is a very real place) and snag your very own Train ‘n Praise!

We’re always looking for passionate pet owners and their furry family members to test our new products. To learn about how you can become a PetSafe Idea Partner to test products or be involved in PetSafe Research and Development studies, please visit PetSafe Labs to get started. Product testers not only get to find out about our latest and greatest, but you may even get to keep the test product (for free!) and could receive $$ rewards or other PetSafe products for testing. We look forward to working with you!

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Cheers to Our Customers!

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In case you didn’t know, April is Customer Loyalty Month! We aren’t one of those companies that sells a product and hopes that our customers are enjoying it; we want to make sure our customers trust what we sell and how we maintain a relationship with each individual. Some of the ways we stay in contact with our customers include interactions on Facebook and Twitter, but we also provide our phone and email customer care!

Juno, one of the many Customer Care dogs at work!

Juno, one of the many Customer Care dogs at work!

As you probably know by now, our office is pet-friendly. This includes our Customer Care department, which is part of our corporate office complex in Knoxville. There’s nothing quite like seeing so many dogs in one place, especially while our representatives answer questions about pets and their products! We decided to ask some of our pet enthusiasts who work with our customers each and every day a few questions on why our customers are so fantastic.

Donnie D – Customer Care Manager

Donnie has been with the company for 2 years, and has been one of the Customer Care managers for close to a year. He manages a team of around 20 representatives, and helps to empower this team to give the customers the best possible experience when calling the company.

“People just want to make their pets part of the family,” Donnie said. “They want to take care of them and keep them safe. With us they are able to give their pets the amenities that they are capable of providing.”

Amanda G – Customer Care Trainer

Amanda started taking phone calls 3 years ago, and became the trainer for Customer Care close to a year and a half ago. She answered questions on almost every item made by the PetSafe® Brand, and had a chance to get to know more about the pets that are using the wide variety of products.

“My favorite story was a woman who cried for almost 45 minutes because she loved our Lickety Stik for her dog so much. She said that her overweight dog could barely walk half a block at the time, but has now lost a lot of weight and is walking over 2 blocks with her every day,” Amanda said.

Amanda was asked about what makes our customers unique.

“Our customers are loyal. They love their pets like they would their children, and are happy and grateful when we take care of them. When they don’t think there is a solution we provide one with individualized care. A blanket fix doesn’t always work, and calling us means we can figure out exactly how to fix what needs to be fixed.”

Amanda now trains all of the new hires that take PetSafe calls on how to troubleshoot, listen to our customers and use our different operating systems. She also trains our representatives on new products, and helps update anyone on any new features.

Dustin S – Customer Care Consumer Experience Advocate

Dustin began working for the company 3 and a half years ago, and has been a CEA for 2 years. A Consumer Experience Advocate takes any data that is collected about a particular category of products, and relays this information to the appropriate department. They are also quick to call our customers back if there is every any kind of recurring issue. Dustin is the CEA for kennels, and will email or call a customer in need. He is also part of our email team in Customer Care, where he responds to customer questions via email instead of phone calls. Some of our loyal customers prefer the email method over calling, and that is why we have a team dedicated to this.

“We value our customers. Without you we wouldn’t exist. You help make us the most trusted brand,” Dustin said. “Our customers are particular, and we understand this as pet lovers!”

As part of our Customer Loyalty Month, we want to hear from our loyal blog followers. We would love to hear what kind of feedback you have for us. Do you love our posts? What else would you like to see from us? Simply leave a comment below, and we will pass your information on! We are so grateful to have you all as our customers, and hope to see you back to read more great blogs from PetSafe!

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The 10 Best Ways to Celebrate National Pet Day

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By Jessie McDowell, Content Marketing Specialist

Today is National Pet Day, and, here at PetSafe, we leave no pet holiday unnoticed. But how do you celebrate a day like this? How can you and your pet make the most of one of their national holidays? We decided to gather a few ideas to get some much needed quality time with your furry friend.

1. Share a day at the dog park

Moose when he thinks of the dog parkDog parks may be nothing new to you and your pup, but spend a little extra time meeting new friends today. You’ll feel like an awesome pet parent and truly appreciate your pet as he frolics around the park finding new playmates. If you don’t have a dog park to visit in your area, we might be able to help. Visit www.petsafe.net/barkforyourpark for more information.

 

2. Treat yourself to ice cream

This is a special treat. It’s not every day your dog gets sweet vanilla ice cream (and it shouldn’t be every day). You don’t have to share the same ice cream cone, but get your pup a little frozen treat at a drive through. After all, National Pet Day only comes around once a year.

3. Give your pet a bath

Your pet may not like this one, but the after effect will be awesome. The soft fur feeling your pet has after the big water shake off is amazing. Having a bath also really helps with our next idea…

4. Have a pet photo shoot

Moose's first photo shoot

Moose’s first photo shoot

 

After your kitten or puppy has dried off and looks cuter than ever, take pictures! You have no idea how much these will mean to you as you grow up together. The more pictures the better for National Pet Day.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Get a special treat

National Pet Day is a chance to spoil your pet without any guilt. Pick up that product you know your pet will love, and you have just been waiting for the right time to get it. This day is a celebration!

6. Take a nap together

Cat naps take on a new meaning on National Pet Day. Relax and treat both of you to a bonding nap. Soak up the sun outside or snuggle inside for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

There’s nothing quite like a Moose nap

7. Split a meal

It is starting to be patio season, and we think that’s reason enough for a fur family dinner. Take your pup to a doggie-friendly restaurant patio and spilt a meal you will both love.

8. Watch a pet movie

Remember Air Bud? What about Homeward Bound or Marley and Me? Dig up your old favorite pet movies and watch them together. Hey, they understand the barking parts!

9. Throw a ball

This is so simple but will go such a long way. Your dog has been cooped up all winter, and it’s time to play. So pick up his favorite toy and step outside for a change.

10. Give some extra love

Only you know the best way to show your pet you care. Whether it is a longer belly rub, some playful exercise or simply an extra hug, the best way to Celebrate National Pet Day is bonding with your pet.

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Our Customers are My Passion

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By Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

pic 2As a professional dog trainer most of my clients have some training issues they are working through with their pet. I love being able to teach them foundation behaviors, like sit, touch a target and stay, which are invaluable in training. Teaching behaviors like these develops the relationship between the person and their pet. At the same time they provide appropriate behaviors that can be substituted for behaviors you might not like. For example, a dog cannot be jumping up on you if he is sitting like you asked and getting rewarded for it.

Sometimes people need extra help with training certain behaviors. That’s when training tools and enrichment toys can be valuable assets. In my work in the pet industry I am very familiar with these tools and often have the opportunity to help customers with fit and use of these products. The most fulfilling part of my job is to show someone how one of these products can help them solve a problem or enjoy a better relationship with their pet.

I never get tired of talking with customers about how one of our no-pull solutions helped them be able to take their dog on enjoyable walks and no longer be pulled down the street. It means the dogs and their people are getting more exercise and spending more time together!

pic 1So many people have approached me at tradeshows, conferences and through social media with stories of using our toys to give destructive chewers a safe outlet, to combat boredom and provide enrichment and challenge for both cats and dogs. It’s great to be able to help them find the best options for their pet.

Sometimes the stories are hard to hear. The first contact we have with many of our Keepsafe® Collar customers is when they’ve lost a beloved pet and found our breakaway collar while researching safe options. I know the heartbreak they are feeling and hope by continuing the effort to educate more people about this issue we honor each of them.

A few years ago I visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. They have a beautiful memorial garden, Angel’s Rest, for the animals. Each memorial is marked with little colored memory stones, pictures and mementos that are perfect in honoring the memory of a beloved animal.  Some memorials were draped by collars and harnesses and, yes, some of those collars were made by this company. I couldn’t help but think about all the collars and harnesses we send out and how they each will find their way to a special animal. To see those collars made those losses so real to me.

All these experiences remind me daily of how, in a small way, I am able to touch the lives of so many pets and their people. As a trainer I couldn’t ask for anything better than this. Our customers, both people and pets, are my passion.

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Dealing with Doggie Drama

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By Jessie McDowell, Marketing Content Specialist

Jessie and Moose are always up for an adventure.

Jessie and Moose are always up for an adventure.

Raising a puppy, I had daydreams of us being best friends, always together and living in perfect harmony. My puppy would walk right beside me as we strolled in the park, and I would toss a Frisbee that he would catch in mid-air and bring back to me. Instead, most of the time my dog has something in his mouth he shouldn’t, he drags me along by his leash and, not only can I not throw a Frisbee, he can’t catch it either. My dog and I have great bonding times, but I also have to be prepared to react correctly when he doesn’t live up to my unrealistic expectations.

How should I react when he has puppy antics like eating my shoes and having an accident in the house? How do I discipline him without being a mean mom? How can he learn, and I not overreact? I talked to the experts and scoured behavior sites to find a solution.

Moose strikes a pose

Moose strikes a pose

Communicate like a dog

Yelling at your puppy will not help, and it won’t make you feel very good either. Dogs don’t understand your yelling, and it may do harm to your relationship. Avoid the urge to yell, and avoid the situation. You may need to take a moment to get your temper under control. Speak in a calm, even tone to your dog to get their attention and distract them from bad behavior.

Catch them in the act

Dogs may not understand why you would be correcting them, even minutes after they have done something wrong. They may not know what behavior you are trying to correct unless you catch them in the act. It can be tough, but it is the only way for you to truly make an impact. If they went through your garbage before you got home, there is no real use in disciplining them now.

Channel energy elsewhere

You may have the urge to treat your dog like a child. Though they are a part of your family, they don’t behave like children, and timeout may not work. You need to divert their attention away from their mistake by not reacting to their misstep and reinforcing the correct behavior. If they chew on your hand, move your hand away and replace it with a proper toy and praise. It may take a while, but they will divert their action to the proper chew toy just because it is more fun.

Moose loves his freedom.

Moose loves his freedom.

Stick with your boundaries and consequences

You have to stick to the same discipline technique every time your dog misbehaves, or they may not learn. Inconsistency is very confusing to dogs, and they may forget all that time you spent teaching them the skills in the first place. Discipline the same way, every time, to make sure your dog corrects their behavior and is on the right path to being a “good puppy” just like you had pictured.

A great way to start the proper training with your pup is to start with the PetSafe® Easy-Walk Harness for your fun walks! You can also the PetSafe Pawz Away® Pet Barrier for your indoor areas that you want to teach your pet to avoid.

The biggest lesson I learned about my reactions to my puppy is the need for patience. To have a great relationship and be productive, I need to step back from the situation as a human and react in a way my pup can understand. Of course I will be frustrated, but if I focus on the big picture, maybe we can finally learn that Frisbee trick.

Here are some great resources to help you get started with your new relationship with your dog:

http://dogcare.dailypuppy.com/correctly-discipline-puppy-3000.html

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/punishmentvscorrection.htm

http://www.menshealth.com/dogs/9-lessons-from-the-dog-whisperer2.php

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Arf You Ready to BARK?

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

Mountain House, CA made sure their efforts in Bark For Your Park were extra sweet with these cookies!

Mountain House, CA made sure their efforts in Bark For Your Park were extra sweet with these cookies!

One of the greatest bonuses of working for the PetSafe® Brand is that we get to be so involved in the community. There are a lot of local events like 5K races, dog parades and fundraisers that we attend, but nothing is more rewarding than getting to give away funds for dog parks. We have a great variety of PetSafe dog parks in the Knoxville area, and we have the opportunity to share this great city feature with other communities across the US.

So of course we are planning on having another Bark for Your Park contest in 2014! The good news is that this is launching in just over a month. The even better news is that you can get a head start and check out our Bark for Your Park website for the 2014 contest information.

If you haven’t yet head of this PAWsome contest, I’ll go ahead and break it down for you:

Wouldn't you love to cut the ribbon at your very own dog park?

Wouldn’t you love to cut the ribbon at your very own dog park?

PetSafe will award five U.S. communities with funds to build dog parks! We are lucky enough to get to give out $100,000 to the grand prize winning community! We also give out four $25,000 grants to 3 runners-up and a special award to our Bark from Your Heart winners!

So here is the timeline you’re going to want to put in your calendars:

• May 7 – June 7: Who Let the Dogs Out? Nominations begin! Bark (vote) each day on Facebook and on the B4YP Website!
• June 13-July 31: 15 finalists will compete and popular vote will determine the winners.
• July 25 – July 31: Howl at the Moon! The leader board will go dark for the surprise announcement to the lucky winners.

• August 7: Every Dog Has Its Day. Winners are announced!

Tune in tomorrow to watch some of the live coverage from Texarkana (Texas and Arkansas)! They are the 2012 and 2013 Bark for Your Park winners, and we’ll be enjoying a day of fun-filled dog park events to celebrate with these communities!

 

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Keeping Your Dog Healthy All Year

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Jessie with her German Shepherd, Moose.

Jessie with her German Shepherd, Moose.

By Jessie McDowell, Marketing Content Specialist

Keeping your dog healthy often makes us think of simply taking him to the vet and cleaning his ears. Health for your pet is so much more than vet visits; it is a super rewarding full time job. Everything you do has an impact on your relationship with your furry friend, and it is your job to make sure you have the best bond possible.

 

Here are a few essentials to keep on your dog care checklist:

- Feed the right food at the right amount

It’s hard to know exactly how much food your dog needs. You want to make sure he isn’t hungry, but you also don’t want him to have health problems from overeating. Check out this dog food calculator to make sure the heaping scoop you’re giving isn’t actually hurting your dog’s health.

As far as choosing the right food, this tip isn’t as simple. It all depends on your dog’s specific needs and health risks, but as a general rule, you want to give your dog the most natural food you can from a pet store or from your vet. Look for meat and vegetables, rather than grain fillers. Corn, rice, whole wheat, barley, soy and other grains are cheaper sources of protein used by many pet food producers to increase the percentage of protein in their food. Unfortunately, these are often difficult for your dog to digest and are not always good for your pet’s overall health.

- Hydration

When this fountain is used outdoors, it connects to a hose and automatically refills to the desired water level!

When this fountain is used outdoors, it connects to a hose and automatically refills to the desired water level!

If you aren’t home very often, your dog may not have the access to water that they need. Each day, dogs need to drink about one ounce per pound of body weight. That is a lot of water! If you aren’t giving your pet the water they need, you could be opening them up to the threat of urinary tract infections and health risks. You can’t always be with your pet all the time, but with products like The Drinkwell ® Everflow Indoor/Outdoor Fountain  and Drinkwell® Big Dog Fountain you can make sure they are getting the water that they need all day.

- Proper mental and physical exercise

Depending on the breed of dog you have, he may be begging for more exercise and attention. Even small dogs need more exercise than you may think. On average, dogs need about 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, and this isn’t just running around outside. Dogs need both mental and physical activity to keep them sharp. Try taking them on a hike, or find toys like the Busy Buddy® Jack that keep your dog playing and help exercise his mental capacity. Your dog will definitely thank you.

- Socialization

As much as our pets love us, it is nice to know that we can trust them to love other dogs too. Make sure you socialize your pet with all different sizes and shapes of dogs and humans to make sure you can trust that your dog will behave in every situation. They need that social interaction to be able to build healthy relationships with other dogs and humans. Socializing at the young age of 3 to 12 weeks old is a great start when your puppy is most likely ready for new experiences, but cautious socialization can continue throughout a dog’s life. A GREAT way to help socialize your dog is with a day at the dog park. Our Bark for Your Park contest will be launching in May, and your city could win funds to help build its very own dog park.

- Grooming and Vet Visits

This goes without saying, but regular visits to the vet and keeping up with your pet’s grooming will do wonders for his health. Routine visits can even extend the life of your pet, and can also decrease their chances of expensive visits down the road. Keep up with when your pet should visit the groomer and their veterinarian!

- Love

The number one thing your dog probably wants from you is love. Keep your relationship with your best friend healthy and your dog will have just what he needs to be healthy all year round!

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Bloat: The Tale of the Twisted Stomach

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By Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD

PetSafe Rebrand Lifestyle 3Potential dog owners interested in adopting a large or giant pure or mixed-breed canine must make themselves aware of a severe, life-threatening ailment commonly affecting big-statured dogs.

If you’ve seen the heart wrenching movie (or read the book) Marley & Me, you’re familiar with the scene where Luke Wilson informs Jennifer Aniston that their dog, Marley, is diagnosed with a “stomach twist.” In my clinical practice, I’ve been faced many times with the unfortunate task of alerting dog owners that their beloved canine has such a condition.

Symptoms

This common canine crisis is called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) or bloat, and occurs when the stomach takes a 180 (more common) or 360 degree (less common) twist inside the abdominal cavity. This leads to a combination of clinical signs prompting an owner to pursue emergency veterinary care, including but not limited to:

  • Abdominal Distension. When the stomach twists, its contents (food, liquid, air, etc.) can’t properly exit into the small intestine. As a result, the stomach fills with gas and starts to distend. With the contents having no escape, the stomach’s maximum limits are reached and it can be felt or seen protruding beyond the dog’s last rib. This extreme dilation is termed dilatation. The distended stomach will feel firm to the touch and will have a tympanic or drum-like effect when tapped.
  • Retching to Vomit. The twisted stomach prevents movement of fluid and food in the appropriate direction from the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach. Digesting food can’t move in the opposite direction from the stomach into the esophagus. Therefore, oral and esophageal secretions accumulate at the end portion of the esophagus right above the stomach (higher than the twist), and the dog will repeatedly retch thick, white, foamy liquid.
  • Pacing or Restless Behavior. The dilatation of the stomach causes great discomfort. As a result, the affected dog exhibits pacing and restless behavior instead of lying down or sitting in an uncomfortable position.
  • Pale Gums and Increased Heart Rate. GDV stops blood from returning from the lower body back to the heart, which can then causes the dog’s gums to appear pale. Heart rate increases in an attempt to push more blood flow to the front of the body. Extreme heart rate elevation can cause a dangerous cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal rhythm) called Ventricular Premature Contraction (VPC).

Not all dogs will develop GDV. Additionally, not all canines having the characteristics of a GDV-prone patient will suffer from the condition. It’s best for owners of large dog to be aware of the physical and behavioral factors that correlate with GDV, including:

  • Large and Giant Body Size. GDV is most often seen in large and giant sized dogs. Such substantial canines often have a deep chest and a narrow waist, which is theorized to permit more free space in the upper abdominal cavity for the stomach to twist.
  • Advanced Age. Adults and senior dogs are more commonly afflicted with GDV than younger dogs. The reason behind this isn’t known.
  • Eating and Drinking Habits. Your dog may be at risk if he: gulps food, doesn’t chew food properly, eats primarily dry kibble, binge eats large amounts of food or garbage, drinks lots of water after eating, or exercises shortly before or after eating or drinking. A full stomach creates a centripetal effect permitting torsion (twist).

Prevention

PFD18-12689 LifestyleWhen it comes to GDV and dogs, prevention is truly the best medicine. Slow down the pace of your dog’s eating and drinking. Feed your dog in a special bowl or food-dispensing toy designed to slow down eating, or place a tennis ball in his dish to make him eat his way around it to get the food.

Instead of consuming kibble, feed your dog a whole food diet containing small pieces of real meat, vegetables, fruits and other ingredients. Wait at least an hour before or after exercise to feed your dog. Limit the amount of water consumed before, during, and after exercise and eating.

Treatment

GDV is always a life threatening condition. If you suspect your dog has bloat, immediately seek medical care with your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary facility. An exploratory abdominal surgery is needed to relieve the torsion, evaluate the other organs for associated abnormalities, and surgically attach the stomach in a normal position to the body wall (gastropexy).

To take a truly preventative approach, any “bloat-size” dog undergoing surgery, such as for a spay/neuter, can also have the gastropexy procedure performed at the same time to prevent torsion. Gastropexy can be performed at any life stage to reduce the likelihood that large dogs will develop GDV. Talk to your vet about this option for your large dog.

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Spring into Family Adventures

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

Tyson attempts to be just as interesting as the toy dog.

Tyson attempts to be just as interesting as the toy dog.

If you’re a new parent, you probably have friends who have been through this all before. Some of us have those friends who seem to be superheroes when it comes to balancing a human and furry family together. You know, the people who just always seem to have it all under control? For the realists out there, going on family adventures with your children and fur-babies can be a daunting task as opposed to a pleasant day out. So where can you go to enjoy a nice day of family bonding?

Dog-Friendly Patio

The Elite Big Dog Remote Trainer

The Elite Big Dog Remote Trainer

Nothing puts me in a better mood than good company and good food. Living in Knoxville, we have a wide variety of patios that allow dogs. It’s all part of the great efforts to become the Pet Friendliest Community, and having dogs allowed on patios is a great addition to any city. This isn’t to say that every dog is patio ready, so make sure you are working to train your pet and socialize him well. One great training tool that we use for our hound, Tyson, is the PetSafe® Elite Big Dog Remote Trainer. We started small, with the tone-only level, and gradually increased the static correction as needed for any behavioral issues he was having. He has done a great job with the training, and this makes it so much easier to enjoy a nice dinner on the patio with the family. The only issue we have now is that the baby likes to chase Tyson’s tail whenever he is sitting down. One issue at a time…

Community Events/Festivals

Dylan dressed as one of the dogs at the Mardi Growl parade.

Dylan dressed as one of the dogs at the Mardi Growl parade.

Family-friendly festivals and outdoor events are a fantastic way to keep the family entertained. Concerts may not be the best idea for your younger children, but this will depend on what kind of music is playing. You’re in luck if your community offers any fundraising events for pets like Knoxville. We recently attended Mardi Growl 2014, an event that includes an awesome dog parade benefiting Young Williams Animal Center. The dogs in attendance were decked-out in colorful feathers and beads, and the children that attended got a chance to interact with all of the happy pups! Outdoor theaters often offer fun for the whole family, but you’ll want to make sure your dogs are as entertained as you are. Toys and tugs are easy to pack in your giant family tote, and we’ve got several to choose from at petsafe.net. My favorite for when we go out is the Busy Buddy® Ultra Sub because it keeps my dogs entertained while they try to chew on the rawhide.

The Dog Park

A great addition to any community, a dog park is a fantastic place to bring the family! Depending on the park, a walking trail is a great place to get exercise after you’ve been cooped-up all winter with the kids.  PetSafe has built quite a few dog parks in the Knoxville area that we enjoy visiting, and it gives the dogs a chance to exercise and get socialized. This has worked wonders with having a child, as the dogs aren’t as hyper around him. Living in a city with multiple dog parks is something I am grateful for often. It’s hard to imagine a community without one, but the great thing about the PetSafe brand is that our philanthropic opportunities allow us to give away money for a dog park elsewhere! That’s right. Our Bark for Your Park contest allows one grand-prize winning community $100,000 in funds to build a park, with 4 other cities winning $25,000. Make sure to check the Bark for Your Park website in the coming weeks as we prepare to launch the 2014 contest on May 7th!

I hope you will enjoy the warmer weather with your family this season, whether it be on a patio, at a festival or at a dog park. What are your favorite activities to do with the whole family?

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