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November 10, 2017

How To Have Fun with your Dog in the Winter

Winter is right around the corner, and the chilly weather has already arrived. But don’t let that end the fun with your pups. Put on some winter gear and get out to the sidewalks and the dog parks, and then switch things up with these wintertime ideas.


Start winter off right with warm gear for yourself and your dog. Stock up on cute sweaters and vests, of course, but also consider boots if you’ll be on areas where snow-melting chemicals are used. And if you use snow-melting chemicals at your house, always choose pet-friendly versions.

Treat your pup to a couple new blankets, one for home and one for the car. For even more warmth, try a heated dog bed. You can add a self-warming topper to your current dog bed or crate for safe, efficient coziness.


Get your pup out of her normal routine with a meetup to socialize with other dogs. Just do it indoors! Schedule a playdate with your friends who have dogs and let them run off some steam. New toys can add to the fun, but limit food and treats since that can lead to aggression for some dogs.

Check online for indoor dog meetups. In the wintertime throughout the Twin Cities, you can get the dog park experience inside. That way you can stay and play for longer. Plus the more enclosed area means the humans have a great opportunity to meet and chat about their fur babies.


If you’ve never chopped down your own Christmas tree, it’s a great experience and so Minnesotan. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse to get the whole family together, including the pups. Many tree farms in the area allow dogs to join the fun, and it’s a perfect way to give them exercise – you’re already bundled up and ready for a winter walk.


Get creative this winter with new ways to play indoors to liven things up and stop boredom in its tracks. Make your own obstacle course using couch cushions, laundry baskets, your dog’s favorite toys, and anything else you can find. Race your dog up and down the stairs for a serious workout for your both. Create a puzzle your dog has to solve using some treats and something to hide them under, like plastic cups or under clear Tupperware. Put treats under 2 cups, and leave 2 cups empty. You’ll find out pretty fast just how smart he really is. You and your dog will survive cabin fever much better this year with a little ingenuity.


Get in the spirit of fall and winter by making some homemade dog treats using seasonal ingredients. You’ll have a way to fill up a chilly afternoon, and your dog will love the smells and anticipation. For fall, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash and apples are in-season and healthy for your dog. Check out this DogWatch blog post for the recipes.

For wintertime, use cookie cutters to create festive shaped treats, like candy canes and gingerbread men. Incorporate ingredients like cranberries, peppermint oil flavoring, and cinnamon for a cold-weather kick.


Use some indoor free time to teach your dog new, fun tricks. She may know the basics like sit, stay, down, etc. but what about sit pretty, talking, touchdown, and dancing? Use this article for some tips on which tricks to try, and how to make the training effective and fun. Get the treats out and put on your teacher glasses.


October 27, 2017

Dog Fence Training Tips

The most important aspect of a DogWatch hidden fence, or any electric pet fence, is the training. The steps are simple and it doesn’t take very long, but it’s essential that it’s done correctly. These small adjustments will help training go more smoothly.

A typical training session consists of two laps around the yard, depending on your yard size. A dog’s attention span is fairly short, so don’t walk for laps and laps at a time or continue a training session for more than 20 minutes. After that timeframe, the dog is no longer learning anything.

Before, after or in the middle of a training session, take some time to play with your dog on the leash. If outdoor time is all about scary flags and corrections, it can be overwhelming and make your dog more nervous than he needs to be. Throw a ball in the air or just lay in the grass and pet your dog to remind him that the yard is still a fun place.

Talk to your dog and praise him while you take your training laps. That will help keep your dog’s spirits up and make sure he doesn’t associate you with the corrections. It’s all about the flags.

If your dog gets nervous, that’s OK. It’s very normal for dogs to get a correction and want to head for the house. The main thing to do is keep walking. Don’t let your dog dictate when the training session ends. Walk fast so your dog has to work to keep up with you.

It’s especially important to play with your dog outside if he’s nervous. During training, and after training if he continues to be nervous, play with his favorite toy outside and spend as much time as possible out there with him. Give him treats and belly rubs, and even feed him meals outside. That will allow him to feel more secure and use his whole yard.

Put your dog’s collar on every morning and take it off every night before bed. You don’t want him to know what the collar means. If it’s part of his routine, he won’t associate it with the boundaries outside.

Get your family members and neighbors involved with training. You want to make sure all of his normal distractions are covered so you can trust him once he’s off-leash.

Let your dog get the correction! You may want to save your dog from feeling the correction from his collar, but let him take that step past the flags to feel the correction. If he doesn’t feel the consequence of leaving the yard during training, he won’t stay in.

Call us! We want the training to be successful for you and your dog, so do not hesitate to call us along the way. If you’re having an issue, we’ve definitely heard it before and we can help get things back on track quickly.

October 23, 2017

DogWatch Dog Story: Blue

Blue is a Husky from Eden Prairie who became a DogWatch dog in 2015. Her DogWatch hidden fence has been around for 19 years, though, because that’s when Blue’s brother Louie came along. Louie is a Miniature Poodle, and he’s still around today!
Blue and Louie aren’t alone though.

There are two other dogs sharing their DogWatch fence, for a total of four. Blue’s sisters are a Chocolate Lab and a Pomeranian. It’s a busy house, so it’s so convenient to just let some or all the dogs outside and let them play without worrying about them. A school bus or a car full of squirrels could go by, and the four dogs will just watch from the driveway.

It wasn’t always this way. When Blue was a puppy, before she got her own DogWatch collar, she would run around the neighborhood so fast it was impossible to catch her. The only way to lure her back home was to shake a box of Corn Flakes, her favorite treat. The sound got her every time. While learning the boundaries of her yard, she required a little extra training and a high correction level because of her strong will and two layers of thick fur. But with some help from the DogWatch team, Blue is now staying at home with her canine siblings.

Blue the Husky running in the grass

September 27, 2017

Dog People

At DogWatch we meet lots of people, and the thing they all have in common is they are dog people. And so are we. If you have a dog in your life, you might have some different qualities than your cat-loving friends, or (heaven forbid) people who just aren’t animal people.

Dog people tend to be adaptable. Getting a pooch means you have to make changes to your lifestyle and roll with some punches along the way. You can’t be too set in your ways. There aren’t many dog owners with immaculate white carpet or without a lint roller handy. With your pooch along for the ride of your life, you make adjustments. Maybe you wake up a little earlier than you’d like to, or you bought the Suburu instead of the Porsche. That’s what we do for our furry friends.

If you have a dog in your life, you’re likely stable and responsible. You can’t hop on a plane and leave town any time you want or even stay out too late at night. You probably don’t move very frequently, and you’ve definitely had to pick up dog poo when you really didn’t want to. You have to be prepared for crises ranging from an unexpected jump in the puddle to an emergency trip to the vet. And if you’re like us, you’ve learned a lot from caring for a canine.

Studies show that dog people are more outgoing and social than cat people. It makes sense – if you’re attracted to the in-your-face friendliness of a Labrador or the speed-of-light tail wagging of a Dachshund, you probably enjoy being social and interacting with people. Cat people generally are more introverted and enjoy their time at home, much like their feline companions.

You know how to make sacrifices if you have a dog. If you’ve had a puppy, you’ve sacrificed sleep, shoes, and sanity. If you have adopted a dog, you may have sacrificed your dignity to earn her love. You’ve stopped what you were doing thousands of times and said, “I gotta go let the dog out.” But your dog (hopefully) greets you with a tail wag when you come home early.

Of course there is an endless variety of dog people, but we all have similar experiences and we’ve all been touched by the love and purity of a dog’s heart. At DogWatch of the Twin Cities, we love our customers and believe part of the reason is that you’re dog people like us.