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Category: Tips

February 5, 2018

Will it Really Work for My Pet?

Many of our customers are skeptical before getting their DogWatch hidden fence because they wonder, “Will it really work for my pet?” People wonder if their dog is too dumb or too stubborn or too old or too small. But all dogs and cats are capable of learning their boundaries with a hidden fence. In 29 years, we’ve never had a dog fence not work!

Our 4-day training plan teaches dogs and cats where to go and where not to go with their new DogWatch fence. The visual reminder of flags, starting at a low correction level, and teaching your pet with repetition allows her to slowly learn these things: watch out for the flags, the rest of the yard is safe, and if you feel a correction turn back towards home to make it go away. Sometimes dogs excel more in one of those areas than the others, but in time they all pick up all three. Old and less-smart pets are no exception.

If your pet is more stubborn or has a higher tolerance, there are higher correction levels to ensure she stops at her boundary. Most dogs end up at a level 4, but there are 7 levels in case you need them. For smaller dogs and cats, we have an R7 Mini receiver collar that is very small and lightweight. Smaller dogs and cats don’t usually have a lower tolerance, so there is no difference in the intensity of the correction, just the size of the box on the collar strap. In fact, cats tend to have a higher tolerance than dogs.

To help ease your mind even more, our receivers have AutoMemory and FastReact. If your pet challenges the boundary, the correction level automatically goes up for 24 hours to. And even if your pet is running, they receive a warning and a correction before he reaches the wire, not while traveling over it.

January 23, 2018

Will a Dog Fence Hurt My Dog?

We often get the question, “Can the shock from a hidden fence hurt my dog?” The simple answer is no. You don’t want to hurt your dog, and we certainly don’t either. Hidden fences are safe for all dogs and cats, and they won’t hurt your pet.

The correction a dog receives from a dog fence or other “shock collar” is actually not a shock at all. Unlike the shock you feel when you touch a physical electric fence, the correction from a dog collar is generated by a battery. The wire in the ground sends a signal to the collar, but the electricity in the wire has nothing to do with the zap.

Most receiver collars have different levels of correction – DogWatch has seven levels. The intensity gets higher as you go up, and the goal is to get your dog’s attention and startle him. But no matter how high you get, it can’t hurt your dog. His reaction will increase as the level increases, though. The feeling he feels is similar to a carpet shock or touching your tongue to a 9-volt battery.

The only way a dog’s neck can get hurt from a dog fence is if the collar stays on too long. Most receivers use metal prongs to deliver the correction, and the friction and pressure can potentially irritate your dog’s skin after prolonged wear. We suggest removing the collar each night and putting it back on in the morning to avoid irritation.

Feel free to test your dog’s collar on your own hand if you’re curious. We at DogWatch of the Twin Cities have all done it, but not always on purpose! It’s not pleasant, but it’s certainly not painful.

January 10, 2018

Rescue vs. Buy

When you decide to get a new dog, the question is: do you adopt from a rescue or buy a puppy? First of all, there is no wrong answer. There can be a lot of pressure to adopt for good reason – there are so many dogs that need a home. But there are plenty of reputable breeders out there. If you’re looking for a certain breed or specific traits, a breeder can be a great option.

Adopting a dog from a rescue saves a life. There are more adoptable dogs than people to adopt them. Here in Minnesota, many of the dogs adoptable at local rescues are from the southern part of the country. The culture in some states puts less emphasis on the importance of spaying and neutering and more dogs live outside, so there becomes a surplus of shelter dogs. Kill shelters are much more prevalent as a result, but an alternative to euthanizing those dogs is transferring them to states where they are more likely to get adopted.

An advantage of adopting a dog besides saving a life is that you have the option of taking in a mature dog. For some households, it is much easier to start off with a dog that is already potty trained, for example, or a dog that they know will get along with other pets. This information is usually made available by the dog’s foster.

It is almost always less expensive to adopt a dog than to buy one. It’s not free through a rescue since they have costs to cover, but it is affordable for most families that are ready for a new dog.

Some disadvantages of rescuing a dog include potential behavioral issues and the sometimes disappointing process of adopting. When you get a dog who has a past with previous owners, he might have some quirks that are out of your control. Many rescue dogs require extra love and attention to overcome their previous lifestyles. They may need training, so rescues are best suited for experienced dog owners or people willing to get outside help.

Dog rescue organizations are non-profits and are staffed by volunteers. They offer a wonderful service to pets and pet lovers. A huge part of their job is making sure that the pets under their care end up with competent owners. Sometimes that means you could fall in love with a dog and then not get approved to adopt it. It is also common for more than one family to fall in love with the same dog. When that happens, someone is bound to be disappointed. So the adoption process isn’t always fast or easy, but in the end it is very fulfilling.

Buying a puppy from a pet store or a dog breeder is a great option for certain dog lovers. If you’re set on a specific breed or you want a dog that was bred for a skillset, a reputable breeder can help you get the perfect puppy. A familiar example of this is a hunting dog. If you want a Spaniel whose parents are proven pheasant retrievers and whose personality is family-friendly, there are many reputable breeders in the Midwest. You can find the right puppy and then raise it from the beginning to be a hunter and a family member.

When it comes to breeders, and especially pet stores, it’s important to do your research. Around the country, and even here in Minnesota, there are known puppy mills. These places use and abuse dogs to make money by breeding puppies in horrible conditions. Adult dogs are forced to breed in inhumane conditions, and the puppies are not always the healthiest due to old or overbred parents. Before you purchase a puppy, it’s important to find out where it comes from.

If you do your due diligence before you add a dog to your family, you can do so through a rescue, a breeder or a pet store. Just consider all the options to figure out which one is right for you.

January 5, 2018

New Year Dog Resolutions

It’s the time of year when we reflect on the past 365 days, and try to do better in all aspects of life. Maybe you’re working on relationships – with your family, your friends, yourself. Consider the relationship with your pets, too. They probably aren’t too hard to please, so why not give them a little extra love in 2018? Here are some ideas to give your dog the best year ever.

JANUARY – Use those holiday gifts together. Give your dog one of the bones he got to open himself, and pull out the rope toys and balls. Play tug-of-war or hide and seek or indoor fetch. You’ll never regret some quality time with your pup.

FEBRUARY – Dole out some extra love this Valentine’s Day. Pets and scratches are classics, but try adding some eye contact. Dogs show love to their owners and pick up on their emotions by looking in their eyes.

MARCH – Get in some outdoor time during the snowiest month in Minnesota. If your dog loves fresh powder, go outside with her to enjoy it. Throw snowballs, roll around, and remind yourself and your pup how fun winter can be – even though it feels like it lasts forever!

APRIL – Get inspired by Easter egg hunts and create a treasure hunt for your dog. Hide treats and toys around the yard or house, depending on the weather, and give your dog hints along the way. It’s a fun way to stimulate your dog’s brain and fill up an afternoon with the family.

MAY – Take advantage of the warmer weather and bring your dog to a dog park. If you don’t do it often, it can feel like a chore. You have to pack up your dog in the car, probably wipe her down with a towel before she can get back in the car, and everything in between. But once you see her darting across the park and making new friends it will all be worth it.

JUNE – Make a special summery treat for your dog. Frozen treats featuring fruit are great for this time of year. This recipe is simple to make, but your dog will get lots of play time out of it.

JULY – Talk to your dog. Summertime is busy for you and your dog, so take some time out and just have a calm chat with your dog. Dogs love any attention you give them, but some low-key chit chat is a nice departure from the attention they might get from kids or strangers.

AUGUST – Teach your dog something new. Working on new tricks is great bonding time with your dog, and challenging her brain is good for her. She’ll love making you happy with her new skill, and you’ll love showing it off at summer barbeques.

SEPTEMBER – Get back into a routine. When the kids are back in school and summer chaos has started to lull, your dog will appreciate the normalcy of a schedule. Eating at the same time every day and normal walks and bathroom breaks are comforting to him.

OCTOBER – Enter the DogWatch costume contest! You’ll appreciate your pup’s cuteness in a whole new way with the perfect costume, whether you find it or make it yourself. And if you happen to win, your pup will end up with some amazing prizes.

NOVEMBER – Treat your dog to something cozy as winter approaches. A new dog bed perhaps, or a sweater for chilly walks. Start covering your dog up with a blanket when she’s sleeping. It’s an act of love that won’t go unnoticed.

DECEMBER – Bring your dog along for a special holiday tradition. The perfect example is the Christmas tree farm. Your family goes on an adventure together to create memories, and you don’t have to leave your dog behind! Many local tree farms allow dogs.