Walking the Walk ~ Teach your Dog to Walk on a Loose Lead

Loose lead walking can be one of the most challenging things to teach your dog. Being dragged around by your dog is not only frustrating but it also can be dangerous. These tips and tools will start you off in teaching your dog to walk loose lead.

The Right Equipment for Loose Lead Walking

Before starting with training your dog to walk nicely on a loose lead, let’s take a look at the equipment that you are using to make sure that they are right for you and your dog. Here are a few tools that you will aid in teaching and walking your dog on a loose lead:

  • A Double-Ended Lead or Waist Walker. Using a double-ended lead allows you to clip the lead around the waist. A waist walker is similarly designed so that it can be worn around your waist and some allow for walking multiple dogs. Both leads mean that your thighs control the strength of the dog not your arms, upper back or neck and that you have your hands free.
  • A front clip harness. This style of harness is great for large and strong dogs. You clip the leash at the dog’s chest and this design means that when the dog pulls, it will curve towards back towards you, rather than pulling ahead like a sled dog.
  • Head Halter. Head halters are designed to prevent or reduce pulling. Not all dogs will like a head halter, so it’s best to consult a dog trainer if your dog is not adapting well to wearing the head collar. The head collar allows for the lead to be clipped behind your dogs head rather than under the chin. As this means it will not ride up into your dogs eyes or yank their head to one side it is more comfortable for your dog.
  • Collar or harness. Depending on the size, strength and current lead training of your dog the collar or harness that you currently have may be sufficient for training loose lead walking.
  • Treats and training pouch. Take a combination of treats out with you in your training pouch. Now that you have your hands free from holding the leash you’ll find it far easier to can start walking and treating.

Teaching Your Dog Loose Lead Walking

  1. Once you can attach the lead and your dog sits quietly, then you can begin to proceed walking towards the door with your dog. If your dog starts getting excited, ask her to sit and reward her until you are able to walk to the door with your dog in a calm manner.
  1. At the door, again ask your dog to wait. Once doing so, show her a stop hand signal, open the door and give a verbal “ok” release before your dog jumps out of position. This teaches your dog to wait to hear the word “ok” before exiting the door.If you find your dog is unable to remain calm or sit before leaving, detach the lead and practice getting your dogs focus until she’s calm.
  1. From this point forward the lead must remain loose. When starting it’s a good to avoid heading towards your dogs favorite place. Rather, set your dog up for success by heading off in the opposite direction. Take one step, ask your dog to sit and reward your dog with a treat, take another step, reward and continue to reward any calm behavior and anytime that the lead is loose.The best approach to eliminate pulling is to simply stop moving. Freeze whenever your dog is in front of you and begins to pull. Wait until the lead slackens and then start to move again. It is important that you reward every little move that your dog makes to slacken the lead and pay attention to you.
  1. Take a few steps at a time and give your dog a verbal cue to let them know that they can have a sniff, have a toilet break, or whatever it is your dog enjoys doing. My verbal cue is “free”. Saying the word “free” gives my dogs permission to walk ahead and have a good sniff if they wish. Dogs love to sniff, and so teaching them that they can have the freedom to explore with their noses when they have been walking nicely on a loose lead can be used as part of your reward system.
  1. Repeat this a few times, taking a few steps walking on a loose lead, then say “free” and let your dog sniff, go to the toilet, or even have a roll on the grass, regain their attention and repeat.
  1. You can lure your dog back to you by pointing your finger to your side, say the word “close” then start off on loose lead walking again.
  1. The more progress you see, the more steps you continue to add before you give the “free” cue. Once you add more steps, continue rewarding her behavior with treats. You’ll find that your dog will see the benefit in walking nicely on a loose lead as you will not be stopping as much so your dog gets to continue its journey forward, and is allowed to have a sniff after doing such a great job.

Once you are both on a roll and you are seeing some improvement, reduce the number of treats that you give to your dog but always let her know that she’s doing a great job by giving her some verbal recognition, such as good girl.

If your dog is deliberately pulling you toward something that is highly desirable, simply turn around and walk back to the starting point. Only continue toward what your dog is headed for if the lead is loose or every time your dog pulls take a few steps backwards. Most dogs will turn and move back towards their owner. When the lead slackens, start walking forward.

Try not to get frustrated.  Remember that patience and consistency are the keys to success!

Top Tips for Getting Your Dog to Recall

Do you recall your dog to you every time for snuggles and cuddles in the house? Or does he get cuddles and interaction when he asks and demands?

If you have a dog with a poor recall, then you will have to go back a step or more. You have to be consistent. If he comes to you for affection or play, simply, place your hand on his side so he knows you care, so when you want to make a fuss of him, ensure it’s after you have made him move to come to you. Your dog’s doing it to you all the time… turn the tables, be the adult.

In my experience, many people only call their dogs when they go for an off lead walk. Why will that dog come back if he has not learnt this lesson at home in a low stimulus environment? 

Key Learning: Teach recall in a low stimulus environment

On a walk, if your dog has little or no attention to you or focus or awareness of you when walking on a lead, his main focus is on everything but you, then why would he come when called when off lead, when everything else is so inviting?

Puppies come when called and follow you naturally.

Recall is generally great as a puppy.  You then move out and about off and on lead with no real connection and everything is more interesting than you.

Puppies follow their mums, they naturally heel and return, they don’t want to be alone as they are vulnerable. All we have to do is keep this going. Make us the fun and trustworthy adults in his life. Take a dog or puppy to a class and you’ve set him up in a very stimulating environment, take a dog or puppy to a busy high stimulus place before you’ve done your homework, then you are setting your puppy and you up to fail.

Where you are and how you are is important when interacting and bonding with your dog

It’s not about training, in my opinion, it’s about a bond of mutual respect and understanding. How many dogs follow you about and heel beautifully when you don’t ask them at home, then go pull and run off at the earliest opportunity out on a walk? They can all walk with you in the right environment. So pick your environments wisely and move to more stimulating environments when you’ve cracked those.

All education needs to be with a calm teacher in the right place

Education starts at home with you and increases slowly moving to different environments where age, personality, coping mechanisms and past experiences depict. Be mindful of how your dog is coping and put things into practice so he knows he can trust you not to place him in situations he can’t cope with, but in time when you do it right, he will be able to cope because he can trust and naturally look to you for support if needed.

How to get your dog to come when called every time

Learning starts at home and if it’s all gone wrong, go back and start again. Re-educate in a place that learning can take place.

  • Always call for interaction at home and in the yard.
  • Remember to go to places where it’s quiet and learning can be fun with minimal stress.
  • Pick your times wisely and move on to busier times as your connection and your dogs or puppies responses are solid in one area first.
  • Always, when out and about have a long line on the dog until you are certain of a speedy response.
  • Run around getting your dog to chase you and want to be with you.
  • Keep your dog on a line in new areas so you are able to re direct with ease when he is distracted.
  • Play find it in your home and yard with an appropriate toy.  Then go out to play find a toy in walk areas you eventually wish your dog to be off lead.
  • Get your dog feeling and knowing you’re the most fun. Being with you is the safest place to be.
  • Don’t go out looking for dogs for him to play with. You are the focus of his fun.
  • Give too much space with little connection and education, then you’re on the road to a dog running off and finding entertainment elsewhere and a dog who feels he has to challenge or connect with everyone and everything out and about.
  • Walks and play are centered around you.

When it Comes to the Litter Box Set-up, Follow the “Keep it Simple” Rule

When setting up the litter box, the more complicated you make it, the less likely your cat will want to go there. Yes, you can find litter boxes on the market that do just about everything except take the bag of dirty litter out to the trash can for you, but the price you pay for them may be too high.

I admit that scooping the litter box isn’t the fun part of being a cat owner. Many humans go so far as to try to pretend there isn’t even a litter box in the house at all by locating it in such a remote area  a cat would need a GPS to find it. The reality is if you live with a cat he needs a litter box and that box should be…

1) the right size/type

2) kept clean

3) conveniently located

The most common calls I receive are from people who have cats with litter box problems. Many of these problems are the result of cat owners not following the 1-2-3 rule above. I’ve visited lots of homes where litter boxes were shoved in a dark closet. I’ve seen boxes where it was obvious they hadn’t been scooped in days. The poor cats had to step on mounds of soiled litter while attempting to urinate. Would you want to use a toilet that hadn’t been flushed for days?

It’s time to take an honest look at your cat’s litter box set-up…

1.Litter Box Size and Type

Covered litter boxes top my list of horrible ideas. The covered box reduces air circulation so it takes longer for the litter to dry. The cover also reduces head room for the cat when he’s in there. If your cat feels too cramped when in the litter box he’ll very likely choose another location, like your living room carpet or worse, your bed.

The box size should be large enough for your cat to eliminate in there several times without having to stand on previously soiled mounds of litter. In general, the box should be one-and-a-half times the length of your cat.

Electronic and self-cleaning litter boxes are potentially too noisy and the surface the cat stands on can be uncomfortable. Some self-cleaning boxes require the use of a special substrate which may be a texture some cats don’t like. I’ve also found high-tech boxes to be too small for the cat. The entire box may be large but the actual litter surface area for the cat is too small.

2. Litter Box Cleanliness

Scoop the box at least twice a day. It only takes a few seconds to scoop. If you find your cat is eliminating just outside of the box, it may very well be because that’s as close as he can get to the box because of how dirty it is. He may be trying to go where he’s supposed to but his nose is warning him about the bad smell coming from the filthy box.

The entire box should be thoroughly scrubbed and replaced with fresh litter on a regular basis. If you use scoopable litter, clean the box at least once or twice monthly. If you don’t use scoopable litter then the box needs to be cleaned more often.

Also, there should be more litter boxes than cats. A good rule to follow is to have one more box than you have cats. A common reason for litter box aversion is that too many cats are forced to use too few litter boxes.

3. Convenient Location for the Litter Box

Nobody wants a litter box in the middle of the living room, but make sure the location is convenient for your cat. If you live in a two-story home there should be a box on each floor. In a multicat home the boxes should be scattered so one cat doesn’t have to pass another cat’s area in order to eliminate. The litter box shouldn’t be located near the feeding area. We don’t eat in the bathroom and cats don’t eat where they eliminate either. 

Be mindful of physical limitations your cat has. If he has trouble going up and down stairs don’t place the box in a spot that’s difficult for him to access.

Remember, keep it simple and follow the 1-2-3 rule.

Do Cats See Color?

When you look at a rainbow in the sky, you see shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Do you ever wonder what your cat sees when she looks at a rainbow? Can she distinguish the same range of color that you do? Does she see bands of black and white?

How cats see color is a topic of research and the results are amazing.  While cats can’t appreciate all the colors that humans do, their world is not entirely black and white.

How does a cat’s vision compare to human vision?

Just because cats don’t appreciate the entire spectrum of color that humans do doesn’t mean they don’t perceive different colors. They just may not see the “true” color of an object. They are also less sensitive to changes in brightness, so they don’t have the ability to perceive color in the rich, vibrant tones that we do.

In addition to color perception, felines and humans have other visual differences. In some respects, feline vision is not as acute as human vision. Cats are more near-sighted than we are. When looking at an object from the same distance, the object may appear crisp to us, but blurred to our cats.

What are other visual differences between cats and people?

To compensate for these minor deficiencies felines have other visual advantages. Cats have eyes that are set more on the sides of the head, which allows them a broader range of peripheral vision than we have. The trade-off is a smaller range of visual acuity so cats don’t have the depth perception that we do.

Also, cats have elliptical pupils that dilate to the max, allowing them to capture as much light as possible. 

Why do cats see what they see?

Cats are equipped with the visual accommodations that allow them to survive and thrive in the wild. Seeing well in dim light and picking up slight movements in the forest at great distances improve the cat’s hunting ability. These assets also help a cat know when she is the prey and needs to flee.

Knowing how and what your cat can see will help you make good choices for her. You should keep your cat’s color range in mind when shopping for toys. She will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones. And you’ll understand why she suddenly becomes alert while sitting on the windowsill as she hones in on a bird flying 50 yards away. You’ll also know that to get her complete attention, you should stand directly in front of her where her range of visual acuity is greatest.

And the next time you are lucky enough to be graced with a rainbow in the sky, rest assured that your cat can enjoy it, too. She won’t see all the colors of the rainbow, but she may see a bit of yellow and blue. And that’ll be just fine for her!

What’s in Your Pet’s First Aid Kit?

Everyone needs a first aid kit. Whether you keep the calmest, quietest homebody of a cat or the most hyperactive, accident-prone dog imaginable, you’ll need to have a first aid kit handy.

However, not everyone agrees on what’s supposed to go inside it. Some kits are super limited, aimed at treating only the simplest of traumas. Others include anything you might need in an emergency.

It’s obvious there’s no one-size-fits-all kit for pets. Not unless you want to keep around half a vet hospital’s contents in your home or car or wherever else an emergency might inconveniently arise. That would defeat the purpose of keeping something handy around.

There are, however, a few staples everyone should have. Here’s what Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services recommends for a basic first aid kit:

Basic Kit

  • Antibacterial cleanser: A simple soapy disinfectant solution is ideal for cleaning cuts, scrapes and scratches that are too minor to require professional attention. It also helps you remove superficial debris from deep wounds before you have them seen by your veterinarian. Keeping a concentrated version of this stuff to dilute in clean water, like a plastic drinking water bottle, makes it easy to carry around.
  • Gauze sponges: These are great for getting wounds gently cleaned ­­without getting your fingers involved and for applying pressure to bleeding wounds. At Coddled Critters we keep them in a separate ziploc bag so they stay clean.
  • Antibacterial gel or spray: A good thing to have around for minor cuts, scrapes, burns and scratches. At Coddled Critters, we prefer sprays. Gels are just too goopy, and pets tend to lick them off. Just be sure to get one that has zero alcohol in it, as alcohol will sting your pet.

At-Home Kit

But every kit needs a few more additions depending on the setting. Here are a few more items for an at home version of your first aid kit

  • Q-Tips and cotton balls: A great addition to your kit for cleaning minor wounds without getting your dirty fingers in the way. They’re great for cleaning the outside crevices of ears and eyes, too.
  • Styptic powder: Let’s say you accidentally over-trim a toenail. Styptic powder applied with a QQ-Tip will help stem output of blood from that single nail.
  • Medications: Depending on your pet’s medical condition, your collection of first aid kit meds will vary. Ask your veterinarian what first aid drugs your pets may benefit from. Here are some suggestions: pet-specific nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like carprofen and meloxicam, antihistamines like diphenhydramine and cetirizine, antidiarrheals like loperamide HCl and gastroprotectants like famotidine and omeprazole.
  • Probiotics: I keep this as a separate category because it’s not really a drug. This is my first line of defense against diarrhea. I administer it at the first sign of a soft stool to help head off even more serious issues. Ask your veterinarian for a probiotic that’s made for pets.
  • Artificial tears: These are an excellent addition to any first aid kit. They’re especially useful for treating mildly irritated eyes, and they do no harm. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a brand. But remember, any squinting or ocular discharge requires a vet visit!
  • Muzzle: I know it sounds odd, but plenty of pets could benefit from at-home muzzles if that’s the only way their owners can attend to their simple first aid needs.

Facts on and Protecting Your pets from Coyotes

Although not native to Florida, the coyote has been tracked in all Florida counties. Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services would like to offer you some

Keeping your pets safe from coyotes

worthwhile information to consider if you encounter a coyote on or around your property or near public parkland.  

Coyote Facts

1,  Coyotes are found throughout the State of Florida, including Pinellas County. They have been in the state since the 1970’s.

2. Coyotes are in the same family (Canidea) as dogs, wolves and foxes. They are medium in size, approximately 2 ft. in height and 20 to 35 lbs. Their coat varies from gray to rusty brown and the tail is bushy.

3. Coyotes are very adaptable, living in virtually all terrestrial and marsh habitats. They have also adapted and thrive in urban and suburban areas

4. Coyotes are omnivores. They eat just about anything. Like turkey vultures, they are often seen scavenging on road kill and other animal carcasses. Their diverse diet is the reason they can adapt so easily to a variety of habitats and including urban and suburban areas.

5. Coyotes usually hunt alone, sometimes as a pair, but rarely, as a pack.

6. Coyotes are most active at dawn and or dusk but have been seen anytime of the day. Home ranges typically average 10 square miles.

7. Coyotes are generally shy and elusive. Like all wildlife, feeding of coyotes will result in eliminating their natural fear of humans.

Coyote Frequently Asked Questions

How can I protect my cat or dog from coyotes?

  • Keep pets indoors or in an outdoor cage from dusk until dawn. A fence may help deter coyotes, but is not foolproof.
  • Feed your pets indoors. If you must feed your pet outside, do so during the day. Never leave pet food out at night.
  • Make sure all trash is in a secure container.
  • Install motion sensitive lights in your backyard and around your house.
  • Clear brush and vegetation to remove habitat for small animals that may attract coyotes and to remove areas that coyotes can hide while stalking their prey.
  • Always keep pets on a leash when walking in parks, forested areas or residential areas.
  • NEVER feed coyotes.

What should I do if I see a coyote?

You want to make sure the coyote knows they are not welcome. You can do this by making loud noises, throw rocks, or spray them with a garden hose. It is important that coyotes retain their natural wariness of humans.

If the coyote is not fearful of humans, Animal Services should be contacted at 727-582-2600.

Do coyotes attack people?

Normally coyotes are timid and shy away from people. Although rare, coyotes have been known to attack humans. Most attacks resulted in minor bites and scratches to adults attempting to intervene in an attack upon a pet. Never leave unattended children in areas known or suspected to be frequented by coyotes.

What diseases or parasites do coyotes carry?

Distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus and mange. Coyotes can be infected with Rabies. Numerous parasites can live on a coyote including mites, ticks, fleas, worms, flukes and heartworm.

Where do coyotes take their kill to eat it?

Coyotes kill an animal because it is a food source and are very skilled hunters. They may attack fleeing animals from the rear, biting their legs or tail to slow them down. They most often kill by biting the throat, causing death by suffocation.

Coyotes usually take their prey with them to a safe place to eat. They may carry their prey up  to 1 mile before consuming it. They do not leave much behind and tend to eat whatever can fit  in their mouth. In some cases, they have even eaten the leather collar of a pet. For this reason,  not much evidence or waste is left behind.

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Private Cage Free Dog Boarding Versus Kennels

Private cage free dog boarding versus kennels….which is right for your dog?

When you’re traveling and are unable to bring your dog with you wouldn’t you like to know that your dog is in a healthy, comfortable and friendly environment? Paying a professional to watch your dog should put your mind at ease, knowing that she is being well taken care of. What are the benefits of private cage free dog boarding versus kennels for your dog?

Kennels come with a harsh reputation. Steel and concrete surround the facility, a look that makes the animal shelter in come to mind with the concrete floors and

Dog Boarding

Private In Our Home Cage Free Dog Boarding

walls, small kennels and workers that put the dogs into dirty caged areas. Although kennels are not always as bad as a movie can make them out to be, they aren’t always an ideal place to put your dog while you’re enjoying a vacation. Kennels tend to be very loud and busy with multiple dogs, leaving very little time for the staff to play with the dogs and give them the attention that you’re paying for. They also tend to be environments susceptible to contagious diseases and improper diets.

Now, private in our home cage free dog boarding offers a whole new world to dogs and their owners. This option provides a disease free, clean, and supervised cage less solution. It’s more of a home-away-from-home where your dog will receive plenty of love and care, while remaining happy during your time away. Your dog will be able to keep their normal diet and exercise routine, surrounded by friendly and happy faces.

In a cage free setting, your dog is able to roam around freely in a supervised environment. At Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services I will ask you to bring your pet’s food, treats, toys and anything else that would make your dog feel as comfortable as possible. Your dog will be able to run around and play whereas in a kennel your dog would not get much, if any, time to play and get the exercise they want and need.

When it comes to private cage free dog boarding versus kennels, the option is clear if you want your dog to be as happy as you are while you are on vacation. Your dog will be happy and safe in a cage-free environment that is comfortable and offers supervision.

So in the battle of private cage free dog boarding versus kennels, which works best for you and your pet?

Read all about our private cage-free dog boarding here.

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Let’s celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month

Walking is not only healthy for your dog, but for you too. Not only is it physical activity, but it’s mental stimulation for your dog to smell, see and hear beyond the

National Dog Walking Month

Let’s celebrate National Walk Your Dog Month

limits of your yard. Walking helps preserve her muscle tone and joint movement, and if your pet is overweight or obese, walking can be a great way to shed those extra pounds.

The following tips can help you make a safe walking program for your dog

  • Train your dog to behave on a leash, and seek help to address any behavioral problems.  If you need basic obedience training, I highly recommend the Dog Training Club of St. Petersburg (
  • Begin with short, frequent walks, and take frequent rests as needed.
  • If your pet seems to just want to go back home, try driving to a nearby park or less familiar area for your walks.
  • Remember that walks are also a means for your dog to enjoy his/her environment; allow your dog to take “sniff breaks” within reason. 
  • Build gradually to one or more 15 minutes periods of brisk walking, then allow for cool-down time and recovery.
  • Avoid walks during the hottest parts of the day during warmer weather. Learn the signs of heat stress so you can recognize and address any problems that occur.
  • During warm, sunny weather, avoid hot surfaces such as asphalt that can burn your pet’s feet.
  • Avoid walks during the coldest parts of the day during cold weather, based on your pet’s cold tolerance. Learn to recognize signs of frostbite and hypothermia so you can address any problems that occur.
  • Walk on safe footing to avoid slips, falls or injuries.
  • If your pet shows signs of lameness, difficulty breathing, or seems to tire quickly, consult your veterinarian.
  • Obey leash laws, and always clean up after your dog.

So start off the new year on the right paw and walk your dog.  If you need help walking your dog, give Coddled Critters Professional Pet Services a call at

727-424-5341 and we’ll be glad to walk your dog for you.  

Dog Parks – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

What all dog parks have in common is the reason for their existence. Dogs and their owners need a place where they can run free, without leashes and do dog

dog  parks, yes or no

Dog Parks – the dog, the bad and the ugly

things. Many dog owners have no yards and the dogs would otherwise spend their entire outdoor lives on a leash.

Advantages of Dog Parks

Dog parks provide a safe space in which people can exercise their dogs, and watch them play.  Our culture is becoming less and less tolerant of our canine companions, and often they are not welcome elsewhere.

Dog parks can facilitate socialization with a variety of breeds and breed types. They can be a wonderful resource for adolescent dogs that have too much energy and no place to put it. Many also function as a social center, a place where people gather to chat, to exchange news, and to commiserate with one another’s problems.

Disadvantages of Dog Parks

The disadvantages are not so simple, but can be even more powerful, depending on the dog and its owner. The real problems, both short and long-term, are behavioral.

Often, owners unwittingly contribute to these problems because they don’t recognize, or don’t interpret correctly, what their dogs are actually doing and learning. Some of the problems cause difficulties only when dogs are meeting and interacting with other dogs. Others can cause future behavior to deteriorate. And still others directly impact dog/owner relationships.

The Power of Knowledge

Owners play an important role in dog parks, and often don’t accept the responsibility they should. Many don’t pay attention to their dog, and many have no idea what constitutes proper behavior, or what a dog may be signaling to another dog. Some defend their dogs when the animal exhibits poor or inappropriate behavior. Some overreact to a normal interaction, in which one dog discourages the attention of another. Occasionally, some owners use parks as babysitters, even leaving their dogs unattended while they shop. And most owners have far less control over their dogs than they believe!

Educating owners is a tough job. Many believe firmly that they are socializing their dogs in the proper way, and don’t like suggestions that they limit dog park time or monitor their dog and others. Teaching them what good play looks like is a first step, and empowering them to actually interrupt poor interactions is a necessary second step. Often, people don’t want to offend other dog owners, so they allow poor behavior to continue.

Trainers can help them learn by describing what appropriate interactions look like, possibly by narrating what the dogs are doing as two dogs play. I’ve found that owners really enjoy learning what good play manners are like and they appreciate the same kinds of descriptions that they hear from sports announcers during games.

Finally, some dogs should not go to dog parks. They can be too shy, too bold, too defensive, or have tendencies to guard toys and balls. Often, when consulting with clients, I ask them to consider giving parks a pass and concentrating on walks or runs, either alone or maybe with some special friends. I’m occasionally surprised by the relief these people feel when they find out dog park play is not mandatory! They thought they had to do it.

Behavioral Tips For Dog Park Attendees


  • Check out the entrance before entering to make sure dogs aren’t congregating there.
  • Pay close attention to their dog’s play style, interrupting play if necessary to calm their dog down.
  • Remove their dog if the dog appears afraid.
  • Remove their dog if it is bullying others.
  • Respect their dog’s wish to leave.
  • Leave special toys at home to avoid resource guarding problems.


  • Allow your dog to enter the park if there is a pack of dogs right next to the entrance.
  • Believe that dogs can work it out if you just let them do so.
  • Congregate at a picnic table or other area and chat with dog owners without watching their own dog.
  • Let their frightened dog remain in the park and hope things get better.
  • Assume a dog is aggressive when it is only trying to communicate its discomfort.

Keeping Your Dog Safe on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a night of celebration, new beginnings and parties. But to make sure your 2019 starts on a good note please make sure your dog is happy and


Keep Your Dog Safe on New Year’s Eve

secure at home before you head out to share in the fun. Here in my neighborhood all my neighbors shoot off fireworks all night and my dogs are definitely not big fans. While the fireworks are not overhead they can be clearly heard by me so I imagine they are very loud for the dogs.

So here are a few tips to help your dog get through New Year’s Eve safe and sound.

Dog-friendly NYE tips:

  • Take your dog out for some vigorous exercise during the day, so she is tired and does not have a lot of pent up energy.
  • Before the fireworks and parties begin give your dog her evening meal.  A full tummy also makes her happy and more sleepy!
  • The best place for your dog on a night filled with loud noises from fireworks and parties is indoors in a quiet place. If you must leave your dog outside make sure your yard is completely secure. Based on the number of dogs that end up at local shelters I suggest that this is the one night you make an exception and leave your dog in the relative peace and quiet of your home, even if it is the garage, or bathroom with their bed and some towels.
  • Let your dogs hide if they want to. My dogs often like to get under my bed when feeling anxious.
  • Distract your pet with their favorite toys and games, but don’t reward any anxious behavior by fussing, giving treats or hugging them. Staying happy and in control lets your dog know everything is okay.
  • Leave the television or radio on as it can drown out some of the loud noises.
  • Just to be safe make sure your dog has all its ID tags on just in case it somehow does escape so they can be identified and returned quickly.