Traveling with Pets

Traveling with Pets by: Emily Griffith

 

          Vacation time can be one of the more enjoyable experiences in life, but not all who travel are worry-free. Chances are, if you travel, you either hire pet care professionals to stay with your animals while you are away or you are forced to take them. Personally, I love traveling with my dog, but this isn’t always a common or safe thing to do, depending on your pet’s condition. Some animals startle easily by noise, movement, and other stimuli that begin to affect the pet’s nervous system. Heart rate rises, overheating risk increases, dehydration risk climbs. With all of these extraneous factors on your pet, sometimes, it is best to keep them in the comfort of their own home to reduce physical and emotional stress. Gwinnett Pet Watchers provides this very service for a nominal fee to ensure your pets are well-cared for, just like when you are there. When we “move in,” we’ve reduced multiple stressors associated with traveling. The only adjustment your pets have to make is to a different person, one they have already met at the Meet and Greet and are familiar with and trust. For those of you in other states, without a local Gwinnett Pet Watchers staff member, here are some tips for traveling with your pet and resources that we’ve found to be useful.

First and foremost, whether you are traveling by car or plane, the rule of thumb to always remember is that your pet must be HYDRATED. Hydration is the most important facet of traveling to remember. In the car, be sure to bring water bottles or a couple gallon jugs and a water bowl. Stop often for rehydration and with hydration comes a bathroom break. Be conscientious of the amount of water that goes in so that you can account for what must be expelled. In the event you are traveling by air, I’ve heard of many tips. One that I feel could potentially save a pet’s life is for when the temperatures are high. If the tarmac is going to hot, consider freezing water in the pet bowl you plan to put in the crate. One of the common problems with flying is that the jostling of the crates while being loaded, often spills the pet’s water. If your pet is too large to fly in cabin, freezing the water could help prolong the amount that gets to thaw in the bowl without being sloshed out during loading. It is important to be familiar with your local airport’s loading and pet procedures before implementing any new ideas for travel. If you are concerned, give their customer service a call and be sure to address your concerns and have any questions you have answered prior to flying. So, to recap, KEEP YOUR PETS HYDRATED!

Below is a list of pet-friendly travel resources to aide in your vacation. As you read, keep in mind the importance of calling ahead to ensure proper booking and that policies haven’t changed. As with all things, this is meant to serve as a generic guide to assist in traveling with pets, as situations and circumstances across species and breed vary. Happy travels and tail wags!

 

1)Air BnB

One of the newest, but by far most competitive resources out there and growing, is Air BnB. This site is truly groundbreaking in terms of traveling in general. This app has revolutionized travel and lodge by adding a whole network of individual competitors out there to rival hotel chains and resorts. All across the globe, people have the option to put their home up as a “Host.” If you list your home, you can choose between renting out the entire house or just a room available for a fee you negotiate. The company requires pretty hefty securitty deposits on some of the paces available, but the actual price per night is usually better than hotel chains can boast. My favorite part about this company has to be their wide array of options for different types of travel. You can even bring pets to some of the houses, so just look at the “House Rules” and see if they allow pets and the fee for them. Some places even have pets on the property since they are just residences. The vast selection of over 3,500 cities across the globe with prices ranging from $49 per night to well over $2,000 per night, depending on the city you choose. Remember, pets are allowed in all properties, but when I have searched, 2 of the 4 places I chose allowed pets for a very nominal fee. The only drawback to be cautious of is that you must book in advance in order to get your desired dates and watch out for hefty deposits, pets or not! Overall, I started with this one because it is revolutionizing traveling with pets. We can not keep our barker in any hotel, despite how well behaved and clean he is, simply because when other guests slam doors, he barks. I’m sure most people are familiar with this problem. Now, pet owners have an alternative to hotels with AirBnB with the option to rent an entire house, thus not disturbing any nearby guests due to shared walls.

 

2)Aloft Hotels

Another high-ranking lodging option that I have utilized before. My experience was in Asheville, North Carolina and I couldn’t have been more impressed. The fee was small for lodging a pet unlike some chains and the Aloft hotels seem to have focused on pet owners for their market. In fact, of the 100 properties scattered about, 66 are pet-friendly. Among the many amenities for humans, like state of the art architecture and internet cafes, they also have some cool pet perks. The location where I was had a grassy area over a car garage for your pets to go to the bathroom and they had a valet service so we could just walk in and get settled. The staff was also accommodating in certain requests. For example, I wanted us to be secluded due to Rupert’s barking from other guests and to maybe get a good view of the scenic mountains. They happily gave me a small upgrade situated us on the 8th floor, directly facing the beautiful mountain ranges. We also met with a friend who had her own small pet and they allowed her to bring her fur friend into our room for a brief duration without penalizing us with more fees. The cafe and restaurant downstairs served fantastic food and had a large beer and wine selection from some of the local breweries. The hassle-free booking and accommodating perks from the staff rank this another favorite. The rates for the rooms vary by location, but we locked in at $180 per night. That is a small price to pay for us to be able to have peace of mind when traveling with our dog. Did I mention that we didn’t book a room prior to arrival? Yeah, they were just that helpful. Be weary of the weight restrictions and number of pets allowed per room. Each room usually set restrictions at 2 pets per room with a 40 lb weight limit for little to no extra fee. If your dog is larger, they encourage guests to contact the hotel directly to receive a waiver for the weight limit. The Arf program also gives your pet a bed, bowl, and a doggie bag with treats.

 

2)Kimpton Hotels

After setting the standard with the HosPETality Unleashed program, it is hard to top Kimpton. I haven’t personally lodged here, but they boast a no pet fee regardless ofnumber, size, shape, feathers, and scales. This chain has 67 properties in 31 cities and they are only growing. Like the Aloft chains, they offer your pets some stylish amenities to ensure they are happy guests as well. They provide you a bed, water bowl, treats and have something called Yappy Hours in the evening that are specifically pet-friendly. As with all resources, please call ahead for some specifics regarding you and your particular trip. It is always best to confirm policies are still in place as they are advertised.

 

3)La Quinta and Red Roof Inns

Both of these hotel chains offer pets lodging for a small fee. These hotels are very reasonably priced, usually decently available, and are located in nearly every major destination. While I have stayed at a La Quinta before, I was not lodging with a pet, so this information is based off of the websites of the hotels. Please call to verify rates and deposits.

 

4)Camping

Something else that I find to be successful for pet-friendly vacationing is camping (or glamping). I purchased a cheap car inverter to blow up my mattress and pop up our tents just about anywhere, U.S.A. The ease of  being able to section yourself off away from other campers who may not like the noise from loud pets makes this another hassle-free option. Most parks allow pets without a deposit, just make sure you pick up after yourself. It is important when camping that you always bring extra water, back-up flashlights and batteries, lighters, fuel, and food. Leaving any of these items behind could be detrimental to your trip and potentially be life-threatening. Also, be sure to check your weather in advance of the trip. Often, the weather changes and can mean the difference between and sunny tan or a soaked-to-the-bone disaster. Lodging outdoors in extreme cold or heat could be life-threatening to you and your pet. Make sure you know everything about your pet’s skin and breed before exposing them to any elements they may not be accustomed to.

 

5)Gwinnett Pet Watchers

This definitely is worth the repitition. We have a customized list of services varying from a quick 15-minute potty break to a complete move-in package for the duration of the vacation. I highly recommend hiring pet care professionals again mainly because of the amount of stress avoided in transporting and adapting a pet to new surroundings. And, honestly, what kind of a vacation is it if you are both in a constant state of worry? The bond between pets and owners is sacred and trust-filled, but it is not unquestioning. Some pets respond poorly to external stimuli and surrounding changes and lose trust in the owner, for they feel it is very unsafe. Not all animals adjust to cars well or at all, let alone airplanes, trains, and other living environments. With all of this in mind, I highly recommend pet sitting. When I need to travel, Gwinnett Pet Watchers is the first thing I think of as my saving grace. I know I can trust my fellow staff members because we all truly love your pet like our own.

 

Traveling is to be done at your own discretion and with veterinarian expertise, if applicable or you are in doubt of how your pet will do. There are many resources available for items that help to comfort your pet, such as special sweaters, pet beds, and water bowls available. I recommend 2 collapsible bowls, extra leash, and car seat for pets. Happy travels!

Best Life Hacks: Pet Edition

Best Life Hacks: Pet Edition

By: Emily Griffith

We all have that one friend who functions as the MacGyver of your circle. You call this person for substitutes when you run out of milk in recipes. You text them to help with kids’ science fair projects. They just know everything! Thanks to the emerging geniuses who have furry friends, we have found some truly incredible and thrifty pet-based lifehacks! Whether you are remodeling your home and wish to add a pet space under your stairs or you just want a quick and simple toy, you’ve come to the right place! Here are some of our favorites from the brilliant pet parents of the internet:

1.)DIY Treat Dispenser

If you have a high-energy pup like I do, you will relate to your animal being extremely playful and in need of mental stimulation as well. I love DIY treat balls from a tennis ball, because they provide a certain level of physical activity coupled with some mental exercise as well. The steps are very simple. Take a regular tennis ball from any local sporting goods store and carefully make an incision with a knife or scissors. Be sure to clear any loose or hanging rubber from the inside before inserting any treats. To insert the treats, simply squeeze the ball, forcing the incision to flex open and outward. Drop the treats inside, preferably something with a decently sturdy texture, and then its playtime! For an even more effective way to tire out your pet, sit uphill and roll the ball down a gentle grade. Be sure you know if your breed has any health issues, such as hip dysplasia, before doing so to prevent injury. Remember, a good dog is a tired dog!

2.)DIY Pet Home/Nightstand

Sometimes the crates and other homes we give our pets can be well, unsightly or just imply clutter the room. Solution: Take a piece of furniture, say a nightstand or small dresser, and remove the bottom drawers to allow plenty of headroom for your pet. Try to keep a top drawer so that it can still function as your furniture while still being your pet’s own special space. Place a pillow and all your pet’s favorite toys there and you have yourself a stylish pet house that is also stylish for your human home!

3.)Food Safety Hack

Most pets have a healthy eating rhythm, but for others, food can be a stressful event. Some pets get so worked up, especially dogs, when food or dinner time is near and they end up choking on food from eating too quickly. This is such a task if you own a pet who is prone to inhaling their food, but not anymore! Place a tennis ball in the bowl and allow it to cover the food. Now your pet must pause and nudge or move the ball in order to access the food below it. This is just enough of a delay that it may help reduce the risk of choking due to excitable eating.

4.)DIY Dog Dentist Hack

Okay, before anyone jumps to conclusions, you can NOT be a pet dentist for any reason, unless that reason is a license! But, a quick tip to fix bad breath: Parsley. Sprinle some fresh parsley over the food as it has properties that help to rid of bacteria that causes bad odor. Most pets enjoy the taste and it is good for them, so give it a try. I advise that you first consult with a veterinarian to ensure there are no sinister underlying health causes that would require treatment from a licensed professional.

5.)Pet Hair Cleaning Hack

We know how much you love them, but we could ALL live without the excessive amounts of pet hair. Your animal, just like you and your hair, sheds and often that shedding attaches to our couches, in our cars, and all over our clothes of course. When it comes time to clean around the house and car, grab a standard garden glove, like the yellow ones your grandma waters her roses with. That magical rubber glove is perfect for gathering every last hair into a vacuum-ready pile. I personally use this hack specifically for when cleaning my car. Think about all of those narrow crevices, in between your seat and center console, the part where the window meets the back headrests. Take your hand an grab and lift away the dirt and hair, keeping your vacuum on hand to eliminate whatever loosens up.

6.)Now That IS Progressive

Many people who have pets have probably never thought about how to cover them in terms of insurance on your vehicle. First, call your insurance company and ask if pets are covered in automobile accidents, especially if you have a family-based policy. Progressive insurance definitely offers coverage for pets in car accidents, offering to even cover veterinary expenses from the incident. Be sure to contact yours today and see where you stand. In the event that your company doesn’t offer such a plan and you don’t want to switch, look for an emergency credit card, just for vet bills or perhaps with perks pertaining to such. Care Credit is rumored to be perfect for just this because they do not charge interest for the first year on veterinary expenses.

7.)Travel & Lodging Hack

If you are like me, you either take your pets on vacation or you don’t take a vacation! Luckily, I have two fantastic hacks for this one. First and foremost, if you are reading this, you know who we are. But if you are new, remember to call Gwinnett Pet Watchers to meet your pet care and sitting needs. We do a wide array of visit types, from drop ins an 15 minutes all the way to moving into your home for the duration of your trip so that your pets are in their own home and never alone with plenty of love. Second to this, certain hotels and other lodging options offer up the chance to bring your pet along on vacation. The LaQuinta allows you to bring your pet, no charge, however this is not the commonality in regards to fees for pets. While they still ask for a deposit, I’ve used Atwood Vacation rentals in South Carolina for places near Edisto and Charleston. We were able to keep our loud barker, but otherwise a good dog by our sides during our trip. For that convenience, the fees will always be worth paying in my opinion.

Like what you are reading? Great! There are more pet hacks, helpful articles, and food and travel tips to come! Stay tuned and thank you for reading.

Pets 911: How Prepared Are You?

Pet 911: How Prepared Are You?

Many of us are well prepared for a small personal emergency or disaster. Daily emergencies such as fixing a flat tire and even choking hazards can make or break you and potentially change the rest of your life. Take a moment and recall what plans you may have in place for when someone in the room begins to choke or collapses and isn’t breathing. You typically know you should perform the Heimlich maneuver on the person choking and CPR should be performed on the person who has stopped breathing and is unresponsive. Good job! Now, lets get just a little more specific and a lot tougher: what if your pet is choking? What if your pet collapses and quits breathing? There has been a lot of positively helpful buzz about pet emergencies and how to handle them lately and I’d like to share them with you. It is important to be prepared for any situation that may arise, but I will walk you, the reader, through a few that I consider to be of high priority.

Choking

We all love to spoil our pets with bones and other treats that are perfect for getting lodged in the airway. Please remember that most treats advise you watch your pet as they enjoy the treat to prevent choking hazards. Removing small pieces that break off of larger bones is imperative and it is best that it is taken up as soon as the piece dislodges from the main treat.

If a piece has slipped by you and your pet is choking, try utilizing these helpful tips.

(NOTE: This one pertains mainly to dogs due to the fact that cats are more discriminatory in what they eat and do not experience choking as dogs do. I will still expand on cats and how to deal when they are choking.)

  1. Open your pet’s mouth, avoiding tilting the head back too far, and see if there is a visible object. If the object is visible reach in or use tweezers to remove the object, being cautious not to push it further in.

  2. Standing behind your pet with their nose pointing to the floor, lift the back legs only and invert your pet so that gravity may aid in dislodging the object.

  3. If option 2 of inverting your pet fails, next try making a fist with your hand and placing it just under the ribs with your dog standing. Compress up and in in succession 5 times in order to potentially force the objects free.

  4. If options 2 and 3 have failed, try striking with a sudden, sharp force between your pets shoulder blades. If this does not dislodge the object, return to option 2.

  5. WITH CATS ONLY: Using your hands on both sides of the chest nearly under the front legs, compress 5 times gently in attempts to free the object.

    CPR

Now that we have covered choking, lets move on to resuscitation. Your pet has collapsed and you suspect he may not be breathing. Check for breath before administering CPR. If no signs of breathing, begin with these steps. It is also important to check some of the key pressure points for a pulse, such as the ankle area by the forearm. If your pet also lacks a pulse, you will need both compressions and breathing exercises to resuscitate your pet.

1) Lay your pet on a flat, sturdy surface. You want to make sure your pet is on its right side, or in the case of bulldogs or other barrel chests, you can administer compressions with the pet on their back, like a human.

2) Using the flat side of your palms, find your pet’s chest cavity, just behind the elbows near the rib cage.

3) Begin to administer compressions based on the size of your pet (refer to chart below). Remember, if your pet has a pulse, DO NOT begin compressions. It is also important to note the depth changes in the graph in correlation to your pet’s size.

4)Cover your dog’s nose with your mouth and seal the lips of your pet so that no air escapes that is meant for resuscitation. Begin breathing into your pet’s nose. If no pulse, alternate compressions and breathing exercise.

Now that we’ve covered some of the common pet emergencies, please read the charts below for more information. Something that we haven’t discussed is pet safety during other emergencies, such as natural disasters and inclement weather. As you make preparations for your family during a tornado, power outage, or flood, please remember the ones you promised to love and care for. Do not leave dogs in pens or tight to chains when waters begin to rise. Get them out with you to a safe place. Bring your horses in the sturdiest barn and pets into any tornado shelter you may have. If the weather calls for extreme cold, do not leave them outside to freeze. If it is cold enough to snow, their water bowls can freeze as well. Always consider carrying a travel dish and several water bottles and maybe even a zip-lock bag of food in your car in case you are ever stranded in your car with your pet.

To close, the big picture here is that our pets trust us and are all trying to cope with their environments. Don’t let them down. Have plans in place that accommodate your pets. Prevention is the best way to stay safe. Some sites offer decals that stick on to your window or front door saying in the event of an emergency, for example a fire, you have X number of pets inside and your number. Just be sure you have the conversation with your family on how you intend to protect the entire family, pets included.

Image Courtesy of: jrto.wordpress.com/2013/04/02could-cpr-save-your-pets-life.

Blog written by: Emily Griffith

Is Heartworm Prevention Enough?

Is Heartworm Prevention Enough?

By: Emily Griffith, GPW (2016)

We are all familiar with your run-of-the-mill ailments for pets: hip dysplasia, heartworm, fleas and ticks. But, could there potentially be another hidden danger that is growing quickly in commonality? It turns out, the answer is yes. Whip worm is something I had no idea even existed until I had my own encounter with it as a pet parent.

A little over a year ago, I was living in a rather large, third-story apartment located in a big city with a sizable complex to boot. Once I found some sort of balance in my life after several tragic circumstances were cast unto me, I decided to channel my misguided energy into something constructive again, being a pet parent. I swiftly adopted Rupert after a need arose locally for homes and it is the absolute best decision I have ever made. I quickly fell in love with my fur baby and today we are inseparable. He has even led to a major career move or two in the direction of the interest of pets and pet parents. Rupert was small as a puppy so apartment life was great! He potty trained quickly and often wanted to go out for a walk. We would stroll around the premises, smelling and remarking where other pets had been to do their business. He loved to retrace other residents’ steps through smell, winding throughout the buildings and trees. After a little time passed, Rupert began to grow…and grow… and grow! As a shelter pup adoptee, we weren’t too sure what he was as far as breed, but all we needed to know is that he was growing too big for our space and his activity level was requiring more room as well. After a brief house hunt, we found the perfect place in the country with space and fenced-in fresh air. Rupert fully embraced this change of freedom, enjoying the lack of leach and digging many holes upon move in.

Early that fall season, we took Rupert to a new veterinarian than the one we had taken Rupert to in the city for a heartworm medicine refill. Our new veterinarian asked us a few questions regarding our pet’s lifestyle and addressed if any changes had been made. When we told him yes and he specified that before refilling as procedure states, he was going to have to draw and test Rupert’s blood with a panel. These panels check for any abnormalities in the blood, like spikes or drops in blood cell counts. Rupert’s test came back, and it was positive for something. My heart sank.

“Your pet has whip worm.”

A statement no pet parent ever wants to hear- that their beloved has something wrong with them. After the veterinarian was able to calm me some and explained what whip worm was, he sent me home with treatment tailored to my animal’s severity and weight, among other extraneous factors. This brings us to several essential questions in terms of whip worm.

WHAT IS WHIP WORM?

Trichuriasis, or whip worm, is an intestinal parasite transmitted by ingestion of infested matter or rarely, by contact of an affected animal. The parasite itself, Trichuris trichiura, can infect both dogs AND cats.

HOW DO DOGS AND CATS CONTRACT THE PARASITE?

The parasite is most often ingested, however, whip worm eggs live in environments for almost any amount of time- from months to years, in a dormant stage. They are most commonly found in soil, water, food, feces, and animal flesh. They can also pose a risk to pets at any age in the life cycle.

WHAT SYMPTOMS SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN MY PET?

Sometimes, like with my Rupert, whip worm is nearly asymptomatic. This means that you have little to no measurable symptoms as an indication to an infection. Some pets display intestinal symptoms: bloody diarrhea, large bowel inflammation, dehydration, weight loss, and anemia. Only a licensed professional can diagnose whip worm through proper testing methods, such as a fecal floatation or blood draw. If you suspect your pet may have been exposed to or contracted whip worm, go to your veterinarian for help as soon as possible.

IS IT TREATABLE? HOW?

Trichuriasis can be treated, luckily. In our case and most often not typical of results, Rupert received a swift and timely round of medication that was to be repeated in successive three week to three month series. As it turns out, Rupert became infected from our soil at our new home. I asked the veterinarian about treating the soil for them in order to eradicate the threat, but he advised instead to alter Rupert’s protection and prevention from my old heartworm to a new method, as opposed to trying to change his world or environment. As he explained, due to the dormancy stages that whip worm can transcend to, it is nearly impossible to eradicate them, especially if you are expecting to do a one-time treatment.

WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT?

I didn’t know this until my experience, however, only certain brands provide protection against other parasites such as whip worm. Information on brands is still emerging, but Interceptor markets itself as both heartworm prevention and a broad spectrum parasiticide, just like Trifexus. Trifexus is now Rupert’s prevention; a flavored tablet given once monthly. I definitely recommend it over large syringes full of antibiotics. The price is only a few extra dollars per pill and it will save you money and heartbreak later, not to mention pain and misery for your animal.

To close, I want to remind and encourage all pet owners to ask questions, especially when in the presence of a professional to answer them, like you veterinarian. Protect your pets from harm, large or microscopic, both can have irreversible and negative consequences if you don’t.

*For more information regarding whip worm, please consult your veterinarian. Inquire if the prevention you use is enough for your beloved pets.

Shorty Howell Park

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Shorty Howell Park is a beautiful, 67 acre park located at 2750 Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth. While this park doesn’t have any dog parks, it does have a 1.25 paved walking trail that you and your pooch can have a walk or a run on.

Beautifully, the park has a pond in the center that is filled with ducks, geese, turtles and more! But, per signage, the ducks are not to be fed so unfortunately, you’ll have to leave the bread at home.

Open from sunrise to 11pm (unless otherwise noted), this park is truly for the whole family. With multiple playgrounds, seven youth baseball fields, a multi-purpose field (that also has a lighted track), your family can have fun all day & end it with a cookout on the grills and pavilion.

Shorty Howell has a large community activity building that can be used for classes, rentals, and events that happen all year round.

Like previously stated, it does not have a true dog park but it is very dog friendly. Personally speaking, I go to Shorty Howell to use the trail and every time I’ve been there I have met plenty of pooches!

Shorty Howell is a beautiful park that you must check out if you and your fur friend are looking for a place to walk! For more information on the park or how to rent it out, click here.

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Whippets

Chappie

                                      Chappie

By Gemma A.

Whippets are a medium dog breed with a lot of personality in an elegant package.

Appearing to be a smaller version of a greyhound, whippets are actually close relatives. A British breed, whippets were created when the popularity of early greyhounds took off among the nobles. Only those of royal blood were allowed to own purebred greyhounds during this time so some enterprising ‘peasants’ created the whippet, leading to its nickname of ‘the poor man’s greyhound’.

Like their larger cousins, whippets were created to race, and are able to reach a top speed of 35mph. This need for speed makes them wonderfully athletic companions, always ready for a hike or to accompany you on a run. They are often gifted at agility and high energy sports like flyball and lure coursing. It is best to keep your whippet active for good health but these sweet little dogs also love to sleep and snuggle! After a bout of activity, you’ll likely find your whippet curled up on the sofa or under the covers, snoozing away.

Whippets are charismatic dogs with their long noses and large, soulful eyes. Elegant and affectionate,
they are also charming and funny. Whippets thrive on human interaction and seem to delight in making
their people laugh. If you are big on personal space, a whippet might not be for you; they want to be with you at all times, even when you visit the bathroom!

Whippets are a well protected breed by their admirers and so can be hard to find. Rarely appearing in rescue, most whippets are bought from a handful of breeders across the US. The American Kennel Club has a list of breeders by state, and this is a good place to start.

For more information on this delightful dog, please consider the following links:
http://americanwhippetclub.net/
http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/whippet/
http://whippet-rescue.com/
http://www.whippetrescuesoutheast.com/

Leave It!

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By Lisa S.

Many people know that “come” and “stay” are two commands that will save your dog’s life. In my opinion, a third command, “leave it”, is just as essential. “Leave it” is training your dog to ignore an object or food until you say it is okay to approach – or not.  It is a great and useful verbal tool to help with impulse control and to reinforce your role as the alpha, the leader and protector of the pack.

“Leave it” has many uses that can be practiced with your dog both at home and when you’re out.  When you are walking, you know that the garbage in the road is unclean and you shouldn’t go near it. But, your dog sees it as delicious treat and to them, it smells alluring. Teaching them the “leave it” command can save your dog from potential messes they could cause or illnesses that could happen upon checking it out. Once your dog has mastered the command, he knows that he should ignore it unless you tell him it is okay to investigate.  The same thing applies in the home.  If you drop a pill, break a glass, or drop some food that the dog is not supposed to have, there is no mad scramble to get there before your dog.  A simple, verbal “leave it” will let your dog know that he should ignore the object.

Teaching the command is fairly simple and dogs usually master it pretty quickly. A good article that sums it up quickly can be found at here. There are also several videos by various dog trainers on YouTube found here and here.

Once your dog has mastered the command, don’t forget to continue to practice!  It is a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet that can keep them safe and happy!

Gwinnett County Parks

Hi! I’m Robin and for those who don’t know me, I’m the owner of Gwinnett Pet Watchers. When I am not taking care of your pets, you can typically find my own dogs and I at one of Gwinnett County Parks. I’ve had several people ask what park we like best, so I will be covering all the great parks we have in our area to give you an idea what the county has to offer!

Rabbit Hill Park is located at 400 Rabbit Hill Rd, Dacula Ga 30019 and is at the cross roads of Rabbit Hill Rd and Hurricane Shoals Rd . You can also get to the park using Fence Rd.

Rabbit Hill Park has wonderful paths for walking or running. Also, they have a few youth soccer fields, baseball and softball fields, basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, a playground, pavilions, and several restrooms. The park has three different dog parks to suit your needs. One is for all dogs, one for larger dogs, and the last is for the small dogs. Inside the dog park areas there are dog friendly fountains and some agility play activities. It’s a great park for your whole family to enjoy!

My crew loves to walk the trails and play in the dog park here. The people who use the dog park, for the most part, are very responsible owners who pay close attention to their pet(s) and calm things down when the pups get rambunctious. Owners also tend to be very good about picking up after their pets which unfortunately isn’t the case at all dog parks.

Some of you may know that I have a young German Shepherd, Gabby, who loves the dog park! She especially loves Rabbit Hill since she has lots of friends to play with and there is even a group of German Shepherds and their owners that get together there. They even have their own Facebook page called the German Shepherd club of Rabbit Hill. How fun is that?!

Not only is this park close to my dogs and I, it’s definitely one of our favorites! Please let me know if this is helpful and what park you would like us to visit next.
If you are new to the dog park experience I suggest you read a great article from The Bark; Behavior; Dog Park Tips. When you know what to expect it will be a great experience for you and your best friend.

left to right; Lucy, Jake, Gabby, George

left to right; Lucy, Jake, Gabby, George

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The Labradoodle

The Labradoodle became a known crossbreed in 1988, when an Australian breeder by the name of Wally Conron crossed the Labrador and a Standard Poodle in Victoria, Australia for the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia. Conron combined these breeds due to the low-shedding coat of the Poodle and the gentleness and train-ability of the Lab so he could provide guide dogs to those with fur and dander allergies. Since then the Labradoodle has become a popular crossbreed for guide dogs, training purposes, and they make a wonderful family pet.

The Labradoodle is a crossbreed and not a breed, making it so the puppies do not have consistently predictable personalities or characteristics. Because of this, Labradoodles’ hair can be anywhere from wiry to soft, and may be straight, wavy, or curly. Those Labradoodles with straight coats are said to have “hair”, the wavy-coated dogs have “fleece” coats, and finally, the curly-coated pups have a “wool” coats. Labradoodles do shed, but the coat usually sheds less and doesn’t have the dog odor that is commonly found in Labs.

Grooming Labradoodles usually depends on what the owner prefers. Some are kept with short coats, others natural and curly. Although, it is recommended to take your pup to the groomers every 2-3 months for a bath and a trim to keep the coat fluffy and detangled.

Do you have a Labradoodle? What is their personalities like? Let us know!

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