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Food Aggression in Dogs

Like toenail clippings in the sink, dirty dishes on the table, or wearing muddy shoes in the house, food aggression in animals is an example of personal baggage that can come with your new special friend.  Food aggression includes many resource guarding behaviors, and it can spell disaster for a healthy pet relationship if not addressed correctly and quickly.  Related image [Read more…]

5 Ways to Help Animal Shelters During the Holidays

Whether you are a college grad who doesn’t want another package of cleverly wrapped underwear or a parent who can’t stand the thought of getting more Legos to trip over, the holidays do not have to mean exchanging gifts only with family.  If you are looking for a charitable organization this holiday season, consider your local animal shelter or rescue group.  

These organizations run on very small budgets and are always interested in helpful strangers, and many donations are tax deductible.  These organizations benefit your community in many ways as well, either through spay and neuter programs to keep stray populations down, pet care programs for low-income families with furry family members, and many other programs.  If you are interested in helping the cause, read on to see the different ways you can benefit: [Read more…]

Fearful or Defensive Aggression in Dogs

Claiming her space.

It is one of our joys in the business of pet sitting to meet the many different personalities of your loved ones.  Sometimes they are shy, sometimes enthusiastic, and occasionally they need to be convinced we are a good thing.  Defending their territory is a characteristic in every dog’s personality, but sometimes it gets in the way of our employees fulfilling their duties in exercising your pet at agreed upon times.  Paula’s Pet Sitting takes several measures to ensure a friendly relationship with your pets, but occasionally even the standard practices need to be expanded if the first time we visit without you present your dog is less than happy.  

The first step, when you contact our services, is to schedule a Meet and Greet.  This includes a visit with the owners to discuss needs and services offered, as well as an introduction of the Pet Care Team to your furry friend.  In nearly all cases this meeting goes well, and the dog welcomes them with open paws.  In rare circumstances, however, the dog is (understandably) more interested in protecting their home than an offering of treats or walks when the owner is not present.  This is when the training and knowledge of Paula’s Pet Sitting comes into play.
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5 Dog Training Do’s and Don’t’s

Let’s say you just came home with your bundle of joy from the local animal shelter and they immediately take their first steps in your apartment to lift a leg to your couch.  Maybe you stare in horror as the golden baptism takes place, maybe you whip out your phone for a First Picture, but the result is the same: you’ve been initiated into the world of dog training.  Congratulations!  If you’ve owned pets before you may know where to look for resources, or maybe this is your first foray and you are at a loss.  Either way, we are here to give you a few guidelines before starting the training adventure.   [Read more…]

How to Talk to Dogs, and How Much They Understand

The most exciting part of bringing your fluffy new best friend home is building a relationship with them, and the most important part of any relationship is communication.  We all have that one friend who will train their dog with long conversations about what is good and bad behavior.  Sometimes it is even funny listening to their well-reasoned arguments.  These friends (and if you are brave to admit it, sometimes this is you) are mortified to turn around and finding Fido eating another pair of slippers five minutes later.  Dogs speak another language, and we’re here to help you build a relationship in their language as well as yours.  This will require a few steps: first; finding out how they are biologically best suited to understanding us, and second; how much do our dogs understand about our actions and theirs?

Dogs and humans have been working together instead of against each other for an estimated 32,000 years!  This means, in many cases, our ways of naturally expressing ourselves will mirror our dogs.  This includes facial expression, tone, words, and muscle movement.  For instance, studies have proven that our dogs have more facial expressions when we are looking at them than at any other time.  Dogs have even been proven to both recognize your face and to have different reactions to your facial expressions.  Additionally, dogs listen to commands better when given by owners as opposed to strangers.  Contrary to popular belief, dogs can tell the difference between both tone and words if the phrase is both simple and commonly used with them.  In other words, if you are laughing as you scold your puppy for tearing up the newspaper, they will pay less attention than a stern admonishment.

All of this information means that our dogs are more likely to receive training from people they are most familiar with and will respond to signals you may not be aware of.  If we are upset, typically we will show this on our face, which our dogs can pick up on.  If we tell our dog how good they are with a sharp and unusually deep voice, they will be confused.  Most importantly, our dog can understand short phrases when used often with them, but cannot understand compound sentences or complex ideas (like guilt and persuasion).  A long explanation of how you will feed your dog later will not get them to stop begging, a stern “No.  Lay down.” will be more effective.  To communicate with your pet the best way so they understand, make sure they can both see your face and use short phrases they are used to (“Good Dog!”, “Bad Dog”, “Let’s Go!”) in a tone of voice that reflects the phrase.  
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