The Adventure Pup Experience

Lately people have been asking me what I do for work, and when I say “I run a hiking service for dogs” I get the same reaction, “Oh fun! What a great thing!” And yes, they’re correct to say that, it is amazing and I love doing it, but after some more conversation I come to realize a lot of people see me as either a boarding facility, jam packed with dogs (they’re only half listening to what I’m saying), or that 9 year old neighbor you have that always wants to be around your dog and will always jump at the opportunity to watch them when you leave town (yes I was that 9 year old some time ago), but my job is so much more than that, so I thought I would explain what makes Adventure Pup a different experience.

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  • I truly love your dog (or cat, or iguana, or fish, or rat) as much as I did when I was a kid hopping your fence to lay in your yard with them. I know your pup’s hobbies and pet peeves, I can pick them out of a line-up of dogs that other people would assume are clones, and I will remember them until I am old and senile. They will get excited when they run into me in public, and you might not even recognize me. I will have photos of them forever on my computer, and sometimes (currently) pinned to my wall above my desk, to brighten my day when I need it. I will constantly talk about them to my human friends.
  • On that note, I have more dog friends than human friends. I just prefer the company of non-human animals. It makes me a little awkward to talk to, but also great with your pups.
  • I see dogs as individuals. I don’t do the same activity for every dog. I know who likes doing what and I know what activities to avoid with certain dogs. Everyone is different and unique, and I set up my day to day with that in mind.
  • Packs are kept small and intimate, not only so I am able to physically control everyone on leash at once, but also so that all dogs enjoy the outing. Small packs help keep the excitement level down, which results in less anxiety and a more connected pack. Pups are also matched based on energy level and individual personalities so every member of the pack enjoys their Adventure.
  • Every outing involves both physical and mental stimulation. Pups are given gentle guidance and work on basic commands while out on Adventures, nose work is done with dogs that do better with a job, and tTouch is done with all Adventure Pups to help create a stronger bond, alleviate stiff joints, or release some anxious energy. After a dog has been with me for a length of time I have to use very little voice control and most pups will follow my energy. May sound a bit flower-power to some, but it works for me.
  • Different techniques are used for different dogs to help them grow and learn at their own pace. I use a variety of training techniques and exercises (basically anything except old school/negative reinforcement training) and I am always continuing my education by attending different animal classes and holding side jobs in various animal industries (retail, nutrition, medical, daycare, training, shelters, etc.)
  • I follow dog rules: off-leash in certain areas and not in others, picking up poop and taking them with me, only allowing dog/people friendly dogs off leash, bringing no more than 3 dogs to a dog park. I’m a pretty big square and love a good set of rules.
  • I am prepared for each outing with a car stocked with dog necessities & emergency kits and also carry a pouch with me on every hike carrying smaller versions of necessities & emergency kits (I made a post about that a little while back if you’re curious). I also prepare myself by knowing where I am going ahead of time and familiarizing myself with the trail before bringing Adventure Pups along (my dog Link is a huge help in these tests).

If you have a dog walker or pet sitter they should posses these qualities. I form very deep bonds with animals, even if I know them briefly, but I have worked with some people who do not actually care for the animal they’re watching & out of all the “animal people” I know there are only a select few I would trust with my own dog.

Bend Dog Parks

Bend Oregon definitely prides itself as a dog town. Most breweries and eateries offer outdoor seating where you can sit with your dog. There are some great locally owned pet shops that carry quality merchandise for your furry best friend. And out of the 81 human parks, there are 8 off-leash dog areas. In all honesty, eight off leash dog parks is not a lot. Most other towns I have lived in or visited have well over ten parks where your pup can run wild and free. However, the quality of these 8 dog parks greatly surpasses those I have been to elsewhere. Wide-open spaces, usually fenced-in, in safe neighborhoods, and maintained by the wonderful people at PAC and Bend Parks n Rec. Below you will see a list (in no particular order) of the off-leash areas in Bend, with some notes as to what to expect when visiting them.

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  • Big Sky– 5 acres, both fenced and unfenced, broken up into several sections. When you first enter the off-leash area from the main gate, you will be in a High Desert trail environment. Walking through the second gate will bring you into some more desert trails, and a nice big grassy field with some picnic tables, a water spigot, and plenty of room for some Chuck-It. Through yet another gate you will find the unfenced area where you can walk the trails and reach the pond and canal. This area requires a leash. Dogs are not allowed to swim in the pond or canals, though that does not stop many pups or their people from doing so. If you continue along the canal you’ll reach a large empty stretch of land, again on leash please. (UPDATE: this area after the pond is now private property, but all the “No Swimming” signs have been removed!) This park is not often very busy, but it is surrounded by a lot of human activities (soccer, lacrosse, biking). If you go during the hours of 8am & 10am you might run into a very large dog group, so if your dog is easily overwhelmed you might want to wait until the afternoon.
  • Bob Wenger at Pine Nursery– 18.8 fenced acres, including a small dog area (which I have never been in). This park is nice and spread out, allowing you to walk a variety of paths and giving your pup different sights and smells. Most of the park is High Desert walking trails, with benches along the way, one of which features an amazing view of the mountains to the West. The trails open up to a very large grassy field, with partially open fencing along the perimeter to help you keep an eye on your pup. There are some picnic tables and a couple water spigots throughout the park, as well as poop bag stations and trashcans. This park has several entries/exits which allow you to access the greater paved trail that goes around the entirety of Pine Nursery. Your dog must be on leash whenever outside of the off-leash dog area. The visitors of this park vary, including the regulars that attend almost religiously, and the tourists who just Googled “dog park” and voila! Most people in this park are great, but this is the park I have experienced the most issues at. Humans on cellphones not paying attention to their dogs, dog walkers dropping their pack off and letting them have free rein, and nonlocals who bring their not-so-friendly pooches along just to get some energy out.  I have also run into quite a few dog-free bicyclists in this park. *Note- the dog park shares a parking lot with the pickleball courts, which can get very busy*
  • Discovery– 1.6 acres fenced. I’m going to be blunt, I never come here. It was originally created by West Bend Property Company, and was recently taken over by Bend Parks n Rec. It’s Snoozeville to me and my pack. I would probably go more often if I had an elderly Havanese that enjoyed strolling at a snail’s pace. The human park is very nice and peaceful, but the dog park is lacking. The good news is, it is very rarely busy, and it’s a new park so there is a lot of opportunity for growth and improvements.
  • Ponderosa– 2.9 fenced acres with a separate small dog area. This is my most frequented park, mostly because it’s in my ‘hood. It’s a much smaller scale Pine Nursery, with desert-like walking trails that lead into a small opening where you can play ball. Rather than having a nice grassy clearing for ball play, the entire park is dirt, except for the small dog area. The small dog area is all grass, with some small trees and benches. It has a chain link fence separating it from the big dog area. A lot of the little dogs love to run up and down this fence line barking at humans and dogs on the other side, and a lot of the owners do not correct this behavior, so if you have a dog that loves fence fighting this may not be the park for you. Most of the park is shade, which is great on hot days, but makes things very chilly on cold days. There is a water spigot, and it is surrounded by a human park, complete with two skateparks, a soccer field, a playground, and some paved walking paths. This park is mostly used by those who live in the neighborhood, but you also see some out-of-towners. A lot of cellphone use at this park, and a lot of people sitting at benches while their dog is on the opposite side of the park. Also, for some reason, a lot of people bring human food to this park and eat it at the picnic table in the middle of the dog play area.
  • Riverbend– 1.1 acres fenced with small dog area and dog access to the river. Bleh. I apologize if it sounds like I’m talking smack, but if you live in Bend and have taken your dog to this park, you probably share my view. It’s an afterthought. It’s at the end of the lush, grassy Riverbend Park, tucked away at the other end of a rocky parking lot. The terrain is all tiny rocks, which makes poop scooping a game, cracking toenails and paw pads a cinch, and the rocks become scorching hot on sunny days and icy and treacherous in cold months. There are a couple benches, but absolutely no shade. And no drinkable water, unless you count the river, which isn’t technically drinkable. The small dog area is not worth the visit. The river access is reached by leaving the dog park and entering another gate across the path. Access is only granted to those that love launching into water from the rocks above. Imagine if you’re friends told you they were taking you swimming, and then you arrived only to realize you had to jump from a rock cliff into the water below. This is where all tourists bring their dogs. Close to Old Mill, hotels, and a very popular human park, it offers quite a bit of convenience to those who are visiting. I have come across more unattended dogs at this park than any other (unattended meaning they are left alone in the fenced park without their human) I do not know where the human goes, but my guess is for a nice relaxing float in the Deschutes. I realize I have nothing positive to say about this park except that it is connected to the River Trail, which is a fantastic LEASH walk.
  • Awbrey Reservoir– 5 acres, slightly fenced. Yes, slightly fenced. The park is surrounded by some wooden post fencing, but it is not closed in by any means. Please be aware that the parking lot is attached to a semi busy road, and the park runs along 12th, which people love driving super fast on. This park is connected to Hillside Park, and yes it is on a hillside. It is sprinkled with unpaved walking trails that allow you to wander the hill and lead you to a great view of town. There are a couple picnic benches, where I have actually seen families having sit down dinners. There is no water spigot in the park, but there is a drinking fountain in the parking lot equipped with a lower fountain for dogs (dog bowl is not included). This park is mostly inhabited by neighborhood locals, and most of the park’s visitors do weekly cleanups of poops and trash. It’s not really a place to play ball, but it is nice for a relaxing sunrise/sunset stroll.
  • Overturf– 4.6 fenced acres. This park is perched up above a children’s playground and surrounded by newer homes. It has a forest feel, with tall trees covering most of the sky, and dirt trails throughout. The hill gives dogs a good workout, and just outside the dog park you’ll find Skyliner Summit Loop, where you can enjoy a peaceful walk after your pup gets to play with some pals. The park is never crowded, and most guests are neighborhood locals. There is no water spigot or drinking fountain, and people have been kind enough to bring water jugs. If you remember, bring a gallon of H20 along on your next trip to Overturf.
  • Hollinshead– 3.7 acres unfenced. This park is good for more mellow dogs who like to lay in the grass, stroll and take in the sniffs, and possibly play some light ball. The area is surrounded by a much larger human park, and it’s difficult to tell where the off-leash area begins and ends (especially for dogs who can’t read) so you have to be aware of the off-leash posts and make sure your dog stays where he is supposed to so you don’t get accosted by the nondog people. Right next to the dog park is a barn, where a lot of Bendites get married, so please make sure your pup isn’t off eating wedding cake or running away with a bride. This park also has some great LEASH walking trails around it.

Hopefully these tidbits prove helpful, and hopefully we can continue to improve these parks and open others up to off-leash play! Please do your part and pick up poops and trash while visiting Bend’s glorious parks!

The Off-Leash Epidemic

Oh Bend, the most amazing Dog Town this side of the Mississippi. How I love your glorious dog parks, your extensive hiking trails, and all your refreshing swimming holes. And apparently, so does everyone else and their mother… and their dog!

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If you live in Bend (or anywhere else where dogs and humans coexist) you’ll run into the issue of dogs freely roaming the outdoors, not a care in the world and not a leash in site. You’ll be walking along a peaceful trail, listening to the birds and the distant river, looking up at the tall pines, keeping your best friend close-by and safe with a six foot nylon leash. Suddenly you look at the trail ahead and you see an adorable little Aussie, just standing about ten feet in front of you, still as a statue, and you begin your internal dialogue, “Is this dog with a human? Should I turn the other way? Or head off trail? Is it going to approach?” Meanwhile, that best friend you keep next to you on lead is beginning to whine and tug and stress. Suddenly another human appears, and casually yells to you, “Oh it’s ok he’s friendly!” And you uncomfortably chuckle, “Ok great, mine is not!”

This is a daily occurrence. Bend is a pretty dog friendly town, and people seem to take that and run with it… off leash. There are numerous off leash dog parks and trails in town, but the majority of hiking, walking, & biking paths are leashed areas. This means your dog MUST be on leash… not if they’re cool they can hang… they MUST BE ON LEASH. This is not because the city loves power and wants to control your rights, this is for the safety of you, your dog, and everyone around you. I know, other people, what a weird concept, but a lot of people do not like dogs. A lot of dogs do not like dogs. Allowing your dog to run off leash is much easier for you and much more enjoyable for your pup, but some dogs become incredibly anxious when approached by an off-leash dog, and your dog could get hurt if it sniffs the wrong dog. Or even worse a human could get hurt.

When you are in off-leash areas, please make sure your pup is well behaved. Dogs are technically only to be off leash when they have excellent recall and are under your control. There have been instances where well trained dogs have wandered from their owners, bothering a non-dog loving human, and let me tell you, people who do not have dogs love telling you that your dog is terrible, and they love reporting you for going against the rules.

Here’s a true story from the Sydney Morning Herald: Neil McMahon had brought his dog to an off-leash dog beach. He allowed the dog to wander and enjoy itself. The dog approached a baby laying on a blanket in the sand and decided to give that baby a lick on the face. (don’t ask me what a baby was doing laying in the sand of a dog beach) The child’s mother accused the dog of attacking the baby and called the police. Neil was fined $238 because the dog was not under his control.

“‘Effective control’ is defined as follows. It means your dog will return to you upon command (fair enough, though I don’t know a dog owner who has a 100 per cent success rate on that front). It means that you “retain a clear and unobstructed view of the dog” in the off-leash area at all times (fair enough, and usually not a problem unless the whirling dervish of romping dogs gets too big or they head off into the shrubbery in pursuit of a tennis ball). But here’s the kicker that got me in trouble: ‘effective control’ means your dog ‘does not bother, attack, worry or interfere with other people or animals’.” -Neil

So if you aren’t worried about other dogs or people, at least worry about your bank account. Or being an adult and being scolded by a police officer or park ranger, cuz that would be embarrassing.

Be courteous and cautious. Be mindful of your dog and others. Be a standup, law abiding citizen. If you need help finding an off-leash area or need to become better acquainted with your areas leash laws, Google is great at looking things up! If you live in Bend the Dog PAC is an excellent resource for dog parks, summer and winter trails, and upcoming dog events! Dogster Magazine and Zuke’s have some great tips on Adventuring with your pup off leash!

*this has been on my mind lately because of how many people have been complaining of off-leash dogs in an area they thought safe to bring their dog-reactive-dog for a walk*

 

Is a Tired Dog a Happy Dog?

You might be familiar with the phrase “a tired dog is a happy/good dog”, but what does that really mean? If you have a dog it’s pretty obvious, exercising a dog leads to them sleep which causes bad behaviors to happen less frequently. But if your dog is passed out and too tired to do anything, does that make them a happy dog? Does it make them a good dog? Or does it just make them an exhausted dog? 

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Physical exercise is very important for dogs, and the activity you choose is equally as important. A dog running on a treadmill is getting plenty of exercise, but a dog who gets to go on a run with his human is getting a little more from the activity. Participating in exercise with your dog presents an opportunity for bonding, and your dog will be much happier working out with you than alone. It’s important to set time aside in your day specifically for your dog.

You can take your dog to the dog park to exercise and socialize, but if you are staring at your cell phone the entire time it effects the outing for the dog and they may not be as happy or well exercised as you’d hoped (they may also get into some trouble without you even knowing). Try bringing a ball or favorite toy to the park, and rather than checking pointless emails, take the time to connect with your pup through a game they love. My dog happens to be weird and not care much for toys, so rather than play fetch, we play hide and seek at the park. I will hide and he will use his nose to seek me out, once he finds me he gets a reward. It’s essentially nose work, but rather than searching for treats he’s searching for me! This gives him both mental and physical exercise!

Mental stimulation is equally as important as physical, and can have better results in less time. Nicole Ellis is a dog trainer who found that her own dog was, “more tired after 15 minutes of scent games than after a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood.” Dogs are smart, and most of them want jobs to do, so giving them some brain activities will help give them peace of mind.

Please keep in mind that all dogs are different and require different amounts of physical exercise. Old dogs require lessexercise than 8 month old puppies. A Newfoundland requires less exercise than an Australian Shepherd. Dogs with injuries require special workouts. Your dog will normally let you know their limits, but don’t always rely on that, and maybe run it by your vet. 

This is a great guide on how much exercise your dog may need depending on breed, age, and size. But like I said, every dog is different and no one knows your dog better than you.

Here are some great articles on physical and mental stimulation:

“A Mentally Stimulated Dog is a Happy Dog” by Nicole Ellis

“Is a Tired Dog a Good Dog? (Or a Happy Dog?)” by Dan Estep & Suzanne Hetts of Animal Behavior Associates

And some ideas on how to give your dog mental stimulation:

Prevent Boredom

Brain Games

 

 

 

Over Prepared

As a dog hiker & walker I have to be prepared for anything, and thus I have to carry a lot of gear. I’ve gone through several different packs, and a lot of back pain, to find the right system for my day to day. People often approach me and ask me what I’m carrying around in my pack, so I thought I would layout exactly what I carry around all day!

Click on an image to enlarge and see what’s what!

A few things I would like to note:

  1. I keep a full size first aid kit for dogs and humans in my car.
  2. I carry the full fanny pack for long treks, and the smaller blue one for dog park trips and shorter neighborhood walks.
  3. The dog deterrent spray is for dog attacks/fights only. Please educate yourself on this spray before using it.
  4. My full sized fanny pack has two water bottle holders. I will sometimes leave one empty to carry full poop bags in.
  5. I like to keep paper and a pen around in case I need to write myself or others notes. I like to limit my phone use while out on Adventures so I can focus on the dogs and prolong my battery life for any emergencies that may arise. (the portable charger only holds so much juice!)
  6. Bandanas make dogs look cute, but are also great to soak in water on hot days! They can also be used in first aid emergencies, or any instance where you might need a rag.
  7. Packs differ in cold weather by adding gloves, headgear, extra socks, hand warmers, yak tracks, and snow booties for some dogs. In hot weather I carry two water bottles with ice added, a bandana for each dog and one for myself, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  8. You don’t have to carry a pouch around to collect trash and glass. It’s just something I do as a way to give back to the dog community.

I like to keep my packs stocked and ready for Adventuring at the drop of a hat! It’s also helpful for overnight trips. Just have to grab his bed and food and we’re off!

I would also like to give a quick shout out to everyone who helped make these packs! Thanks to City Thrift for having an old park ranger’s fanny pack for $8, thanks to Humane Society Thrift for selling the treat pouch for $1, to Sticker Mule for making some incredible stickers and magnets, Moo for always making the best quality business cards, and of course Amazon for selling first aid kits, portable dog bowls, and an endless supply of poop bags for super cheap! Shop local, but also don’t throw your money away! Most dog supplies get lost or damaged.

Your First Pet

It’s puppy and kitten season! Which means people are flocking to local shelters and calling distant breeders to adopt those fresh little fur babies, but what should you expect when picking out your first pet? Our new pal Jessica Brody over at OurBestFriends.pet was nice enough to put together some pointers for new pet parents! Jessica is a fellow dog lover & the creator of OurBestFriends.pet, where animal lovers can share their favorite photos & stories about their furry pals!

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Essential Advice for First-Time Pet Owners

So, you’ve finally made the decision to introduce a pet into your life. Whether you choose a cute, little fish or a big, fluffy dog, caring for your pet will be an endlessly rewarding experience. But before you jump into it, make sure you’re prepared. Here are a few simple tips to help you ensure your adoption is a successful one.

Ask Yourself Some Questions Before Picking a Pet

Before you pick out a furry friend, consider what you can provide and how much time you have to spare. Cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds are better pets for people who travel a lot. Unlike dogs, these animals can stand to be alone as long as they’re checked on every day. Avoid long-haired cats and dogs if any of your family members have allergies. Remember that dogs need to be taken outside frequently to use the bathroom, so they’re not the best option for apartment dwellers. On the other hand, fish and hamsters are good pets for small spaces. Finally, don’t get a new puppy if you don’t have the time to train it. Retired service dogs are a great alternative if you’re looking for a pet that’s already well-behaved!

Do Your Research and Get Prepared

Gather all of the supplies you need for your pet before you bring your pet home. For cats and dogs, this may include:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys
  • Travel crates
  • House-training supplies or litter box
  • Collars
  • Grooming products
  • A comfortable bed

If you’re getting fish, learn how to establish a nitrogen cycle in your tank before you add any fish. You risk losing fish to poison gases in the water if you don’t do this. For small rodents, do your own research on the proper cages, bedding and accessories that your specific breed requires. Don’t just take advice solely from pet store employees.

Make Your Pet Feel Comfortable in Their New Home

Welcoming a pet home for the first time can be overwhelming for them. Let your dog, cat, or other animal explore on their own and meet new family members at their own pace. This advice is especially useful for people adopting rescue pets that may be frightened or scared. Learn how to properly house-train new puppies to make the process as mess-free as possible. Start training your pet from day one so they know what kind of behavior you expect from them. Provide rewards for good behavior, such as treats, belly rubs, or a quick playtime. Pets will bond more quickly to owners who are consistent and fair. Finally, never let your emotions take over when reprimanding a dog for bad behavior.

Schedule Your First Vet Visit

Unless you have a fish or other similar creature, it’s important that you take your pet to the vet soon after you get home. Young’s Animal Hospital recommends scheduling a vet appointment well in advance since many vets get booked up early. An initial visit is key to determine any possible health risks that may become a problem in the future. Plus, new puppies or kittens may still need their vaccinations. If you’re adopting an older animal, an initial vet visits are important for taking care of existing health issues.

How You Can Benefit from Pet Ownership

According to Medical News Today, pets provide many wonderful benefits to their owners’ mental health. This is a reason why companion animals are often recommended for people in addiction recovery. In fact, many studies have found that pets provide a sense of stability and meaningfulness to the lives of people suffering from substance abuse. Pets force you to get outside and stay connected with your community, staving off loneliness and encouraging social interaction. Pets even give you a strong sense of self-worth as they force you to be responsible for the care of another life. This can help recovering addicts feel needed and give them further motivation to avoid relapse.

Remember that having a pet requires a lot of patience. Your new puppy will probably soil the floor more than a couple of times, or your kitten could scratch up your couch. Even keeping a simple fish means changing the water weekly. Before you get a pet, do your research and decide whether you’re up to the task. Most importantly, prepare for years of unconditional love and support from your new friend!

Doggie Courtesy

As someone who goes to multiple dogs parks every day, I run into a lot of frustrating, careless humans. I’m sure you’ve experienced them, and perhaps they are the reason you no longer enjoy visiting the many wonderful dog parks that we are blessed to have in our town. Or perhaps… you are one of those frustrating, careless humans! Either way, here is a rant… I mean a guide… on how to behave in the outside world!

  • PICK UP YOUR POOP! gee wiz this seems like such a simple request, since you are actually required by law to remove your animals’ waste from any property that isn’t yours. The main reason for you to pick up your dog’s waste is so that other dogs (any animals) don’t eat it! Dog poop is one of the worst poops to eat! Yes, there are poops that are ok for animals to eat, such as deer, but dog poop is not one of them! I cannot tell you how many dogs I have met that have had to had gastrointestinal surgery due to eating dog feces! Would you want that vet bill? Also, every dog park and walking path is riddled with trash cans and poop bags, so it’s just laziness on your part.
  • LEASH LAWS! So we all know Bend is dog friendly, but there are actually A LOT of places in town that require your dog to wear a leash. And no, it’s not because the city is run by jerks that want to keep your dog down, it’s for you and your dog’s safety! It’s real great that your dog is friendly to everyone they meet, but what happens when your off-leash dog encounters a dog aggressive dog that is on a leash walk with his human? If that leashed dog bites your dog, there is nothing you can do about it because you were breaking the law. You can try to press charges, but odds are the city will not be on your side, and you will be stuck with an injured family member. What happens when your off-leash dog approaches someone that is fearful of dogs? Well, in a terrible instance I have actually witnessed, your off-leash dog could get kicked in the face by a very large man. And again, nothing you can do about it, because you are not a law-abiding citizen. And worse case/pretty standard scenario, what if your off-leash dog is prancing around your feet through the parking lot (my god I hate when people let their dogs run around parking lots) and all of a sudden he sees a squirrel… or a deer… and he can’t control his instinct and he starts to run… and before you even notice he’s gone he’s hit by a car. Again, nothing you can do. The driver would most likely not be at fault, and would ultimately have to live with the fact they hit a dog for the rest of their life. The reason for leash laws is to protect your dog from harm. Don’t be the person that thinks “that’ll never happen to me”.
  • LITTER! This is the same concept as picking up your poop, but I’d also like to mention if you’re somewhere like Big Sky or Good Dog and you see litter on the ground, feel free to pick it up. I carry a small pouch around that I fill with shards of glass found at dog parks and on trails. You don’t have to be that nerdy about it, but if you see something you wouldn’t want your dog to eat or step on pick it up and toss it in the many trash bins.
  • CELL PHONES! I get it. You have a lot of business that needs to be taken care of right this very moment, but going out with your dog should be a bonding experience. And if you hate bonding with your best friend, then at least stay off your phone so you can watch your dog as he starts trouble. Don’t be loudly airing all your dirty laundry to the public while Rex is off neck pinning puppies and humping elderly labs.
  • GRUMPY DOGS! Please do not bring your dog to the dog park if they are not dog friendly. I work early, so sometimes I go to the dog park before the sun is up. I have often run into people in the dog park who are frantically calling their dogs back to them once they see another dog in the park. “I’m sorry he’s not friendly. I didn’t realize anyone else was in here.” Good rule of thumb to follow, SOMEONE IS ALWAYS IN THE DOG PARK. And if your dog gets into a fight and injures another, DO NOT JUST LEAVE WITH YOUR DOG! It’s like a car accident. You have to swap info and you have to pay their vet bills. This is part of the responsibility of having a dog… and being a decent human.
  • CHILDREN! Similar to off-leash dogs, remember that not everyone likes children. Some dogs do not care for small people, so please be cautious when bringing your small children to the dog parks. It’s a place where dogs of all shapes and sizes come to play and run off steam. They are often not aware of their bodies and they can send small children flying. Dogs also have sharp teeth, that can easily injure children, even on accident. Children under 12 are not allowed in dog parks without adults. If your 9 year old is at the dog park and your dog gets into a bad fight, how will your 9 year old handle it? Odds are, not much better than your 12 year old. Small children should be carried to avoid any injuries. And as a side note, baby strollers and small children on bicycles do not belong in the dog park. You could scare or injure a dog, and this is their space, not yours.
  • WATER! This isn’t really a suggestion… just a thank you to all the humans that bring water to dog parks during the winter!

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Tools of the Trade

When it comes to the right collar, leash, and harness things get kind of overwhelming. There are so many options, styles, shapes, colors, clips, ahhhh! But have no fear, here is a list of standard collars, harnesses, and leads for your guidance knowledge!

Collars

  • Standard Flat Collar– This is your basic collar that you can find in grocery store. They are usually made of a nylon or leather, but can come in various fabrics. These collars can be used with easy, loose leash walkin’ pups. They shouldn’t be used for sighthounds as they can easily slip over their heads. You can get these collars with a belt buckle style, a fastening clip, or a break away version. If you plan to leave the collar on while your pup is unsupervised, I suggest a breakaway collar so they can’t get snagged on something and strangle themselves.

standardflatclip     standardflatbuckle      breakaway

  • Martingale– This collar is a great substitution for the ol’ choke chain (see below). It consists of two loops, the larger going around the dog’s neck and the smaller clips to the leash. The larger loop is made of a nylon fabric, while the smaller loop is either nylon or chain. When the dog pulls, the smaller loop tightens. These collars are perfect for sighthounds with necks the same size as their heads, because they cannot slip out of them. Never allow the metal pieces of the larger loop to touch!

   martingalefabric     how-martingale-works-340     martingalechain

  • Head Halter– The most popular of these is a Gentle Leader made by PetSafe. It slips over the dog’s muzzle, but is not restrictive to their normal movements (they are able to pant, drink, and eat… they can give kisses too!) These collars keep the dog from dragging their nose along the ground and keeps them focused on you by turning their head anytime they pull. This collar is meant to be used for leash training and can be swapped out after you achieve loose leash behavior. It can be difficult for dogs to get used to this so be sure to have treats and patience with you!

gentleleader

*Collars should fit so you are able to comfortably fit two fingers underneath.

Aversive Collars

  • Choke Chain– This is basically just what it sounds like. It’s a chain that tightens around your dog’s neck as they pull. These should only be used with guidance of a professional trainer, as they can often cause tracheal damage when improperly used. They should never be left on an unsupervised pup. Martingale collars are great alternatives to these. Never use on short nose dogs!

chokechain

  • Prong Collar– These collars are made of linked steel prongs that go into a dog’s neck when they pull. These are only used for dogs that are difficult to control and dogs that are aggressive. Again, these should only be used with guidance of a professional trainer. If you chose to use this collar, be sure to give you pup some naked time without it.

Dalmatian dog licked

Harnesses

  • Back-Clip Harness– This is a harness that attaches to the… back! This is great for loose leash walkin’ pups, but not the best for dogs that tend to pull. When you pull, they pull. This harness is great for short nose dogs!

backclipshortnose.jpg

  • Front-Clip Harness– This clips in the front! Having the leash clipped to the chest of your pup causes them to turn toward you when they pull. With proper guidance, they will get bored of being turned sideways and this can lead to a loose leash walking dog! Some of these harnesses also allow for you to clip to the front and back.

frontcliponly    frontandbackclip

*There are so many style and fit options when it comes to harnesses that I can’t cover them all… it’s always best to get what suits your pup!

Leashes

  • Standard Leash– This comes in many fabrics, styles, and lengths. You can even get leashes that change length with the help of an extra clip! Again you should find a leash that is best for you and your pup. We have several options for different activities.

   ropelease      reflectiveleash      doubleclip

  • Slip Lead– These are usually flat nylon or a braided rope. They simply slip over the dog’s head and like a martingale collar, tightens as the dog pulls. Be sure to use these with proper knowledge as they can cause damage if used inappropriately on a pulling pup.

sliplead

  • Retractable Leash– These are the leashes that retract into a handle! Let me just biased-ly say, these are a big pet peeve for me. They offer little to no guidance from the human and allow the dog to control the walk. Normally when I see these used in the world they are used very carelessly and have left a bad taste in my mouth.

retractable

This list was put together with years of frustration, pointless purchases, and victories. For more guidance ask your trainer, veterinarian, or check out the AKC website.

 

*Keep in mind that humans have a tendency to judge your dog’s behavior on their collar. Choke chains and prong collars often lead people to believe your dog is aggressive or difficult to manage. Standard collars cause people to see a friendly happy dog, even if they are not. Though we try to avoid stereotypes, our brains cannot escape it as often as we’d like to think.

Deal on Daycare!

Attention New Adventurers! 

Sign up for 3 days of Daycare Adventures and get a 4th day FREE! Simply mention this promotion when requesting to book and we’ll take care of the rest!

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*Free day is awarded after 3 full days of daycare have been completed and paid for

*This offer is only valid for new Adventure Pup clients

What to Consider When Boarding your Pup

Throughout my years of dog care I have met a variety of dog parents. Some humans become very connected to their fur babies, and feel they are more than just a mere dog, while others simply got them to match the decor in their home. Yet regardless of what kind of relationship humans have with their pups, almost every pet owner is looking for the best possible care for their critters while they are away.

Here are some things I have learned about daycares, boarding facilities, and in-home sitters that you might want to consider:

  • Give yourself plenty of time before a trip to find a good pet care option. Waiting until the last minute could leave your pup in the hands of someone less qualified than if you look a couple months ahead, especially during busy holiday seasons. If you currently have pets, and do not have a pet sitting option, find someone you like now! Even if you never leave your house, it is always a good idea to have someone you trust that can care for your pets if any emergencies arise. (it’s an even better idea to find more than one place for your pets, in case the first is unavailable)
  • Meet the in-home sitter! If you choose to go the in-home sitting route, meet the sitter with plenty of time before your trip. Watch how they interact with your pets, have a list of questions ready for them, and make sure they have good references from other pet parents. Go with your gut! If you feel a person isn’t right for your pets, interview another sitter!
  • Take a tour of the facility you plan to use! This is a very important step in finding reliable dog care. Every boarding facility should offer a tour for new clients. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to see where your dog will be staying while you are out of town. They might offer odd hours for tours, based on the boarding dogs’ schedules, but if they refuse a tour altogether, red flag! Don’t forget your list of questions!
  • Think about the size of the pack and the daily environment. A lot of boarding facilities have large pack sizes, and house anywhere from 40-140 dogs. Some places have the space and staff for this many dogs, while others pack them to the gills simply for profit. Remember that tour you took? Was the facility loud and filled with barking? Were the playgrounds ample space for the amount of dogs using them? How many humans were on staff to watch the dogs? Were things clean and organized, or did the indoor rooms smell of urine? Though there are numerous facilities that look and smell like dogs use them as their personal toilets, and have little to no supervision during play, know that there are also boarding facilities that smell clean, look sanitary, and have friendly and caring staff constantly observing your pet. A larger boarding facility doesn’t always mean a good or bad thing. Some dogs could do well in these environments, but others can get very overwhelmed in larger pack sizes, and perhaps an in-home sitter is a better option.
  • Humans. This is the most important thing to consider in dog care. What are the humans doing? Are they with your dog at all times? Or is your dog in a room of 80 dogs and no human supervision? If you are using an in-home pet sitter, you normally only have to worry about one human. If you’re using a boarding facility, your pet is around a variety of faces and you often don’t get to meet the entire staff ahead of time. It’s always a good idea to observe staff while on a tour. Do they seem connected to the job and animal they are working with, or are they dragging their feet and mumbling under their breath? Even at the worst boarding facility, a caring and knowledgable staff can go a very long way. Those invested in dog care will always go above and beyond to make sure your pup receives the best care possible, regardless of the environment. 
  • Every animal is different. As you may know, not every pet will react the same to boarding. Think about what is right for your unique individual before committing. Do they like being around just a few dogs, or do they crave a larger pack? Would they do ok in a kennel throughout the day, or do they suffer from separation anxiety? You know your pet best, after all!

As I said before, go with your gut! You could always do a trial run before the big day arrives. Board your pup, or have them enjoy a day of daycare at the facility (or with the sitter) before you head out of town. If any issues arise, you’ll be close by. Plus you’ll get a night to yourself to be human!

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