Tag: dog walking

What Happens When I Hire a Pet Sitter for Potty Breaks?

Clients often ask us what we do when we are hired for mid-day potty breaks.  Our client’s concern is that their dog needs to go to the bathroom when they work long hours and are not able to make it home in the middle of their shift.  Some questions we often get are:  Are you there just to let them out to go potty?  Do you play with them?  Is it really worth it to pay someone to come let my dog out?

Let’s talk about puppies first.  Puppies should never be left in a crate for extended periods of time.  Your puppy is likely not able to hold their bladder for more than a couple hours.  If you are crate training them, they will end up in a wet, dirty crate for HOURS without a break.  This can also cause behavioral issues down the road.  If you aren’t crate training your puppy you will come home to lots of potty spots to clean.  Wouldn’t you rather come home after a long day at work and not be frustrated because you have to clean up a bunch of potty spots?  Your puppy needs and deserves a break or two while you are at work.  We understand that puppies tend to want to play rather than go potty.  We make sure they go potty several times before we put them back in their crate.  We also provide exercise and play time so they aren’t full of energy before leaving them alone for a couple more hours.  Wouldn’t it be much better to have a sleeping puppy in a crate than one that is barking and trying to escape?

Now for adult and senior dogs.  Adult and senior dogs can hold it for so long.  Maybe 8 hours without feeling stressed about having to go to the bathroom.  Our potty breaks are much more than just letting them out to go potty then leaving.  We play with them, cuddle them, rub their bellies…whatever we need to do to make them feel comfortable and happy.

Bottom line is…if you are calling (or considering) a pet sitter for potty breaks, it’s probably a good thing for you and your dog.  The peace of mind is worth it!

Check out our video on what happens when we provide mid day potty breaks…

Pet Sitter Offers Exercising Tips for Pet Parents in Mesa, AZ

Exercising with Fido can be tricky during the Arizona summer months. It’s too hot in the middle of the day for your pet sitter to exercise him during his potty break and the sun doesn’t go down until late in the evening leaving you to exercise Fido pretty close to bed time. So, unless you are able, and let’s be honest, willing, to get up bright and early to take Fido out for his daily exercise the summer months can be rough for both you and your dog.

Well, how hot is too hot to take Fido for a walk? There is a simple test you can do to tell if it’s too hot for Fido to go for a walk. Walk outside on the sidewalk barefoot…if you can’t stand there for more than 3 seconds without burning your feet, it’s too hot for Fido. Your pets pads can and will burn from hot cement and pavement. There is also the added element of heat exhaustion. Your dog cools himself by panting. If he can’t stop panting, that is a sign of heat exhaustion. You will need to take the necessary steps to cool your pet down, because heat exhaustion is fatal.

As a pet sitter and dog walker, it is my responsibility to know how to exercise and stimulate your pet when it’s too hot to be outside for long periods of time. Below are just a few tricks I have up my sleeve:

  • Quick potty break outside and a toss or two of the ball, then inside for some tug of war

  • Inside ball play

  • If you have a water dog…some fun with the hose, chasing the water

  • A quick dip in the pool retrieving his favorite water toy

  • Teaching a new trick – Did you know that mental stimulation can be just as good as physical exercise?

The last thing you want during the summer months is for your dog to release his excess energy on your new pillows, your comfy couch or heaven forbid, your favorite pair of shoes!

If you’d like more ideas on how to stimulate your pooch during the hot summer months you can contact us by emailing to jenna@playtimepetcareaz.com or calling us at 480-292-9735.

Dog Sitting in Mesa AZ.  Why One Visit Isn’t Enough…

While dog sitting in Mesa AZ, I occasionally get inquiries from pet parents who are looking for just one visit per day.  The pet parent explains that their pet only eats once per day so they only request one dog sitting visit per day.  There are many reasons why your pet needs multiple visits per day (at least 2), while you are on vacation or business trip.

  1. Social creatures long for companionship

  2. They get bored

  3. They get anxious when they haven’t seen their human (or any other) for long periods of time

  4. Pets thrive on routine

  5. Pet safety and home safety

Dogs are very social creatures and thrive on the companionship of their humans. When dogs are used to seeing their human in the morning and evening, they get stressed when they wake up and no one is around.  Even if you have a shy or timid dog, having a sitter visit more often will help that shy or timid dog warm up to the sitter quicker and the faster the sitter will be able to play with and exercise your dog so they don’t feel anxious or abandoned.

You never know what they will get into when left alone for long periods of time.  A visit in the morning and evening will help quickly assess whether your pet requires medical attention.  See pictures below.  Multiple visits per day will allow your sitter the opportunity to assess the situation and clean up the mess so your dog doesn’t have another opportunity to ingest something they shouldn’t.

The images below are dogs who “Never get into trouble or harm themselves when we are away.”  This goes to show that you never know what your dog is going to do when left alone for long periods of time.

The one wearing socks chewed his legs raw because he was anxious that mom and dad were away.

The other is two dogs that got into the treat stash mom had in her closet.  One was so sick she had to have rice and chicken for breakfast and lunch to alleviate the diarrhea.  YES, the sitter cooked chicken and rice for the dogs to help make them feel better 🙂

If your dog doesn’t have a doggy door, THREE visits per day is optimal.  This way they get their breakfast, mid day potty break and dinner.  Did you know that exercise and walks are included in our pricing structure?

If your dog is crated during your absence, AT LEAST THREE visits per day are REQUIRED. Pets should never be left alone in a crate for more than 8 hours at a time. Puppies even less!  Your dog needs to have ample time out of their crate to play, stretch and exercise.  Your pet should ALWAYS have access to water.  Which means they need a water dish in their crate and will need to go potty.  Dogs that have been crate trained will not want to eliminate in their crate and it adds additional stress to your pet when they have to hold their bladder for long periods of time.

The optimal schedule for a dog that is crated during your absence is this:

AM – Breakfast, potty & play time

Afternoon – Potty & play time

PM – Dinner, potty and play time

Bed Time Tuck – in – Last potty break for the night and play time.

The bed time tuck in is scheduled after 8 pm and offers your pet an opportunity to go potty and get ready for bed and their time in the crate overnight.  Your sitter will arrive early the next morning for their breakfast visit allowing for less than 12 hours alone in their crate.

Pet Sitter’s Perspective on Dogs in Mesa Parks.

I LOVE taking my dogs to the park.  They love it too!  Did you know that all parks in Mesa are dog friendly?  That doesn’t mean they are all dog parks and dogs are allowed off the leash.  The City of Mesa has put together a great list of Doggie Do’s and Dont’s. So before you visit one of Mesa’s great parks with your pooch, be sure you know the rules and common courtesies.

Whether you are visiting one of the designated dog parks or not, owners are responsible for the behavior of their pet, requested to keep their dog under control and pick up after them.  Common sense tells us that not every PERSON is dog friendly. Even though you love your dog and your dog loves people, there may be people or kids around that are terrified of dogs.  Be respectful and keep your dog on a leash if NOT in a designated dog park.  No one wants to see your dog’s poo…so be prepared and bring some poop bags with you to clean up after your pet.

According to the Mesa City Code if you don’t want to follow the sate law and a park ranger catches you with your dog off leash, or not cleaning up after them, you can be convicted of a violation, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) or by imprisonment not to exceed six (6) months, or by both fine and imprisonment.  IS IT WORTH IT?

Let’s all enjoy our city parks with respect and keep our dogs on leashes and pick up after them.  This will ensure fun for all for years to come!

What else would you like to see pet parents do when at the park with their dog?

Pet Sitter’s Perspective on Puppy Socialization

Did you know that if you socialize your puppy at a young age they will grow up to be a more well rounded dog?  How do you go about socializing your new puppy?  What about an older dog that needs socialization?  Can an old dog learn new tricks?

As a pet sitting company in Mesa, AZ (also servicing Gilbert and Gold Canyon) we see unsocial dogs all the time.  Some of the behaviors we notice when we meet our new unsocial clients are:

Aggression toward new people

Hiding behind mom or dad

Raised hackles

Slow to get to know a new person

Some of these pets are great on a leash but leery of new people in their home.  Some are great with new people in their home, but act aggressive while on a walk.

How do you make sure your new puppy is socialized properly so you don’t have to worry about these issues as they get older?  How do you help your older dog be more social?

The following video offers great tips on how to ensure your pet becomes a well rounded, social dog.

So what do you do when you are busy and don’t have the time to properly socialize your dog?  Here are a few recommendations:

There are several doggy day cares to choose from.  If you enroll your puppy into doggy day care it allows them to be in a different environment and meet new dogs every day!

Taking your puppy for walks around the neighborhood and allowing them to meet new people, smell new things and explore is a great way to get them used to new things.

Seeking out social activities or pet friendly events that your dog is welcome to.

 Do you have other ideas on how to socialize a dog?  Leave your comment below…

Arizona Leash Laws

As a Mesa pet sitter it has recently come to my attention that the general public does NOT understand Arizona leash laws.

I have experienced 3 instances in the past week where dog owners are out in public spaces WITHOUT their dogs on a leash.  I’m not sure where the idea comes from…not even Ceasar Milan teaches pet parents to walk their dogs off leash.  However, apparently there is a large portion of society that thinks their dogs behave and actually listen to them when they are off leash.  While pet sitting in Mesa, I have experienced it enough to say that YOUR DOGS DO NOT CARE WHAT COMMANDS ARE COMING OUT OF YOUR MOUTH, IF THERE IS ANOTHER DOG IN THE VICINITY, THEY WILL APPROACH IT. That is just what dogs do.  Understand the basics of dog behavior and you will understand that all dogs want to sniff other dog’s butts…and if they aren’t controlled by their “responsible” pet parent, they are going to do just that.  NO MATTER HOW LOUD YOU YELL AT THEM.

So, wearing that trusted leash around your neck while “walking your dog” in public will NOT keep your dog(s) or any other dog(s) safe.  You will not be able to get your dog to “heal” before it approaches a leashed dog with a completely stressed out parent at the other end of the leash.  (And yes, I understand there is a small portion of dogs that will not bother others while off leash.  But this is not the norm.  I don’t even know a dog trainer that will allow their dog to walk off leash unless in designated areas.)

Did you know that not every dog on a walk will have a positive reaction to seeing other dogs?  Did you know that if your unleashed dog is hurt by a dog on a leash you will be responsible for the vet bill?  Did you know that if your unleashed dog hurts a leashed dog, you will also be lawfully responsible to pay for the other dog’s vet bills?  When was the last time you read Arizona’s Leash Law?

Consider the following:

  1. It’s not fair to those that keep their dogs on leash.  It’s one thing to go to a designated dog park and let your dog off leash and something completely different going to the park down the street from your house and doing the same.  If you’re at a dog park, everyone is of the understanding that dogs will be off leash.  You can then decide on your own if you are comfortable allowing your dog to roam free or not.  At the park down the street from your house, pet parents will most likely become stressed out, wondering if the unleashed, uncontrolled dog is going to approach. This puts the pet parent and the dog at an unfair disadvantage.

  2. Your dog may do great with recall commands when you are alone at the park and there is little distraction.  It’s a completely different story when another dog comes into the picture and your dog becomes distracted…and then shockingly isn’t so good at listening.

  3. Not all leashed dogs are well trained.  Some may be aggressive and not appreciate being approached by a non-leashed dog.  That is when trouble starts.

  4. Not everyone likes dogs.  I know…hard to understand.  But, there are people and kids, that are legitimately afraid of dogs.  You don’t want to be the one contributing to their fear?  Do you?

As your Mesa pet sitter I found it my duty to share that not only is it the LAW in Arizona to keep your dog(s) leashed unless in designated areas, but it’s the responsible thing to do.  And, speaking of responsibility…pick up your dog(s) poop (that’s the law too).

Tools to carry while hiking

As a pet sitter I often find myself hiking in the mountains.  There are some dangers to be weary of and simple tools to bring with you for a successful hike.  In an older post I described some of the dangers we come across when walking our dogs in the desert and how we prepare ourselves for overcoming these obstacles.

This article will describe some of the tools I always have on me when hiking. 

  1. Water, water and even MORE water! – Too many times have I seen people out hiking with their dogs and they hardly have enough water for themselves, let alone their tired and hot pooch.  Most dogs are are more than willing to go hiking with their parents and will follow, or lead without complaint…sometimes leading to heat exhaustion and death.  So PLEASE…if you bring nothing else, bring lots of water for you and your pooch.

  2. Collapsible Bowl – Bringing a collapsible bowl will help you keep more water than wasting it.  If your dog has never drank out of a collapsible bowl you might want to get him used to it before you go hiking to ensure he won’t snub his nose at it when he really needs it.

  3. Needle Nose Pliers/Tweezers –  No, you won’t be plucking your eyebrows on your hike…but, if Fido gets cactus needles stuck in their fur or pads, you don’t want to be removing them with your fingers…then you’ll get stuck!  I have found that needle nose pliers work great at getting the big needles out and tweezers are great for the finer needles.

  4. Charged Phone – In case you get stuck and can’t get out or if you didn’t bring enough water and Fido is too exhausted to move, you’re gonna need to call for help.

  5. Poop Bags – Feces left behind on a trail are gross!  I don’t want to look at it and my dogs always want to smell it.  Some dogs like ingesting feces from other dogs and that could lead to all kinds of intestinal parasites and disease.  Besides, it’s just plain irresponsible to leave your dogs poop behind.  Be courteous and help keep our natural surrounds beautiful by cleaning up after your pet.

Remember:  Provide your pooch plenty of rest stops so he can drink and cool down.  Nugget’s first hike was an easy one, but we still stopped several times in the shade so he could re-hydrate and rest. 

Why does your east Mesa dog walking company only walk one family at a time?

The image most often thought of when you think of a dog walker is one that looks a lot like this…

Looks a little chaotic doesn’t it?  Maybe a little difficult to manage?  What if you have one dog that likes to sniff everything as they walk and others that like to chase cars, cats or other dogs?  Are you beginning to see how dangerous this type of walking can be?  So much can go wrong so fast.  There is no way the above walker has control of her “pack”.

Now take a look at an example of how your east Mesa dog walking company walks your dog…

We are so much more in control of the situation…AND she’s getting individualized attention and having a great time.

What if you have more than one dog in the household?  As long as the two dogs have similar walking styles your east Mesa dog walking company will walk them at the same time.   For instance…it’s very difficult to walk a miniature poodle and Dalmatian at the same time.  The Dalmatian wants to walk or run and the miniature poodle just doesn’t have the leg length to keep up.

What if you have a breed that is very energetic and needs a bit more than just a walk? Check out the video below to see how we exercise Harvey, a very energetic Pit Bull / Lab mix.

Every dog is different…some may do better with a little after walk play time in the backyard or inside play, running up and down the stairs.  Your east Mesa dog walking experience will be completely unique to YOUR dog and what YOUR dog needs.

Our mid day dog walking season is generally November to May.  Once it is hotter than 85 degrees we stop walking mid day.  We can provide alternatives to mid day walks when it is too hot.

Positive Dog Walking

Is walking your dog less than fun? Do you tend to NOT walk your dog because of it’s rude behavior? Here is how to have a positive dog walking experience.

 

At Play Time Pet Care we do not believe in using harmful tactics to get dogs to do what we want.  We believe in positive reinforcement training.  This means no choke, no prong, no shock.  Just fun!

Harvey used to take ME for walks.  That’s until I discovered what he found to be super rewarding.  Treats is the trick to Harvey’s good behavior 🙂

With consistency and the right tools we are on our way to having nice, relaxing walks.  AND, my shoulder can stay in place.  Take a look at this short video of me and Harvey.

The tools I use with Harvey are the Freedom Harness and Freeze Dried Beef Liver treats.  Consistency is KEY!

Your Retractable leash May Be Causing Your Dog Harm

Excessive paw licking in dogs – It may not be allergies

Interesting article.

http://www.ivcjournal.com/articles/excessive-paw-licking-in-dogs-it-may-not-be-allergies/

This doctor found a connection between excessive paw licking and dogs who pulled on the leash or their guardians used a collar attached to a retractable leash.

Some things I learned or were reinforced to me from this article are:

#1.  Don’t attach the leash to your dog’s collar.  Your dogs collar should be a tool used to carry it’s identification.

#2. Using a retractable leash attached to their collar (on any size dog) encourages pulling and can ultimately harm your dog.

 

#3.  Using a harness in conjunction with a nylon or leather leash is the best option

 

The good news is:

With the right treatment and tools you can help your dog heal in as little as 8 weeks.

For these reasons, and many others, our pet sitters are instructed to never use a retractable leash or walk a dog that is known to pull with the leash attached to their collar.