Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Understanding Dog Aggression

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Aggression with dogs is understood as any type of behavior that aims at frightening or hurting another animal or human. Growling, snarling, showing teeth, and similar behaviors are all considered aggressive. Although they are normal, humans generally seem to have a problem with these types of behavior. From the dog’s perspective, there is always a reason to be aggressive.

Aggression towards strangers

dog aggressionPeople and dogs have different ways of communicating, which can often lead to misunderstandings between the two species. A person can be friendly towards a dog, but it can misinterpret this behavior as threatening or frightening. This doesn’t mean that dogs are necessarily schizophrenic, crazy, psychotic or sick when showing this behavior.

As it is extremely complex and result in serious consequences, aggressive behavior of your dog towards strangers should be consulted with a veterinarian or other dog professional.

Types of aggression

Dominant aggression

Dominant aggression is motivated by the struggle for social status of the dog or the control of social interaction. Dogs are animals that live in packs and consider their human family as pack members. Based on the outcomes of status struggle among pack members, hierarchy is established.

If the dog sees its social status as higher than your own, it is highly likely that it will challenge you in certain situations. Since people don’t always understand how dogs communicate, they can unintentionally challenge their dog to a fight for higher social position.

A dominantly aggressive dog can growl if disturbed while asleep, or if asked to leave its favorite spot like a couch or bed. Using force, even physically harmless attempts such as hugs can also result in aggression. Grabbing a dog by its collar or attempting to pet it on the head can also be seen as a social challenge.

Dominantly aggressive dogs can be friendly if not tempted. Dominant aggression is directed towards other animals and humans. The most frequents cause for aggression within a pack is instability in hierarchy.

Fear motivated aggression

Fear motivated aggression is a defense mechanism and it occurs when a dog believes it’s in danger. Keep in mind that this is seen from the dog’s perspective, it is not your fault if you cause such a reaction. For example, you can raise your arm to throw a ball and a dog can bite you thinking that you wanted to hit it. A dog can also react this way in the presence of other dogs or animals.

Protective, territorial, and possessive aggression

Protective, territorial, and possessive aggressions are closely connected and involve the defense of valuable sources. Territorial aggression is often connected to protecting property. The domain your dog believes belong to it can extend beyond your back yard. For example, if you constantly take your dog out for a walk to the park and let it mark a specific spot then the entire park becomes its territory.

Protective aggression is related to the aggression towards people and animals that the dog sees as a threat to the pack. The dog gets possessively aggressive when protecting its food, toys, or other valuable objects.

Redirected aggression

This type of aggression is relatively common. If a dog’s aggression is caused by danger of an attack, the dog can redirect that aggression onto someone else. In other words, when two dogs behind a fence see a dog outside the house, they can get excited, aggressive, and attack each other because they can’t get outside.

Author bio: Andrea Hudson is a professional photographer and a great dog lover. She is interested in dogs and pets related topics, and she is also the first person in the neighborhood who you call for help when you lose your dog, or any kind of pet. She is always there for her friends..

Dog Sitters: How Many Dogs Should You Have at One Time?

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

dog walkers city mega

The dog sitting and walking business is currently booming particularly in metropolitan areas where owners spend long days at work or travel frequently. The process of hiring one of these professionals should be one that is well thought out and if possible, hired by word of mouth as there is a lot of valuable and reliable information a pet owner can get from referrals.

Although dog sitters made a decent living, committing to only one or two dogs is likely not going to pay the bills and this is why most have numerous clients at one time. It is common for sitters to also have to take care of several pooches all at once so that they can manage theirs and their client’s expectations as well as earn more money.

So how many dogs at one time are too much for the sitter? And as the pet owner, how many other dogs should you allow that sitter to supervise at the same time as yours? Here are some basic guidelines for both pet owners and sitters to follow so that the job remains through and manageable.

Laws of Dog Sitting

Though some regions such as the UK do have strict laws about how many dogs can be sat for or walked at one time, most US regions do not. The unwritten rule in the dog sitting community is that anyone, owner or sitter, can walk or sit for as many dogs as they can safely handle at one time.

Having said that, there will be differing definitions of ‘properly handling’ and the number of dogs in one’s care. It is a dog sitter’s responsibility to ensure that they are giving proper care and attention to each of their client’s pooches and just as with kids, at a certain point if that number is too great, something will be missed and the quality of care will naturally decrease.

Lots of things should be taken into consideration when deciding on how many dogs one should sit for at one time.

The Breed Matters

Just like people, dogs have their own quirks and personalities and not all of the different breeds will mesh well or get along. Some dogs are naturally more aggressive such as American Pit Bull Terriers and when put in the same areas as other breeds, it could be like mixing oil with water. Chances are if you are house sitting for several dogs at one time, the owners have already acclimated the different breeds to one another, but this may not always be case.

Sizing up the Situation

Regardless of how well the dogs in one given area get along, there are other factors that also need to be considered when accepting a dog sitting job. The first is the size and weight of all the dogs that you are expected to sit for.

Larger dogs that are weightier will be more difficult to handle and care for than if you are supervising a room full of poodles, whose average weight is about 5 to 9 pounds. The bigger canines will usually be more challenging unless they are aptly trained and this is especially the case when taking them out for walks.

running dogs

Each dog should have its own lease and take into consideration your own weight against that of the multiple dogs you are sitting for and walking. Even the best trained dogs can become startled or excitable and if they should decide to jet, if your weight isn’t enough to balance the weight of them trying for a fast getaway, you could easily lose control of one or all of them.

It is also important to acknowledge the size of the home in comparison to the number of dogs you will be sitting. Larger dogs should not be contained regularly in small spaces, while smaller, pint size dogs which don’t require as much roaming room or exercise may be perfectly content in an apartment.

Rambunctious dogs have the ability to hurt, even unknowingly, other smaller dogs as well as owners and dog sitters because of their sheer size and weight. If there are a mix of large and small dogs within one habitat they will need to be monitored closely and all should have enough space within the home to roam freely for at least part of the day.

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Training Your Puppy without the Classes

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Choosing to get a puppy is a massive decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. As well as all the costs and commitment, a puppy also requires a great deal of on-going training to ensure it grows up to be a healthy and happy dog.

Before you can train a puppy, you need to develop a mutual respect for one another. A dog won’t always do as you ask it to without a reward, whether this is a treat or plenty of attention and affection. Quite often, a puppy will seek a master in which it can follow and aim to please. This is usually the person who walks and feeds it, not necessarily smothers it with love and affection all the time. This relationship needs to be developed from an early stage to ensure your puppy looks to you for instruction.

Training Your Puppy without the Classes

House Training

So first things first, you will need to teach your puppy some basic house training rules to ensure it uses the toilet outside as oppose to inside on furniture and expensive flooring. Puppies, like babies do not know there is a right or wrong place to relieve themselves, so you need to teach them this. Under no conditions should you result to violence to correct your dog in any aspect of its training, as it can encourage vicious behaviour.

House training is usually achieved over a considerable amount of time, there is no short cut and there is bound to be slip ups from time to time as well. Encourage your dog to go outside at regular intervals, and when it does choose to urinate outside, reward it and give it affection. Take your puppy outside throughout the day, from the moment you wake up, before and after its meals and of course before bed time. This minimises the likelihood of accidents and also teaches your dog a positive routine.

Eliminating Biting

Puppies will usually bite and chew as it is a natural reaction to their teething process. Sometimes biting will be playful, other times out of boredom, and in some cases when your puppy is feeling a little tired and irritable. Again, avoiding using violence, encouraging good behaviour and discouraging bad behaviour will send the right message to your new four-legged friend that you and your belongings don’t appreciate being chewed or bitten, and that this will not earn it affection and rewards.

Another option is to encourage your pup to chew something else when you see it gnawing on your favourite piece of furniture. Supply it with a durable chew toy to keep it occupied, and in time your dog will learn that this is what should be chewed and played with, not the furniture.

Taking your puppy to training classes is of course not compulsory and by training your dog yourself; you will also save a great deal of money and build your very own bond with your dog. Training will be an on-going task throughout the dog’s life as its learning will never be complete and like humans, can occasionally make mistakes too.

Photo Credit: Adam E. Cole

This article was written by Sarah MacLeod on behalf of My Pet Stop, a UK based dog boarding company offing puppy training, dog grooming and much more.

 

Happy walking! Like this article? Please Share and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

How Types Of Grass Can Make A Difference In Housebreaking

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

When it comes to grass litter boxes, there are two very different options you can choose from. Some grass litter boxes utilize natural grass while others utilize a synthetic solution. Because grass litter boxes are used as a tool to help housebreak a new dog, there are certain characteristics which should be considered before you settle on your particular form of potty terrain.

Dog Training

Synthetics

There are many different brands and styles of synthetic grass. Some utilize fibers that resist scent and others appeal with a texture that matches the real thing. Regardless, of who makes them, there are certain characteristics which make them appealing to dog potty applications.

Synthetic grasses are renowned for their longevity. Unlike natural grass, they don’t have a lifespan, but that doesn’t mean they can’t wear out. Some producers such as the Pet Zoom produce a patch which can last up to three years with the proper care, while others like Pup-Grass take synthetic to a different level, applying every aspect possible, such as fast draining, tear-resistant, and even scent resistant. While each producer has their own synthetic grass format, companies like Pup-Grass strictly produce synthetic grass for dog applications, including the entire yard.

Unlike natural grass patches that can be thrown away or discarded, synthetic grass does still requireits own unique maintenance. Some manufacturers require hand-washing while others can be machine washed without excessive wear. The only issue here is that the material does get dirty and it’s not exactly disposable, requiring that you spend time washing and maintaining it.

This “immortal” aspect does have its downside though, because as you may understand, synthetic grass doesn’t have the natural scent that real grass has. This can make it difficult for a young puppy to accept or adapt to it if they’ve been accustomed to using an outdoor area. In these cases, you may be required to utilize incentive sprays, some of which may not work, leaving you shopping around for a product that works for your dog’s particular nose.

The real thing

Natural grass has certain characteristics which can’t be replicated by synthetics alone. The texture and feel of grass tends to have a natural instinctive appeal to a dog. But because it does have a lifespan, it isn’t always the most cost-effective method for your dog’s long-term potty needs.

Additionally, it also acts as a transitional tool for a dog that is in the housetraining process. If you are working towards motivating your dog to potty outdoors, this can be a very effective way to familiarize your dog with the particular characteristics of where it’s good to potty.

There are many differences between synthetic and natural grass, some which benefit certain applications. If you’re working on housetraining your dog, natural grass is often the simplest solution. Though it does help to find an indoor litter box that can provide either solution so that you can give your dog what they prefer without investing in a completely new unit.

Author Bio:

Brandon Kennington is the inventor and owner of the Porch Potty – the world’s first automatic grass dog litter box. As dog owner and a busy business owner, Brandon invented the Porch Potty when he didn’t want his dog to have to wait all day to go. Porch Potty admires dog owners and also provides great tips for dog lovers on the Porch Potty Blog.

The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Musings on Professionalism in Dog Walking

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

In this era of austerity brought on by that pesky economic crisis, small businesses
everywhere are suffering the effects of tightened purse strings. As consumers pinch their
pennies, there is less money put towards those products and services which are deemed
to be inessential, and customers are being rightfully deliberate and conscientious about
those services they do engage. Unlike most specialist service providers trying to forge a
path in this variable climate, professional dog walkers are in the unique position of being
threatened by amateurs on their own turf. After all, with dog walking rates spanning
between £12 and £16 per walk, why wouldnʼt Mrs Wilson just toss a fiver to little Billy next
door in exchange for taking Monty to the park for an hour on Sunday afternoon so she can
have tea with the ladies? This is a question worth pondering for pet owners and dog
walkers alike!

In general terms, someone with the occasional commitment in their calendar that distracts
them from their dog walking duties isnʼt likely to need the services of a professional. We
“pros” provide a service which is geared toward those responsible pet owners who realize
their obligation to their petʼs health (and understand the significance of a daily long walk in
maintaining that health!) but who have demanding work schedules and daily commitments
that prohibit them from fulfilling that obligation. For such people, engaging the services of a
professional has numerous benefits: by spreading their responsibility, they can provide
their pooches with the vital exercise and stimulation they need – in a structured and
monitored fashion – while freeing up their schedules in order to meet their other
commitments. A professional dog walkerʼs clients are not simply trading a sum of money
for an hour-long stroll in the park, but are investing in the dogʼs health, their own personal
and professional time, and their peace of mind!

So what specifically can a client expect to gain from the services of a dog walker? It makes
sense to list some of the valued characteristics of professional dog walkers so that
potential clients can refer to them when investigating our services. And it canʼt hurt for us
“pros” to examine the benefits of the services we offer in order to improve on them.

Letʼs take a closer look at professionalism in dog walking by splitting the essential criteria
into distinct categories:

1. Knowledge and experience

• Familiarity with the characteristics and personalities of different breeds of dogs, and their
requirements for exercise, socialisation and mental stimulation (the latter being provided
through outdoor exploration, social interaction and games).

• Experience with leading a pack assertively. Dogs require a confident leader to follow and
this confidence in leadership only comes with practice!

• Knowledge of local neighbourhoods, the green spaces and dog-friendly areas. In other
words, dog walkers need to know a variety of places to go in order to provide their pack
with a safe, open space in which to exercise and play.

2. Organisation and preparation

• Professionals must be fully insured to cover any accidents that may happen on a walk,
and should be CRB checked to reassure the client whose home they have access to.

• Contracts are also a necessary requirement. This way the client understands the terms
and conditions of the dog walkerʼs services and fees. Even more importantly, the dog
owner officially gives written consent for the dog walker to access his property and for
the dog walker to take responsibility in case of an emergency.

• Pet information form – this is something I and other dog walkers I know enjoy using
during our initial consultation with a new client; itʼs essentially a questionnaire to gather
as much specific information about a pet as possible, from veterinary details to dietary
requirements, favourite toys and preferred hiding spots (in case we canʼt find Monty
when we come to pick him up!). Importantly, I also ask for the dogʼs medical history and
get written permission for walking off-lead.

• Dog diary – a daily diary used to facilitate communication between a walker and a client.
This can be a great asset to communicate everything from schedule changes to dog
behavioural issues.

3. Resources

I feel that many clients overlook this aspect of the dog walkerʼs cache; resources are very
important for the dog walk and involve regular expense to purchase and maintain (thus
contributing to the cost of the walk). The most important and expensive of the dog walkerʼs
resources is going to be the van!

• Dog-friendly van, to transport the pack from home to the nearest local green space.
Often these will have custom in-built kenneling for the comfort of the dogs, and air
conditioning for hot summer months.

• Toys, leads, poop bags (preferably biodegradable!) and healthy snacks to make the walk
go smoothly.

4. Responsibility and reliability

Dog walkers have an ingrained awareness that they are taking responsibility for the health,
well-being and happiness of their clientʼs beloved, four-legged family member. Not only
does the health of the dog come down to us, but in most cases the smooth functioning of
the clientʼs daily schedule does, too. To maintain both of these aspects, the most important
characteristic is consistency (which is why there are no “sickies” in the dog walking
business!)

• Never miss a day – good dog walkers always have a back-up plan for any contingency! If
a walker is unable to make a walk on a particular day, advance notice is required for the
client and a back-up walker should be arranged for them.

• Reliability in times of crisis – for example, pet illness or injury (and the knowledge,
experience and resources to be able to handle it).

• Flexibility – a very important characteristic, allowing the walker to be able to
accommodate the whims of a clientʼs busy schedule.

While there are doubtless further criteria to be considered (and if you have a suggestion, I
encourage you to leave a comment!), I hope the points raised above will provide a good
general overview of professional dog walking for potential new clients, while inspiring
those of us who walk dogs for a living.

In closing, Iʼd like to include one further important characteristic to bear in mind, which
applies to any successful business owner: the desire to improve! We dog walkers have a
duty of care towards our clientsʼ animals, and we should be striving to give the best service
and experience possible at all times.

Happy walking! Like this article? Please Share and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Tim Adams runs Big City Dog Walkers operating in London, UK. Click here for a Dog Walker and Pet Sitter in Stoke Newington and Hackney.

How To Clean a Dog Leash: Home of the Germs & Flea Eggs

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Leash cleanliness (or lack thereof) is undoubtedly one of the most overlooked aspects of health and well-being for you and your pup.  Whether you live in the big bustling city of New York or a small fishing village in Japan, attention to proper leash care can lead to more sanitary living conditions for you and your dog.

How to Clean A Dog Leash

Consider this: How many of us wash our hands before a dog walk?  During any given dog walk , we clip the leash to the harness or collar, open the front door (and/or push an elevator button), pick up poop, perhaps switch no matter how temporarily, the hand that we are using to hold the leash, and also handle our house keys, which are all major sources of germ transfer.  That’s at least six different germ transfers per walk.  It’s not an understatement that it’s slightly gross and disgusting when you think about how many other unwashed, germ invested hands have also interacted with those high use items.

The question remains- how can you break the cycle of all of these germs getting onto the dog leash?  For some of you it may be months of germ and dirt buildup. For others of you years.  Germs, dirt and bacteria left to fester can lead to the slow erosion of the leash, be breeding grounds for flea eggs to hatch, and also to can also be an accessory to the spreading of colds and the flu. Multiply this by the number of people that use the leash (the dog walker, your children, spouse) and the number of people they interact with on a weekly basis.

If you follow a few precautionary steps, you will see how simple it is. First off, start by sanitizing your cloth leash in the dish washer (or for New Yorkers, in a tub of hot water and dish soap) at least once per week at a temperature of 150 degrees which can kill many bacteria and germs and flea eggs.

If you have a flexi-leash, you can wipe it down with Clorox and water.  To make life easier,  my personal recommendation would be to have three leashes in rotation, so you can get into the flow of regularly washing the harnesses and/or sanitizing the collars at least once per week and also regularly  wash your hands before and after each walk.  When you are at home, take off your dogs harness and collar to reduce the amount of dirt and germ transfer between the harness/collar and the dog.  As for your keys, the door handles and your front door handle- bleach and water.  For a green alternative, you can always use Dr. Bronners diluted with water.

Remember a clean, sanitary leash and getting into the routine of washing your hands before and after a dog walk is a small step towards creating a healthier, happier living conditions for you and your pets.

How often do you clean your leash? And do you have any advice? Let us know in the comments! Like this article? Please Share! 

Cynthia Okimoto is the owner of New York Dog Nanny www.newyorkdognanny.com and has been professionally caring for dogs since 2010.

The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Separation Anxiety in DogsSeparation anxiety is an issue that can easily go unnoticed or ignored, but is actually something that we should all be looking out for in Dogs. Because Dogs are pack animals, separation anxiety can affect their mental health quite dramtically. The condition happens when a Dog is left alone, and will typically pace around the house, barking, scratching, chewing and whining. The main issue here is that the Dog is highly stressed and it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been gone for a few minutes of a few hours, the stress levels are the same.

Before we look at some of the solutions to separation anxiety, we need to understand some of the causes. The main cause goes back to the ‘pack animal problem’ and leadership. In a pack the leader is allowed to leave on his own if he wishes, however a follower will never leave the leader. If your Dog sees himself as a the pack leader, then you leaving the house can cause considerable mental strain. This is one reason for separation anxiety.

Another – slightly easier to address – cause of separation anxiety is a lack of exercise. If your Dog isn’t getting enough exercise, the small amount of stress it causes them when you leave the house is intensified by a build up of energy. This will result in your Dog getting worked up and acting in a negative way.

These are the two most common causes of separation anxiety, let’s take a look at a few solutions.

1. Give your Dog some space

If your Dog is always around you, sleeping on you and gazing at you, this can be a cause of too much dependence. Get a Dog bed and train them to use it. Feeding, petting, and treats should all be given there, to reinforce that position as your Dogs ‘own home’.

2. Obedience

If your Dog isn’t very obedient, he may not be seeing you as the leader of the pack, which can be a big problem. Take time to train your Dog and make sure they’re responding to commands like sit, lie down, come here etc. Treats, playing, walks and attention should only be in response to good behavior.

3. Exercise

It goes without saying that exercise is extremely important for all aspects of your Dogs life. If you think your Dog has separation anxiety, you need to step it up a gear. Your Dog needs to be calm and relaxed after the exercise session for you to know it’s been enough.

Finally, make sure you’re acting calmly around your Dog, don’t come home extremely excited as this will increase the anxiety. Also, keep the same routine seven days a week. If you spend all day with your Dog at the weekend, the separation anxiety is going to be even worse on Monday. Routine and structure are important to all Dogs lives.

Have you ever had to deal with Separation Anxiety? Have you heard of any other solutions to this problem? Let us know in the comments!

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Promoting Your Dog Walking Business (Offline)

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

This weeks blog post is a follow from last weeks online advertising guide (If you missed it you can read it here). Today we’ll look at some more traditional forms of advertising and promotion. In last weeks blog post we discussed mainly free techniques, which is what the internet is perfect for. But in the real world advertising for free becomes a bit more challenging. That being said you can still get the word out effectively on a relatively low budget.

I think one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard is utilizing the free advertising already at your disposal – YOU! As a Dog walker I assume you’ll be out in public places walking Dogs a couple of times a day. This is the perfect time and place to advertise, what better place than where other people walk their dogs? Ok so I’ll get to the point here. Go down to your local t-shirt printing shop (or order online) and get a t-shirt made up with your company name and phone number on – in large text, so that people will see it easily. It’s obviously a good idea to make sure the phrase ‘Dog walker’ is on there somewhere but you get the idea! The t-shirt shouldn’t cost more than £10/$15 and after that – free advertising!

Flyers and business cards are the next items you should be getting printed. Even on a budget, these can be printed relatively cheaply and are easy to distribute. If you have a decent printer and know how to use Photoshop or similar software than you can even do this yourself for free (or ask a friend who you think might know what they’re doing). If you have Microsoft office you could use their flyer templates, found here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT010104295.aspx

 

If you don’t have the know-how, there are websites that you can use to enter your details, choose from a number of templates, and get your flyers/business cards sent to you. Vista Print (http://www.vistaprint.com) is probably the most well known of these sites but there are hundreds of them, or you could use your local printers.

Distributing your flyers and business cards is a matter of being bold and asking anywhere and everywhere you think will be effective. Vets are normally willing to accept flyers, as are pet shops. Ask to put flyers in your local shop windows and on park boards if that’s allowed in your area. Always carry business cards when your out and give one to anyone that’s interested.

Local papers and magazines can sometimes have low cost advertising opportunities. Going down this route will always be a bit of a gamble, and it will be a judgement call on your behalf whether you go for it or not. Personally, I think the smaller the place you live the more effective this will be. Putting an ad in a city paper will probably not be as effective as a cheaper ad in a small town local paper. That being said there will be advertising space and classifieds in almost all papers and magazines so they’re at the least worth having a look at. Business listings in publications like the yellow pages are also worth looking into as they’re sometimes free.

The promotion of any business can be done in a whole range of ways. I think the best thing you can do is be creative and always look out for new opportunities. Word of mouth will probably always be the most effective tool at your disposal so make sure you’re always trying to spread the word about your business.

We hope you’ve found this two parter on promotion useful. Do you have any other advertising techniques that you’ve found effective? What do you think about the ones talked about here? Let us know in the comments…

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Advertising Your Dog Walking Business Online

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

dog walkers city mega

This weeks post is part of a two part series on advertising your business on a budget…

If you want to expand your dog walking business, there’s really only one way to go about it – get the word out. Depending on where you live, this can mean a few different things. In a village, this is as simple as spreading the word on the grapevine. In a large city you have room to be a little bit more creative – the potential clients are figuratively endless.

Wherever you live, advertising doesn’t have to mean spending money, and even if you do have to you can promote your business very effectively on a relatively small budget. With that in mind, I’m going to talk about a few advertising methods that are effective in this industry. These methods will suit those on a small budget, or no budget at all.

First of all, lets get the shameless plug out of the way – you can advertise your service on this very website for free! And if you haven’t done so yet you can by signing up here. We are continually promoting and expanding Dog Walkers City so we hope you’ll join us!

The internet is an invaluable tool for any small business owner. In the modern age, the web should be the starting point for any advertising campaign. In fact (although I’m a little biased) I’d almost go as far as saying that you can get all of the customers you need online. With that said, we’ll start off with the (2nd) biggest of the Internet’s websites – Facebook.

Facebook is the perfect tool for a Dog walker, as most customers come from friends of friends and of course, it’s free. I’m going to assume you have a Facebook account at this point, as you’ll need an active account to utilize it as a promotional tool. The first thing you’ll want to do is set up a ‘Facebook Page’. To do this, go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and follow the instructions.

Facebook grab

You can add details of your service and images, links, maps etc. Once you’ve set this up you can invite all your friends to ‘like’ your page and when they do, their friends will see that they’ve liked it and so on – viral advertising. You can also ask questions, post updates and post photos, which I recommend you do regularly as they appear on the news feed of whoever has liked your page.

Your next visit online should be to Google Places. This is another great free tool for free exposure. With Google Places, you can mark where your service is based on Google Maps and anyone searching Google in that area can see your listing. To get started head to http://www.google.com/places/ and follow the instructions.

Google screen grab

Another good place to advertise online are classified websites. These are country specific but in the UK – Gumtree is the industry leader (http://www.gumtree.com) and in the US – Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org). Both of these sites are free to post to and are searched on a lot. Simply browse to your local area and follow the instructions to place an advert. The older your advert gets the further down the list it will fall so I recommend posting regularly. You can also go super local by searching Google for terms like ‘my town+classifieds’. A real life search would be ‘New York Classifieds’. There will almost definitely be a local classified site for your area.

gumtree screen grab

If you have a bit of extra cash to spend on advertising, we highly recommend joining us as a premium member here at Dog Walkers City. For less than the price of a couple of cups of coffee you can upgrade your membership and reap the benefits of being a premium member. These benefits include being shot to the top of our results page, having your own profile page that can be found in Google and having a wealth of extras at your disposal: Contract templates, appointment software, advertising guides and more. If you get just one extra regular client as a result of the premium membership you’ll be making your money back.

To find out more log into the members are and click the ‘Upgrade’ tab. Next week we’ll talk a bit more about advertising on a budget and concentrate on more offline methods.

Do you have any advice for people looking to advertise cheaply? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Let us know in the comments…

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.

Pros and Cons of Neutering Your Dog

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

After lasts week’s post about how to care for female dogs in heat, in this article we are going to discuss the pro’s and con’s of neutering male dogs and the effects this can have for you and your dog. Neutering is usually considered beneficial for your dog, in terms of health as well as preventing puppies. Although it is know that castration can lead to deteriorated health in a dog. Our aim is to consider the pro’s and con’s, so you can make an informed decision based on the facts.

WHAT IS NEUTERING?

Neutering or Castration is a process that involves the surgical removal of a ale dog’s testicles, in order to make him sterile, technically called an ‘orchectomy’. The operation itself involves putting the dog under anaesthetic and the process usually takes a few hours to complete, although your dog may be required to stay at the vetinary practice for up to 24 hours post-operation, just for observational purposes. This highly depends on the dogs age and overall health – dogs in good health can expect to go home on the same day as the surgery. The operation is a common procedure and with today’s technology and health standards, is considered to be a routine surgery without complications.

PRO’S OF NEUTERING YOUR DOG

The main and most obvious reason for neutering your dog is to prevent him from impregnating female dogs, hence resulting in potentially unwanted puppies. Overpopulation of dogs is becoming a real concern and many people try to control this situation from escalating by eliminating the chances of reproduction. The second most common reason for having your dog castrated is purely for behavioural purposes – many believe that in most cases, it actually improves the quality of the dog’s life. Neutered dogs are less likely to act aggressively towards humans and other dogs, and less likely to bite and react negatively. Dogs who have their testicles intact are prone to fighting, biting, refusing food and generally displaying provocative behaviour. They commonly urinate as a sign of marking their territory, are known to run away or excessively chase female dogs in heat due to the build up of testosterone in their body. Some dogs roam of and will do almost anything to find a female dog, and will fight with any potential threat or competition towards the female.

Other than the prevention of puppies, there are also many health benefits of neutering a male dog. It is proven that surgery can reduce the risk of developing prostate problems and testicular cancer. A neutered dog is less likely to develop diabetes and other perianal tumours, are generally much easier to handle and will be less likely to fight and act aggressively towards other dogs. The reduced levels of testosterone mean the ‘desire’ to find a female and mate is greatly reduced. It is important to note however, that neutering your dog is not a fail-safe guaranteed way of controlling your dog’s behaviour – if he has sever behavioural issues, the chances are high that they will still display this even after the testosterone levels are reduced.

CON’S OF NEUTERING YOUR DOG

The obvious downside of neutering your dog is that the procedure is permanent, once castrated, he will no longer be able to reproduce. If you are considering breeding your dog later on in it’s life, then you must be aware that the operation can not be reversed. One main concern post-operation is the fear of your dog gaining excessive amounts of weight. Generally speaking, the effects are normally minimal, although depending on the size and breed of your dog, this can become a concern. The desire to seek a mate is incredibly high in male dogs who have their testicles, and as you can imagine, a great deal of energy and effort is expended in the process of finding a mate and reproducing. Dogs who have undergone the procedure may be eating the exact same amount as before, but find they are not burning off as many calories due to the lack of testosterone. If you allow your dog to get fat, then that is where the problem lies! Far too many people blame the procedure for excessive weight gain, when in reality they are overfeeding and under exercising their dog.

Neutered dogs also have a tendency to be more calm and less active, for similar reasons as the previous point. In most cases this is a preferred option as owners can manage a sedentary and peaceful dog more easily. Saying that, if you prefer the opposite and want your dog to be overactive and energetic, then neutering may not be the best option. (Please note, this is only speaking generally, some neutered dogs remain hyper and excessively active in the same way that dogs who have not had the operation can be just as calm and quiet as one who has been castrated. There are many other factors that add towards to personality and temperament of your pet, so it is important to bear this in mind). Finally, some people prefer the aesthetic appearance of male dogs with everything intact. Although this isn’t directly related to the dog’s health or wellbeing, people with concern can opt to have testicular implants inserted at the end of the operation.

The best advice if you do not intend to breed your dog, is to consider neutering at a young age (depending on the breed). we feel that the benefits outweigh the negatives and you will ensure that the problem of overpopulation does not escalate out of control. If you are thinking about neutering your dog, there is a wealth of information on the web which goes into much more detail about the procedure and what to expect. If you have any concerns, visit your local veterinary practice, who will be able to ease any issues or concerns you have.

What experience do you have of neutering? Let us know in the comments…

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The Dog Walkers City Mega Membership is now available. Sign up today for a vast number of benefits ranging from premium members profiles to business guides and invoice templates. If you’re looking to be or you are a dog sitter, then this is the only membership you’ll ever need. Find out more here.