DogWatch Dealer Chat with Emily West, DogWatch Hidden Fences of Columbus

DogWatch Hidden Fences of ColumbusDog Tails interview with Emily West, DogWatch Hidden Fences of Columbus. Emily and Pat West have been DogWatch Hidden Fence dealers since 1992.

DT: You’ve been a DogWatch dealer for the past seventeen years—what’s your most poignant training experience working with a family and their dog?

EW: Don’t know that there is one particular story that really sticks with us. But the most poignant and satisfying thing is when we run into one of our customers and are greeted with a big hug and they tell us something like “You guys are the reason my dog is alive” or “You have saved my dogs life so many times, I can’t thank you enough.” It is the most satisfying and fantastic feeling in the world to know that you have meant that much to that family. It makes us know what we do is really important to families and their dogs.

DT: What’s your funniest story?

EW: Pat and I differ on our favorite stories. Mine has to do with a pot-belly pig that he trained, but Pat says it isn’t relevant because it isn’t a dog story. If you’d like it anyway, I’d be happy to share.

Pat’s favorite and funniest training story happened several years ago when we got a call that a dog was leaving the yard. The customer didn’t explain over the phone and just asked us to come out as we had to “see” the problem. So when Pat got there, the customer brought him into the kitchen and let the dog out. Pat watched from the window as the big Great Pyrenees proceeded to “walk” on his two back legs right through the fence, all the while making sure his neck and collar stayed above the level of the range of the fence. It was an easy fix as once the range was a bit higher the dog could no longer go through without correction, but it was quite the amazing circus act.

DT: People often have strong personal biases about whether to get a purebred dog, a mixed breed–and some have strong personal preferences for going with a rescue dog? How would you guide people with these decisions?

EW: Regarding pure bred, mixed breed or rescue dogs. Pat and I do have strong feelings about this, but it may not be what you think. Obviously, we feel it’s important to rescue dogs and we’ll always support our local rescues, shelters and Humane Societies.

However, we feel that it’s equally important to get a dog that is well matched to your life style. For instance, we NEVER recommend that anyone gets a dog simply because “it’s cute”. We always encourage people to do research regarding whatever type of breed or mix. Size, shedding, exercise, barking tendencies, temperament around other dogs, temperament around children, and digging habits are all important aspects to look at. And people need to be honest with themselves about what they are willing or not willing to do for a dog before they pick one out.

If people do the necessary research BEFORE they get a dog, Pat and I feel many fewer dogs would end up in shelters. And keeping dogs out of shelters is just as important as rescuing them once they are in shelters.

DT: We’ve noticed that DogWatch of Columbus has many online presences e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Blog, LinkedIn. What interested you in having social media presences? How has it worked for communicating with clients, prospects and others in your industry?

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Who’s Walking Who?

art-select-object-magic-1fThere are many good reasons to get a dog and some are the extra perks which come with the territory—so to speak. If you’re here on Dog Tails we’d probably be preaching to the choir if we started listing them in this space. We’ll cut to the chase. Walking.

“Healthy and active living is an attitude and a lifestyle approach, and one that will improve your quality of life forever. If you make it a priority and you truly value it, you will make it happen,” says Gabriela Tymowski, professor of kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick. Stick-to-it-ness around exercise usually involves making a plan. A commitment. Even better is to try not going it alone. Find a partner. Tymowski suggests a dog for a walking partner. As he says, “You won’t find a better exercising partner who would always rather do more than less.”

Glenna Hanley, adds “You won’t be able to get Fido a membership at your local fitness club, but he will be more than willing to go for a walk or a run – and in any kind of weather, too.”

Walking with your dog is a win-win situation all around. Dogs do better physically and mentally with a daily, consistent routine for walking. Hmm, how about you? Do you feel better from the walks with your friend?

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Advocating for Your Dog’s Healthcare Needs

Speaking for Spot book coverDr. Nancy Kay offers a wealth of dog-related health information in her book Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life. She suggests that part of loving our dog means becoming an advocate—taking care of their medical needs at annual visits, becoming comfortable speaking with our vet, and being prepared to handle more serious health problems when they arise.

How do you become a good advocate? Dr. Kay recommends that we take the time to “get smart” about our dog’s health by asking the doctor and clinic staff lots of questions, reading current and reliable medical information in books and on the internet.

While Dr. Kay acknowledges that even well-intended people are are apt to fall into anthropomorphism, making the assumption that animals have the same feelings or behaviors we do, she suggests that anthropomorphizing can often cloud our decision-making processes.  As a result, we might run the risk of dismissing legitimate options in our dog’s medical care because we’ve come to some emotional conclusion on our own that the dog will be miserable if they had to endure one treatment or another.  She writes, “The recipe for successful medical decision-making calls for a pinch of gut instinct combined with a whole lot of clarity about the potential risks and benefits of the available options.”

Speaking for Spot covers questions about immunizations, anesthesia, surgery, spaying and neutering, breeding, cancer diagnoses and treatments, and a watch list of symptoms a-z which may warrant a visit to the vet.

The companion website to the book has downloadable forms and templates and links to online resources, designed to make us all good advocates.

Other Resources: You can read Dr. Kay’s  posts on her Speaking for Spot blog.  Dr. Kay spoke with National Public Radio’s Terry Gross on Fresh Air in March 2009.>>Listen to the Story.

Dogs and SmartPhones: 8 Popular Dog Apps

cool dogNo, dogs and smartphones isn’t a joke we heard at a New Year’s Eve Party. Though it sounds like it could be.

While even the smartest dogs aren’t using mobile phones (yet), their owners are tapping away with their thumbs in startling numbers—on every topic under the sun. In addition to game apps featuring dogs, there are ones which can help track information, educate on a wide variety of dog-related topics, and provide countless hours of advice.

Here’s a list of some of the most interesting dog-related apps we’ve come across this week.

1. Dogs First Aid by PetMD

Fast and clear advice for the most common Dog Emergencies.

2. Pet First Aid by Jive Medi LLC

Pet First Aid contains detailed articles, video, and illustrations to help you care for your dog or cat. Record your pet’s vital medical information to ensure their veterinarian is never more than a touch away, and your pet will never miss another vaccination.

3. MyPets Info by Mobile Simplified

MyPets is an Information Manager that helps you keep track of your Pets day-to-day activities, medical information, important contacts, such as groomers or doctors and all other information relevant for your pets.

4. Dog Tricks & Bark Machine by Pocket Cocktails, Inc.

The ultimate portable Dog Trick training tutorial with nearly 200 pictures and step-by-step instructions. Bark Machine includes a variety of amazing sounds designed to captivate you and your dog.

5. DogBook by Poolhouse Enterprises

Keep a diary of your dog’s life, locate other dogs by breed or location, and then “friend” them.

6. Dog Symptoms by PetMD

Fast convenient access to hundreds of Dog Health Topics on the go. You can either select a category such as “Behavioral” or “Digestive” and browse the related topics in that category or search by keywords.

7. The Dog Breeds by MyAppBuilder

100 dog breeds with information such as their temperament, exercise requirements , and size.

8. Dogbook by Poolhouse Enterprises

Connect with other dogs and owners in parks and groups, post on their walls, and share photos and videos.

What dog-related apps are you using?

Photo credit: xploitme flickr