Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How do help your dog brave the cold months

Good morning all!

It's another cold day in the south so here are a few tips on how to help your dog stay warm.

  • Buy the right breed for the climate. You can start off by picking a breed made for bitter winters, especially if you live in colder climates and expect to be outside with a dog for a significant amount of time. Dogs good for cold climates include Alaskan malamutes, Siberian huskies and chow chows. For a complete list, see the story Top Breeds for Cold Climates. Long-haired cats also handle the cold better, though all cats are better off indoors.

  • Keep them indoors.This is the surest way to keep your pet warm. Dogs, while they enjoy outings, are often happier indoors as well so they can dote on their owners.

  • Get them jackets and sweaters. If your home is a little chilly, cute jackets and sweaters can keep them warm. If they are going outside with you into the snow (dogs more than cats), it's better to choose something that has a waterproof nylon covering.

  • Booties. Your dog regulates his temperature through the soles of his feet (as well as his tongue, of course). When walking in the snow, booties can help keep him warm. This will also protect him from salt and other products used to melt ice. For more information on paw care, see the story Winter Skin and Paw Care.

  • Check the temperature before going out. In winter, as in summer, the temperature can feel worse than what the thermometer reads. Check the temperature and the wind chill factor to keep your dog from getting a chill.

  • Proper outdoor housing. If your dog spends a lot of his time outdoors, make sure he has the right housing. His doghouse should have a sloped roof, insulation and even a heater if he is expected to live in there. For more information on the proper doghouse, see the story How to Select or Build a Doghouse.

  • Bedding. His bed should be at least 3 inches off the cold floor to avoid drafts. Low platforms made of a light wood or aluminum frame with canvas stretched over it suit these pets just fine.

  • Provide more food. Dogs use up more calories in the winter trying to stay warm. Feed him a little more in the winter months, especially if he spends a lot of time outside.

  • Use a hot water bottle or snuggle disk. If your home is chilly, you can keep your pet warm by using a hot water bottle under his bed or even a snuggle disk, which is a manufactured disk that is heated in a microwave oven and can maintain heat for hours.

  • Don't forget the occasional special treat and the belly rub. Nothing warms your dog's heart more than special food and attention, so give him both. For special recipes, see the story Homemade Treats. The belly rub you can manage yourself.

  • These helpful tips were provided by The Pet Place

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    How was YOUR Thanksgiving?!?

    Awesome, you say? That's great to hear. Mine was pretty busy but lot's of fun as well; thanks for asking!

    First of all, I would like to apologize for yet again missing a week of blogging. I should have warned y'all but I was so Dog-gone busy last week that there was no way I was sitting down to craft this little gift. But that was in this past and this is the future, er, the present. So here we go with my Thanksgiving gift to all of you: 3 funny stories from your favorite dog walker!

    Numero Uno: One of my visits was with "Champ". Champ's owner, let's call him Pat, had to leave town to visit with his family and didn't want to leave Champ at a kennel for 5 days--I says good for me. On my consultation visit with Pat he gave me the lay of the land and showed me where Champ liked to do his business. He also informed me that he never takes Champ out on a leash and that he sometimes gets "anxious" about going #2 while he's on a leash. Obviously I had to explain to Pat that Walk It Out has an "always on the leash" policy and I would be walking Champ in kind. He seemed to be OK with that arrangement. Anyways, on my second visit with Champ, he was having one of his anxious moments and was refusing to go #2. We waited and walked and waited and walked and waited some more. I decided to take heed to Pat's request and let Champ off of the leash so he could go #2. We were in a tight little area that was surrounded by a building and wooded area so I figured it would be ok just this one time. So Champ goes into the woods and does his business. Eureka! But, once he was done, Champ goes exploring into the woods and starts heading for a creek. You can only imagine my panic as I'm thinking, "am I about to lose a client's dog?" Hell-to-tha-naw I'm not! So I go all Harrison Ford "Fugitive" style chasing Champ into the woods. I finally catch him and have to slide tackle him before he goes into the creek. Champ: 0 Alvin: 1. Little did Champ know that I hit the gym like whoa and there was no way in this world that he was getting away from me. Take that, Champ!

    Numero dos: Another visit was with Titan. Titan's owner's, Diego & Linda, are personal friends of mine and asked me to look after ol' Titan while they did some traveling over the holiday. Titan's cage is in his room which is one the second floor of the house. Titan and I had a few good visits until Friday morning. I walk in the door and am greeted by, you guessed it, Titan. This was strange because the last time I saw Titan, he was in his cage...in his room...upstairs. So I'm thinking this isn't good. The first thing I see is a pool of Titan's #1 in the foyer. As I walk towards it, I happen to glance to my left and see at collection of Titan's #2 off in the corner of the dining room. Well, well, Mr. Titan. Way to spread the wealth around. After cleaning up said #1 and #2 (keep in mind, Titan is a solid 60 lbs so this was a 10 sheet job), I let Titan out as usual. Surprise, surprise, it looks like Titan doesn't need to go out. Hmm, I wonder why. Anyways, after he eats his breakfast, I take him upstairs to his cage and BAM, there's another offering from monsieur Titan. So I clean this one up, put the big fella back in his cage and went on my way.

    Number 3: Remember Titan? Of course you do; I just wrote about him. I get a call from Linda on Saturday after her and Diego returned from their trip. Turns out that ol' Titan got out of his cage, again, and did a little "redecorating" in the house. He went to each one of their brand new wooden Venetian blinds and destroyed the bottom two blinds. Did I mention EACH ONE IN THE HOUSE? Ok, just checking. So I swing over to check out the damage, console my clients and make sure this wasn't my fault. Just as I had assumed, Titan busted down the wall of his cage while the door was still locked. Again, I win, but only kinda this time because I hate to see any of my friends/clients unhappy. But at least it wasn't my fault, right?

    Ok, that's all I've got. I'm off for now but take care of yourselves and one another.

    Walk It Out!

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Welcome to the Crossroads

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh bloggies!

    Welcome back to the party kids; where have you been? Oh, you've been checking the blog, you say? There hasn't been anything to read, you say? Ok, truth be told, WALK IT OUT has been slightly MIA from the blog scene for the past two weeks but please don't call this a come back. A lot of cool and interesting things have happened over the past 14 days or so and I'm going to share a few of them with you. Ready...set...go!(actually, don't go, stay and read, please???)

    One of the keys to running is business is, well, staying in business. In order to do so, we need to raise our clientele significantly over the next 6 weeks. We have primarily been using the direct approach with mailers, flyers and word-of-mouth advertising. This approach has been somewhat fruitful but we've gotta crank it up to really get this thing going. So, Walk It Out has been trying to partner up with local pet service providers in hopes to gain a presence in the Vinings dog community. Some places have been very receptive to helping out while others have been stank-face about it. The jury is still out on this approach but we'll keep y'all posted on any feedback.

    readingteachercolor.gif.jpgNow on to my favorite portion of the blog and yours...STORY TIME!

    Ok, so sometime about two weeks ago, I was doing a back-to-back walk down in the Peachtree Hills area and it was raining something fierce. I'll tell you right now, rain is the worst thing I could possibly see in the morning. It puts me in a bad mood, dogs hate the stuff and people can't drive in it. So I get to the appointment and the gate has been shorted due to the rain--I can't get in. I am then forced to park across the street and walk a country friggin mile, IN THE RAIN, to Walk It Out. Ok, no biggie, it's part of the job. Thank goodness this was one of my regulars and I've got an awesome rapport with the little fella. With that being said, I take him outside and he goes #1 & 2 in record time. I'm not kidding, as soon as I opened the door to take him out, he looks at me like, "do we really have to do this today", hauls butt outside, bing bang boom and we're back inside in under 90 seconds flat. I play with him for a little while then I'm off. While it's still raining, I hightail it back out of the neighborhood, across the street and into my car to get along to my next appointment. I check my VM (that's voicemail for any of your readers over, um, 30) and to my chagrin, my next appointment has cancelled. Bad for business (well, not that bad b/c I still charged them), but it's raining, ergo, good for me. As I'm driving down the street I notice that traffic has slowed in the oncoming direction. Naturally, my first thought is because of the weather, but then I notice....

    Jeopardy_TV_<span class= I'll wait while you formulate your guesses...

    Regardless of what you answered, you're all winners! I have experienced all of these over the past 6 weeks while driving around ATL, but, today's winner is answer C. There was a dog running in the rain right down Peachtree Hills. What a dilemma I was faced with. Being that I'm a dog walker, I have to help this poor dog. But, being that I HATE THE RAIN, I would like to pretend I never saw it and just move along with my day. You know, kinda like when you see a parent just beating the tar out of their child...or not. Anyways, I pull over, grab my leash out of the car and start running down the street. At this point, I'm already soaked and I don't know what I'm going to if/when I catch this dog but I don't really care. Sooooooo, I finally catch this this critter and, let me tell you, fastest dog alive. Sweet, I've caught the dog and the rain is starting to let up a bit but I have no idea what to do now. First thought is take this bad boy to the nearest shelter. Second thought is to walk it back towards the direction from which it was running. Third thought is, "what if its running back to where it was originally coming from?" Obviously I was crucially conflicted and needed to make a decision when, out of no where, comes this lady wearing a poncho and carrying a leash. Turns out this lady isn't the owner of the dog but she's the...wait for it...you can probably already guess...dog walker. Ok, I can see a dog walker mistakenly losing a cat, but a dog? C'mon man!

    I'm not going to list her name, the dog's name or what operation she's running because it was her first week and my heart goes out to her. I just gave her the dog, quick chat about the goings of dog walking, exchanged cards and I was on my way.

    That's all I've got for this week, kids. If you have any comment or suggestions or YOU NEED ME TO WALK YO DAWG, leave it right down there in the box. Until next time...

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Sophmore Slump or Comeback of the Year???

    How goes it blog-inoles?

    Week 3, Day 3 of official Walk(ing) It Out and I am tired. Last week was chock full of exciting walks and stories but this week has been full of paper work and bad weather. Instead of making up some interesting to stories to stretch out the ol' word count, I'm going 180 with this blog post. I've mentioned before that I'm considering getting a puppy. If this happens, it'll be between Nov 16 and Dec 25. With that being said, I'm not sure what kind of dog or what the sex will be. I submit to Y'ALL my top 5 names for my possible new puppy

    1. Milkshake
    2. Contessa
    3. Reece
    4. Milano
    5. ????

    1. Duhon
    2. Wojo
    3. Sour Patch
    4. Sundown
    5. ????

    Purrty please leave a comment and vote for a name or throw me a suggestion. Take care of yourselves, and one another.

    Walk It...Out

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Oh the life and times of your favorite dog walker

    What's up blog-nation?

    Well kiddies, its Week 2, Day 3 official Walk(ing) It Out and I've already got some funny stories for you. As mentioned in last week's blog, Walk It Out is the substitute teacher for Pets and the Sit-y until next week because JFowler is helping her sister with her new born in San Diego. Well, I had a consultation with one of her clients last week and it was interesting, to say the least...

    I arrived at the door to meet the client (we'll call her Lizzy-poo) and her two dogs, Georgia and Dublin. Georgia is an 8-month old coon hound and Dublin is a 1-year old Aussie/lab mix. Georgia and I hit it off with no problems at all. Dublin, on the other hand, was not a Walk It Out fan AT ALL. Dublin literally barked at me for 15 minutes non-stop. I got down on my knees and attempted to give her treats an let her sniff my hand. Slowly but surely this started to work and she stopped with the barking and got down with the hand sniffing/licking. Both I and Lizzy-poo were very relieved and started going over the particulars with both dogs. As I stood up to write some notes, BAM, Dublin right back with the barking. FML. So there we are with the awkward, "I don't know if I trust you with my dogs" and "Oh boy I don't know if this is a good fit for Walk It Out." Anyways, we agreed to give it a go this Tuesday. Well, Tuesday came, I come walking up the stairs, the dogs are barking, the crowd is going wild AND...false start; there's no key under the mat. Hmm, ok, strange. I shoot Lizzy-poo at text and let her know I can't find the key. She gets back to me and says she forgot to leave it and she would have to come home soon to let the pups out. I had to leave for another consultation so, I dunno, fait?

    ANOTHER funny tale from this week, Walk It Out almost lost a cat? Yes, this almost really happened. I was visiting these two dogs, Arthur and Bella, on Monday morning and while walking Bella, I noticed that a cat was peeking out from the garage door. My first thought was, "how did that cat even get in the garage?" and my second thought was, "let's not lose a cat while walking a dog" so I shoo-ed the little kitty back into the garage and shut the garage door. Crisis averted--so I thought. As we were in the back yard looking for a good home for #2, I noticed the cat under the porch. What the deuce, little kitty, what the deuce? It's already 9am and on a somewhat chilly autumn morning and now I've gotta deal with this cat/ninja while trying to get this dog to do his duty. Ok, so this is where a little "boo-boo" was made. Bella finished up and I run her back inside really quickly and come back out to get this little ghostwriter-like kitten when, surprise surprise, kitten is nowhere to be found. Typical. So I think maybe the cat is some kind of cyborg cat that has indoor and outdoor abilities and I start checking around the house. Obviously, this kitten is not in the house so back outside I go. I start walking around the house. Let me repeat, I walked around the perimeter of the house calling "here kitty, kitty, kitty" while bent over at the hip. Next door, there was a nice man (let's call him Bruce) who was doing some contracted pest control work. After my 4th trip around the perimeter of the house, he finally asks me, "what's your dilemma buddy?" So picture this: dog walker Alvin and pest control Bruce creeping around this house looking for a ninja-kitty. Finally, Bruce has to get to another appointment so he gets in his truck and rolls out, while I go inside and come up with my next scheme. I get a call from a friend (lets call him KShip21) about an emergency walk that he needs because his dog has lost his mind in his condo and his neighbors are complaining.

    Anyways, while I'm on the phone I start wondering outside trying to figure out #1 how am I going to explain that I lost a cat and #2 how am I going to work this next "walk" into my schedule for the day. Low and behold, BAM ninja-kitty shows itself! I swoop down the stairs, grab the cat with my free hand and subsequently save the day. Boom Boom Pow, I win!

    That's all I've got today, kiddies, but until next time...Walk It Out!

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Read, Set, Go!!!

    And good morning to you too bloggies...

    Walk It Out is officially off and, well, walking! We had a great kickoff weekend at a couple of events around the city. As mentioned in previous blogs, we had a booth set up at the Ahimsa House Walk N' Wag this past Saturday and it was a blast. There were a lot of really interesting companies there and slew of nice people who were eager to welcome Walk It Out to the pet services industry. If you get a chance, check out MHowell and his crew at Two Dads Pets and The Pet Garage. Both have a companies have a very strong presence in the metro Atlanta area and MHowell was super gracious in inviting Walk It Out to the monthly meeting for the Georgia Network of Professional Pet Sitters (GNPP) this week. Thanks MHowell!

    After the Walk N' Wag we headed over to Mason Mill Park for a bark-day party. This was the first time I had ever heard of a bark-day party, let alone attended one, but it was a blast! Basically, it was a group of friends and their dogs who got together to celebrate the birthday of one of the dogs. There were drinks, snacks, dogs and fun; a birthday party for dogs. Thanks to KHobbs for inviting us out!

    Ok, update time. This week has been busy busy busy. A lot of paperwork and marketing, as expected, but also a few consultations. Consultations = NEW CLIENTS! WHOOP WHOOP! I got a message via Facebook from a couple that would like to hire Walk It Out this weekend so that is fun news. Also, my friend JFowler from Pets and the Sit-y is allowing Walk It Out to tend to her clients while she is away for the next few weeks. One thing I've learned about the pet services industry in ATL is that everyone is willing to help out. Coming from a corporate environment, it's a breath of fresh air to be involved with people who don't put the oh mighty dollar over everything else.

    There are a few events coming up that Walk It Out is planning on attending. Next Saturday, October 24th is the 23rd Annual Atlanta Dog Jog down at Piedmont Park. Dogs and their owners will participate in 1 or 2 mile jogs to help raise money for Canine Assistants. They train and provide dog service for children and adults with physical disabilities. A great cause so come on out and jog for the cause. Another event cool event at the end of the month is Mutts and Margaritas at Agave on Thursday, October 29th. A $10 donation is required and it goes to the Lifeline Animal Project.

    Oh, and before I forget, a HUGE thank you for KMiles, KShiplett and JWindett for their help at the Walk N' Wag this weekend. Also, thank you to MCarlin for her "administration" help.

    And with that, I bid you all farewell. Let's get out and love each other this week!

    "you know what I'm talking about, take two of these and Walk It Out"

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    T-minus 4 days

    What's up my blogg-a-wockeez???

    We are officially 4 DAYS away from, essentially, the grand-opening of Walk It Out! Can you feel the excitement in the air? It's a rich, thick aroma that's an infusion of french-vanilla coffee bean and aged mahogany with a pinch of cinnamon...delicious.

    To kickoff the grand opening, Walk It Out will be at 2, count 'em, 2 events on Saturday, October 10th. First off is the Ahimsa House Walk n' Wag at Lenox Park in Buckhead. We will be set up in the vendor section and talking to anyone and everyone about Walk It Out! Should be a good time to be had by all so round up your 4-legged friends and bring 'em out for the festivities. We have agreed to donate some free walk for the auction as well--maybe you could be a winner. Also, there will be a special guest in the Walk It Out booth...

    After the Walk n' Wag, we will be taking our circus act over to Mason Mill Dog Park in Decatur for a doggy birthday party. This will be the first doggy bday party I've ever heard of or attended but I'm very excited to be a part of it. Hopefully we'll get a chance to meet some cool people, even cooler dogs and maybe even drum up some business. Many thanks to KMiles and KHobbs for getting Walk It Out involved in both the Walk n' Wag and the "bark-day" party.

    As some of you may or may not know, Walk It Out is on Facebook! In just under a month, we have hit the 100 fans mark and that is very exciting news. Again, thank you to all of you who follow the blog, the fan page, Twitter and for your overall support in getting Walk It Out off of the ground. We're running a little marketing campaign/contest as well. The official Walk It Out shirts are on sale for $10 but if you sign up as a new client OR refer someone who does, you will receive one for FREE! Isn't that exciting news? Yeah, I thought so too. Leave a comment if you need any details. Until next time kiddies...

    Vinings Walk It Out, Buckhead Walk It Out, Mid-town Walk It Out, now Highlands Walk It Out!