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How to Stop Your Dog From Pulling

Tools to Help with Leash Training

Spring is in the air, and more people are hitting the pavement with their dogs to enjoy it. But nothing derails an afternoon walk like a dog dragging you down the street and refusing to listen. When it comes to leash training, it’s important to remember that it takes patience, time, and consistency to teach your dog new things.

Dog in orange harnessTo start off on the right paw, begin working with your dog indoors in a quiet environment with few distractions. As they grow comfortable with the idea of walking beside you on a leash, gradually increase their distractions by taking them into your back or front yard, and then eventually into the neighborhood. It’s easier to build good leash manners one step at a time than plunging into the deep end and wondering why your dog isn’t responding in a noisy or distracting environment.

And, remember, before you’re ready to get to work, make sure your dog has burned any excess energy by having a good romp or game of fetch. The more pent up energy your dog has, the more likely they’ll be ready to take off running as soon as your walk begins!

Harnesses and Halters

To set the stage for a good walk, make sure you have the right gear. Popular options for comfortable walking include body harnesses where your leash attaches to your dog’s chest, back, or both, and halter varieties that go over their head, like the Gentle Leader. Both harnesses and halters use different approaches that control your dog’s body to help guide their walking. If you have a harness that attaches to their chest, for example, it draws your dog to one side when they start to pull. When you use a halter, you have control of their head. There are several advantages and drawbacks to each kind of harness and halter, so we recommend talking with your vet or dog trainer to get additional guidance on the best option for your dog.

The “Stop and Hold” Technique

A popular strategy for correcting pulling is the “Stop and Hold” technique. Basically, the minute your dog starts to pull, stop walking and refuse to move until they come back to you or let up the tension on the leash. An important aspect of this approach is not pulling or yanking on your dog to get them to stop pulling because that can encourage them to pull even harder. Instead, the minute they pull, stop and wait patiently in place until you see the behavior you’re looking for. Many dogs respond quickly to the stop and hold technique because they realize that the fun stops as soon as they pull on the leash! Don’t forget to reward them enthusiastically during this exercise with praise, a favorite toy, or some healthy treats to help keep them engaged and having fun.

Professional Training

If you’re a new dog parent or looking for additional support, nothing beats working with a professional dog trainer. These experts have extensive experience training a wide range of dogs and dealing with challenging behaviors. This enables them to provide personalized tips and proven methods based on you and your dog to help you achieve success. You can also sign up for different types of training approaches, including one-on-one sessions, group classes, and in-home assessments. You can even opt for training sessions where your trainer works directly with your dog and then teaches you how to maintain their new behaviors. We offer a wide range of dog training classes at Wagging Tails, so contact us to see which one is best for you and your dog.

While there are several different approaches to working on loose leash walking, each type of dog can offer its own unique challenges. A herder could compulsively nip at your heels to keep you moving while a terrier could end up overstimulated by their surroundings. Patience and consistency are always key, but, if you are continuing to struggle with loose leash walking, be sure to discuss your concerns with your vet or our on-site dog training expert.

Happy walking!

By |March 25th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Kai and Albus!

Bloomington Tail Wagger

KaiKai is a border collie and Great Pyrenees mix who’s been coming to our Bloomington location since she was adopted in 2015. This sweet girl loves playing and wrestling, but her owner Tony also told us he’s never seen her make it through an entire day without a good, solid nap.

Tony thinks Kai is about six years old. When they first went to meet her, she was on a foster farm in Faribault with seven other dogs. While the other dogs rushed to the car to greet them, Kai stayed back and waited for them to come to her. Tony says that Kai knew from that very first day that she was going to make them work to earn her love.

This sweet girl loves a good cuddle, and she’s very particular about it. Kai will snuggle with just about anyone, but absolutely no movement can occur when a good cuddle is underway. Tony says that even if you move a toe while she’s sleeping, Kai will jump up immediately and walk away because of being disturbed.

Kai shares her home with two newts, but Tony doesn’t think she realizes they’re there. She does, however, love spending time with her cousin Charlie, an English bulldog, and has numerous friends in their apartment building. When Kai comes to Wagging Tails, she enjoys being doted on and wants constant reassurance about how much we love her. And we do!

Eagan Tail Wagger

AlbusAlbus, the border terrier, has been a magical presence in Eagan for the past year and a half. When he isn’t busy running around in the play areas, six-and-a-half-year-old Albus loves coming up front to beg for treats.

This frisky pup, Albus takes his responsibilities as Dumbledore’s namesake very seriously. In the right moments, he even responds to the command “Stupefy!” and falls to the ground stunned – especially if the command involves a chopstick; oops, we meant a magic wand.

Albus is an only child who loves attention but isn’t a huge snuggler. Still, it’s hard for him to resist climbing under the covers for a cuddle on a cold night. His owners Lauren and Kevin tell us Albus loves playing in front of the fireplace during the winter, but sometimes gets startled when he sees another dog’s reflection staring at him in the glass doors!

Lauren and Kevin love Albus’s quirky characteristics and his independent, stubborn, and energetic terrier nature. They affectionately call him their little weirdo and say it makes him a perfect fit for their family. His unique temperament keeps him happy and content just about anywhere he goes, and they can’t imagine life without him because he brightens each and every day.

But what’s the best part of having Albus in their lives? “Coming home from work each day to a happy boy (or coming to Wagging Tails to pick up a happy boy)!” Lauren and Kevin told us.

Congratulations Kai and Albus!

By |March 18th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Dog DNA Testing

Does Knowing Your Dog’s Breed Matter?

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. There are purebreds, designer breeds, mix breeds, and those that are hairy and hypoallergenic. All of this variety makes it easy to find the perfect companion for each and every household. In recent years, there’s been increased demand for doggy DNA testing promising to unveil the hidden secrets of your dog’s genetic makeup. This is an especially fun prospect for people who adopt mixed breed dogs and eagerly try to guess their makeup.

It’s Not About Looks

Spaniel laying on the floorYou may think you’re an expert at identifying a dog’s breeds by looks alone, but supposedly only 2% of your dog’s genes control their physical appearance. It also turns out that common dominant traits your dog can inherit — like a block-shaped head, dropped ears, or a short black coat — can be attributed to hundreds of breeds beyond the one you’re thinking of.

When it comes to DNA testing kits, some claim to look at as many as 1,800 genetic markers before matching them against databases with more than 250 dogs. This approach offers higher rates of success when identifying prominent breeds in your dog compared to self-identified experts, like vets, shelter staff, and trainers, who are only successful about 27% of the time.

What’s in a breed?

But, as much fun as it is to know your dog’s breed, does it really matter?

Understanding what your dog DNA make-up is can offer insight into health issues they may be prone to or what some of their drives may be. They can also provide clues that can help you keep your dog happy and engaged, like offering a beagle the chance to use their nose.

As humans, we naturally gravitate to assigning dogs to breeds to create order. It helps guide our assumptions that certain types of dogs aren’t as smart as others, some are predisposed to barking, and others can even be dangerous. Studies have also shown that when people see photos of two similar looking dogs, they make judgments on the animals based on their breed labels. While certain breeds may have specific behaviors associated with them, a lot more than genetics comes into play in these things. And that’s because we play an important role in helping to shape the animals our dogs become.

So, at the end of it all, when you have a dog that you love, do they mean more to you when you know their breed? For most dog owners, their unconditional love, affection, and companionship is more important than a breed name or the collection of traits we may associate with them. It’s the warmth that comes from their warm bodies when we snuggle up on the couch. It’s the smile they put on our faces after a long day at work. It’s the wag of their tails when to show us they’re happy. In our minds, all of the things that make them special put them in a category all of their own: Dog.

Have you had your dog DNA tested? Were you surprised by the results, or did you learn anything? Tell us in the comments below!

By |March 11th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

It’s Your Party!

February Birthday Roundup

Louie

Louie

We did more than write love letters to your dogs this past February; we also threw more than 30 birthday parties!

When you’re a member of our FREE Birthday Club, your dog gets a complimentary Playday, bandana, and a birthday party!

Visit our Photo Gallery to see all of the dogs in our Birthday Club.

By |March 4th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Caring for Your Best Friend

How to Keep Your Dog Healthy

It’s hard to know when your dog is feeling their best, but there are easy ways to keep them happy and healthy. This checklist will help you take the right steps to keep your best friend in top form.

Watch what they eat

With so many foods available for dogs these days, the choices can be overwhelming! But feeding your dog a high-quality food can protect their overall health and wellness. For the best results, talk with your vet so they can make recommendations based on your dog’s individual needs. Factors that contribute to your dog’s diet include their weight, energy levels, gastrointestinal tolerance, as well as their skin and coat condition.

girl with dogHealthy weight management

People aren’t the only ones who have a weight problem in the United States; their dogs do too. And extra pounds can lead to health problems in them as well, including Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, urinary tract problems, and skin issues. Work with your vet to learn how to manage your dog’s weight and incorporate weight-loss strategies if needed.

Plenty of exercise and enrichment

Exercise and enrichment really do a body – and brain! – good. If you’re starting to introduce your dog to exercise, begin slowly to help them build up their strength and stamina. It’s also important to remember that dogs of different ages require different amounts and types of physical activity. To keep your dog mentally stimulated, give them enrichment activities that offer fun challenges while also keeping them active.

Love and attention

Dogs are pack animals and love being with their people. Think about what your dog’s favorite activities are and make sure to do those things with them each day. This might mean going on a walk, playing fetch, learning tricks, or snuggling on the couch. Whatever it is, try to include as much of it in your daily regimen as possible; it’s good for both of you.

Dental care

Just like humans, good dental health is essential for your dog’s wellness. But, up to 85% of dogs have gum disease, a potentially painful condition that introduces bacteria into their bloodstream, causing kidney, liver, and heart disease. New to brushing your dog’s teeth? We have tips to help get you started at any age. And, if you’ve thrown in the toothbrush, we have more tips to help you protect their oral health without brushing alone.

Remember, one of the most important things you can do is take your dog in for regular veterinary visits with a vet you trust. Not only do these appointments ensure your dog stays up-to-date on important vaccinations, but they also help your vet create a baseline of their overall health. Plus, the better your vet knows your dog, the easier it can be for them to detect illness and disease at an early stage.

By |February 25th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Addie and Lola!

Bloomington Tail Waggers

Addie

Our Bloomington Tail Wagger is an Australian Shepherd and poodle mix named Addie who’s been coming to Wagging Tails for the past two years. During her visits, Addie loves getting attention from the Play Coaches and exploring behind the front desk.

Addie is an affectionate and playful girl who loves wrestling with her 16-year-old orange tabby cat sibling and young, playful male dogs. Her owner Elisabeth tells us that Addie thinks the crazier the playmate, the better!

This friendly girl is very protective of her house and sounds the alarm whenever anyone or anything walks by. But, when Addie encounters the same interlopers while out on a walk, she’s thrilled to meet them. Addie also makes her family laugh every day. They say she’s especially funny when they’re at the cabin over the summer. She loves it when they beach their boat on an island so she can jump out and zoom around at full speed until she’s completely exhausted.

We asked Elisabeth if Addie had any habits that added to her charm. She said, “She likes to jump on a freshly made bed and pull all the blankets and sheets into a pile and make a little nest for herself. Cute, but a little naughty!”

Eagan Tail Waggers

LolaPint-sized Lola is a two-year-old Shi Tzu who has been coming to our Eagan location since she was five months old. When Lola comes to play, she enjoys spending time with her best friends Luna, Rosie, and Libby. Her owner Anne tells us that Lola also loves spending time with her cousins, Coco and Lottie. They’re both Shi Tzus, and Lottie is a part of our Bloomington Wagging Tails pack!

As much as Lola likes spending time with her friends, however, she prefers playing with her toys by herself. Anne says that if you try to join in the fun, she stops playing!

Lola has the sweetest personality. When she greets people, she loves to charm them by standing on her back legs and waving her front paws at them. Lola’s also a very good listener who looks you straight in the eye and tilts her head, pays careful attention to every word you say. Another quirky habit that Lola has is being afraid of suitcases!

What’s the best part of having Lola and her life? “Lola loves me to death and follows me everywhere!!!” Anne told us.

Congratulations Addie and Lola!

By |February 18th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love Letters for Our Dogs

Dear Wagging Tails Dogs,

Valentine’s Day is this Thursday and, while we love candy and flowers, nothing compares with the unconditional love you bring our lives on a daily basis.

We know that we can learn a lot from you, but sometimes we get swept away with being human and forget to find time to play, celebrate, and live in the moment. So, in honor Valentine’s Day, we decided to write you a very special letter to show how much we love you. But can one message really capture all of the things we love about each and every one of you? No way! That’s why we decided that, instead of a single message, our whole team would spend the entire week writing you love letters!

Each day this week on Facebook, we’ll be posting photos and love letters to as many of you, our Wagging Tails dogs, as possible. To help us celebrate, we’ll be asking your humans to share their own love letters to you as well. These messages can be long, short, funny, or bittersweet – whatever it takes to give us a glimpse of how they feel about having you in their life. Because really, everything in life is better when it comes covered in dog hair.

Love,

The Wagging Tails Pet Resort Team

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love unconditionally as a dog.”
– M.K. Clinton

By |February 11th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

It’s Your Party!

January Birthday Roundup

Addie

Addie

We kicked off the new year by celebrating over 50 birthday parties! Was your dog’s one of them?

Our Birthday Club is free and comes with a Playday, bandana, and a birthday party! Visit our Photo Gallery to see all of the dogs in our Birthday Club.

Don’t leave your dog out in the cold, sign up today!

By |February 4th, 2019|blog|0 Comments|

Providing Enrichment for Dogs in Winter

Fun Ways to Play Indoors

dog looking at camera

It can be hard to entertain your dog when the winter winds blow and it’s too cold to be outside. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need exercise or enrichment. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to exercise your dog indoors to keep you both happy and content.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to amuse our dogs when the weather gets frightful.

Hide-and-Seek

You don’t need anything fancy to enjoy a fun game of hide-and-seek with your dog! This game hasn’t changed since you were a kid; the main goal is having your dog wait while you go and hide. Once you find the perfect spot, call your dog or have a partner tell them to go find you. If your dog is a master at this game, take it to the next level with some Nose Work!

Nose Work

This fun and engaging game gets your dog’s nose working to sniff out treats hidden in boxes. We love this game so much, we’ve written about it before. Got a bunch of empty Amazon boxes laying around? Click here to learn more about nose work and put them to use today!

Kongs

There couldn’t be an easier way to entertain your dog than giving them a Kong. These versatile toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can withstand even the most vigorous chewers. To extend your dog’s entertainment, don’t just stuff your Kong with treats and give it to them; freeze it first to make it last even longer! Our dogs love it when we stuff their Kongs with mashed bananas or sweet potatoes, peanut butter, or yogurt. Mix in some of their kibble before freezing to make it even more nutritious!

Snuffle Mats

If you haven’t heard about snuffle mats yet, this entertaining toy is made specifically for hiding treats and kibble. They resemble a dense rug made of strips of cloth or felt and encourage your dog to “snuffle around” looking for tasty bits of food to eat. Snuffle mats are available for purchase, but if you’re feeling crafty you can make your own!

Treat or Dog Food Toys

You don’t have to feed your dog from a bowl. Finding fun ways to add interest to their mealtimes can double up as an enrichment activity! Some companies, like Kong, offer food dispensing toys or puzzles that your dog can interact with release food. This not only gives them something to do, but it can slow down overly fast and enthusiastic eaters. Other fun interactive toys, like the Orbee-Tuff Snoop by Planet Dog, conceal treats in ways that encourage your dog to figure out how to release their favorite food reward.

Doggy Daycare

For sociable dogs who love to play with other dogs, doggy daycare can be just the ticket to help break up the monotony of a cold, winter day. Our supervised playgroups not only allow dogs of all temperaments and sizes to have a chance to run and play, but it also provides them with an opportunity to exercise while getting mental stimulation and socialization at the same time.

How do you entertain your dog when you can’t be outside? Tell us in the comments below!

By |January 28th, 2019|blog|1 Comment|

Tail Waggers of the Month

Meet Georgie, Billie, and Boomer!

Bloomington Tail Waggers

Three-year-old Georgie and her nearly 5-year-old sister Billie are the of best friends. This dynamic duo has been part of our Bloomington pack for nine months.

Georgie is a mixed breed rescue that might contain rat terrier and corgi or Jack Russell and dachshund. No matter what breeds make up this charming little girl, Georgie makes her owner Wendy laugh every day. Georgie was found wandering around in a parking lot in North Minneapolis over a year ago and used to spend all of her time hiding. But her step-sister Billie helped bring her out of her shell, and Georgie’s blossomed into the loving and sweet dog she is today.

Big sister Billie is a very loyal rat terrier who likes to play, burrow, bark, and snuggle. You also have to keep on eye on your money when she’s around because her love of shredding paper has led her to destroy $20 bills in the past! Billie’s quirky habits and persistent, stubborn nature have helped her earn the nickname “Billie Goat” in her house.

What’s the best part of having Georgie and Billie in her life? Wendy told us she’d had another rat terrier who died two months before she got Billie; and Billie was born on the same day her beloved Scout died.

“I never thought I could love a dog as much as my first, but Billie showed me that the heart can expand and grow when you least expect it,” Wendy said. And when she brought Georgie home, she immediately bonded with Billie as though they were soulmates separated at birth. “Georgie is so happy,” Wendy said. “She’s come out of her shell and is a loving, sweet dog. I feel grateful to have her in my family.”

Eagan Tail Waggers

Boomer is a Labrador just shy of ten years old and has been coming to our Eagan location for six years now. An enthusiastic and playful pup, Boomer has had many packs over the years, from Labradors to terriers and toy poodles. While Boomer doesn’t have any siblings at home, she has a lot of human and canine cousins, and many call her “Cousin Boomer.”

This beautiful girl is a water dog to the core and didn’t realize until she was three or four that her owner Benjamin’s shower time wasn’t meant for her too! Boomer loves water so much that she used to be a competitive dock diver. When she hits the water these days, Boomer needs a British lead leash to help her exit the pool or lake. This is because she loves the cheering spectators so much, she’d rather run back and forth in front of them instead of going back to her handler!

What’s the best part of having Boomer in his life? “The constant reminder that life really is exciting,” Benjamin said.

Congratulations Georgie, Billie, and Boomer!

By |January 21st, 2019|blog|0 Comments|