We’re on a mission from Dog

Republic Fetchfind beagle no shadow

We’re on Day 10 of our equity crowdfunding campaign raising $750K in capital. 

We are building FetchFind for pets and the people who love and care for them, so we want to open up the investment opportunity to more than just traditional, accredited investors. We want to grow our company with AND alongside the people who wholly understand the emotional connection between some 80 million US households and their collective 200 million pets. 

Equity crowdfunding has been made possible only recently under new laws, and it’s exciting to be part of this leap forward in democratizing the startup investment market. Republic, a spinoff out of AngelList, is hosting our campaign where anyone can invest as little as $50 in exchange for a part of our company.

I’m thrilled to say our funding is going strong, and picking up even more steam as our investors tell their friends and colleagues, who then tell THEIR friends and colleagues, and so on. The power of a crowd is truly amazing.

The power of one can be just as amazing. A recent investor, Jason Feldman of Chicago Pet-Friendly Real Estate, asked that the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription he received as a perk be donated to a new business or animal rescue organization. (Because that’s how Jason rolls; if you don’t know him, you should. He’s a real mensch.)

For investors who are already in the pet space, this is pretty valuable perk (and a great way to onboard and educate your employees.) But if you or your friends/colleagues aren’t in the pet industry or super-interested in the online education, the FetchFind Monthly Pro subscription is a transferrable asset, and a wonderful way to give back to local businesses and the animal rescue community.

If you’d like to become part of the future of quality pet care, join us as an investor.  We’d love to welcome you to the FetchFind family.

If you can’t invest right now, please consider helping us to spread the word by sharing the link: https://republic.co/fetchfind.

With great appreciation and love,

JM Sig copy

Jamie Migdal
CEO, FetchFind

It’s okay – he’s friendly!

dog off leash

By Nicole Stewart, CPDT-KA

As I was walking down the street the other day, I heard this:

“No! Stop your dog! Get your dog! Nooo!”

and then, “I’m sorry! Ralph! Ralph! Come! Ralph! RALPH!”

As I looked up, I saw a pretty friendly-looking Lab running off-leash towards a woman and her on-leash dog. The woman was obviously frightened about this strange dog heading for her dog. The owner of the Lab collected him in time, and the crisis was averted.

  • Was she worried because her dog is not friendly?
  • Was she scared because she didn’t know if the other dog was friendly?
  • Was she simply vigilant because all dogs are required to be on leash?
  • Was her dog hurt? Did she know the other dog? Did she know the other owner?

Does any of that matter?

Yes, of course it does, but the important part is to know how to manage this situation as it occurs. It’s never ideal because the off-leash dog is a wild card, but here are some ideas to keep in your dog walking toolbox:

  • Have good treats with you on the walk and, if needed, throw them at the oncoming dog. There is a good chance that the dog will take interest in the treats and give you a chance to get further away. Distance may decrease the dog’s interest in you, or give the other owner time to get to their dog.
  • Carry a stick or umbrella with you, especially if this happens regularly. Waving the stick or opening the umbrella may stop the dog in their tracks or get them to retreat.
  •  Don’t forget that a dog may be trained to Sit, Down or Stay, and though you never know what they know in this very heightened context, it’s worth a try to stick out your hand, call out “Sit” or “Stay”. They may stop.
  • Don’t run. This may only cause the other dog’s prey drive to kick in.
  •  Try to stay calm. Your dog is only going to feed off your anxiety and that leash not only connects you physically, but emotionally as well.
  • As a last resort – and it’s not ideal – if the strange dog gets to your dog and your dog is of comparable size, you need to drop the leash and let them defend themselves until you can get help. When one dog is on-leash and the other off, the one who is on-leash is severely handicapped at this point. You need to let them use their whole body to communicate and deal with the other dog.

Do you have any other tips or things that you’ve tried when approached by an off-leash dog?

********

Nicole-Stewart-and-Finlay-220x300Nicole Stewart, CPDT-KA, is the Director of Training at AnimalSense / Paradise4Paws.  She strongly believes that dog training is as much about the people as it is about the dogs. Her favorite place to be is at home with her human family and her steady Clumber Spaniel, Finlay.

This post was previously published on the AnimalSense blog. 

The most important command you can teach your dog

Josh Feeney photography

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

Every day I see a handful of lost dog posts pop up on my various newsfeeds, and one of the things I’ve noticed is how many of those notices will say something like “don’t approach or try to call, he will run away”. Most dogs are going to be skittish and fearful in situations like this, but the lack of a recall command will make getting the dog out of a dangerous situation and back to his home even more difficult than it already is.  

So with that in mind, I’m going to give you the basics of teaching your dog a good solid recall. The premise for a recall is for your dog to choose to come to you over all the seemingly better available options: trash on the ground, kids playing with balls, or a dog across a busy street. Once your dog is able to respond reliably to you, you can reduce the likelihood that he will run off in the first place, and it will make it easier for others to approach and leash your dog if he does escape the yard when you aren’t looking.

The components of recall
  • Your dog becomes cognitively aware of your call.
  • His head turns towards you.
  • He makes eye contact.
  • He takes one step toward you (and another, and another).
  • He gets halfway to you.
  • He is almost there!
  • Your dog arrives and stays with you! Yay!
How to teach the recall
  • Have your dog on long leash.
  • Call your dog (“Fido, come!”).
  • Reward after each component of the recall.  Use praise for components like eye contact.

Each time you call your dog, you will reward him. Remember, you want your dog to choose to come to you. This will set your dog up for success by making running away seem like a much less attractive option, and it will also prevent you from having to use force to make your dog come to you.

If your dog still won’t come to you, try the following ideas. Remember that not every tactic will work for every dog, so you may have to try a few different techniques before you find one that works.

  • Run backwards.
  • Make interesting noises like whistles, handclaps, and high-pitched gibberish.
  • Turn around and walk away.
  • Gently reel them in with your leash.
  • Be more interesting and more fun than the environment. If the distraction level goes up, your effort and treat quality must also go up.
  • Use body language like crouching down, turning sideways, and averting your eyes.
  • Practice “watch me.” “Watch me” commands are like mini-recalls, and will keep your dog from getting distracted by interesting things across the street like squirrels, birds, and other dogs.

For example: Your dog is barking and digging outside. You call your dog to come inside the house, and he does! As hard as it may be to offer a reward for digging or barking, in the current moment, when your dog comes, you must reward for the recall. When your dog crosses the threshold of the door, all is forgiven and treats appear. (Make a mental note to train “quiet” on a future date.) Very important: always keep treats near the door.

Remember the basics
  • Reward: The reward must be extra special for recall.
  • Encourage: Verbally reward your dog many times during each component of the recall.
  • Communication: Give lots of feedback and use your knowledge of canine body language.
  • Always good: Recall should ALWAYS end as something good.
  • Lots of praise: It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it!
  • Leash: Use your leash as training wheels to ensure success and rewards.

Keep the sessions short at first, to avoid frustration on both sides. Keep the initial training components to 5 or 10 minutes at a time, and make sure those rewards are high value and utterly compelling.

********

Photo courtesy of Josh Feeney (www.joshfeeneyphotography.com).

Want to learn more about teaching your dog basic behaviors? Subscribe to FetchFind Monthly Pro – only $59/month!

Pet sitter stories: that night I slept on the bathroom floor with an Angel guarding the door

chow

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

The year was 1996. I owned a pet sitting and dog walking company and loved doing visits. Even though I had several dozen dog walkers and pet sitters on my staff, there were a few pets for whom only I was able to provide care.

Enter Angel, the 6 year old chow chow. She wasn’t a dog who took to strangers readily, but over the years I took care of her, she became, well, okay with me. Never thrilled., but always willing to allow me to do things like let her in the yard and give her food.

I mostly took care of her on occasions where her owners went out of town, with an overnight here and there. I never loved the assignment but it was my duty and no chow was gonna keep a good petsitter down.

Although, I did learn that a chow could keep a good petsitter in the bathroom all night.

Yes, you read that right. I locked myself in the bathroom all night as a means of protecting myself.

So let’s get the conditions straight. The family just had a baby, and to make things really juicy…they had just moved into a new home.

Let’s remember that this is before I became a dog trainer and I was still a wide-eyed and super-optimistic dog lover. That’s not to say that I wasn’t realistic; I always took precautions, but I certainly never thought I’d find myself in position in which I truly feared for my safety. Had I known then what I so clearly know now, I can’t imagine I would’ve taken on that job with such gusto.

Angel let me in the house with no problem and I went about my business. I let her in the backyard, I refreshed her water, and I gave her food. It was as I made my move to leave the house that she became ferocious – barking, growling, and lunging. It was as though she was a possessed chow. And if you know anything about chows, well…I’ll leave it at that.

I made a move for the bathroom and shut the door as quickly as possible. Unfortunately this was pre-cell phones and pre-dog training career, so I had no handy-dandy treats in my pocket and no way to call for help. Basically, I was screwed.

I slept on the bathroom floor that night, and all the while Angel prowled outside, growling and scratching at the door. I would characterize it as a slightly unpleasant experience.

Her owners came home midmorning to find my Jeep in the driveway and their petsitter hiding in the bathroom. I wouldn’t say they were upset so much as confused. I, however, was not confused at all. Angel wanted to eat me.

What is the moral of the story, you ask? There really isn’t one, unless you take this as a cautionary tale that working with animals requires more than love, it requires education and quick thinking (and, sometimes, a willingness to sleep on a bathroom floor).

********

Learn how to speak dog with Behavior Fundamentals Online! It might just keep YOU from spending the night on the bathroom floor. 🙂

Give your rescue dog a sound beginning

old yellow lab

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

A lot of people wait until summer officially kicks off to bring home a new dog, because the kids are out of school, vacation time is coming, and it’s so much nicer to potty train a new pup when the weather is warm. 

Taking some time off to help get your dog acclimated is a great idea, but many newly adopted dogs need more, and that’s where A Sound Beginning comes in. The goal of this truly excellent program is to reduce the stress that is normally part of the transition period from shelter/rescue to living in a home. It not only helps dogs to become adoptable, but also helps to keep them from being returned.   

This isn’t basic obedience training, but rather a comprehensive program that focuses on creating a trusting relationship between a dog and his new human(s). The classes teach essential life skills to both ends of the leash – the humans learn how to prevent, manage, and train, and the dogs learn good behavior, polite manners, and how to cope with unfamiliar situations.

A side note to anyone who plans on bringing home a rescue pet this weekend – have your summer barbecues at someone else’s house for a couple of months.  All the noise and strangers and tempting foods can be difficult even for long-time resident dogs to handle with equanimity, let alone one that has recently experienced major life changes.

One of the many great things about this program is that the support continues outside of class, via books, videos, phone consultations, handouts, sound therapy, and optional in-home training. In-person classes are open admission, and are available throughout the Chicago area. If you’re out of state or can’t travel, you can order the book + CD for step-by-step instructions or sign up for a webinar package.

So if you’re planning on bringing home a new canine companion this summer, sign up for A Sound Beginning. It’s the best way to set the right tone for your newly adopted friend.

********

Many thanks to the wonderful Terri Klimek for her work with A Sound Beginning and her help writing this post. In addition to owning Training Tails with Terri, she is an instructor for FetchFind Academy and has worked with As Good As Gold Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois. 

Walking reactive dogs: distraction to the rescue!

beagle

By Beck Rothke, former FetchFind Academy and dog*tec Dog Walking Academy instructor 

When I think about working with reactive dogs, I often think about the use of comic relief for intense moments. Essentially, I know that a door out or away from an intense or possibly intense moment is to find a distraction powerful enough to turn the dog’s attention to something else. It’s the same concept as a moment of comic relief and it serves the same purpose.

As a child of the 80’s, I grew up watching sitcoms. What I loved about sitcoms as a kid was seeing people going through hard and emotional experiences, but at the most critical moments, there would be a bit of humor to offset the drama of the hard stuff. By no means did it minimize the impact of the emotional moment, but it did make the moment a bit easier to digest. Incorporating comic relief in to my everyday interactions with other humans – making jokes when the tension is too high or finding humor in less than humorous situations – lessens the tension of the moment and serves to help us throughout our personal and professional lives. While we still experience the intense emotion of the moment, we do so in a more regulated way, allowing us to keep our true focus where it needs to be. It doesn’t ruin our day. The comedy distracts us and we move on. As dog walkers, we all know how well distractions can work and are familiar with the idea of using them to our advantage!

Let’s take a look at using distraction techniques to avoid or get out of hot moments.

Knowing your dogs – Making use of distractions to relieve a reactive dog from an intense situation relies on a full understanding of two important concepts for the dog: (1) what he is bothered by (or is reactive to) and (2) what he loves or is interested in (if the former isn’t too intense). For instance, when we work with dogs who are reactive towards other dogs, we can work to avoid running into other dogs to a certain extent, but not fully. Knowing a dog’s triggers (both the ones to be worried about and the ones that we can use to our advantage) can help immensely when negative interactions cannot be avoided.

Distraction tools – One reliable “go-to” as a distraction for dogs is treats. Most dogs like them and they are easy to have on hand. But what if the dog isn’t interested in the treats you have or is generally unmotivated by them? Indeed, sometimes the dog’s emotional state may render treats completely uninteresting. Well, it’s not as easy, but knowing the dog’s favorite motivators can help provide the right and appropriate level of distraction. One item I always carry with me is a squeaker from an old toy. I put mine in the side pocket of my treat pouch. It’s easy to access this way by just hitting the side of my pouch to squeak the squeaker. Some dogs are very tuned into the sound of crinkling. For this you can use an empty bag of chips in your pocket. Another good distraction might be simply the sound of your voice. Experiment with different pitches and volumes to see what the dog you are walking is most easily attracted to. Use of verbal praise or cues is quite effective in distracting a dog from tempting stimuli as well.

It’s all about timing – As is true with comic relief, one very important factor in implementing distractions is timing. If you are too early, the dog might be attracted to the distraction, but it might not understand why, and worse, it may become bored with the distraction before you have a chance to make use of it. If you are too late, you may unintentionally reinforce behavior (if it’s operant/ learned) or miss the chance to make a difference (if it’s classical/ emotional). So how do we determine the appropriate timing? Take note of each dog’s trigger zone (i.e. where the scary or concerning stimuli is okay as opposed to not okay) and implement the distraction right before the point that is not ok. Practice makes perfect. Use your eyes and ears to determine the dog’s body language or any vocalizations that tell you the interaction (or stimuli) is not okay. Implement your distraction before the dog shows any signs of distress and you’re sure to be on time!

Walking dogs is exciting and rewarding. You can make it even more rewarding for all involved through purposeful, well-timed distractions to set everyone up for success.

********

http://dogtec.org/dogwalkingacademy.php

Add some TTouch to your training toolbox!

Betsy Lane

By Betsy Lane, Founder of PetKiDoCertified Tellington TTouch Practitioner, and FetchFind Academy Instructor.

Tellington Touch (or simply “TTouch”) is a training method that goes far beyond the Sits, Stays, and Downs of basic canine manners classes. In fact, my own dog had lovely manners and a reliable set of basic skills when it became clear to me that something “deeper” was missing. Yep, even the dog who lived with the dog trainer and attended group training classes, agility classes, and weekly private AKC tracking lessons had missed perhaps the most fundamental “trick” of all: feeling calm, confident, and comfortable in her own skin. When a trainer-friend of mine mentioned something called “TTouch,” I was intrigued — and began the two-year journey to become a Certified TTouch Practitioner.

Here are five of the top reasons you might want to add some TTouch skills to your dog-training toolbox:

TTouch helps our dogs stay calm and focused — even in distracting, highly stimulating, unpredictable situations. I’ve seen TTouch help countless dogs make great strides in their ability to cope with everything from competitions (such as dog shows) to life in a shelter (where calm behavior can literally be the difference between adoption and, well, not adoption).

TTouch helps puppies retain their natural curiosity and their sense of the world as a great, fun, happy place to explore. While those of you who currently live with a puppy might wish your furry little buddy were somewhat less curious about the garbage, dirty laundry, and what’s under your prized peony, believe me when I tell you this is infinitely preferable to living with a puppy—or a grown dog—who’s too afraid to leave the house (or ride in the car, be nice to your mother, cooperate with the vet, or come out from under the bed).

TTouch helps dogs replace habits that don’t serve them well with habits that work a whole lot better. For example, we can help dogs learn to stop pulling on the leash or favoring a long-ago-injured limb and walk on a loose leash, in balance. We can also help a dog figure out that the neighbor’s dog isn’t actually worth getting so upset about, after all.

TTouch helps us keep our beloved older dogs engaged and interested in life for as long as possible. It also provides us with new ways of responding to our dogs’ changing needs over their entire lifetime.

TTouch helps us celebrate and connect with our dog as a unique individual. Even dogs from the same litter are individuals, just as we are not our siblings. TTouch helps us discover what makes our dog “one of a kind” in ways we love as well as ways that might frustrate us. Then, it gives us tools to address the challenges in an effective and respectful way that strengthens our sense of connection and partnership with our dogs — no matter what other positive training activities we pursue.

********

Photo credit: Karin O’Brien Photography

This post was originally published on the AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior blog.  AnimalSense offers group and private classes throughout the Chicagoland area (and many of their trainers are graduates of FetchFind Academy!)

Fun facts about Newfoundlands

newfie

By John Miller

You’ve just got to love a Newfie.  Often thought of as “gentle giants,” these dogs are massive and powerful, yet smart, helpful, and (we think) totally fun to be around (drool and giant furballs notwithstanding).

If you’re fishing for fun facts about Newfoundlands, we’ve got you covered!

They are named after the North Atlantic island of Newfoundland (part of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador) where the breed was originally developed.

There are many theories on the Newfoundland’s origins, – some say they were left by the Vikings in 100 A.D., some say that Newfies are crosses between Tibetan Mastiffs and the extinct Black American Wolf, and the third theory is that the Newfie is a mix of many European breeds.

They share a lineage with modern retrievers. In fact, the divergence can be seen in the distinction between the Greater Newfoundlands (Newfies) and Lesser Newfoundlands or St John’s Water Dog (Labrador retrievers).

Generally around 28 inches tall and 120-150 pounds, they are one of the sturdier dog breeds. Their average lifespan is 8-10 years.

The breed was almost wiped out in the 1780s when Canadian government-imposed restrictions mandated that families pay taxes on their pets.

Newfie genes saved the St Bernard breed in the 19th century. Around 1860, the St. Bernards at the hospice in Switzerland were almost wiped out by distemper. Since the dogs look similar, the monks imported some Newfoundlands to help rebuild the breed.

They were used by fishermen as water rescue dogs. They are extremely courageous, which is one of many reasons they make good rescue dogs.

One of the hallmarks of the breed is an overall sweet nature and gentle temperament.

They have webbed feet. (That’s right, just like a hairy amphibian!)

Their swimming style is less like the traditional doggy paddle and more like a breast stroke.

They have a double coat which keeps them warm in freezing temperatures. The top coat is oily and water repellant, while the undercoat is soft and insulating.

Newfie tails are very muscular and used as a rudder while swimming.

The American Kennel Club lists acceptable Newfie coat colors as black, brown, gray, and black-and-white, while the Canadian Kennel Club says the coat can only be black or black-and-white.

caseySir Edwin Landseer liked Newfoundlands so much that he included them in his paintings. The black and white Newfoundlands were named “Landseer” in his honor.

Their big coat needs a LOT of brushing.

Their strong jaws, big heads, and sturdy frame make them able to pull carts and other heavy objects, as well as drag people, tow lines, and fishing nets through the water.

They’re very athletic (and they can really pack on the pounds if overfed), so they need exercise daily. Swimming is their ideal exercise, because it allows them to cool off and burn calories. They love swimming in cold water, even in the winter.

In 1995, a 10-month-old Newfoundland named Boo rescued a man from drowning without any training or direction to do so.

In 1828, a Newfie named Hairy Man helped save over 160 Irish immigrants from the wreck of the brig Despatch, which ran aground near Isle aux Morts.

Nana, the sweet dog nanny from Peter Pan, was a Newfoundland.

Lewis and Clark’s dog was a Newfoundland named Seaman.

A Newfoundland named Napoleon the Wonder Dog co-starred with baboons in Van Hare’s “Magic Circus” in Victorian London.

Ulysses S. Grant had a Newfoundland named Faithful.

Lord Byron left a burial plot bigger than his own for his Newfoundland, Boatswain. Here is the epitaph on Boatswain’s grave:

Boatswain monument

We’ll leave you with this fun video of 182-pound Roscoe having a good roll on the ice!

 

********

john-miller-pawedin-300x276John is an Atlanta native who grew up with four dogs in his family. He is currently finishing his BA at Georgia State University. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and watching movies.

 

Troubleshooting during training

down dog
A proper “down.”

By Bill Mayeroff

The first time I tried to publicly teach a dog “down,” I bombed horribly.

It was before I graduated from FetchFind. Class that night was hands-on. Each student was assigned a couple concepts or behaviors to teach to a group of dogs and their owners that had gathered to simulate a group class environment. One of my assigned behaviors was down.

That night, each of us got a chance to teach in front of two groups. One group came at the beginning of class and the second came a bit later. I wasn’t supposed to teach down until the second group, but an owner in the first group asked about it. So I, being the enthusiastic student, jumped in and said “Hey, I can talk about down!” And my teachers called my bluff and gave me the go-ahead. Confidently, I dove into my demo.

Technically, I did pretty much everything right. I got the dog into a sit. I held a treat to their nose. I slowly pulled it down and then out, hoping the dog would follow it to the ground. When that didn’t work, I pulled the treat down and slowly pushed it in toward the dog’s chest, hoping the pup would kind of settle backwards to the ground.

The dog was having none of it. That dog just would not put their belly on the ground. It was a blow to the ego, to be sure, especially since I had been so confident and sure of myself going in.

But it was so much more than that. In fact, that incident taught me what has become one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my short time as a professional trainer:

At some point during a class or training session, everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

You can’t prevent those moments. They’re going to happen when you least expect them. Everything can be going great when you’re teaching and all of a sudden, you have a dog that won’t respond to you or a group of dogs that won’t stop barking or something else entirely.

What matters is how you handle those moments. You can’t let them disrupt you or the flow of your class. You just have to roll with them, keep the class moving and make it work.

If that sounds overly simple, it’s because it is. But the strategy works. I’m living proof. Just a few weeks back, I was teaching down to another class. But this time, it wasn’t a mock class. It was a real, honest-to-goodness class of dogs and their owners.

I was using a big, beautiful pittie mix as my demo dog and I was going through the motions of teaching down. And just as before, the dog wasn’t buying what I was selling. He would get close, but he just wouldn’t put his body on the ground. But instead of getting flustered, I just went with it. I acknowledged that it wasn’t working (as I kept trying to make it work) while still explaining how it should work.

And much to my surprise and delight, the dog eventually responded. That’s right, folks. I got the dog to go down. And the class loved it.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro trainer or a first-time dog owner, at some point during the training process, stuff will go wrong. But as long as you don’t let it frustrate you and are able to troubleshoot on the fly, those little setbacks can easily be overcome.

********

Look at these two handsome gents.

After five years as a newspaper reporter in western Illinois and two more as a freelancer in Chicago, Bill Mayeroff‘s life has gone to the dogs in the best way possible. These days, Bill lives in Chicago with his terrier mix, Chester, and works at a small, no-kill animal shelter. He recently graduated from FetchFind Academy and is a Junior Trainer at AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. Bill also blogs about his two favorite things – dogs and beer – at Pints and Pups. 

7 ways to help your dog get through construction season

dog

By Jamie Migdal, CEO of FetchFind

If you live in the city, you can tell when it’s 8:00 am in most neighborhoods because that’s when the construction noises begin. Loud, dusty, and nerve-wracking, construction and road work projects are a near-constant feature of urban life in the warmer months. (And we had a pretty mild winter here in Chicago, so the construction started weeks earlier than usual! Good times.)

If you find the noises aggravating and stressful, just imagine how your dog feels about them. Even the sound of jackhammers several blocks away is going to be impossible to ignore; for dogs with a hypersensitivity to noise (such as certain herding breeds), it can be downright torture.

So what can you do to help your dog get through construction season? First, you’ll want to observe your dog’s behavior and see if anything is deviating from the norm – has she stopped going to bathroom at her usual time/place? Is she ignoring food? Are her ears always back while she rushes through her once-leisurely walks? These are all signs that your dog is suffering from stress, and, in the absence of other obvious stressors (such as illness or a new housemate), there is a good chance that elevated noise levels are to blame.

Keep the windows closed. Sure, you’d like to get keep the air circulating in the house, but the benefit of less noise for your dog outweighs the benefit of fresh air for you. Besides, if you’re close enough to the construction to be bothered by it yourself, those gentle breezes come with a hefty payload of dust and other nasty particulate matter. Keep the ceiling fan on. Turn on the air conditioner (which will also help to mask the sound of construction). If your dog responds favorably to music or the television playing in the background, turn it on before you leave for work.

Create a cozy den. If your dog is crate trained, put a bedspread or a quilt over half of the crate so he has a place to tuck himself away when the noise starts to get to him. The fabric will also help to muffle some of the sounds. If your dog isn’t a chewer, throw a couple of favorite stuffed toys onto the bed so he can bury his head under them and be comforted by their presence. If your dog is free range during the day, try making a tent of sorts by draping a quilt or a couple of beach towels over the usual resting place.

Change the venue. If the rooms on one side of your house are less noisy, move your dog (and his crate/bed/toys/water dish) there during the day. Putting half of a house and a closed door between your dog and the noise can make a big difference. Make sure that you dog-proof the day room before moving Fido in, especially if he won’t be crated.

Put that ThunderShirt on. I’ve seen ThunderShirts work miracles on anxious dogs; you can also try a TTouch wrap (however, if your dog is a dedicated sock-eater putting a long bandage on her while you’re away from home isn’t a great idea). Keep in mind that the ThunderShirt or wrap can make your dog very warm, so if it’s hot outside you’ll need to put the air conditioner on.

Consider doggy daycare. If you have a dog that is okay being around other dogs, daycare can be a great solution. Many daycares are in large buildings in less densely-populated (and therefore less noisy) parts of town, and the presence of other dogs is a great distraction no matter what is going on outside.

Help your dog shake it off.  Let’s be honest – it can be very hard to motivate yourself to take the dog out for more than a potty break when you get home after work. But your dog has effectively been under siege all day long, and you can help him shake it off by doing something fun or relaxing. Take a long walk in a different place with plenty of sniff breaks, treat your pup to a nice canine massage or TTouch session, or play a rousing game of “I’m gonna get you” in the hallway on the way back into the apartment. (Note: a dog that has been stressed all day can get overexcited or go over threshold more quickly than usual, so don’t let things get out of hand.)

Visit your veterinarian. If all of your efforts still haven’t helped mitigate your dog’s stress, go to your vet and discuss medical treatment options. Anti-anxiety medication doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment, and it can help break the stress cycle so that your dog isn’t forced to develop other self-soothing strategies like chewing, excessive licking, or barking.

What do I recommend for humans trying to deal with the construction noise? A good set of noise-canceling headphones. 🙂

********

Wondering what those canine stress signals actually look like? Learn more with a subscription to FetchFind Monthly Pro!