dogs Archives - Page 3 of 5 - Hot Diggity! Dog Walking + Pet Sitting

Have you ever walked or driven down the street and noticed a stray dog nearby? We have too, so we put together this guide so you can help reunite a lost pup with their family.

Here are 14 tips to help ensure a happy ending:

  1. Assess the safety of the situation. You don’t know the medical history of the pet or how fearful they are of people or other animals, so be very cautious to watch their behavior to  avoid spooking them or getting nipped yourself. If the situation is an emergency, call 911. If it’s not quite an emergency, but you’re unable to help the dog, call your local county animal control services. For county resources, see below.
  2. If the situation does seem safe enough to proceed, be sure neither of you are in a position where trying to catch them will put either of you at risk of getting hit by a car. If you discovered the lost pet while driving, make sure you’re parked safely and legally.
  3. If they’re not dragging a leash, it’s a good idea to have a spare leash handy so that you can lead them away safely. If you’re with your own dog, don’t remove their leash to use for the strange dog. You don’t want to put your dog at risk of running away or getting hit by a car either.
  4. Dogs will read your body language so try not to act scared or surprised at seeing them. They’re likely already afraid and you acting strange compared to how anyone normally behaves around them will likely make them even more fearful and distrustful of you.
  5. Sometimes if you act excited to see them (as if you’d seen them while they were on leash with their owner) then they’ll respond positively. Smile, use a happy voice, act as if you’re happy to see them. Lots of dogs find car rides really exciting and may even jump in your car easily if you hold the door open like you’re about to take them to the dog park.
  6. If you can catch them, make sure to first check for a collar and any information on it. Oftentimes dogs have just escaped from their backyards nearby. If they still have a collar on, there is likely a phone number or an address.
  7. If there is no identification on them or you found them far away from any residential dwellings, a vet might be able to scan for a microchip and provide contact information.
  8. If the dog is injured or ill, DoveLewis will not turn them away. Once they are well enough to go to a shelter (usually within 24 hours of arriving at DoveLewis) they will be transferred to the local shelter.
  9. But first, stay in the area for a little while (if it’s safe for you and the dog) and keep an ear out for owners in your area who might be yelling for their lost pet. If you’re in a neighborhood you might try walking the dog around a bit to see if they get particularly excited toward any specific homes.
  10. Check the LOST pet sections of Craigslist as well as your local animal services agency and then check again in a few hours or the next day if you still can’t find the owner. Below we’ll include a few local Portland lost dog resources.
  11. Make a post on Craigslist, but be wary and ask for pictures from the owner to confirm that the dog is theirs. Unfortunately there are less than honest and potentially even dangerous people on Craigslist who try to sell lost pets or use them for other purposes.
  12. Make posts on social media and community sites. If you found the dog in a Portland area dog park or hiking area, you might want to check the Hiking with Dogs in Portland Facebook Group where owners who lose dogs will often make posts. Nextdoor, Rooster,  and a public Facebook post might also be helpful in getting the word out, but again be wary of people trying to scam you.
  13. And of course, post FOUND posters around the neighborhood where you found the lost pet: on post boxes, light poles, and community message boards.
  14. Finally, if you can’t keep the dog while waiting to find its owner, find a local non-kill shelter or rescue organization. However, beware that many shelters have a fairly short period of time where if they can’t locate an owner they will claim ownership of the dog and adopt it out to a new family. This has caused several heartbreaking situations when there were extenuating circumstances such as the owner was out of town when their pet was lost and then adopted to a new family. Check with shelters and rescues about their policies if you have concerns about this.

Here are some additional local PDX resources for lost pets:

  • Craigslist Portland has both a Lost and Found section where people often post lost or found pets and a Pets section where those listings are also common.
  • Willamette Week has a Lost and Found Pet section as well.
  • Washington County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification will only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption. For pets with identification, they will only be held for up to 7 business days before being put up for adoption.
  • Multnomah County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification here will also only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption and pets with identification will only be held for up to 5 business days before being put up for adoption.
  • Clackamas County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification here will only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption, although they do not say how long pets with identification will be held, it is still not likely to be any longer than Multnomah or Washington counties.
  • All the Animal Services pages have additional resource suggestions, especially for counties outside of these three.
  • You can check our Community Partners page to see more local vets and rescue organizations that might be able to help out too.

And of course, please let this serve as an important reminder to always keep your pets tagged and microchipped with up to date information. If the worst happens, these can be the most helpful tools in reuniting with your pet!

Hello and welcome, dog lovers! The benefits of having a dog as a pet are undeniable – the walks out in the open and the unmistakable loyalty of this animal being the highlight among them. There are, however, some downsides. A major one is the struggle to keep your house clean. This is an issue with many pets, but especially dogs, and it’s even worse if you live in an apartment.

It’s happened to all of us. Everybody who comes to visit is covered in dog hair when they leave. You are always using lint rollers on you and your loved ones’ clothes.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have dogs and a clean home! Yes, there is hope! Here are some tips from professional pet keepers (it’s actually a job, and, yes, a full-time one)!

  1. Make Baths Fun: Regular baths are most crucial step to keeping your dog and house smelling fresh. Make bathing fun by playing relaxing music. Put a non-slip mat in the tub to make your dog feel safer. Run lukewarm or cool water to avoid drying its fur, use only special shampoo for dogs, and offer plenty of treats and praise. Dry the dog thoroughly with a towel, then let it shake the water off as long as it needs to. Dogs appreciate routine, so make bathing consistent and predictable. But there can be too much of a good thing. Excessive bathing can strip essential oils and dry the skin, especially when the weather is cold. Most dogs only need baths once every two months or when they start smelling really bad.
  2. Wipe Your Dog Down: Use specially formulated pet wipes or a damp towel between baths to remove loose dirt and keep your dog and house from smelling like an animal. Brush the dog often – on a regular basis, even daily if its coat is thick or long. This reduces shedding and keeps your dog’s coat and skin healthy by distributing essential oils.
  3. Choose Fabrics Carefully: When choosing fabrics, sheets, upholstery and furniture, opt for materials like microfiber or leather, which are easy to wipe down and clean. Fabrics need to be cleaned at least once a week. What is more, we highly recommend washing your sheets and blankets regularly, and, of course, those of your dog. Dog beds and blankets attracts all sorts of unpleasant odors like a magnet. Make sure you toss them in the weekly wash.
  4. Vacuum Your Furniture Weekly: It often pays off to buy the right tools when it comes to cleaning your home. We suggest buying tools like vacuum cleaners and spot removers that are specially designed to clean up after pets. Make sure you vacuum your furniture weekly to cut down on the lint rollers you are probably chasing everyone in your family and your guests around with. Go in way deep to reach all those hard-to-access spots under the couch and behind cushions.
  5. Clutter Control: If your dog has a lot of toys, keep your home looking neat by putting them away in some baskets in different areas of your home. Check toys regularly for wear and tear, and update your dog’s collection now and then. If it doesn’t play with some of its toys, and they are barely used, clean them and donate them to your local animal shelter.
  6. Keep Dirt Outside: How do you keep dirt from getting inside? If your yard gets muddy, hang an old towel near the front door, and wipe your dog’s feet before it comes in. Strategically placed runners also catch dirt that can be shaken out or vacuumed up a few times a week. These are great for your dog’s paw health as well.
    Get Help: While this option isn’t financially feasible for everyone, even a once-a-month visit from a housekeeper can help limit dog dirt, fur and dander.

And if you’d like to read some tips about how to groom your cat, check out our blog post on Comfortable Nail Trimming for Nervous Cats!

This guest post was written by Isaac Atia, Head Editor at 10BestRanked.com, where he reviews top home and outdoors products and gadgets. Read his latest post Best Vacuum for Pet Hair 2018 – Top Reviews & Buyer’s Guide.

 

If you have brought a new dog home and you find that he misses you terribly when you are gone, you have probably already discovered how helpful dog sitting and dog walking can be. Dogs by nature like to be active, and feel a strong need to be near their humans. So when they’re alone for too many hours, they can take out their frustration and energy on the furniture. In this post we highlight a few ways to help your dog associate entertainment with something other than your favorite Edwardian chair.

The Importance of Exercise

Your dog should ideally be taking several walks a day and at least a couple of nice long walks. They should have the opportunity to chase after a ball, run over a large safe surface, and enjoy smelling plants, trees and surfaces, as they love doing.

One of the main reasons for undesirable behavior, is a lack of physical activity. If your dog is acting up and you are at work all day just call us! We can help get your dog out on the town whether its a walk down the street, playing ball in the backyard, or even better- going on a whole half-day pack hike.

Even when at home outside of walk times your dog can still be entertained with safe chew toys for dogs. Make sure you use trusted brands only, since cheaper toys can chip and break off, or pose a possible choking risk for pooches. Puppies especially should have a wide range of toys, because they continue to teeth until they are about eight months old. You can also fill up a Kong toy with frozen xylitol-and-salt-free peanut butter to keep them hard at work for a few hours.

Check for Separation Anxiety

If your dog only misbehaves when you are away from the home, bringing home another dog (which will certainly provide welcome company for your pooch) won’t solve the problem of chewing.

As is the case with humans, desensitization can work well for separation anxiety. This treatment involves exiting the door for a few seconds, coming back in, lengthening your absence to a minute, then a few minutes, then half an hour etc., as a way of letting your dog know that absence is always temporary and that you are not abandoning them.

If you think your dog might have this condition it is important to speak to your veterinarian who may recommend treatment in severe cases. The key is to enhance your dog’s wellbeing through a combination of approaches. Exercise, for instance, is always a good approach.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

In addition to chewing, a dog with separation anxiety will often show other symptoms, including howling and barking, trying to escape, doing his necessities indoors, and pacing. One of the reasons it is so important to see your vet is that these behaviors may be caused by other conditions (including infection, bladder stones, neurological problems, etc.).

There are certain events that can bring about this type of anxiety, including a change of guardian, change in schedule, moving residence, etc. The death of a family member can also spark different behaviors.

Spraying Furniture as a Deterrent

When chewing is occasional, you can nip it in the bud by spraying your furniture with a natural spray, which you can make at home using essential oils. Blend around 1 cup of water with around 10 drops of citrus essential oils* and white distilled vinegar. The bonus of this type of spray is that (unlike sprays made with chemicals) it won’t contribute to indoor air pollution, yet it will lend your home a beautiful, natural fragrance; make sure you use therapeutic grade citrus essential oils, which are safe for dogs and humans alike.

To stop your dog from chewing on your furniture, provide him with plenty of activity, ensure he has toys to let out his chewing instinct on, and try natural deterrents you can make at home for a small price.

*WARNING for cat owners: Essential oils, including citrus oils, contain phenols which are harmless towards dogs and humans, but highly toxic to cats. Inhaling phenols or getting them on their fur and licking the phenols off will cause symptoms of toxicity and require veterinary intervention. Search for cat-friendly no-bite sprays such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray to use at home.

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

Is your normal walk or run with Buster just not cutting it? Does the lack of a competitive component to hiking in the woods bore you? Do you and Buster just love to support your favorite organizations while having a fun time? Well we’ve put together a list of 7 Portland Walks and Run events for charity that you can bring Buster to! Due to insurance concerns, not too many runs are open to dogs, but there are still quite a few events still available throughout the year. Here are some charity events held annually around the Portland area that you can bring your dog to:

  1. The Humane Society for SW Washington holds an annual Walk/Run for the Animals usually in May. This is held in Downtown Vancouver and raises funds to support their adoption services. This year the event is May 5th, 2018.
  2. Oregon Humane Society holds an annual Doggie Dash event at the end of May to support finding homes for thousands of homeless pets. This is held in downtown Portland at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Doggie Dash will be held on May 12th, 2018.
  3. The Best Friends Society holds an annual Strut Your Mutt event in different cities all around the country including Portland in September. There’s lots of activities to do here even after you finish your run or walk and plenty of vendors to visit.
  4. DoveLewis holds an annual Westie Walk in August. Don’t have a cute Westie? Don’t worry! No matter their pedigree, all friends of Westies are welcome.
  5. The annual Corgi Walk in The Pearl is held in August. Every dollar raised goes to helping abandoned and abused Corgis find happy furever homes through the CRPWCC Corgi Rescue as well as to other pets through the Oregon Humane Society.
  6. Come out for a good time in late summer with the Family Dogs New Life Shelter’s annual Fun Walk and 5k Run. There’s a lot of fun vendors to meet there as well as great prizes in the raffle.
  7. Rose Haven isn’t an animal rescue, although they are pet friendly since they understand that the pets of the women and children they help are part of their families too. Instead, Rose Haven focuses on helping women and children going through abuse or other disruptive life challenges by providing them with a safe community and services to help them. Every Mother’s day weekend they hold their annual Reigning Roses Mother’s Day Walk which is fun and also dog friendly! The 2018 Reigning Roses Mother’s Day Walk will be held on May 13th.

We hope you have fun throughout the year helping these great organizations and getting in some wonderful sunshine and fresh air with Buster. Know any other annual walks or runs in the Portland area that are dog friendly? Let us know! And to find more great organizations helping pets in the Portland area, check out our Community Partners page.

There’s something inherently beautiful about stepping on untouched snow, snow that no one else has walked on. However, before your dog steps out on the snow and makes little paw prints in the white fluff, be sure that he is protected by the dangers that may lurk within.

One of these dangers during the winter months is rock salt that people use to avoid slipping and falling on ice. These salts are extremely hazardous to dogs and can cause burning, irritation, and seizures. Before you and Fido walk out the wintery wonderland, check out these tips to avoid rock salts and keep your dog safe in the snow.

Protect Fido’s Paws

There are a couple of things you can do to protect your dog’s paws from rock salts. The easiest and most effective way is to buy him some booties. These are slip-on shoes that are great for keeping his paws warm and to prevent him from the dangers of salt, ice, and snow. He will probably have to get used to the booties though, so let him walk around inside for a while to break them in. If your dog doesn’t react well to the booties, you can also coat his paws with a thin layer of balm or petroleum jelly. You can even find moisturizers in pet stores that are designed specifically for dogs.

Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Although it is always important to clip your dog’s nails, it is especially critical during the winter months. If your dog’s nails grow too long, they force the toes to separate and allow for the salt and other chemicals to become lodged in their paw. This can damage the paw and cause further discomfort and irritation.

Wash Off as Soon as You Come Inside

If your dog comes inside with salt on his paws, his natural instinct will be to lick it off. This will cause serious stomach problems, so you should help reduce the urge to lick by washing his paws as soon as you walk inside. You can use warm water and a soft towel, or special doggie footbaths that you can purchase from your local pet store.

While on your adventure in the winter wonderland, you may even want to keep a towel with you so that you can constantly wipe off Fido’s paws as soon as it’s necessary.

Use Alternatives to Rock Salts

The salt and chlorine in many deicers can irritate your dog’s paw and even burn him. If ingested, salt can cause vomiting, injury to the kidneys, tremors, seizures, comas, and even death.If you absolutely need to cover your sidewalks or driveway with salt, opt for ice-melting products that are safe for your four-legged friend. There are non-toxic brands of de-icing products such as Safe Paws Ice Melter or Morton Safe-T-Pet, that do not contain salt or chloride. Be sure to read the label when you buy a product and ensure that it is safe for your best friend.

Dogs love to play in the snow just as much as we do. However, we need to be a friend to our four-legged pals and make sure we take the necessary steps to avoid the dangers of rock salts.

Its no secret that our dog pals love to eat. Not only do they want a piece of their food, but they typically want a piece of our food as well! With those adorable faces staring right at you, it can be hard to say no. But it is so important to know if the scraps you feed your furry friend are actually safe for them.

Most of us know the basics; no corn cobs, chocolate or grapes. But after doing a little more digging, there were some foods I found to be a surprise on the do-not-feed list. Some of them may seem obvious, some less so. It’s never a bad idea to brush up on these DONT’S. It can be all too easy to slip our mind and give our pets a piece of our left overs.

  • Bacon- I’m sure we have many guilty dog parents who wanted to give their pal their first piece of bacon. I’ve found from multiple sources that bacon can lead to serious digestive issues or if given too much can cause pancreatitis, which can be very dangerous for our four legged friends!
  • Peanut Butter- Not that this is a complete no no. However, I wanted to shine a light on the fact to make sure the peanut butter does not contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is an ingredient deadly to dogs. Added salt content is also bad for their cardiovascular health. Peanut Butter is a lifesaver when it comes to getting stubborn doggos to take their medication, so just make sure it’s free from salt and especially xylitol. Adam’s 100% Natural Peanut Butter is a delicious and easily available brand that carries a plain Peanut Butter safe for dogs.
  • Raw Eggs- I’m sure there are plenty of people who like to crack open an egg and pour it over dog food to make it more appealing, however this cause a high risk of catching salmonella and e. coli infections, and a dogs system can have a hard time battling that off.
  • Raw Potatoes- Green Potato Poisoning happens when dogs eat too much solanine, a compound found in raw potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants. The symptoms include heart problems, breathing difficulty, and digestive issues.
  • Dairy- Pouring some milk in the dog bowl or sharing your ice cream cone may sound like a good idea, but dogs stomachs can not process diary the same way we do, so it can end up leading to a lot of uncomfortable stomach issues if consumed too often. Watch the yogurt servings too, some dogs can be sensitive to it!
  • Honorable mentions: Cherry pits, mushrooms, garlic/onions, apricot pit, avocado pits.

Now let’s focus on some of the healthy human foods we CAN feed our four legged friends!

  • Apples- Is a great source of vitamin A & C as well as an excellent fiber source. Just make sure to remove the seeds, which can be not so great for dogs to digest!
  • Blueberries- Are an excellent source of antioxidants for dogs, and make good treats for tossing in the air for them to catch.
  • Brussels Sprouts- Are loaded with great nutrients for dogs, just don’t give them too much or they may get gassy.
  • Carrots- Are a great low calorie snack, and great for strong healthy teeth.
  • Celery- Is a great healthy snack loaded with vitamins.
  • Cucumber- Is a great treat for overweight dogs , and can even help boost energy levels.
  • Honorable mentions in moderation: Pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, spinach, watermelon, bananas, and broccoli

I hope this list shines a light on some of the delicious human foods you keep in your kitchen, and just remember; our stomach and their stomach don’t process foods the same way. A lot of these can vary on the breed, size, and age of your dog, and you could be doing a lot more harm then good for their digestive system.

Sources- akc.org, iheartdogs.com, webmd.com, dogtime.com, foodbeast.com, aspca.org, petpoisonhelpline.com

Hello everyone and welcome to Know Your Pet Sitter! Today your host is me, Lana!

Outside of Hot Diggity! and ever since I was 12 years old, on and off, I’ve been a piano teacher. During some seasons of life, I took a break from the music world due to burnout, and other times it took a break from me – like when we moved 7 times in 4 years and I couldn’t bring my instrument with me, or when my children were young and wild. Now, though, I have 10 students that I see weekly, and just recently, I brought home a beautiful new grand piano that will be with me for a long, long time. I named her Esme.

What’s the thing I love the most about my life besides Hot Diggity? It seems too easy, but I can’t answer this question without saying it’s my family. My husband is my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been married for 15 years now. We have two boys who are growing like weeds before my very eyes and I can see glimpses of the amazing men they will become. I am perpetually thankful to God for our health and our collective spirit of adventure that we get to live out in crazy beautiful Oregon together.

Another thing I love is this little Chinese dive in Aloha, called Szechuan House, lodged in between an underground sports bar and a laundromat. The food comes to the table literally two minutes after you order it, like they started making it when they saw you pull into the parking lot. I really don’t know how they do it! The portions are huge, and as a random bonus, it was a film location for a Jennifer Aniston movie, so you can gaze upon her autographed vestige framed on the wall and try to get yourself seated at the same table she used in the movie.

There are so many things to look back on from the summer! This past June, I went to visit my home state of Minnesota for the first time in 6 years, and my husband bought me tickets to the Bruno Mars concert in July; which was amazing. Then in August, there was the solar eclipse. Since I didn’t know about it years in advance, I wasn’t quick enough to get a hotel room or campsite in the prime viewing area, but I didn’t give up.

Long-term, I want to stay active and healthy until I am a tiny, wizened old woman. When I am 75, I still want to be hiking the trails and have leathery brown skin and wind burned cheeks from being outdoors daily in the sun and breeze. I have a huge sweet tooth that I have to fight to curb, but I try hard to keep my body moving and strong and eat mostly clean foods so that I can get a running start at that longevity. I have had serious back and foot issues before that have taken me down for months at a time, and it makes me deeply grateful for healing when it comes and a renewed appreciation of just being able to walk/run and be independent, and a reminder to never take a single day of that freedom for granted.

When it comes to Hot Diggity! the thing I love the most is hands down our team. I don’t know how they plucked all the most amazing people out of Portland and made them Hot Diggity-ites, but they did it. The mutual encouragement, support, respect and appreciation among the walkers and the office staff is truly special. The positive energy starts there and radiates out to every client we serve during the day. I go through my walks feeling privileged to be entrusted with the care of people’s furriest family members while they are away. The icing on top of the cake is those bright, shiny puppy eyes and unfettered joy that waits for me behind every door, every time. Then out into the fresh Oregon air we go together – how can it not be a great day??

Portland Dog Walker and Pet Sitter WhitneyHello everyone! My name is Whitney, and I have been a walker with Hot Diggity! for a year and a half now. This job is so special and rewarding, I love all the different animals I get to encounter through dog walking and pet sitting here. But one thing I’ve noticed over my time here is that many Portland pet owners seem to prefer buying purebred pets instead of rescuing the mixed breed dogs more commonly found in shelters. Sometimes rescued dogs may be a little harder to win over, but it’s so gratifying when you finally make that breakthrough! I may be a bit biased when it comes to rescues since I come from a household of four shelter dogs, each with their own set of quirks and personal issues, but finally gaining their trust really is the most rewarding and special part about rescued pets.

When you walk into a shelter, you may think you have an idea of what you are looking for, but choosing a rescue it isn’t about what you see, it’s how you feel when you interact with them. It’s an instant connection or an overwhelming feeling that makes you say “this is the one!” You may not always find that special one your first couple of shelter visits, but it is absolutely worth the wait.

Here are three fantastic local Portland shelters that I’d recommend checking out to find your next best friend:

Family Dogs New Life ShelterFind your new best friend to take on walks in Portland at Family Dogs New Life Shelter

With a 4 Star Yelp rating this shelter is a non profit no-kill, that focuses on giving dogs of all breeds and ages a second chance at finding the right match. They typically only take 35-50 dogs at a time, so that all the dogs can interact and run around together, but are put in their own crates at night. This gives them a perfect balance for being well socialized, but always gets the dogs in good sleeping habits. I love that like myself they have a soft spot for Pit Bulls which are a very loving and misunderstood breed. They’ve even created a section on their website called “Piteos”, which features adorable Pit Bull video’s! The website also contains information on ways to help out such as volunteering or fostering information, upcoming special events to help support the shelter, or how you can even sponsor a dog. All the little things Family Dogs New Life Shelter does to help their rescues just make my heart melt!

Find your new cat or dog best friend at the Pixie ProjectThe Pixie Project
While Family Dogs New Life Shelter may be a dogs only club, The Pixie Project not only has dogs, but cats as well if that is what you are looking for. With a Yelp 4 Star rating this shelter also has a lower count of animals in house at a time so that they can focus on giving them more attention and matching them with the right fur-ever home. The Pixie Project often pulls a lot of its rescues from overcrowded shelters or takes in owner surrenders. Another stand out about this Shelter is its low cost Veterinary Clinic to senior, veterans, disabled, homeless or low-income pet owners, with free spay and neutering. Like Family Dogs New Life Shelter, The Pixie Project has volunteer and fostering information, and holds special events to help animals in need. Make sure to pay attention to our Events page! We often donate gift certificates to their fundraisers and will let you know when events for them are coming up.

Oregon Humane SocietyTake a new best friend home today from the Oregon Humane Society and enjoy all the perks of being a pet owner in Portland
The Oregon Humane Society is perhaps the largest and most well-known shelter in the greater Portland area. They have a 4 Star Yelp rating and a huge variety of pets to select from. At OHS not only can you adopt cats and dogs, but you can also adopt rabbits, rats, birds, and even horses and farm animals! This shelter offers low-to no cost spay and neutering services, volunteering opportunities, as well as Emergency Animal Rescue for mistreated pets, or animals who are in danger or distraught. No doubt that OHS has done so much good for Portland pets over the decades. I know I have personally donated a good amount of money to supporting their cause!

I hope after reading this you feel inspired to go adopt instead of shop. Maybe even consider taking in a sweet elderly dog and give it the best final years of its life. Or take a risk on the dog who perhaps doesn’t mesh well with other dogs, but loves people. Or you could take home the funny looking kitty, because it wasn’t pretty enough to be sold at a pet store. If you do not feel ready to commit to a pet for the next several years of its life, perhaps shorter term fostering is the best path for you. Shelters also are always in need of volunteers to give these lonesome furbabes some loving attention.

And if you still have breed preferences, there’s always breed specific rescue organizations where you can combine your love for a particular breed with helping an in-need pet. Just check out our Community Partners page for more shelters and rescue organizations that Hot Diggity! loves and supports.

Be a pet’s hero and save a life. Let’s make the world a better place!

Whitney, a great Portland dog walker and pet sitter, took this cute picture of two of her sweet rescue dogs

 

This is a special guest post by the Synergy Behavior Solutions Team, a stellar veterinary behavior and training team dedicated to improving the lives of pets with behavioral issues. To learn more about them, read on and then visit them at their website.

It is not unusual for dogs to be worried or fearful of new people in their homes. For some dogs these behaviors are more pronounced when the owners are present. Some dogs are more worried when they are alone and a stranger (like a new dog walker) comes into the house. Here are a couple tips to help your dog feel more comfortable.

The first step to helping your dog be more comfortable is to learn how to “speak” dog by reading your dog’s body language. Dogs have a lot to communicate, if we just open our eyes to see them, instead of just our listening with our ears. Many people recognize the overly fearful dog who is hiding in the corner or the ones who are barking and lunging at people. What many people miss are the more subtle signs of stress and worry they might be showing before they are “screaming” (shaking, barking) with their body language. More subtle signs might include: avoiding eye contact, pinning ears back along the head, panting when it’s not hot, or refusing food. If your dog is giving you those more subtle signs of stress, remove them from the situation before they feel the need to escalate to more aggressive behavior. To learn more about dog body language and learn more about how to speak “dog” check out http://www.ispeakdog.org.

An essential part of dog care is knowing the dog's preference for treats or their dietary needs. Our Portland dog sitters and dog walkers always make sure to know these critical details!

The second step is to let your dog choose when to (or when not to) interact with the new person. Frequently, strangers want to make friends instantly with your dog. Like many people, dogs need time to warm up to strangers. When we let our dogs choose if they want to meet a person, it can be on their terms, when they feel comfortable. Don’t force your dog to interact by dragging them to meet the person, or even having the person hold out treats. Once your dog wants to approach the new person, have them ignore them. Have them avoid staring at the dog. Reaching out or leaning towards or over them can be an invasion of their personal space and scary. Instead let your dog sniff, approach and retreat as they deem necessary without physical interaction. Let your dog set their own time table of comfort. It may take minutes, it may be hours and it may be days. Slow and steady is the safest path to making new friends.

The next step is letting your dog choose how to interact with the new person. This is where reading body language is very important. Some dogs might like to play a game of treat tossing, where the person throws a treat away from them and your dog gets to find it. Then when they start approaching the person again, they toss another treat away. With this game, the dog is being rewarded for approaching but they do not need to come all the way to the new person. They are getting a double reward of the treat and also increasing distance away from the new person.

Some dogs eventually like to be touched. We suggest “touch testing” for these dogs. Start petting their chest or shoulder, but only for one to 3 seconds (yes seconds!) and stop. See if the dog moves closer or maybe nudges your hand, that is a yes from the dog to please continue. If when you stop the dog steps away, then it is time to stop touching them and give them a break. Do not encourage them to come back, wait, remember it’s their choice.

A cute dog cuddles their favorite Portland dog walkerThese are just a few helpful tips to get you started understand what your dog is saying and helping them be more comfortable. If your dog is showing signs of aggression towards strangers we recommend keeping everyone safe and avoiding interaction with strangers. Then, we recommend reaching out to your dog’s veterinarian, then an experienced reward-based behavior professional, for suggestions on training and behavior modification. Remember that using punishment may suppress reactivity towards people, but won’t address the underlying reasons (the emotional causes) for the negative behavior. There is a lot that can be done to decrease a dog’s anxiety and improve their relationships with people, so don’t wait! Ask for help.

Living in the Portland metro area, dogs that love playing outside are usually limited to backyards or fenced-in parks. While the off-leash parks in Portland and the suburbs are usually pretty great, Portland has one huge secret paradise for dogs that is absolutely incredible; the Sandy River Delta Park.

Sandy River Delta Park is open year-round and is the doggie equivalent to Disney World. It’s a massive, thousand-acre park where dogs are allowed to roam free (except for the parking lot and the Confluence Trail), and us humans can get in a lovely, easy, walk. People also bring their horses here, so if you’ve ever wanted to let Buster see a horse in real life there’s a pretty good chance of that here!

The park encompasses a large forest section, grassland area and, of course, the Sandy River section. It is seldom busy (even on summer weekends) and there is always plenty of parking available. If you’re considering taking your dog to a beach, Sandy River is a wonderful alternative to ocean beach. It’s safer, has shaded areas, and tends to have fewer small children present. The water is also shallow and lazy, making it fairly easy to grab toys that drop in on accident.

Later in the summer there are ample blackberries to pick–who loves pie?!  Aside from foxtail seeds and the extremely rare sea lion, this is a very safe place to go spend a warm summer day.

Note of Caution: Dogs must be on-leash on the Confluence Trail–there’s a $100 fine if you are caught without your dog on a leash. If you’re looking for an off-leash friendly option, try the The Meadow Trail.

Recommendations for when you go:

  • Bring something to carry your full doggie bags with you, trashcans are few and far between and often overflowing.
  • Bring a towel to wipe off sand or mud (for the car)–double use as a place to sit on the riverbank.
  • Bug repellant is especially helpful in late Summer/Fall.
  • In warmer months remember to wear sunscreen and put a little sunscreen on your dog’s nose too!
  • When grasses are going to seed bring something to cover your dog’s nose and ears so that they don’t breathe in the harmful seeds called foxtails. These can get lodged in a dog’s lungs, nose, or ears and later require vet attention. The OutFox Field Guard is the best solution I’ve seen so far, but any other product or DIY suggestions are welcome!

If you do head out to the Sandy River Delta Park, send some pictures. If you have other favorite parks in the area, we’d love to hear about them too!

Have fun!