H.O.T.Dog Diaries - Tails and tips from a Brooklyn dogwalker
|Posted by andrea.cherrington on March 12, 2017 at 4:50 PM||comments (5)|
Let's talk about the flexi-lead, or retractable leash. Why do pet owners love these things so much! There is a certain lazy appeal to letting your dog wander ahead, sniffing about, while you mentally "check out". Most professional dog walkers can think of a million reasons why we don't use flexi leads, but I'll mention only a few. In our service contract, retractable leashes are not allowed, and I'd like to explain why. Most importantly, if the hard plastic handle is accidentally dropped -your pup can startle from the noise and drag the cord/handle behind him, enabling the retraction cord, which could cause injuries-to you both! I've seen this happen, even when those little plastic poo bag holders are attached to the leash, and it hits the sidewalk. Another reason for avoiding these is it's against the law in NYC, where you must have your pup on a 6ft or shorter length lead at all times. A third reason is that we often see pups who are not responsive to their owners when they're on these leads, and owners who are not paying attention to their pups. Training loose leash walking can be fun and incredibly engaging for your dog, and save the retractables for hiking trails-or better yet, invest in a sturdy, safer option such as a LeashBoss recall line.
|Posted by andrea.cherrington on September 13, 2015 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
We've all seen the pet food recalls. What's a loving pet parent to do with all these scares over dog food kibble? Make homemade, of course, or at least supplement with homemade food. Some of you have been asking, and I've been meaning to post my recipe, so here it is. I do occasionally feed raw to my pup, which our vet was not entirely happy about (risk of contamination), mainly towards humans. I've also gotten the sense that many people arent comfortable with the mess/cleanup, etc. of a strictly raw diet, so I'm only posting my recipe for cooked food. Willow, who is a 42 lb mixed breed, has been eating this recipe for about 3 months now. It makes enough for about 9/10 days, at a cost of approximately $13.
Crockpot Turkey Stew
1 cup pearl barley
1 large sweet potato
1 bunch kale (I use lacinato, not the curly-makes chopping easier)
2 lbs ground turkey thigh (organic, if you can find it)
I make this in my crockpot, but you could precook the barley and make on the stove as well. I just like the ease of throwing it all in one pot.
First rinse the barley, then pour on the bottom of the crockpot. Add about 2-2.5 cups water. Peel and chop the sweet potato in thin slices. Rinse and finely chop the kale. Add the ground turkey, and mix it all together. Cook on low 6-8 hrs. That's it!
Once the mixture has cooled a bit, you can portion it out into 1/2 cup or 1 cup portions, depending on how much your pup eats. The mixture will be soft, so you can use a measuring scoop and distribute each "scoop" into baggies. I freeze mine, and take enough out for 2 days at a time. Thaw in the fridge, to prevent any contamination.
This recipe can be added to kibble to enhance flavor, although I supplement with a full spectrum nutritional powder. I also give raw chicken thighs once or twice per week (bones included), and the occasional sardine. My dog loves them! You can experiment with the protein source, but I've found chicken and turkey to be the cheapest.
I would love to hear what you feed your pups, and please share any delicious recipes you may have! Of course, always consult your vet before changing over your pup's food, and do so gradually.
In the meantime, Happy Eating!
|Posted by andrea.cherrington on May 20, 2015 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
So, the other day I was searching for something dog related (of course) online, and came across a new app that's been launched, Wag! If you're not familiar with this, it's basically described as "uber for dogwalking" which is somewhat concerning for me. Living in nyc, I get that people have hectic work schedules and crazy lives, and booking a dog walk last minute shouldn't have to be a time consuming task. I will say that we go out of our way as much as humanly possible to cater to our clients' needs, but the thought of having a different dog walker coming into your home all the time, accessing your keys and apartment, and walking your precious pup, seems borderline crazy!
I'm not sure the creators of this app have a true sense and understanding for these canine creatures and the environments in which they live. I can't even count the number of times I've dealt patiently with sensitive pups who are picky about who enters their home, what kind of treats motivate them to walk; dogs who have fears and anxieties, dogs who have triggers, allergies; extremely leash reactive dogs, neighbors down the block who let their unbehaved toy poodle run down the sidewalk while you're walking your extremely leash reactive pup, dogs who have a tendency to nip at the squealing elementary aged school children as they spill down the streets at dismissal, dogs who will tear up your drywall if you forget to leave out their peanut butter kong, dogs who will pluck a chicken bone off the street before you can blink...the list goes on and on.
In a way, i feel this app is an insult to dogwalkers. There is a dangerous misconception within the general public that seems to think dogwalking is easy, just strap on a leash and go, right? Don't worry about not having working knowledge of how animals think and interact with each other, how to read body language, how to safely use equipment, how to keep pets out of danger, and how to navigate crowded city sidewalks. Yeah, that stuff isn't important! We pride ourselves in cultivating a realtionship with clients and their pets, and know that dogs thrive on routine and consistency. Would you want a different babysitter every day for your children? i know i wouldn't! I respect the fact that when we are handed over those keys, it's the start of a long and trusted relationship with the client and the pet, not that I am just a commodity.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Would you ever use the wag app? If so, under what circumstances?
Red and Buckwheat. Buckwheat thrived on his walks with Red, and was a nervous wreck when we first started walking him. A good example of a dog who needed consistency and patience.
|Posted by andrea.cherrington on May 10, 2015 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
After a long, hard winter and a passive aggressive April, we are finally experiencing a beautiful, blooming May. Which means the neighborhood has quadrupled in size, and loads of four legged fluff monsters are leashed up and feeling the effects of the brutal winter. And this brings me to the topic of equipment. Of course, nothing can substitute for a strong training foundation and bond with your pup, but the right doggie gear can help you along the way-gotta fake it till ya make it! For about a year, we've been using the Walk Your Dog With Love harnesses and recommending them to clients. There is no "one harness fits all" but this comes pretty close. We prefer it over the EasyWalk and Sensation because it tends to not sag and stretch the way those harnesses do over time, and there is the "upgrade" option for the sporty, thicker material which also is a nicer, softer, fit on dogs who have sensitive skin under the armpit area. They also come in about a million (ok, maybe 10) colors, and all have reflective material for nighttime walking. Plus, it's so easy to put on, my 3 year old can do it.
We also love this company because everything is made in the USA and harnesses are donated to shelters and rescue groups. And as we know, walking a dog on a front clip harness is gentle, effective, and waaay easier than a slip lead or collar/leash combo, giving you much more control on the bustling city streets.
Happy Gus sporting his WYDWL harness.