Magnuson Park in Seattle

Dog Park in SeattleEnjoying the Dog Days at Magnuson Park in Seattle, Washington

What once upon a time was a Navy airfield, has now become one of the most enjoyable places in Seattle for you and your dog. With its nine acres set on the shores of Lake Washington, Warren G. Magnuson Park provides plenty of fun filled options for an inquisitive Fido that wants to run off leash.

In the securely fenced in dog area, you will find romping pooches all around. At the doggie beach area, cool water waits for splashing through and retrieving balls. Want more? The parks many fenced in winding trails offer not only exercise for you and your pet, but amazing views of Washington flora and fauna as well. Some other amenities include a safe small dog area and water hose stations for your thirsty friend or a quick rinse.

So grab Spot and relax on the beach, play a game of fetch in the rolling fields, or take a stroll through her scenic tree filled paths. All in all, Magnuson Park is perfect for a day trip with your special friend. So be sure not to miss out on a visit to this hound heaven.

By the way, some of the larger fields and meandering paths can get a bit muddy in the Seattle rain, so don’t forget boots for your paws too!

Photo: Flickr

How Often a Dog Should Be Walked

Frequency of Dog WalksThe question of how often a dog should be walked is a tricky one, since it depends largely on the breed and energy level of the dog. I will try to give you some advice here, so you’ll know how often to walk your dog – or to recommend to your dog walking clients.

More energetic dogs, such as terriers or spaniels, need to be walked several times a day to release some of their energy. This is also true of larger breeds, like labs or golden retrievers. Walking is a great way to give your dog some exercise and stay fit and trim. Younger dogs will be less destructive at home (biting furniture, tearing things, barking, chewing…etc) if they are able to expend their energy outside.

Smaller or older, less active breeds do not need to be walked quite so frequently. They can often play indoors and still get the exercise they need. However, a general rule for walking your dog is to take him or her out at least two times a day, regardless of breed, energy level, or size. This gives the dog a chance to exercise, play, and take care of business while outside.

In many ways, dogs are just like people in the sense that if they do not get the exercise they need, they are less healthy and have less energy overall. Every dog needs to be walked on a regular basis in order to ensure optimal health and happiness for your furry friend.

Photo: flickr

Dogs That Shouldn’t Be Taken to a Public Dog Park or Run

Old Dog in Dog ParkTaking your dog to a public dog park can be a great form of exercise and socialization. However, you should follow certain guidelines, not just limited to the rules of the particular dog park or dog run. This is more than just a matter of courtesy, but it’s also a matter of safety for your dog and for other dogs.

The first factor to consider is the dog’s age. Often times, a puppy can be a little too rambunctious for some older dogs. A puppy’s behavior, while loveable to you, may be irritating to an aging dog. This could cause a fight to break out, possibly resulting in an injury. Additionally, younger dogs may be more susceptible to germs and/or other contagious illnesses.

For your little one’s protection, it is best to wait until he or she is at least 6 months of age before making trips to the dog park.

You may also want to use caution if your dog is older. Certain breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, are prone to hip and joint problems as they age. Younger dogs may want to play rough, which could be too hard on an older dog’s body. Older dogs may be more likely to become injured running around a dog park.

You should also consider if the dog is spayed or neutered. A dog may try to mate with other dogs if he or she is still intact, so it is common courtesy not to bring these dogs to a dog park. Not only is it inappropriate behavior for a public dog park, but it can be uncomfortable to other dog owners.

If your dog has been sick for more than a few hours, it’s best not to visit a public dog run or park. The dog may be contagious, and that might make other dogs sick. While it’s encouraged to bring a dog to a veterinarian when sick, sometimes that’s not feasible, especially after just a day or two.  If you suspect your dog might be ill, do not visit the dog park and risk the health of other dogs.

Lastly, you should consider the dog’s aggression and socialization levels. It is best to bring aggressive breeds, such as Rottweilers, to the park when they are young to encourage socialization. If you wait until the dog is older, he or she may become more aggressive towards other dogs. For safety reasons, you should not bring your adult dog to a dog park if he or she is a known aggressor.

Most of these things are likely to be common sense, but they are important to recognize for the safety of your dog and others.

Photo: Flickr

Give a Valentines Day Gift to Your Dog Walker

Valentines Day Most of us give an extra special holiday tip to our favorite dog walkers during the Christmas season. They work hard all year, and it’s nice to be able to give a reward / bonus to them, which will certainly be helpful for them as they buy their loved ones Xmas gifts.

In case you haven’t thought about this already, Valentines Day (February 14th) is a great time to say “thanks” to your dog walker in a special and unique way!  It’s probable that this gift will come as a complete surprise, which will make it all the more fun.

Here are 5 suggestions for fun Valentines Day gifts:

  • Chocolate or Candy – What person doesn’t like sweets?
  • Home made cookies or brownies – Great way to show you care.
  • Flowers – Make sure your dog walker (or spouse) doesn’t get the wrong idea!
  • Gift Certificate – Always appreciated.
  • Valentines Day Card – Just to say thanks.

Your Valentines Day gifts don’t have to be expensive to make a nice impact.  Giving your dog walker a Valentines Day gift or card is a great way to say thank you and to show you care.

DoodyCalls of Columbia, Inc.

DoodyCalls is the nation’s trusted leader in pet waste removal services for homeowners and communities. Doody is our duty, and we take our job seriously—with all our services 100% guaranteed. Our friendly, professional technicians pick up where your pet left off, so you don’t have to. We’re guessing you have much better things to do with your time!

We also offer Kitty Litter service to our clients. Never buy Kitty Litter again!

We serve Home owner association, apartment complexes, parks, and other businesses that our pets frequent. DoodyCalls sells and services pet waste stations including the stations and waste bags.

How to Walk an Old Dog

Old DogYou have to be careful when you are walking an older dog because old dogs are not always active and in full health. They could have health problems such as arthritis that make it very hard for them to walk for long distances. Therefore, the first thing to keep in mind is that you should take an old dog on a short walk. Do not take it too far from your home so that you can head back if the dog seems to be laboring or having trouble.

One good trick is just to walk on a small area near your home that you can traverse multiple times. This way, you can keep going if the dog is enjoying it but you will never be too far away if the dog has trouble — remember, the dog will have to walk all of the way back if you go a long ways from your home and then it begins to struggle.

Along similar lines, be ready to take frequent breaks. Many times an old dog will just need to rest its joints and catch its breath. You should only take it for a walk when you have enough time to take these breaks.

If you want to take an older dog to the dog park or dog run, you’ll want to make sure there’s a shady area to rest. Your dog probably won’t want to run around and play with the younger dogs. You should also make sure you have water for your dog to drink. If your dog looks overly tired and gets snippy, it’s probably time to go home.

Photo: Flickr

Choose the Right Dog Walking Service

Choosing the right dog walking service for you and your dog is very important. There are many things to consider, and it’s important that you get along with the dog walker, the dog walker treats your dog well, your dog walker is honest and prompt, and a number of other things that may differ depending on the individual’s needs and the needs of the dog.

Here are five important considerations to make when choosing the right dog walker.

1. It is important to make sure that the dog walker and the dog get along. In other words, their personalities should not clash so much that it makes it difficult for either to feel comfortable. The dog should be able to trust the walker, and the walker should be able to communicate with the dog.

2. The dog walker should have references. They should have experience walking other dogs, ensuring that they know how to handle the situation and will not showcase carelessness. It is best for the dog walker to be local, so any references given may be somebody that the dog’s owner knows.

3. People who own dogs, either in the present or the past, make good dog walkers. If they have never owned a dog, they should at least be fond of animals. It is never advisable to leave a pet with somebody who simply wants to make extra money.

4. They should be able to keep up with the routine of the dog, no matter what it is. If the dog has to be walked during certain hours of the day, such as early morning or late at night, the walker should be able to handle that.

Death of a Pet Owner

Sari Reis is owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services, a dog walking service in San Diego.

Last week one of my clients sent me an email with a very special request that has been resonating within me ever since. He asked me if I would be willing to be his dog’s caretaker if something should happen to him. Needless to day, I was touched, honored and thrown a little off kilter. I have never had a client ask that of me before.  After discussing the details of his request and giving the matter a great deal of consideration, I said yes. He thanked me profusely for giving him peace of mind knowing his “best friend” will be looked after.

I was so moved by this request that I started doing some research. What I found out was alarming. Every year in the United States 500,000 dogs and cats are placed in shelters due to their owner’s death or inability to continue caring for their pets. Almost all of these animals are adoptable but due to the trauma of moving from a stable loving home to a crowded and often frightening shelter environment, many of the “orphaned” pets do not adjust very well. They refuse to eat, become despondent or fear – aggressive and are categorized as unadoptable and therefore euthanized; and all because the owner didn’t plan for the possibility of their pets outliving them.

This doesn’t have to happen. By appropriate planning for this contingency, an “orphaned” companion animal can make a fairly smooth transition into a continuing care situation. The planning involves three major steps:

1)   Identifying potential caregivers for the pet and getting their commitment to taking on the responsibility.

Finding the appropriate caretaker can be done several ways. A pet owner can talk to friends and relatives and see if one of them would be willing to accept the responsibility. They can ask the veterinarian for suggestions. Talk to local pet sitters/dog walkers, doggie daycare facilities, dog groomers and boarders, rescue groups and other animal welfare organizations.

Another option besides re-homing the pet, is placing them in a Perpetual Care Facility. Many universities that have Veterinary Colleges offer this type of care. Animal welfare groups, such as Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, are another possibility. These continuing lifetime care programs are especially good for animals that have “special needs” and may be more difficult to place in a private home.

2)   Putting together a list of instructions for the pet’s ongoing care.

This list should include:

  • The pet’s diet – what food he eats, when he eats, how often, the amount of food and how it is prepared
  • The location of leash, harness, crate, carrier, litter box, food and water bowls, bed, toys, etc.
  • Veterinary information – the veterinarian’s name, address, phone number, and location of veterinary records; allergies, medications, immunization history and any other important data regarding the pet’s health.
  • Personality traits – such as likes other dogs/cats, good with children, pulls on leash, loves affection, loves to play fetch, doesn’t like paws touched, commands the dog understands and so on.

3)   Setting up some sort of legal documentation and financial arrangements to pay for the lifetime care of the pet.

Currently there are 38 states that have Pet Trust Statutes. A pet trust is a legal method that ensures that your pet will receive continuing care. There are a couple of different types of pet trusts and it should be determined which is the best for a given situation. In the trust, the pet owner names the caregiver or guardians for the pet, the instructions for his/her ongoing care, and a method of funding that ongoing care. These “pet trusts” can be set up through a lawyer or estate planner or can even be set up online at a couple of different sites including and (Make sure you access the appropriate state information if you do this.)

There is a wealth of information available on this subject on the Internet I suggest you start at: This wonderful organization provides free brochures to dog walkers and pet sitters, which can be distributed to your clients.

Since I received that email from my client and doing my research, I have added assistance in continuing care planning as one of my services to my clients. I urge you to do your planning now…before it is too late.

Hickory Makes History at Westminster

Westminster Kennel ClubFor the first time in its 135-year history, the Westminster Kennel Dog Show rewarded a Scottish Deerhound with the title of Best in Show. Hickory (officially named GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind) was picked over 2,000 other purebred show dogs who gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY for the annual competition.

Resembling its better-known relatives the Irish Wolfhound and Greyhound, the Scottish Deerhound is a tall dog with long, wiry hair. They are large dogs, but agile. Used by Scottish nobility, they have the ability to chase and run down deer in a matter of minutes. As a result, they developed a personality that combines focus and dignity with high energy and playfulness.

In fact, it was her dignity and poise that gave five-year-old Hickory the edge. Judge Paolo Dondina described her as “a most perfect creature of heaven.” Her handler, Angela Lloyd, said Hickory “showed like she’s never shown before.“ This was particularly impressive given her unfamiliar and overwhelming surroundings.

This was Hickory’s last show before retirement, regardless of the outcome. Her post-victory rounds include a steak dinner at Sardi’s and a trip to the Empire State Building. Afterwards, her owners plan to return her to their 56-acre Virginia farm and begin having puppies.

Scottish Deerhound Photo: Flickr

Great Video from Fetch! Petcare of Southwest Pittsburgh

I want to share a great marketing video from the owners of Fetch! Petcare of Southwest Pittsburgh, a company that offers pet sitting, pet care, and dog walking in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The video is used as a marketing tool to show dog owners that their dogs will be left in a loving environment while in the care of the Fetch! team.

If you own a dog walking or pet care company, you should consider creating a video so your clients can learn more about your company and know their dogs will be left in good hands.

“Woof. What a Walk!”- Robert Bott – Dog Walker Extraordinaire

My Dog Walking service is tailored to you and your best pal’s needs. I provide all the attention, affection and exercise your dog needs to be happy, healthy and looking forward to Robert’s next fun visit. 🐾

I live in Milford enjoying 9+ years experience in reliable care and handling dogs of all shapes and sizes. I love dogs and will become one of your pooch’s best friends.🐕

References readily available.

San Francisco Dog Walking Regulation Proposal

Dog Walker in San FranciscoThere have been some rumblings in the city of San Francisco that might impact professional dog walkers in San Francisco. City Supervisor, Scott Wiener, has suggested the idea of requiring professional dog walkers to obtain an official permit in order to bring dogs to city parks.

This new proposal is offered in response to recent news of possible federal regulations limiting off-leash dog walking on national parklands in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. GGNRA park managers have sought efforts to enact a maintenance plan that would help resolve a number of costly and time-consuming issues attributed to dog walking activities in the area. The city-wide regulation would act as a preemptive measure that would ease the impact of a federal regulation on dog walking.

Supervisor Wiener has expressed concerns that a regulation limiting dog walking activities on federal parklands would lead to a significant influx of professional dog walkers conducting their businesses in city parks. City officials and other supporters of the proposal believe that a regulation on professional dog walking would encourage dog walkers to maintain order and cleanliness of the animals and of the city’s 27 parks that currently allow off-leash dog walking.

If the city regulation is approved, it could produce outcomes that are both favorable and detrimental to professional dog walkers, dog owners, and non-dog-owners alike. It’s an issue that has become a hot topic for dog walkers and dog walking organizations in San Francisco.

Photo: Flickr

Types of Insurance a Professional Dog Walker Should Have

Insurance for Dog WalkersWhen choosing the right insurance for your business as a professional dog walker, there are several things to consider. Planning for the unforeseen is a crucial part of selecting insurance that provides best for you, your personal and business assets, and limits your liability for any pet in your care.

While you may not think an animal in your care could be injured, or that a dog you’re walking in the neighborhood would bite someone, these things can and do happen, and they can happen without any notice (and to anyone). There are many reasons why dog walker insurance is important.

Professional liability and bonding are two forms of insurance that are available through a number of sources including the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, which offers members additional health, dental and life insurance options. Another source for liability insurance is through an insurance company that specializes in policies for businesses. Among these types are Business Insurers of the Carolinas, PSA Insurance Services and Mourer-Foster Inc.

Before getting a policy, make sure the annual liability limits are sufficient, and will cover vet or medical bills, damage to property, and loss of life for a pet in your care. Other things to consider include coverage if you are transporting a pet, and coverage for a family member or employee that may be working for you.

It’s recommended that you contact a lawyer for more information about the insurance you need as a dog walker and a business owner. Make sure you are protecting yourself and your family, while ensuring the safety of the dogs you walk.

Lake Country Dog

Lake Country Dog offer a broad range of services from Puppy Potty Breaks to Overnight Cage-less Boarding and 24/7 care. – 10,000 Visits in 30 Days!

I don’t like to “toot our own horn” as they say, but I am very proud of the latest accomplishment – 10,000+ visits in 30 days. As I’ve mentioned in the past, traffic to continues to grow each month. The website was created in late November / early December of 2009, and it’s seen incredible growth in the last year.

First we hit 1,000 visits, then 3,000 visits…etc. Now it’s over 10,000 visits in 30 days… Wow!  Thank you for coming and returning!

When the website was launched, saw somewhere around 5 visits a day, meaning that in a month, there were only around 150 visits. As people became more aware of the website due to good search engine optimization and marketing, traffic continued to grow.

I am very proud of the fact that around 50% of the traffic comes from search engines, because it shows that our website efforts are paying off. However, I am even more proud of the fact that around a quarter of the traffic is direct navigation traffic. To me, this means that people are learning about from friends and family, and instead of searching Google or Bing, they are coming directly to the site!

Advantages of Opening A Dog Walking Franchise

Pet ShopOpening a dog walking franchise can be an exciting, enjoyable and profitable business venture. It has many benefits and advantages. In the US, there are a number of  franchisors that have dog walking services as a main offering, and two that are very well known: Fetch Pet Care and Camp Bow Wow.

Perhaps the best aspect about opening a local franchise is that if you love dogs, you’ll get to be around them all day long. You’ll be able to pet them, hear them bark, see them happily wag their tails, and simply enjoy their daily company. You’ll be satisfying your passion for dogs in the context of a successfully branded franchise.

Branding is superb for customer visibility and trust. The franchise uses its financial power to market and position itself in the strongest light to building regular customers. This can be very helpful to a dog care franchisee. When customers move to a new area, they will instantly recognize the pet care company when they look for a new dog walker.

Another advantage is that you receive advertising and marketing materials from franchise headquarters. These products are essential to building up a loyal customer following and securing a more dedicated customer base for your dog walking business. You’ll also be helped with successful business plans and be taught which is the best proven approach to use for daily business strategy for operations excellence.

The next aspect is that you’ll be your own boss, but with the franchise’s support. For the most part, you’ll be able to set your own hours and your own rates. You’ll certainly make more money owning your own business than if you were a dog walker working for someone else.

When starting a new business, there is a lot to learn. How much food do you order, what types of crates and cages should be stocked, who would make the best employees, how much do you pay dog walkers and employees…etc. With the help of a franchise, many of your questions can be answered by the home office or other franchisees in other locations.

Opening a pet care franchise might make sense for you in lieu of opening a brand new business.

Photo: Flickr

Online Pet Photo Contest to Raise Money for Spay & Neuter

The Humane Society of the United States in holding an online photo contest to raise money for various organizations that do spaying and neutering across the United States.  I just entered my 3 year old puggle, Lucy, into the contest, and I have no doubts that Lucy should be the winner!

Votes cost $1.00 each, and all of the proceeds benefit great organizations!  Lucy’s entry will benefit the Lowell Humane Society in Lowell, Massachusetts.  She already has 25 votes but needs many more to win.

You can also enter your favorite pet into the photo contest. You can even enter pets that are no longer alive as a memorial for them. Prizes will be awarded to the winners, so visit the HSUS website for more details.

Here’s Lucy’s contest page! Please vote for Lucy or for another dog of your choice, and you can help out some great pet organizations while doing it.

Please Help Us Support Ronald McDonald House

5 Boro Bike TourLast year, my wife Karen and I participated on the Ronald McDonald House of New York’s “Team Ronald” in the 42-mile, 5 Boro Bike Tour in New York City. With the financial support of our friends, family, and colleagues, we were able to raise nearly $4,000 for the Ronald McDonald House.

On May 2, 2011, my wife are once again riding on Team Ronald to help raise funds.

This year, we’re starting a couple weeks earlier, and we’ve raised our fundraising goal to $5,000. In addition to riding and raising funds, is also sponsoring Team Ronald, and we’ll be wearing a logo on our bike shirt sleeves. RMDH is a great organization, and my wife and I are going to do what we can to support it.

If you aren’t familiar with this non-profit organization, the Ronald McDonald House provides support and care for families who have children battling cancer.  According to the RMDH website, the organization’s mission is to “support each family and coordinate emotional and physical services, psychological care, ministry support, wellness programs, tutors, music, art, transportation, activities for siblings, holiday and birthday parties and camaraderie for parents struggling with their child’s cancer diagnosis.”

Put simply, the people at Ronald McDonald House help make the lives of child cancer patients and their families better (and easier) when they need it most – as they fight cancer.

I ask you to please consider making a donation to the Ronald McDonald House of New York to help us help them. No donation is too small (or too big!). I know they will really appreciate anything you can give, and I personally appreciate your generosity.

Grist Mill Dog Park in Mt. Vernon, Virginia

Dog Park in Mt. Vernon, VirginiaEstablished in April 2006, Grist Mill Dog Park is located at 4710 Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway in Fairfax County, Virginia. It is one of seven official dog parks in the county.

All dog breeds are welcome to run, play, and exercise at the park. The dogs are permitted to be off leash in the park as long as they are well-behaved. The dog park encompasses one acre of ground, which is enough room for 64 dogs to play comfortably although it is typically well below capacity.

Grist Mill Dog Park is surrounded by a fence to ensure the safety of the dogs. It has a gravel surface, technically known as bluestone dust, rather than grass. The park has three benches and several scattered trees.

Visitors to the park can expect to find dogs of all sizes running and playing in the park. The dogs’ owners usually let them run free. Tennis balls and various chew toys for dogs, along with water bowls, can typically be found on the ground in the park. Dogs can drink from a water pump in the park.

To reach Grist Mill Dog Park, if you are traveling north on U.S. Route 1, turn right onto Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway and drive 1.4 miles. The park entrance is on the left, just past the intersection with Route 623. The off-leash dog area is in the front section of the park, just past a barn and a garden area.

Photo: Flickr

Creating a Good Dog Walker Website

As we all know by now, having a website is important for any company, especially those that generate business online. I want to share some ideas with you about what I think makes a great website for dog walkers and dog walking services. I am not a search engine marketing expert, nor am I a web programmer, so I will leave those two aspects for others to discuss.

When you are setting up a dog walking service there are, of course, a few important issues that you must keep in mind. Clearly, at the top of the list is a like (if not love!) for all kind of dogs. After all, you will be spending the bulk of your time with them. Yet, what would a dog walker be without dogs to walk? That means you need clients.

No doubt most people use the Internet to find and research the services and goods that they purchase each and every day. You need to have a good dog walking website that will tell visitors about what you offer. First of all, make sure that your site is easy to navigate and understand. This is an important point that translates to virtually any website. Key information should be on your home page, as many visitors might not bother to click numerous other pages. Visitors need to be able to easily understand the basics of your dog walking services upon first glance.

Once you are sure that the information on your site is clearly laid out for the visitor, make sure that it also looks pleasant and has a professional looking logo. Remember the look and feel of your page serves as a de facto calling card about you and your level of professionalism.

Good dog walking websites should also contain information about your experience and the number of years you have been walking dogs. It is a good idea to include other key details, such as insurance and bonding, as well as any relevant memberships and organizations you belong to. People need to feel comfortable and confident that you can get the job done and will responsibly care for their pets. The inclusion of testimonials from customers is also a prudent move.

Additionally, a simple to use contact form that asks for a prospect’s phone number, email address and location is a must have. Incorporate all these factors into your dog walking website, and your business prospects should be barking in no time!