Decatur Dog Walking

Have A Happy 5th of July With A Safe 4th Of July - Dog Walking And Pet Sitting Atlanta And Decatur

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Woohoo! The long, holiday weekend has arrived! Here at Whoa Doggy!, we are getting prepared for the busy weekend, as lots of our clients are taking short vacations over the long weekend, and we are providing vacation pet sitting services.

There is never a shortage of fun, family-friendly ways to celebrate Independence Day in Atlanta. The 4th of July is a celebration of our Nation's independence, but is also synonymous with outdoor celebrations, BBQs with friends and family, and of course, fireworks!

There's always a party pooper, though. Every year, on the 5th of July, while we're out walking dogs, we see a lot of “lost dog” posters around our intown Decatur and Atlanta neighborhoods for dogs that were so spooked by fireworks, they escaped their homes in an attempt to get away from the scary noises.

Infographic courtesy of Tagg Pet Tracker

It is more common than you might think, and nothing will ruin your fun holiday weekend quicker than your beloved furry family member trying to make a run for it.

According to Tagg Pet Tracker, more pets run away on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. Between the 4th and 6th, there is a 30% increase in runaway dogs!

Luckily, there are a few simple precautions you can take to keep your pup nice and calm, and let him be a part of your holiday festivities. 

Here are a few quick tips to help keep your dogs safe and sound during this holiday.

Keep guests informed with a note. Include your dog in your party.

Let your guests know that they need to participate in keeping your pets safe.

Let your guests know that they need to participate in keeping your pets safe.

This should be easy since our dogs are usually the life of the party anyway!

Keep them safe by asking your guests to keep doors and gates closed at all times to prevent accidental escapes.

Putting a note on doors and gates is a great way to remind guests that your pup should remain safely inside these areas.

Side note:  If your party is outside, remember to have plenty of cool, fresh water on-hand! Be sure to refresh those water bowls often, and remember to provide plenty of shade for your pup! Your human guests will appreciate it, too!

 

What the heck was that?!

As the evening approaches, there will surely be sounds of 4th of July celebrations and fireworks in the area. Many dogs are terrified of these noises and try to escape or outrun them.

We have actually heard stories of dogs jumping through glass windows to get away from the sound of fireworks...yikes!

Do not leave your dog outside where he may be tempted to jump the fence. It’s also a lot noisier out there and can increase the anxiety your dog might have. Keep your dog indoors in a safe, comfortable room where he cannot escape. Be mindful of any doors or windows left open (even a crack), and secure them so your pup can’t sneak out, or get hurt trying to.

If you know you’ll be away from home during the evening hours, be sure to leave a few lights on and set up his favorite bed with a few of his favorite toys to make sure he’s comfy. If you know your dog gets super anxious from fireworks, thunder, or strange noises, it might be worth it to consider staying home, or bringing him with you if you are going to a dog-friendly place where he’ll be safe and comfy.

ThunderShirts aren’t just for thunder!

Cody during a thunderstorm in his ThunderShirt. Cool as a cucumber.

Cody during a thunderstorm in his ThunderShirt. Cool as a cucumber.

We have seen them work wonders. ThunderShirts work by basically swaddling, or hugging your dog. This constant, gentle pressure is what relieves their anxiety and makes them feel safe. According to the ThunderShirt website, over 80% of dogs and cats show significant improvement in symptoms when using ThunderShirt. They are super cute, too! You can find them at just about any pet shop in Atlanta or Decatur. We got ours from Inman Park Pet Works and couldn’t be happier.  

Use a GPS Tracker on your Dog's Collar

If all else fails, at least you will have a way of locating your dog. Products like Tagg Pet Tracker are great for telling you your dog's whereabouts. Not only can you locate your dog instantly through their handy mobile app, but you can also get alerts on your mobile device any time your pet leaves your home! Sure, it may seem like overkill, but it can be the critical difference in your pet's safety. If you have a pet that is inclined to bolt out the door, we highly recommend a product like this!

Microchips for all!

We always recommend getting your dog microchipped. A microchip is a tiny computer chip, about the size of a grain of rice, which gets implanted in your dog. The microchip contains your contact information, so that if your pet was ever found, he can be taken to just about any vet in the area to get the chip scanned. You can think of it like a permanent dog tag. There are many places to get your pet microchipped for as little as $25, including the Atlanta Humane Society. If you do a little searching, you might even find a local even that will microchip your pet for free!

And last, but certainly not least, ALWAYS keep a tag on your dog when he is not is a crate.

How do you keep your pets safe and comfy during the 4th of July holiday? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below! 

Why Your Dog Needs To Be Walked Daily

Most dog breeds were originally bred to do a job. Whether it is hunting, sporting, tracking, or herding, even if your dog is a mixed breed, there's a high probability that he has some traits in his genes that drive him to do certain activities.

In today's world, most dogs are house pets. They're our companions, our best friends, and our movie-watching snuggle buddies. We don't typically put our dogs to work, especially living in a city like Atlanta or Decatur. So what can you do to satisfy your dog's innate urges?

Dog walking, that's what. 

The most obvious benefit of walking your dog is the exercise, and of course, a potty break. According to the ASPCA, at least one 30-minute on-leash dog walk per day is necessary to maintain their physical health. Elderly pets also greatly benefit for daily dog walking routine, as the walks keep a senior dog more active, and does so at a pace that's more comfortable for them. 

Doggy Happiness Index

Study conducted by the Whoa Doggy! Dog Walking Team in 2015 on a scale of 1-10. Key factors include wagging tails, treat consumption, propensity to allow belly rubs, and doggy smiles.

If you're not actively engaged with your dog, he will sleep the hours away

Bailey, asking for her walk.

Bailey, asking for her walk.

A fenced-in back yard is fantastic for your dog to get a quick potty break here and there between dog walking. It's a dream come true for playing fetch and getting great exercise! But he needs someone to throw the ball. He needs a playful wrestling partner. Leave him alone in the back yard and watch him for a few minutes. Is he running? Is he exercising? Probably not. He's just meandering and sniffing, barking at passers by through the fence, or even just laying in his favorite spot taking in some rays.

In short, fenced-in back yards and dog parks are wonderful for exercise, but they are not a replacement for walking your dog. Here's why:

DOGS CAN BE LAZY BUMS

There, I said it! We like to think of them as these big balls of energy who bounce off the walls in excitement all the time. But the reality is that they sleep. A lot.

All dogs need to be walked

Here's why dog walking is so important: On a walk, there are several forms of stimulation that your dog simply can't get with other forms of exercise.

  • Mental stimulation. Your dog is a super-nerd about canine urine. Ever wonder exactly why that tree your dog's been sniffing for the last 90 seconds is so dang interesting to him? The answer is as nerdy as it gets: Data
    When a dog gets to slow down and investigate every smell, every sight, every sound, he is gathering information about his territory that he didn't have the last time he walked that route.  He's just doing his "job" and identifying who's been on his turf. Then he'll reclaim it as his own. Job done.
  • Taking in the world around him. And I mean, reeeallly taking it in. As in, getting used to it and accepting it as normal, and therefore making your dog more calm. On your walk, you're bound to see other people, children, and other dogs. He'll also see and hear cars, skateboards, lawnmowers and leaf blowers, and he'll hear a neighbor's dog barking through a fence, etc. Frequent exposure to all of these potentially scary or overwhelming sounds will lessen their effect on your dog, and he will be more calm as a result.
  • Behavior Training. Walking your dog also gives you the opportunity to work on his training. You read the books. You paid the trainer. You learned that training a dog is often times more about training YOU! You have to stick to the training techniques you learned to make your dog behave the way you want him to. He needs the structure. It makes him calm because he knows exactly what's going to happen next, all the time. Heel. Sit. Wait for the light to turn before you cross the street. And because his reward is a happy human and maybe even a couple of treats during and after his dog walk, he's a very happy pup! Did you know that a quality, professional dog walker can help you reinforce your dog's training?

In today's hectic environment, with busy professional schedules, kids' soccer practice and swim lessons, your work travel schedule, and even your family vacation, your dog's life can easily play second fiddle. Hiring a professional dog walker is a great way to help get your dog the daily stimulation and sense of accomplishment that he needs. When you get home from your busy schedule, your pup will not only be happy as ever to see you, but he'll also be calmer, more stimulated, and a little bit smarter about his (your) neighborhood. 

If you've been wondering if a daily dog walker is right for you and your pup, ask us about our Dog Walking Services. We have a dedicated team of wonderful professional dog walkers, and we service your intown Atlanta and Decatur neighborhoods with daily dog walking routes.

How has a daily dog walker helped in your dog's life? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

Your Referrals Make Whoa Doggy!'s World Go 'Round!

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Hey There!

We absolutely love what we do! We are so grateful for the opportunity to do work that matters deeply to us, and that the work we do has a wonderful impact on your pet's life (and yours, too!). Whoa Doggy! is a dream come true for our talented team, and we have to thank you, our clients, for making our dreams come true every day.

THANK YOU!!!


It is our top priority that your experience with Whoa Doggy! is just as rewarding in your life as it is in ours. We love updating you with fun text messages and pictures while we're showing your pet a good time. We do our best to make scheduling your visits as easy as possible. We have policies that serve to ensure a happy, wag-and-purr-worthy time for your pet, while also placing an emphasis in your pet's safety and the security of your home.

We hope you've noticed. And it is our hope that you will tell your neighbors, friends, and colleagues about our service! 

WE CURRENTLY HAVE AVAILABILITY ON OUR MON-FRI SCHEDULE FOR 6 MID-DAY DOG WALKS!


We are small. We are local. We cater to the community we live in, and nothing helps a small, local business like ours more than a glowing referral. A referral is the ultimate compliment you can give, and it is the lifeblood of our small team. If you are just as thrilled with our service as we are about providing them, give us a shout out to your peers!

DID YOU KNOW THAT NEXTDOOR AND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD / PARENT MESSAGE BOARDS ARE A BIG SOURCE OF REFERRALS FOR WHOA DOGGY!?


If you are an active member on a similar online community, we would be so flattered if you wrote a post  to share your experience with Whoa Doggy! with your peers. 

In addition to talking about us in your community message boards, you can also share your experience by leaving a Google+ review or a Yelp review.

Thank you for all you do for us!

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Wags & Hugs

Garey Gomez
Owner, Professional Pet Sitter & Belly Rubber

Our First Two-Star Review And Why You Should Care

Well, it happened. We received our very first negative review. Two stars in fact. Ouch!

The Good:  The meet & greet went well and dog walking visits were off to a great start. On our end, Andrea really enjoyed spending time with the dog and always gave a fun report about their time together.

The Not-So-Good:  Our reviewer was not comfortable with our key policy and preferred instead, to rely on a key lockbox to be left on his property which was also accessible by 3 other in-home services.


That’s the gist of the review, and once we got past the initial sting of it, we’ve recognized it as an important opportunity for us to talk more about our key policy and what it means to our clients, and their precious furry families.

We require two working sets of keys. They do not have to be given to us during the meet & greet, but we do need them prior to beginning our service. We adhere to this policy at all times, with every client.

We will not leave keys hidden on clients’ property, in a plant pot, under a mat, or in a lockbox, and we do not share keys with other parties...including other in-home services. We don’t attract attention by searching for and re hiding a key, or entering a code in a hidden or visible lockbox. 

In short, our key policy is in place so that we can guarantee a professional, reliable, and consistent service to all of our clients. We treat our clients’ keys ethically, and professionally and have well thought out, detailed policies and procedures in place to protect clients’ anonymity, privacy, and security, and to be able to maintain a pet visit schedule that is uncompromised. Even in a pinch. Even in an emergency.

Exactly one month ago, I received a call from a frantic nanny who worked for one of our regular clients. Actually, frantic is an understatement. She had the old “hide-a-key” arrangement with our client, and never actually had her own key. Apparently, she also did not have a back up plan in place for an emergency...or an accident...because those never happen. Long story short, what I was able to hear between her hyperventilating and panic, is that she was locked out of the house and the baby was locked inside the house. No key, no backup plan. Our clients, who were already beginning their workday alllllll the way in Alpharetta, asked her to call me...their pet sitter.

Because we have a key policy that can be counted on.

Without skipping a beat, I was able to let the nanny into the house within minutes...thankfully, the baby was still napping peacefully. I was even able to lend her my key for the rest of the day, because (per our key policy) I had a backup key securely locked in a key safe back at my office. Whew. I guess you could say, our key policy saved the day.


I was able to breathe easy that day because I remained 100% accountable for every aspect of my job. Had we made an exception to our key policy and shared the hide-a-key with the nanny (and anyone else who had access to it), I would have spent the afternoon hyperventilating alongside her, simply because she did not put the key back in its place. Instead, we were able to complete our scheduled dog walk for that client that afternoon, as scheduled, and were able to focus on quality time with their (amazingly adorable) pup, Jazmine. Easy peasy.

No, we do not adhere to our key policy so we can let nannies who’ve locked themselves out back in...but thank goodness we can. We adhere to our key policy because we made a commitment to you and your pets that we will always be there for you when you need us, and our key policy allows us to honor that commitment. Even when your housekeeper mistakenly took your key home...to Roswell...yes that’s a thing, and it happens. 

Why 2 keys? Simply put, an emergency for your dog walker does not constitute an emergency for your pet. Similarly, if there is an emergency with another pet that requires immediate attention, and therefore interrupts the original pet sitting schedule, our backup plan is triggered, another trained member of our team steps in (with your backup key), and your pet gets the attention they deserve...as scheduled. 


We love what we do, and we take it very seriously. We aren’t accessing your home to perform a job that can be done later or tomorrow. We are showing up to care for your pet, your baby, your furry family. You don’t take chances on that, and neither do we. You can count on it. And there’s nothing bizarre about that.

You can read this and all other reviews in their entirety by visiting our page on Yelp.

If you feel inspired to write a review about a positive experience you've had with Whoa Doggy!, we'd be honored. Thank you again for allowing us to have the best job in the world. 

xoxo
Wags & Hugs,
Whoa Doggy!