The Importance of Alone Time

Did you know that helping your dog or puppy learn to be alone is a skill just as important as learning to sit, lay down, or come?  Dogs are wired to be social creatures by nature—which is why they make the best companion! It feels great to have a dog who is enthusiastic about wanting to spend time with us and keeps us company. Who wouldn’t want that after all? In this time where so much is uncertain, it’s easy to find ourselves depending on the companionship of our dogs as much as they depend on us.

But constantly being around us can make it so our dogs rely on social interaction and proximity that isn’t sustainable when we go to work and school. If your dog has had an opportunity to get into the habit of spending all day and night with you, their favorite people, returning to a previous routine of being left home for longer stretches of time can create worry and in some cases extreme stress, seemingly overnight.

 For young puppies, practicing alone time, even when you are home, helps your new puppy learn the skills needed to successfully be left home alone without any stress – and stress can lead to unwanted behaviors.  For your adult dog, practicing alone time will keep the skill sharp for them allowing you to return to your routine outside of the home when the time comes without any stress or confusion for your best friend. 

How do we do practice this as we are spending more time at home?  Here we outline some ideas for you to help your dog or puppy learn to be alone, while you are home: 

First, spend a few minutes thinking about what your schedule looked like before you were home for an extended period of time and write it down. Here are some questions to think about: 

  • What time did your day start? 
  • What did your morning routine look like (breakfast, kids ready, shoes on, keys picked up, leave in car, etc.)? 
  • Where did your dog stay (or where would you like your dog to stay)?
  • When did you return home? 
  • What did your day end look like? 

Then, come up with a plan to practice—after all practice makes perfect! Here are some tips for your practice:  

  • Find some reasons throughout the day to leave your house and practice leaving as you would before you were home the majority of the time. 
    • Leave the house in your car. Take a short drive around the neighborhood, get a car wash or gas, or run a short errand. 
    • Go take a walk and leave the dogs at home. We all love to take our dogs for walks (and they should still get their exercise) but that is a great opportunity to practice alone time for your dog as well. Maybe take a short jaunt around the block, return and reward the alone time with a short jaunt for your dog too! 
    • Do yardwork and leave your dog inside 
    • Go outside with a book or your computer and leave your dog inside. 

  • Crate or isolate your dog for some portion of each day—AWAY from you WHILE you are home. Even if you are not leaving the house. This is a very important part of learning to be alone. If can be even more fun to make this a game and vary the crate time activities. Sometimes they get their meal in a crate, sometimes they sleep in the crate, sometimes there is a yummy bone in their crate, etc. Additionally, practice crating or isolating your dog from you for varied amounts of time. Sometimes it’s a quick 15 min, sometimes it’s 2 hours. This makes it an unpredictable and fun activity for them! 
  • Pick things you do throughout your day to use as alone time practice for your dog.  There are bound to be things in your current daily life that will allow the perfect opportunity for alone time practice in small segments. Here are some examples: 
    • Going to the bathroom
    • Taking a shower 
    • Doing the dishes
    • Cleaning a room of the house
    • Doing laundry
    • Take trash to the curb
    • Walking to mailbox
    • Taking a conference call 

Let us know what examples you come up with in the comments below!

  • Practice using barriers to help your dog settle away from you. Set up a baby gate or x-pen somewhere in your home where you are on one side and your dog is on the other side. Start by rewarding any calm behavior like 4 on the floor, sitting, patience, quiet, etc. Toss a treat into their space when you notice this behavior but don’t get up and give it to them. As they get better at this, wait for even MORE calm behavior. Laying down, relaxing, or even walking away from the part of the room you are in. Reward this behavior as well.  
  • Play music or TV to help manage environmental noise. Sometimes things happen that we are unaware of such as road construction, the neighbor getting a new roof, someone driving by with a loud radio, etc. Plus, music has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress in dogs! 

By spending a part of each day away from your dog, you are setting both of you up for a lifetime of success. Balancing alone time with time each day to play and love on your dog is a recipe for a healthy and thriving relationship. After all, we have pets to be companions. Let’s help them have the skills to be alone as well. 

Some quality alone-time snoozing 🙂

Classes Resume at The Dog Den and The Puppy Den

We hope this post finds you well and itching to jump back into the game of life with your dog! These last few weeks have been eye opening to a lot of different things—one of them may have been the discovery of some behaviors your dog offers that might not be something you love. The Dog Den and The Puppy Den are thrilled to be back and able to offer both LIVE in person classes as well as VIRTUAL audits of a live class which you can participate in from the safety and comfort of your own home. And don’t forget about our online classes!  

In our live classes, we are taking extra precautions to ensure everyone can stay safe and healthy. You will notice: 

  • Our training stations will be at least 10 ft apart to practice proper social distancing  
  • All of our moving exercises, where we may be using another class member as a distraction, will be 10-15 ft apart OR participants will need to wear a mask. There is never any pressure to participate in any exercise that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.  
  • Our Instructors will wear masks for your safety when moving around the room and interacting 1 on 1 with you 
  • Hand Sanitizer will be provided and it’s use encouraged in all of our classrooms 
  • There will be only two humans allowed per dog in each class  
  • We will be running smaller classes to ensure we are able to maintain proper social distancing  
  • We will be sanitizing each training station between classes  

With these things in place, we are excited to be able to be in-person with you, conquering some of those less-than-ideal behaviors you may have discovered, such as pulling on leash during your lovely quarantine walks, barking in jealousy at the neighbors drawing beautiful things on the sidewalk, being SO excited to be off “safer at home” we can’t keep 4-on-the-floor, or even forgetting how to be by ourselves because we’ve had so much fun with the family over the last few weeks. See the live, in-person classes we have scheduled and sign up here!  

We understand and respect that not everyone is ready to “jump back in” to in-person with the very real threat of the virus still present. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the ability to work with your dog or puppy on some of the same things listed above and we’ve got the PERFECT option for you—VIRTUAL training. Though you might expect this to be a pre-recorded class, you may be surprised to find out this is a live, in-person class streamed real-time to your living room or training space. With the audit option, you will not receive instructor feedback live, but will have a front row seat to tips and tricks delivered in the classroom. If you find challenges during the class, you can always add instructor feedback as needed. As an added bonus, you will get access to previous class recordings for up to one week after the 6-week session ends!  

We’ve have several options for you to explore, which you will find here! (If you were hoping for a pre-recorded option, you can find that here!) 

We are thrilled to be back helping you with your puppy and dog training needs!  

Daycare Opens May 4th!

Please read below for important information about our daycare reopening.

We hope this post finds you well! 

First of all, thank you to those of you that took the time to answer our survey. It was very helpful to get your feedback. We appreciate your input!

This is a such an uncertain time. Should we reopen?  Can we do it safely? We have spent time researching and planning on how to mitigate the threat of COVID-19 to you and our team in order for us to feel good about reopening our doors.  The research has shown the social distancing is the key to keeping the transmission down and we have worked out a plan to keep social distancing at the front of all we do. 

The core of all we do is your dogs. Their safety, well-being, and happiness are the most important thing to us.  Creating the “perfect for you” family dog – through exercise, play, learning – is always our goal.  We do what we do so your dog is a happy, healthy member of your family – and ours!

 Dogs thrive with structure and socialization. They are social beings as much as we are!  Many of you have noticed that during our month off, your dogs have seemed different – clingy, restless, barky. They may miss their friends, just as much as you miss your friends and family.  But they can’t video chat or call their friends.  While they can’t understand what is going on, they can understand stress, sadness, and many other emotions you might be feeling.

How can we help our dogs while keeping ourselves and our pups safe and healthy? Under Governor Evers’ Safer at Home orders, pet daycare is an essential business.  In order for us to feel good about operating our business in a time of unparalleled uncertainty, we needed to understand how to protect everyone and maintain our social responsibility.  We have put into place several new procedures to allow for completely contactless drop off and pick up, keeping everyone’s safety in mind. 

WE PLAN TO OPEN FOR DAYCARE MONDAY MAY 4th at our Fitchburg and East locations.  Puppies will be able to attend daycare at our Fitchburg adult location.

The Dog Den’s Safety Plan
Contactless Drop Off and Pick Up
We have created a plan to have no contact drop off and pick up.  Please visit our blog for more details: 
http://www.thedogden.com/blog/contactless-pick-up-drop-off/

Lobby Hours
We will have people at our lobby doors between the hours of 6:30a-9:30a and 3:30p-6p. Outside of these hours our lobby will be closed.  You can still drop off or pick up during our closed hours if you give us a call at 608-278-7529 (Fitchburg) or 608-241-3647 (East).  We’ll meet you at the door to gather your pup.

Payments and Reservations
We will only be accepting payments online – check out this article on how to access your portal – or give us a call.  We’ll walk you through it! For the month of May only, we are going to ask those of you that would like to come back to daycare, to make new reservations.  We know this may seem fussy and unnecessary, but we have lowered our capacity of the month of May to operate more safely.  Instead of asking everyone with standing reservations to cancel if you don’t want to come, we are going to ask those of you that DO want to come to contact us and let us know when.  We’ll get you set up for the month of May.  As is common these days, we can’t predict what June will bring,  but as June approaches, we will be in touch with how we plan to proceed. 

Lunch for Daycare Dogs
In order to keep the transmission down, we ask that all lunches be brought in a resealable plastic bag clearly labeled with your dog’s first and last name.  There will be a container in the drop off/pick up area that you can place the lunches in when you are dropping off your dog for the day.  When it’s time for lunch, we will collect all lunches, disinfect the baggies, and feed lunches in our own bowls which will be cleaned and sanitized after each use.  The baggies and any remaining food will be thrown away after lunch so if you dog doesn’t normally eat or finish all the food you bring, please help us keep waste to minimum and skip bringing lunch at this time. Please let us know if you have any questions! 

Staff Precautions
Our normal set up keeps our staff safely social distancing. We will further this by not allowing any two staff members to be in the same area without masks.  Each staff member has been trained in cleaning, disinfecting, and good hygiene.  Staff members are not allowed to work if it’s known that they haven’t been following safe social distancing in their personal lives and will be asked to remain at home if they are at all feeling sick.  We are keeping the same staff at the same locations for the month of May to be able to limit contact with many different people.Staff will not be allowed to kiss your pups at this time and will keep contact to a minimum. 

Additional Things to Note
Safer at Home has given us a chance to spend more time with our families, including our pets. As canine behavior experts, we know how important it is for your dogs to spend time with you.  We also know that the stress of having a routine disrupted can be devastating for your dogs.  When the time comes for people to head back to work and have full calendars with social events, your dog may begin to suffer from separation anxiety.  It’s as important now as it ever has been to keep a routine with your pups.  When it’s work time, they must learn entertain themselves – or have quiet down time in their crates or another room. 
Continued socialization is also incredibly important – not only for the puppies where it is critical – but also in already social dogs.  Continuing to expose them to other dogs and people will help keep those social skills sharp and prevent your dog from developing stress, fear, or anxiety.If daycare is a part of their routine, returning to daycare is an easy way to check off both the socialization and structure to your dog’s week. 

Can your Dog Get COVID-19?
Short answer, it appears so, but the cases have been extremely rare.  It has been shown that under perfect laboratory conditions, canines can be infected with the virus. These pups have not shown any symptoms and the mortality rate from the virus is zero. There has been no recorded evidence of canine-canine transfer of the virus at this time.  Also, according to the CDC, OIE, and AVMA, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and the based on current data, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered low. 

You can read more about the experiment and the researchers results here: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/04/07/science.abb7015

It is recommended that if you are sick, you treat your animals like you would people and avoid contact with them and avoid bringing them around other animals.

While this is still an emerging disease, we believe based on the current research at this time that dogs are safe to be around each other without the threat of COVID-19 spread either to each other or to people.  We are staying on top of this research and will let you know of any changes.

With any socialization, there is always a risk of spreading diseases. Social dogs may come into contact with kennel cough, canine flu, and more.  Even dogs that don’t come in to contact with other dogs may get things like giardia from playing in standing water or eating wildlife feces. At this time, it is less likely that your dogs will get COVID-19 than it will kennel cough, canine flu, or even giardia.  While we do not claim to be an authority in any medical topics, we encourage you to do your research and make your own decisions about the risks and benefits of continuing to socialize your dog in our daycare setting.

 Here are some links we found useful during our research:http://www.syreaf.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Rapid-Review-of-pets-as-fomites_3.pdfhttps://www.oie.int/en/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/https://www.dvm360.com/view/cat-tests-positive-for-covid-19,-but-there-is-no-cause-for-panichttps://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/04/how-to-protect-your-pets-coronavirus/#closehttps://nypost.com/2020/04/21/dogs-could-get-separation-anxiety-when-coronavirus-quarantine-ends-experts/https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2020/4/24/21231806/coronavirus-pets-covid-19-cats-dogshttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html

Whew!  That was a lot of information, but we want you to be informed and know that we are taking our responsibilities to you, your pups, and each other very seriously.  While you make your decision on whether or not your pup will return to daycare, we will be here for you! 

For those of you returning during the month of May, we will need the following:

For those wanting to return after Safer at Home is lifted or later in the summer, we will be following up in a few weeks. 

 Oh!  One last thing – road construction has started on Fish Hatchery Road.  We have provide you with some options to avoid the construction here 

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Tail wags, 
The Dog Den & The Puppy Den Team

Fish Hatchery Road Construction

Road construction has begun on Fish Hatchery Road and it promises to be messy! While you can still get through the intersection, we wanted to provide some options to avoid the Fish Hatchery/Greenway Cross intersection in case you wanted to bypass it.

From the south, you can take Syene to a left on Stewart Street to right on Perry Street to left on Jonathon Drive (see gray line below).

From the Beltline, exit Rimrock Road/MM to McCoy to Syene and follow the rest of the directions above (see blue line below).

These are the quickest and easiest ways to avoid construction areas on Fish Hatchery Road.

Thanks!

Contactless Pick Up + Drop Off

In an effort to keep you, our client family, and our staff safe we will be implementing contactless pick up and drop off for our daycare services. Please be sure to allow extra time to drop off and pick up your dog so we can keep everyone safe.  Please watch the videos below for an example of how this will work at YOUR location. 

Drop Off

  1. Enter the gate and make sure to close it behind you! 
  2. Take off your pup’s collar, harness, and leash and step back from the door.
  3. We will come to the door, using our own leash to bring your pup to their playgroup—completely contactless with you.
  4. After your pup has safely entered the building, exit back out of the gate, keeping the leash with you for pick up.

Pick Up

  1. When you arrive for pick up, please reply to our text “here” or call to let us know you are next. Please only call once you are in our parking lot. Bring your leash and enter the fenced in area.
  2. Please step away from the door and wait for us to meet you at the door with your dog. 
  3. Leash up your pup and head home. 
  4. Please be mindful of those behind you waiting to pick up their dogs as well. 

Fitchburg Contactless Pick Up + Drop Off

East Contactless Pick Up + Drop Off

Your Guide to Your Client Portal

This blog post will walk you through how to navigate your customer portal. First, take a look at the video below. Then, check out the rest of this post for additional tips and tricks.

How to Log In

  1. Type in the email address or cell phone number you have on file.
  2. Click “continue logging in”
  3. Enter your password and click “sign in”
  4. If you have never logged in before, create a password on this screen.
  5. If you do not remember your password, click “forgot password” button. 

How to Update Personal Information 

  1. Click the “edit info” button on your owner dashboard (the first page that pops up when you log in) or from the “my account” drop down at the top of the page select “edit”. 
  2. Edit any information that populates on this page. 
  3. Don’t forget to hit “save” at the bottom of the page or your changes will not be saved

How to Update Animal Information 

Way #1

  1. From the owner dashboard, click the “edit info button”
  2. Select the dog you would like to edit from the top of the page
  3. Edit any information that populates on this page
  4. Don’t forget to hit “save” at the bottom of the page or your changes will not be saved.

Way #2

  1. From the “my account” drop downs at the top of the page select “view pets”
  2. Select Edit next to the animal you would like to edit. 
  3. Edit any information that populates on this page
  4. Don’t forget to hit “save” at the bottom of the page or your changes will not be saved.

How to Upload Files 

  1. From the “my account” drop down at the top of the page, select “upload files” 
  2. Drag the file you would like to upload into the browser or click on the “drop files here to upload” box. 
  3. Choose the file to upload 
  4. You’re all set. 
  5. You can also email files to thedogden@shots.pet and they will automatically upload to your account as well. 

How to Buy a Package 

  1. From the “my account” drop down at the top of the page select purchase packages an retail. 
  2. Ensure you are buying packages at the right location by checking the selected location in the top right corner of the page.
  3. Select the package you would like to purchase by clicking the purchase price button at the bottom of the option. BE SURE TO SELECT THE PACKAGE YOU INTENDED TO. There are single, 2 dog, and 3 dog options.
  4. Enter the number of this package you would like to purchase.
  5. Click the “check out” button that populates
  6. Enter your credit card information , click “use this card”.
  7. Finish by clicking “purchase  for $999 button” 

How to Put Money on Your Account

  1. From the “my account” drop down at the top of the page select “buy store credit”
  2. Enter an amount that you would like to put on your account in the box at the top of the page
  3. Enter your credit card details
  4. Click “use this card” 

How to View Invoices and Pay Past Due’s 

  1. From the “my account” drop down at the top of the page select “view invoices”. 
  2. This will bring up all of the invoices your dog has had from visiting us. 
  3. If you have any open invoices, they will show “open” in the status column. They wil also have a green $ in the actions column. 
    1. You can sort your invoices by open and closed by clicking the arrow and lines located under the “status” column.
  4. If you have any open invoices you can pay them online by either clicking the invoice number or the green $. 
  5. If you click the invoice number, click “apply payment”. This will bring up a second window with the amount of the invoice in it and a place to enter your card information. Click “use this card” and “pay now” to complete the transaction.
  6. If you click the green $ this will populate another window with the amount of the invoice in it and enter your card information, select “use this card” and “pay now” to complete the transaction. 

How to Put a Card on File

  1. From the “my account” drop down at the top of the page select “cards on file” 
  2. Enter your card details 
  3. Click “use this card”
  4. Click “Save” 

How to Update Communication Preferences

  1. From the “my account” drop down at the top of the page select “communication preferences”
  2. Select the ways you would like to hear from us, de-select the ways you DO NOT want to hear from us.
  3. Click “save settings”

How to Make a Reservation

  1. From the “my reservations” drop down at the top of the page select “request services”
  2. Click “book daycare or boarding now”
  3. Verify you are making your reservation at the right location
  4. Select the type of reservation you would like to make: Full day or half day
  5. Select the dog (or dogs) you would like to make the reservations for
  6. Select a start date and end date (this should be the same day) 
  7. If you would like to make recurring reservations please click that button under the start and end dates and fill out the pop up. Don’t forget to click “add dates”. 
  8. If you would like to add another reservation please click that button under the start and end dates and simply add another date the same way. 
  9. Click “save” and your reservations will be submitted for approval by The Dog Den and The Puppy Den Staff

How to View Reservations 

  1. From the “my reservations” drop down at the top of the page select “view”.
  2. At the top of the page are several ways to sort the way you see the reservations
    1. Requests: The days you have requested awaiting approval
    1. Today: Reservations you have for today
    1. Future: Reservations you have booked in the future
    1. Past: Past reservations
    1. Wait list: Any reservations you have with us on the waitlist 
    1. All: All of the above reservations shown at once.

How to  Cancel a Single Reservation

  1. From the “my reservations” drop down at the top of the page select “view”
  2. Click “Future” at the top of the page
  3. Navigate to the reservation you would like to cancel. In the actions column, click the 3 bar drop down. 
  4. Click “cancel reservation” 
  5. Select a reason for cancellation
  6. Click cancel reservation 

How to Edit Standing Reservations

  1. From the “my reservations” drop down at the top of the page click “view”
  2. Your standing reservations will show at the top of the page. 
    1. If you have a recurring or standing reservation on a day, you will see a green check mark. If you do not you will see a red x.
  3. To cancel one of your reserved days, click “pre-cancel”. 
  4. Select the date range you would like to cancel. If it is just one day, this date should be the same in both blanks. 
  5. Click “cancel” 

Update on Closure due to COVID-19 and “Safer at Home”

We wanted to reach out to address the “Safer at Home” orders and our decision to close.  It was our understanding based on the original release that we fall under non-essential because we do not do boarding and therefore, that we do not qualify.  Today, we did find out that we do qualify as essential.  With that said, the essential vs non-essential was not our only reason for choosing to close our doors temporarily.  The order may not directly impact our ability to operate, but it has impacted many of you, which ultimately impacts us.  In the last 10 days, we have dropped to below 50% of our usual capacity with a considerable number of no shows.  This effects our ability to plan our payroll appropriately, which is our biggest expense, and therefore, we have been operating at a loss for several days in a row.  With the “Safer at Home” orders, we anticipate an even lower attendance for the duration of the directive, which makes us unable to operate.  Long term, this would have a great impact on our ability to recover.   
 
Could we try to combine all our locations into one to try to minimize costs?  While is a possibility, it comes at a dangerous cost to the well-being of your pup.  One of the things we pride ourselves in is the behavioral health of your dog while they are with us.  We try to minimize stress while maximizing enjoyment.  New environments and new packs can be very hard on some of our dogs. We always take it very slow when introducing a new dog to a new pack and we would not be able to do this with multiple new dogs every day.  We aren’t willing to put their well being at risk.  It’s just not something we feel comfortable with. 
 
But that’s not even the most important reason for us in closing at this time.  We feel an amazing sense of pride in our clients and in our community.  We don’t feel that we can safely serve you, our community, and each other when we are operating with the risk of spreading COVID-19.  We feel a great sense of obligation to do our part to prevent the spread.   
 
We are so grateful to have such wonderful clients, and we miss each and every one of you so much right now! We have been asked what you can do to support us and the best way is to plan to utilize us as soon as we can safely open our doors.  Visit us on social media, plan to take a class with us when we open, up your daycare days when we can hold daycare, and just continue to be the wonderful people you are. We will get through this together!
 
Stay safe and healthy and we will all come out of this stronger! 
 
With much love and many tail wags, 
Laura and The Dog Den & The Puppy Den Team

The Dog Den and The Puppy Den Closure

Due to the “Safer at Home” order from Governor Evers, we will be closing our doors at the end of the day on Tuesday 3/24/2020 until we are allowed to safely reopen, which based on the current order, will be April 27, 2020.  We will stay in touch and keep you as up to date as possible  as this situation develops. We want to continue to be the support team for you and your pups so please let us know if there is anything that we can help you with!

During this time, we will not offer daycare or classes but we will still have private lessons available – virtually!  We are also looking to take some of our classes online so please keep a close eye on our website and social media.  Speaking of social media, Keep in touch via our social media pages – we will miss each of you and your dogs so much during this time and would love to see what you are up to. OH and watch for our staff to come at you with tips and tricks each Monday and Thursday at 8:00am.

If you have a  package with us, we can extend your expiration date if you would like for the amount of time we are closed.  Just let us know and we will make that happen for you! 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help with anything during this time. 

All the best,

Laura and The Dog Den & The Puppy Den Teams

COVID-19 and The Dog Den/The Puppy Den

A Message from The Dog Den and The Puppy Den:


As COVID-19 continues to have a dramatic impact across the globe, our top priorities at The Dog Den/The Puppy Den remain the health and safety of the pets you entrust to our care, in addition to the health and well-being of our employees, loved ones, and you, our valued clients.  We will be following the CDC and WHO closely to stay up to date on the latest recommendations while we try to navigate these unpredictable times.  As things change and are updated, we will update you.

Effects on Services  

At this time, we will remain open for all daycare services.  As your canine experts, we know that keeping a routine that includes regular exercise and socialization is important to the overall health of you pup. 

Due to the social nature and the inability to maintain social distancing during our Puppy Social Hour and Puppy Yoga, we will be cancelling Puppy Yoga and Puppy Social Hour through the month of March. The affected PSH dates are 3/21 and 3/28. Due to the ever-changing nature of this virus, changes are expected and we will update you with information as we have it.   

Additionally, with our classes being in a social environment as well, we are taking extra protective measures to ensure the safety of everyone involved.  

Current Classes

If you are in a class that is currently running, it will be postponed one week. There will be NO classes meeting at The Dog Den or The Puppy Den during the week of 3/16-3/20 and we will be adding 1 week on to the end of your scheduled class period. During this time, we will be working diligently to set up virtual classrooms which we will use for the remainder of the scheduled class sessions. You will receive more information about this in a separate email. If you would prefer a refund, please reach out to your instructor who can take care of issuing that for you.  

Classes starting between 3/16 and 3/20

If you were in a class scheduled to start next Monday through Friday these classes have been postponed 2 weeks and are tentatively scheduled to resume the week of 3/30. You will be contacted separately with the new start date for your class.  

Classes starting after 3/20

Classes scheduled to start after 3/20 are currently unaffected by our schedule changes. Please stay tuned for updates as we navigate the unpredictable nature of COVID-19 

 If you have a private lesson scheduled and are feeling well, we would be happy to meet with you as scheduled in person. If you would prefer a virtual lesson, we are happy to offer that as a service as well. Please reach out to your scheduled instructor to schedule a virtual lesson if this is something you prefer.  

While we remain open in the daycare, the health and safety of our team is of the utmost importance to us.  We have required employees to take extra precautions and have asked them to err on the side of precaution for themselves, including staying home if they are not well.   

Sanitation Practices 

We have always practiced very strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols in our facilities and have added additional steps for our lobby and client areas.  One of our main disinfectants, which is safe for the use with animals, is also effective against COVID-19 (https://help.rescuedisinfectants.com/knowledge/do-rescue-disinfectants-kill-coronavirus-covid-19). You may notice some changes in our lobby areas in the coming days such as the removal of community treat buckets and general coffee areas.  

Reservations

 If you have an upcoming reservation with us and are not feeling well, please do not come in the building.  Instead, give us a call (Fitchburg: 608.278.7529, East: 608.241.3647, Puppy: 608.665.3375) and we would be happy to meet you at your car to bring your dog inside or run your dog out to you.  We have also waived any late cancelation fees during this time to allow you to stay home if you feel it is in your best interest.  We do ask that you kindly give us a call if you are going to be keeping your dog home which helps us staff accordingly and keep our overall costs down. 

 At this time, it is still unclear the impact that COVID-19 will have on our pets.  The CDC recommends that anyone who is sick with COVID-19 restrict contact with their pets. (LINK: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Fsteps-when-sick.html) Although we are not a boarding facility, we have several staff members that watch dogs at their homes.  Please contact us and we will connect you with the staff members who may be able to help you.  We are here to support our Dog Den family through this! 

How you can Help 

We also ask that you practice social distancing while picking up and dropping off your pups.  Give each other space in the lobby areas. Wait outside or in your car until the person before you exits the building, or call us to bring your pup out to you.  Additionally, you can take this opportunity to log in to your customer portal and ensure your Emergency Contact is up to date. We are all in this together!    

During these unknown times, we expect there to be many changes and we will keep you up to date on any changes as they occur.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can be of any assistance during these trying, confusing, and overall uncertain times.   

Thank you for sticking with us this far. Here are some smiles to prompt your smile 🙂

 Tails Wags, 

 The Dog Den and The Puppy Den Team 

The Dog Den’s Ultimate Guide to Summertime Fun

How to have the most peaceful 4th of July for you AND your dog

Fireworks displays are always fun to watch, but it is important to keep fireworks a safe distance from your dog.  As you might guess, lit fireworks can cause severe burns, and unlit fireworks pose a threat if accidentally ingested. If you plan to attend a firework show somewhere you may want to consider keeping your pets at home during the show. Fireworks are loud and shows tend to be crowded, neither of which are very fun for even the most socialized of dogs! Some dogs may even become panicked by the loud sound fireworks make, which might cause them to try and escape to find safety.

Instead, try to keep your dog in a quiet area of your home that is comfortable for them. It may help to leave some music or the TV on to help cover up some noise made by any nearby fireworks displays, and make your dog feel more at ease. Perhaps while you enjoy your 4th of July popsicle, your pup can enjoy a 4th of July pupsicle during the fireworks. A frozen kong stuffed with water soaked kibble, kibble mixed with yogurt, wet dog food, or any other yummy snack is a delicacy and will be sure to keep your dog busy during the loud booms!

Thoughts on Health and Wellness

Summertime Heat Safety Tips

During the summer months, we tend to get more active and take advantage of the nice weather. Naturally, we want to take our canine friends along with us to share in the enjoyment and fun. However, because dogs can’t tell us in our language when they are hot or their paws hurt, we’ve provided some pointers below to help you and your furry friend navigate the warm weather:

  • Don’t leave your dog or puppy unattended in a car on a warm day. Although it might seem like a mild day, cars can heat up to unsafe temperatures very quickly. For example:
    • 70 degrees outside can heat your car up to 89 degrees in 10 minutes, and up to 104 degrees in a half hour.
    • 80 degrees outside can heat your car up to 99 degrees in 10 minutes, and up to 114 degrees in half hour.

Some alternatives to leaving your dog behind in the car are

  • Go through the drive-thru (make sure to request something special for your furry buddy!)
  • Have a friend of family member accompany and stay with your dog to keep him in an air-conditioned car, or to take out to get fresh air as needed.
  • Shop at pet friendly stores and visit pet friendly outdoor patios
  • Leave your pup at home while you run errands
  • We mentioned above that it is important to protect your dog’s paws from burning on hot pavement. If you can hold the back of your hand to asphalt for 5 seconds, it’s safe for your dog to walk on comfortably without higher risk of damage. If you can’t, here are some things you can do to help keep your dog’s paw pads safe:
    • Walk in areas where your dog can be on grass
    • Walk during times where the temperature is cooler (early morning or later evening)
    • Use protective booties (make sure your dog is properly conditioned to them before going out for a long jaunt, but please make sure to record the “boot walk” and share with us!)
    • Use protective paw wax (Musher’s Secret is a great option)
  • Look for signs of heat stroke. Unlike us, our furry pals don’t have all sorts of sweat glands to help regulate our body heat very easily. Because of this, dogs can be very sensitive to heat. Some things to watch for are excessive panting, excessive drooling, lethargy, staggering or stumbling, vomiting or diarrhea, dry or pale gums, deep and rapid breathing. If you are noticing these signs or have any thoughts that your dog may have heat exhaustion or heat stroke, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Some things you can do to help prevent heat stroke are:
    • Give plenty of access to fresh, clean drinking water
    • You can help keep them cooler by using cooling vests or beds, or simply soaking a cloth in cool water and press to their armpits, paws, head and neck.
    • Adjust their routine to allow for play during times where the temperatures are cooler

The Good, The Bad, and The Yucky 

Summertime Sickness–the yucky!

Today we want to give you some pointers about Giardia—the yucky. As we spend more time outside during the nice-weather months, we tend to provide more opportunity for our dogs to investigate (and potentially get into) more things than they would in the winter months. Did you know giardia in dogs could cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, poor condition, or death? Interestingly, many dogs infected with giardia show no symptoms at all. People can ALSO get giardia causing diarrhea or other problems (but thankfully rarely from dogs). Dogs can get giardia from water that has been soiled with feces (think wild animals that don’t have a loving human to pick up after them).  Here are some tips to make sure your pup stays healthy and giardia free this summer:

  • Give your dog safe, clean water to drink.
  • Prevent your pup from eating feces from any animal – rabbit, goose, dog, etc.
  • Pick up your dog’s feces immediately, avoiding contact with your skin (remember what we said about humans being able to get it?).
  • Puppies are frequently infected with intestinal parasites due to them working REALLY hard on building up a strong immune system. This makes them susceptible to re-infection. Therefore, multiple fecal flotations are recommended for young animals.
    • Pet owners should bring a fresh stool sample to each appointment for the initial series of veterinary visits. If a pet is found to have parasites, follow-up fecal flotations may be recommended to monitor the response to treatment. 
  • To ensure your pup is healthy, fecal floatations are recommended for all dogs yearly.

No Love for Bugs – the Bad!

Help to repel the pesky flea, ticks and summer bugs with an organic, all-natural option. Also, this is an excellent add-on to your existing preventatives!

  • Bug, Flea & Tick Spray  – dogs
  • Bug Off Extreme – dogs (only available at The Dog Den)
  • Human Bug Spray – We have a water-based version for the Fur-Baby parents too!

All are in an aloe vera base to help soothe the skin and repel dirt. The essential blend, “Bug Off,” with Geranium and Lavender is safe for dogs 1 plus years of age. While the “Bug Off Extreme” has catnip for the extra repelling for those buggy situations and safe for dogs above 2 plus years of age.

*Please never use aromatherapy on any puppies younger than one year of age.*

To keep, store in the refrigerator, shake well and apply a small amount to human hands and rub through the dog’s coat, remembering to get their belly and armpits. Use for a few days on and a few days off. 

Ingredients: Gel Spray: Organic aloe vera gel, Witch Hazel and organic essential oils:  Lavender and Geranium; Catnip.

The Dog Den Price:  4 oz bottle $18—ask about our bug spray the next time you are in!

The Good- Have Fun Blog Post

Outdoor activities and fun in the sun are great ways to bond and make memories with your dog! What better way than to go for…SWIMMIES! While going for a swim is lots of fun, it is best to be prepared for any situations that might arise so you and your dog can stay safe while having fun. Here are some tips for “fun at the lake”:

  • Make sure to wash your dog off once you are done playing in the water. The minerals, salt, and algae can potentially irritate their skin.
  • Thoroughly dry your dogs ears after swimming. Warm, dark and wet areas, (such as their ears) are a perfect place for bacteria, yeast and fungi to multiply. 
  • Blue-green algae is fatal to animals that consume it, potentially leading to kidney failure and death. You can avoid this by trying your best to stay away from stagnant bodies of water around mid summer (when the water temperature is hotter). This is the ultimate breeding grounds for blue-green algae (as well as other illness causing bacteria or parasites). A body of water contaminated with blue green-algae has a “pea soup” color to it. 
  • We recommend purchasing a life jacket for your dog if they are going to go boating or onto a dock with you, just like you might for yourself or your child (especially if they aren’t a strong swimmer). There are plenty of amazing options out there (and they look pretty darn cute in them)
    • Keep in mind what you are looking for when purchasing a life jacket for your dog. Look for a handle—this can make it easier to grab a hold of your dog, but also allows you to help hold him up as he/she gets comfortable swimming. Does it have somewhere on the life jacket for a leash? Think about the color of the vest/jacket as well, brighter colors with reflective strips allow your dog to be more visible when they are swimming. 
    • Consider what your dogs breed is when picking out a life jacket for them too. Some breeds are naturally strong swimmers (we’re looking at you Labradors) vs. dogs who might not be the best at swimming or staying afloat (i.e. Frenchies and Bulldogs). 
  • If your dog doesn’t like water, don’t force them! It’s okay to not love water (heck—some of us at The Dog Den and The Puppy Den don’t!) and we don’t want to scare them, because ultimately that can make trying to learn how to swim harder.
  • If going to any beaches, make sure to look for glass, metal, and anything sharp! You may even want to consider purchasing water shoes for your dog. (Did we mention how cute your little life-jacket-wearing bootie-protected dog will be?)
  • Make sure to bring fresh water along when you go swimming with your pup. Sometimes drinking the water from the ponds/rivers/pools isn’t the best for them and can actually make them sick with things like giardia and bad bacteria which may cause upset stomachs. 
  • Last but not least, always make sure to check your dog over during nightly snuggle time, no matter the outdoor activity. Ticks, cuts, scrapes and any other potential problems may be visible after your bit adventure and we want to stay on top of that.

We hope you have a wonderful warm and safe summer and look forward to seeing you in daycare and classes. As always, we are honored to be your resource for everything canine so if you have any questions, please doesn’t hesitate to reach out to info@thedogden.com