Live comfortably with your dog!
Before I get into this article, I want to make it clear that if you have any hesitancy, misunderstandings, or concerns, please seek professional help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. Sometimes, living comfortably with our dogs may be easier said than done. Aggressive tendencies, over-excitement, high-energy, fears, etc… can get in the way of living comfortably with your dog. These issues can even overlap each other and, believe it or not, attending to one issue may help or completely resolve others. It’s easy to blame someone or something for their actions when they are not understood. Misunderstandings in these situations in these situations is just another way of saying we lack knowledge. Going back through history, many horrible things have been done, due to lack of knowledge. So how do we become knowledgeable of our dogs, enough to live comfortably with them? This is a great question and one we will be going over in this article as well as future articles.
How to live comfortably with your dog:
Our three favorite Arizona hiking trails...
As a dog owner, you would love more ways to enhance the bond between you and him or her, right? Getting out, having fun and experiencing new things together is a great way to strengthen bonds in any relationship, including the one with your dog. Arizona is full of hiking trails and, on many, you are allowed to bring along with you as well. Dogs usually love hiking, and if you love it too, or you are just looking for a good way to get exercise, then hiking may be a perfect way for you and your dog to have fun and experience new things together!
Below, I will list my top 3 favorite hiking trails, give you some details, and show you a picture or two. Enjoy!
If it wasn’t obvious by its nickname, the reason I and many others like this trail is because, at the end of the trail, there is a waterfall! Anyone that knows a little bit about Arizona knows that waterfalls are not a common natural structure in its environment. Though there are few in unique and often difficult-to-get-to locations in Arizona, the White Tank Mountain is very close to the general Phoenix area. Located in Waddell, AZ, the White Tank Mountain trail is a very easy trail without very steep inclines and declines. The trail is about 2 miles long (4 miles round-trip) and worth the short trip, for those living in the Phoenix area.
Getting out of the heat in the Phoenix, AZ area is a common occurrence for many, if not all, of the people in the area. Flagstaff, AZ is a great destination to escape the heat. Located only a couple hours or so, north of Phoenix, AZ, Flagstaffs temperatures can decrease by thirty degrees or more at any given time. Fatman’s Loop Trail is a great hiking destination for this reason as well as its ease to find. You won’t have to hike or have a satellite GPS to find it. What makes this trail great for family hikes with your dog is that it’s a moderate in difficulty, presenting easily dominated challenges, such as small but steep inclines. Also, this is not a back –and-forth trail. It is, as it’s named, a loop about 2.5 miles long, in total. You, your family, and dog will enjoy the trail and the weather!
This trail, hands down, is my favorite of the bunch! Sedona, in general, has beautiful scenery and is a great destination for everyone! The West Fork Oak Creek trail is my favorite for its scenic views, its length, and moderate difficulty, making it perfect for you and your dog to have a wonderful time! I must mention that if I were to recommend the best time to hike this trail, it would be when the creek is flowing. The creek usually starts flowing when it has been snowing. So, during the winter season, would be my recommendation. Also, the winter-time snow decreases the population of other hikers on the trail. The beautiful scenery and low hiker-population will dramatically increase your love for this hiking trial! During the hike you will have to cross the creek here and there, you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful red rock mountains and varying types of trees. Your dog will love it! The only drawback is that there is a fee to park your car. Last time I went, it was ten dollars for parking. Believe me, the ten dollar fee is worth it!
"Our best is much more effective than most people may realize."
Around Arizona, particularly in the greater Phoenix area, there are certain crimes that seem to be becoming more widespread, prevalent, and troubling to pet owners (Most specifically, dog owners!). These crimes involve criminals trespassing on citizen’s properties, entering their backyards, unannounced, and even breaking into their homes to take the pets of homeowners. The worst thing about these crimes is the potential for extreme, life-threatening, danger to our animals. Some of these thieves take our animals to sell them for a quick buck or even hold them for ransom. However, the potential for our dogs and other animals to become used as bait to train fighting-dogs is very real and terrifying. These crimes also involve severe emotional trauma to pet owners and their children, who love them very much. As a pet professional, I feel it is my duty to discuss this and help pets and their owners remain safe in any way I can.
So, what can we do, as pet owners, to protect our pets from such horrible crimes? How can we prevent ourselves from being in such a horrible situation? Before we can discuss strategies and tactics, I think it is important to understand the mindset of the individuals who commit these crimes. Of course, if these crimes are to be completely stopped, psychological issues, societal issues, financial issues, and education all need to play a part. This is an extremely difficult problem to work out which has had controversy that may never be solved. However, if we can use the same tactics that criminals use to manipulate the situation into their favor, we as pet parents and homeowners can spin the table and claim the upper-hand!
The individuals who create these crimes obviously don’t want conflict. They, more often than not, wait until they can perform their operation under the cover of some aspect that won’t allow them to be detected. They may study your habits; When you leave your home, when you return, how long you are gone, if anyone visits your home during the day, is your dog outside, etc… There is also the individual who may just be driving or walking by, see you leave your home, and assume they have an opportunity to perform the crime and act on impulse.
What comes to mind when I think of these aspects is the intent these criminals have on not being seen. So, the first and obvious thing to address is things around your home that may provide cover. Are there trees and bushes around your home? Are these trees and bushes providing cover for people entering your back yard? Is there an ally behind your home? Are your doors visible from the road outside your house?
The next thing that comes to mind is that the criminals want the theft to be as quick as possible. So, if there is any hint of difficulty during the process, the odds will be that they will avoid your home and select an easier target.
Knowing these elements, we can now make a plan to reduce the risk of our pets being taken from our homes. First thing we need to make clear to potential thieves is that everything they do will not go unnoticed and they won’t be able to hide. So, to make this happen we need to make all possible entrances into your home visible. Removing trees and bushes that are blocking lines of sight to gates, doors, walls, and fences are an ideal first step. Remember, we want to make sure that others can see them acting out.
If you are financially able to afford it, security cameras, looking over the entire outside perimeter of your home, would be ideal, especially in areas that are blocking the line-of-sight to the road, people passing by, and neighbors. I would also recommend putting up signs, letting the potential thieves know that they are being watched. If they see these signs, it presents an obvious sign of difficulty. This is exactly what we want. We want to make sure that they understand that your home will not be an easy target and the risk of them getting caught is not worth their reward. I would also think about investing in a security system that has an alarm and lets authorities know immediately when it alarms.
Another key consideration that I recommend is to keep your dog inside your home and, if need-be, in a kennel. Many people like use doggy-doors and allow their dog to come in and out, as they please, during the day. I understand that they want their dog to be able to use the bathroom during the day because they may be gone for a while. I understand the reasoning. However, the risk of your dog being stolen is increasing and the reward is not being favored.
So, if you were to kennel your dog, how can you make sure your dog is offered bathroom breaks and enough exercise? That’s where the pet sitters and dog walkers of Fur Heart Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, LLC can come in handy. We can come over and pet sit, one or more times, during the day. We can let your dog out to go to the bathroom, play with them, and even take them on dog-walks if you wish. This option can be extremely beneficial to pet owners, allowing them let go of their worry that someone might take their pets.
Of course, none of these tactics can remove the entire possibility of thieves breaking into your home and taking your pets. However, we are simply trying to reduce the risk by making it clear to thieves that their reward will not be worth the risk. All we can do is the best we can! Our best is much more effective than most people may realize.