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Archive for July, 2009

Barking and pulling while on leash

Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Gentle Leader harnesses may curb pulling and jumping

Gentle Leader harnesses may curb pulling and jumping

The Washington Post’s Animal Doctor, Dr. Fox, offers an on-going advice column to animal lovers and one of today’s entries was particularly interesting and worth sharing.


Dear Dr. Fox:

My husband and I have a brindle beauty, Raisin, a 5-year-old collie mix. He goes ballistic when he sees other dogs. What can we do about this? We signed up for a Humane Society training seminar a few years ago, but the $75 fee for the “Growly Dog” course was just too much for us. I used to carry a water gun when we walked the dog, but I got tired of losing it. I bought one of those clickers, but they don’t help. I was encouraged by doctors to adopt a pet because I suffer from depression. The doctors were right: My depression is a lot better. But we also want to help Raisin.


St. Louis

Dogs bark for many reasons, including excitement, for attention or to warn and protect. My guess is that your dog is not properly “dog socialized” and needs off-leash time with other dogs. Dogs on the leash are probably feeling vulnerable when restrained and tend to be more protective and defensive.

Your reactions are important. Don’t discipline or tug hard on the leash; that might incite him as he picks up on your anxiety. Play it cool. Try to teach him to sit and stay. Buy a gentle leader that goes around his muzzle for easier control when he’s on the leash.

He needs quality time to play with other dogs, the best therapeutic rehabilitation being in a safe back yard with an easygoing dog. Your dog is your therapist and healer, so you owe him the best you can give.

How many of us have been out walking our dogs and come in contact with a dog pulling and barking relentlessly? To an untrained eye it can be difficult to tell if the action is playful or aggressive. Often an embarrassed owner struggles to gain control by pulling them back or verbally scolding – rarely with positive results.

We see this in daycare as well. Some dogs behave differently on leash in our lobby, than they do off leash in daycare. On leash they are restrained and don’t have the freedom of “fleeing” an uncomfortable situation or they have so much pent up excitement they simply don’t know what to do with themselves.

The Dr’s recommendation of introducing the dog to off leash play, in a controlled setting to begin with, is one we’ve heard time and time again and it was great to read in The Post this morning!

Maximus loves Dogtopia!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

This adorable terrier actually visits Dogtopia of Dulles regularly, but something tells me many of our clients can identify.

5th Annual Charity Dog Wash!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

We’ve joined forces with our sister store, Dogtopia of White Flint, on this year’s charity dog wash.

Come treat your dog to a mid-summer bath and spritz in support of the Montgomery County Police K9 Unit!

Sunday, July 19th from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm


Doggy Baths – Baths include: shampoo, towel-dry, fragrant spritz and bandana. A $10 donation is suggested per wash.

Bake Sale & Raffle – Pick up some fresh-baked treats for you and your dog to enjoy and enter our raffle full of great prizes!

Pet Vendors – We’re thrilled to be joined by DogCentric, Your Dog’s Friend, Pet Connect Pet Rescue, DoodyCalls and Deborah Hartten – Real Estate Services for You AND Your Dog.

Proceeds collected will benefit the Montgomery County Police K9 Unit and defer costs of equipment and training. The unit has 25 members, making it one of the largest on the east coast. They are often called to assist municipalities throughout the DC area. Member of the unit will be on hand as out very special guests.

Fore more information on our charitable arm, K9 Support, visit our website at

Is your dog smarter than a two year old?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

AOL has a very interesting story on canine ability to understand certain hand gestures. A recent study shows their understanding is similar to that of a toddler’s.

Two recent studies show dogs may understand human nonverbal communication better even than chimpanzees. Due to domestication, dogs have become attune to visual signals from humans, including head-turning and gazing.
One study compared dogs and toddlers in how they reacted to gestures, including finger-, elbow- and knee-pointing, to direct subjects to hidden food and objects. Dogs performed as well as 2-year-olds in correctly interpreting the gestures, but were not as successful as 3-year-olds.
The other study, published in the May issue of Animal Cognition, shows that dogs do not require the same learning curve as children. Marta Gacsi, who led the study, said, “dogs showed no difference in the performance according to age, indicating that in dogs the comprehension of the human pointing may require only very limited and rapid early learning to fully develop.”

We suspect dogs have been “playing dumb” for years just to keep the beef flavored treats and poop scooping flowing. Full story here.

Pardon our paw dust

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

We’re undergoing an extreme makeover!

Ok – not exactly extreme, but we are having some renovations.

In the next few weeks our outdoor space will become 50% larger and our Toy Box (where the little dogs rule) will almost double in size! The same sealed, rubber flooring we use in other playrooms will also be added for the little guys.

At times this renovation may affect our webcam availability. We thank you for your patience in advance – Dogtopia will be bigger and even better!

4th of July brings familiar faces!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

During our busiest holidays it is always a thrill to see so many familiar pups coming through the door.

Georgia sittin pretty

Georgia sittin' pretty

Georgia is a sweet Corgi with the most beautiful coat! She has more a glorious mane than fur. She is the princess of the Lounge and has no problem sitting on that throne! We’re so happy she’ll stay with us over the next few days.

If your dog will not join us this weekend for some Independence Day romping, please take note of these helpful tips from The Humane Society of the US on keeping your pet happy and safe:

Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.
Do not leave your pet in the car. Even partially opened windows cannot provide sufficient air.
Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. Some animals can become destructive when frightened, so be sure that you’ve removed any items that your pet could destroy or that would be harmful to your pet if chewed. Leave a television or radio playing at normal volume to keep him company while you’re attending Fourth of July picnics, parades, and other celebrations.
If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags so that if they do become lost, they can be returned promptly. Animals found running at-large should be taken to the local animal shelter, where they will have the best chance of being reunited with their owners.

live. love. play.
live. love. play.
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