Designing a Dog-Safe Garden

Designing a Dog-Safe Garden

If you have a dog and would like to keep a beautiful garden at the same time, there is absolutely no reason why you cannot achieve this. What is important is that both you and your canine friend can enjoy the benefits of a relaxing and lovely garden without stressing one another. You and your dog need space and a garden is a great place to interact, relax and socialize. For these reasons, it is vital to design a dog-safe garden that will keep your beloved pooch happy and secure. A key component in ensuring you have an animal-friendly garden is dog training for your pet’s cooperation, which is essential in creating a common garden that will benefit you both.

Designate a Pet Area and Train

Happy dog, Happy Owner.


Dog training is important to keep the garden in a good condition. Pets should learn where they can and cannot run. That place should also provide them relief such as shade and a source of water like a small fountain or pond. Train them to do their business in an authorized area. Letting them poop all over the garden is not sanitary and will cause diseases such as giardiasis.
While the garden is a place where your dog should run freely, there might be times when you need to keep Fido on a leash. For example, when applying fertilizer on the lawn, it is best to keep them away to avoid contact with organic residues. You can train your pet to stay still while on a leash in a defined space in the garden. Loose leash walking is also a skill they can learn or you can enroll them at a training school. It is beneficial for you both and makes walks pleasant whenever you go for long strolls along the beach, in the park or the woods if your pet learns to loose leash walk.

Secure Your Yard with a Good Fence

One of the first things to think about when creating a dog-friendly garden is perimeter fencing. A fenced garden makes it easy for you to let your pet roam freely and enjoy the outdoors. Note that some dogs can really jump high and will do it especially if they see something that attracts their attention on the other side of the fence. Check the stability of fences at regular intervals to make sure that your pet won’t be able to leave the premises which can become dangerous especially if you are living on a busy street or area. Of course, if your dog continues to jump the fence it is an indication of a behavior that needs correction and is best to take care of right away.

Jumping fences can be a sign of a behavior issue that needs correction.

Petscape Your Garden

It’s in your dog’s nature to dig and sniff. Unfortunately, there are flowers and plants that are highly toxic to them. This does not mean though that you can’t have blooms in your garden for there are many beautiful ones that won’t harm your pet such as impatiens, asters, marigolds, petunias, and pansies. If you want to plant flowers that you love such as amaryllises, tulips, and lilies that are highly poisonous to pets, do so in a fenced area of the garden, elevated beds, pots or in hanging planters. Go for hardy plants that won’t easily die when your pet tramples on them. Create pathways in the garden and around the perimeter of fences where your pets can move freely. Dogman Mark suggests planning jasmine. Not only is this shrub hearty and easy to maintain and grow, it is very fragrant. This is the ideal combination for a pet-waste area.
Keeping a good balance between your needs and that of your canine friend’s is important for a happy co-existence. By creating a dog-safe garden, you have an outdoor area that is not only welcoming but also a common place where you both can hang out, relax or simply chill.

Creating a pet waste area is a smart move.


Developing a career in service dog training, San Diego

So, you want to become a certified service dog trainer San Diego? Just like obtaining other certifications, there are certain requirements you need to accomplish to realize your dream and to experience the exciting and fulfilling career of a dog trainer.

So how to become a certified dog trainer? The following can help you inch closer to that dream:

Reach out to community of like-minded people. Get acquainted with the profession by attending conferences and workshops in canine behavior and training. Remember, learning can be way more effective when you reach out to the community with the same goal or aspiration, rather than doing it alone. It’s an opportunity to learn and share with like-minded people.

Apply for apprenticeship. Here’s the thing: most schools that offer service dog training, San Diego only consider applicants who have already undergone an apprenticeship. So, you want to develop a career as a service dog trainer, consider applying for apprenticeship that is under the supervision of an experienced instructor. With that, you have the opportunity to enhance important skills by training dogs to assist humans in specific functions and teach disabled owners how to handle / control their service dogs.

Complete a service dog training course to obtain certifications. Enrolling in formal classes for a dog trainer is necessary not just to acquire skills and techniques on how to become an effective dog trainer but to get certifications as well. If you are in California, The Pro-Train Institute, which is considered as one of the most reputable facilities for service dog training, San Diego, is available to help you to become a professional, competent dog trainer. The facility gives various dog trainer courses that include classroom discussions as well as hands-on experience with service dogs.

To enroll in a service dog training, San Diego, contact us at (760) 749-0897.

Science Proves…Pet Owners Lead Healthier Lives

Science Proves…Pet Owners Lead Healthier Lives
Pet Owners Live Healthier Lives

Give Your Dog a Hug…It’s Good For You! (and for Him)

Pet Owners are Healthier…and Here’s Why!

Have You Hugged Your Dog Lately?

You’ve heard the stories that claim that pets make people healthier and even help them live longer lives, right? But are these stories true and is there any science to back up these claims?

The answer is yes!  People with pets do lead healthier lives in many ways. DogMan Mark Castillero has seen this time and time again in his more than 40 years as a leading specialist in the field of dog training.

“According to numerous studies, pets provide a wide array of health benefits to people, ranging from lowering blood pressure to helping to fight depression,” said Castillero at his facility in beautiful North San Diego County. “The more things you do with your dog, the more you can improve your health.

Castillero suggests that, if  your health permits, check out some fun activities that you and your dog can do together, such as water sports (many dogs love to swim), flyball, playing frisbee; or dog dancing — obedience routines set to music.  There are also favorites such as obedience training, agility, rally and sports geared to your dog’s background, such as herding, hunting, tracking, earthdog activities and the like.


Scientific Research Proving Pet Owners Are Healthier…and Happier

  • With rising healthcare costs, the positive effects of dogs on our overall health and their role in assisting in the work of healthcare professionals continue to be avid areas of scientific study. In this comprehensive guide, our friends at Wiley Pup detail 15 Research-Backed Health Benefits of Having a Dog. Truly, these stats show how dogs are man’s best friend.
  • In a study done at the State University of New York (Buffalo), people suffering from high blood pressure had reduced blood pressure after getting a cat or dog.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that owning a pet can decrease your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, and your triglyceride levels. Plus, having a pet helps reduce feelings of loneliness. They also state that owning a pet can increase your opportunities for exercise and other outdoor activities as well as your opportunities for socialization.
  • Research suggests that people with pets may be protected from heart disease, according to The National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop “ Health Benefits of Pets.” Their rationale is that the companionship of a pet provides an owner with the kind of “psychological stability” that helps to keep people calm and steady.
    Get Healthy, Hug Your Dog

    Loving Your Pet Can Reduce Blood Pressure and Stress!

  • Pets have also been found to reduce stress. According to the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the UK, pet owners have been found to be able to handle stressful situations better than non-pet owners. Even walking with your dog can make you feel better and calm you down.
  • People with pets go to the doctor less often, according to the National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop “Health Benefits of Pets.”
  • Pets are great at helping people fight off depression, especially for seniors. People who are depressed or lonely can greatly benefit from having a pet. Pets keep people active and they offer unconditional love.  They provide feelings of security and companionship.  They can often give someone an interest in life when they have lost interest in most other things.
  • Exercising with your pet is a great way to get exercise yourself. Even if you simply take your dog for a walk it means that you are getting out and about. This can increase muscle tone, heart and cardiovascular fitness and improve your mood.  Just a little exercise can help you keep your weight down, too, which can help you live longer.

So, from a health point of view, it’s absolutely true that owning a pet, including a dog, can make you healthier.  Take a moment to give your dog a hug and thank him for making you a healthier person.


5 Basic Commands Every German Shepherd Dog Needs To Learn

Originally, German Shepherds (or GSDs) were bred to protect herds and dwell in packs. These traits make them naturally dominant. They love being in charge. Still, they are one  of the smartest dog breeds around and are quick to learn new tricks. Regardless, you should not wait too long to start your training. The older your GSD gets, the harder it is for you to teach him new tricks. Start your training as early as when they are two-months old.

5 Basic Commands You Can Teach Your German ShepherdTeaching your dog the command “COME”

This command will help you get your dog to come to you, even if something else has caught his attention. It is also the stepping stone for other communication between the two of you.

Step 1 : Always start this training indoors. Wait until he is playing with his toys and then call out his name. When he responds by looking at you, show him his favorite treat and urge him to come get it by saying the command “come.”
Step 2 : When he comes, shower him with praises and giving him his treat. This way he will learn the positive association of responding to your commands.
Step 3 : If he does not come willingly, gently tug on his leash and repeat the word “come” while showing him his treat. Do not be excessively forceful or harsh on your dog when teaching him this command. Be patient enough, and try different treats until he can respond to your command. Give him a treat whenever he responds positively
Step 4 : Take your training outdoors after two days of training and repeat the exercise.
Step 5: Keep escalating the training by increasing the distance between you and your dog and repeat the exercise until he can understand the command “come” without the need of a treat.

This is one of the most important commands you will ever teach your GSD as it can help keep him out of trouble.

Training Your German Shepherd to “SIT”

This is a crucial command that will assist your dog to become well-mannered and obedient.

Step 1 : Wait for your dog to stand or sit in front of you. Hold his favorite treat in your hand and then flash it before his eye and make sure he sees it. This should get him excited and grab his attention.
Step 2 : Slowly hover the hand holding the treat over his head towards his rear side. All the while, ensure the treat stays in line with his nose so that he can sniff the treat to fuel his excitement.
Step 3 : Your dog will automatically drop his rear to the floor in a sitting position to maintain eye-contact with his favorite treat. Once, his behind hits the floor, hand him the treat and praise him for a good job.
Step 4 : Do not use the word “sit” at this level. Instead, practice this exercise until he can sit on seeing the treat on your hand. Only introduce the word “sit” after a few days of practicing.
Step 5 : Have the treat in your hand and then use the word sit. If he is not able to respond by sitting on the ground, gently press his coup down and then repeat the command. Do not reward him with the treat until he can respond to the command. Keep practicing until your dog can sit even without treats.

Teaching Your dog the command “DOWN”

This command is handy in helping your dog calm down especially when it is agitated by a new site or sound.

Step 1: Wait until your GSD is seated, and then place a treat between your thumb and index finger. Move your hand close enough to his face so that he can see and sniff his favorite snack.
Step 2: Next, move the treat towards the floor while preventing him from getting up from his sitting position. Use the word “down” as you prevent him from getting up.
Step 3 : Also use the command “down” when he tries to get a hold of the treat while lying down.
Step 4 : As soon as he stops trying to reach for the treat and is completely rested, pat him affectionately and praise him so that he can know that you are pleased. Give him the treat.
Step 5 : Repeat this exercise until he can respond to the command even without a treat.

Training Your Dog the Command “LEAVE IT”

This command is particularly helpful when trying to get your dog to let go of something. Some GSD puppies resort to destructive behaviors like chewing and biting on household items. This command will come in handy during such times.

Step 1 : Start your training by holding a treat and calling your dog by his name. Wait for him to come for the treat and then drop it on the floor.
Step 2 : When he tries to get the treat, place your hand over it and in a firm voice say “leave it”. Following this command, pick up the treat and pull your arm away. Wait a few minutes and then repeat the same exercise. Always be firm and clear when commanding it to “leave it.”
Step 3 : Repeat the exercise until your dog can respond to “leave it” without you having to place your hand over the treat. If he responds positively, reward him with the treat.

Training Your Dog to Respond to the Command “STAY”

This command will help you to stop your dog from chasing after your neighbor’s cats or squirrels.

Step 1 : Before you start teaching this command, make sure he understands the command down.
Step 2 : Now, teach him to stay in the “down” position with his palm over his head, when you say “stay!”
Step 3 : Maintain eye contact when you deliver this command during the time you want him to stay put. Repeat the command if he tries to get up or lift his head. If he obeys, give him a treat and praise him to let him know that you are happy he is following your command.
Step 4 : Repeat this exercise, while gradually increasing the time of the “stay”.


The foundation of training is based on correction and rewarding. Always use a firm “No!” when correcting your GSD. Do not yell or involve physical punishment such as spanking. Also, it is important to note that most female dogs may seem reluctant to training during a German shepherd pregnancy. Avoid pushing them too hard during this period. Reward your dog with tasty dog biscuits, their favorite toy to play with or shower him with praises such as “Good dog!” in a happy voice.

About the Author of this Article

June is the founder of TobysBone, where she shares her passion for writing and love for dogs. She wants to help you deal with your dog’s behavior issues, grooming and health needs, and proper training. Through her blog, you can find informative and reliable posts, tips and tricks, and a lot of interesting reads that will help you maintain a close bond with your furry companion.

Travel and Finding the Right Caregiver For Your Pet

Travel and Finding the Right Caregiver For Your Pet

Rover, Rover…send your best pet sitter over!

You have travel plans and you’re wondering who will take care of my pet? Owning a dog should not limit your travel opportunities. And we know that many pet owners hate to leave their beloved family members behind. Entrusting your dog to the care of a stranger is always a challenge–you want what’s best for your dog, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

That’s where comes in. The site is filled with wonderful, pet-loving sitters and dog-walkers who are thoroughly vetted by the site. There’s no shortage of affordable, high-quality care in your area! Here’s how to ensure a perfect fit, and create the best possible experience for your pet.

 Define Your Needs

What helps your pets thrive? Think back to past experiences with strangers, or times that you’ve been away. Is your dog happiest in her own home? Nervous with new people? Does she get along with other pups? What unique care requirements does your pet have? If you have any concerns that you hope a sitter would address, write them down.

This “dream list” could include experience caring for senior dogs, or a sitter who’s highly active in order to keep up with your energetic puppy. What are your non-negotiables? Know where you might be willing to compromise, and what areas are paramount to your pet’s happiness.

Let’s get practical…how do you know who’s right for your pet?

Search Rover’s Site

If you’re looking for a sitter for specific dates, you can narrow your search with those parameters. Otherwise, browse as many local sitters or dog-walkers as you can to cast a wide net. Which sitters already have reviews from other owners? Start reading through profiles to get to know your options.

Now, compare what you find with your list. Contact sitters who look promising, and ask questions if you need more detail. The important thing is finding someone who’s adaptable, motivated, reliable, attentive to your pets, and conscientious about instructions.

Let’s get acquainted.

Do a Meet & Greet

Found a sitter who’s interested? Great! Set up an initial meeting. You’ll get a sense of who they are, and you can watch them interact with your pet. It’s a bit like a first date: You’ll discover whether there’s chemistry! Does their personality match up with your pet’s needs? Ask any questions that will help you make the final decision. You can also go for a walk together, or watch the sitter play with your pets. Look for a connection that helps put your pet at ease, as well as confidence and great communication skills.

Not sure about this one? Meet another candidate. Whoever you choose to hire, you want to trust them completely and feel comfortable leaving your pet in their care. You might even tweak your list based on a meeting that didn’t go as you hoped. There are plenty of caregivers available, and you want to feel great about your choice. Once you find the right person, you’ll be able to hire them often–and get a better sense of what makes a great sitter, should you ever embark on the search again. Your perfect sitter is out there!

Written by Nat Smith, community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.


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Dog Trainer in San Diego: The Dog Man Can.