Q&A with Jason the Dog Walker

Purrch sat down with Jason, founder, and owner of Jason The Dog Walker & Co. to talk cold weather walks, dog behavior trends, and tips for keeping your pup mentally and physically happy and healthy during these times. 

As a dog trainer, walker, and sitter, you are outside in the cold all day. What tips do you have for outdoor walks as it relates to both dogs and their humans? 

First off, I want to thank you for asking me to be involved in this community. I think Purrch is a wonderful idea, and I look forward to being a part of it. 

The winter is a wonderful time to walk dogs. I much prefer winter walks to summer walks. Great gear (for both humans and dogs) is the key to an enjoyable outdoor experience. For me, this means warm socks, insulated boots, a down jacket, ski gloves, and great music. (By the way, your new PurrchPurrs playlist on Spotify is one of my new favorites.)

For dogs, and in particular shorthair breeds and puppies, a warm jacket and or jacket/sweater combo is a must. To protect your dog's paws from the ice and salt, I recommend Mushers paw wax. I much prefer wax to booties. Booties can be challenging to put on whereas wax is easy to apply, does a great job protecting a dog's paws, and is easy to wipe off after the walk.

Musher's Secret
By Musher's Secret - $14.99
Purchase here

 

What's changed during Covid? 

Like so many of us, Covid has been a challenging time. The silver lining, however, has been the increase in pet adoptions and the opportunity for me to spend more of my time working with these incredible rescues and helping them acclimate to their new environment. My years of experience working with dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes have allowed me to develop a multitude of advanced training techniques that have proven valuable during these times. 

One behavioral challenge on the rise is separation anxiety. While separation anxiety is not something that can be solved overnight, there are a few things you can do to help your dog feel better. First, make sure your dog has a lot of toys. Change up the toys every few days so your dog doesn't get bored. I also recommend purchasing a few dog puzzles to keep your dog mentally stimulated. When you are out of the house, dog puzzles can help focus and calm the mind. Nina Ottosson dog puzzles are my favorite. She even makes them for cats.

Nina Ottosson
By Outward Hound - Various
Purchase Here

Any training tips for new dog owners?

The first thing I would focus on is house-training. House-training does not only include potty training, which requires a good deal of work, but also house-proofing and setting clear indoor boundaries. Once this is established, I recommend moving on to basic commands and impulse control exercises (if needed). I love doggy push-ups for this. It requires mental focus and also tires them out. Next, I would focus on socialization. It is incredibly important for puppies or rescue dogs to be properly socialized with both people and other dogs as soon as possible, especially if you live in a city. Finally, I'd turn my attention to puppy biting and training dogs not to jump on people or children.  

What is the biggest training challenge you see with rescue dogs?

The biggest challenge is working with dogs that exhibit anti-social behavior, for example, excessive fear or aggression. In a city, this can be particularly challenging for owners who are surrounded by other dogs and people on every walk. In most cases, this issue can be resolved over time with very specific positive reinforcement techniques but in some cases, it requires working with a behaviorist. I am not a behaviorist, so when I do come across a very challenging case, I always refer it out.  

What benefits do you see in a community like Purrch? 

I absolutely love the idea of a community like Purrch that brings the pet community together to share experiences, resources, and opportunities. Ironically, I spend a good deal of my time playing match-maker for so many of my clients who have dogs with similar personality traits and behavioral challenges. Now that Purrch is here, those connections can happen for them on a much larger scale and not only be limited to my network or my clients' local communities. I also look forward to using the Purrch platform to share the best practices I've found invaluable in living a harmonious life with pets.       

Jason is a dog trainer, dog walker, dog lover, and dog-resident of Brooklyn, New York. In 2007, he started  "Jason the Dog Walker & Co." in Brooklyn. He is a member of the South Slope Dog Association, runs Buddha Dog Training Services, and was even a featured sandwich at Roots Cafe on 5th ave! When he is not taking care of Brooklyn’s pets he can be found sending dog pics via Instagram, playing ukulele, watching dog training videos, or trying to save the world!