The Pet Collective Podcast Episode 4: Coronavirus & Dog Parks

Alison Sieke:
We at The Pet Collective Podcast are not medical professionals. We do offer advice, but please always consult your veterinarian before making any medical decisions.

Kyle Kittleson:
This week we're talking about coronavirus. Can your animals get sick, and can they give the virus to you? We're also discussing dog park etiquette. We'll teach you some tricks to give your dogs the best experience possible at the dog park, plus what to do if your dog gets in a fight. 

Alison Sieke:
Hey, I'm Alison Sieke.

Kyle Kittleson:
And I'm Kyle Kittleson. Welcome to The Pet Collective. This is the podcast for pet parents and the pet-obsessed. Alison, my favorite partner in crime, we're doing another podcast, baby.

Alison Sieke:
Pets are the only thing keeping me sane right now. I'm serious. I'm talking literally only to my pet and not to any humans.

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, that has been me the last 34 years of my life, anyway. So it's status quo.

Alison Sieke:
Amen. So later on, we're going to talk about dog parks, but this week, our first topic is coronavirus. So,
Kyle, let's chat. How does this pandemic affect pets and their pet parents?

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, I don't think pet parents have a lot to worry about when it comes to corona and their pets or the coronavirus and their pets. The CDC is kind of where we have to go to get the final information about this, and there hasn't been really anything that says, "Oh, my gosh. We all need to start freaking out." So what kind of issues... Or what behavioral changes have you seen with Peaches?

Alison Sieke:
She's being a grump, okay? She's been sleeping more than ever. The second I take her out for a walk, she starts the walk by announcing herself with tons of barks. She's been growling at other animals, dogs and cats, more.

Kyle Kittleson:
How old is she?

Alison Sieke:
That's the other thing. She's at a potential turning point in her life. She's seven and a half.

Kyle Kittleson:
Okay.

Alison Sieke:
So I don't know if... I don't know. Yesterday and the day before, she was mildly shivering throughout the day, and I was like, "Do you have back pain, or is your haircut too short?" Because I just gave her a really short haircut, and she might be freezing. I don't know.

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, you're actually bringing up one of the first things that all good dog trainers... Okay, I'm calling out the dog trainers who might be listening to this... will do before they start working with a dog. And that is differentiate between what's a behavioral problem and what's a physical or medical problem because a
ton of people will try to train their dog out of a medical problem, meaning the dog might be really hesitant to go into a dog park, for example. And I know we're going to talk about dog parks later. And they might think that's a behavioral issue when, in fact, it might be because the ground is too hot over in the dog park.

Alison Sieke:
Totally, yeah.

Kyle Kittleson:
So you have to differentiate between what is a physical thing and what's a training thing. So maybe she's shaking because she's cold. In that case, it's not behavioral, but if she's shaking for other reasons, then it might be something she's nervous at, and you have to address the environment, which would be
behavioral.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah. Right. So I don't know, but I feel like coronavirus has definitely taken a toll on her. And I try to make a point to have something special every day, but nothing... I don't think she's spoiled. I think my dog is not spoiled, but I think she's... She's definitely not disciplined, maybe improperly trained.

Kyle Kittleson:
Most people worry too much about their dogs, and they worry too much about their pets overall. And that's because people worry all the time. Oh, my gosh. Whoever's listening to this, you were worrying about something before you started listening to this. Everyone's worrying, and animals don't worry that
much. They do, but not compared to humans. So my guess is that Peaches is like, "Girl, so we just stay inside now? Cool. I'll sleep. You talk over there in the corner, and hit me up when it's dinnertime." And we're probably good, you know?

Alison Sieke:
You're probably right. There's just not enough else to think about because my whole life exists inside now.

Kyle Kittleson:
I know. Well, a lot of dogs are going through these big changes, but luckily I heard the other day that the ASPCA, which is actually one of the entities that I do like... There are some... I'm not going to mention names, but there are some animal, dog shelter, rescue groups that, if you really look into them, they do
not do that well. But ASPCA is, I think, one of the good ones, and they have vowed to help 200,000 animals during quarantine, not only helping animals who need it who already have homes but animals who don't homes because right now, if you're in lockdown, where do they get people to come in and volunteer? How do they take care of all these animals? I've worked with animals my entire adult life, and what people don't really realize is that animals don't take holidays. They don't take weekends. A lockdown? Are you kidding? They don't care about that. Their life continues on, and because so many of these animals are in our care, we have to find unique ways to help them through this.

Alison Sieke:
I don't know if it's still true, but I heard that in the beginning of this, actually, more dogs were being adopted and fostered, but it was mainly large dogs because people wanted to feel safe.

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, I agree because I thought... I don't do a lot of one-on-one dog training anymore, but I thought when quarantine hit, "Oh, my gosh. No one's going to reach out. I'm going to get this huge break." Yeah, right. Everybody went and adopted a dog because they were home and bored. I'm telling you, I have
had to refer out so many people because of all of the new dogs people got. But, and I think we need to cover this on another episode, the fact that all these people... If you got a dog during quarantine, listen to this. You are setting your dog up to get separation anxiety as soon as you go back to work because
dogs would love it if you were home all day. And if that's the way you introduce them to the home and change it, they're not going to be happy. We're lying to our dogs right now that we're going to be home this whole time, and we're not.

Alison Sieke:
Right. And I guess it's kind of inevitable, but there are definitely things that we can do to help ease them back into normal life eventually, right?

Kyle Kittleson:
Oh, yeah, absolutely, and I think just being aware of that and giving your dog... Are you ready for this? Time alone. Are you alone? Do you like being by yourself, Alison?

Alison Sieke:
I love being by myself.

Kyle Kittleson:
I love it.

Alison Sieke:
I love it.

Kyle Kittleson:
Just this morning, somebody came over, and their kid lives on 30 acres in the middle of nowhere, and I'm like, "That is the dream, just animals and me and 30 acres and no people. That's the dream." So give your dog the dream. Go take a walk, and don't take your dog. Leave them at home and just chill. They need solo time.

Alison Sieke:
So, Kyle, I heard about the two tigers at... What was it, the Bronx Zoo, that had been confirmed positive for coronavirus? Have there been any domesticated pets, little fur-babies who have coronavirus?

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, in the news there's been a couple. I don't think any pet parents need to start having an anxiety attack or anything. But there have been a couple of cases, one of which is this really cute little pug named Winston. He tested positive for coronavirus, but he was only sick for two days. His parents say it wasn't a big deal, and she said... I'm quoting her right now. She said, "Pugs are a little unusual in that they cough and sneeze in a very strange way. So it almost seems like he was gagging, and there was one day when he didn't want to eat his breakfast. And if you know pugs, you know they love to eat. So that seemed very unusual." And she's talking about how her dog actually is one of the very few dogs that was diagnosed with COVID or tested positive for COVID. And what stuck out about me when I read that was it's the not eating that should really cause owners an alarm. We were talking about Peaches at the top of this episode, and, yeah, okay, she's sleeping. Maybe she seems a little grumpy, but if her day to day is going well, and she's drinking water, she's eating, she's going to the bathroom outside, she's not limping or something really outlandish, it's
probably fine. But when your dog who eats everyday like clockwork, loves food, jumps up and down decides, "I don't want to eat," every pet parent should go, "Okay, there's something here that needs to be addressed."

Alison Sieke:
But I wouldn't necessarily go straight to COVID. I would think, "Oh, did I leave something weird on the floor that they ate?" Or is there stomach upset? Is it something else? So it's just interesting because we do have to be more careful in our protocol at the vet and everything when we are dealing with
coronavirus. So it's a big red flag, but a red flag that doesn't say what it is.

Kyle Kittleson:
Sure, sure. Well, the little pug did get corona, but he was only sick for two days. And now he's doing fine, and the whole family's doing fine. So it's not a big deal. So, honestly, if your dog gets COVID, and we're looking at the history of cases, pretty good chance that a couple days are going to go by, and we'll be good. But this is what people need to really know. If you pet your dog, and your dog has COVID, the CDC is saying no chance that COVID's going to come from your fur into you, okay? So animal to people
transfer of COVID, not happening.

Alison Sieke:
That's really good to hear.

Kyle Kittleson:
Oh, here. The president of the Veterinarian Medical Association, Dr. John Howe, has said it's really not a big fear. Nobody should be fearful of getting their pet sick or getting sick from their pets. There's been no documented transmission from domestic animals back to humans. Bam, you're safe. Let Peaches cuddle.

Alison Sieke:
Sweet.

Kyle Kittleson:
Okay. So the second big thing we're covering today is dog parks, and we're going to give some tips on best practices for you and your dog. But first, because of the pandemic, things may be a little different at your local dog park right now. So, Alison, you go on walks every day. What has your experience been at dog parks lately?

Alison Sieke:
I actually took Peaches to the dog park just before we sat down today, and it's new for me. In this climate, I haven't been there since the whole virus thing.

Kyle Kittleson:
What is it like there? Do they have any extra wipes or sanitary measures?

Alison Sieke:
No, there's absolutely nothing different. About half of the people are wearing masks. It is big enough that you can maintain proper distance, but it's definitely an unregulated environment, which can be risky. So you really have to feel it out when you go in there.

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, if there would be somebody who would brave the world of COVID for their dog, it would be dog
people. They would go to a dog park. You can't just do it, anyway. Yeah.

Alison Sieke:
Totally. I mean, she wants to run around, and I don't have a yard.

Kyle Kittleson:
I know. I know, especially, I think about people who are living in major cities like New York or Chicago, that is where you go to get your dog exercise. There's no backyard to throw a ball around.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah. So it's crucial to figure out ways to do that safely.

Kyle Kittleson:
Did you ever have fears about taking her to a dog park?

Alison Sieke:
Oh, for sure.

Kyle Kittleson:
Like what?

Alison Sieke:
So one of her habits is she barks at any dog that is bigger than her upon approaching. So it's very provocative.

Kyle Kittleson:
And Peaches is tiny.

Alison Sieke:
Peaches is tiny. Peaches is 16 pounds, and once she approaches them, she cowers in fear, but she barks really big. It's a total Napoleonic complex.

Kyle Kittleson:
That sounds like me when I go out in West Hollywood. I usually bark at people, and then I cower in fear when they approach.

Alison Sieke:
Exactly. So I do worry that she's going to get herself into a fight that's bigger than she can handle.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, the number one fear that people have with their dogs with... that's not health-wise or something like that is, "I'm afraid my dog is going to get attacked by another dog," because it happens all the time. And obviously a huge place for that to happen is dog parks. I usually tell people before they go to a new
dog park, "Let your dog, on a leash, just sniff the perimeter of the dog park." Most dog parks are gated. So you can be on the outside, because one thing that our dogs experience that we don't really understand is how they smell everything. Their world is all based on scent. I mean, everything is... Watch
your dog next time they're out. Their nose is just always going, always looking, always seeing. That's how they experience their environment.

Alison Sieke:
I heard, just like we need a certain amount of vitamin D exposure, dogs need a certain minute value of sniffs. Is that true? 14 minutes a day is what I heard.

Kyle Kittleson:
And that's for all dogs?

Alison Sieke:
Yes, all dogs. All dogs need...

Kyle Kittleson:
All 14 minutes?

Alison Sieke:
... precisely 14 minutes of sniffing outside. Yes.

Kyle Kittleson:
I do think there is some benefit when you're on a walk... I'll see a lot of people kind of yank their dog when their dog starts sniffing on the side. And you're really kind of depriving your dog of something that they are bred and born to do. So I think, when we can leverage their powerful scent to make their lives better, then everybody wins. And one way to do that is at the dog park. So, when you go to the dog park, they're going to smell all the smells that are there before you go in. Because if you go in, and they haven't had a chance to acclimate, sometimes they can get a little skittish.

Alison Sieke:
Overwhelmed, yeah.

Kyle Kittleson:
The other thing is... Yeah, people bring their dogs to the dog park when they need exercise, and I get that. But if you take a dog who's been in a crate for five hours and then go right into a car where they're cramped in, and then get to the dog park and let them out, they're going to go nuts. They're going to run
around the entire dog park. They're going to bark. They're going to chase. And I get people... That's good for them, but you can have a better experience if you can just tire out your dog a little bit before the dog park.

Alison Sieke:
Interesting.

Kyle Kittleson:
Spend some time with them in the parking lot. Get a little bit of that energy out so that, when they go into the dog park, they're more like the cool guy going into the dog park instead of this person who just goes nuts.

Alison Sieke:
I love that. I never thought about setting the landscape for my dog's mindset, but it makes a lot of sense.

Kyle Kittleson:
That's right. That's a very L.A. way of putting it, yes.

Alison Sieke:
Hey, that's me. Yeah.

Kyle Kittleson:
Have you ever seen a dog fight at a dog park?

Alison Sieke:
Nothing that progressed, I don't think, just kind of a little bit of yapping and nipping.

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, I mean, that's how most "dog fights" end up. People tend to escalate the problem before there is a problem. If two dogs are just wrestling at the dog park, then just let them wrestle.

Alison Sieke:
They're just saying hello.

Kyle Kittleson:
When you go in there and go, "What are you doing? Fifi, no!" it's just like, "Calm down. You're making this so much bigger than it needs to be." But if, one day, Fifi does get into a fight with a dog, do you know what you would do as Fifi's mom?

Alison Sieke:
No. I mean...

Kyle Kittleson:
Or just tell me, what would you do? What would you do?

Alison Sieke:
I, unfortunately, have to think about this pretty frequently because, I told you, she provoked larger dogs. And also, half of the dogs in this neighborhood are off leash, walking up and down the streets. So, if she provokes a dog that is larger than her and off-leash, I'm immediately faced with: what do I do if this dog
comes at us right now? I'm not proud of my answer, but I will tell you that my plan is to take my little baby and lift her above my head where that dog cannot reach her. That's all I have. Yeah.

Kyle Kittleson:
And have you had to do this?

Alison Sieke:
No. I did it once before where I lifted her to about right here.

Kyle Kittleson:
To your shoulders?

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, and it stopped the barking, and then, instead of seeming like a fearful, maladjusted pet parent, I said, "Oh, look, this makes her stop barking. That's why I'm doing this." And I don't know if they bought it.

Kyle Kittleson:
So you were really trying to sell it to the other people.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, I was like...

Kyle Kittleson:
Like, "I got to really make sure they're okay with this.

Alison Sieke:
This is a technique, and it's working. And it did, actually.

Kyle Kittleson:
What about our producer, Anosh ? Anosh, have you ever witnessed a dog fight, and what would you do if you saw two dogs fighting?

Anosh:
I have not witnessed a dog fight because I don't go to dog parks, really. And that's because I don't have a dog. I have a cat, and it would be very bad if I took my cat to the dog park.

Kyle Kittleson:
That would be. You know what my favorite thing cats do? And this is so mean, that I like this. I love when cats will bat a dog in the face. I think it's so funny.

Anosh:
Oh, my god. I love that, and I love how nonchalant they are, too. They're just like, "Ba-ba-ba-boom, three paws to the face. See how powerful I am?"

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, and most of the time, the dog just sits there and just takes it like, "Oh, okay. Well, this is how you communicate."

Alison Sieke:
That's interesting.

Kyle Kittleson:
If your dog gets into a dog fight, first of all, I hope it's not your dog's fault. If it is your dog's fault, then my question for you is, "Why did you bring them to a dog park, sir?" And if you thought that they would be good, but you weren't sure, then why didn't you have them on a leash for a little bit to start?

Alison Sieke:
Thank you.

Kyle Kittleson:
Typically, if you can go into the dog park on a leash with some treats, run some behaviors with your dog, "Sit. Look at me. Stay," whatever so that they know that Dad's with you. Dad has cash money. So, if he calls me, I better book it to him because he's going to pay out big bills today at the dog park. That's number one. And then that also allows the dog to ease into its environment to decrease the chance of a fight. If a fight happens, a true fight, because we've already talked that most dogs play fighting, they just solve it themselves and move on. Nobody gets hurt. But if a true fight breaks out, there are some things you can do.
I'm going to mention some things that you can do, but this does not mean you do them in other scenarios. This is only for if somebody's going to get hurt, if a person or a dog is going to get hurt. If you have a spray bottle... A lot of dog parks will have a hose, you can turn on that hose and try to break up the fight that way. Is this a great experience for the dogs and the people involved? No, but I'd rather have a poor experience by getting sprayed in the water than to have a dog go to an emergency room because half their leg is ripped up. If you're feeling brave, you can go up and grab the back legs of your dog, but... This is a big disclaimer here. Beep, beep. Put in a sound effect, disclaimer, okay?
When you go into the dog fight, and especially when you go grab those legs, your dog is reacting by instinct. Your dog is not making decisions at this point. It's all instinct, and when your dog is in that fight mode, and it feels that its legs are grabbed, its instinct is going to be turn around and bite. And they're not going to know if it's Mom or Dad. They're just going to turn around and bite. So you have to do this very carefully. And, again, if you're listening to this and going, "Well, I'm glad I know this because my dog's been in five fights at the dog park," we've got a different issue here. Your issue is not to figure out how to break up dog fights. Your issue is: how do we get your dog not to be in a fight to begin with?

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, totally. Why are you taking your dog to the dog park when it's in that state where it's not safe to be around?

Kyle Kittleson:
Right, right. And sometimes the other dog will provoke it. Your dog might be an angel, but another dog might provoke a fight. So you have to be ready in that case.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, and in that case, is there any signs of an aggressive dog that you can tell from afar? Because with these bigger dog that my dog provokes, I can never tell... Sometimes, some of them are super calm. Some of them are very disciplined. How can you tell the difference between a dog that might just go
HAM and a dog that is going to be able to handle the situation?

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, at the end of the day, you won't really tell because, although we have some behavioral signs we can look for, every dog is an individual. I'm not a breedist, okay? I'm not like, "Oh, pit bulls are this way, and retrievers are this way." All dogs, all animals are individuals. So it really depends on the individual. However, there are some signs that would make me go, "Maybe we'll just stay away from that side of the dog park." One is if we have a dog that's being a bully. A bully could be body-blocking a dog, a dog that's jumping on a lot of other dogs, a dog that's stealing toys, a dog that is maybe just obsessively barking over and over and over again. I would also look at the other parents at the dog park, and if there is a dog parent who's on their phone, and somebody goes up to them and says, "Oh, sir, your dog is really aggressive to my other dog. Is there any way we could just move our dogs apart?" and they roll their eyes and go back to their phone, then maybe that isn't the type of environment your dog needs to be in.
So I would look at both how much they're paying attention and then just the overall energy of that dog. And, at the end of the day, your dog is there at the dog park to do two things: get some exercise and be around other dogs. So don't get too afraid. Don't be too nervous. Let your dog go explore. Let your dog get jumped on a little bit. It's okay. They're dogs. They need to do this behavior. So just enjoy it. We say dog fights happen a lot at dog parks and, compared to the sidewalk, they do. But compared to real life, it's still just not that much.

Alison Sieke:
Totally.

Anosh:
Well, this is really helpful, Kyle, because I keep getting into fights at dog parks. But now I'll just bring a friend to pull me out by my back legs every time.

Kyle Kittleson:
I know, and spray water. I know. And I'm glad we could give you this position here as the producer as you start to put your life back together.

Anosh:
Yeah. No. Thank you. That's very helpful.

Alison Sieke:
I wanted to ask you another question. Can I tell the difference between my dog being shy and my dog being disinterested in being social?

Kyle Kittleson:
I think you can. If we work with you long enough, I think you can do it.

Alison Sieke:
You believe in me? Thanks.

Kyle Kittleson:
But, yeah, and look, now we're really defining: what is shyness versus what is a dog that just doesn't want to be bothered? I would look at it as: is the behavior going to lead to something that could be unsafe or not something good for your dog? Plenty of dogs are shyer than others. For example, even my dog... I always say my dog isn't a dog person. Callie is not a dog person.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, I say that, too.

Kyle Kittleson:
She sees them, and she's like, "Oh, cool. Yeah, you're there." But she's one of the people. She above it all.

Alison Sieke:
Exactly. They are humans. Yeah.

Kyle Kittleson:
Right. So is she shy around other dogs? Maybe, but it's not going to cause a behavioral issue, at least from what I've seen with her. But if your dog is fearful of another dog, so fearful that they might shake a little bit, they might not enter the dog park because of-

Alison Sieke:
What about growling?

Kyle Kittleson:
Growling, absolutely, or at the most severe, a dog may even urinate uncontrollably while they're shaking because they're so fearful and nervous. Well, now you have something that really needs to be addressed. Here's the big mistake when people want to address problem behaviors with their dog. They want to address the problem behaviors where they happen, and that sounds obvious, like what you
should do. But it's actually counterintuitive. If your dog is really fearful about going into the dog park, you don't start training sessions at the dog park. That's where the fear is. Instead, we might start with just walks around the neighborhood, and we'll see how the dog reacts with just one dog walking across the street. And over a few weeks of doing that, we may go to a dog park, but we may just hang out in
the parking lot, not even go in. So the dog starts to learn, "Okay, cool. I don't have to go in here. I can just chill outside. This is totally fine." And over time, that dog will build its own confidence. Oh, look at this dog that just showed up. Oh, no one can see it, but it's a little baby.

Alison Sieke:
Hello.

Kyle Kittleson:
This is a... I'm holding in my hands, for you listening, a nine-week-old... some sort of shepherd mix. I don't think we know exactly what it is. It's a resource guarder, so lots of...

Alison Sieke:
Oh, such a cutie.

Kyle Kittleson:
Dogs just happen to jump in sometimes. But, yeah, so work on building up your dog's confidence. So don't worry if your dog's shy. Worry if your dog is fearful.

Alison Sieke:
Okay. That's a really good distinction to know. And it's good to know that we're not just supposed to throw them into their worst-case scenario and hope to make that better but rather focus on having agood day with the dog and then...

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, for the super dog-training nerds out there, we call that habituation. Habituation is where we would throw the dog into something that we just, "All right, you just got to learn to deal with this, okay?" Let's say your dog was really afraid of balloons. So you just went to the balloon store, and you're like, "Go into the balloon store. Figure out." And then your dog would be like, "Okay, yeah, I guess balloons don't kill me when they're around. This is fine." That's habituation. We don't really use that a lot, and I don't like it that much. Instead, we want to used desensitization, which is... So we don't throw them in a room with a ton of balloons. We just show them a balloon from 100 feet away, and if they're calm, cool, and...

Alison Sieke:
And a deflated balloon.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah. You get it.

Alison Sieke:
And with a treat in it, yeah.

Kyle Kittleson:
You totally get it. Yes, absolutely. Perfect, perfect.

Alison Sieke:
Kyle, I feel like I am learning so much, and I owe you one at this point. But we're actually going to shift things and take some questions from the audience. So we have some questions here from our lovely community, The Pet Collective. So our first question comes from [Nina Bobina 00:27:15]. She's asking, "In light of quarantine, how much should I walk my dog right now? Are my dogs missing out on sensory stimulus, or are they just restless from less walking during quarantine?"

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, first, I hope this is Nina Bo'nina Brown, one of my favorite drag queens. In the off chance it's not, great username, anyway. So how much should you be walking your dog right now? As much, probably more than you're thinking. I have yet to meet anybody who gives their dog enough exercise. I just haven't met them. I haven't met that person.

Alison Sieke:
You mean consistently?

Kyle Kittleson:
Consistently, yeah. Correct. Correct, yeah. They might do it one day or one week, but not consistently. But here's the thing with walks. Walking is great, but especially if you have a younger dog, try to do shorter sprints. Even if you just ran a block and then walked a block, ran a block and then walked a block, yeah, it's more exercise for you. But that's good for you, too, but that's what dogs really need. That's what they miss. If you go on a five-mile walk, it's great. Great, love it. Keep doing that. But if that last couple blocks, you ran home, that's that exercise where their heart rate really gets up, where they really feel their adrenaline pumping, where we really get their blood moving. And that's what you're going to get... That's when you're going to see more results from exercising your dog. So focus on sprinting.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, when they really get to be their doggiest doggy self.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yes.

Alison Sieke:
I have been doing a morning walk, a shorter one, and then a really nice, long, challenging one with little sprints like that in the middle of the day, and then a little bathroom break at night.

Kyle Kittleson:
That is great. Well, maybe you are the first person I've met who gets their dog enough exercise.

Alison Sieke:
I was going to say. Yeah, that's why I was like, "Consistently?"

Kyle Kittleson:
There it is.

Alison Sieke:
Because I do that five, six days a week. Every once in a while, I need a break.

Kyle Kittleson:
That's great. Okay, so that's why Peaches sleeps all the time. She's tired from all the walks.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, but, I mean, it's quarantine. What else do I have to do besides take these walks with my dog? Pretty much nothing.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, amen to that, but it is great. Now, here's an extra walking tip. Most people walk their dogs, and they're on their phone. And I get it. You love being distracted by your phone. But your dog... You got your dog because you love your dog. You got your dog to have a relationship with your dog. Nobody got a dog because they're like, "I want responsibility and to be frustrated." That's not why anyone got a dog. They got it because they want that relationship. So, when you're on a walk with your dog, leave your phone at home. You have enough pictures of your dog on your phone already. Leave your phone at home, and be there with your dog. Talk to them. When they want to stop, stop with them. If you see something, point it out to them. I'm telling you, this is 10, 15 minutes on this walk that will take your
relationship with your dog from good to great.

Alison Sieke:
I love that because, yeah, I feel like a lot of people just skate by on the bare minimum. But, yeah, why isn't hanging out with your dog just like dating, right? Give them some real attention. Oh, my gosh.

Kyle Kittleson:
Absolutely.

Alison Sieke:
And you can't go on a date and be on your phone. So why are you doing that to your dog? Don't you love your dog more than the horrible people you're dating?

Kyle Kittleson:
Absolutely, way more, way, way, way more.

Alison Sieke:
Right?

Kyle Kittleson:
Absolutely.

Alison Sieke:
Okay, I actually found another question here from [Isabella 00:30:36], "What is the best way to exercise your pet in your home during quarantine?"

Kyle Kittleson:
Okay. So there's a trend going here. Yes, exercise is important, but when we say exercise, most peoplethink physical exercise. Physical exercise is only part of the equation. There are plenty of dogs, and I'm a little bit of a hypocrite. I'm going to be a little bit of breedist real quick. If you have a shepherd, a retriever, these dogs who...

Alison Sieke:
Big babies.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yes, they need a lot of... Yes, they get a lot of physical exercise because people look at them, and they go, "Well, that dog probably needs it." But what they forget is that those dogs also need mental stimulation. With my dog, Callie, I can exercise a ton, but if I really want to get her tired, if I really want to get her exhausted, I will do a training session with her because that gets her brain going. You know how... I haven't really ever had an office job, but you know how accountants... Okay, I'm assuming accountants sit and do accounting all day, okay? And they come home, and they're tired. And they're tired because they've been working all day. They've been using their brain all day, even though they haven't maybe been moving all day.

Alison Sieke:
Playing basketball, yeah.

Kyle Kittleson:
Exactly. So mental stimulation does exhaust us. So what I would focus on, especially during quarantine, is doing mini training sessions that gets your dog's brain going, maybe purchasing some puzzle toys where they have to work to get that food out to get their brain going. There's lots of easy, fun things to do with your dog. When we say dog training, most people think, "Oh, we're training our dog to stop doing something we don't like," but you can also train your dog to do stupid pet tricks, SPTs, I say. Do an SPT with them. Have them spin in a circle. Give them your paw. Play dead, roll over. You're not doing it because you want to impress your... Well, you're probably doing it because you want to impress your
friends. But the other reason you want to do it is because your dog will start to use their brain and go,"How do I figure this out? Mom's trying to tell me something. Let me figure it out." And when they use their brain, that's when they get the real exercise, and that's when you're really looking at the holistic health of your pet.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, plus it gives them a chance to succeed. You've given them a task that they can do, and then they feel good about themselves.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yes, and it really builds your relationship. One of the fastest ways to have a relationship with somebody... I don't mean a romantic one. I just mean build trust in a relationship, is to learn something or to teach something. So, even today, Alison, you've asked me questions. I've told you stuff. That's built our relationship. If you go and do some of the things I've said and they worked, you're going to start
trusting me, so same thing with our dogs. If you take your dog out to do a training session, they're like, "Oh, this is new. Okay, hey, what's going on?" And then you start feeding them or rewarding them for these things. They're like, "Wow, I can really depend on you. When we come out here and do these training sessions, Daddy hooks it up with all these treats. This is awesome. I'm into Daddy." I'm Into
Daddy, that's going to be my next dog-training book, I'm Into Daddy with Kyle Kittleson. Okay. So, yeah, just focus on those mental exercises with your dog, Isabella.

Alison Sieke:
I think that's so great, yeah. Outside is for the physical. Inside is for the mental.

Kyle Kittleson:
Nice.

Alison Sieke:
Okay, and let's just take one more question for today, but please send us your questions, guys. We would love to answer any questions that you have right now. Okay, this last one comes from ECW996. I know them very well. Just kidding.

Kyle Kittleson:
Oh, yes.

Alison Sieke:
"Are there any specific games we could play inside with them if the dog park makes me uncomfortable right now?" I feel like that is kind of summed up in what you said. I love the idea of puzzle games, but they are not working with my dog. But they would be great for some dogs.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, if your dog's not really food-motivated, they can be a little difficult. But there's a great game that I think everybody should do with their dog because it reinforces that most important behavior, the most important behavior you can train a dog, which is what, Alison?

Alison Sieke:
The recall, the come.
Kyle Kittleson:
Oh, there you go. And, guys, she didn't even look down. She looked right at me when she said it. So she knew that answer, okay? Yes, the recall. So, look, this has a terrible name. So, if anyone wants to rename it, tweet The Pet Collective, @ThePetCollective so we can fix this name. But right now, I just call it the Come Game. So you get a few people in your house...

Alison Sieke:
That is a horrible name.

Kyle Kittleson:
Okay.

Alison Sieke:
So, yeah, Kyle, tell us about the Come Game.

Kyle Kittleson:
So you get a few people in your house, at least two, and you're going to go to different sides of the house or different sides of the room. And each person is going to have some treats or some toys, whatever your dog finds reinforcing. And then all you're going to do is call your dog back and forth, but what you're going to focus on is getting your dog to come to you after you only use the cue once. So, if the cue is come, you're only going to say it one time. And, as soon as you say it and they move towards you, you're immediately going to start saying, "Good," and getting excited. So, if we were using my dog, I would say, "Callie, come." And then, as soon as she does, I'm going to say, "Good girl, Callie." And then, as soon as she gets to me, I'm going to give her some treats, and then you would be on the other side of the house or in a different room. And then you would call her, and this dog would run back and forth. It's a fun game for the dog because you can move your position throughout the house so they never know where the cue is going to come from. And it reinforces them hearing that sound and running to you, hearing that sound and running to you, hearing that sound and running to you. And hopefully, when you're at the dog park later, and they hear that sound, they run to you. So we're establishing this nice foundation inside the house, giving them tons of mental stimulation, and also improving your relationship with your dog.

Alison Sieke:
I love that. Can I do it without a second person?

Kyle Kittleson:
Okay. You totally can. Here's how you do it. This is such a good question. So go on Etsy or Amazon or something, and buy some cute little jars, tiny little jars. Buy four or five. Put one in your bedroom, one in your bathroom, one in your living room, whatever. And everyone will think they're just cute little jars, but inside each jar, you're going to put some treats. And when you're in the kitchen and Peaches is in
the living room, she's not with you for some reason, that's the perfect time for you to call her.

Alison Sieke:
That's amazing.

Kyle Kittleson:
So you can just say, "Peaches, come." She comes in. You have that jar right there. You're in your bathroom, brushing your teeth. She's not with you. You go, "Hmm, this is a great time for her to learn what a recall is. Peaches, come." She comes in. She gets a treat, and they're in the bathroom. She's probably never gotten a treat in the bathroom.

Alison Sieke:
Totally.

Kyle Kittleson:
So she learns, "Man, when Mom says come, and I show up, she always has a nice gift for me. So I'm going to come every time she calls."

Alison Sieke:
This is immediately our new favorite game, and we're going to do it starting today.

Anosh:
I have a very serious and plausible question for you, Kyle.

Kyle Kittleson:
Okay.

Anosh:
If I were a systems analyst with a specialty in cargo and shipping, and it was Christmastime, and I was in charge of getting a lot of packages to where they needed to go on Christmas, and I was super committed to my job, and someone came to me and said, "Oh, this package won't make it out in time for Christmas," and that devastated me, so I decided to jump on board a plane and get this package to where it needed to be on time. But the only thing is, we hit some turbulence in that cargo plane, and we went down hard. And we crashed off the coast of Malaysia, and everyone perished except for me. I was
the only one who survived, and I made it to this small, deserted island. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Anosh, isn't that just the plot to Castaway?" But it's not, and here's why, because when I get to that island, I discover that there's a giant, fully-stocked Petco on the island. Yeah, a fully-stocked Petco. So my question is: if I were stranded on this deserted island, and I needed to survive off of dog and cat food, would I be able to, and for how long?

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, I mean, if they have a huge Petco, you'll be able to survive forever. Pet food now is so good, guys. It's not like un-edible stuff. The stuff we're feeding our animals is the best it's ever been. If all you had was pet food to live on, you would do just fine, especially if you had a mixture of dog food, cat food, and
fish food. You'd probably not even get sick of one of them.

Alison Sieke:
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, you're good to go because I never thought we would see this quality of dog food being so mainstream. They've been able to make it relatively affordable. Look, if you buy a huge bag of kibble at a pet store, is a human-grade dog food going to be more expensive than that? Oh, yeah, way more expensive, but, look, I spend $400, $500 a month, I think, on my dog's diet, which sounds like a lot for pet food. But she has no health problems so far. She has so much energy. Her coat is amazing. I feel good giving it to her. So there are so many benefits of having your dog eat a quality food, and this is the best time for animals because they're being cared about more than they ever had. And the manufacturers are weighing in. They know people like me are not going to buy a $10 bag of dog food that lasts two
months. I won't do it. I want the best for my dog. So there are plenty of human-grade dog food companies out there that are great. And I've eaten dog food, guys. I've eaten dog food, and it's not that bad. It's not that bad.

Alison Sieke:
Oh, you know this is on the internet, right, Kyle?

Kyle Kittleson:
Well, and people are so nice on the internet. So I'm not worried about any of that.

Alison Sieke:
Oh, man.


Kyle Kittleson:
Have you never tried dog food?

Alison Sieke:
No. I've actually... Peaches and I have been doing a food allergy trial during quarantine, and she is now officially eating better than I am. I've been cooking half of her food.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah.

Alison Sieke:
Fresh.

Kyle Kittleson:
Which has also been very common, yeah. I have friends who... They just buy chicken, rice, vegetables. They cook their dog a meal every night. I don't even cook for myself. So I can't imagine doing that every night for someone else.

Alison Sieke:
That's what I'm saying. She's eating better than I am. But, yeah, it gives me peace of mind that we're not going to have something health-related to that down the line.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yes, absolutely. So I would say invest in your dog, and the biggest way you can do that is exercise, nutrition, and training.

Alison Sieke:
Yep.

Anosh:
Well, this is super helpful. Anyways, I got to board this plane to Malaysia. So, thanks, guys.

Alison Sieke:
Best of luck.

Kyle Kittleson:
Oh, he set that up perfectly. Alison, it was great. You make me laugh, as always. So you came through on your end of the bargain here.

Alison Sieke:
I feel like me and Peaches have so much work to do, but it's going to be fun. And this was really fun.

Kyle Kittleson:
@KyleKittleson on social media, if you have a critique about me or if you have a personal complaint about how I sound, I would love to hear it. Send me a message. I'll read it and respond thoroughly.

Alison Sieke:
Yeah, if you're too shy to say it to his face, you can always send it to me @AlisonSieke on Instagram.
Slide into my DMs, but keep it clean.

Kyle Kittleson:
Actually, I love that. Have all of my feedback go to Alison.

Alison Sieke:
Yes, please.

Kyle Kittleson:
And she'll just filter it to me in batches.

Alison Sieke:
You're fragile. I'll look out for you.

Kyle Kittleson:
Yeah, I love it. Well, remember to follow The Pet Collective on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok @ThePetCollective. And of course, we want to hear from you, not just your critiques. Send us your pet-related questions, and we'll answer them right here on the show. And make sure... I know you're sitting on a couch right now. You're just chilling. Go to PetCollective.shop, okay PetCollective.shop for tons of amazing things for you and your furry family. See you next week, everyone. Bye.

Alison Sieke:
Bye.


The Pet Collective Podcast is produced by Jukin Media and The Pet Collective: Head Producer, Anosh McAdam; Associate Producer, Brandon Kendall; and our original score is composed by Kori Celeste