Bringing Home a Shelter Dog and How to Avoid Common Mistakes

Most people can agree that bringing home a dog from a shelter is one of the best and most heartwarming experiences. You’ve helped rescue a dog and save his life. You’ve provided a homeless animal with a loving home and family. But what isn’t often discussed is how somewhere around 20% of shelter dogs are returned within the first month of coming home to a new family. Why is this? In part, it is often due to a few easy mistakes that new pet owners make when bringing home a new dog. Here are some tips to make the transition as smooth (and happy) as possible.

New home. New Rules. It’s easy to think that because your new pooch has been living in a shelter, you should allow her as much freedom as possible as she adjusts to her new life. But in actuality, it’s quite the opposite. Even the very first time your new dog enters your home is crucial. This is the moment when she looks to you to let her know what is going to be expected of her. If you simply unleash her and let her run wild, you may be sending a message to her that says ‘Here, go crazy! Do whatever you want.’ This is the time when you will be letting her know what the ground rules are. And believe it or not, dogs thrive in an environment that has clear boundaries.

Consider taking a walk. Before you even enter your home, perhaps take a walk around your block first. Get to know your new dog. Establish some of your first steps of being her leader. Not only will a short walk give her some time to calm down and work out some pent up excitement, but it will help show her that you are in charge. This time will give her some comfort as she also gets to know you.

Don’t be in a rush to unleash. Keep your dog leashed. Do not open the front door and let her run right in and begin running around. This is the time when her senses are on overload with all the new sights and smells. She’s anxious and nervous and wondering what is going to happen next. Assert your leadership by making her wait outside the front door. Even better if you can tell her to sit and wait. Whatever you do, make sure she waits to be invited in. Try to do this same thing as you explore the house with her leashed by your side. It may feel most natural to let her run free, sniffing and exploring her new home, but this is the time when she needs boundaries the most. Strong leadership and rules will give her a feeling of calm and control that will make her feel most secure.

Show her where her things are. Be sure to give her a tour of all of her things as well. Show her the water and food bowls. Introduce her to her bed. Show her where her basket of toys are. This will show her where the things that she’s allowed to play with are. Her bed is her safe place. A place that is only hers. She’ll know these are her toys to play with and that she’s not to chew up other things. She may not immediately wish to lay down or play with her toys, but this will help establish those boundaries.

Be calm. It may feel like now is the time to be excited and play with your new dog, but in actuality, now is the time to radiate calm energy. Keep her leashed for a while. Keep her by your side for a while as you go about typical activities. You are not only showing her that you are in charge, but you’re giving her comfort by keeping her with you at all times. Taking her outside frequently to go potty will help her learn where she’s supposed to go. If there are other family members in the home, remind them to also be calm. As the day goes on, you’ll find the right time to take off the leash and give her a little more room to roam. But maintain your leadership and her boundaries.

Tips to Keep your Pet’s Skin, Coat and Paws Healthy During Cold Weather

First things first! Please do not leave your pets outside in the cold. Most pets do not have a much higher tolerance for cold than we do. Pets can experience hypothermia as well as frostbite to their ears, noses and paws. It is just as important that they have a warm and comfortable place to spend their time as it is for us. Provide them with a warm area away from drafts and cold floors. A pet bed and a cozy blanket are perfect.


Keep your pet’s hair longer during the winter months. It goes without saying that an animal’s fur is their natural coat, so keep it as effective as possible. If your pet is of the short hair or sparse hair variety, then a pet sweater is a great idea. Animals can wear a comfortable sweater all winter long. Just be sure it’s not too tight or too loose.


Keep your pup’s paws healthy. Bring a towel with you on walks and wipe down his feet and underbelly to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Don’t forget in between the toes.  

Check your dog and cat’s paws regularly, especially during colder months. Look for dry, rough or cracked skin. Contact with snow, salts and cold ground can be very damaging to skin, even on the tough pads of the paws. It’s helpful to rub petroleum jelly into the pads of their feet before leaving the house.This will create a barrier between their skin and the elements and keep moisture in their skin. 

Booties are another great option, if your pet tolerates having them on their feet. Keep in mind that they will need some time to adjust to the feel of shoes, so give them enough time to get used to the idea.

Bathe your pet as little as possible during the winter months.

Just like us, their skin can become dry, irritated and flaky during cold weather. Keeping their natural oils on their skin and coat is the best protection their body has. When you must bathe them, use a moisturizing shampoo. A quick call to your vet for a brand recommendation may be in order. 

As always, Hale Pet Door encourages the use of our pet doors, especially during the winter. Your pet knows when their feet are too cold or when they can comfortably go out to play or potty. Freedom of choice between indoors and outdoors is a great way to keep your pet healthy during cold weather.

HALE PET DOOR wants you and your family to have a safe and happy winter. Enjoy your loved ones, including your four-legged kids. The winter is a beautiful time of year. Get out and enjoy the snow in a safe and comfortable way, and enjoy plenty of time inside snuggled up. Have an amazing winter season and please stay safe and healthy! 

Go to www.halepetdoor.com for selection, sizing and options for a new HALE PET DOOR 

Why a Hale Pet Door is Perfect for this Winter

Our pet doors are energy efficient

It’s energy efficient. One of the most common concerns we hear from our customers is whether our pet doors let in the cold during the chilly winter months. We’re always pleased to respond with a resounding “No”! One of the best features of our Hale brand pet door is just how energy efficient they are. When we designed our pet doors, we used high quality materials to ensure that our pet doors are not drafty or letting out your heat. We’ve manufactured the doors with frames made out of heavy extruded aluminum, the high-density polyethylene security cover made to withstand any weather conditions, plus strong PVC vinyl flaps, and multiple layers of weather-stripping – All these features make our pet doors incredibly energy efficient and perfect for the cold months.

Sometimes it’s just too cold

A walk is always a healthy and fun activity for you and your pup, but sometimes the weather just isn’t cooperating. Although it’s true that some breeds love going for walks when it’s chilly and snowy out, some are simply not a fan! And depending on the weather conditions out, sometimes it’s just not safe to take a stroll around the neighborhood. Thankfully, having an energy efficient Hale pet door installed inside your home is perfect because it gives your pooch the freedom to explore the outside in the safety of your yard at his leisure.

Makes working from home easier.

More and more people are working from home these days and so many of us can relate to how much of a struggle it is to juggle work life with home life. Conference and video calls are pretty much a major part of our work days. Why not take letting the dog in and out of the house off your to-do list, creating less interruptions during your meetings and phone calls? Imagine how much your dog would appreciate having the freedom to let himself in and out instead of having to wait for you to finish your call to do so?

Tips for Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy During the Holidays

Tips for Keeping your Pet Happy and Healthy During the Holidays.

Secure your Christmas Tree. Be sure to make certain that your tree is stable enough that your pets cannot knock it over, potentially causing injury. It’s also dangerous for the tree water to spill out as it can contain fertilizers and bacteria that can harm your pet if ingested.

Mind your candles. Lit candles can be a major hazard when you have mischievous animals running around. They could knock a candle over and start a fire or simply burn themselves playing near one. Please keep them out of reach of your pets and never leave them unattended.

Tinsel is a no-no. This sparkly, fun, light-catching decoration is just as attractive to kittens and sometimes puppies. If eaten, tinsel can cause severe stomach distress and even a GI obstruction. It’s really not worth taking a chance.

Avoid Mistletoe and Holly. Both of these plants can cause major gastrointestinal distress, including nausea and vomiting. Mistletoe, especially, can be very lethal, causing cardiac problems. Be mindful of all seasonal plants, as well. Lilies can cause renal failure if consumed and there are countless other flowers and plants that can be toxic.

During festivities, have a quiet place that is only for your pet. Loud guests and merry gatherings can be overwhelming for some animals. It’s always best practice to have a room or area that they can retreat to where others won’t follow. This is their space where they know they can feel safe and comfortable. This way they can come and go as they feel comfortable.

Having guests over? Do yourself a favor and make sure they know your house pet rules. They need to know if your animals are at risk for running if the door is left open, if your pet needs more space and less attention, and to follow your instructions when giving your pets any treats. It’s also important to stress the need for any luggage to be zipped up and any medication to be stored properly.

Be mindful of food. As we know, chocolate is a no-no for both cats and dogs; but, fatty and spicy foods are bad for them as well. Be sure if you do share some meat with your pet, it is lean and there are no bones in it. Carrots and sweet potatoes with lean meat are great options if you want your pet to have a holiday plate of their own.

Consider the temperature. Please don’t leave your pets outdoors during cold weather. It’s nearly as hard on them as it is on us. Of course, we recommend our Hale Pet Door so they have access to the outside as well as the warmth of the indoors. If your pet is easily chilled, a sweater is a nice option for indoors. Just be sure it fits snugly enough that it can’t catch on things, but also not too tight, as this can cause painful rashes under the arms.

Here at HALE PET DOOR we hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Omisoka! Please be safe, be blessed and enjoy your family, human and four-legged alike.

www.halepetdoor.com

Thanksgiving Tips for Pet Parents

Thanksgiving is nearly here and it’s time to prepare for the big day. Hale Pet Door has some tips to help make it a stress-free holiday for you and your pets.

  • Prepare a dish just for your pet to enjoy during the festivities

Many foods that we eat as humans are toxic to dogs and cats. Fatty foods are hard to digest, chocolate and grapes are toxic, and bird bones are terribly dangerous. It’s a good idea to plan ahead about the foods you will allow your best buddy to eat. It’s ok to let your dog have some fun foods without compromising his health. You may want to put aside some foods that you know are safe and flavorful, while you are cooking, for you to share during dinner. For dogs, things like fully cooked turkey cubes, pumpkin, small amounts of potatoes, sweet potatoes and veggies, or carrot bites can be perfect. Skip turkey skin, meat with bones still in it and stuffing. For your cat, pumpkin, turkey cubes and squash are great choices.

  • Plan a safe drive if your heading out of town

If your plans include a long drive with your pet, plan ahead to keep you and your buddy safe and stress free. Think about pet car-harnesses or crates, it’s important to keep them safe and comfortable while you’re driving. It’s nice to give them a blanket for cuddling and a toy or chew to keep next to them while on the road. Plan for frequent potty breaks at pet friendly rest stops and always offer fresh water to your pets during breaks. As always, make sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations, has its tags and is microchipped in case of emergency.

  • Keep your pet safe from running away when friends and family come in and out.

It’s important to remember that having family and friends around that are not used to your household door routines can put your pets at risk. Some pets may be scared of strangers and make it easier to panic and run; other pets are always waiting for the opportunity to take off. If you use pet gates it’s important to have them up and secure. It is also ok to keep your dog on a leash even in your house. Just make sure that someone responsible is always in charge of your pooch. As always make sure that your pets are up to date on vaccinations, have their ID tags on and are microchipped in case of escape.

  • Protect your pets from getting into someone’s luggage

When there are friends and family over it usually involves bags and cluttered guest rooms. Please remind each guest to keep their purses and bags out of the reach of your pets. There are many things that can be very harmful to animals in personal belongings; medicine, gum, candy and choking hazards are all accidents waiting to happen if a pet finds their way into it.

  • Animal proof your garbage cans

Pets are masters at waiting until they have the perfect opportunity to get into the trash. Not only is this super annoying, but it’s really dangerous. Anytime of year it is a hazard, but during the holidays the risk multiplies. Turkey bones, turkey skin, raw dough and raw food are all potentially deadly items that will likely be in the garbage. Be sure that your kitchen bin has a secure lid and that it is emptied regularly before it overflows. Remember to not leave your pets alone with a full trash container and don’t neglect to secure the outdoor bin as well.

  • Protect pets from potentially dangerous decorative plants

Whether you are visiting family or they are visiting you, it’s likely that there will be some festive plants around. Many of these can be toxic, such as: amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, hydrangeas, Sweet William, some ferns and more. Be sure to keep these out of reach of your pets, even if it’s in the flower beds outside.

    • Keep anxious pets comfortable when strangers are around

We all have those loud and exuberant friends and relatives; while they are the life of our party, they may be terrifying to you pet. If you know your best friend is nervous in social situations, then make sure they have a comfortable and safe place to retreat to. It’s a nice idea to have a comfortable blanket and favorite toy in their safe place. This way they can enjoy the festivities when they feel comfortable or be happily alone if needed.

HALE PET DOOR wants you and your family to have a wonderful holiday! Please be safe, hug the people and animals that you love and remember to take those treasured photos!

HALE PET DOOR offers pet doors for all doors and windows and is always a beautiful addition to your home and your pets’ life. Find out more at www.halepetdoor.com

Hale Pet Door Road Trip Tips

Ready to take your pooch on a road trip?

Here are some tips to make your trip amazing.

First things first, plan your route. Look for routes with plenty of rest areas or toll plazas. Many rest stops and plazas have some walking trails and even dog friendly parks to stretch your legs.

Make pet friendly accommodations. Many hotels and motels have pet friendly rooms available. Be sure to reserve these in advance so that you don’t end up without a place to stop when you’re ready to call it a night.

Stop by your veterinarian’s office before your trip. Make sure that your pup is up to date on vaccinations, that their microchip is current, and that flea and tick prevention are on board. Request a copy of your pet’s vaccination record and keep this with you on your trip. In case of emergency, you may need these records at another veterinarian’s office, or to board your pet if another member of the family becomes ill or injured.

shutterstock_97846694Bring the essentials. Pack travel bowls for food and water, as well as bottles of clean drinking water for Fido. Remember to bring toys and treats, so you have something to reward good behavior with, or to keep him busy in the car. Don’t forget a comfortable collar or harness with up to date tags. Be sure that the pet tag includes a current cell phone number.

Protect your dog and your upholstery. Many veterinarians recommend using dog slings, seat belts and pet hammocks while in the car. These keep your pet safer in the event of a crash and keep your pet from wandering around the car and causing distractions. Put a liner or blanket under your pet’s seat to protect your upholstery. If you’re using a pet crate, then be sure it’s plenty roomy and add a comfy blanket or towel along with a beloved toy.

Give yourself plenty of time and take many breaks. Puppies will need to use the bathroom every hour or two; older dogs can stop every three to four hours. Be sure to give yourself and your pet plenty of exercise on your breaks. Get out and walk or run with your dog where you find trails and play tug of war or roll around in the grass. A tired pup is usually a well-behaved pup for the next leg of your journey. Before you get back in your vehicle, offer fresh water and maybe some food or a treat, check your dog’s coat and paws to be sure he didn’t pick up any burrs or pests.

Finally, have a great time! Road trips are often the most cherished of memories. Get out and see the sights, take lots of pictures and enjoy the adventure.

HALE PET DOOR wants every family to enjoy their pets when away or at home. Log onto www.halepetdoor.com to browse a selection of beautiful pet doors for all sized pets and for any door or wall or other location in your home, office, or even the motorhome or RV you take on your road trip.

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Tips for a Happy (and safe) Halloween for you and your pet

1. Only dress up your pets if you know they like it

Many pet parents love to dress up their pooch or kitty to join in with the festivities. If this is you, make sure that your pet is onboard with this idea. If your pet is happy to adorn a costume, skip the mask and make sure that the costume is not constricting or unsafe. Be sure that your pet can see and move unrestricted, as well as the costume is appropriate for the temperature.

2. Keep dogs and cats safe when opening the door

If you’re going to be opening the door to trick-or-treaters, keep any unsocial pets in a separate room and any “runner” personalities on a leash even in the house. It is just too easy for our little ones to run out of the door during the festivities creating a potential disaster. It may be best to designate one person to be responsible for the pet during trick-or-treat arrivals and make that person aware every time the door is opened.

3. Don’t leave you pets in the yard on the evening of Halloween

There can be pranksters that may tease or scare your furry kids, as well as noise and antics going on in the neighborhood that can be a stressor for them. Best to keep them indoors if you are away, in a place that is familiar and comforting.

4. Keep lit pumpkins out of reach

This one is a no-brainer but easy to overlook. Be extra careful with any lit jack-o-lanterns. This can be tempting for dogs and curious cats. It is too easy for them to knock it over and get burned or start a fire. If you have a dog it’s best to keep them out of reach and for cats the best placement may be outside.

5. Be sure your pets do not get into the candy

Keep your candy stashes away from your dog or cat. Chocolate is poisonous to many animals and the wrappers can be harmful if swallowed. Make sure that your kids and guests know where the appropriate place for their stash is and where to dispose of the wrappers. If you’re worried about your pets missing out, it may be nice to keep a treat that is designated just for them. If you like, you can allow your kids or guests to offer this to your little guy too.

6. Plan ahead before you take your pet trick-or-treating

If you’re taking your dog trick-or-treating make sure that you have doggie baggies for cleanup and plenty of fresh water to drink with a travel bowl for the walk. Be sure to have up to date tags on your pooch and a person that is always dedicated to minding the leash. If your dog is tiny or elderly it may be a good idea to take a stroller, carrier or wagon with you. This way when your little guy putters out he can ride in style and enjoy the festivities from a comfortable spot.

7. Stay safe

This year comes with concerns that many of us haven’t had to deal with before. Just as you will likely need to talk to your kids about safe practice and social distancing, it is important to make a plan to avoid unnecessary contact through your pet. Prepare to politely ask that others do not handle or pet your dog to avoid raising the risk of COVID-19 exposure. While the jury is out about transmission to animals, there is a risk of contamination through touch transfer.

We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday with your families, both the human members and the furry variety!

How to adopt the right dog

Choosing the Right Shelter Dog

The moment has arrived, your family has decided that it is time to add a furry member to the family. Here are some tips to help make the right choice when it comes to picking a pup that will thrive in your home.

First, congratulations on making such a great decision and thank you for choosing a responsible and life-saving option. Shelters all over the world are overfull and there are just so many pets that need a hero to walk in and choose them.

  1. Look into the shelters that are available in your area. Once you have narrowed down the shelters that you are interested in visiting, call and ask about the criteria that they use when assessing the pet’s temperament. You will want to be assured that you will know the animal’s history. This will give you needed information such as aggression and whether they have interacted with other pets or children and how they reacted to those encounters.
  2. Sit down with your family and talk about the accommodations you will expect your new dog to adapt to. Will you be bringing your new friend home to a small apartment or a large house with a yard? How old are the children in your home? What pets do you already have and how are they likely to react to a newcomer? Also assess how much exercise will be consistently provided. Remember, when you bring a pet into your home you need to consider the changes that your family may encounter for the next decade or two. Such as, new babies, kids growing up and moving out, travel, etc.
  3. Decide what age dog will fit your lifestyle the best. Puppies will require much more patience and training. The young adult dog will likely be potty trained and have grown out of the slipper chewing stage while still being full of energy. The senior dog will likely be better behaved and have less energy. This option is often the best choice for many different families, and adopting a senior is just such a wonderful thing to do for an older animal in need of a loving home.
  4. Once you have determined the space and energy your family has to give a pet, it’s time to do some research into breeds that fit into your lifestyle. When choosing shelter dogs, often the “mutt” is going to be the perfect fit. However, you can usually talk to the employees at the shelter and get a good idea of the contributing breeds of the animal.

  5. When visiting the shelter for the first time, it is recommended to leave the children at home. Kids have a way of falling in love at first sight. It is just so easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and take home a pet before you know if it is the right fit. Instead, consider a trip to the shelter without the kids and narrowing it down to the best candidates. You can then get the kids and bring them in for the final decision.
  6. Spend plenty of time with your potential new family member. Ask the shelter for the opportunity to walk the pup on a leash and play in the grass a bit with the kids if you have them. Getting out of the chaotic noise of the shelter will likely help the pups natural personality shine through.
  7. Finally, do not feel rushed. If you do not feel it’s a perfect fit for you then come back and visit your potential pet the next day. Give you and your family plenty of time to make the right choice. You certainly want to give your new pet the right home and security that he is with you for the long haul.

Thank you for being such a responsible pet parent and giving a home to a dog in need! Please always spread to word to always rescue, not buy, and to have all pets neutered and spayed.

October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month

It’s October again and this month is always very special to us! October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month! There are so many wonderful reasons to adopt a shelter dog. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Dogs of all ages are available

Of course puppies are adorable, but they are also a ton of work! Think potty training, chewed shoes, chomped charger cables, torn up rugs, and countless other casualties that come along with adopting a cute pup. Sometimes a young dog is exactly what one is looking for, but a lot of times, the benefits of adopting an older dog far outweigh those of bringing home a puppy. Imagine having already skipped the house training and chewing stages straight to the sweet adult dog phase. Plus, you’ll get to see exactly what their personality is like! Total win!

Do your part to end animal overpopulation

The truth is, there just simply does not seem to be enough loving homes to go around for all the homeless pets. But with your support, more pets can get the medical treatment they need, including getting spayed or neutered, and more pets can find loving homes. Your adoption fees go to helping more animals so you know you’re doing your part.

There are all types of breeds

Maybe you have a breed in mind, maybe you don’t. But there are all types of dogs available for adoption; some purebred, some mutts. There are even small organizations that specialize in particular breeds. So, whatever you’re searching for, there is a doggy out there that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

You are supporting amazing organizations

These non-profit organizations are unfortunately a very needed part of communities. With your financial support, you’re helping fund these important rescues that are housing, feeding, and providing medical care for pets in need.

With your help it’s a win-win-win situation

At Hale Pet Door we are very proud of our Rescue Rewards programs and the hundreds of thousands of dollars we have donated to pet rescues and humane societies across the country and around the world. When you adopt a pet and purchase one of our pet doors, you not only wind up with a loving new family member but you also help support pet rescues. When checking out enter the name of the rescue where you adopted your pet and we will give you 10% off the price of your pet door AND we will donate an additional 10% to that rescue. For more information about our rescue rewards program, please visit the Pet Rescue section on our website.

How to Encourage Positive Behavior in Your Dog

Did you know that positive reinforcement can be one of the most effective ways of training your dog? It can be an easy habit to always scold your dog when he misbehaves, but in actuality, focusing more on rewarding good behavior can have a much greater impact. Here are a few tips to help encourage great behavior from your pooch!

Always reward immediately

Part of the idea of positive reinforcement is to give your dog immediate positive attention as soon as they do what you want. That way, he will feel encouraged to do it again. Praise him, talk to him happily with excitement, and give him lots of pets. And of course, when appropriate, reward with a training treat.

Ignore bad behavior

One of the other pieces of the puzzle is to reward good behavior, but ignore the behavior you don’t want. Dogs crave attention from you, and if doing a certain behavior results in you ignoring him, he’ll quickly learn to do the things that you respond to instead.

Make it a game

Have fun with your dog. Remember, your excitement and enthusiasm is contagious. Your dog will pick up on it and will want to play with you. You and your pooch can engage in fun exercise and activities together, while you’re training him simultaneously.

Keep it short and sweet

A dog’s attention span is not super long – so if you make your training sessions too lengthy, he’ll likely lose focus and you’ll both get frustrated. Instead, keep it fun and short. Be excited to work with him and stay calm and focused yourself. That way you’ll both be able to spend some quality time together while you work on the training.

Be patient

Don’t forget, learning new things isn’t easy for anyone, so be patient with your little guy! He’s doing the best he can and only wants to please you. So be sure to give him lots of encouragement when he makes the right choices, but also show him love and forgiveness when he makes mistakes. It won’t take long at all for him to start figuring out what it is that you’re wanting!

Stay consistent!

Positive reinforcement isn’t just for training sessions. You need to be using it regularly, every single day, throughout the day, every time he does what you ask. Example, if you ask him to come, and he comes right to you on the first command, that deserves a big scratch behind the ear and a “good boy!” If you ask him to stay by the door instead of bolting, and he does, don’t forget to praise him! It’s these little things that will really help reinforce his good behavior and will keep everything fresh in his mind!