• How to keep your dog away from your Christmas presents

    Dec 24, 2018

    The Holidays are an exciting time for the whole family, including your pets. Timbercreek Communities wants to help make sure every member of the family has a happy holiday. Here are some tips for how to keep your dog away from your Christmas presents, and your tree.

    golden retriever dog at Christmas

    Go Bare and Artificial

    Pine needles may not be toxic to you pet, but they are sharp and can cause discomfort if ingested. An artificial tree may be less interesting to your pet. When you first set up your tree, leave it bare for a few days. This will give you pet time to investigate this curious addition to home and quickly lose interest in it, even when it becomes adorned with lights and bobbles.

    No Low Lights

    Once your dog has lost interest in your bare, artificial tree, it’s time to decorate it. To help your furry friend avoid temptation, and possible electric shock, make sure not to string any lights on the lower branches. Keeping things out of sight will help keep them out of mind for your pet. Hide any electrical cords running to or from the tree under a tree skirt, or use adhesive-backed cord clips to keep them out of reach of curious snouts.

    Christmas Tree Security

    To make sure your tree is secure, invest in a sturdy tree stand. For a second layer of tree security, you may want to rig up a homemade low-tech Xmas tree security system. Simply place aluminum cans filled with some dry beans, or noisy metal bolts, on the bottom limbs of the tree. If your pooch starts nosing around the bottom of the tree, they’ll sound the rattle-y alarm. Remember to keep fragile ornaments up in the higher branches.

    Take a Pass on Edible Ornaments

    Strings of popcorn, candy canes or anything else that can be seen as an enticing and tasty treat should be left off of your tree. Also, don’t store gifts of chocolate, even when it is wrapped, under your tree. If a brightly coloured tree that grew treats on and under its branches suddenly appeared in your living room, you’d probably want to investigate too!

    Pretty Plants can be Poison

    Mistletoe, Holly and Poinsettias are all potentially poison to your pets. If you decorate with these plants, make sure to keep them well out of reach of your four-legged friend. Nobody likes to be sick during the Holidays.

    Happy Holidays from Timbercreek Communities! We hope these tips and tricks protect your pet, presents, and tree this Christmas. 

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • How to make your apartment more fun for your cat

    Nov 13, 2018

    Cats are often thought of as low-maintenance pets. This can be true if all their needs are being met. Cats are also often thought of as, well, jerks. This reputation may or may not be deserved. The truth is, a cat that is under-stimulated may act out, become aggressive, or obsessed with food. To help keep your cat (and you) happy, Timbercreek Communities wants to share some ideas for how to make your apartment more fun for your cat.

    Cat playing in apartment

    Rise Up

    To help prevent your feline friend from rising up in revolt against the tyranny of boredom, you need to get on their level. A cat’s need to be up high is instinctual. This is where they can best survey their territory and improve their chances of survival in the wild. At home, in your apartment, their urge to climb remains. Cat trees and towers are available, but if you think they will clash with your aesthetic, try a simpler solution -- shelves. Strategically-placed shelves will allow your kitty to keep watch on their kingdom and cut down on their anxiety. If you don’t have room for shelving, try keeping the top of the fridge free and clear. They will love their designated cat cliff, especially when you’re in there cooking.

    State of the Art Entertainment Centre

    You don’t need any electronics to create a state-of-the-art cat entertainment centre. The window is their favourite high definition screen. What you can do is make the seating (window sill) comfy and stimulating. In the cooler months, your kitty may like the window sill decked out with a cozy blanket. If you don’t have a suitable window sill, you can try a DIY hanging cat basket. Hanging a toy or two from the curtain rod won’t hurt, either. Make sure the rod is firmly anchored to the wall, though.

    King of the Jungle

    Let your kitty feel like the king or queen of the jungle by adding a cat-friendly plant or two for them to hide behind, or even munch on. Choose your plants carefully. Some plants can be toxic to cats, causing indigestion or serious illness. Check out this petsafe plant list from the ASPCA. Growing a small container of catnip is always a welcome addition to your cat’s world.

    Break out the Toys

    Cats love their toys. You don’t have to spoil them, but keeping a few of their favourite toys around will keep your kitty-cat entertained, even when you can’t be there to play with him/her.

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help improve the day-to-day lives of your cat, and you.

    To find your home with Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Cat Car Carrier Tips

    Aug 07, 2018

    While cats generally strut about with the independent air of a wealthy aristocrat, turns out they’re sensitive too. Unlike dogs who can hop in a car with the wagging tail of a joyful child, cats more often need the protection and structure of a carrier. And when that carrier is most often associated with trips to the vet, it’s not always a welcome sight for your pet. To help you make the preamble and journey less stressful, here is a list of easy cat car carrier tips.

    Cat Carrier

    Acclimatize

    When cat carriers are mostly used for one thing - the vet, or a noisy car ride - cats can get wigged out by their very presence. Acclimatize your cat to its carrier, and help give it a more positive association. Leave the carrier out in a well used space with its door open, put in a blanket, and occasionally put its food and water bowls inside. Find out more.

    Scent-sitize

    Cats have been said to have 14 times the sense of smell as humans. Imagine then the plastic, metal, dirt, dust, and any lingering odors a cat carrier may have picked up from the vet, the car, basement, or garage. Be sure your carrier is clean (with unscented products, especially after trips to the vet), and place items your cat has used inside to help make it smell like home. Find out more.

    Prep properly for a ride

    A few simple tips can make a driving experience better for your cat. Make sure to feed it an hour before leaving to avoid nausea, be sure to have one of its toys and a towel inside the carrier for comfort, and cover the door with a towel to prevent agitation from movement. Check it out.

    Getting Your Cat into the Carrier

    A few tips can help get your cat safely inside its carrier, especially if agitated. Pick your cat up, holding onto his/her back feet with one hand, while the other holds his/her chest, and place him/her into the carrier backward so he/she can’t see where he/she is going. If he/she struggles, wrap him/her in a thick towel to avoid scratching, then cover the carrier with a towel, and let him/her settle in for a few minutes before moving. Learn more.

    Timbercreek hopes this list gives you some useful cat carrier tips to help keep your cat safe and happy this summer. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • 10 Pet-Friendly Canadian Resorts and Lodges For Summer Vacationing

    Jul 18, 2018

    Pet Friendly Vacation Spots

    From ocean views, to gorgeous lakefront and more, there’s no shortage of pet friendly Canadian resorts for summer vacationing this year. To give you some ideas, here are a list of fantastic spots to get your summer on.

    The Briars

    Set on idyllic Lake Simcoe, just outside Toronto, The Briars is a resort, spa, and conference center with spectacular rooms, lodges, and cottages that are all pet friendly. Learn more.

    The Fox Hotel Banff

    Located in the heart of Banff, The Fox Hotel & Suites is a pet friendly hotel offering spacious rooms and suites with numerous amenities, as well as continental breakfast, wifi, a hot pool, and fitness room. Learn more.

    Wolseley Lodge

    The rustic Wolseley Lodge at the French River is just three hours north of Toronto. It offers sixteen cabins, ranging in size from one to four bedrooms, all but two of which are pet friendly. Read more.

    Summerland Waterfront Resort

    Summerland Waterfront Resort & Spa is set on a secluded stretch of Lake Okanagan, between Penticton and Kelowna. The lakefront resort hotel features 115 pet-friendly condo-style suites with full kitchen, fireplace, and balcony. Learn more.

    Brennan Harbour Resort

    A fishing resort near Killarney Ontario, Brennan Harbour Resort offers a variety of well-appointed pet-friendly cabins and lodges, with a gorgeous view of Georgian bay. Read more.

    Elk Lake Wilderness Resort

    Elk Lake Wilderness Resort, in picturesque Northern Ontario, offers ten comfortable, well equipped waterfront cottages. Relax in their wood-fired sauna, or listen to the loons while watching the sunset. Check it out.

    Whitefish Bay Camp

    Located on Lake of the Woods, Whitefish Bay Camp is nestled on a private island in the middle of crystal-clear Whitefish Bay. The resort offers unparalleled fishing experiences, breathtaking scenery, and total relaxation. Learn more.

    Killarney Lodge in Algonquin

    On the peninsula surrounded by Lake of Two Rivers in the heart of Algonquin Park, Killarney Lodge offers comfortable, private waterside log and pine cabins decorated in a charming Canadian country style. Learn more.

    April Point Resort and Spa

    April Point Resort & Spa is located in a pocket of pristine British Columbia. This vacation resort with whale watching, spa, grizzly bear tour, and fishing, is set against the backdrop of the majestic Coastal Mountains. Learn more.

    Westwind Inn on the Lake

    Westwind Inn is an all inclusive vacation resort nestled in the Kawartha Lakes District near Peterborough, Ontario featuring tastefully decorated rooms, casual country dining, manicured lawns, and picturesque lakefront. Learn more.

    Timbercreek hopes this list helps you pick the perfect pet-friendly resort for summer vacationing this season. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • How To Teach Your Dog To Swim

    Jun 19, 2018

    It’s summer and that means it’s time to swim. For dog owners, it’s the season to either watch your dog splash around like a pup, or deal with their water phobia. While some breeds love water, others avoid it like the plague. What owners don’t always realize is that dogs aren’t born knowing how to swim: they need to learn. Before you head to the beach, it’s important to give your dog a bit of swimming experience in a safe environment. To help your canine get his or her feet wet, Timbercreek brings you this list of tips and tricks for teaching your dog how to swim this summer.

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    Start early

    Like humans, dogs adapt better to training, skills, and circumstances the younger they’re exposed. Start early. Frequent baths for puppies is a great place to start. You can gradually increase water depth, and graduate slowly to using a baby pool, or the shallow end of a full outdoor pool if you have access to one. Check it out.

    Take it Slow

    Take it slow with water training. Introduce your pet to water early and often. Use the bathtub or a plastic baby pool, and make the water luke warm. Hold your dog under the belly, speak in a calm tone, and be supportive. Be overt, and praise frequently.  Aim to make the whole thing a positive experience and your dog will respond better. Find out more.

    Be Safe

    Make sure your dog is safe and protected. Before they swim, make sure that the body of water is known and obstacle free. If your dog is frightened of water or not a natural swimmer, use a flotation device. You can also get an extension leash with a body harness to offer extra support. Dogs tend to naturally stay within a short distance from both shore/exits and their owners, but keep an eye on where they roam.

    Know your dog, know the breed

    Some breeds love water and take to it instantly. Others hate it, and will avoid it unless submerged. Even the most water-phobic of dogs should be exposed to water, if only to survive in an emergency. In these situations, it’s key to follow the previous points and make the experience as positive and supportive as possible. Read more.

    Getting out and proper praise

    A lot of dogs will naturally find their way out of a body of water. But pools and lakes with larger areas can be harder for them to navigate on their own. With guidance, they’ll learn their way to shore, or to the pool stairs, but when starting, guide them yourself. Dogs will follow your voice and your direction of movement, so make yourself clear and visible. And once your dog finds the exit and gets out safely, praise them thoroughly, adding treats as well for positive reinforcement.

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help you teach your pup how to swim this summer. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Off-Leash Petiquette: The Unwritten Rules Of Off-Leash Dog Parks

    Apr 24, 2018

    A haven for dogs big and small, off-leash parks give our canines much needed freedom and socialization. They also give owners a way to release the hound in a semi-controlled environment. They aren’t, however, a free-for-all. Off-leash parks come with unwritten rules; ones that make the experience better, safer, and more fun for humans and canines alike.  For a rundown of how not to act when off the leash, Timbercreek brings you this list of ways to keep your pet in check at the park.

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    Don’t Bully

    Dogs are pretty good at policing themselves. But little ones can have a tougher time stopping bigger ones from romping all over them. And sometimes, it’s the little ones that get in the face of bigger dogs. Be aware that while the alpha order works itself out a lot of times, owners need to take responsibility for their dogs not bullying others. Learn more.

    Watch the Jumping

    Dogs get excited. It’s what they do. And when they do, they either bite, hump, or jump. And while they all can be kind of cute, when it comes to other dogs - and worse - other people (even at an off-leash park) jumping isn’t cool. It can mean little dogs get hurt, your dog might lose an eye, or some random owner might get a German Shepherd in her face. Learn more.

    Watch the Humping

    While sometimes comical or cute to watch, its best to keep your dog off the backs of others at the park. Learn more.

    It’s Not All About You

    Remember: off-leash parks or areas are just a part of a shared social zone. You and your dog don’t own it. Others use it. Just because it’s designated off-leash doesn’t mean non-pet people won’t use it or walk through it. Keep an eye on passersby, share the space, and watch that your hound doesn’t make a snack of them.

    Bags are a must

    Bring a bag people. While everywhere is a potential toilet for a dog, just because it’s outside, and an off-leash area, doesn’t mean it’s a free poo zone. Remember to stoop and scoop!

    Be Cool

    At an off-leash park, you’ve gotta relax and let go. Dogs get rowdy. They run. They jostle. They steal each others’ toys. Don’t get too uptight about it all. Trust that you’ll get your frisbee or throw-thingy back and sip your latte. Read more.

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help you navigate off-leash dog parks. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • The Best Pets For Apartments

    Mar 13, 2018

    While apartment living can often mean no pets or small pets only, there are actually a number of great options for apartment-friendly pets. To help you find your next apartment-friendly little buddy, Timbercreek brings you this list of perfect pets for apartment living.

    Lap Dogs

    Small dogs are well suited to apartments. Much more so than large dogs like Shepherds and Labs. Look for breeds like Pugs, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Bichon Frises, or Boston/Yorkshire/West Highland Terriers. These breeds also tend to be hypoallergenic and/or non-shedding, which is great for small spaces. Read more.

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    Cats

    Cats are really are great apartment pets. All they need is a litter box and food to thrive. They can take care of themselves, be left alone, don’t need much attention, and will find mice if you forget to feed them. Read more.

    Hamsters + Guinea Pigs

    While technically a rodent, hamsters are the pet store poster child. A close relative, guinea pigs are non-rodential, but still similar in terms of size and needs. Both are great small-space pets. They require regular feeding, water, cleaning, and exercise, but they’re otherwise a perfect, gentle, easy going pet. Check it out.

    Budgies + Parakeets

    If it’s songs and squaking you enjoy, a Parakeet might be for you. A friendly, tiny, and noisy little pet that’s perfect for apartments, Budgies (Budgerigars, actually) are from the Parrot family. They’ll fairly easy to care for, can eat fruit and vegetables in addition to birdseed, and will sit on your finger once they get used to you. See more here.

    Fish

    There may be no pet with more gear and paraphernalia than fish. Tanks, stones, plants, structures, hides, cleaners, oxygenators, food, lights -- fish come with a lot of baggage. That being said, they’re perfect for apartments. Once set up, they only require feeding once to twice daily, and a tank clean maybe once a month. Check our more.

    Rabbits

    Rabbits are often not top of mind for aspiring pet owners, but they're super cuddly and great for apartments. They’re cute, require little more than a guinea pig, and can be trained to use a litter box. Kinda cool, in addition to the fact that they’ll also train to walk on a leash. Learn more.

    Timbercreek hopes this list helps you pick the perfect pet for your apartment. For more information about our pet friendly Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: How to Crate Train a Puppy

    Feb 26, 2018

    Crate training is an excellent way to welcome a new puppy and start its education and adjustment right away. A crate is a puppy’s dedicated place. A safe, secure nest that’s all his/her own. It has a number of uses beyond this from potty training, to time outs and resting, as well as discipline. To help you navigate the big job of training a new puppy, Timbercreek brings you this list of ways to crate train your furry friend.

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    Bars Aren’t Bad

    On first look, the bars on a dog crate seem awfully cage-like. But your pup doesn’t see it that way. He/She sees a warm, cozy cave where he/she feels comfortable to sleep in safety. It’s also a puppy’s own private spot. While dogs do well carving out their own nooks and territory, they generally have to share a house or apartment with their owners. A crate comes in handy in this regard to give them a place that no one else can use.

    Prep for Your New Pup

    Before bringing a new puppy home, make some preparations. Start with the right sized crate. Ideally the puppy should have room for a bed and water bowl, and be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If possible, also get a blanket that smells of the mother dog, and place it inside the crate. The familiar smell will be a huge source of comfort.

    Where to Put the Crate

    Crate location is important. Your dog wants to feel connected and included, but also have a  place where it’s quiet enough to rest. A great spot is the corner of a living room or den, where he/she can see the family but have space of his/her own. A laundry room or basement isn’t ideal for this reason as he/she may feel isolated and act out.

    Not Too Long

    Keep your pup’s crate time short and sweet. Start with a few minutes, gradually building up the time. Once he’s/she’s happy and settled down, be careful not to leave him/her in it too long. Avoid leaving even older dogs unattended in a crate for more than four hours at a time. It isn’t fair to your best buddy, who may start to resent the crate rather than love it.

    Don’t let it be for discipline only

    Most would-be pet owners assume a crate is used for sleep, and discipline. And while it can be used to good effect to this end, it foremost should be a place your dog enjoys. Using it to positively reinforce behaviour is a better tactic to take.

    Dos and Don’ts

    DO: Encourage the pup to explore the crate. This means hiding tasty treats and special toys inside for him/her to discover.
    DON’T: Force the puppy inside.
    DO: Praise him/her when he/she sits inside without crying.
    DON’T: Let him/her out when he’s/she’s crying, as this rewards the noise and makes him/her more likely to cry in future.
    DO: Very slowly extend the amount of time pup is left inside the crate.
    DON’T: Use the crate as a place of punishment or leave him/her in for hours on end. Check out more here.

    Timbercreek hopes that this list helps you welcome home your new puppy and start off his/her training the right way. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • How to Exercise With Your Dog this Winter

    Jan 22, 2018

    Cold weather presents a challenge to pets and owners alike.  As temperatures drop in the winter months, motivation to get outside wanes. Truth be told, the cold is often more of a deterrent to owners than pets. Most animals, except maybe shih tzus and hamsters, love whatever weather the planet can throw at them. Still, our furry friends need to get their heart rates up just like we do. To help keep them active in the cold, Timbercreek brings you a list of our favourite ways to get your pet’s blood pumping this winter.

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    Bundle Up

    There’s a vast selection of pet attire now available. With everything from parkas to booties, in all manner of styles and colours, there’s nothing standing between your pet and a cozy insulated winter walk.

    Interval Walking

    To pump up your heart rates without freezing your face off, try a high intensity interval walk with your pet. Try one minute of walking, followed by a 20 second jog. Repeat the cycle for a total of five (more) rounds.

    Indoor Tag

    It doesn’t take much to work a dog up into a frothy frenzy. Be it toys or treats, balls or straight up tail pulling, you can whip Fido into a house or apartment raging run. Try playing tag or chase, throw a ball, or play catch.

    Take the Stairs

    Another condo and split level advantage is stairs. You'll both get a workout when you take your dog up and down the stairs a bunch of times for some in-house exercise. Or try taking the elevator down, and the stairs back up.

    Skijoring

    Skijoring is a combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding. It basically amounts to your dog towing you while on skis. Just don’t hook up to your bichon frise.

    Doggie Gyms

    Yep. They exist. Indoor dog gyms are a real thing. They'll help your pet get in fighting shape in no time, indoors.

    Laser Pointers

    Laser pointers are fantastic dog (and cat) entertainers. You might need to rile up your pet first to get him or her into it, but it otherwise makes for easy inside exercise. 

    Dog Walkers

    You could go the easiest winter route and hire a dog walker. Unless you have a hairless chihuahua, most dogs love the cold and can at least muster a stroll around the hood.

    Off Leash Parks

    Nothing makes a dog forget his/her troubles - and obedience training - faster than an off-leash park. Bundle up and head on down to give your pet a winter rush. Bonus: you might even make some friends.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps keep your pet active this winter. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Winterize Your Pet

    Dec 19, 2017

    They might have a furry coat, but your pet can still get very cold in the winter. It never hurts to keep them safe and warm any way you can. Timbercreek Communities is here to help you with tips for how to winterize your pet.

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    Pet Jackets

    When it’s really cold outside, you wouldn’t dream of venturing out without a coat on. Why should your dog have to? Smaller dogs, with a higher ratio of body weight to body surface, lose heat easily. Doggie jackets and vests are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit your shepherd or schnauzer.

    Pet Shoes

    Along with all the winter snow, comes all that winter ice, sand and salt. Salt does a great job of melting the ice, but it can do a number on a dog’s tender paws. If your pet ingests any of the salt by licking it’s sore paws, it can also get a tummy ache. Protect your pooch’s paws with a pair of boots or waterproof rubber socks. If your dog refuses to wear boots, make sure to rinse their feet thoroughly after contact with sand or salt.

    Invisible Boots

    Getting a dog to wear booties when they don’t want to wear is as easy as a magic trick. Fortunately, there is nothing magic about invisible boots. It’s actually a nontoxic wax that's rubbed on and in-between a dog's paws. Musher’s Secret was originally developed to soothe and protect the paws of hardworking Canadian sled dogs. The wax-based cream is easy to apply, moisturizes and helps to heal wounds. It’s useful year round as it also protects paws from hot pavement in the summertime.

    Identification Collars

    An ID collar is a must-have for any dog or cat, but never more so than in the winter. When temperatures drop, your pet is at an increased risk of harm. It’s important to locate them as soon as possible if they run away. No one ever plans on their pet getting lost, but with a little precaution and planning, you can make the unthinkable much easier to deal with. Reflective collars are easier to see in the snow and easier for drivers to see.

    Timbercreek wishes you and your pet a happy and healthy winter! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

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