Head of the Class Dog Training LLC 

Winchester, VA

Winchester's Premium Professional Pet Training

Spring Cleaning and Repairs With Pets: How to Keep Them Safe


After a long, cold winter, most of us are longing for spring. It provides a vigor and excitement in us that actually motivates us to clean out, spiff up and get moving! As wonderful as this spirit is, it’s important to remember the safety of our pets as we spring into cleaning action. Here are our best tips and reminders for protecting your pets while you spruce up your home for spring.

Cleaning Products

In order to get your home into tip-top shape, you may need to use a variety of cleaning products. Among them, you may have some cleaners that are very harmful to your pets. Safe use and disposal, or swapping out harmful cleaners for more natural ones are the best ways to protect your pets. Read ingredient labels and securely store and use these products away from your pets. Cleaners that include ingredients like bleach, isopropyl alcohol, ammonia and formaldehyde are harmful when ingested — and sometimes even inhaled. Be sure to let rooms air out extensively before returning your furry friends to those areas. If you’re turning to greener cleaners, you can choose DIY options like vinegar and water or safer labels like Method. Also look for the Safer Choice seal from the Environmental Protection Agency as you shop for alternatives.

Securing Doors and Windows

There’s nothing like that first day you’re able to have a fresh spring breeze blowing in through your screen door and windows! But before you do that, make sure all screens are secure. You wouldn’t want a lazy cat or an excited dog to lean on or jump into a screen and find themselves outdoors unsupervised! Add this reminder to your checklist as you’re washing windows and glass doors, then sit back, relax and enjoy the breeze with your pet.

Safety With Contractors and Repairmen

As you’re doing your annual check around your home, it’s likely you may find a thing or two that needs repair. Make safe plans for your pets while repairmen are in your home. Often those performing services for us are not as conscious of our pets as we are. Leaving a door open a moment too long could allow your pet to race for freedom in the form of a busy road in front of your home. Secure your pets for their safety while workers are in your home. And when they leave, check behind them to make sure all debris, nails and other supplies have been cleaned up and properly disposed of in a pet-proof trash bin and that all doors and windows are secured.

Sprucing Up the Garden


This is also the glorious time of the year when we gardeners are released back into nature! There’s nothing like the feel of dirt under your hands and blooming plants all around you. While planning and planting your garden, keep your pet in mind. Choose safe, natural fertilizers that aren’t toxic to animals, avoid using harmful pesticides and pet baits, and choose safe mulch and adornments for your garden. Cocoa shell mulch smells nice, but remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs. If you have dogs, it would be best to not use cocoa shell landscaping mulch at all. Also make sure any spray-on product used on your yard is completely dry before letting your pet walk on it. Pets tend to walk on treated areas and lick their paws, ingesting the poison. Be alert for what your neighbors may be spraying on their lawns, too, as wind could cause it to drift into your yard and dog's outdoor water bowl. For additional safety, keep your dog from walking on other people's grass. Finally, as you’re working outside, take a careful walk around your yard and garden fencing, checking for holes and any places where a pet’s collar could catch and pose a choking hazard.

Spring is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors with your pet, too. If you could use some tips on proper leash walking and behavior that makes you proud in public, contact Head of the Class Dog Training. Our expert trainers are here to make yours and your dog’s time together enjoyable and fun — and we can throw in a trick or two that are show-off worthy.

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Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.

Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.