Kennels, Sitting, Boarding? – Oh my!

If you’re planning on heading away from Vancouver, and haven’t used a pet boarding facility before, we understand that the process might be a little over-whelming and even worrying for some dog owners. While some facilities still favor the long rows of kennels — where your pet may also have access to a small outdoor run — there are many other options. Here at Dharma Dog, although not bias, we are on team In-Home Boarding!

Below, I will discuss the different options of Pet Boarding, and what may or may not be suitable for your furry family member.

Dog Kennels/Catteries

Happy Dog in a Kennel

If your pet is crate trained, then staying in a crate or kennel will probably make your dog feel ­more secure while away from home. But for pets that aren’t crate trained, staying in a crate or kennel can be more stressful then anything, and may entice your dog to feel like they are trapped. Some boarding facilities keep the pets all together in large rooms, where the animals can interact with each other and socialize, similar to a daycare facility. It is important to ensure that your dogs temperament is suitable for this environment. If your dog is already attending a daycare or Social Club environment during the day, ensure to ask the Office Assistant how they react when left alone, and how they react at the end of their day – Remembering that your dog will not be picked up at the end of each day and may be kept in that environment for a few days, to a few weeks depending on your vacation.

Pet Sitting

There are multiple ways you can use a Pet Sitter in Vancouver. Deciding whether you want a sitter to feed, walk and be available for playtime only is a solid option. Another popular option is to have the Pet Sitter stay in your house, mixing House-Sitting & Pet-Sitting in one. It is easy to think that your dog will be comfortable in his/or her own environment at home, which is extremely true for some dogs, but you also have to consider your dogs need to protect. Having a stranger visit, or live, in your dogs environment can cause your dog to become very territorial, and may make the Pet Sitters stay difficult, and possibly even dangerous. Before you leave on Vacation ensure that you introduce your Pet Sitter to your dogs, maybe even on multiple occasions. Another good option is to schedule a few Dog Walking sessions with your Pet Sitter and dog. This Dog Happy in his bedwill allow your dog to get to know the person looking after him or/her whilst you’re away, and be comfortable around their presence.

In-Home Pet Boarding

While enlisting a pet sitter is a good option, so is in-home pet boarding. In-home boarding involves your dog staying at a pet sitter’s own home while you’re on vacation and can be a great option for dogs who require a lot of attention and love from their Pet Sitters. Unlike Kennels, and hiring a Pet Sitter for visits only, most in-home pet boarding services act like a fun & playful getaway for your dog. Many boarding services will also allow many different placement options for your dog. For example, if you live in an apartment with a low-energy dog, then it’s likely that your pooch will be set up in a similar environment. If your dog is used to having a large backyard with lots of exercise & a furry friend, same goes. Although, in-home pet boarding is our favourite option here at Dharma Dog, we can’t be biased. The main worry with in-home pet boarding can be separation anxiety.
Although anxiety may occur no matter which option you choose, you need to take the right precautionary steps before choosing this option. Just like Pet Sitting, maybe consider introducing your dog to your in-home boarding sitters before you leave. It might also be a good idea to leave your dog with a friend, and let them report back to see how they reacted for the night.

Once you’ve donDog on a vacation, sitting by the poole your homework on potential options, often the best way to select a facility is by asking questions. Find out about the facilities processes, find referrals, reviews and recommendations. And at the end of the day, if you trust your instincts, I’m sure you and your furry friend will have a wonderful & relaxing vacation.

Happy HOWLoween Tricks and Treats 3

We’ve reached the spookiest time of the year, HOWLoween is upon us!

Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? It may be a different story. Here we have listed a top 10 of doggy tips, so you and your pets can have a stress free Halloween.

Dia de los Muertos 135

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for your pets. Chocolate, in all forms, can be very dangerous, and even deadly, for dogs. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.

2. Halloween plants are for display, not for your dog:  Decorative plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Keep Halloween decorations out of reach: Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle: Dogs can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious pups especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets: Please don’t put your dog in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it. For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause some unnecessary stress for your dog.

6. Your dog loves his/or her costume? No problem! Make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement, hearing, ability to breathe or bark. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume: Ensure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he/or she could choke on.

8. Keep your dog away from the front door: Unless your dog is highly social & well trained, he/or she should be kept away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pet, and vice versa.

9. If your dog is the trick-or-treater: If your taking your dog out after dark with you, minimize the chance of an accident by adding reflective tape to your pets costume.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog has proper licensed identification. If for any reason your dog escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he/or she will be returned to you.

By using this tips, Dharma Dog hopes that you have a stress free and exciting HOWLoween!

Herbs That Are Safe for Dogs

I wanted to share an article I found super helpful that I read in Modern Dog Magazine fall 2014 issue:

There are a few common kitchen herbs that are good for dogs. Canine cancer-fighting, breath-freshening, stomach-soothing herbs that are safe for dogs include rosemary, basil, peppermint, oregano and parsley. Let’s take a closer look at each one individually.

basil

Rosemary (rosemarinus officinalis)
This good-for-dogs herb is high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6. Rosemary has also been shown to act as an antioxidant. (Though rosemary is very high in iron, it is not to take the place of an iron supplement if one is needed as there is little data about how bioavailable the iron in rosemary is.)

Basil (ocimum basilicum)
This dog-approved leafy herb, well-known for its delicious role in pesto, has antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. The next time you’re cooking with fresh basil, sprinkle a little pinch of the chopped herb atop your dog’s dinner.

Peppermint (mentha balsamea)
This aromatic herb has historically been used to help soothe upset stomachs, reduce gas, reduce nausea, and help with travel sickness. In addition, research is being done with shows that it may have radio-protective effects and can be used to reduce radiation-induced sickness and mortality in animals undergoing chemotherapy. There is no reported toxicity for dogs although very high doses may result in liver or kidney problems.

Oregano (origanum vulgare)
Best recognized as added flavour for  pizza, oregano is high in antioxidants and flavonoids and is reported as an antimicrobial. This non-toxic herb has been used to help with digestive problems, diarrhea, and gas. Research using oil of oregano has also shown anti-fungal properties. Oil of oregano is more concentrated than oregano, so keep the dosage small (oil of oregano does contain some components like thymol that can be toxic in large amounts or if used for a prolonged period of time). Use may impact the gut micro-flora so you may need to add a probiotic to the diet to build back up the good microbes that you killed off. For oregano drops made especially for pets, check out Orega Pet (oregapet.com).

Parsley (petroselinum crispum)
Another leafy herb commonly seen as a garnish on our plates is a source of flavonoids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It also contains lycopene and carotenes. Often added to dog treats as a breath freshener or used to sooth the stomach, parsley has a long history of use with dogs. Note: “Spring parsley,” a member of the carrot family that resembles parsley is toxic to dogs and cats due to high levels of furanocoumerin which can cause photosensitisation and ocular toxicity.

How to use the herbs*:

Used fresh or dried, adding a small sprinkle (a pinch for small dogs, a teaspoon for large dogs) of these herbs to your dog’s food is a safe way to give them a little boost in nutrition. You can also use them to make your favourite dog treat recipe a bit healthier and more flavourful. The flavonoids and antioxidants found in many of the herbs in this article can help the body’s immune system combat some of the diseases reduced immune function. As noted, however, there are potential downsides and they should be used with care.
Tincture and oils for many herbs are available at your local health or natural foods store. These are usually a more concentrated source, so if you wish to use tinctures, oils or higher levels of fresh or dried herbs, it is best to work in conjunction with your dog’s health care professional. Sometimes the monitoring of a dog’s blood work is necessary to ensure continued safe use. For maximum efficacy, make sure the herbs and spices you use are not old. If the spices have been languishing in your cupboard for years, toss them out and replace them; their health-affirming properties will be diminished if they’ve been kicking around for a while.

* There’s a common saying that “the dose makes poison.” What this means is that anything can be dangerous if it’s fed or used in the wrong amount. If your dog ate only meat, eventually he would get sick since meat alone does not provide all of the vitamins and minerals that dogs need for optimum health. When using herbs the line between safe and not safe can be very fine. It is always advisable to check with your vet.

-this article taken from Modern Dog Magazine

“Bark” is the New “Tweet” Part 2

CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY…

In yesterday’s blog, I began a discussion on today’s social media for dogs. I started with Woof.co, which is an app for dog owners to document their dog’s story and connect with other dog owners in the area, and Pack Dog, which is a photo sharing dog profile type site and reminds me of online dating! Which is, by the way, how my husband Nik, and I met.

The next one I stumbled upon was Dogster. This is a busy site with so much sensory overload, but once my brain begins sorting the information that’s being thrown my way, I realize it has some terrific, original articles, videos, and funny confessionals. Seems like I could waste a lot of my valuable time browsing all their creative content. Right away I noticed this article: 5 of the Most Common Grooming Mistakes. Seems obvious that most dog owners would know these things, but seriously, there’s so much to know about owning a dog, I figured we could all benefit from the refresher! So I had to share that one with you. This one also struck my fancy, Do You Tip Your Groomer, Dog Walker or Pet Sitter? The writer takes a poll on what readers say is the norm.

Although this page grabs my attention, it somewhat loses my focus as they are pulling me in too many directions at once. It’s not so much about the connection with other dog owners in your proximity but more about spending time with resources, like a dog encyclopaedia mixed with facebook; pretty much everything you might want to know about dogs. They have a magazine and a subscription to email alerts on the latest scoops. I can see Dogster turning my day into a big wasted internet browsing day. I’ll have to remember this one next time my toddler is napping and I’m feeling lazy. “I know there’s laundry to do, babe, but Dogster has a new quiz on how to tell if your cat is a jerk!” I know I know, we don’t have a cat… Prefer cats? Visit Catster…

I really feel like a “Dog Mom” in the dog section of YouPet.com. With a list of most popular dog names to the featured breed of the week, I’m reminded of when I was pregnant with our son Miles, searching the web for sites targeted for mom-to-be’s and baby centre news. These furry babies can be added onto your profile, with photos and zip or area codes to connect you with other dog owners. It’s a networking site with blogs, forums, games, health information, and is not limited to dogs! Oh no, they’ve got you covered for any and all pet mummies and daddies: cats, birds, reptiles, horses, fish and more! You can become a member here. Seems like a great place to exchange ideas and learn about new ways to be the best pet owner you can be.

Finally I want to leave you with some dogs who are extremely popular on social media:

Boo’s Facebook has 37 million followers and his typical status update is a picture of his fluffy face popping out of an adorable canvas bag with the tagline “just hanging around”. He’s the number one dog on the internet, and he’s a 5 year old pomeranian.

naked lounging #noshame

Boo’s Facebook page has a ton of cutesy photos of him just lying around being adorable.

The celebrity dog @Oprahthedog is rapper, 50 Cent’s bitch. She has about 12k followers on Twitter. What a foul mouthed lil fool! Example of post, “Dad is heading to Europe tonight, I am SO having a party while he is gone. Woof woof!”

I don’t know about you but it seems like the ever growing community of dog owners and dog lovers out there want to connect and share about their experiences with each other, just the same way other groups do! So I hope I helped you get a head start with social networking with your dog(s) to join the other 170 million pet owners in North America alone. BOLz! Bark out louds!

-Joanne

“Bark” is the New “Tweet”

The Dharma Dog twitter account, @dharmadogcares, is now being written from the perspective of a dog. “Bark” is the new tweet for Dharma Dog and the posts are a mixture of hilarity, irony and absolutely outrageous.

An example of a tweet from our dog is “I practice barking at the door constantly, my neighbours aren’t supportive of my aspirations. I will keep trying!” We also find our bark

Dog on cellphone

This dog hasn’t figured out how to tweet like our dog yet!

tweets in the form of backtalk, even to @cesarmillan, #BOL Bark Out Loud!

Not sure if you know this, but there is a heck of a lot of social media out there for dogs in today’s world. Many of them are for dog owners to create dog profiles for their pet.

Woof.co is the website for the dog app called Woof by Woof Labs. The clever logo is a dog’s paw with the heel in a heart shape. This app claims it will bring you closer to your dog as well as document your dog’s life through photos, marking its territory and sharing photos with other dog owners in your area. Better back up your iCloud or Android phone regularly to save all your hard work!

The website for Pack Dog almost looks like a dating profile webpage with dog photos and their names showcased in a thumbnail photo collage taking up your entire screen. The eye catching webpage greets you and interacts with you until you can’t take it anymore – add my dog to this beautiful display of canines! At the top it says “PACK” with the tagline, “discover the magic of everyday dog moments”. Enticing enough? Hover your cursor over the button to add your dog and this message pops up, “Pack is the beautiful new photo community for people who love their dogs. Add your dog to get started,” it says. How can I resist? Of course I think MY dog is the most beautiful! BOL (bark out loud). In moments, I joined. The picture I chose? My beautiful husband Nik and his handsome dog, Vegas from our Dharma Dog Team photos. I think it’s time you tried it out and experience it for yourself!

TO BE CONTINUED…

On Leash Trails Can Be Awesome

On leash trails can be awesome! Only if everyone respects the by-laws though.

We had a run-in with the same woman who I wrote about before. Click here for a recap.

Only this time really rubbed us the wrong way.

As we were visiting the creek bed I hear scampering just a few metres away from the bushes. I assumed correctly that it was going to be some off-leash dogs. This wouldn’t

Dog Leash walking

Nik manages to handle these four dogs on leash at our favourite trail.

really bug me except for the fact that the woman who owns these two German Shepherds has literally no voice control over them. The younger of the two shepherds approach my dog very assertively and went nose to nose with him. Joanne had Vegas on leash and I had my son Miles on my back in a baby backpack and I had one of our boarding guests “Charlie” on leash with me. I shouted up to the woman who was probably 20 metres away, “Please call your dogs off they are making my dogs uncomfortable”.

She tried…. but failed.She was still out of sight from the dogs and therefore had virtually no shot of being able to actually help.

The younger of the two dogs tried to mount Vegas, who as I mentioned earlier was on leash and unable to run from this situation, thus creating a very dangerous circumstance. A fight occurred and Joanne and I  both had to break it up. Still, there was no physical sign of the owner as she was too far away to get there in time.

What occurred next surprised and upset me.

Joanne mentioned to the woman “Please keep your dogs on-leash, this is a leash only trail.”

The woman shouted back bitterly “I will NOT! ”

I assume that this upset Joanne, and I let her address the woman. I simply observed the interaction.

Joanne replied, “We take our dogs here with our son because it’s a leash only trail. That’s why we come here.”

The woman, again very angry and bitter yelled this time “EVERYBODY let’s their dog off-leash. EVERYBODY does! I have lived in this area for 20 years and you JUST moved in a year ago. You can’t change the rules! I will not stop taking my dogs here off-leash!”

Now, here are a few important facts:

#1 She owns two dogs, both of which are under the age of 7 years old.

#2 The park is less than 8 years old.

#3 We take the trail a few times a week and she is the only person who we’ve witnessed letting their dogs run-free.

#4 Although the woman lives a mere 10 minute walk from the trail she chooses to drive them to the park because she cannot handle being pulled or tugged on leash. She cannot walk them off-leash either in public because as I have mentioned, she has literally no control over the two dogs.

The back and forth did last for some time and I couldn’t quote it all because it was repetitive. Joanne soon realised that it was like speaking with a brick wall and not even worth her time.

The woman began to curse under her breath  and tell us off as she left.

 

So here are my questions that I pose to you all out in Dharma Land:

Does it matter if she’s lived in the neighbourhood longer than us? Should that allow her to treat us and the rules differently?

Do you respect leash only signs? If not, do you understand why they’re important to follow?

How do we go about dealing with this situation? Do we call a by-law officer? After all my dog was bitten while he was on leash and her dogs were not.

I was going to use today’s blog as a resource for you all to really understand the importance of respecting on-leash or off-leash parks. However, I already wrote that joanne and Mileblog over a year ago it seems. The fact this is the same woman and it’s been a year shows a complete lack of respect for others and a selfishness that I do not admire. Are we so entitled as dog owners that we don’t actually care anymore that our behaviour or our dog’s behaviour might be affecting others?

I was very proud of Joanne for letting the woman know that her behaviour was affecting us negatively and we would no longer take the harassment.

So please understand that a rule that may inconvenience you ever so slightly may be helping many others.

Thanks for reading,

 

Nik

 

 

 

Vancouver’s Best Dog Trainers

Here is my list of Vancouver’s best dog trainers.

This list will be a little biased because I will most definitely include myself 😉

I’m comfortable writing a list like this because we all have a little something to offer. Although I am confident in my abilities to teach and help rehabilitate dogs, I only offer one on one services. This may not be the right fit for some of you. There are also circumstances where I will help you learn to understand your dog better, but you may desire a group setting where you can work on agility!

Here are a few of my favourite Vancouver based dog trainers in no particular order.

Shannon Malmberg  from Zen Dog

Shannon is pleasant to speak with and is extremely knowledgeable. She offers a large group class or private consults if necessary.

Donna Hall From Hot Diggity Dog

Donna is a clicker training wiz and a really nice person who truly cares about the dogs she works with. She’s also a pretty decent poker player 🙂 Unfortunately she’ll be moving to Victoria! : (

Shelagh Begg from Dizine Canine

If you have a “bully breed” she’s an excellent choice!

Dog Smart is an alternative that offers long term training for those of you that feel you’d like constant guidance. Class settings, clicker training and a cool store.

I may as well include Dharma Dog! Call 604-327-3649 or email us at: info@dharmadogservices.com

As a certified behaviour specialist  and member of CAPPDT and of the APDT  I offer a variety of methods but really focus on the natural communication of dogs and learning how to build a lasting bond with them. I believe in a hands off approach and really focus on teaching you to better understand your dog. Recently I made a video of a leash training session.

Dog trainer vancouver

Dog Trainer Nik Fabisiak and his trusty sidekick Vegas

Good luck on your search for a dog trainer, but remember, it’s all about finding someone that you’re comfortable with and willing to follow their direction.

P.S. If your dog trainer makes you fee small and dumb for asking questions I suggest you fire them! No room for ego in any industry, especially dog training! 😉

 

Have fun!

 

Nik

 

 

 

 

A Complaint is Music to my Ears

Many times I hear about service complaints at this place or that. I’ve read reviews on-line, through social media, or heard them through word of mouth.

As a business owner I LOVE hearing a complaint from my customers. Why? Because I learn from them!

As a young dude growing up I would often get into trouble. A lot of trouble. I pushed boundaries, broke rules, probably broke the law on occasion. But I learned from those mistakes. I make an effort to avoid repeating the mistakes as often as possible.

It was easy to learn from my mistakes growing up because I would face the consequences directly. They weren’t hidden from me. I would often see the end result of some of my boneheaded ideas.

As a business owner, it is slightly different. I know our shop makes mistakes, and when I catch those mistakes we adjust our protocols and fix them. We make adjustments accordingly and make a very strong effort to avoid repeating them. It helps us leave work knowing that we’ve given the day our very best effort.

When I find out about a customer being unhappy or dissatisfied with the service I make the same effort to listen to the reason and make adjustments to prevent the issue. If a customer is dissatisfied however, and doesn’t let us know, we wont adjust. The end result is not so good for my little Mom and Pop shop.

Dharma Dog Services

Dharma Dog Services loves happy customers!

We probably won’t see the customer again, and they will likely make an effort to prevent others from trying our shop out! 🙁

Here are some tips to ensure satisfaction no matter which business you go to:

1. Ask to speak to the manager. Don’t be afraid, or embarrassed, let them know you were dissatisfied with the service, or product. Chances are they will be empathetic, and understanding as most businesses strive to achieve a certain standard.

2. Choose your language carefully. I heard a saying before that will help you immensely! “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  Although you may be extremely upset, try not to be mean. If you’re feeling too angry or overwhelmed try to cool down before addressing the issue with the Manager. They’re a conduit to a solution for you. Try to work with them as a team. Don’t be a pushover but definitely make an effort to communicating your problem or needs versus simply being upset.

3.Give them a chance to fix it. Most problems are fairly small, and if they are a complaint about quality, then it’s definitely in your best interest to let the shop know. Chances are you will be heard, and worked with.

4. If your complaint isn’t being respected, or heard, escalate! If you don’t feel that the owner has given your situation the ol’ college try perhaps it’s time to report the business. or, simply never attend again.

 

Well, here’s hoping that I hear your complaint 😉

 

Nik

 

 

How To Train Your Dog

How to train your dog? Well, the answer is not going to be what you’d like to hear. Or maybe you’ve already come to expect it.

Training your dog is all relative. It depends on so many factors and it would take a while to even begin to explain. I’m here to be informative in an abbreviated form today. I am often asked a variety of dog training questions by nearly every dog owner when they first meet me. “How do I get my dog to stop barking at everything?” is a very common question. Sometimes I’m asked “How do I get my dog to come back when I call him?” My answer is often very similar and almost always greeted with frustration or dissapointment. Some people will understand and dive right in learning as much about their fuzzy friends communication as they can. My answer is this “Each dog is different. I’ll have to ask you few questions to establish your dogs temperament, and really get to the route of the problem.”

That’s right, I answer thir questions with more questions! Those that care to listen will succeed, those that want the easy answer are not as close to allevaiting their dogs behaviour problems as they hoped.

My goal as a behaviourist is simple; Help humans learn to communicate clearly with their dog. Not the other way around. If you spoke English your entire life and I tried to teach you a listen but spoke only in Spanish, how successful do you think our lesson would be? Maybe you would learn eventually, but chances are you’d have to learn to understand Spanish first and that would likely take some time. My approach with dogs is similar. As humans we speak countless languages and have variety of dialects. Yet, we expext dogs to be able to learn them all. While dogs are able to demonstrate an ability to form word associations. a great example is this border collie who has roughly the same ability to understand human language as your average 3 year old human. But, that’s just it, your average 3 year old has a limited vocabulary! So do dogs.

Dogs speak an entirely different language that is much easier for us humans to learn. It’s made up of mainly body language and tiny cues that when trained to see can make a ton of sense.

So, when you ask me “How do I train my dog?”

Expect me to train you!

 

Warm regards,

Dog trainer vancouver

Dog Trainer Nik Fabisiak and his trusty sidekick Vegas

 

Nik

Dog Grooming Small Business

My Title is purposely misleading. Why? I’m really not sure, I just thought it sounded catchy. The really isn’t too much drama in the dog grooming world. An irate customer here, I competitor tearing down posters there. It’s really a fairly stable business aside from some unexpected bumps in the road.

Small business can be tricky, and it’s essential to operate as smoothly and organized as possible. Things had been running very smoothly as of late, almost too smoothly. I left work on Friday and let our capable staff members handle the shop on Saturday.  I enjoyed my weekend and was prepared to head back to work on Tuesday after the long weekend. We had scheduled a few grooms for Tuesday in the early morning. Upon my arrival I realized that our dog wash area wasnt functioning. Zero water! You can’t exactly have a dog grooming shop without water! So a few hundred dollars later and the problem was solved. We used Mr.Swirl plumbing service. They were great and very efficient. Had I not prepared a contigency fund in our bank account for such events who knows how the day would have gone.

I was fairly grumpy afterward but I soon got over it and carried on with business as usual.

None of our grooms had to be rescheduled and we didnt ose any business!

Lesson learned. Plan for the worst, expect the best!

 

Vancouver dog grooming

Vancouver dog grooming