Bark! Understand why your dog appears to bark unnecessarily

To understand why your dog barks unnecessarily is a tricky subject.

Barking is something dogs often do to sound the alarm of a potential threat (in his mind).  Unfortunately for you and your neighbours, these ‘threats’ can include squirrels, birds, people or dogs walking by, noises, the garbage man, etc. Dogs may also bark when excited to initiate play, however this isn’t the focus of this blog.

 

A dog that barks at everyday occurrences is not a good watchdog. A dog like this is similar to a car alarm that keeps going off for no reason. People will eventually take no notice, even when he barks for a legitimate reason. He will only annoy the entire neighbourhood.

A good watchdog is one that barks only when something out of the ordinary happens; when someone attempts to enter your property or when there is imminent danger like a house fire.  Dogs naturally protect their territory but you need to teach him what is not a threat to you, your family or the territory.

 

Dogs that bark a lot can be of various personality types.  The very confident dog will feel it is his duty to ward off everything and everybody from his turf.  He is insistent in his warnings and is vigilant in keeping things away.  The timid or fearful dog may be very worried about these scary threats, as he feels vulnerable. He will do everything in his power to keep them from approaching his domain so he or his pack isn’t hurt.  This can even escalates into growling and biting.

 

 

A dog may also be barking to call the pack back to him (separation anxiety) as he is worried for his safety and that of the pack.

 

These are all natural survival instincts for dogs.  Since they are dogs living in a human society, we need to teach them in their own language what warrants concern, what is acceptable barking, and what is not.

 

Things that you can put in place to help the situation include:

 

Don’t react to your dog every time he barks by calling him, going to him, or yelling at him.  You are only reinforcing his ‘calling of the pack’ responsibility.

Provide a safe place for him to sleep and relax when he is left alone.  Patrolling an entire house is a huge job that will require lots of barking.

Provide your dog with a sense of strong leadership from you.  He will feel less vulnerable if he knows you are capable of taking care of him and the pack.  This includes setting rules, getting him to work for you by following and focusing, and not acceding to requests from him for attention, games, coming in or going out, etc.

Understanding the temperament of your dog, the constant messages he’s sending to you and others, and the scope of his concern is paramount to educating him and controlling the barking.  Some solutions that are available to stop barking can possibly make the matter worse. So any gimmicky item (bark collars etc) can actually put a great deal of stress on your dog. Although it stops him from barking unnecessarily he definitely is still feeling the need to bark and will not actually understand that he shouldn’t be.

If you’re frustrated by your dogs barking and require help understanding your pet, I highly recommend that you seek proffessional help. Find a trainer that you’re comfortable with and follow through on their instructions.

Good luck!

 

Nik

dog barking out window

SOme dog’s think that it’s necessary to announce the presence of danger…

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

 

It’s Important To Obey The Rules…The Dog Rules

As I enter my favourite dog walking trailapril 2013 502 there is a small but noticeable sign that has symbols and wording marked ” pick up after your dog” and “all dogs must be on-leash”

I gladly follow these rules. Why? Well, trying to dodge giant plops on the ground can generally ruin an otherwise peaceful nature walk so I’d rather not do that to others.

My dog is fairly well-behaved, and I have good off-leash voice control on him, why do I bother with the leash? #1 It’s the law. #2 Not every dog or person is good with dogs. Some people are terrified of them! So are some dogs!

While on our usual family nature stroll my family and I were walking through the trail. We were about half way in and really enjoying the sound of nature. It was silent, other than the birds chirping or water rushing down the creek. You could also hear the occasional branch snapping and falling. It was peaceful and serene. Until, all I could hear and see was two German shepherds barreling towards us! Barking like mad! I stood in front of my wife, baby, and dog and yelled  “Please get your dogs on leash” … The dogs continued to circle us barking. We eventually heard the shout of ” It’s okay they’re friendly”  *blink* Excuse me? They’re friendly? I’m sorry, but just because your dogs wont necessarily bite doesn’t mean that my leashed up dog won’t. Also, you woke up my baby! I replied to the scofflaw that “it’s not alright, please leash up your dogs”. She gave us a nasty look and took off with her two out of control and impolite dogs. Yes, IMPOLITE! Our day wasn’t ruined by any means, but it definitely broke the peacefulness of the situation and our dog was definitely spooked for a few minutes.

Does your dog run up to strangers? Jump on people? Bark or Snap at other dogs? Does your dog ignore your request to recall to you? If you Answered yes to any of these questions perhaps you should keep your dog ON-LEASH unless you’re in an area that specifically states that you can take your dog off-leash.

So rememember, just because you think your dog is amazing it doesn’t mean that others will. Respect Leash laws 🙂

 

The cut throat dog grooming industry… LOL

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As a small dog grooming business in the bustling city of Vancouver it is expected that there will be some competition to gain a client base.
I’ve always operated my business with a smile on my face and a good attitude towards clients, and rival grooming or dog businesses.
I make many efforts to advertise and showcase what we at Dharma Dog have to offer. One of my small advertising promotions that I have currently been doing is a small graphic postcard which entitles the client to a FREE nail trim. I thought it would be a nice way of giving back to the dog community around our shop.

I had been handing them out directly to clients but have also been posting them at dog parks at the designated poster area.
I had been noticeing my cards going at a rapid pace in one park in particular. So I started replenishing the stock. At first I would reload the cards at weekly intervals and eventually daily! Finally I went by the park to take one of our clients for a walk and noticed that the postcards were already gone. Hmmm, It didnt seem likely that within that short of a time frame they would have already beem taken. One of my competitors posters remained, but out of curiosity I decided to check the garbage can. Sure enough my postcards were bent in half and thrown away! My heart sank. Each one of those cards cost me hard earned money out of my pocket and someone was simply throwing them out. I am literally shaking my head as I write this because I am fairly disgusted by the behaviour. I have a family to support. Each one of those cards in the garbage can can literally have meant a new client walking through my doors to hire us for their dog needs.

When Pepsi sees a Coca Cola advertisement do they rip down the poster? Not likely! They’re more likely to put up more Pepsi posters. Business is about competition but there is also a fine line you walk as a person. I am not the type of person to cheat my way through life and perhaps that will pay off one day. For now I’m left shaking my head at the efforts people are taking to keep others down!

I guess I’m writing todays blog to vent some frustration.
Thanks for listening 🙂

coupon sample

Welcome to Dharma Dog Boarding

Dharma Dog Daycare is now offering an in home boarding experience for your dog!

We had so many requests to offer boarding that we decided to expand our business and give it a go, and we truly believe that we offer one of the most unique in home boarding experiences around.
We have had a lot of fun with the dog’s that have stayed with us thus far, and we are continually striving to improve our service.

Here’s all you need to know about your dog’s stay with us:
We give all dogs a complimentary bath and tidy at the end of their stay if they stay over 2 weeks with us. Your dog also gets two nature walks a day in the trails behind our property in the forest and playtime with other dogs (including our dog Vegas and any other dogs that may be boarding with us at the same time as yours). We also have one of the nices natural nature trails minutes from our house to add some variety. Make sure to provide the dog’s favourite blanket or bed, favourite toys and enough food for the entire stay (and any other instructions you may have for us).

Does your dog like nature? How about romping through trails in the forest? Heck yes, dogs love it! Here are some pictures of our property and the atmosphere your pup will be exploring:

Dharma Dog Boarding

Amazing Dog Boarding Experience

dog boarding dharma dog

Vegas explores the surrounding nature at Dharma Dog Daycare’s boarding facility.

Hug Your Dog Groomer!

When is the last time that you have trimmed your dogs nails yourself? How about brushed their teeth? Brushed their coat? Given them a bath? A fur cut?

If you have ever done these things on your own chances are you may realize just how difficult and time consuming it can really be. Not to mention stressful. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who have a dog that will just completely relax and allow you to do whatever you might need. For many clients this is only a dream!

Now, just to be clear, I am NOT a dog groomer. I have expertly trained staff with loads of

vancouver dog grooming

Kaori taking a break while working on Mila the golden doodle

experience to handle to all of our shops grooming needs. I am however a canine behaviour therapist and trainer with experience to boot!

I watch all of our grooms closely whenever I have the opportunity, and let me tell you  that it is not easy!!

Typically a client will bring their dog in and request a style, remember, the dog that you know and see on a daily basis may not act like you’d expect when you’re not around. I’ve seen growling, spinning, biting, barking, and even pooping while dogs are being groomed! We make every effort at our shop to keep the environment calm and clean and as stress – free as possible, but on occasion our groomers will have to undo some bad associations that dog’s may have had from previous groomers at other shops. The process at Dharma Dog Daycare & Grooming is usually a smooth one and on occasion so relaxing for the dog that they actually will fall asleep!

I guess I’m really writing this in appreciation of our grooming staff and all groomers who are calm, relaxed, and are able to cope in their high pressure industry.

The next time that you visit your local grooming shop (hopefully it’s ours 😉 ) Just remember that it isn’t an easy job and to say thank you to the hard working groomers out there!

 

Dog Trainers and Their Egos

Q:What is the only thing that two dog trainers will ever agree upon?

A: What the third dog trainer is doing wrong!

 

badump chhhh! (drum sound)

 

I guess I’m writing this piece in order to clarify my opinion on the “correct” way to train a dog. In my opinion there is NO set way to train a dog. There is definitely a wrong way though. Anything involving physical force or fear won’t solve problems with your dog.

I think the process of training a dog should be customized to each individual dog’s personality, temperament, lifestyle, history and breed. Our name, and logo is based on this philosophy and our goal to help dogs maintain a stress free life.

1. Look at things from your dog’s point of view; it’s a lot different when you truly look at their lack of understanding of our society, and being.

2. Simplify communication; speak their language and gradually teach them bits of ours. Did you know that dogs use body language as their primary communication device?

3. Discover what motivates them; is it food? play? praise and affection? When you can pinpoint one or all four, reward them for making great decisions using the best one.

4. Set rules and boundaries. Enforce them consistently.

5. Understand that they are NOT human.

6. Have FUN!! 

7. Learn to love the following acronym: C.R.A.P.

C onsistency

R epetition

A ction

P raise

If you can be flexible and be willing to learn multiple points of view, you may be able to not only better understand your own dog but many others. I try to leave my ego at the door when dealing with people or animals and open myself up to learning as much as possible. Take a scientific approach to prove or negate results.

Life is fun and so should working with your dog 🙂

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This image is a representation of my approach with dogs

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

What an Unpleasant Surprise (Our Dog Left Us)

We came home from dinner with the in-laws last night around 10 pm. It was a great night, great food and a little basketball to boot.

We left our dog alone for 4 hours. This is a regular occurrence, and not really out of the norm of our day-to-day lives. We usually come home to a happy dog and we are glad to see him as well.

Last night, however, was a little different.

Our dog was really happy to see us. I mean, over excited anxious kind of happy. I didn’t really think much of it at the time but it was definitely some foreshadowing for what I would discover later.

We were taking care of business, putting the baby to bed and winding down. My wife went upstairs to our bedroom where I heard gasping for air and shouting, “Gross!” She hurried down the stairs and stated dejectedly, “Theres mushy dog poop in our bedroom!”  Gross was right. I’d not really experienced this phenomena with my dog since he was a puppy so I was out of practice in regards to cleaning it without damaging our carpets further. The poor guy had an upset stomach. (He’s okay now: vet checked and approved.)

I started doing some research and came across the most effective ways to remove dog poo and dog pee out of carpet.

I’m almost embarrassed writing this but I found the information useful and decided to share the nitty-gritty with you all 🙂

Poo:

Step 1: Pick up any large chunks.

Step 2: LET IT DRY…

Step 3: When it is completely dry, use a fork (one that you’re comfortable with never ever using again) and scrape all of the dried poop OUT of your carpet.

Step 4: vacuum all of nasty dried poop.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4.

Step 6: With a bucket of hot water and laundry detergent, use a sponge to gently remove any discoloration.

Step 7: Repeat if necessary.

 

Pee:

Once again… I apologize for todays content.

Step 1: Use papertowel and place it on the area soaked with urine and BLOT.

Step 2: Really press down on the towel to remove ALL moisture from the carpet.

Step 3: Enzyme cleaners are the best to kill any odour or bacteria. You can find these at your local vacuum stores and many pet stores.

Step 4: After using your cleaning solution, blot again and dry.

Step 5: Use the cleaner again and cover with wax paper or cellophane to keep the area wet.

Step 6: After about two days you can expect to have fully removed the stain and killed any off-gassing odours.

Step 7: If this hasn’t help consider calling a professional carpet cleaner.

 

Good luck! I hope that this helps… Better yet, I hope that you never have to use this information 😛Image

Dog Grooming in Vancouver

I felt like writing a more personal blog today. Maybe giving our readers some insight to what goes on behind the scenes at a new dog grooming shop.

When we decided to open Dharma Dog Daycare and Grooming, it was merely a pipe dream.

I had a successful dog training  business and Joanne was working full-time in the business development center at a car dealership and teaching piano on the side.  We were busy. Very busy.

We then found out we were expecting a baby! That was definitely the best news! After much thought and soul-searching we decided that it would be best to sell my dog training business and start anew. I wanted a job/business that allowed me to leave my work at home, and as most dog trainers will tell you that cell phone doesn’t stop ringing just because you’re not training. There are constant emails, and phone calls, some very happy, some very unhappy, and that ultimately leads to a lot of stress.Believe me when I say this, dog training is up to the owner! However, many people could not seem to grasp this concept and seemed to only practice while I was with them. I found this to be rather frustrating and given my medical history I needed a less stressful career.

We sat down and really began conceptualizing our business. So we would work full-time, come home and work on our business. Day in and day out.  Now remember, Joanne was pregnant at this point. She has the greatest work ethic, and at times had to be reminded to slow down.

After finishing our planning we began the process of looking for a location. It was a frustrating experience as we felt that property managers or building owners didn’t take us as seriously due to our age. We finally found a building that we really liked and made a very serious bid for it. First week went by. Two weeks went by. Three weeks went by. Finally, a counter offer! Ouch, it was not what were hoping for.

I was really disheartened and felt like this was going to continue to be an uphill climb.

Meanwhile, Joanne continued to tell me how smelly Vegas (see pic below) was getting. I continued to balk at her and deny it completely. “He smells like a dog, silly ” was often my reply… or “he smells like roses” … this went on for a few weeks during the location search process.  Eventually, I came home to what smelled like a mix of wet dog, rotten vegetables, and dirt…It was time for Vegas to see the groomer.

We went to a local hole in the wall groom shop. Nothing fancy, in fact I disliked taking Vegas to most shops as I found them to be unorganized, loud and smelly. I preferred giving him baths at home. However, I needed to call in the big guns for this smelly dog.

While at the groomers to pick up my stressed out and tired dog, the groomer and I started to chat about the difficulties I was having finding a location. She nudged me with her elbow playfully and mentioned, “I have a second location….”

“What?! Where? How? Really?” Was my response. She began to tell me how she wasn’t able to run the second location and it ultimately was falling apart.

I was introduced to a smelly, run down little grooming shop. Now most people would have ran away. Not me. I saw the beauty and potential in the space. I shook some hands, signed a cheque, and got to renovating the very next day! This was around February 2013. One month later, we opened on the most progressive day of the year, March 4th!  We turned a rundown smelly little shop into our pride and joy: Dharma Dog Daycare & Grooming!

There is still some stress, but I think that comes with opening a new business, having a baby, getting married, and buying a house all in the same year.. but I wouldn’t change it for the world 🙂Image

 

 

Proper Dog Waste Disposal

As a dog owner, I should always pick up my dog’s business when he decides to relieve himself on a walk or anywhere in public for that matter. I know this and I do this – as a matter of fact, I don’t think I could ever leave the poop. Well, alright, there have been a few times that I forget a bag and leave the poop for a moment to run home, grab a bag, and return to pick up my dog’s pile.

It always amazes me when I see dog poop that is not picked up, or if I see someone walking their dog who then walks away from the dog poop after the dog clearly just went on someone else’s lawn, on the park grounds or on the public side walk! I want to ask them, did you forget a bag? Do you think you are above picking up your dog’s poo? And then give them a few extra bags or call the city and report them. Unfortunately, I usually just give a disapproving expression and a little glare, my passive aggressive way to deal with someone else’s rude and inconsiderate (not to mention illegal) behaviour.

There was a great post by Vancouver Sun on May 19, 2012:

“First off, nobody knows precisely how many dogs populate the high-density urban landscape [of Vancouver]. However, if estimates of 145,000 dogs are correct, then applying University of B.C. scholar Stanley Coren’s approximation (published in a recent Psychology Today article) of an average production of about 340 grams of fecal matter per dog per day, simple arithmetic indicates man’s best friend must deposit about 50 tonnes of excrement on the city every 24 hours. Over a year that totals about 18,000 tonnes — more than 1.5 times the weight of BC Ferries’ biggest ship.”…Read more.

Now that’s a lot of dog poop! There are many options of what to do with your dog’s doo-doo besides leaving it on the path, school grounds, side walk, street, beach or park where other adults and children may see it, step in it, smell it, or otherwise frown upon it. It does not just disappear with the rain folks!

First of all, always have bags ready. Even better, have biodegradable doggie bags. Tie them to your leash or buy one of those leash doggie bag dispensers.

If you’re picking up your dog’s waste in the backyard, how about flushing it down the toilet? Can I do that? Yes, you can! Flushing down the toilet eliminates your dog poop into the city’s sewage system and is completely legal. However, you do not want to flush the bag as this will most certainly cause plumbing problems. Using a shovel or bucket would do the trick.

What if I live in an apartment or condo? Call a collection service! Search the web for dog waste collection and you will see there are several companies that offer this service.

Build a dog waste compost! Dog waste will decompose and relatively odour free if you build a composter in your garden or backyard. Be careful not to use this compost on a vegetable garden or to store it too close to a stream or river.

Throw it out. Even though pet waste is prohibited for garbage in the City of Vancouver, you are allowed to have it in small amounts if double bagged and placed in the garbage can for regular collection. Technically, this is not considered a good disposal choice as the landfills do better without dog waste, which actually produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and is also hazardous to the staff there.

As a side note, did you know that cat feces is NOT flushable? For all our cat owners out there – even cat litter marked “flushable” does not mean you can flush the feces itself, which will clog the plumbing and city sewer.

Getting back to dogs… If all these options aren’t enough to encourage you to pick up your dog’s business, maybe the fines will! Vancouver’s animal control bylaw allows the city to levy a fine between $250 and $10,000 if a dog owner fails to pick up after their pet. That’s enough incentive for me… well that and it’s plain common courtesy.Image