“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

 

 

Top 10 Dog Boarding Tips

Top 10 Dog Boarding Tips

It’s all too often that we get a phone call here at Dharma Dog Services with a panicked voice at the other end of the line “Can you take my dog?! Something has come up and we have no one to watch him! ”  Most of the time we will make every effort to accommodate, and if for whatever reason we can’t help directly, we will find you an alternative!

So here are some tips to ensure you are not only making sure that you can book your dog, but that you are choosing a quality service.

1. Book In Advance! 

Especially during the holiday seasons; Winter Holidays, Spring Break, Summer, or any long weekends. We have been nearly booked up for the summer for a couple of months now!

2. Do Your Research

Reading this blog is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s important to research a few places so you can compare the level of care, prices, and environment.

3. To Kennel,Board, or pet sit. 

Each option has it’s merits, however, each is very different.

Kenneling is often just that, kenneling! A dog will remain in a kennel through out the day and receive three 20 minutes walks. The price is significantly lower than the other options, but it is easily my least favourite. Price range: $15-30

Boarding involves bringing a dog into an open environment, often in another home. it’s much like a temporary foster situation. The dog will receive ample attention and is treating like one of the family. Lots of exercise and open air runs! This option is my FAVOURITE!  Price Range: $40-65

Pet Sitting is another alternative that is pretty good. It involves having your dog care professional stay at your house! The dog’s life will literally be the exact same except that he will have a replacement house keeper 😉 Cost:$55-125

4. Pack Carefully:

Be sure to provide the exact amount of food plus a little extra for the length of the stay. Bedding if necessary, I often suggest packing a t-shirt of some sort with your scent on it, and a toy! Just remember that toys get lost in the shuffle at times and it’s likely that the facility that you choose to hire will have some provided. If you have medicine for the dog be sure to write the instructions VERY specifically.

5. Email Updates

Email updates are a great way to keep track of your dog. If you’d like videos, emails, or pictures be sure to emphasize this to your facility of choice. Some places offer this as a free services, while others have it as an a la carte option

6. Cleanliness

Don’t trust a place that smells of dog pee! A little smell is no big deal, but just remember that if it smells of urine strongly, chances are their cleaning procedures aren’t up to snuff. If you notice a ton of fur on the ground, or dirt everywhere, they are probably not cleaning to the health standards you should expect.

7. Trustworthiness

as for reviews, letters of reference, or speak to your animal care professionals to get a good idea of a places reputation.

8. Exercise

How much exercise do they offer? Are there hikes?Play time? Socialization? Ask away, you may be shocked to find the truth.

9. Insurance

Are they insured? If anything happens to your dog who is liable? Great questions to ask?

10. FUN!

I seem to end all of my advice posts the same way. The main thing is that your dog has fun! Is at peace, and gets to relax while your away.

 

 

Warm regards,

dharma dog daycare

Yay work!

 

Nik

 

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog park etiquette should be discussed more often amongst those of you who like to bring your furry friends for a fun outdoor run.  Here are some suggestions to help make your adventure more enjoyable for everyone!

The first rule of thumb,

 #1 BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR DOG

If your dog has displayed aggression, or has a propensity to take a chomp out of the occasional dog, it’s best to at the very least muzzle him for his safety and the safety of others. You must also decide if the dog park is the most enjoyable environment for him. Some dogs prefer to be left alone, or simply amongst their humans.

#2 BE PREPARED

Although many park spaces may supply water, poop bags, and even bowls, it’s always a good idea to pack your own. You can find collapsible dog bowls at almost any pet retail store, and a ton of biodegradable poop bags too! Your dog might like it if you can bring a nutritional treat to help give them an energy boost too.

portable dog dish

this dog takes a sip out of a portable dog dish. Click the link to purchase through supplier.

 

#3 BE ATTENTIVE

All too often I see people at the dog park sipping their coffee and getting their own social time in. Meanwhile their dog is off stealing sticks from other dogs, humping, playing too hard, or generally being a bully! Now, I’m not suggesting you keep your dog under your thumb, but definitely keep a vigilant eye and be responsible for your dogs actions.

#4 PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG

If your dog decides to leave a big poop bomb outside, pick it up! It’s easy, it doesn’t take a long time, and it will help ensure that you’re setting a good example for other dog owners around you. Afterall, if you’re not picking up after your dog, chances are other won’t either!

cartoon dog pooping

cartoon dog doing what he does best

#5 FOLLOW THE POSTED RULES

Each dog park or trail will have differing rules depending on the municipality and various types of park. Some will allow off-leash dog play during regulated hours, some will allow off-leash play all of the time. However, there are many trails and parks that do not allow any off-leash play and are LEASH ONLY parks, or trails. Remember, just because you love your dog doesn’t mean that others will too! A little jumpy dog is still a jumpy dog, and to be honest it’s not always a great time when your pants are muddied by a random little dog.

#6 HAVE FUN!

Plain and simple, enjoy your time with your dog. Find an activity that you both love whether it’s playing fetch, running side by side, training, or agility. Enjoy the chance to slow life down and enjoy the little things.

5 dogs sharing one stick in the water

these dogs are having a party!

 

Have fun out there!

 

Nik

 

 

Patience Is The Key To Good Dog Training

Dharma Dog Services

Just think of our logo when you are teaching your dog

 

Dogs in a lie down position

group meditation ;)

Patience.

Wait for it.

I’ll get to my point in a second.

“Okay!” “Break” “Yes!”

Sorry about that. Just wanted to test your patience 😉

I’m going to change the name of “dog training” to “teaching humans to teach their dogs” … It’s less misleading and far more accurate.

When I’m teaching people to teach their dogs I’ll often gauge temperament first. First of the dog, and then of the owner. I was doing a lesson with a local celebrity a couple of years ago and knew that they were very succesful in business. In fact, while their business was geared towards a yoga clothing line. Yoga, is meant to help relieve stress, exercise your body, and relax you with slow methodical breathing.

During our lesson I found that although they may have had a great grasp on tranquility in their day-to-day life and business, they seemed to have lost touch with just how much patience is necessary with your dog! They had a puppy and young twin boys at home so that’s asking a lot! However, it was also necessary to the process of teaching their dog.

I found myself giving this active-wear mogul breathing instructions. Telling them to “Stand still, and take deep breaths…just slow down and take your time” We all had a laugh at the end of the lesson at how “zen” you really had to be when communicating with your dog.

So there you have it, even proponents of yoga need a gentle reminder to slow down and let the dog work through the process.

We have a dog that I currently work with at our facility who is a sweet but sensitive dog. Over his tenure with me I have developed a really good bond with him.About a week or two ago I accidentally dropped an air-purifier to the ground with a loud crash and the sickening sound of cracking plastic on our matted rubber floor. This would spook anyone in the moment, however the little puppy I described happened to be in the immediate area. Startled he jump and quickly looked over his shoulder to see none other than me! Uh oh. Through an association of events, it wasn’t the air-purifier that he was scared of now, it was me 🙁

I’m currently in the process of rebuilding my trust with him. It will take time to train this dog to understand that I’m one of the good guys. I cannot rush this process, and if I do I can really scar my relationship with him. It is an exercise in complete patience and empathy.

So here I am taking a break from working with him, because all of the deep breathing and staying still had me dizzy. 🙂

When you think you are taking things slow enough with your dog, go slower!

 

Namaste,

 

Nik

Dharma Dog Boarding

serenity now!

Dog Eat Dog

I am feeling a tremendous amount of pressure these days.

We are developing our dog walking program and really want it to be a smooth transition. We have a new website in the works www.dharmadogservices.com and it looks great! I can’t wait to release it.

We have our Coconut oil on the shelves and I couldn’t be happier about offering such a fantastic product.

We are launching our treats in the next few weeks too!

We will be carrying a selection of raw food for all of you purists out there’s as well.

We have two of the best groomers in Vancouver.

I have loads of experience and I continue to learn as much as possible about dogs and their world.

Our dog training program starts in July.

So why am I feeling so much pressure? It would seem that it’s self imposed and I suppose that’s normal.

Todays blog is cathartic and will allow me to vent a bit.

All of this pressure that I feel is because I truly want to offer a top-notch service.  I guess when it comes down to it, all of the planning and dreams mean nothing unless you can execute. Argh…. Well, stick with us to see if we can pull it off 🙂

dogs waiting for treats

Waiting in line for treats

Sorry for the short narcissitic post today.

Nik

 

How to teach your dog the perfect “Sit”

How to teach the perfect sit.

It’s actually not too difficult. Does your dog lift his but off of the ground immediately after being told to sit? Or does he simply ignore your request?

Do you hunch over your dog repeating”sit” “sit” “sit!!” and still nothing?

dog training

This puppy is learning to sit

Let’s work on 3 things:

Your body language

Your patience

and the timing of your reward

When trying to train your dog anything, practice in a quiet and calm environment at first.  You may even want to consider leaving his leash on.

First of all, NO MORE LEANING OVER YOUR DOG! Stand up nice and tall with your feet in a comfy position. By keeping your height elevated and not moving your dog can see that you are in your most confident position. Believe me, they can recognize this.

What motivates your dog? Is it treats? Praise and affection? Toys? Fetch? Most people with have a pretty good idea of what makes their dog tick, and once you have established this we can move on.

Patience: Say the word “Sit”. Don’t ask them, don’t shout it, just say it like you truly mean it. Some people like to implement a hand gesture along with the command and this does help too!  After giving them their command, just wait. Stand Tall, Stand still and wait.  This is where the leash can help with a high energy dog initially as you can restrain his movements.

Believe me that your patience here will pay off! Once your dog does sit don’t reward!!! Not right away at least. To teach a very good sit it is imperative to have the dog stay in the position for a few seconds. Over time you can even push this to minutes! When your’e completely satisfied with the result call your dog out of the position and reward immediately with a treat, or praise, or toy etc.. I taught my dog using fetch as his number one motivator and avoided treats whenever possible.

So remember,

Stand tall and still

Give command

be patient

Let the dog learn that sit really means sit

and reward like crazy when you invite him out of the position!!!

 

Warm regards,

 

Nik