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…

Dharma Dog Delectables

Dog Grooming

Dharma Dog Delectables

Yes, you’ve read that title correctly. We are now offering Dharma Dog Delectables, our home made line of treats designed to help your dogs fur shine, and they’re tasty to boot!

We started working on our treats over the last little while and really feel that they are made with great quality organic materials and are gluten free to boot! Many dogs suffer from allergies so we thought it would be a great idea to cover our bases and provide a tasty alternative for those pups.

Some of our flavours are made to taste delicious while others are designed to be beneficial to a nice coat and have some amazing flavour!

We offer:

1.peanut butter and banana treats

2. Organic coconut and blueberry

3. Peanut butter and Bacon (All delicious, high value treat, especially good when training a dog or trying to counter condition perticularily difficult behaviour)

4. Holiday special: cranberry and gravy!

5. Stinky Salmon , very good for the coat, brain, and deliecious!

Come by our shop in the new year to have your dog sample, or if you can’t wait that long come visit us at the Crofton Manor retirement community fair where we will be hosting a booth.

Until next time,

Nik 🙂

 

Driving Safety Tips

Sorry that it’s been such a long time betwen posts. As some of you already know I was recently in a car accident and bumped my head! I suffered a concussion and really haven’t been able to focus on any task for more than a few minutes. I’m feeling a little better but still do not feel quite myself. My neck doesnt feel quite right either so I have been less active around the shop as well. I should also let you all know that I suffered a head trauma about 6 years ago when I underwent a craniotomy.

The experience of my car accident really had me thinking about the safety of our dogs while they ride in our cars. Vegas happened to be with me that day and luckily he was alright.

I often see people driving with their dogs in the front seat, on their owners laps, even up near the rear window! The worst one I see is dogs riding in the back of pick up trucks without being properly strapped in or secured.

unsafe driving with dog

This is a demonstration of the WRONG way to transport your dog

When driving your dog here are some suggestions for the varios types of vehicles out there!

Car:  You can purchase a dog harness which will enable you to actually buckle your dog up. This way your beloved pooch won’t hurt himself or you in the even of an accident.

dog car safety

This is a great safety option for dogs while driving in the car.

SUV or Van: When driving in an S.U.V. or Van you can apply a few options.  You can purchase a harness system as demonstrated above. You can even crate the dog and strap the crate in. This way your dog won’t fly around in the event of an accident. Another good idea is to provide a seperation between the trunk area and the passenger seats.

dog car safety

A safe way to transort dogs in an suv or van

And finally, the pick up truck. Either put the dog in the front seat with a safety harness or if you must transport your dog in the bed of the pick up. Please put your dog in a rear facing crate which is properly tethered. Please see example below,

dog truck safety

A dog rides safely in the back of his owners truck.

Have a safe drive!

 

Nik

 

 

Dharma Dog has me exhausted!

I’m exhausted! After spending the last 8 months launching and running Dharma Dog I’ve nearly hit a wall. I can’t wait to take some time off in December to refresh my batteries and enjoy some well deserved rest and relaxation.

We will be closed from the 21st of December to January 6th 2014! two whole weeks! Weeeee!

We will still be offering boarding services, but all of our other services will be shut down for vacation 🙂

To put it all in perspective

I have worked 1920 hours in 8 months.

The average person works a 40 hour work week and gets breaks! Meaning in 8 months the average person has worked: 1280 hours. Nearly one month less than me!

Joanne and I decided that we wanted to open a shop that dog owners could trust and rely on and until we are booming it is necessary for me to put in the long hours. Will it all pay off? Who knows, but we’re hopefull!

 

I guess this is really just my way of announcing our vacation Schedule for December.

 

-nik

dharma dog daycare

Yay work!

Fireworks and Dogs = Bad Mix

Well, it’s that time of year again. Leaves falling,raking them up, leaves falling again, raking them up again. I could go on for another few paragraphs about the gentle ebb and flow that is our fall season but I digress. Another guarantee is the loud bangs and pops associated with a plethora of fire crackers and fireworks that will be illuminating the nights sky and providing a cacophony of irritatingly loud noises over the next few weeks. Just to clarify, I don’t mind fireworks personally as much as the opening paragraph may lead you to believe, it’s just that my favourite dog Vegas isn’t a huge fan and I really feel for him. So here are a few suggestions to help your dog cope with the loud and high pitched noises that are terribly confusing and freightening to many canines.

For scientific explanation of why dogs may feel pain when hearing fireworks please click this sentence.

It’s really important to provide your dog with a safe, quiet place that may muffle the noise. Instinctively dogs are denning animals so providing a crate may help them feel more secure.

Provide soothing music, and aromatherapy to help create a more peaceful and stress free environment like we do at Dharma Dog.

You can also try to counter condition the intense reactions by building a more positive association with the noises such a offering special treats which they dont usually consume or playing some of their favourite games.

Remember, living with a dog means learning to understand your role and often in the case of fear issues your role is to be calm and protective so your dog will trust your judgement.

Fearful dog

This dog is hiding under it’s bed because it wasnt provided an alternate den to call home

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 🙂

 

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.

Separation Anxiety and Rescue Dogs

Meet Chalu, a recent member at Dharma Dog Daycare and Grooming.

He’s a shy little guy who doesn’t really have a good sense of comfort with his surroundings yet. We don’t know too much about his past life, but he came to his owners John and David* in the last month.

They love this little guy!

He has made such great strides in becoming more confident, and here are some of the steps that we have taken at Dharma Dog to help him become a better balanced dog.

Originally we limited his interaction with EVERYONE! I just wanted him to get a feel for our shop and listen to and smell all of the excitement and dogs.

Gradually we established trust amongst the human members of Dharma Dog and were able to very gradually expose him to one dog at a time. This was a very slow and methodical process as we were hoping to build fun and calm interactions.

Eventually Chalu was ready to join the group of dogs and was very much the wallflower. He would often choose his kennel as a secure area to hide and watch the group from a distance.

His curiosity continued to peak until he finally decided that he wanted to voluntarily meet the other dogs.

After 4 weeks of Chalu attending we can comfortably leave him amongst the group where he chooses to romp around and play! He still needs his space on occasion and most of the dogs will gladly oblige.

A small victory, but definitely one of the feel good reasons why I like my career.

Keys to success with shy dogs:

1. understand them

2. earn their trust

3. be patient

4. prevent stress

5. reward the great decisions

6. repeat!

*names changed for privacy

 

Imager

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 🙂

Image

This image is a representation of my approach with dogs

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

The Healing Power Of Man’s Best Friend (and Dog Therapy’s Effectiveness)

Having a pet dog has been proven to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and genuinely improve the quality of life of their owners. I can attest to this from first hand experience. My very own dog, Vegas, helped get my life back on track after I went through multiple brain surgeries and radiation therapy. I was able to focus on helping him and care for him, which really took my mind off of any difficulties I may have been going through on any given day during my recovery process.

Eventually, Vegas and I began to team up and do therapy work for children with developmental disorders, and senior citizens who simply needed a companion.  This work was amazing and felt very rewarding.

One child comes to mind in particular when I think back to some of our therapy sessions;

Arthur* was an elective mute. He literally went an entire school year without saying a word to ANYONE. He would speak at home but never at school.

Vegas and I teamed up with Arthur with the intention of getting him to teach Vegas a few commands. It all started with a simple shout of the word, “Sit!” As soon as Vegas responded to Arthur the look on his face was priceless. Like a kid on Christmas! I’m sure that my smile was ear to ear as well. We progressed from there very gradually, sometimes making progress, yet other times Arthur would choose not to attend the therapy sessions. After a few months of practice we were nearing winter vacation. We scheduled our last appointment  for the  year and I wasn’t expecting anything to have changed miraculously. We went through our session and by this time Arthur was able to say “speak”, “sit”, “stay” and a few other basic commands for Vegas. We had a fun session and as Vegas and I were leaving Arthur shouted out: ” Have a great Christmas, bye Nik, bye Vegas!!!”  This was the first time that I truly saw the effects of a therapy dog.

*All names are changed for privacy

Check out these links to watch a video of a therapy dog in work and a video featuring how Vegas helped change my life 🙂

Dog Helps Kids with Autism

Dharma Dog Cares – Go!