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 🙂

 

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.

I own a Dog Grooming Shop

I own a dog grooming shop. She owns a bakery. He owns an auto mechanic shop. They own a small restaurant.

Not every business is owned by a mega corporation out to make billions and evade paying their taxes off shore. Most businesses are owned by your neighbours, friends and family members.

When you support small business, such as choosing my dog grooming shop over a mega  corporation, alternatively you help in more ways than you can even begin to realize.

Scenario One: your dog is dirty so you bring him to Dharma Dog Daycare and Grooming. At the end of the groom you are completely satisfied and pay us the requested fee. That money then goes towards paying staff, bills, or helps put food on my table. I take that money and spend it at a local business to purchase bread. That baker then takes that money and uses it to fix her brakes at the auto mechanic shop. That auto mechanic then takes his wife out to a nice locally owned restaurant

lemonade stand

support even the smallest business

which sources its food from a local farmer. That local farmer realizes that his dog really stinks and needs a groom. He calls Dharma Dog and the cycle continues.

Scenario Two: your dog is very dirty so you go to a mega corporation.  At the end of the groom you are satisfied and pay the requested fee. That money goes into their business and will likely LEAVE CANADA. A small portion will help pay wages, this is true. However the majority will actually leave the country to pay share holders etc. Thus ending the cycle. Now the local grooming shop is not able to go buy bread from the local baker due to cost. So he chooses a mega shop where the cost is marginally cheaper. Again the cycle is broken further. The baker has the brake problem but can’t afford the repair. This leaves the baker with squeaky brakes and the mechanic loses a client. The mechanic wants to take his wife out to a nice dinner so instead of supporting a locally owned restaurant, he may be forced to choose a cheaper chain. Now more money leaves the local economy!

In order for our economy to strive and for those around us to succeed and live a healthy life, it is essential that we all make efforts to think globally and buy locally, and support small business. My wife and I were driving the other day when we spotted a little lemonade stand on the corner of Main Street and 34th Avenue. We literally altered our route to turn around a help support a ten year old boy’s small business! And the cycle begins, because that toonie we gave him will likely go to the local corner store on 33rd Avenue to buy some candy 🙂

 

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!

 

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 🙂

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This image is a representation of my approach with dogs

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Dog Friendly Summer Events in Vancouver

Growing up, I remember my mom giving me extra chores if I was to utter the phrase, “I’m bored…” and learned quickly to occupy myself with social events in order to avoid the responsibilities around the house! I wasn’t much of a bookworm, so finding out what was going on in the neighbourhood or with my circle of friends was crucial to avoid the dusting and the vacuuming, the tub scrubbing and the kitchen prep duties. Now as an adult, I can’t wait to finish the household chores so I can do the same! As my Uncle Darrell joked as he landed in Vancouver from his hometown of Charlotte, NC, “If you’re bored in this city, there’s somethin’ wrong with you!” And he’s right, we have endless opportunities to keep us entertained.

So which of these awesome things to do are pet-friendly? It’s not like we’re going to leave our favorite four legged friend at home in the overheated house or condo while we explore what Vancouver has to offer! Here’s a list of some dog friendly events coming up right in our backyard.

Tuesday July 23rd
Free Outdoor Movies at Stanley Park – Throughout the summer FreshAirCinema (The Outdoor Movie Company) will be partnering with various organizations across BC to offer FREE outdoor movie nights on massive 3 story inflatable movie screens! Today’s movie is The Breakfast Club.

Friday July 26th
Enchanted Evenings Concert Series – Enchant your evenings with the critically acclaimed concert series at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden every Friday night of July and August, 2013. Celebrate the Enchanted Evening’s 20th anniversary season with a range of musical performances including traditional Peking Opera, upcoming Jazz sensations, soulful Blues, and Afro Cuban rhythms! Tonight’s musical performance: Diane Lines Trio – American classics through the ages. Click here for ticket information.

Saturday July 27th
Celebration of Light Fireworks Celebration: (United Kingdom) – The most talked about event of the summer, the Celebration of Light is back for another year! The Vancouver summer favourite is back for its 22nd anniversary. For three nights the skies over English Bay light up in a musical pyrotechnic extravaganza.

Caribbean Days Festival – This is a weekend of tropical rhythm, cuisine, carnival and culture as only the Caribbean can offer. Over the years, the Festival has grown into the largest Caribbean event on the local calendar, Drawing tens of thousands of attendees, it is among the very largest cultural events in BC, Canada.
Sunday July 28th
Food Cart Fest – Each week over 20 food carts will be complemented by community markets, live music, DJs, craft food vendors, and kids’ activities. Food Cart Fest takes place every Sunday from 12pm-6pm at 215 West 1st Avenue (between the Cambie Street Bridge and the Olympic Village). The site is next to the Seawall and a short walk from the Canada Line’s Olympic Village Station, the Aquabus’ Spyglass Place Dock, and major bus routes along Broadway, Cambie, Main, West 2nd Avenue.
Have fun in the sun and don’t forget to check out our other blogs regarding sun safety and how to spot when your dog is showing signs of sun stroke.