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

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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

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Love the Dog Industry

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Okay, two blogs in one week! Either I’m feeling productive or our shop is slow. Well it was definitely  a busy day so I guess I have the caffeine pumping.

I open the doors here at Dharma Dog at 7:45am. Usually half asleep and coffee in hand I’ll put out our sandwich board facing 57th Avenue, turn on the lights and neon open sign, and finally  get ready for the day ahead of me.

The job may appear fairly simple to the naked eye; you get to play with dogs all day! Not quite. As my clients already know we offer dog daycare, dog grooming, and boarding services. Our clients entrust us with one of if not their most prized and loved companions. It’s a huge responsibility.

Although the job isn’t simple, our goal at Dharma Dog is. We want to create a welcoming environment, built on the foundation of quality service, top grooming skills, and trust.

It’s funny, as I’m sure many companies will list their philosophy in order to attract new clients and perhaps many truly mean what they say. I can only speak for ourselves, and we really truly want all of our customers to be happy with their experience at Dharma Dog.

When a client is unhappy with our service we really take it to heart. I guess that happens when you’re giving it all you’ve got. I’ve actually lost sleep when a client has been unsatisfied because I literally tried everything to appease the situation. Luckily we resolved the issue and it all came down to a miscommunication… isn’t that often the case?

Now, on the flip side of things, you wouldn’t believe how genuinely happy we are when a client leaves satisfied! There are many high fives behind the scene after a client’s left our premises because they gave us a compliment or left with a smile on their face.

We love getting to know everyone and their dogs. Not only is it essential to get to know and understand each dog and their individual personality in order to create as peaceful a daycare environment as possible, but it is also a pleasure to watch dogs develop socially. We often will see dogs who are initially timid quickly develop into fun-loving playful trouble makers 😉

We love seeing our customers walk away after learning something new about their dog, or learning a new health tip. It feels great being able to really help someone out. Oh yea, I am always available for advice during business hours 🙂

Throughout the work day I am a host, a receptionist, a janitor (ewww), an accountant, a marketing executive, a dog behaviourist, a handy man, a computer technician, a sales rep, a scheduling coordinator, a manager, a troubleshooter, a friend, and ally, a sounding board, and a dog chew toy! I’m sure that I left some of the duties out.

The dogs’ owners will stagger in at the end of their individual work days between 2:00pm and 6:45pm and one by one I’ll say hello and goodbye. After all of this, I begin my breakdown of the shop. Sandwich board in. Shop vacuumed, floors cleaned and disinfected, cash out and counted, and finally turn off all of the electronics.

I will usually do a quality check after all of these stages and if everything looks good I can turn off all of the lights and lock up.

As soon as the door is locked I leave the Dharma Dog world behind me and put on my husband and dad hat.

It’s a long day at our little shop, but I always leave happy. Just not as happy as when I get home to see my wife Joanne and son Miles 😉

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 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.

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