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

 

 

Our first year of Dharma Dog Services

Gold Vinyl Logo

In honour of our first year of business, I had a golden Dharma Dog logo placed on our desk

vancouver dog grooming

Kaori taking a break while working on Mila the golden doodle

 

Lots of daycare,, Boarding and walking clients

Lots of daycare,, Boarding and walking clients

 

We opened our business while Joanne was 6 months pregant.

We opened our business while Joanne was 6 months pregant.

Dharma Dog Boarding

We bought a house!

 

Nik and Joannes sonny boy

Nik and Joannes sonny boy

Married!!!

The Day My Dog Let Me Down

The day my dog let me down was an eye-opening experience. You see, I often hear clients, friends, family members, or people I meet walking their dogs complain of their dogs lack of perfection. I’m guilty at times of the same complaint. This story may help you ease up on your four-legged friend.

A few years ago I went through a life changing physical ailment. As many of my loyal readers will know I went through a couple of brain surgeries as a result of a tumour. I also had to go through radiation therapy. It was really at this stage of my life that I knew I had a passion to work with dogs and really began to find a path for myself.

While undergoing radiation therapy I became very weak. I was determined not to believe that I was weak and would often fight through the fatigue, sickness, and pain. In the early stages of treatment I went to gym EVERYDAY. Now, I’m not sure what I was trying to prove but for some reason I would haul my weak ass out to gym, pale-faced and all and try to ride the exercise bike. I couldn’t even last 5 minutes. My goal wasn’t a marathon or to set any records, my goal was to last 20 minutes on that bloody stationary bike. I worked at it and struggled through the motions. Each stride took more effort than the last but I eventually achieved my goal. It took a few weeks and I still don’t know why it was important to me to prove that I was physically okay. After each session at the gym I’d drink a chocolate milk and walk home. Well, one day I just couldn’t do it. I looked at the kilometer walk to the gym as an incredibly daunting task. I just couldn’t imagine torturing myself with the walk to and from the gym just to ride a bike… it didn’t make sense to me anymore.  It was at this time that I befriended a family members dog named Buddy. Buddy was an old husky /german shepherd mutt with attitude. He was old but playful and loved going on walks. Buddy was also extremely protective and could really be counted on as your “right hand man”.

I developed a real bond with Buddy and we would go on a daily walk after my radiation therapy to the park. He and I would sit side by side on the ground and just stare of in the distance at the mountain view. Sometimes I’d have a coffee or tea. It was a really peaceful time of my life amid all of the fear, stress, and confusion of going through the illness.

I grew to really feel that Buddy had my back! So even though I weak and vulnerable I always felt secure.

One day on one of our walks through the east side we came across quite a commotion, and Buddy was on high alert! We came across an elderly chinese woman yelling and being yelled at by two women who looked like they were on or had been on a variety of drugs.  In my normal state of being when I am healthy I’d have no problem stepping up to them and protecting the old woman. But,  I was not normal. I could barely handle a 20 minute bike ride at the gym. My legs felt like lead. So did my arms. My head was spinning. I was a shell of my normal self. I thought it through, and made brief eye contact with Buddy. He had my back. I knew it. So I mustered up my courage and made my way over to the women and shouted weakly ” Hey, leave her alone and just go!”  I think that I may have caught them off guard because they stopped swearing at the old woman. They eventually cursed some profanities at me and said something to the effect of “Don’t be a hero”

Well, I was determined to be a hero. Big mistake. The two women started making their way towards Buddy and me.I glanced down at him and he looked poised and ready to go. This was it. He gave them a snarl and with that I suddenly felt very secure.

The ladies continued to curse me as the came near and I didn’t like the looks of what was in their hands. Out of nowhere a brick came flying at us! But it wasn’t from the menacing women it was thrown by the old chinese woman from the top of her stairs! Now she was feeling brave and continued to yell very quickly in mandarin so I have no clue as to what she was saying but it definitely sounded angry!

The other two ladies were now near enough that they had their anger focused at me. I let go of the snarling Buddy to take them on and hopefully run them off. He gave one final growl… and then started wagging his behind. He became friendly with them! sigh. So much for my loyal “protector”. I successfully chased them off on my own, but not before they got to pet Buddy.  The police showed up shortly afterwards and I had to give a statement. I was seething. Why did he let me down? I just couldn’t understand. After going through all of the motions of ferocity he dropped the ball. Or did I just misunderstand him?

Once home and having the chance to reflect, I realized that perhaps I placed these large expectations on him with out ever truly taking the time to teach him. Buddy died a few months after that having suffered with a tumour himself. I miss that guy.

I adopted Vegas a few months afterward and spent hours of one on one time training him.

So just remember, that for all of the lofty expectations we have on our dogs, how much time, and I mean really, have we spent teaching them?

Nik

bad dog?

This owner is scolding her dog

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

 

 

Dog Grooming Small Business

My Title is purposely misleading. Why? I’m really not sure, I just thought it sounded catchy. The really isn’t too much drama in the dog grooming world. An irate customer here, I competitor tearing down posters there. It’s really a fairly stable business aside from some unexpected bumps in the road.

Small business can be tricky, and it’s essential to operate as smoothly and organized as possible. Things had been running very smoothly as of late, almost too smoothly. I left work on Friday and let our capable staff members handle the shop on Saturday.  I enjoyed my weekend and was prepared to head back to work on Tuesday after the long weekend. We had scheduled a few grooms for Tuesday in the early morning. Upon my arrival I realized that our dog wash area wasnt functioning. Zero water! You can’t exactly have a dog grooming shop without water! So a few hundred dollars later and the problem was solved. We used Mr.Swirl plumbing service. They were great and very efficient. Had I not prepared a contigency fund in our bank account for such events who knows how the day would have gone.

I was fairly grumpy afterward but I soon got over it and carried on with business as usual.

None of our grooms had to be rescheduled and we didnt ose any business!

Lesson learned. Plan for the worst, expect the best!

 

Vancouver dog grooming

Vancouver dog grooming

 

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

Image

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