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

 

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

 

 

How To Train Your Dog

How to train your dog? Well, the answer is not going to be what you’d like to hear. Or maybe you’ve already come to expect it.

Training your dog is all relative. It depends on so many factors and it would take a while to even begin to explain. I’m here to be informative in an abbreviated form today. I am often asked a variety of dog training questions by nearly every dog owner when they first meet me. “How do I get my dog to stop barking at everything?” is a very common question. Sometimes I’m asked “How do I get my dog to come back when I call him?” My answer is often very similar and almost always greeted with frustration or dissapointment. Some people will understand and dive right in learning as much about their fuzzy friends communication as they can. My answer is this “Each dog is different. I’ll have to ask you few questions to establish your dogs temperament, and really get to the route of the problem.”

That’s right, I answer thir questions with more questions! Those that care to listen will succeed, those that want the easy answer are not as close to allevaiting their dogs behaviour problems as they hoped.

My goal as a behaviourist is simple; Help humans learn to communicate clearly with their dog. Not the other way around. If you spoke English your entire life and I tried to teach you a listen but spoke only in Spanish, how successful do you think our lesson would be? Maybe you would learn eventually, but chances are you’d have to learn to understand Spanish first and that would likely take some time. My approach with dogs is similar. As humans we speak countless languages and have variety of dialects. Yet, we expext dogs to be able to learn them all. While dogs are able to demonstrate an ability to form word associations. a great example is this border collie who has roughly the same ability to understand human language as your average 3 year old human. But, that’s just it, your average 3 year old has a limited vocabulary! So do dogs.

Dogs speak an entirely different language that is much easier for us humans to learn. It’s made up of mainly body language and tiny cues that when trained to see can make a ton of sense.

So, when you ask me “How do I train my dog?”

Expect me to train you!

 

Warm regards,

Dog trainer vancouver

Dog Trainer Nik Fabisiak and his trusty sidekick Vegas

 

Nik

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 🙂

 

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 🙂

Image

This image is a representation of my approach with dogs

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

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

How to Speak Your Dog’s Language

Your dog might not speak English, but there are many communication devices they use to let you know how they’re feeling.

Bark, bark means I’m hungry.

Bark, bark, bark means I want to go for a drive.

Whine, bark, whine means I have to go to the bathroom.

Bark, whine, whine, bark means I want to go for a walk.

Well, maybe not, but wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy!

It’s a fact that as much as we like to think we can calm our dogs down like no other, dogs will often feel more comfortable in the presence of another dog in a stressful situation. For example, during a groom.

Here are four signals you can look for that might help you understand your dog’s current frame of mind.

Let’s start with the face. When a dog is slightly stressed or hoping to calm another animal or a person down they will show many signals. One to keep an eye out for is a simple yawn. It doesn’t mean the dog is tired, it is more likely to indicate that it may be stressed out or excited. A lick of the lips is a very good indicator that the dog is potentially uncomfortable. The current situation is causing them to give this calming signal. Dogs use this to diffuse situations. A dog’s eyes are also used to do the same. Notice if they are half shut or if you can see the whites of the eyes (known as whale eye), these are all calming signals dogs use to communicate with each other.

The direction of a dog’s face and body can indicate quite a bit as well. If a dog is acting polite, they will often direct their gaze or body at an angle, to avoid direct eye contact and therefore to avoid confrontation. Many dogs have hair or fur that can raise along the spine. This is known as piloerection or raising its hackles. A dog’s hackles will be raised for a number of reasons; fear, aggression, insecurity, startled or aroused feelings, excitement, or interest. So pay particular attention to your dog when that is occurring and try to gauge why the hackles are being raised. Some dogs naturally have raised hackles like a rhodesian ridgeback.

A dog’s tail can be a huge indicator of what their state of mind is. The common misconception is that a wagging tail means a friendly dog. Wagging tail can indicate general excitement, nervousness, or happiness and other emotions. Therefore it is difficult to gauge a dog’s emotional state based on their tail movement. Try to look for things like the position of the tail. For example, if it’s straight up in the air, chances are your dog is feeling like a boss. However, if it’s tucked between their legs, chances are they are very scared or unsure. If the tail is neutral, just hanging, the dog is most likely in a calm state and does not wish to ruffle anyone’s feathers around them.

There are many other signals to look for, but the point I’m trying to make is that a dog communicates using all of these body language signals and more. While a dog may bark, whine or growl, those are not their primary communication devices. As humans are a verbal species, there tend to be many miscommunications between human to dogs. Take the time to be quiet, and simply observe what your dog is doing in order to have a better understanding of what they are trying to communicate. In no time, you will begin to see patterns in your dog’s behaviour and have a better understand of what they need.

View this YouTube video demonstrating canine communication to see how an adult dog teaches a puppy how to go down stairs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDKDC_IUnOA