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

 

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog park etiquette should be discussed more often amongst those of you who like to bring your furry friends for a fun outdoor run.  Here are some suggestions to help make your adventure more enjoyable for everyone!

The first rule of thumb,

 #1 BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR DOG

If your dog has displayed aggression, or has a propensity to take a chomp out of the occasional dog, it’s best to at the very least muzzle him for his safety and the safety of others. You must also decide if the dog park is the most enjoyable environment for him. Some dogs prefer to be left alone, or simply amongst their humans.

#2 BE PREPARED

Although many park spaces may supply water, poop bags, and even bowls, it’s always a good idea to pack your own. You can find collapsible dog bowls at almost any pet retail store, and a ton of biodegradable poop bags too! Your dog might like it if you can bring a nutritional treat to help give them an energy boost too.

portable dog dish

this dog takes a sip out of a portable dog dish. Click the link to purchase through supplier.

 

#3 BE ATTENTIVE

All too often I see people at the dog park sipping their coffee and getting their own social time in. Meanwhile their dog is off stealing sticks from other dogs, humping, playing too hard, or generally being a bully! Now, I’m not suggesting you keep your dog under your thumb, but definitely keep a vigilant eye and be responsible for your dogs actions.

#4 PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG

If your dog decides to leave a big poop bomb outside, pick it up! It’s easy, it doesn’t take a long time, and it will help ensure that you’re setting a good example for other dog owners around you. Afterall, if you’re not picking up after your dog, chances are other won’t either!

cartoon dog pooping

cartoon dog doing what he does best

#5 FOLLOW THE POSTED RULES

Each dog park or trail will have differing rules depending on the municipality and various types of park. Some will allow off-leash dog play during regulated hours, some will allow off-leash play all of the time. However, there are many trails and parks that do not allow any off-leash play and are LEASH ONLY parks, or trails. Remember, just because you love your dog doesn’t mean that others will too! A little jumpy dog is still a jumpy dog, and to be honest it’s not always a great time when your pants are muddied by a random little dog.

#6 HAVE FUN!

Plain and simple, enjoy your time with your dog. Find an activity that you both love whether it’s playing fetch, running side by side, training, or agility. Enjoy the chance to slow life down and enjoy the little things.

5 dogs sharing one stick in the water

these dogs are having a party!

 

Have fun out there!

 

Nik

 

 

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 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

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

Excuse me, please don’t let your dog pee on my lavender

“Hello” I said as I passed by an older gentlemen with an aging black lab with signs of grey around its muzzle. “Good day” He replied. I walked by the pair and headed into my shop. I didn’t think much of the exchange as it appeared to be quite normal. That is until I noticed that the older man and his dog were making their way towards our shop.Dog and man on walk “Oh yes! Another customer!” I thought to myself. Wait, what are they doing? The old man glanced suspiciously over his shoulder at me as I watched the pair through our front display window and I realized that he was letting his dog relieve itself on our flower boxes which contain lavender! He quickly started leaving the scene of the crime as I exited the store to ask him about his choice of location, but he vanished around the corner of our building like some sort of free-peeing super heroes

Dog in a mask

Super peeing dog

leaving before any bystanders could reveal their true identities after witnessing him save the day…. or in this case peeing on private property!

“Please don’t let your dog pee on our lavender!” I shouted at them as they disappeared out of my sight.

Now, originally I thought I would give him the benefit of the doubt and perhaps it was simply an accident. I cleaned the area thoroughly to prevent any odour from developing and I disinfected it as well. Sometimes it’s difficult to control your dog when it has to use the washroom, and it isn’t exactly going to ask you politely to use your facilities. So I let bygones be bygones and went on with running the groom shop.

I happen to be in the shop fairly early this morning when to my astonishment I saw the same pair of free-peeing bandits. I watched curiously to see what actions they would take today. Sure enough the old boys crossed the street and took a direct route to my lavender flowers!!! Why!? oh why? The man  looked around nervously  and after not noticing anyone watching decided to do the same thing. Twice in two days. This is no coincidence! I guess it’s time for me to confront the two old pee machines and see what it is that motivates their need to turn my store front into a fire hydrant of sorts for all dogs to send and receive their urine soaked messages.

Now, to the untrained eye this would seem to be an act of petty malice, however seeing as it’s the Holiday season I’ve decided to myself and any of you who happen to be reading that he is just doing his kind act for the holidays. You see, the lavender appears dried out so perhaps he is simply encouraging his trusty old dog to help our shop water the plants!

Happy Holidays,

Nik

*This is a true story and I will post a photo of the culprits if they try to do it once again and will write a follow-up to how that conversation goes.

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

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

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