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BOARDING KENNELS: WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON

Imagine this if you will – you pay for an “all inclusive luxury resort and spa” but when you get there, you find out you actually have no privacy from any of the other guests, they can stare at you or yell at you all night if they want to, and there’s nothing you can do about it.  It’s hard to get comfortable since your bed is a thin blanket on the floor, and even if the next guy over is sleeping, he’s still basically in your personal space since the only space you have is just big enough for you and your suitcase.  If you’re lucky you’ll at least get to go to the bathroom alone 2 or 3 times a day, but often you have to share that experience too with teenagers bouncing off the walls around you, bullies getting in your face, etc.  The personalized service you were promised consists of someone dragging you from one room to the other and back again.  (And if you resist this treatment you are labeled “aggressive”)  Would you stay, or would you demand your money back and go somewhere else?   This may be an extreme example, but this IS what SOME boarding kennels are like.

All inclusive resort?

All inclusive resort?

I know dog’s aren’t people, and they’re not babies, but they are living beings with physical and psychological needs.  Dogs have made my life better in a million ways, have forgiven all my numerous mistakes, and the list goes on.  I’m sure you could make a list of your own.  I’d like to return the favor and see if I can improve their world!  I think they deserve to be given as much consideration when it comes to finding them a vacation spot as we give to our own accommodations.  There are a lot of kennels out there, and they range in quality from terrible, to fantastic.  Amazing kennels are out there, and they are worth looking for.  Some of the things I’m about to talk about are going above and beyond basic care (which is exactly what I want in a kennel), and are great to find but not entirely necessary.  We’ll get to those things in a minute, but let’s start by looking at the basics and see if we can find kennels that provide at least this level of care.  These things are important for your dog’s safety, comfort, and well-being.  The lack of these things can cause stress, illness, injury, and depression.

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IS MY DOG DOMINANT, SUBMISSIVE, OR CONFUSED?

Sometimes your dog acts dominant, but sometimes he acts submissive.  Do you ever wonder what that is all about?  Well, your dog probably isn’t confused, but with so many different theories out there, you might be.  I sure was until I went to the top minds on the subject to see what they say about it.  Scientists, and the top veterinarians and trainers in this field agree that dominance is actually situational.  It’s specific to the current environment, not the animal.

Dominance is fluid.

picture attribution:  www.flickr.com/photos/1uk3/3912525165/CC BY 2.0

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Avoiding and Treating Separation Anxiety.

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Separation anxiety is hard on you and your dog.  It’s heartbreaking, time consuming, aggravating, and confusing.  But there’s hope!  This is a problem that can most often be avoided or treated.  Step one is to ask yourself the following question:

Does your dog really have separation ANXIETY?  

Or has he accidentally learned to MISBEHAVE while you’re gone?

There are two reasons why dogs destroy the house and/or have accidents when you leave them home alone.  Wanting to teach you a lesson is NOT one of them!  The first reason is that your dog is so anxious about being left home alone that he cannot help himself.  He does anything that he can think of that might soothe him.  Barking, chewing, etc. are soothing to your dog, or at least allow an outlet for some of his panic until you return.  The second reason is that  your dog has been punished for doing these wrong behaviors, but has not been taught what to do instead.  He has, however, learned that no punishment happens when you’re not around.  So these behaviors are only wrong (in his doggy logic) when you are home!  When you go to work, these behaviors are fair game.
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Holiday Picture Taking Tips

As promised, a blog about taking better pictures of your pets.  

Just in time for the holidays!  

 

But first, a safety moment to save you from a scary (and unnecessary) trip to the vet:  

Keep tinsel, ribbons, chocolates, and other small or toxic swallowables out of reach.  Tinsel is not digestable, and chocolates are poisonous for dogs.  Also, if you have a rambunctious young dog, or an avid tail-wagger, you may want to keep breakable glass ornaments to a minimum, or at least make sure your tree is very sturdy and the ornaments are securely hung well out of reach.  Keep a cloth, rug, or pile of gifts below to catch falling ornaments to prevent breaking.  Avoid cut paws and potential disasters this Christmas!  Your pets will thank you!

Now for the fun stuff!  Perfect holiday pictures.  

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Am I a Dog Whisperer?

People ask me all the time if I’m a dog whisperer.  I’m not really sure what to say to that.  I am a good trainer, I do my best to keep learning every day, to align my methods with the latest scientifically proven methods, and I am compassionate to what dogs are feeling.  Does that make me a whisperer?  Not exactly.  The term “dog whisperer” was made popular by television trainer Cesar Milan.  To explain to you the difference between his methods and mine, I have found a wonderful article written by dog behaviorist Ivan Stewart.  Since he did such a good job writing this article, I have decided (with his permission) to reprint it here:
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