General

Happy Holidays!

With the holidays approaching everything seems faster paced, more rushed and tensions run high. Sometimes it even gets the better of me, I say something negative or out of character and have to centre myself again.

What I’ve found that helps keep the good vibes going

– Understanding that even the grinchy people are people too, say a kind thing to them

– Giving small thoughtful gifts to people and their pets

– Random acts of kindness, holding the door, letting someone in during rush hour, helping someone

– Taking a friend out for coffee

– Listening to up beat music. I like to crank the tunes!

– Having some down time reading, enjoying a bath, having some me time

– Playing with dogs, when we get excited they get excited and it helps to keep the good vibes going!

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General

You know you’re a pet sitter and dog walker when…

You know you’re a pet sitter & dog walker when

  • Your work schedule changes from hour long days to 14 hour days. Early mornings and late nights to make sure everyone has been cared for.
  • You’ve put tons of mileage and time into driving from house to house (rural pet sitting)
  • You’ve driven through almost every road condition (black ice, tons of snow, wind, hail, etc) to let a dog outside to pee.
  • A day off consists of an overnight pet sit with furry friends.
  • You feel super sad when you can’t fit in a last minute client into the schedule
  • You’ve walked in the cold -25C winter storm weather with a dog because they were having the time of their life (snow dogs especially)
  • You’ve cut walks short in the same weather to let the chilled pups in the house right away
  • You’ve been slobbered on by various animals (dogs, cats, cows etc.)
  • You’ve stepped or kneeled in Dog poop at least once by accident.
  • Visited Pets on holidays, as even they need some holiday lovin’ too!
  • You’ve celebrated the good times with your clients and supported your clients in the bad times
  • The pets in your care become like your own pets, you celebrate the happy times and mourn the loss of beloved friends when they pass over the rainbow bridge.
  • You wouldn’t trade what you do for the world, even if you happened to win the lottery. You have a passion for pets and their people.

Let us know if there are any points you would add to this!

General

Positively Dog Walking

Why hire a professional dog walker when I could hire a neighbour/kid/friend/etc.? Is a question I’m sure quite a few people have. Yes, I’m quite sure that you can hire all of the above. Although I think there are much better reasons to hire a professional dog walker.

What makes us different?

  • Our business is insured and bonded
  • We have been serving the Okotoks area for 4 years
  • We have current Pet First Aid
  • We have current criminal record checks
  • Our Lead Walker is currently attending a dog training apprenticeship program
  • We attend various courses and seminars on animal training, care and well being. Continued education is very important to us.
  • We are current members of Pet Sitters International

Our Walking Tools

  • On our walks we use flat buckle collars, martingale collars (for dogs that can slip their collar easily), head collars or harnesses.
  • Most dogs are clipped to our hands free walking belt on walks. The length of the leashes can extend from 1 foot to 6 feet to allow more space as needed (this is done by clips and “O” rings). The hands free belt is used as a safety tool and is like our safety belt to your dog. We use this as we found not all leashes are easy to use with thick winter gloves on, the buttons on retractable leashes can be faulty, and also the leash is impossible to drop or let go of.
  • Poop bags are attached to our belt and all waste is deposited in the garbages where appropriate.
  • Tasty low calorie treats (Freeze dried beef liver, 3-5 calorie small training treats) are used as rewards. For dogs with sensitivities, their own kibble may be used.

We don’t use

  • Prong Collars, choke chains, slip leads, shock collars, citronella collars or other aversive walking tools.
  • Aggressive Positive Punishment (adding something to stop or alter behaviour I.e. kicking, hitting, yanking on the leash etc.)

What are some things we do to help dogs walk better? I.e. pulling, barking

  • Usually we’ll prime the relationship we have with the dog by simply “Yes” and giving a treat. This is repeated a few times so they understand that the word “Yes” gets them a reward.
  • “Yes” May also be used to help improve behaviour, if a dog is walking better or nicely we will use the “Yes”/treat cue to encourage the better behaviour
  • We use a treat as a lure in our hand to help coax the dog away from something they may be pulling towards, or barking at.
  • Make interesting sounds to get the dogs attention back to us.
  • Stop & Go: if a dog is pulling we stop walking and wait for the dogs attention to come back to us, then we continue the walk
  • While this list is certainly not exhaustive, our aim is to provide force free/positive reinforcement methods to encourage the best behaviour from our dogs.

Disclaimer: please note our blog is not a substitute for the advise from a professional behaviourist or trainer. We recommend contacting a professional trainer or veterinarian for any questions regarding your pets behaviour. Please use caution when working with any animal. We are not responsible for the use of misuse of any information on our blog.

General

Delayed by a What?

We travel to a lot of our different clients. Some reside in Okotoks, Millarville, Black Diamond, Dewinton and the MD of Foothills in Alberta, Canada. While we are more commonly delayed by weather conditions and traffic/construction there have been a couple of instances of being delayed by different types of animals.

We were travelling down an old gravel road to one of our more remote clients, and a wayward cow decided she needed to cross the road. Well she stopped midway to give us a good long stare, so I popped out of my car to steer (no pun intended haha) her into the ditch away from traffic. She seemed to be a sweet little thing.

Another time we came across a badger sun bathing in the middle of the road. It was quite the sight to see, thankfully as we inched forward, he made his way off the road. (Fun Fact: Badgers claw length is 2-3 inches and they can run up to 30km/h).

And probably the most beautiful delay we’ve had was in the winter time. There was a large herd of white tailed deer effortlessly jumping the fences from one side of the road to the other. The bucks were all equipped with a beautiful rack of antlers. They frolicked throughout the wooded areas.

Have you been delayed by an animal? Let us know in the comments below

Chews

Raw Bones – Natures Tooth Brush

raw bone

Just the other day I was performing the weekly check of everyone’s teeth. All of the cats teeth were in fine condition, Vitzy’s teeth were at the same level. Finally I got to Tucker, I checked his left side and everything was pearly white, when I checked the right then I noticed it… A broken tooth with root exposed on his top right carnassial… Damn…

I wondered to myself ‘What had I do wrong?’ & ‘What was different than any other week?’

Then I realized, the one thing that could have caused this was his ‘raw hock bone’ as Tuck doesn’t chew on anything other than dehydrated duck feet and his raw bones. I thought I was doing the right thing by providing raw bones to my pet. I did a little research, and I was right to a degree. Here are some of my findings:

Beef, Bison & Elk Bones
Hock bones, marrowbones (like soup bones and centre cut marrows etc), Dino bones and knuckle bones are among some of the hardest bones available on the market. They are all weight-bearing bones (and to think these animals often are more than 1000lbs in weight) so they are thick and sturdier than other bones. If staying with beef, bison or elk opt for non-weight bearing bones such as rib bones and neck bones as they are more maliable and less likely to fracture teeth.

Chicken & Turkey Bones
I’m still not too keen on feeding chicken or turkey backs and wings, just seems like too many little bones of different sizes. I think they could cause obstruction in a large dog if they don’t chew them down properly. Instead opt for turkey or chicken necks, as the bones in the next are more uniform in size and are easily passable to most dogs.

Other bones to consider
Lamb & llama bones are thinner in profile the the regular beef & bison bone. These are far more easily chewed down and are a better alternative to the larger weight bearing bones.

Pros to Raw Bones
– They help clean teeth by the friction of chewing and the availability of natural enzymes
– They keep dogs entertained and relieve stress
– Save money on unnecessary dental cleaning
– Alternative to artificial and raw hide dental chews

Cons to Raw Bones
– Can cause teeth to fracture and break, if not given an appropriate type of bone
– Dogs could choke on pieces if not supervised

More Information
Dogs Naturally – Recreational Bones
CAUTION: Bones Can Kill Your Dog – Find Out Which Ones Are Safe!
IVC Journal – Raw Bones

Chews

Essential Fatty Acids

salmon

The use of essential fatty acids is vital in any format of nutrition. The use of fish based or plant based oils are the most common forms of supplemental EFA’s. An essential fatty acid is something that the body cannot produce on it’s own and must be supplemented into the diet. Omega 6 is the only essential fatty acid for dogs and cats, although both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are recommended as a combination.

Where the B.A.R.F. diet requires Omega 3 and 6 supplementation, any diet could benefit as well, including any kibble based diet or dehydrated/ freeze dried diet. Common Omega 3 and 6 sources include: Salmon Oil, Pollock Oil, Coconut Oil, Flax oil, all-in-one combinations are also available. Once opened these oils (with the exception of coconut oil) should be refrigerated to maintain their benefits.

Benefits of Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and 6 combination)

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids in cardiovascular function (i.e. heart health)
  • Improved skin and coat (i.e. less shedding)
  • Digestive health
  • benefits the nervous system and eye function
  • Improves cognitive function

Efficiency of Oil

  1. Salmon Oil  – most readily bio-available for dogs
  2. Pollock Oil
  3. Coconut Oil
  4. Flax Oil – least readily bio-available for dogs

Other Sources of Omega 3 and 6

  • Salmon, tuna and other fish meat
  • Eggs
  • Spirulina
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Raw Organ Meats

 

Additional Resources

 Flax Council – Omega 3 Enriched Eggs

Walk N Roll Over – Coconut Oil

The Whole Dog Journal – Salmon Oil

Food Sources of Omega 3 Fats – based towards human nutrition

Dogs Naturally – Omega 3

The Dog Food Project – Essential Fatty Acids