Boarding Trial Run: A Good Idea

If you are preparing for a vacation, you are likely excited for the adventure that lies ahead. Unfortunately, you may be in a position where your pooch has to stay behind. If you are considering boarding for your dog during the length of your trip, it is important that both you and the boarding staff understand how to best accommodate your dog.

Preparatory Steps

Your dog is a member of your family, and, just as you wouldn’t leave your child with a stranger, you don’t want to hand your canine over with blind faith. When considering a kennel, make sure to schedule a time far in advance to tour the facility. Even if a particular kennel seems wonderful on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Unfortunately, there are those out there that do not provide animals with proper care to cut costs, and your furry friend should not have to suffer while you enjoy your vacation.

Preparing the Staff

Once you have found the kennel that’s right for you, don’t forget to discuss any special needs your pet may have. If your dog has a medical condition or a personal trait such as a fear of thunder or other loud noises, these things should certainly be communicated. All of our guests bring their own food so as not to upset their stomach and personal feeding regimens are kept to maintain the dog’s eating schedule.

The Trial Run

Dogs are emotional animals, and they will miss their owners and territory when they are dropped off at the kennel. While you may spend hours finding the right kennel and preparing the staff, it’s impossible to predict how your dog will react to actually being dropped off.

This is where a trial run can come in handy. Make arrangements with your kennel to have your pooch stay overnight to discover how he or she will react. By doing this, you can pinpoint areas of concern and speak with the staff to find the best ways to overcome your pet’s specific concern areas. You will be able to enjoy your vacation knowing your dog is comfortable back at home.

Making Sure Your Dog Has All the Necessary Vaccinations for Boarding

Our staff is dedicated toward the health and well-being of your pet, and you can rest assured that, when they are under our care, we do everything in our power to make them feel at home. Because of our dedication toward your pet’s safety, we do require your dog to have all their necessary vaccinations before boarding.
To help speed up the approval process, we like to provide our clients all the information they need to know. When you come to enroll your pet, we will require written proof that the animal is up-to-date on the following vaccinations, not just for the safety of other animals in the facility, but also for the security of your pet.
Required Dog Vaccinations for Boarding
  • Bordetella: Administed every 12 months (keep in mind many veterinarians only administer by request)
  • DAPP: One- or three-year vaccine required
  • Rabies: One- or three-year vaccine required
Additional Requirements for Boarding
Just as your dog is an important part of your life, the other pets who have been entrusted under our care hold a special meaning in the lives of other clients. As a result, we ask that you ensure your pet is free of any fleas and ticks before they will be accepted into our facility.

Touring the Facility to Ensure You’re Happy Where Your Dog is Staying

We pride ourselves in making first class accommodations readily available for dogs of all shapes and sizes, and we encourage our clients to tour our facility to make sure we can meet all of your needs. You know your pet better than anybody, and we put a high value on receiving the opportunity to get to know each canine client a little better before they are put under our care. When you tour our facility, there are a few things you should keep in mind to know you will be completely satisfied with where you pet will be spending a large portion of their time.

Specific Behavioral Problems

If your pooch has a specific behavioral issues, we encourage you to share that with us. We will inform you of the protocol we have of correcting the issues, and among the issues we can deal with include:

  • Nuisance barking
  • Play biting
  • Chewing
  • Getting on furniture
  • General housebreaking

Older Dogs

If you are enrolling an older dog, they likely have become accustomed to a certain routine, and we strive to ensure we are able to accommodate. For example, if they prefer to nap in a particular environment at a certain time of day, we can help you seek out that type of location within our facility.

Getting to Know the Staff

Just as you would feel uncomfortable leaving your child with a complete stranger, we understand you may feel a level of discomfort doing the same with your precious pet. To best ensure you are happy with where your dog will be staying, we take the time to speak with you one-on-one before you begin your business relationship with us. Comfort is key for both you and your pet.

How Much for That Doggy?

Whether an advertisement for a puppy touts its breeding credentials or is found under the “Free to Good Home” section, the vast majority of dog owners love and enjoy their dogs, regardless of monetary cost. The love and loyalty they receive from their pet, and the opportunity they have to reciprocate those feelings, are things that are literally regarded as priceless. That is not to say that some breeds simply cost more than others. The following are examples of some of the most expensive dogs on the market.

Sticker Shock

The highest price ever paid was for a red Tibetan Mastiff named Big Splash, who was purchased by a mining magnate in China for the equivalent of $1.5 million (U.S. dollars). At least he got a lot for the money; at 11 months old, according to his breeder, Big Splash was already three feet high at the shoulder and weighed 180 lbs. That price tag shattered the previous record, also for a Tibetan Mastiff, purchased by a woman in China in 2009 for $609,000 (U.S.).

A Breed Apart

As far as breeds are concerned, purebred Alsation German Shepherds can sell for as much as $24,000, with one in New York City selling last year for $230,000. (You’d be lucky to find one for less than $3,000.) The adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel goes for as much as $14,000. The Siberian Samoyed is priced in the $4,000 to $11,000 range. Purebred Chow-Chows, Rottweilers and English Bulldogs will all provide adequate security for your valuables, including themselves, as they all top out in the neighborhood of $8,000 to $9,000 for championship bloodlines.

As one might expect, many people are surprised to find just how much benefit they derive from their status-symbol pet in terms of love and affection. When one considers the positive health effects that come along with pet ownership (including lower blood pressure and less risk of hypertension), one begins to realize that the assignment of mere monetary value comes in dead last in terms of what makes their furry companions so wonderful.

Hero Dogs Abound

There must be something innate in dogs that makes them want to help and protect us – it surely can’t just be Alpo that makes dogs display so much love and devotion to their owners. The gallantry of their behavior is magnified when such heroics are exhibited for the benefit of complete strangers. There are many instances of, and awards given out for, dogs comporting themselves with the utmost bravery in assisting humans who find themselves in grave situations.

Hurricane Who?

In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina left the City of New Orleans (and much of the Gulf Coast) at the mercy of deadly floodwaters, one man was pulled from the perilous bilge by a Black Labrador Retriever with a heart of pure gold. The dog, who was herself later pulled from the soup by rescue workers, was given a standing ovation when being honored at that year’s Genesis Awards. This saintly dog’s name, naturally, was Katrina.

Soft Spot for Kittens and Kids

English bulldogs are not known for being strong swimmers, as is evident in their truncated build, but Napoleon wasn’t about to let his physical limitations hamper his determination when he headed out into the middle of a deep lake. His goal was to rescue a burlap bag full of kittens that someone had cruelly tossed into the water. Four of the six kittens in the bag he retrieved survived, and later greeted Napoleon with a mewling hero’s welcome at their adoption center.

When it comes to their owners, of course, dogs will go above and beyond the call of duty. In Cordes Lakes, Arizona, when three-year old Victoria Bensch wandered off into the foothills near her home, her faithful companion followed along. Blue, a Queensland Heeler, stayed with the little girl all night as temperatures plummeted to near-freezing. At first, Blue was nervous about search-and-rescue personnel approaching his girl, but soon enough he was jumping right into the helicopter to accompany his young charge to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she was treated and released, alive and well thanks to Blue.

Sign Language Dog Video Goes Viral

Everyone has whiled away some time watching online videos of pets and their amusing antics. Credit for this trend probably belongs, at least in part, to David Letterman and his Stupid Pet Tricks segments that became a hallmark of his Late Night show. Today, simply typing ‘dog tricks’ into the YouTube search field will pull up almost 60,000 results. One trick that made its way onto the cyber-waves just recently, though, is a bit more impressive than some mutt fetching his slovenly owner a can of beer.

Music to His Ears

“Shinook” is a six-year old Shepherd mix who does something that many humans can do, and that one gorilla has managed – communicate using American Sign Language. Shinook’s owner, Fred Dixon, demonstrates in his video (which is easily found since it has gone thoroughly viral). Neither the dog nor his owner are hearing-impaired, it should be noted, but Shinook is in fact a registered therapy dog. He also responds to a snap of the finger or to voice commands.

Command of the Language

In the video, Shinook stares raptly at Fred while he explains that his dog understands sign language. The he puts Shinook through a series of tests, with the first one being the retrieval of Shinook’s own bucket of doggy treats. He gives the command, in American Sign Language, and even though Shinook very likely knows what his owner wants as soon as he begins to sign, he still waits until Fred is done before he turns and does what he’s been “told”.

Shinook can also bring Fred his blanket or his slippers, can either “high five” (with one paw) or “high ten” (with both paws). The dog also understands when Fred tells him to kneel down and pray – all without saying a word, but always with a treat for Shinook as a reward. Many dog owners have figured out how to get their dogs to respond to hand signals, an impressive feat in its own right, but Shinook’s ability to comprehend American Sign Language makes him an extra-special dog.

The Iditarod: A Sled Dog’s Story

While professional sports tends to be dominated (or over-represented, depending on one’s point of view) by football, baseball, basketball and hockey, there are countless other sporting events and competitions which captivate the attention span of their respective fans. Golf, tennis, curling, lacrosse, bowling and yachting all have their fan bases. One sport that is much different, yet still fascinates many, is dog sledding. The sport is best exemplified by the well-known Iditarod race.

Working Overtime

Every year, in early March, the Iditarod sled-dog race is run from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Each musher leaves the race with a pack of 16 huskies, and must finish the race with a minimum of six. The journey has to be completed within 9 to 15 days. The teams face windchill temperatures of -100 degrees (F) blowing at gail speeds, and all other horrific weather conditions expected of the harsh Alaskan climate.

Intangibles Important

Sled dogs, therefore, are selected for the physical qualities that are required to undertake such an arduous task. Veteran mushers will tell you that there are no feel-good Rudy stories in their sport. More important than their bodies, though, is attitude. Heart and desire are things that don’t show up on a tape measure, and it takes nothing less than sheer will to even attempt the Iditarod. A good group of dogs will also establish its own leadership heirarchy. The leaders will prove themselves accordingly.

It is important to understand that sled dogs are not treated as commodities by the mushers,  or even just as the athletes that they are, but as beloved family members besides. The majority of husky owners have a number of other household pets, as well; it seems to be an animal-lover thing. After the grueling race is over, the sled dogs are rewarded with their favorite special foods and all the loving and hugs that they get on a daily basis anyway.

Organic Arsenal Naturally Repels Fleas and Ticks

For a good many people and their pets, the entire domesticated animal relationship can be ruined by the predatory presence of fleas and ticks, which do not discriminate against cats, dogs or even humans. Cats seem to respond quite well to flea collars, which are sanctioned by veterinarians, but dogs tend to have more “acreage”, so to speak. A stubborn infestation can go on seemingly forever, with many owners reluctant to expose their dogs to the kind of chemical solutions found on the retail market.

It’s Not in the Chemical Aisle

Bug bombs, sprays and other household approaches to flea and tick control are no more comforting than flea dips. For those who seek it, a natural approach is available to anyone, involving no laboratory-manufactured chemicals. Diatomaceous earth is an organic material that can be sprinkled in areas where bugs might live and lay their eggs; it works by dehydrating the bugs after coming into contact with them. It is harmless to humans and other animals.

A Few Ounces of Prevention

Removing the unwanted pests from your dog’s coat is another matter. Embedded ticks have to be removed manually, using a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol, and pulling the tick straight out. Fleas have to be washed off, in the bathtub, with shampoo and hot water. Once that’s done, pour some apple cider vinegar onto your dog’s wet fur, making it less inviting to pests in the first place. Lavender essential oil is another of Mother Nature’s preventions. Put a few drops on the dog’s collar for a pleasant-smelling pooch who will be parasite-proof.

There are effective dietary options as well. While Hollywood and folklore tell us that garlic is used to repel vampires – and what else would you call fleas and ticks – the correct organic product is, again, apple cider vinegar. Adding a teaspoon of the stuff to your pet’s water bowl each day will make their blood less than palatable. If these natural remedies are applied consistently and diligently, the rewards for both pet and owner will be noticed in a few short weeks.

Famous Dogs of Arts and Literature

Dogs have been a part of art and literature for as long as they have been domesticated. This goes back as far as ancient mythology. Cerberus was the three-headed dog who guarded the gates of Hades. (Interestingly, a financial company called Cerberus Capital once owned Chrysler Motors.) One of the most scintillating Sherlock Holmes novels, The Hounds of the Baskervilles, posited dogs as the protagonists.

A Future with Dogs

There have been artificial dogs in science fiction entertainment, and not just in the CGI era. Montag, the protagonist in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, was attacked by a Mechanical Hound after he killed his boss; it shot a tranquilizer needle into the rogue fireman’s leg before he destroyed it with a flamethrower. Three decades later, when sci-fi first began to dominate the box office, the robotic Muffit II was created by Dr. Wilker aboard the Battlestar Galactica to replace young Boxey’s “daggit”, Muffit, who was killed by falling debris during a Ceylon raid.

Keep Plenty of Biscuits in Their Trailers

Overall, the roles of dogs in entertainment have varied from comedic (The Shaggy D.A.) to horrifying (Stephen King’s Cujo). Homeward Bound, which included a cat and was based on a true story, personified dogs through human voice-overs. In other instances, such as Beethoven and Air Bud, photogenic pooches have been used to attract – and delight – younger audiences.

Dogs have also been spotted pulling in big ratings on the small screen, even when most television sets were of the black-and-white variety. Lassie was the biggest canine star, of course, using her Collie smarts to protect Timmy and his family from such predators as rattlesnakes, wolves and worse. Rin Tin Tin was another prime-time hero, helping the settlers during their Westward expansion. (A later TV version had him playing a K-9 cop.) Benji was another take on the dog as a leading character, proving that little-dog guile can be as effective as fangs and brawn.

Dog Behavior Issues? Put Down the Remote!

If one were to only glean such information from TV shows that are made to be more marketable than factual, one might believe that a 30-minute trip from a “dog expert” could solve all of their pet-related woes. Indeed, such programming belies the fact that the vast majority of dog owners get along famously with their pets, and have no problem keeping them under control… But that’s not a ratings-grabber, is it?

Flawed Premise

Many professional trainers have come out against shows like The Dog Whisperer, not out of any particular vendetta, but simply because they believe that much of the “dog psychology” aspects that are depicted are based upon flawed premises: The idea that dogs are inherently pack-animals that respond best to the presence of an Alpha male, who sets the pecking order, predicated upon long-held myths regarding the social interaction of wolves.

Far from Reality TV

Many of the wolfpack behavior studies (conducted in the 1940s and the 1970s) involved captive wolves, which obviously behave differently in confinement than in their natural environment. Biologists consider that to be no different than studying prison populations and then equating behavior patterns to the public at large. Studies conducted in the last 40 years on wild wolfpacks have revealed that packs function more like families, with the breeding pair sharing the leadership roles. In other words, it’s more Brady Bunch than Gladiator.

All of that eschews the obvious point, though; dogs are not wolves. They don’t think the way wolves think, they don’t live the way wolves live, and they don’t act the way wolves act. Most canine behavioral specialists will tell you that humans don’t need to search for some upper-hand when it comes to our dogs. We already have that, and have had it for centuries (it’s called “food”). It may not be flashy, and it may not attract advertisers, but it’s something any trainer can teach to any owner who wants their dog to better behave itself.