Wag 'N' Tails Dog Activity Center | Dog Training, Boarding, Spa Services, Fitness, & More!

The Dog School Routine

Oh what a day it would be at dog school, if we could say with certainty that we walk our guests at 10am, feed at 11am promptly every day and we always train precisely at 2pm. What a glorious day that would be, although definitely wishful thinking!

Think of how a school classroom operates for a moment. Imagine kindergarten aged children finishing up reading time and it’s time for coats and shoes. “Recess time!” the teacher Mrs. Smith calls out. The excitement fills the room while the screams are kept to a minimum considering it’s the best Mrs. Smith can do. The utter joy in the room is irreplaceable, yet needs to be managed in order to make it to the playground. Daily there is an agenda, but there will always be a few twists in the day!

This is the same energy and excitement of a dog school classroom in session. Only the kindergarten students are dogs, lots and lots of dogs! Some little, most big. Some rescues, some not. Some abused and being rehabilitated, others just there for the pure joy it brings.

Every day is a new adventure! Truly a new day filled with energy, wonder, education and unexpected surprises. At Wag ‘N’ Tails, we give our pet parents an idea of what the “routine” is for the day, but we prefer to continue running our show based on the needs of our guests, and believe us, their needs change daily. Sometimes those changes are based on how much exercise they’ve had at home over the weekend. Sometimes their needs can change based on the weather, age, medical needs, or simply just being tired! Certainly, there is a policy and a procedure in place for the daily dog school routine, and we proudly follow all of them. That’s what keeps our tails waggin’ since 1999. We like to say that we operate much like a school, only our kids, are dogs! The picture below depicts a  perfect day in the life at Wag ‘N’ Tails!

Never hesitate to schedule time with our Director of Services, Jordan Covington and she’ll be happy to answer your questions on your tour. She also schedules 15-minute meetings with our pet parents as needed! 

Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the daily fun too!

Happy training!

Christine Fox

Education Comes First at Wag ‘N’ Tails

Education Comes First Since 1999

Education comes first at both Wag ‘N’ Tails locations in Shelby Township, Michigan. We appreciate that you are a parent to your dog, not just a dog “owner.” That’s one of the reasons why education comes first for us. This is also why we prefer to be called your dog’s school – We’re so much more than a doggie daycare. As professionals, we take pride in knowing what makes your dog happy – and healthy. 

dog and education

Buddies hanging out! Many of our dogs grow up together with coordinated days and visits.

Who Is Worthy of Your Dog’s Attention?

As pet parents ourselves, we know that choosing a trustworthy care provider and/or a care facility is an important decision. We appreciate that price and location is certainly a consideration, although, much like finding care for your child, there’s even more to consider. At Wag ‘N’ Tails you have found your dog’s school – so much more than a “doggie daycare.” We think there’s a difference!  With so many dog care centers to choose from, how do you decide? We’ve listed our reasons, well…a few of them!

Wag ‘N’ Tails is different and this is why:

Experience: Staff training and education.
Professional Care: Confidence and skill.
Security and Safety Protocols: Education and strict policies.
Activities: Keeping the brain active too!
Wellness Checks : Individualized care.
Comfort like home: We are not a kennel.
Tour Time: We’ll take you all the way through our dog house. We love when company comes over!

Teaching cues such as stay and “watch me!”

Caregiver ratio: Our trainer -to-pet ratio is no more than 10 dogs per handler. This means that at all times, there is more than enough qualified and experienced staff to accommodate your pets every need – safely and professionally.
Methods and Experience: Our dog trainers on staff have skill sets that give them the positions they have. Trainers must advance throughout their education in order to proudly offer their talent. The best way to explain it, is that we employ people looking for careers, not just a job.

Happy dog – Happy parent!

Here is a great list of questions from the International Boarding and Pet Services Association that might help you know if you’ve chosen the best care center for you and your family. The Dog Gurus share a few tips here on knowing if your dog is happy with the care center you’ve chosen. When your dog is happy, you will be happy! Keeping in mind, that when your dog isn’t happy or comfortable, you would know. 

Communication

We always encourage you to “speak” on behalf of your dog, and we vow to forever do the same! All dogs are unique with their own individual needs and preferences. Together, we will find the program that suits your needs best! As our dog’s age with us at Wag ‘N’ Tails, their needs change along with their health and even activity preferences. The open communication we have with our pet parents is one of our number one compliments! Dog’s don’t talk, (not like us!) so we always count on our pet parents to talk on their dog’s behalf enabling us to provide the service needed most.
dogs in training, education

Down stay and Leave it Cues.

Referrals

There’s something to be said for community involvement and trust.

Our loyal referral partners include:
  • Local veterinarians
  • Rescue leagues and fosters
  • Fellow grooming salons
  • Fellow pet care providers
  • Supply stores
  • Friends and neighbors

Our certifications are from the most elite network of pet care providers in the country:

  • The Association of Pet Dog Trainers
  • American Kennel Club
  • Pet Sitters International
  • Fit Paws International
  • Do More With Your Dog Trick Training

Education is number one and always will be at Wag ‘N’ Tails

When we are passionate about the learning process, we aren’t just referring to the dogs, their lessons, and their future. In order for us to live by the words of our mission statement, education must be offered to not only the dogs but their families as well. For us to achieve those goals, it’s imperative that our amazing staff is educated in order to offer our skills to the community. Education is the key to our success and what makes us awesome! We are proud of who we are at Wag ‘N’ Tails and who we continue to be! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about our unique services and care. 

Here is what a few of our dedicated parents have to say:

We had our 6-month-old old German Shepherd Diesel boarded at Wag ‘N’ Tails while out of town. We also scheduled extra training sessions while he was there. I have seen so much improvement in such a short period of time. Diesel is no longer pulling when being walked & although he still barks like a maniac at other dogs I am now able to get his attention with the “watch me” command…refocusing his attention every time. Diesel had a blast & can’t wait until next time his pack leaves town 🙂 Erica Adams Keesee.

Wag ‘N’ Tails helped us LOVE having a dog again! Our pup Rosie has been enrolled in puppy classes, daycare, boarding, and grooming. The lessons taught us class work! Day Care is a blessing to both dog and busy family, as well as boarding. And Maire the groomer takes great care of Rosie. She always looks and smells great! Best of all, Rosie loves going! She used to be shy but now jumps up joyfully in the lot. I highly recommend this place. It has helped to make dog ownership so enjoyable! Alex Van Almen.

Cannot speak highly enough of Wag ‘N’ Tails! All of the staff is wonderful! When I adopted my dog, Koba, he had been attending Wag for daycare and training as a foster. Even though it is over an hour from my house I still take Koba here to play with his friends as it’s worth the drive. He loves it! Additionally, I love the Wag isn’t just a free for all play space. They work with him on solidifying basic commands while he’s there. They are an amazing center that really knows how to handle dogs and look out for the animals best interest. Wag really becomes family for the animals and their humans!  Jolene Kijorski.

Wag ‘N’ Tails dog training is a place I refer many of my current clients to. They only use force-free, scientific based techniques that follow proven teaching methods like classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Training here taught me a lot about dog behavior and how to successfully communicate with my dog! – Laura Byrd, Wilson Veterinary Hospital.

How to Be Prepared When Boarding Your Dog

How to Be Prepared When Boarding Your Dog

Travel more. Worry less.

Deciding who will care for your dog during long days away from home or for extended travel can be a difficult decision to make for loving pet parents. Many times, taking your dog with you just isn’t an option. Having a regular care provider that you can count on, plus having a backup plan will alleviate a lot of the stress involved when leaving your pet.

There is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to caring for a pet. All dogs are different with varying personalities and needs, just like people. Not all dogs would do well in kennel type environment. Alternatively, there are plenty of dogs who would do much better away from home while the family is gone.

Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the most respected and highly recognized advocates for pet sitting throughout the world. Wag ‘N’ Tails has been a proud member since 2005. PSI has many valuable resources that can help to get you started on finding the right care environment for your dog in your area. They also provide lots of great downloads and resources. Learn more here.

There are several options to consider when you plan to be away from your pet. The same six tips below apply to any type of care you decide on. Whether you will be trusting a friend, a family member, or a professional boarding facility or pet sitter, following these quick tips will allow you to travel more and worry less!

Tip #1
GET YOUR SNIFF ON.

Go with your gut instinct when you interview your pet potential sitter. If you don’t feel warm and fuzzy inside, your dog probably won’t either! Once the caregiver or facility has been selected, allow your pet to become familiar with the care providers and/or the place you have chosen.

The more opportunities your dog has to bond with their caregivers, the better! This will give you a chance to sniff out how you and your dog feel with each experience before you travel. Utilizing a care provider only when you’re going to be gone for a period of time, is not a good idea. It’s important that your dog is comfortable with the care providers, the change in the environment and routine, and becomes familiar with what to expect. If you only use a caregiver when you are gone for extended stays, your dog might not have a very good association with this person or place since they are associated with your absence!

Tip #2
PACK IT UP!

Most dogs appreciate routine and consistency. Keep this in mind when packing your dog’s belongings for their adventure. Pack the bed they frequently use at home, a favorite toy, a safe and tasty chew bone, yummy treats and do the best you can to keep your dog’s diet the same to prevent stomach upset. Providing a scent filled item with your scent is always a good idea too! A sweatshirt you wear, a washable blanket, etc. Using the same bag every time is also recommended. Eventually, your dog will know what’s happening when you grab that special bag!

Tip #3
CHILL OUT.

When you’re nervy, this can make your dog a nervous nellie too! If you followed tip #1, you should be looking forward to your time away. You deserve it after all! Be excited for your dog. Enjoy the drop-off experience and most likely your dog will too. You took the time to research and feel comfortable with your choice in a caregiver, and you’re confident your dog will be happy, safe and healthy.

Tip #4
CREATE EXPECTATION!

Picking the same word or cue each time you leave your pet with a care center or person is advised so you can create a clear expectation for your dog. As your dog ages with the care centers, simply saying, “Look! We’re at Wag!” for example, can go a long way.

Tip #5
CRATE TRAINING.

Times have changed, and pet parents are finally realizing the benefits to having a crate trained dog. A dog that can manage being independent and comfortable in a place they can call their own can make all the difference when it comes time for travel. Even teaching your dog how to feel comfortable behind baby gates is better than no confidence with confinement at all. Learn more about crate training here.

Tip #6
BE BREEZY!

Remember, when you’re chill, your dog should be fairly calm too. If you arrive to pick up your dog or come home and GO CRAZY with wild and exuberant “I missed you’s!” this is not a good idea. Be breezy. Humans come, humans go. It’s a part of life. If you act like it was the end of the world, most likely your dog will too. This will make things very hard on you, and most especially, your dog next time you need a little get away.

If you follow these tips and tricks, you will find that with all the details involved in travel, caring for the dog will be the easiest thing for you on the “to do” list.

You’re a devoted pet parent, and you deserve a vacation, remember? Travel more. Worry less.

Teach & Reach

Introducing our new name for the foster dogs who live in our board and train center waiting for their forever homes.

The Teach & Reach Program, TA-DUH!

Without education, the number of dogs being re-homed just can’t change. We need your help! That’s why we added the “reach” after the “teach!” So many dogs, so many homes – with continued training and spreading the word, we just know that Wag ‘N’ Tails can help make a difference.

We can’t thank you enough for your donations, volunteering your time and most especially for spreading the word and sharing our posts and announcements about our dogs in need.

We thank you, the dogs thank you!

Foster Friday Dog

Meet Hardy, our Latest Foster Friday Dog.

Every Friday we post our dogs in need. Those pups who live at our school and remain in training until we find the perfect family they’ve always dreamed of.

Hardy and his buds

Hardy is pictured here (the one with those ears to die for!) with his buddies in school. He is a very affectionate dog, loves to learn, although he loves his chill time just as much! Hardy is in training to treat and modify his resource guarding, he’s learning very quickly that he no longer needs to hoard and hang on to things. Using our positive methods of learning, he’s coming along great and we’re moving in the right direction. Hardy has not bitten, although he would be better suited for a home with other children who can follow safety rules.

Hardy hanging with Austin

Hardy will do best with a family who will have the time to continue with his “resource” training. He’s crate and potty trained, very well socialized and loves, loves, LOVES people!

At Wag, as you know, education and training is the primary part of our mission in reducing the amount of homeless dogs. It’s a requirement that the families who adopt our dogs are educated with either private lessons or classes on the lessons taught to our residents. This requirement ensures continued success and consistency. Please share with your friends to help us with our mission.

In 2016: 56 dogs were trained and found their forever homes.

To Date: Wag has rehabilitated, trained and found forever homes for: 16 dogs with your help in sharing.

For more information on our latest Foster Friday dog, contact our office at 586.781.6400 and speak to our Director of Services, Jordan Covington.

 

Are You “The One” In Your Dogs Eyes?

Are You “The One” In Your Dogs Eyes?

When we fill out applications for employment, many times it’s page after page of material for the employer to get to know us; our history, our present thoughts and of course our goals for the future. Online social media profiles ask us about our favorite movies, sports, and music. Dating sites? I can only imagine how organized and thorough those are!

Caring and reputable breeders, long-standing and successful adoption centers, and community rescue organizations work tirelessly to ensure the continued health and safety of the dogs they breed, rescue or foster. When they require you to fill out a detailed questionnaire, consider this your application to your potential dog.

Think about all the requirements most of us have in our daily lives for a moment. There are a lot. Are you ready? Here are just a few: we put thought into our vehicle – and not just the type – but the color, the sound system and the upholstery. Our phone type, which includes the carrier, the case and all of our apps. Our house location, career, home decor, gym and we definitely put thought into who our significant other will be. In fact, some people are so picky about who their partner should be they might stay single until they know they’ve found “the one,” no matter how long it takes.

Don’t you want to be your dog’s “the one?”

If I were a dog, I know I would have a few requirements; How long do you plan to leave me at home alone? When will you be back? Am I going for long walks by the beach or will you be sending me a dog walker? If so, can I pick someone that likes to hike? How about sleeping arrangements? Are you going to be one of those “no dogs in the bed” people? If so, I can’t guarantee that I won’t continue to whine hoping to convince you to change your mind.

Whether a dog has been down a few rough roads, or has been bred to carry on a trustworthy lineage, the least we can do is research to find the right type of dog best for us.

According to the American Kennel Club, there are over 180 canine breeds. Considering that fact, the list below is quite general, but fun and helps you get the idea! If you are considering a mixed breed you would combine these categories to get some insight as to the main traits your dog may have.

Working Breeds – Examples: Doberman, Akita, Malamute, Husky or Great Dane

Smart, loyal and determined. These guys might jump out of an airplane for you. If you’re not up for that, they’ll at least have your back when the doorbell rings. If you’re looking for a lifelong companion that would pass up a cheeseburger just to be near you, then this is your dog partner! If you like to exercise, keep busy and crave learning this pup has been waiting for you.

Hound Dogs – Examples: Coonhound, Beagle, Bassett, Basenji, Rhodesian Ridgeback

They can smell the potato chip you dropped under the couch yesterday and will refuse to let their discovery go unnoticed. The strong will and determination of a hound dog won’t stop until you positively acknowledge their finds. If they aren’t discovering birds, bunnies, treats or lost  potato chips, then they’re most likely deciding when and where the next find might be. If you are always contemplating where your next adventure might be, you will spend a lifetime discovering together.

Terriers – Examples: West Highland, Airedale, American Staffordshire, Jack Russell, Scottish Terrier

These dogs are sassy, funny, smart, can be quite vocal, and might be a little needy. They’re  affectionate most times (usually on their terms) and loyal to their family. Terriers always keep you on your toes! If you would run (and/or burrow) for those you love, this is your lifelong friend.

Sporting – Examples: Spaniels, Retrievers, Setters, Pointers

These pups are smart and generally very happy dogs. They’re lovable, but can be a bit stubborn. They may be a tad bit aloof with strangers, but very trainable. Their keen sensitivity mixed with a little bit of bossiness needs regular attention and guidance. If you have to size someone up a bit before they win your heart, this might be your pup. You can win hearts together!

Herding – Examples: Collies, Shepherds, Corgis, Sheepdogs and Berger Picard

Smart, curious, fun-natured and lovers of learning describes these types dogs. If you enjoy learning new things and relish in the company of various other animals (especially farm animals that can be herded), then this is the choice for you. Be sure not to disappoint this breed or break their spirit, they won’t soon forgive, they tend to hold grudges. If you are a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of person, you will herd through life together beautifully.

Non-Sporting – Examples: French Bulldog, Dalmation, American Eskimo, Boston Terrier and Bichon Frise

This group is your classic “little bit of this, little bit of that”. This diverse group of dogs includes intelligent and fun breeds such as the French Bulldog, could be a Lhasa Apso or perhaps a Chow Chow. Maybe the spotted Dalmatian melts your heart. No matter how you look at it, if you are ready for anything life has to throw your way, this is your group. Day-to-day you’re probably pretty breezy, and your dog would be too!

Toy – Examples: Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug, Yorkie and King Cavalier Charles Spaniel

Oh, don’t let their size fool you! They may be little on the outside, but most times they’re big on the inside. If you live in a small space or live a fairly inactive lifestyle, these cuddle bugs will keep you company and at the same time be high and mighty when needed. If you’re looking for a buddy true and true, this might be your match!

Christine Fox: Writer and Top Dog of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center in Shelby Township, Michigan.

Email: christine@wagntails.net

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Do you have a purebred or a mixed breed with a little bit of everything? Tell me in the comments below, I would love to hear your stories!

5 Things to Know Before Bringing Home a Dog

5 Things to Know Before Bringing Home a Dog

So you think you found your dream dog? Before you decide if it’s love at first sight, remember it takes much more than providing a heart and a home to that 4-legged dream boat. Most likely you are a dog lover, most people are. Although, when offering a dog a happy and healthy life with you, there is so much more to consider than just simply being your companion.

When you are bringing home a creature who will love you, honor you in sickness and in health until death do you part, the least we can do is take the time to find the right fit! Sometimes people put more thought into what’s for dinner for the week, than they do what breed of dog will suit them best for potentially the next 15 years. Follow these 5 steps and you will be bound to create a lifelong, irreplaceable bond.

1. Know Your Breed

Scientists and researchers determine dogs came to be somewhere between 16,000 and 30,000 years ago. Geeze. That’s a hot minute. Sometime along the years, people forgot that dogs were once bred for a reason, and that has not changed. Retrievers want to retrieve and will most likely steal your socks. Border Collies will relish in rallying up the kids and chasing them when they run because they are bred to herd. You can pretty much expect a Husky to pull on the leash and have a lot to howl about since technically they are sled pullers on a mission. Knowing your breed and researching the breed ancestry will help you keep your patience pants on. You really want to know your dog’s hardwired characteristics.

2. History

Knowing the history and heritage of your dream dog is important, although that information is not always available. Most especially with rescue, shelter or foster dogs. Whenever possible, it’s best to teach puppies during the optimal learning time which is typically between 7 and 16 weeks of age. If a dog is acquired after that time, you are going to be “untraining” what someone else or the environment has already taught that dog, knowingly or unknowingly. Dogs are counting on us to find them safe and sound homes, so it’s up to us to fully research how dogs think and learn. With adoption dogs, you’ll need to consider the time after the optimal learning time that you’ll be adding to their history. Otherwise, if you purchase from a breeder, it’s up to you to know hereditarily and what you are getting yourself into so you’re better prepared.

3. #makelearningfun

When you dream of your family growing one day with a baby (human) or puppy, the rules should always apply. Manners! Manners! Manners! I hope to goodness the whole idea of professional (or nonprofessional) training for that matter as being cruel is long over. Most likely parents wouldn’t think they were coming on too strong when teaching their child how to say please and thank you. Teaching dogs should be no different. #makelearningfun

4. Establish Safety and Control

Many times when dogs don’t feel safe they will put themselves in a position of hierarchy to gain control and keep things in order in their dog mind. If the dog sees the human parent as the figure in the family (the pack) who is in position to keep things under control and safe, than the dog (in most cases) won’t put themselves in that role. This in turn, reduces barking, guarding, territorial type behavior problems. Making sure that the pet parent is viewed as the safe place or person, will also reduce many behavior problems such as leash pulling, jumping up and chewing. A dog won’t take the job of top dog if the position isn’t available.

A dog won’t take the job of top dog if the position isn’t available.

5. Bark ‘N’ Burn

What are your exercise plans? Indoor activities because you live in an apartment? Do you have limited mobility? Are you a busy college student? Whatever your lifestyle, you must come up with a plan to expose your dog to the environment and increase their heart rate daily with a walk or some type of exercise. No exceptions. Really doesn’t matter the breed, all dogs need and want to get out of the house if they are exposed properly. Exercise and socialization is critical to a dog’s overall well being and happiness.

Making sure your dream dog is happy and healthy. Isn’t that really what’s it all about? I know it is for me.

 

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Clean

5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Clean

Most of us probably spend some time with daily hygiene. Let’s hope so, otherwise going to work and having to sit next to that stinky person every day is the worst. With dogs, there really is no difference. So why oh why are we skipping daily hygiene? If your dog is family you wouldn’t skip brushing your son’s teeth and give him a bath every six weeks. So let’s stop skipping the basics with the dog and then sleeping in bed with them. Ew.

These tips and tricks take minutes to keep your dog smelling great and staying healthy in between professional groom appointments. At the same time, you will feel better too!

1. Use Pet Wipes

These are a must have for all pet parents. Just as you might have sanitizer nearby with little ones at home, this is the same thing in dog world.

2. Brusha! Brusha! Brusha! Sorry. You have to brush your dog.

You don’t skip brushing your teeth and you just can’t skip brushing the dog. It’s so important to reduce the amount of allergies, dirt and dander on your dog’s coat. Maintaining their coat with a regular routine should be a bonding experience. It’s more about brushing, than bathing. Most humans think it’s a bath that’s needed to clean the hair, when really it’s the skin and the coat that needs attention. The brush and especially combing, is what it’s all about. Bathing can actually exacerbate stinky problems.

3. Dry Shampoo. Yep. They have this stuff for dogs too.

Baking soda and cornstarch are great for removing that “dog smell” most pups have. You can massage the powder through your dog’s coat using a towel. They also make commercial dry shampoo for dogs that you can give a try. There’s also great all natural freshening spray for those stinky days.

4. Wash all your dog’s stuff!

Their bed, their toys, their blankets. Clean them all! This will keep your pup AND your house fresher and cleaner. Use pet-friendly cleaning products.

5. Clean the face, feet and fanny.

No one wants to be around doggie bad breath. Dental chews are an easy way to maintain clean teeth, but monitoring the fruits and veggies they eat can also help with this. Keeping the gunk out of the eyes, ears and fanny can be life changing too. Learn more about our face, feet and fanny class.

Christine Fox: Writer and Top Dog of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center in Shelby Township, Michigan: Email: christine@wagntails.net

Check out our professional grooming services:

Wag N’ Tails Grooming. Your dog will lick your face!

Dogs: Thieves, hoarders and runners… Unless we teach them safety first!

Dogs: Thieves, hoarders and runners… Unless we teach them safety first!

Pet parents around the world must truly realize the value of investing in a positive dog training program to fix “problem” behaviors. Although, dogs don’t think running away is a problem; they certainly don’t think stealing things that don’t belong to them is anything but fun either. As a matter of fact, all of the wild, running, seeking and finding makes for a pretty perfect dog day.

But dogs don’t live in the wild some days, much to their chagrin. This is why we, as loyal pet parents, are responsible for teaching our dog’s safety first in our human world, and most especially to prevent “problems” from occurring in the first place, as much as we can.

I believe there are three cues or commands that every dog should know and understand. And, knowing the meanings behind these cues could be a matter of life or death.

Drop it
What is it about the wastebasket tissue that our dogs love so much? How about when the remote control is considered to be a perfectly reasonable chew snack? Everyday household items can be extremely dangerous for dogs including socks and undergarments which are a common choking hazard, and additional vet visit offenders include toxic foods and over-the-counter or prescription medications. Teaching a dog to willingly let go of any item in their mouth and relinquish could be, and has proven to be, a lifesaver. Teaching the drop it cue is also essential for dogs to understand in encouraging “polite play” as well.  

Leave it
This cue is taught to help the dog understand that whatever item he is “eye-balling”, he must leave it alone. Leave it means ‘don’t touch it’ and to look away. If your dog already took off with the sock, it’s too late to use the leave it command. In that case, you would use ‘drop it!’. Dogs need to understand that just because you accidentally dropped a bottle of medicine on the floor, this doesn’t mean the scattered pills are fair game. Teach this command and your dog will thank you later.

The Recall or Come Command
Likely, every pet parent has experienced this next gut-wrenching feeling at least once in dogdom. I remember the day like yesterday when my pup got the neighborhood in an uproar and created my first experience with high blood pressure. I was unloading my car which was filled with boxes on moving day. My Golden Retriever, Charley, was in the backseat, only 6 months old. The second I opened the car door to grab a box, his eyes met the movement of a squirrel that was running across the street. I tried to stop him from pushing past the open car door, to no avail; he was on a mission.  A car was quickly approaching the both of them during their intense game of chase and of course, Charley was completely oblivious. I was much too far away to do anything about the fact that his little innocent face was only inches away from the car’s back tire in his hot pursuit of the neighborhood pest. My frantic call to, “Come!” actually worked. I had laid enough foundation with that command and thankfully, our lessons proved to be my dog’s lifesaver and mine too, since I obviously thought I was having a heart attack. When he returned to me with a look as if to say, “Mannn…I almost had that bugger!”, I had to catch my breath and be thankful we made it through a day that could’ve easily been his last.

I would love to hear your stories! Have you ever found the drop it, leave it or come comma

nds to be a life saver for you and your dog?

Christine Fox: Writer and Top Dog of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center in Shelby Township, Michigan:  Email: christine@wagntails.net

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next Bark to the Basics class.  Your dog will lick your face!

Is Your Dog Hacking Away? It Might Be Kennel Cough!

Is Your Dog Hacking Away? It Might Be Kennel Cough!

Kennel Cough

Most of us pet parents (dog owners) have heard about the dreaded “kennel cough”. At first, it may seem that your dog is having difficulty breathing or maybe swallowed a foreign object. Then when you put the leash on and the slightest pressure is applied, that hacking cough might exacerbate the problem, causing you to think your dog might have a sore throat. Some might think the worst and rush their dog to their trusty veterinarian thinking after a persistent cough it’s a tracheal collapse. If your dog is active around other dogs or goes on lots of adventures to parks, outdoor malls, or car rides to visit with friends and their dogs, it’s most likely a harmless virus.

When your dog has any type of health issue it’s so scary, especially when you think your buddy is in some sort of danger. Send your dog for a boarding stay or a day of play or training, and there is always the possibility that your dog could catch a cold, a germ of some sort or even yes – “kennel cough!” If you go the grocery store, you could catch the flu. When you send your child off to camp, they could come home with a head cold from their camper buddy.  As a matter of fact, dogs and humans can actually share not only affection (in addition to reducing each others’ blood pressure) but they can also share germsDon’t worry, it builds a stronger immune system!

Sometimes a sick dog is a good faker! Be sure to watch for symptoms to see if your dog has kennel cough.

When your dog isn’t feeling good watch for the symptoms so you know when a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is life. We can get sick. Does that mean we don’t go to the grocery store because it’s germy? Should your kids just forget about camp this year? Does this mean the dog care center you have chosen is dirty? I doubt it. I think you would have noticed when you originally toured and decided on the best care option for your pet that it wasn’t sanitary – if that were the case.

Disinfect. Repeat. Repeat again. 

As long as your dog’s care center has policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and health of your pet, there is not much more that can be done. If you are at all in doubt, be sure to ask what methods are being used. Keep in mind that the more regular exposure your dog has to other dogs, the stronger their immunity will become to most airborne illness, such as kennel cough.

Kennel Cough and the Bordetella Vaccination

Health records should be checked, verified, and updated regularly by the administration office at your dog’s care center. Keep in mind, the required inoculations really only protect against certain strains of viruses, just as with human vaccinations. For example, the bordetella vaccine is to protect dogs from acute tracheobronchitis (also known as *gasp”,  KENNEL COUGH!).

However, it only reduces the severity of the contracted cough if it’s caught. The vaccine is absolutely no guarantee that your pet will not catch the nasty bug. Keep in mind, this very annoying (to your pet), hacking cough is typically not serious if caught early on. Also, be sure to ask what the procedure is when “kids” are called in sick. At Wag ‘N’ Tails we have a two dog policy rule. If two pet parents call with dogs having the same symptoms we send out parent notices. Notes are taken off display from the front entry doors and the front counter after a 14 day period of no other callers. We honestly have such a great system in place, we rarely have issues with contagions at our school outside of the norm.

Whoever Named the Virus Kennel Cough and Why?

Why isn’t it called “Dog Park Cough?” or “Sniffed-the-fire-hydrant-with-the-neighborhood-dogs cough?” When pet parents hear “Kennel Cough” they can’t help but think their dog’s upper respiratory infection came from a kennel.  Remember, tracheobronchitis comes from anywhere dogs are in close contact with other dogs. The reason it’s called kennel cough is because it’s HIGHLY contagious and can quickly spread through a kennel. At home, a pet parent loves up their pup, gives them antibiotics and they baby their “baby”. What can be done at a kennel? Sometimes they have to shut down if there are enough cases. 

“Kennel cough is VERY contagious. It is named kennel cough because it can quickly spread through a kennel and infect every dog.” Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM

Can Anything be Done to Prevent Kennel Cough?

Not really much can be done to prevent kennel cough. Well, there is one VERY important thing you can do. No one knows your dog like you do! Watch for the symptoms at home so that you aren’t bringing a sick “kid” to school. Children might moan, groan or whine perhaps to alert or alarm a parent or teacher, but not dogs, no way! Most dogs are just too tough! It takes a lot for a dog to give in and admit that they have to slow down. Many dogs, depending on their age and temperament, of course, can withstand quite a bit of activity,  even if they are a bit under the weather. Be sure to make yourself aware.

A few of the symptoms aren’t really obvious but indeed could be clear signs to watch for. Dogs don’t talk – not with words. So that means we, as humans owe it to our dogs to be good (and most times, better) listeners! Be sure to call the school to report the illness and most likely you will able to continue socialization and training programs for your dog. If your dog could talk he would thank you!

Do you find it difficult to diagnose when your dog is sick as a dog? If so, leave a comment below and we will reply!

Do Dogs Miss Their Famiy When They Board?

Yes, they do. There’s just no place like home! Maybe you have a favorite chair or relaxing area? Knowing where the remote is (well, most of the time). Knowing when the kids will be home.

Home: comfortable and, for the most part, predictable.

Comfortable boarding dogs

Our boarding dogs feel right at home!

Routine
Dogs need all those things too! They like to know. They crave routine. And of course, most of them love comfort and have a favorite chair.

FUN!
When we go on vacation we sacrifice the comforts of home, although it’s usually worth it! A beach? An adventure? Visiting with family and friends? The first thing I do in a hotel room is unpack into my new dresser drawers and immediately claim most of the closet. I can’t wait to check out the view. Does the hotel have a continental breakfast? I love those things!

Predictable
If our boarding dogs could talk, this is what we think they would say, “Snacks in the morning BEFORE breakfast? This is great! A long leash walk right when I wake up to sniff out an adventure? Wow! Lots to do, so much to learn and, hey! I know that dog from last time!”

Familiar
It’s certainly not home, but it’s worth the adventure! Many times when you get home and need a vacation from your vacation, your dog will too. Keep in mind though, dogs crave consistency. Most dogs like routine. Boarding would be compared to your small trips like going to a cottage, or to your sibling’s house. It’s not home, but you know what to expect because you’ve been there before.

Anticipation
That’s how we feel Wag ‘N’ Tails is viewed by your dog. If and only IF, you regularly visit. Once a year? Not enough. Twice a year? Nope. Three times? Not gonna work. It takes several visits to give a dog that feeling of “knowing.” Knowing what time dinner is. Knowing when it’s nap time. Anticipating bed time stuffed animals from home. Dogs cannot just force a feeling of comfort; the same way that you can’t force yourself to be comfortable.

There’s no place like Wag ‘N’ Tails!
Our dogs that stay the night with our specialty boarding service can’t get in the door fast enough. Will they miss their family? Of course! There’s no place like home, but if they see us regularly and know what to expect they can’t wait for that snack before breakfast and that special morning leash walk! There’s no place like home, but Aunt Wag ‘N’ Tails is pretty awesome too!

Safety FIRST on Walks

Last week, Charley and Hollywood went out for their morning walk in the yard. Strolling around, sniffing rabbit poop, looking for birds, giving squirrels the paw – you know, the usual. We came back inside, and only moments later Charley was ferociously barking at the sliding door. My first thought was maybe it’s the landscapers, since Spring is coming. I thanked him for barking and alerting me to something strange outside, but when I came to look, I was quite surprised. Instead of the landscapers I was expecting, it was two great big dogs that were off-leash, wandering about my yard. Charley was just hysterical. He was not very happy that there were dogs on his property and he was most likely protecting me. I wasn’t going to open the sliding door because I knew that could create a problem. So instead, I went to look out the front door and there they both were. They had already gone around the side of the house and were now beginning to investigate the front.

Yikes.
They were approximately a hundred yards away from the front door, but when I came out and stood on the porch, they both stopped sniffing and gave me prolonged eye contact. After 20 years in the business of “dog talk,” I was quite certain in reading their body language that they weren’t stopping over for a pow wow. The large white dog, probably a pit bull mix, looked as though she may have had a litter. The black one was a beautiful un-neutered male pit bull mix. They were most likely a “couple,” on a neighborhood date.

Their body language indicated to me that these dogs could potentially be a threat to any passerby and most especially to someone that would have a dog on a leash. I went back inside called animal control and described what the dogs looked like so that the situation could be addressed. What would we do if my dogs and I were on a walk and approached by these dogs? What would the cute little old lady across the street and her little Yorkie do if they were approached by these two dogs at large?

Be prepared
Here would be a few of my suggestions if you ever run into a situation like this one:

Never run!
Most importantly – never run. Running will only cause a dog to chase and will likely create more arousal in the dog, especially if he is already in a state of high arousal. Instead, stand still at first. Do the best you can to stay calm and then walk away slowly.

Shout “Go HOME!” or even “Sit!”  – Shouting will often make the average dog nervous enough to leave you alone. Although you should be serious and deliver the message with confidence.

For more persistent dogs, I would do the following:

Fill up your pockets!
I always have massive amounts of highly valuable treats on walks with me. Not just boring biscuits – yummy, smelly treats! All of my jacket pockets are full of treats (my coat closet probably smells just like liver treats!). If you are walking and you see a loose dog, throw a big handful of treats at the dog in the hope that he will stop to eat the treats while you move away.

Robin Bennett, author, consultant and APDT Board Treasurer offers this suggestion: Take an umbrella with you on walks – the automatic kind that allows you to push a button to open it. Most times, having an umbrella open suddenly into the face of a quickly, oncoming dog will scare the dog enough to confuse him and cause him to run the other way.

There is also a product called Spray Shield. It’s an animal deterrent that you can take with you on your walks. This is a form of citronella spray you can spray at a dog (think “doggie mace”). The downside to this product is the dog has to be really close which is why I prefer using treats, but if you wind up trying to break up a dog fight, this might help. At Wag, we also carry a safe, humane product called the Pet Convincer. It uses a blast of CO2 to interrupt and redirect. This product could be used for your safety as well as the safety of your dog.

Now that Spring is upon us, there may be dogs just itching to jump the fence and go on an adventure. Hopefully, these tips could help you in time of need. Despite the hype from the media, most dogs wandering off leash likely won’t harm you, but being prepared and calm is key in any case.

Christine Fox, CPDTScreen Shot 2015-06-27 at 4.37.33 PM

We’re Hiring!

Love Dogs? Want to spend your days doing something you love?

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 6.48.28 PMNow’s your chance to be a part of our team! Wag ‘N’ Tails currently has two positions available. We are seeking a front-of-the-house “Pack Leader,” as well as a Daycare Attendant, both for approximately 30 hours a week. You must be willing to work hard and love our dogs. Please check out the employment page to send your information.  Holidays and weekend shifts are just part of what we do and who we are.

Leaders of the pack
Pack Leader applicants must have excellent customer service skills, be able to answer multiple phone lines, be proficient in Microsoft Office/Excel and also have some retail experience.

We are teachers, only our kids are dogs!
Daycare Attendant applicants must be eager to learn, ready for a career and have a passion for dogs. This hard worker will have lots of homework and exams, so be prepared to educate and be educated! With enough dedication you will one day be able to offer pet parents the help they need to ensure their dog is not only healthy, but happy. The services we provide come in time with your experience and motivation.

We hope to hear from you soon and you get you started on a new path.

 

New Location Coming Soon!

Are you ready to pursue a career doing something you love? At the NEW Wag ‘N’ Tails Studio location, we will be offering both a dog grooming school and a training school for the public. We are so excited to be offering these programs in our community and to help our fellow dog-lovers on their path to developing a rewarding career! Also at The Studio, we will be offering our standard grooming and training services that you have come to know and love. Wag ‘N’ Tails The Studio is located at 24 Mile and Hayes Road in the Nottinghill Village Plaza and is expected to be open by Spring of 2015. If you or someone you know is interested in registering for one of our new courses, visit our NEW website at www.wagntails.net or call the office at 586-781-6400 for more details.

Resource Guarding

“Resource guarding is when a dog controls access to food, objects, people and locations that are important to him through defensive body language or overt aggressive display. This is a relatively common canine behavior and is influenced by a number of environmental and situational stimuli, including a dog’s natural instinct to survive.

The dog that has first access to food, for example, has nutritional advantage over others and even though thousands of years of domestication have changed the dog in many ways, instinct can remain deeply rooted. Dogs have most likely evolved from scavengers and scavengers do not need pack members to survive. In fact in this scenario, other dogs are competition for food and threaten survival, so guarding access to scraps becomes extremely important.


Are Dogs That Guard Resources Insecure?
Guarding resources is usually a manifestation of the dog’s deep-rooted insecurity and inability to cope well in a social situation, even with people and other dogs he knows.

  • An insecure dog can see anyone as a potential threat to a resource whether that resource is food, toys, space, a mate or access to a person.
  • A resource guarder will not tolerate competition and will guard the resource to maintain priority access.
  • The threat of losing the resource and the good feeling that the resource provides make a dog more vigilant, angry and irritable.

 Territorial Aggression Dogs that guard large spaces and areas such as houses, property and locations through aggressive displays are practicing 'Territorial Aggression' – a close behavioral cousin to resource guarding. Dogs will naturally protect areas which allow them to feel safe. If that safety is compromised, the dog has no choice but to defend access to areas which he perceives are crucial to his safety and survival. Read more about territorial aggression here.

Should I Punish My Dog for Guarding Resources?
Because people often misunderstand why their dogs guard and why there is social competition, many owners of resource guarders often get angry and confrontational with their dogs. Confrontation, however, increases competition and causes the dog to guard the contested resource even more. Using physical punishment on a resource guarding dog is the exact opposite of what you need to do. Instead, make sure you understand the canine experience and work to instill more confidence in the dog so that he feels less threatened.

When working to rehabilitate a dog that aggressively guards his resources, he should not be ‘dominated’ into submission, nor should he be challenged or physically punished. It is much safer to attempt a ‘bloodless coup’ without the dog ever realizing you are doing so.


How to Stop a Dog Guarding His Food Bowl

  • Begin by changing the physical picture and provide a new bowl and a different location for your dog to eat in.
  • Vary feeding times so that your dog never has the chance to become tense when his body clock tells him it is time to eat.
  • Utilize the empty bowl method. Pick up your dog’s bowl and make it look like you are filling it with his food.
  • Place the empty food bowl on the ground in front of him. Wait for him to investigate, see there is nothing there and look at you. As soon as he looks at you, praise him and add a bit of food into his bowl.
  • After your dog has finished eating the food wait for him to look at you again and add more food into his bowl.
  • Repeat this until all the food has been eaten. Walk away from his bowl and then back and add a little more. This shows your dog that your approach and presence at his food bowl means he is going to get more food and you are a positive part of his feeding experience.
  • Feed your dog in this manner for a week and as your dog becomes more relaxed with your presence close to his bowl, gradually add larger handfuls of food until you get to the point where you can put down a full food bowl and he can eat with you standing right next to him.
  • The next stage is to practice walking by an empty bowl and throwing a piece of high value food such as chicken into it. Every time you approach your dog’s empty bowl your dog will see your approach as something good.
  • The last stage of this training is to throw a delicious treat into your dog’s bowl as he is in the process of eating. By this time he should be much more relaxed with your presence and able to accept you being close to him as he eats.

Resource guarding can be a very dangerous behavior to work with so bring in a qualified, humane trainer in your area. Children should never take part in this training.”

– Victoria Stilwell

Crate Training 101

Why do we crate train? It is important that pets are comfortable in their crates for travel, for visits to the vet, or for boarding. Also, crate training is necessary when potty training puppies. It is also wonderful to have reassurance that nothing in your home is being destroyed when you are not home!

Click this image for helpful crate training tips!

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Rescue Dogs Rejoyce!

So many rescue organizations out there. Some putting themselves in dangerous situations to get dogs to safety and warmth. Most having the energy it takes to keep up with so many dogs in need.

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The wonderful foster people at Rejoyceful not only have these needed qualities, but they also realize the importance of potential parents being formally educated. Not just handouts, recommended books or suggested links online. A real hands on education.

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We need people to adopt dogs. Although what most don’t realize is that when you adopt an adult dog, you will most likely be taking on behavior problems with that dog.  Already learned behavior problems.  These aren’t dogs that need to be trained. They need to be UNtrained from what someone already taught them to do or from what they may have learned from the environment they were in.

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According to Jordan Covington,  ARAR (A Rejoyceful Animal Rescue League) board member, “The Detroit dogs are always the smartest.  They have street smarts!” Sometimes the temperament is hereditary, other times its learned. Rescue dogs are smooth and skillful. Most of the time they have obtained these skills solely due to the need to survive, avoid abuse or find their next meal.

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Rescue dogs not only need a home that has food, warmth and shelter. That should be a given. Rescue dogs, all dogs for that matter, need to be taught our language. They crave understanding the rules, just as much as they desire a meal and a cuddle so they can avoid making mistakes that will wind up putting them right back where they came from.

A Rejoyceful Animal Rescue League is by far my choice for a trusted organization that not only has the big heart,  organizational skills and passion needed to bring dogs to safety. They have teamed with Wag to give these fosters the education they need to ensure full safety and happiness.

Check out their latest dogs in need and feel free to pass along to a friend that you know would have what it takes to be a dedicated pet parent.

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Does Size Matter?

With it being Valentine’s Day weekend, this is the perfect time to talk about treats! If your loved one surprised you with a Valentine and a mini size chocolate bar you might  be happy. Although, if you were presented with a Valentine, a dozen roses and a giant box of chocolate bars, you would certainly noticed the difference. Size matters!

When you give your pup three cookies for responding to a simple sit command in front of the cookie cupboard in the kitchen, that’s like giving an Ipod to a thirteen-year-old child for brushing their teeth. That would be silly, wouldn’t it? Now if you tell your pup to sit by the front door after hearing the doorbell? Now that deserves 3 cookies. Or maybe even a nice size piece of freeze dried liver and a belly rub to top it off!

Pay attention to the size and value of the rewards you give and why and when they are given. You will be in for a really big “treat” when you actually get the response you were looking for!

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3 Tips for a Happy Dog!

TEACH
Dogs love to learn, especially new things! Have you ever gotten a new toy for your dog just to enjoy their reaction?  Of course you have! The excitement and anticipation is the best part. You can’t take that toy out the package or rip that tag off fast enough for your buddy. When you teach a new word, trick, or simple instruction YOUR excitement and reaction that they actually learned what you taught is the best part. Your dog picks up on it when you jump up with excitement saying,  “He did it!  Did you see that?  He did it!” Your teachings can be just as exciting and sometimes better than a new toy.. for both of you!
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SOCIALIZE
Dogs are social. Period. They don’t like to be alone, they tolerate it. When you have to go away for the most part they just sleep. ..and wait. Wait for that moment when they can rejoice that the pack is once again back together.  Back to the way it belongs with more than one. When dogs can be with their own kind, multiple different types of people and exposure to the environment it’s stress relieving and satisfying. Like a great night out with friends for us might be!  Dogs need to socialize and get out and about. Otherwise.. they forget HOW to socialize.
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EXERCISE
Movement! Dogs have to move! They can’t just cuddle and be your companion. Most dogs want to exist for a reason other than just simply being cute and keeping you company. Nothing makes a healthy dog feel more alive than a brisk walk,  a good ol’ game of fetch or even an adventure to sniff at the park. The back yard is borrrring if your not out there too! Who knows! Once you see that pep in your dogs step when you grab that ball or walking leash, maybe you’ll anticipate and enjoy that daily exercise too!
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Oh please…I know how to pet a dog! Or so I thought!

Last night we had our first Tellington Touch seminar with presenter Mona Ryzak. What is Tellington Touch, otherwise know as TTouch you ask? Well for years I wasn’t sure why the dogs would follow Mona as if she was the Dog God. Now…I know why. She let us in on her secret. Zigzag touches and raccoon circle touches of course! I never knew there was so much to know when we pet our dogs. Although if you think about it, we as humans know the difference between a scratch and a professional massage, why wouldn’t our dogs know the difference? We learned so much about the energy of the touch, how the actual hair on your dog can feel softer with certain methods, and how you can really calm your dog just by using a magic motion of sorts with the pressure of your fingers and your routine when you pet your dog.

I pulled in the driveway after class so relaxed. I’ve never been to something dog related that was so calming before! I can’t wait until the class starts and we can learn more. Hollywood was one relaxed and pooped out puppy, and I was too. Thanks Mona! Now I know why my dogs go crazy when they see you, hopefully I can have your magic touch one day!~

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To learn more check out: http://www.ttouch.com/

Developed by internationally-recognized animal expert Linda Tellington-Jones, Tellington TTouch® Training is a specialized approach to the care and training of our companion animals, horses and exotic animals, as well as for the physical and emotional well-being of humans. With Tellington TTouch, even the most difficult problems and behavioral challenges are often eliminated, enhancing the quality of your animal’s life.

 

Dog parks will soon be changing too…finally!

Dog parks will soon be changing too…finally!

I just had my very first negative experience when approaching a biker with her off leash dog on this lovely day in August. I was doing my usual strategic sign placing, this time at the Orchard Trail bike path. I approached the mom reminding her that if we had a dog park, her dog being off leash would be allowed! She immediately stated her complete disgust with dog parks and swore that because of her previous negative experiences, she would NEVER go to a dog park. Well of course I gasped loudly, (inside, of course! lol) but did the best that I could assure her that our Township park would be different.

We just can’t blame pet parents for having some reservations about a large off leash play enviornment that is not controlled. This is part of what Wag ‘N’ Tails is proposing to the Township. Dog’s who have shown aggression. Not allowed. Dog’s who don’t pass a trial? Can’t come either. Un-neutred dogs or un-spayed? Not happening. Although….our goal would be with to eventually acclimate this fearful dog with plenty of training and behavior modification, so that a visit to the park would be a dream come true for both the family and their pet.

Part of what I’m proposing is to be the first Park in Michigan that has many rules before entry. Not all dogs are allowed, and certainly not bullies. We will not tolerate this the same way a school wouldn’t condone behavior like that. I have many details in the works including a seminar that’s included in the yearly fee for a dog park pass. This seminar would educate residents and non residents about many important aspects of carefully monitoring your dog. Examples would include the importance of safety, appropriate and inappropriate play postures and signals to watch for when a dog is stressed or over heated.

The size of the park is also something to talk about. It’s not the bigger the better here. The further away your dog is from you the more at risk they become in a safety situation. Having multiple controlled enviornments is much more important than running 1/4 mile to catch up with a dog who’s safety is being comprimised. It’s taken years for people to really and truly understand the importance of training, exercise, exposure the enviornment, and socializtion. This could be due to previous negative expereinces. “We don’t take Sparky on walks, he’s afraid of people that pass by”, or maybe “Rascal doesn’t play with other dogs anymore he was attacked by our neighbors dog”. Finally with better and more easily avaialbale motifvations and experienced trainers and better dog care centers, we are seeing a decline in fear and aggression in dogs.

It’s going to take time now for most pet parents to come around when it comes to a well designed dog park the same way folks have been spooked about training and socializating over the years. I’m working on our Township offering a dog park that is different. Different because it will be safe. Safe because the pet parents involved will have the basic skills necessary to communicate with their pets properly. Really, isn’t that what we all want?

Trying something new can be fun!

It was quite a long time ago when I introduced dog day care to Shelby Twp, Michigan. I was so young, so brave, so determined. At that time there were only four day care centers in MacombCounty. Nothing was gonna stand in my way of launching something so beneficial to our dogs! People thought I was crazy. Day care for…DOGS? Training classes were common, but no one ever heard of bringing a dog to a center to receive daily care.

When the phone would finally ring at Wag N Tails back then I was so excited! “Thank You for calling Wag N Tails, how may I help you?” I would answer anxiously. I was hoping for another potential success story where I could learn more about a person and their dog who needed my help. Training was always an option, but since…forever..a tired dog is a good dog. “How about we start “Brandy” on a day care plan once a week since its difficult to give her all the exercise she seems to need?”, I would suggest excitedly! I can’t tell you how many times I was turned down, laughed at, snickered at and teased. It was strange to me. At that time I was researching what professionals all over the country were doing.  I just didn’t understand. Everyone else around the nation was benefiting from day care for their dogs. Why couldn’t the folk’s home in Michigan see the same benefits in their life plan for their pet? Was it budget? Their time? What could it be?

And then finally. Finally the day came where I remember calling my mom to bring me lunch because I was by myself that day with 11 dogs in the nap room conked out from a hard morning at play! I couldn’t believe it! The phones were ringing away! The dogs were having a ball (literally!) and their parents were thrilled with the outcome! I was doing my part to reduce obesity in dogs, along with helping towards the problem of high energy and anxiety in dogs. My clients were sending their friends and neighbors and…Wa-Lah! Day care for dogs in Shelby Twp was born! People were happier with their pets which in turn was reducing the amount of dogs given away due to frustration or disappointment. There are now 47 dog day care centers in Macomb Township, MI when years ago there were only a few to choose from!
Combining exercise with training is key. It’s the answer that everyone needs, yet it’s difficult for us to always find the time, energy and patience that’s needed.
Well here I am again only its 20 years and 10,000 dogs later. I’m launching something new again. Something that most people will laugh it. Once again, I’m brave and determined, not so young anymore lol but certainly still brave and determined! Exercising with your dog just sounds ridiculous to so many. I’m sure coming to a Bark ‘N Burn class is gonna make for some great conversation on your lunch break at work.

People might be afraid of what others have to say. Sometimes trying something new can make people nervous. Maybe exercising with your dog seems silly. Whatever the case may be, one thing I can say with absolute certainty. Dogs need to be healthy. Humans need to be healthy. Finding a way to conquer both at the same time? What could be better than that! Having fun with our dogs is just as important as petting them. Bonding with exercise is just as strong a bond, if not stronger than all the babbling and baby talk we do with them! Why can’t exercising with our dogs be just as normal as putting healthy food in a bowl for them everyday? Bringing something new to our state isn’t always easy, but it certainly is fun! I’m excited! I’m so anxious for that buzz! The buzz that starts when people start talking for their dogs. Telling all their friends how much fun they are having and at the same time burning calories. The same person who laughed at you in the lunch room at work? She and her Beagle will probably be the first to sign up for the next session!

Wag ‘N’ Tails will be first to launch this program along with so many other great “firsts”! I predict that we won’t be the last! To all of you dog lovers who are brave, determined, excited and ready to try something new and fun….See you Thursday at The first Bark N Burn Exercise Class! Pumped up!!!

Do our dogs miss us when we’re gone on vacation?

I was recently asked if I board my dogs at Wag ‘N’ Tails, almost as if it was a test to see if I, the owner, would use my own place.  Or if I would prefer to have a friend, neighbor or family member watch my dogs when traveling. “Well of course I do, I have for many years!” I told my client excitedley. Well, the time came for me to pack for my much needed vacation to the Riveria Mya, Mexico and all the butterfies starting fluttering around my nervous stomach just as all of you probably get! I’m rolling the suitcase out to the car and Charley my Golden is bouncing back and forth, back and forth. Is he excited? Is he nervous too? Could he know I’m leaving just from seeing the suitcases? Well certainly he does! Hollywood my Maltese didn’t seem to affected either way as long as she was in the front seat when it was time to head up to Wag for their stay!Upon arrival I made sure to do everything I tell our clients to do! Happy voice! Happy voice!, while driving to the center. “You guys are gonna stay at school! Isn’t that exciting!” Even though it’s aching me that I’m going to miss them so much.

7 days went by and finally I turned on my phone after a nice long break from emails and missed calls. When I opened up my email as the plane landed I was so excited to open my report cards for the dogs. “Look! Charley played with the big dogs and it says Hollywood was cuddly as always!” I just couldn’t wait to get home. “They probably missed me so much!” I just couldn’t wait to get there! I walk in the door and they they are! Right where I left them! Both dogs are so excited to see me of course, but they aren’t exactly doing the jumpy dance that I would’ve expected. “Why aren’t they crying?” No circle dance? Shouldn’t they be howling or something I thought? Well, I guess I can’t complain that my dogs are content.

They are happy I’m home and they missed me…but they’re content. Hmmm, not sure if I like that or not lol…Many times the staff and I know just how our clients feel, by being clients ourselves! My dog’s missed me of course, although the staff took such good care of them at Wag they were perfectly content when I got home to their adorable faces! Thanks Wag ‘N’ Tails for all you do…even for my own dogs!

Animal Acting and FitPaws Coming SOON!

PicMonkey Collagestella

“Stella” had a blast working out on our FitPaws equipment and learning how to “take it” and “hold it” during her Animal Acting lesson today! Now you too can schedule a private lesson for Animal Acting! Christine will evaluate your dog, assess their strengths and weakness, and help them develop a special skill set that will be sure to land them a job as a movie star!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QadK28EehUM]

FitPaws classes are also coming soon… Stay tuned and keep on waggin’!

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