Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Are You Prepared For The Holidays?

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s eve, and New Year’s Day are almost upon us. Are you ready?

Think on this. How well behaved is your dog around family and guests? Will your dog run out the front door? Is your dog dangerous with other animals or with strangers? Will your dog listen to you and your family? And what if you are leaving town… have you made plans for your dog?

It is almost too late to make preparations, unless you really start putting in some effort today. You should be making plans NOW for your dog for this holiday season!


First, I know many of you now need a Tune Up for your dog, or you have postponed training altogether. This time of year is one of the worst for animal accidents… dog biting incidents, poisoning on holiday foods, run away dogs, etc. If you have postponed training, you can do private lessons and get most of the training in before everything comes falling down on you. Further, many of you have time off during this season, and now have time to work with your dog. It is much better to be prepared, in advance of guests arriving, than having to deal with a dog emergency.


If you have a friendly dog, are leaving town, or having guests, I recommend that you enroll your dog at a doggie daycare for the day, or board your dog overnight. For an example of a good doggie daycare, check out Paws To Play (located at 7312 E Thomas Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251; (480) 966-9267; www.PawsToPlay.net ). At a full service doogie daycare, you can expect to be able to purchase all of the following services: doggie daycare, boarding, board and train, private lessons, group lessons, grooming, and dog related products for sale.

Doggie daycare is only for dogs that are friendly with strangers and other dogs. A good doggie daycare offers specialized training for dogs that aren’t sociable, but that has to be resolved before boarding. Holidays can be dangerous times for dogs, and having your dog professionally managed and supervised could actually save your dog’s life. In addition, your dog will come back calmer and more obedient.

Be sure to get what you pay for! At a true"doggie daycare", your dog ISN'T isolated in a kennel most of the day. Your dog will be in supervised play groups, and rotated through a variety of indoor and outdoor play areas, featuring wading pools and playground equipment, throughout the day. The staff will also spend some individual time with each dog, and even address minor behavioral issues for you (the big stuff requires working with a professional trainer). Your dog will come home calmer, happier, and easier to manage. Plus, you can have the peace of mind knowing your dog is being well cared for, and you can sign up to have your dog trained by professionals.


I have a customer who has been out of the country for three weeks. We completed Basic Obedience I a couple of months ago with her two dogs. She then proceeded to do Basic Obedience II, which refines the dog’s skills, especially off leash. After all that effort, she didn’t want to let her dogs get rusty on their obedience work. One dog started out having a biting problem. The other would only listen if you have a piece of food to offer. Today, those dogs are both friendly and obedient. My customer signed up for a Board and Train Program while she has been out of town. So, every day, I have personally trained her two dogs at Paws To Play doggie daycare. I am extremely excited about her coming home this Thursday, because I want to show her how much progress her dogs have made.

For example, we have been working on Tandem Heeling. “Heel” is an obedience command which means for the dog to walk at your left side, and to sit at your left side when you stop, on or off leash. Tandem Heeling is where you teach TWO dogs to walk at your left side, to sit simultaneously at your left side when you stop walking, on or off leash. One of this customer’s original problems was that she found it impossible to take her dogs for a walk. One dog wasn’t good with strangers or other dogs. The other was just so big, strong, friendly, and disrespectful that he’d drag her down the street. That has now been solved, and she’s going to be amazed at how easy these dogs can now be walked together. And we worked on other skills, too.

Board and Train is a good option for people who just don’t have the time to work with their dogs, or for people who are boarding their dogs and want their dogs to come back more obedient, and to ensure their dogs had more activities to do. That’s not to say that doggie daycare isn’t a great thing. But, an untrained dog isn’t any fun to live with. And we can brush up on your dog’s obedience while you are away. Just be sure to check out the place before letting someone train your dog. I have heard of some seriously abusive training programs. You must make sure it is with someone you can trust.


So, please think on this. Set up lessons NOW. And call professionals in your area to set up grooming, doggie daycare, and/or boarding. Get your dog trained, and make sure your dog is in a safe and fun environment while you are enjoying the holidays. Besides, if you do need to leave town, you had better book your reservations now, because if you wait to the last minute, you will probably be out of luck.

Sam Basso

No comments: