Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bark in the Park

Bark in the Park
was an incredible success! We had fun! Our booth was continuously filled with people and we went through our fliers (+/- 300) very fast. I have to do a count but I think 750 business cards went out as well. Incredible!!!! We got our first real break around 4 pm. Not bad!
I want to thank Jeff, Djuka, Marion, Sue and Margot for being at the booth and promoting the club. I also want to thank Jason of for being there! Another big THANK YOU! to John for all the pictures he took. He was the Bark in the Park official photographer!
It was a fun but very tiring day and it was great to meet so many other pet professionals again! We had our Los Gatos Spa neighbors again and last but not least Carla from Earthbath!
Thanks for all the goodies you gave us Carla!!! We love the new shampoo! Not only the dogs love it! Thanks for giving us all those samples! You and Earthbath rock!
I hope to get back to blogging soon. I've been so busy!!! So much to do ... so little time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My dog aggressive? No, he just wants to play!

Today we had one of those days on the trail thatmakes me realize how many people have absolutely no clue of what their dog is communicating or how they should behave around other dogs. Jeff and I were hiking 5 dogs today. One of the dogs is dog reactive. We met a woman and a man with three little dogs on the trail. The moment the little dogs approach us they are already growling. We stop and make our pack go into a sit and look at us, while we are waiting for the two and their three dogs to pass us. The man picks up one of the dogs and the woman walks directly towards us. At the end of her leashes two terriers that show no sign of peaceful intentions towards our pack of five.

One of our dogs gets out of a sit. Her hackles are up and she clearly responds to the aggressive intentions of the other two little dogs. The woman still makes no intention to move over and pass us at a distance. Her dogs start growling more, their bodies are stiff, the dogs are walking on their toes, their ears are pointed forward and their little tails are straight up in the air. She starts laughing as she approaches and I’m clearly working with Lola, trying to calm her down and get her back into a sit. Still totally oblivious of what she was causing she is about 4 yards away from me when she says: “Yeah, they sometimes act this way.” And exactly at that moment I turn and face her. I asked her friendly: Please just pass us and keep control of your dogs. Totally shocked by my request she barely manages to pass us. “they are not aggressive”. And the only thing that came out of my mouth was: “that is not what they were communicating to the other dogs.”

We walked on. The woman on the trail today had no clue what was going on. Even worse, she was showing bad dog ownership. We clearly made our dogs sit off the side of the trail. We clearly showed no intention to have to dogs interact. Her dogs showed no peaceful intention and while 4 of the 5 dogs patiently looked at us and waited for a command, one of our dogs clearly wanted to react to the situation.

Know your dog’s language. Learn it. It is not that hard. I will focus on basic dog body language on our K9Consultant site. I just have to finish the drawings to make it clearer but once I have that done I’ll post it. Just need more hours during the day. As always!
Life is good!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Doggie Pool Party

The best thing is a doggie pool party!
6 dogs and 5 happy humans!
Bear learned to jump into the water, Ani got along with everyone and even started to engage in a "I'll take your toy away with Lola". Bear loved his new blue ball, Chewie went diving, Lola and Bear constantly hung out together and Buster went into the pool as well. Buster will be getting his own pool soon. Maybe we'll have another pool party soon!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Heat is On

One of our biggest challenges is hiking in the heat. Dogs just don't do well when the heat is on! Although dogs have sweat glands like humans, they do not use them to cool their bodies off. Dogs cool their body off by panting.

Dogs do not do well in the heat! I cannot say it often enough. During the summer we like to get our hikes in before 11 am and we don't hike when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees. Being a Trail Patrol Volunteer for the Open Space District I have encountered numerous dogs with symptoms of heat stroke on the trails. When talking to the owners most never go hiking and often decide to take their 10 year old dog on a hot day for a little stroll. Believe me, I have seen and heard it all.

What happens with your dog when he is having a heat stroke?

When heat gain exceeds the body's ability to break down the heat. The high temperatures cause chemical reactions in the dog's body that break down body cells which eventually lead to dehydration and blood thickening. The strain on your dog's heart is extreme and it causes blood clotting that may result in death.

A dog's body temperature is usually between 101 - 102 F. If your dog receives a body temperature higher than that the risk of heat stroke is ineviditable. Some dogs recover from heat stroke but may have permanent damage of vital body organs.

What are the symptoms of heat stroke?

Rapid and frantic panting, wide eyes, thick saliva, bright red tongue, vomiting, staggering and diarrhea. I've seen some dogs shake from the heat!

What do you need to do when your dog is suffering from a heat stroke?

Cool your dog off! Rinse your dog off with cool (not cold!) water to gradually reduce the heat in the body. If you have airco close by put your dog in the cool area! Place wet towels on the following areas: head, neck, belly and between the dog's legs. These are the most effective areas to help cool down a dog. Cooling to fast and/or too much can cause more problems.

Dog breeds with shorter snouts like boxers due much worse in the heat. I have noticed that these breeds have a much harder time cooling their bodies off.

What to do with your dog on a hot day?
Doggie pool! Dogs love to play with water. I attached a picture of Lola and Barley playing in the pool. Due to the dirt the water turned muddy and the dogs rolled in the mud after that. They had a blast and I ended up bathing them before they went home!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Secret of my success

Another part of my success is helping others. I’ve helped numerous other pet care businesses to deal with marketing, pr and everything else that comes with running your own business. All pet care providers love animals. It does always cracks me up when I see an advertisement: “we love dogs and cats”. Yeah, why would you otherwise be in the business? But pure for the love of dogs and cats … it will not help you run a successful business. Absolutely not.

Working in the pet care industry is a very tough job. I currently work 12 hour days and physically it is starting to be a challenge. I’m in good shape but I can feel it. I’m not 20 years old anymore! A lot of people get into thinking it will be easy money. Believe me it is not. $25 for a 30 minute visit? Have you ever had a plumber come by your house? The pet care sector is definitely still underpaid and we are working hard to show what sets us apart from those that charge $10 an hour. Quality and knowledge.

Marketing your business is another important aspect of running your own business. Find the niche and bring the word out. I don’t spend a penny on advertisement. All word of mouth or my website. That is it. During the recession my business grew like crazy. I lost a few clients due to the economy. When the owners lost their jobs and/or moved away. That is always a very sad part for us. Loosing a client dog is like loosing one of our own. Luckily the joy of a new dog into our hiking pack helps us bear the pain of loss. Two weeks ago we had the funniest week. We signed up 3 new Aussie client dogs in one week! It was fun!

Nevertheless, I'm not giving up more secrets of how I manage my own business. I love what I do and I do what I love. I get paid to take care of people's dogs and cats and I get paid to hike. What more can I ask for????