Monday, 25 November 2019

Tips for Introducing Dogs Safely


This is a follow-up to our 2015 blog post Understanding Dog Reactivity

Part Two:  Tips for Introducing Dogs Safely

(i.e. a friend or neighbour’s dog) 


Rule #1:  Start on Neutral Territory

If you’re not sure how the dogs will respond to each other, then the most important thing is to start somewhere neutral, not in someone’s back yard where a dog may become territorial.  A quiet street where you won’t encounter many other people or dogs is ideal, one where there is lots of room for the dogs to move apart if they want to.


We recommend starting with the dogs on leashes for safety

Keep the leashes on, but as loose as possible: don’t tighten up on the leash or put tension on the leash unless you need to gently guide your dog away from the interaction.  Allow the dogs to move away whenever they want to, allow them to exhibit curved non-confrontational body language (going sideways to each other, sniffing rear ends) or to move away and sniff other things.  These are effective ways for the dogs to slowly warm up to each other.


Curves are IN

In polite dog culture dogs do not meet face-to-face (head on), instead they approach each other circuitously to show that their intents are friendly, then often they circle-sniff with each dog’s nose meeting the other’s rear end.  Dogs can get so much useful and important information from a sniff and from observing the other dog’s posture.  When dogs are approaching face-to-face their postures are often stiff, heads held high, coming in a straight line with no opportunity for appropriate body language and doggy etiquette.  As they are getting closer the tension is already building before they’ve even come in contact.

Walking along a sidewalk most people are walking in a straight line with not much room.  It is wise to give the dogs a wide berth so they can pass each other in a curved pattern rather than a straight line.  Always ask the other person if the dogs can meet, please do not allow your dog into another’s face, and if the other person’s dog is on leash and you’re not in an off-leash park, the polite thing to do is leash up.


The Introduction 


Go for a Walk Together to Take the Pressure Off 

If you are introducing the dogs intentionally, the best thing to do is have them walking in the same direction, parallel to each other, facing the same way as opposed to face-to-face and moving toward each other.   If their bodies are tense then have them walk parallel further apart (i.e. on separate sidewalks or across a field) and then slowly move closer together, remaining parallel, only as they exhibit signs they are ready.  You’re looking for relaxing their body tension, sniffing in each others’ direction, soft eyes (not staring), tails relaxed and loose around mid-height (not high up in the air like a flag and not tucked in as though they are scared).


Take THEIR (not your) Time

It’s always best to err on the side of caution, especially if you want these dogs to be friends long-term.  It’s better to take a longer time for them to be fully introduced than to rush things and allow them to have a negative experience.  It’s a lot harder to undo bad first impressions than it is to delay those play dates.

Once they are walking side-by-side seeming relaxed and happy, then let them meet as they wish in a more open space.


Play Time! 

If (and only if) the dogs are meeting with relaxed bodies, loose wagging tails, wiggly body language, looking like they want to play - now is the time to let them play off leash.  We recommend doing so in a space fenced in for safety, but one that is large enough that each dog can move to take space when they want or need to.  We recommend at least one adult for each dog, just in case trouble does come up.


Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow 

Keep the first play date short and sweet (and ideally the first few, especially if there is significant time between them - dogs have a great memory for scents, but still have short memories in general).  Don’t wait for the dogs to get tired and cranky and therefore increase the risk of a scuffle.  End the play date while they’re still playful and happy and having fun.  This way their least memory of each other is a very positive one, and they will look forward to seeing each other again.  You’re building a long-term friendship here, so be patient and cautious :)  Keep a careful eye on their body language and intervene proactively whenever there might be trouble brewing.  Even if they play for 5 minutes, then take a short 1-2 minute break separately for water and to shake off, then return - that is a great way to ensure things remain friendly.  Finally, enjoy watching your dog(s) have fun!  Healthy dog play is one of the great joys of dog ownership and a well-socialized dog gets to have more of these fun play dates.






About The Author

Jillian is a fear-free certified and CPDT-KA certified animal behaviour specialist and has been working in the animal care and behaviour field since 2009.  


visit us on Facebook to learn more about Pawsitive Pet Care!  

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

The Pawsitive Pet Care DISEASE PREVENTION POLICY


Because we require the bordetella vaccine for dogs who board with us, and because we only do small numbers boarding, Pawsitive Pet Care has never had a case of kennel cough in either of our locations (previously in Winnipeg, currently in Cartier MB) in 9 1/2 years of business.

As always, we highly recommend all dogs receive the bordetella vaccine. Although it is not 100% effective (similar to the human flu shot in that there can be various strains of the virus), it can reduce the risk of contracting the illness and reduce the severity of the illness if caught.

We strongly recommend all pet owners have regular check-ups and visits to their veterinarian to discuss preventative and proactive health care.


The Pawsitive Pet Care DISEASE PREVENTION POLICY


The health and safety of the pets in our care is our number one priority. As such, we take every precaution not to spread illness from one animal to another.

If our staff also work with animals at an animal shelter, veterinary clinic, grooming salon, boarding facility, or anywhere the risk of contagious illnesses is increased, we ensure they change out of their scrubs or work clothes prior to visiting the pets under our care. We also require that our staff keep a spare set of clothes in their vehicle as a back-up in the event they encounter an unwell animal at any time during their work day.

If our own personal animals, or any of our clients’ animals, show signs of illness, we take every precaution prior to proceeding to the next client home. This includes changing our clothes and washing our hands, as well as immediately letting the client know of any concerns with their pet’s health.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet may be unwell or potentially contagious to any other animals, please alert us immediately and we will take every reasonable precaution. We recommend contacting your vet immediately to determine the appropriate next steps. Thank you for helping us put the health and safety of our clients and their pets first

Sincerely,

The Pawsitive Pet Care Team

For more information please contact your veterinarian or visit https://www.mvma.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Kennel-Cough2.pdf


About The Author

Jillian is a fear-free certified and CPDT-KA certified animal behaviour specialist and has been working in the animal care and behaviour field since 2009.  

To learn more, please visit or website, or visit us on Facebook.


Friday, 22 February 2019

Crate Training as Preventative Medicine

Crate Training as Preventative Medicine

Close enough...
Not everyone wants or needs to crate their dog when they are out and that's okay.  Crating can certainly help with housetraining, preventing unsafe or destructive behaviours, and keeping pets from getting into things they shouldn't.  It can be a temporary management strategy for young pets who can be gradually given more freedom as they get older.

Even if you never have to crate your pet when you're out, crate training is still beneficial.  If your pet requires surgery or has a medical issue requiring strict kennel rest or restricted activity, if you need to travel with your pet, or if your pet needs to be crated to go to the vet (your cat or other small animal, for example), it's best that your pet is familiar and comfortable with the crate.  This is particularly true of small animals who only go in the crate to visit the veterinarian.  If they've had unhappy experiences at the vet or on car rides, they may associate their crate with these things.  Do your cats run and hide whenever you break out the crates?  Leave them out all the time (you can take the doors off so they don't accidentally close on your pet), make the crates a normal part of their environment, you can even toss a treat inside every once in a while as a nice surprise for them.

Crate Training

Putting your pet in a kennel or other confined space
 (such as in the kitchen with a baby gate) is not meant to be
 a punishment. If done correctly, your pet can learn to feel comfortable and secure in his crate and will likely go into it voluntarily.


Step One

Toss some treats in the kennel and keep the door open.  Start with a treat right at the entrance, then further back, then all the way back.  Do not close the door.  Do a few sessions each day (perhaps before his meals when he is hungry and after a good, long walk or play time when he is more relaxed), each session only needs to last about one to two minutes.


Step Two 
(Note that progressive steps may happen after a few minutes of training or after a few hours or even days of training, depending on your pet's previous experience with the kennel).  Please be patient and don't rush the process.  

Once he is going into the kennel without looking nervous about it, or is anticipating and going in the kennel on his own, then you can put a name to it (i.e. “go kennel” or “go to bed”).  First, say the word, then pause, then toss the treat.  Next, say the word followed by a gentle hand gesture towards the crate.  This time he doesn’t get the treat until he is already in the kennel.  Click or say “good!” and give him a treat, then let him exit, still do not close the door.

Remember, you want this kennel to be one of the best places he knows, so keep it positive!

Step Three 


Once your pet is entering the kennel on cue, shut the door for a very brief time (two or three seconds), feed a treat through the door, then open it right up again.

Step Four


When your pet is comfortable with the door being closed for three or more seconds, cue him to go inside, then close the door and give him some treats through the door.  Do this for five or six seconds and praise your pet for being inside the kennel, then open the door.  Keep everything calm and relaxed.

Step Five


Once your pet is in the kennel with the door closed comfortably, gradually increase the length of time (i.e. from 6 to 10 seconds), and start taking one or two steps away from the kennel, then coming back to him.  Slowly work your way up to going around a corner out of sight for just a second, and then returning.  If your pet starts to vocalize when you move away, or starts to paw at the door, slow down and go back a step.  We don't want your pet feeling anxious about the process, we want this to remain a positive experience.  

Step Six


Start preparing stuffed Kongs or other stuffed toys or treats that take a long time for your pet to eat, but are safe to chew unsupervised. 

For my dogs I like to fill a Kong and keep it in the freezer for when I need it.  It’s a refreshing treat for the pet, and takes him a longer time to work on it.  For cats or small animals, you could just put a few crunchies (wet food, kibble or treats) in an extra small Kong, let them eat it, then let them out of their carrier.  

Ask your pet to go into his kennel, give him the Kong, close the door, and let him enjoy.  

For dogs, if you are working on increasing the time in the kennel for when you are out, leave the house for – you guessed it – 10 or 15 seconds, and then return to your dog.  Gradually increase the length of time you stand on the front porch, and when you come back to your dog, remove the Kong.  He’ll start thinking that it’s better to be in the kennel because that’s where he gets the yummy stuff, and when mom or dad returns, the yummy stuff disappears. This is good, because he’s learning to like his alone time! 

*Important:  In order to prevent resource guarding behaviours, if your dog still has food in the Kong when you return, trade for something else (i.e. a soft, chewy treat or piece of meat).  This way he doesn't start to anticipate you returning and taking away his resource.  If your dog already struggles with resource guarding, please contact a qualified trainer to help you.

Steps 7+


Now all that’s left is very gradually increasing the time you are away and leaving your dog in his kennel with a yummy treat.  Start with a walk around the block, then a drive to the corner store, then a quick grocery trip, etc.  The more tired and relaxed your dog is when you start doing this, the better, so take him for a good long walk first and he may just have a little nap while you’re gone.  Some people find their pets are comforted by leaving the TV or radio on, or leaving a piece of their clothing in the kennel with their pet.  

The Key to Success

The key to success with crate training is to not push your pet before he’s ready and to keep everything relaxed and positive.  Each step can take a day or a week or a month to complete; it all depends on your pet's previous experience with the crate and his personality and learning history. Keep the sessions short (one to two minutes at a time) and sweet with lots of treats and praise for being in the kennel. 

The End Goal:  Never force your pet into the crate, especially if you are frustrated with him. You want the pet to learn that crate = GOOD STUFF!


Important

If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, isolation distress, or confinement distress, please seek out a qualified and compassionate trainer for help.  Ensure the trainer you find plans to help your pet feel more comfortable with being crated and/or being left alone, rather than correcting the behaviours stemming from his anxiety or distress.  For more information on this, see Jillian's blog post "You Cannot Correct The Fear Out of Your Dog".  This blog post also has some suggestions for good places to find a trainer if you are struggling to find one in your area.

About The Author

Jillian is a fear-free certified and CPDT-KA certified animal behaviour specialist and has been working in the animal care and behaviour field since 2009.  

To learn more, please visit or website, or visit us on Facebook.

Friday, 8 February 2019

You Cannot "Correct" The Fear Out of Your Dog

You Cannot "Correct" The Fear Out of Your Dog

Seriously.


First of all, fear isn't logical, it's a primal emotion meant to keep us safe.  If you feel afraid this will hopefully help you to avoid a dangerous situation.  Unfortunately sometimes our warning systems go a little awry and we become scared of things that can't actually harm us in any way.  Or sometimes we just feel a little wary or nervous about something because we don't know enough about a situation - also important evolutionarily, so that we gather enough data before we proceed with something that may or may not be risky.  Sometimes our brains make connections between things that aren't actually connected, as I described in a previous blog post, "pawsitive = fear free".  

Some scientifically inaccurate information has been floating around for quite some time advising us to not comfort or show affection to our pets when they are afraid because we will "reward" the fear.  This similarly misinformed advice also encourages us to "correct" our dog when they are afraid to somehow put them in a different frame of mind.  Now, it's one thing to pleasantly distract a dog when they have to endure something they don't like (i.e. feeding a dog treats while the vet staff have to take his temperature), but it's something different if you're trying to correct the fear out of your dog.  This won't work and will likely make the fear worse.  Think of a time when you've been afraid or nervous.  If someone gave you a smack on the shoulder and said "snap out of it", or stepped on your toe and said "stop that!", would that help you feel any better?  You might just feel annoyed at the person, not to mention have a sore shoulder or toe.  You may even try to hide your outward signs of anxiety to avoid another smack from your friend, but here's the problem: suppressing emotions or their resulting behaviours is certainly not the same thing as changing them.  

If your dog is feeling afraid and you yank his leash or poke his side, you're likely to put him more on edge and create further negative associations rather than "correcting" his emotions.  Even if he stops doing whatever behaviour you disapproved of, this only suppresses his ability to communicate his discomfort to you and does not improve his internal experience.  You can, however, do something called counterconditioning.  This is a wonderful process by which you take something the dog doesn't like and help him make positive associations with it.  

One example happened recently without me even having to do anything (it's kind of nice when things work out that way!)

Recently our son started taking the bus home from school.  We meet the bus at the end of our laneway, which is a few minutes' walk from our front door, so I decided to take my dog with me for a little sniff and potty break on the way.  The first time the bus pulled up, our dog that tends to be nervous of new things, was of course unsure.  The bus is large, makes noise, and she's probably never seen one up close before in her life.  She tucked her tail and hid behind my leg a little bit.  Then our son came off the bus.  Our girl (Phoenix) just loves our son.  They have a great relationship and she is always happy to see him.  When she saw him come of the bus her tail began to wag, her body relaxed, and she moved towards him (and the bus), excited to greet her buddy.  

The next day I took her with me again to meet the bus.  When she saw the bus, instead of cowering or tucking her tail, she immediately looked relaxed and happy: her tail wagging, moving towards the bus.  

What happened?

Yes, she learned that our son comes off the bus and she likes him, so she was happy to see the bus because it brings him.  More importantly though, a connection in her brain between a school bus and a good thing formed.  If we repeated this many times, then one day the bus came with out our son, she would still get the good feeling because of the positive association that has developed.  This is because of classical conditioning (something I also discuss in my blog post, called "Remember Pavlov?").  

If I had "corrected" her fearful reaction, forcing her to come out from behind my legs, or jerking the collar and telling her "no", I probably would have made her fear worse.  Her brain could make a connection between bus arriving and experiencing an aversive (an unpleasant consequence), and the next time the bus arrived she may act even more fearfully or defensively.  This is why aversive training of a fearful dog can lead to an aggressive dog.  

So, if your dog is fearful of something, please be patient with him or her.  He is only responding to his brain warning him of danger and is acting the only way he knows to try to keep himself safe or avoid something unpleasant.  If you want to help him through his fear, think of ways you can make it easier for him and ways you can create positive associations.  This can include yummy food treats, favourite toys, comfort from his family members, or the ability to move away and have control over the situation.  If the fear is significant, you  may need to break this down into very small elements, or find a competent, compassionate, qualified trainer (yes, I wrote a blog post on that too!).  

Remember, your dog does not have the benefit of the education you have received and certain situations may be very scary for him.  You can build his confidence by giving him a sense of control and security, by being his source of comfort, and by building trust. 

If you need help, please find a trainer that uses positive reinforcement and understands the counter-conditioning process.  

You can visit our website to learn more about our training services, and if you are outside of our service area, we can certainly try to connect you with a qualified and compassionate trainer in your area.

Some good places to look for a trainer are:





About the Author 

Jillian is a fear-free certified and CPDT-KA certified animal behaviour specialist and has been working in the animal care and behaviour field since 2009.  

Visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PawsPooch


More Resources

For more information on helping fearful dogs, visit Debbie Jacob's website, FearfulDogs.com

And check out Dr. Marty Becker's latest book, "From Fearful to Fear Free"




Another anecdote for those who like examples :) 
Another personal example of classical conditioning and counterconditioning (helping to change the dogs' emotional response to something).  

My dog Phoenix recently had knee surgery and as part of her recovery she has to take some medications.  Dogs tend not to like pills, and who can blame them, really?  They don't understand that this yucky-tasting strange object we're giving them is to help them.  So, to make it a little easier for her, I would always follow each pill with a delicious piece of meat leftover from dinner.  

Initially when I would start preparing her medications she would show signs of discomfort: lowered head, moving away, looking nervous, general avoidance.  After a few times of getting a very special reinforcer (meat!), she started getting excited while I was preparing the medications.  She actually started doing a little happy tap-dance and woo-wooing in excitement, wagging her tail, sitting nice waiting for her food.  Initially she was trying to avoid swallowing the pills and would spit them out.  Once she realized something really good was coming, she voluntarily swallowed the pills and waited nicely for the pay-out.

This process of counterconditioning doesn't just apply to pills and school busses, it can apply to more complex situations as well.  However, if a dog's fear and/or resulting behaviour are severe, please consult a professional for help.  Above I listed a few organizations that are good starting places for finding a qualified, compassionate trainer.  

For more training tips, information, and great pet pictures, like and follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PawsPooch

Friday, 1 February 2019

Kong Stuffing

 Stuffed Kongs!


Frozen stuffed Kongs are among the best and easiest ways to enrich your dog by giving them something tasty and fun to do that will last a while.

If you've never made one before, here are some suggestions/ideas: 


Measure out one meal for your dog.


Mix in about a 1 /2 can of canned wet food.


No canned food on hand?  No problem, simply pour a small amount of water over your kibble - just enough to soften it - then let it sit for a few minutes while the water is absorbed.  Alternatively you can use puréed vegetables (mix a bit of water and carrots in the blender, or purchase sugar-free puréed pumpkin)


Spoon the mixture into Kongs and place in the freezer.  You can add a spoonful of peanut butter over the top to seal it off if you like.  I prefer to use all-natural peanut-butter with no sugar added.

Why the freezer?  This way the mixture freezes and takes longer for your dog to work through.  The bonus is that you can make up as many Kongs as you have as far in advance as you want and they will stay fresh in your freezer and are ready to go any time you need them.  This is fantastic for unexpected thunderstorms or any situation in which you need your dog to keep busy or distracted.

If your dog gets frustrated too easily and gives up you can start out without freezing the Kongs, then freezing half and adding fresh food on top, and then gradually make the Kong more difficult as your dog becomes more skilled at getting the food out.  You can mix in a few more tempting treats or something with a stronger scent to really entice your dog.  The idea is to keep your dog engaged and having fun.   

Maddy gets 1 1/2 cups of kibble per meal.  This mixed with a 1/2 can of wet food filled two large Kongs and two small Kongs, plenty to keep her busy for quite some time! 


Other options for filling Kongs or other stuffable toys: 
  • canned puréed pumpkin - high in fibre (make sure you get 100% pure pumpkin and not pie filling!)
  • all-natural peanut butter (keep in mind this is high in fat and be sure it does not contain xylitol) 
  • all canned wet food (without the kibble) can be done up more quickly if needed
  • diced bits of your dog's favourite vegetables or fruits (some fruits, such as grapes, are not safe for dogs - if in doubt, as your veterinarian!)
  • anything safe that your dog enjoys - treats, left-over cooked turkey, etc. 

Final step: The best part!  Serve and watch your dog enjoy :)



For more ideas to keep your pet busy and having fun, visit our boredom busters blog post.

About Us


Pawsitive Pet Care has been providing dog walking, dog training, dog boarding, and pet sitting services to Headingley and West Winnipeg since 2010.  We also serve the R.M. of Cartier including Headingley, Elie, St. François Xavier, and Springfield.  

To learn more about us please

Visit us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/PawsPooch 
or visit our website at http://www.pawsitivepooch.ca

Jillian is a fear-free certified and CPDT-KA certified animal behaviour specialist and has been working in the animal care and behaviour field since 2009.  



Friday, 18 January 2019

Choosing a Pet Sitter


Choosing a Pet Sitting Service 


Trusting someone with your pets can be difficult, trusting someone you don’t know well (or at all) is even more so!

When you are considering using a professional pet sitting service, here are some important points to keep in mind.

Your pet sitter should…

  • Insist on meeting you and your pets before committing to any pet care services.  
  • Be insured and bonded.  
    • This protects you in the event that their error causes damage to your home or injury to your pet.  Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance.  
  • Be registered with your province, state, or city, depending on your local licensing requirements. 
  • Have formal training and professional experience with animals.  
  • Have a written contact that they discuss with you and explain clearly so that you understand it.
    • Don’t be afraid to interrupt and ask questions, the important thing is for you and your pet sitter to be on the same page. 
  • Have an emergency back-up plan and also ask you for at least one emergency contact in the event they cannot reach you.  
  • Have a back-up person or team who can help if they become sick or injured
  • Have a clear, step-by-step plan in case of a storm or other emergency
  • Be certified in Emergency Pet First Aid.  Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of certification.  
  • Be willing and able to provide you regular updates. 
  • Be 100% transparent with what methods they will use to deal with behaviours.  
    • If your pet has any behavioural concerns, please let your pet sitter know.  Ask them how they will manage and let them know what works best for you.  
  • Be clear and honest about how often they will be visiting your pet and how much exercise and stimulation they will receive during each visit.
  • Your pet sitter should take notes while getting to know you and your pet, including any feeding instructions, medication instructions, or any other important care instructions you are providing.  Don’t be afraid to leave lots of notes and/or send emails, it’s always best to have everything in writing!  
  • Be willing and able to provide references from clients who have used their service. 

We recommend our clients leave a spare key with a trusted neighbour in case of emergency, it can also come in handy if you lose your own key on your trip and arrive home from a long journey on a late flight!

Please don’t proceed unless and until you are completely comfortable.  We would much rather you give too much information than not enough, and there is no such thing as a dumb question or too many questions.  It’s your precious family member that you are entrusting to their care, so your pet sitter should want to provide you a sense of security and peace of mind.

Your pet sitter should be a professional.  If you are going away for an extended period of time, or if your pet has any special needs, behavioural issues, medical issues, or is in any way more than “easy and straightforward” to care for, we recommend you choose someone who pet sits full-time as their profession.  While friends, family, or neighbours can be wonderful helpers and can help save costs as well, they just won’t have the experience and knowledge to deal with any complex needs or unexpected situations that could arise.

Look at online reviews.  Check the local Better Business Bureau and/or Consumer Protection Agency (or related local agency, depending on your region), check with people in the animal care professionals for referrals (your veterinarian, local shelter, a trainer or groomer you know and trust).

Receive and provide the important instructions and conditions in writing.  It's always safer to provide and ask for too much information than to make assumptions or have miscommunications.

When you feel comfortable with your pet sitter, you can relax and enjoy your time away from home rather than worrying about your pet while you are away... of course, we know you'll still miss them and they'll miss you, but your pet sitter should be the next best thing to your pet's own family :)

About The Author


Jillian Enright has owned and operated Pawsitive Pet Care in Manitoba Canada since 2010.

Pawsitive Pet Care is insured and bonded and licensed with the province of Manitoba.

Jillian is a certified professional (CPDT-KA) and fear-free certified trainer.

Pawsitive Pet Care staff are trained and certified in emergency pet first aid as well as attending workshops on dog body language and animal behaviour.

Pawsitive Pet Care is a Positive-Reinforcement and evidence-based service.  It is our policy to not use any force, fear, or intimidation in the delivery of any of our services.  More information can be found on our blog post at https://pawsitivepooch.blogspot.com/2017/10/pawsitive-fear-free-force-free.html

If you specifically need a dog walker (rather than a pet sitter), check out our blog post on getting the most from your dog walker.


  To learn more about Pawsitive Pet Care's services, please visit http://www.pawsitivepooch.ca/services.html 







  To learn more about us and read our reviews, please visit www.Facebook.com/PawsPooch 



Going away?  


Before you go, here are some things you may want to consider:

  • Let your veterinarian know you are going away and give them your pet sitter's name and contact information.  You may even choose to leave a credit card number on file in case of emergency.  Of course, your pet sitter should have an emergency contact as well and should contact you or your appointed person in case of emergency.
  • Let a trusted neighbour or nearby friend know you are going away and provide them with a spare key.  If your pet sitter has an emergency they should have a back-up plan and/or assistant to cover for them.  However, in case of very severe or dangerous travel conditions, it may become impossible for them to reach your pet.  In this unlikely but possible event, you'll need someone close by to check on your pets. 
  • If you don't have friends or family you can rely on consider hiding a key in a secure spot somewhere on your property (you can also purchase lock boxes with combinations on them).  If you get home in the middle of the night from a very long travel day only to find you lost your keys somewhere along the way, you may not be able to reach anyone for help if they're all asleep!  
  • Plan for delays: provide extra pet food and other supplies and have a back-up plan in case of extensive delays.  

Happy Travels!




Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Pawsitive Pet Care Inclement Weather Policy


Pawsitive Pet Care Inclement Weather Policy


Dog walking is an all-weather, all-seasons job and as dog walkers we must be prepared to walk in all types of weather and must dress appropriately.  

Our walking services will not be cancelled unless the driving conditions are so extreme that it is unsafe for either the dog walker or the dog.  

As pet care providers we are expected to use common sense and good judgement when considering the safety and comfort of ourselves and the pets in our care.  

Pawsitive Pet Care and its employees will use creativity and resourcefulness in providing stimulation and exercise for pets if it is too hot or cold for an outside walk.  If the walk is shortened the service will continue for the agreed upon length of time, and the dog walker will provide a potty break, socialization, company and stimulation for the dog indoors.  This can include playing with toys, cuddling, or doing positive reinforcement training, depending on the dogs' needs and preferences. 

The policy of Pawsitive Pet Care is to shorten dog walks to 20 minutes or less if the weather reaches colder than -35◦C with the wind chill, or higher than +35◦C with the humidity index, and/or dog walkers can use their judgement when environment Canada issues an extreme weather alert.  For one-hour walks, this can include two twenty-minute walks with a 20-minute break indoors.  

2019 addendum: We are sorry to have to include this in our policy!  If the weather reaches colder than -40C with the wind chill, all one-hour walks will be reduced to 30-minute visits and walks will be done in 5-10 minute increments, with frequent returns inside to warm up.  We will ensure dogs have an opportunity to relieve themselves and will make safety the number one priority.  

With this said, owners can provide their own guidelines for their dogs who may be particularly sensitive to the cold or heat, and our staff will make adjustments based on the individual needs of each pet in our care.  

Please provide anything you feel will make your pet's experience more enjoyable, such as booties, coats, water bottles, cooling vests, and anything that will help your pet feel more comfortable.  Our staff will follow the instructions of each pet owner and will monitor the pets for comfort and enjoyment of their time with us.  Their safety is always our first priority.

If you have any questions, concerns, or specific requests for your pet, please email Jillian.  Thank you for helping us give your pet a fun and enjoyable experience!

Sincerely,
The Pawsitive Pet Care Team



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Pawsitive Pet Care has been providing dog walking, dog training, dog boarding, and pet sitting services to Headingley and West Winnipeg since 2010.  We also serve the R.M. of Cartier including Headingley, Elie, St. François Xavier, and Springfield.  To learn more about us please visit http://www.pawsitivepooch.ca

Jillian is a fear-free certified and CPDT-KA certified animal behaviour specialist and has been working in the animal care and behaviour field since 2009.  


For additional tips for keeping your pet safe during cold weather, please visit the Winnipeg Humane Society pet blog at https://www.winnipeghumanesociety.ca/cold-weather-safety-for-pets/

When it's too cold for much of a walk with your dog, you may want to check out our blog posts: