Pet Safety Guide

Here’s a link to Expertise.com’s pet safety guide, which includes chapters on common household hazards for pets, food safety for pets, pet-proofing, and natural disaster prep for pet owners.

Pet Safety Guide

“The reason we made Expertise.com is to help people make truly better decisions with guides written by industry experts. Because of our unbiased approach, many publications, government entities, and businesses already use our guides as resources for their readers,” quoted Rachelle Torella.

September Dog of the Month

The September Dog of the Month award goes to a special pair of seniors owned by the Flahives.  Jonah and Jasmine are proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks!

The Flahives have been clients of our since 2008 and have used our services for training, boarding, daycare and special events with three of their dogs.  We feel like we are part of their dog family.  With our long term relationship we understand the personalities and temperaments of both dogs and have a pretty good idea of how they like to interact with the other dogs during their stays with us.

This helps staff determine between “normal” behaviors and when to be concerned.  It also lessens the stress on Jonah and Jasmine since they know us and are comfortable staying with us.

We are so thrilled to have Jasmine and Jonah as our Dog of the Month and the Flahive family as responsible dog owners.

Acme Canine Resource Center is looking for dogs with responsible owners who have trained with Acme to be our featured Dog-of-the-Month. 

Interested? To enter, send a digital picture of your dog, a list of the training and services in which your dog has participated, and a brief paragraph describing you and your dog’s Acme experience. (Read more)

all smiles at learning they are Acme's dog of the month
all smiles at learning they are Acme’s dog of the month

Better than a Mission Statement: Our Strategic Vision

Almost every business has a mission statement. Unfortunately, once those mission statements are created and shared, they are almost always forgotten, and have little if anything to do with everyone’s day-to-day work.

Thankfully, this isn’t a “mission statement.” It’s a strategic vision – meaning it can actually be followed into the future. The main difference is that we can all relate to it and act on it with our daily work. It’s designed to let us all know how we fit into Acme Canine Resource Center’s story in meaningful ways. It will be used on a regular basis – by everyone –as a guide for who we serve best, how we serve them best, and why it is truly worthwhile to work here.

Probably the most important part of this is the fact that all of us must clearly understand not just our work, but exactly how that has an impact on our customer’s lives. We have to know how our actions will improve the happiness and quality of life of our customers and their dogs. Not only do we need to know it, we need to communicate it with our actions.

We’re excited about this vision and we hope you will be too. Thanks for taking the time to read it, and we hope you find your place in it.

 Who We Should Serve Best

For most people who own a pet, it is a huge part of their family. When spending complete one-on-one time with our pets, everything else melts away. Unconditional love, trust and dependence are freely given and our unworthiness keeps us in awe of and enthusiastically obligated to our four legged family members.

The type of customer we should serve best is just like Erica and her husband, TJ. They are empty nesters who work. Erica is an attorney and TJ is a computer programmer with flexible hours. TJ has had dogs before and Erica loves being a fairly new dog owner. They live a few miles from our center and dearly love their dogs, Waffle and Simba. In fact, they love them so much that they consider them part of their family! And because the McConnells are conscientious owners, they are willing to be picky regarding who helps to take care of them.

Our best customers, like the McConnells, are willing to be educated, and really want two main things from us: 1) Peace of Mind and 2) Outstanding Service.

Peace of Mind

When we say “peace of mind” that means something very specific. Peace of mind means the ability to relax – to really relax. Our customers want to know that their dog is in the best hands, getting the best treatment, and having a blast while their away. They want to know that as a dog owner they are doing the best they can for their dog and it matters. It means knowing they can trust us.

In building that trust, we really get to know our customers and their dogs. We know what they do and what they like. We congratulate them on personal and professional victories, and we care about their setbacks.

In getting to know customers like Erica and TJ on this level, we can better anticipate their needs and be ready to serve those needs…even before they ask. We can recommend care and services for Waffle and Simba or that Erica and TJ might not be aware of. This keeps their dogs in peak health and happiness.

The other aspect of peace of mind is that we listen – carefully. And we answer questions with professionalism and courtesy. We take our customers concerns to heart, and want to let them know that we are interested in understanding and solving those concerns. If something can be made better, we’re on it!

Outstanding service can sound like a marketing term but at Acme Canine Resource Center we really mean it. The McConnells of the world have a certain expectation – thoughts about how things should go, and the results they really want to see. And it’s our job to deliver consistently and professionally.

How We Serve Them Best

Now let’s talk service. This means that our customer’s dog is happy. They think to themselves, “My dog is having as good a time or better than I am” while they are here.

Our goal is to have everything our customers need. But it doesn’t end there. Having options available is good, but it only becomes excellent when the way those services are provided and priced, exceeds expectations.

In doing that, we not only have to have excellent service, products, and a team of professionals but also have a culture that inspires everyone to think ahead, and to consider what might be important to any particular client. Perhaps it’s just a reassuring phone call, a washed bed or an unexpected picture at checkout…whatever it is, it’s found by paying attention to our customers’ needs and acting in meaningful ways.

Our mission is to provide an unparalleled experience for dogs by offering various care and activity packages and top-notch convenience for customers through pick-up and drop-off service and flexibility for daycare customers.

Erica and TJ’s Galapagos Vacation

It wasn’t too long ago that Erica and TJ decided to go on a honeymoon to the Galapagos Islands. Erica had always wanted to go there. But the business of life had always gotten in the way. Now, they decided it was finally time.

As they were happily planning their dream vacation, 3 weeks in the Galapagos, choosing the right ship, organizing the activities, deciding which restaurants, Erica was suddenly struck with an overwhelming feeling of guilt.

Why? She was supposed to be excited and happy – but suddenly that all seemed to disappear. It was the thought of their dogs. Would they have as good a time as Erica and TJ? Would they be happy and well cared for? Would they forget their obedience commands? What kind of owner would she be if she left this to chance?

At this point the McConnells had not yet come to be a client at Acme Canine Resource Center and just tried to make do with what they could find in the way of dog care. They were not very happy. As a matter of fact, they used to have 3 dogs until one was killed while at another kennel facility. It had devastated their entire household so much so that they had been afraid to go on vacations because they had such mistrust in the animal care industry. And with this trip in the planning stages, she promised herself that this time would be different – very different.

How She Found Us

Erica and TJ had close friends that also had dogs and cats. They watched as their friends took trip after trip and their dogs always came back happy and healthy! Erica approached her friend with her dilemma. She asked her good friend who they had found to take care of the family dogs while away.

Her friend sat her down at the family dinner table over a cup of coffee. She explained that she had been using Acme Canine Resource Center since they opened in 2004. Erica again shared her experiences with kennels and was rightfully very concerned. Her friend listened intently with compassion and sorrow.

With Erica in tow, her friend went to the computer and pulled up Acme Canine Resource Center’s website. She went into detail what the center has to offer and even showed her online pictures on facebook of the dogs during their playtimes. She explained that she knew the staff and owner personally for years and trusted Acme Canine Resource Center with her family members. She told Erica to call us but she had better hurry as our center books up quickly!

That’s how we first met Erica and TJ McConnell. Erica called us that day and asked us a ton of questions. We listened to her story and it brought tears to our eyes. We invited her to come out to take a tour anytime during business hours…she didn’t need an appointment nor did she have to call ahead of time. She was so relieved to hear that because other places required appointments and she shared that she always was concerned that they were “staging” their tours.

She was so excited about the expertise and professionalism that she shared her experience with TJ. They talked and decided when they would come for their “unannounced tour”.

Lifelong Relationships

As you can see, we want to start the relationship on the right footing, so that long term trust can be established. Our best customers become a part of our family, and we become a part of theirs. We’re not just another stop on the to-do list. We care and we know them and their dogs, and they value us for that. We want them to continue being customers through generations of family dogs – customers for life (their life) is our goal.

Because Erica and TJ’s travel plans were coming up soon, they needed to take the tour soon. On the day they decided to tour (which was the very next day), they pulled up in the parking lot, and we were ready.

The Tour

Erica and TJ arrived anxiously, but soon were put at ease by the view of dogs playing all around. Erica and TJ were greeted like family by a staff member in the lobby. They were welcomed with a smile and a gentle touch. They even commented to us about how quiet the place is; that none of the dogs seemed stressed. In fact Erica said, “Oh wow! It’s so homey; the dogs all seem so comfortable here!”

Stephenie spent a few minutes getting to know Erica and TJ and hearing about their dogs. She thanked them for their time. It wasn’t long before Jen popped out the double doors to take them on their tour. They began with hearing the history of Acme Canine Resource Center and why we do what we do. Our kennels look and smell clean, our building is in excellent shape, and the low stress environment was apparent. Not your typical boarding kennel! Erica and TJ could tell by the condition of the building and the play areas that their dogs will be safe and secure.

After visiting each area of the center, Erica and TJ were very impressed with the cleanliness and professionalism we showed. They appreciated the fact that we enforce structure and commands. And they were thinking in the back of their minds, “This is THE place!”

We answered all of their questions and gave them a schedule of fees along with all of our requirements. They were really impressed that the owner’s daughter and family actually live onsite as they really felt safe about that. They made a “trial weekend” reservation that day to give their pups an opportunity to see how THEY would like the facility.

Their First Day Stay

An Acme Canine staff member graciously walked outside to meet Erica and TJ and the boys. Since Waffle and Simba had been cooped up for some time, they were a real handful getting out of the SUV. Much to Erica and TJ’s relief, the staff member helped guide both dogs inside where they were greeted by our staff. Erica got to walk in peaceably and felt a weight lift off her shoulders. “Wow” she thought, “this is great!”

Erica, TJ and the staff member went over again what the day would entail and confirmed any grooming wishes or special requests they had. They left for their weekend stay looking very happy and content. Once they arrived at their hotel, Erica was so curious that she called to check in just to make sure they were okay. Our staff member gave a quick report that all was well and that we looked forward to seeing her in a couple of days. In fact, just about 3hrs later, she got an email with a photo of her dogs happily playing! “Unbelievable!” she thought to herself.

When Erica and TJ came back to pick up the dogs that Sunday, they were greeted by our staff, and asked about their weekend away. They already felt like they were getting to know Acme Canine and, so far, they really liked everyone they had come into contact with.

Our staff gave them a warm greeting and a total rundown of Waffle and Simba’s stay.

On Monday they received a postcard from their boys saying how much they had enjoyed their weekend at Acme Canine. Later in the day Erica received a call from Acme Canine thanking Simba and Waffle for staying at Acme. We also mentioned that for the McConnell’s upcoming trip, their kids might really enjoy our open boarding package and a training refresher to keep their manners fresh. Erica enthusiastically said, “Yes” and the arrangements were made for Waffle and Simba to spend their vacation with us!

Erica and TJ’s Time to Travel

Well, the big day finally came and Erica and TJ dropped off their dogs, said a heartfelt goodbye and were reassured by our staff that the dogs would be fine, happy, and well taken care of. With a few tears and some smiles, Erica and TJ drove off towards the airport.

On their way, Erica and TJ got really excited about their adventure ahead. They were also thinking how amazing Waffle and Simba’s vacation was going to be too! Erica took a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief. Now off to the Galapagos in peace! When they arrived, they had already received an email from us with happy pictures of their pups!

Our Services

Much like the McConnell’s experience on vacation, our regular customers get the same quality care and services too!

All owners can email us or log onto Facebook to check on their pups. A simple phone call gives them a quick but thorough report as well. Regardless if it’s winter or summer, we have special services that make it a wonderful experience for everyone. One of our services that many don’t expect but truly value is the dogcentric way we handle our facility. We educate our clients about what to look for in evaluating a dog care facility. We teach them about evaluating the true costs of boarding and what questions to ask. We show them how we make those things standard at Acme Canine Resource Center. We also give feedback on their four-legged family members’ health and potential issues, such as new lumps formed since their previous stay. And we maintain their dog’s training while in our care. We help them feel great about how well their dogs will be taken care of, paid attention to and loved!

In fact, after the McConnells returned from their honeymoon to pick up their happy, healthy, tired dogs, they were hooked. Waffle even sat for her to put his leash on! Simba couldn’t stop wagging his tail, and was insistent on saying goodbye to every staffer on his way out.

Erica and TJ are now part of the Acme Canine family, and we are part of theirs.

The Benefits Just Keep On Coming

Erica and TJ have become one of our biggest fans! They have recommended us to countless friends and neighbors. And with each recommendation, they get a free night’s stay for Simba and Waffle! They really like that. They have even given us recommendations on products or services we might consider offering at our Moochie & Co. satellite store. We want to make sure every need is handled and anticipated with excellence and professionalism in a systematic way that builds a long term relationship.

Our Team

To serve our best customers in this way, our team has to be the best. Our staff is upbeat and happy, professionally dressed, and knows what’s expected of them. We are all doing continuing education to keep our skill set fresh and up to date. We all use the proper terminology and training techniques, and are well versed in communicating them with prospects and customers alike. In fact every job function is documented and fully systemized. There’s a special “way” we do everything. And we reward our employees for the great work they do. We all take ownership of our responsibilities and feel great about knowing that our efforts are rewarded. Through hard work and diligence we have become a model business for other dog professionals to understand how to operate a dog hotel at the “Ritz Carleton” level.

Why We Do It

We enjoy seeing dog owners feel good about taking care of their 4 legged family members. The services we provide for them goes far beyond just taking care of their animals. It involves developing a meaningful purpose filled relationship with each and every one of them, a relationship that will grow and prosper through many generations of dog ownership. It’s so great to be able to educate dog owners and share the knowledge we have, in order for them to make better decisions for their dog(s) on a daily basis. We truly want their dog(s) to be healthier and live longer happier lives. We have become known in the community as a company that gives back and cares for various dog non-profit organizations, local charity events and fundraisers.

Nothing makes us happier than to hear a dog owner say; “When my dog knows he’s going to Acme Canine Resource Center he/she gets so excited!!” That to us is true success!!

We Are Their Companions

We believe our customers’ dogs are family members. No, not in a ridiculous way, but in a humane way – we should view them as deserving of respect and loving care. At Acme Canine Resource Center our goal is to improve the bond between dogs and their owners in all situations. Dogs are full of unconditional love. And it’s our duty to give some of that back.

When you see in a customer’s eyes the look they get when they really understand that we care about their dogs just the way they do – when they really know that it’s true – well that’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. It’s overwhelming, it’s heartwarming. It’s the combination of immense trust and honorable service that makes us so proud of what we do. And it drives us to constantly be looking for ways to improve. And that’s why we do it. The center is literally our home and our home is our center. This is our story and this is Acme Canine Resource Center.

2011: Acme Canine goes green

Four years ago a judge evaluated Yoda during the 2011 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, Calif. The 14-year-old Chinese Crested and Chihuahua mix took top honors winning $1000 and a plethora of pet perks at the Sonoma-Marin Fair.   The top names for dogs were Buddy, Max, Bella, Daisy.  And Acme Canine was becoming a green business.

In 2011 Acme Canine changed from paper towels to cloth rags for cleaning up accidents.  We switched to eco-friendly chemicals for cleaning kennels and the facility.  We began selling local quality products that we tested on dogs in our care, products like Gordon MacIntyre lathering cleanser and became a satellite Moochie & Co. store.

Owner, Laura Pakis, and staff created a Therapy Dog class to teach owners and dogs techniques to work with children on reading comprehension as well as a Nosework course and Hiking and Camping with your dog workshop.

It was a busy fun year for Acme and clients.  And as always, community partnership and canine education continued to be our mission.

Windows for dogs great addition for kennel

Throughout July and August Acme Canine tested PetPeek, a window insert for fences.  The PetPeek is described as a durable, clear, hard acrylic dome 9.5 inches in diameter, with a black trim-ring.  The company states it is an easy do-it-yourself installation into your wooden or vinyl fence and is an attractive addition to your fence.

Here’s what we found.  We first thought of adding this window to our outdoor picket fence but decided not to since the hole needed to install the window would compromise the integrity of the fence.  Our next choice was to install it in our solid half wall which separates the main room from our training area.  We decided to install it about 15 inches above the floor. The window was very easy to install, but due to the thickness of the wall, we did have to add more washers than provided in the assembly packet.

Three dogs were staying with us on the weekend so we worked on introducing them to the window.  At first we tried treats to encourage the dogs to put their heads in the window. What seemed to work better was to go on the other side and tap on the window.  Two of the three picked up right away with using the window as a portal to the main area.  These were smaller breeds with a natural curiosity.  The medium size dog at first would jump on the 1/2 wall when we tapped on the glass but soon was looking through the portal.

Over the month we have taught 21 dogs to use the portal.  Usually it takes two or three attempts before the dog picks up on using this.  Smaller dogs seem to enjoy it more (maybe due to the height of this portal or that they normally don’t jump on the wall to “see” someone).

Although PetPeek is not suitable for every fence, we highly recommend the PetPeek for curious dogs.  We are planning to add two more at different levels to reduce dogs from jumping up on the wall as well as give them the opportunity to see who is coming in the building.

Operant Conditioning: “Positive” and “Negative” training

What is positive training?  Does it mean its a good, affirmative, or constructive way to train?  What about negative training?  Is it bad for dogs?  The meaning of these words and expressions may not be obvious.   It can get more complicated when the techniques used to change a dog’s behavior are called positive punishment and negative rewards!? With this article I will define some of the vernacular used in dog training so that any layperson could understand the terms. A little perspective on how to understand the dog and its training can clarify and improve a client’s relationship with their dog.

UNBIASED EXAMPLES OF OPERANT CONDITIONING.

(1) Rover goes to eat a treat and you cover it with your hand and say LEAVE IT.

Explanation:    This is operant conditioning because the behavior is voluntary and it was followed with a consequence.  The behavior is going for a treat and it should decrease in this example.  The consequences are both negative punishments.  They would be punishments because the behavior will decrease and they are negative because they both involve something taken away (you taking away the food by covering it with your hand).

(2) Buffy is in the crate and hears you.  As you get closer, Fluffy starts whining but you say QUIET. Buffy begins to cry and cries louder while you continue to say QUIET. Finally you are at her crate and Buffy paces around the crate and begins barking. You respond by opening the door and letting her out. Buffy quickly quiets down and runs to you. This exchange gets repeated.

Explanation:    This example is operant conditioning, because most of the behaviors in question are voluntary (whining, temper tantrums, opening the crate, being quiet).  Buffy’s behavior is whining (then crying and throwing a temper tantrum), which is followed eventually by an open door.  This is an example of positive reinforcement because something is given to her (the open door), which will increase her behavior (crying, whining) in the future.  Your behavior is opening the door, which is followed with peace and quiet.  This is an example of negative reinforcement because something is taken away (the crying and whining) and your behavior (opening the crate door) will increase in the future.  The obvious problem in this situation is that undesirable behaviors are being reinforced, which will make matters worse in the future.  There are many ways you could handle the situation better, but the bottom line is to avoid providing reinforcement for a behavior that is undesirable.

(3)          Your bright dog has learned that your presence in the kitchen is associated with food. Your dog has also learned that he can encourage your presence in the kitchen on Saturday mornings by standing by your bed and winning (when you are obviously trying to sleep). You decide to get up and feed the dog to shut it up, but the problem only gets worse on subsequent weekends.

Explanation:    Most of what has been described here is operant conditioning because it involves voluntary behaviors (dog standing near your bed and whining, you getting up and feeding the dog).  However, there is also an undescribed element of classical conditioning in which the dog has learned to associate you with the delivery of food and now automatically responds to your presence in the kitchen with a similar emotional response (joy?).  The dog’s behavior of bothering you is positively reinforced because the dog receives something (food) and the behavior increases.  Your behavior is negatively reinforced because feeding the dog puts an end to its annoying behavior and we would expect you to repeat this behavior in the future.  This is essentially the same as the preceding example and I would recommend a different course unless you enjoy the dog’s annoying behavior.  It will probably backfire if you try to punish the dog for standing by your bed because it doesn’t understand why it is being punished, so the best thing to do is to ignore the dog (extinction) and feed it when it is being quiet.

(4)          You praise and pet your dog when he sits on command. As a result, your dog continues to get better sitting.

Explanation:    This example is operant conditioning because the sit is a voluntary behavior. The petting and praise are positive reinforcements because it is given and it increases the behavior.

(5)          You give your dog a pop on the leash with a verbal NO if your dog gets up from a sit after learning the command. Your dog becomes less likely to get up from the sit.

Explanation: This example is operant conditioning because getting up from a sit is voluntary. The pop on the leash with verbal NO is a positive punishment. The consequence is given. The behavior of not coming out of a sit decreases.

 

 

What is training equipment? common misconceptions about dog training tools

Training equipment is just that—equipment used for training. It is a tool and, as such, does not substitute in any way a trainer’s or owner’s ability to train. When used properly it aids you in teaching your dog to learn. It is not only important to understand how to use equipment correctly but it is important to use the right equipment. It is equally necessary that the equipment and be worn properly.

What’s in a name?

Slang names such as “pinch”, “choke”, “spike” and “shock” certainly tend to foster the belief that these collars operate by means of pain. These offensive names discourage many people from using them. Many tools are misunderstood and are misused.

To a professional they are, in fact, a genuine value.

Which collar should I use?

All collars are simply tools designed for specific purposes. Know what result you are looking for in order to help determine the best tool for the job. Make an informed decision and seek information from a variety of trusted sources.

Buckle collar: This is not considered a training tool. It is appropriate for carrying the identification for a well-mannered dog.

Gentle leader: It is used to guide or lead but is not a training tool.

Harness: this is a piece of equipment which is meant for pulling, similar to a harness tack for horses. Harnesses are useful for dogs who assist the disabled or haul carts and sleds.

Training collar: The difference between a training collar and the slang term, choke collar, is the person using it. Used correctly, it provides an effective correction to communicate to your dog to stop what he is doing. An appropriate correction is a quick “pop” and quick “release”. Less pressure is felt by the dog since it is distributed around the entire circumference of the dog’s neck. When used inappropriately it can tighten around the neck which has a choking effect on the dog and it may also rub the hair off the neck area.

Prong collar: It is designed to provide the right amount of pressure around the neck which requires a lighter correction. It has a menacing look but a quality collar should have rounded ends. The sensation is similar to how the dog’s Mother corrected him as a young puppy. The mother briefly grabs the whelp by the neck with her teeth. A correction with this tool psychologically has meaning to the dog.

E-collar/Static collar: The remote collar allows a trainer the ability to interrupt, shape and correct a dog’s behavior. It is important to find the minimum level that will stimulate the dog into action.

Improper use creates confusion for the dog and may reinforce unwanted behaviors. Do not be fooled by the slang name. Our own fear of electricity and the word ‘shock’ with all its connotations has created trepidation. At low levels it feels like a light tingle vibration and at higher levels it feels like a TENS machine which is used to relax muscles in athletes. There is no similarity in intensity or feeling to cattle fences or live electric home wiring.

How to handle those who oppose

Overwhelming when a friend or family member questions the training tools you use. It may seem worse when a complete stranger looks your way or catches you off guard with a comment about the collar on your dog. It is your decision how to handle the situation.

You may choose to ignore and walk away or teach and inform. We have a few suggestions to help coach you along:

Simple “comebacks”

  •  There are many levels of training; professional training is a higher level of training than treat training. The same results cannot be attained.
  • I love my dog and believe what I’m using is appropriate.
  • I’m using techniques that were taught to me by a professional and are safe for my dog.
  • I train my dog this way because it works and the results are invaluable.
  • These are teaching tools not controlling tools.
  • If you knew my dog before training you would be applauding us right now!
  • My dog works very hard and knows I love him. See, look at his tail wagging!

It is unfortunate that facts about training tools are obscured by slanted views. Many people proceed to offer hearsay and myths as supporting evidence.

Games for kids and dogs

All children should be taught to respect other living beings, be they animal or human. From birth, children need to learn that some things are just not allowed and “be gentle” should be a common household command. Even if your household does not contain animals, your children should still be taught the basics. One day they will encounter a dog whether it is a neighbor’s dog or a meeting on the street with a strange dog.

Tug of war or dogs chasing children isn’t the way for children and dogs to play together.  Children age 6 to 12 benefit from learning how to recognize the advantages of incorporating new and innovative play strategies with their dog and how the wrong game may contribute to increasing bad behaviors.

It can be as simple as assisting them with teaching your dog tricks such as roll over and shake to building on more complicated problem solving games the require the dog to figure out what cup his treat is under or put his toys away.

Teaching games geared toward age appropriate play with dogs develop and encourage better interaction and bond between child and pet.

If you would like to gain more ideas for proper dog play with children, Acme Canine has created a booklet to coach you and your children.

You can purchase it through the Square Store.

Fitness Fun with your dog

How much serious thought have you given to dog fitness? If you’re like many dog enthusiasts, you may believe that your dog is doing just fine managing things for himself, but the fact is that many dogs could benefit from a little active fitness management on the part of their caretakers.

Just like their human counterparts, dogs need a fitness regimen to keep them on the path to good health. The key in any dog fitness regimen is you. As the owner, it is up to you to set the routine, find the motivation and get out there and exercise with your dog.

Far outweighing the inconvenience of committing time and effort to achieve physical fitness, the rewards of being physically fit, for man and dog, will last a lifetime.  And those rewards can actually be felt physically and emotionally.  Deep inside every canine brain there exists a structure called the Hypothalamus.  That’s where nerve impulses of happiness and pleasure set the dog’s tail into motion, crank up the heart and breathing rate, and propel the dog into all sorts of body language that signals excitement and enthusiasm for whatever wonderful thing is about to happen.  And since all dogs are born to run, anticipation of an exercise session really sets it off.

Experienced dog trainers understand that when it comes to dogs, an inadequate amount of exercise can result in behavior problems. “The primary outgrowth of keeping your dog physically fit will be a substantially improved quality of life throughout the aging process,” cites Laura Pakis, owner of Acme Canine.  And when old age does come knocking, your dog will be much better equipped to continue to be mobile, alert and enthusiastic throughout the day.  When thinking of how physical fitness impacts your dog, “quality of life” are the key words.  Fitness and exercise have the same beneficial effects in the dog as they do in the human.  It helps to keep unwanted weight off the dog and improves the overall physical health.  One of the most important benefits that exercise has on the dog is the positive effect on its psychological well-being.  And sedentary canines have a much higher risk of health and medical problems than active dogs.

Want to learn more?  Acme Canine and personal fitness trainer, Stacy Gotti, have teamed up to create a progressive, fun, and effective canine fitness booklet to increase public awareness about the importance of exercising their dogs.   Similar to Thank Dog Boot Camp and New York Dog Fitness, this booklet, Fitness Fun with Fido offers all the tools participants need to achieve a lifetime of good health for yourself and for your four-legged workout partners, too!

Purchase Fitness with Fido booklet

Superfood for dogs

by Amber Kingsley, freelance journalist and member of a pet enthusiast/ animal lover group in my city.

We are always discussing new issues and spreading the word on how to properly take care of your pets. One area of concern we are seeing with pet owners is the different dog diet recommendations that emerge every day on the internet/news.  In an effort to help pet owners understand the issue and its effects better we have created an infographic on ‘Super foods for dogs’.”

Superfoods, by definition, are packed with nutrients and vitamins that are especially beneficial for better health and well-being. Nowadays many people are making healthier choices, buying more locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, cutting down on added fat and sugar in their diets and the same goes for feeding their precious pets.

Watching our weight, eating a better diet and getting more exercise is the best way that we can literally tip the scale in our favor. By making these healthier choices, we will all stay fit and trim, lower our cholesterol, keep our hearts healthy and allow us to live much longer lives.

As they say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and what’s healthy for humans is also good for their hounds. We all know it’s better to eat more greens, but why? Are there dangers of feeding Fido corn as opposed to kale? What’s okay for people to consume, but not their pooch? Let’s take a look at these healthy foods sorted by color:

 

superfoods for dogs

GREEN for purification and detoxification - Green vegetables and fruits help us to maintain a stronger immune system, reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and lower blood pressure. Load up on salad greens, broccoli, kale, spinach and collards.

AVOID: Green onions, or any type of onion for that matter, and avocados can all potentially causes stomach distress or gastritis in some dogs. Grapes are also linked to kidney failure in some animals but not others, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid giving them to your pet altogether.

RED to fight disease and maintain heart health – Watermelons, apples, kidney beans, raspberries and strawberries have all been linked to better circulation and can help our bodies fight disease and promote good health.

AVOID: Tomatoes have been known to cause allergies and skin irritation for some dogs so it’s best to keep them out of reach. Red peppers are also not a good idea since they can be difficult to digest and some varieties are too spicy for our canines.

YELLOW & ORANGE reduces the risk of cancer and promotes better health – Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, cantaloupe and other colorful fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and also can aid with better digestion.

AVOID: Or more precisely, take it easy on the corn, as it can also cause skin ailments and other irritants in some dogs. Many pet owners will avoid processed dog foods that list corn as the main ingredient for this very reason. The same goes for the pepper precaution.

PURPLE for a longer life – Blueberries, plums and eggplant are rich in antioxidants and contain disease-fighting phytochemicals, which can only be found in plants. Eating blueberries, in particular, may prevent the effects of aging by improving cell communication in the nervous system. Eating blue and blackberries may also prevent a decline in brain function as we age.

AVOID: Synonymous with the “green” warning, steer clear of grapes and onions. According to the SPCA, additional avoidances for feeding dogs, regardless of color, include garlic, chocolate, alcohol and macadamia nuts, which can all be toxic for canines.

We can all eat healthier every day of the week and by including some of the seven superfoods shown on this infographic, both people and their pets will benefit. As always, be sure to check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your animal’s diet, but it’s probably safe to admit that your dog’s doctor will likely agree to these healthy choices.