Saturday, October 18, 2014

Signature Dog Blog: Signature Pet Services: Keep your Indoor Cat Happy


Kitties love to play hide and seek in paper bags


Play with your indoor cat every day.  Research shows play and socialization help prevent behaviour problems that can sometimes develop in in-door cats only.

Provide stable scratching posts in areas cats like to spend time. 

If your cat can benefit from catnip, sprinkle some on the scratching post to encourage her to investigate.  Cat nip does not have the same effect on all cats - so be sure to monitor.

Please do not de-claw your cat. De-clawing is a painful procedure that actually amputates part of the cat’s toe.  Often, de-clawed cats will develop negative behaviours such as inappropriate elimination and biting.

Cats enjoy lounging near a window to absorb the sunlight while watching the outdoors.  Place your cat tree near a window or allow your cat to lie on the back of any furniture near the window.


Kitties enjoy their own furniture


If your cat is a window gazer, consider placing a bird feeder near the window so she can watch the birds.  Just make sure it is high enough – to be out of the range of any outdoor cats.

Provide your cat with toys that appeal to the hunter in her.  Some suggestions include:  boiled wool balls, bells, felt toys, no strings, balls of paper, and puzzle boxes.  Hide treats around the house – and show your cat where to find them.


Boiled wool toys are a feline favourite


Consider adding a second cat to your household to provide your existing cat with company.  Be sure to introduce your new cat properly – so do your homework.  

Plant a little pot of cat grass or alfalfa for your cat to munch on.

And finally, this goes without saying…but clean the litter box every single day (even when you don’t want to).  Avoid covered litter boxes, if you can.



Possible Signs of an Unhappy Cat:

Urination/defecation in your home

Bites or is aggressive

Excessive grooming and/or pulling out fur

Constant and noisy meowing

Meows at door – but does not use door when opened 

Sleeping and/or hiding

Obese or too thin

Dramatic increase or decrease in eating habits



Meow!  


Lee, Madeline and Roman




Signature Pet Services is a by-appointment-only pet sitting company serving South Surrey and White Rock, British Columbia, specializing in loving and safe home-style dog boarding in our own home. Signature Pet Services also provides dog, puppy and cat sitting services. I invite you to check out our website (link above) or if you live locally give us a call at 604-818-7841.









Saturday, August 30, 2014

Signature Dog Blog: Signature Pet Services: Quick Training Tip




Training at the beach with Madeline's favourite training treat - salmon jerky



It is very easy to overuse treats when training our young dogs. 

Here are a few important tips to remember:

1. don't use treats/food, if praise or a cuddle will do.

2. don't use a correction device, if using your firm voice or body block will do.

3. wean off training tools so that you and your dog do not become dependent on them.

4. if using treats, be sure not to provide them every time your dog does what you have asked or your will inadvertently train them to expect that from you. This will likely effect their future learning and performance.

5. always ask your dog to do something for a treat, just a simple ask for a sit or a high-five reinforces both your position in your dog's life and a positive behaviour. And, everyone is happy.

6. remember to use high quality treats, such as a freeze dried liver brownie or salmon jerky (depending on what you dog likes or can tolerate). Stay away from sugar packed carrots and empty calories found in such treats such as Milkbones.  

Happy Training


Lee, Madeline and Roman







Signature Pet Services is a by-appointment-only pet sitting company serving South Surrey and White Rock, British Columbia, specializing in loving and safe home-style dog boarding in our own home. Signature Pet Services also provides dog, puppy and cat sitting services. I invite you to check out our website (link above) or if you live locally give us a call at 604-818-7841.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Signature Dog Blog: Signature Pet Services: Quick Tips Kids and Dog Safety




No matter how experienced a child is with dogs or how well socialized a dog is - children should never be left alone with a dog.  What most people do not understand about dogs is that when a child is crying, screaming, running around or tormenting a dog the child can very easily and quickly become prey to a dog.

Here are the basic guidelines all parents should follow with their child or their child’s companion.  In other words, all kids need to know the following:

   Do not approach strange dogs, even if they are cute and little as it is often the little dogs that receive the least amount of socialization and are most prone to biting

   Always ask the person handling the dog – “Is it ok if I pet your dog?”  Respect their answer always.  

   If approached by a strange dog, stand still, remain calm, put your hands in your pockets/armpits and do not stare at the dog.  Ever!

   If chased by a dog, do not scream or run, but stop, curl up in a ball and cover face and ears.  

   Do not stare at a dog, put your face in a dog’s face, kiss a dog or put your hands on his head or cover up his eyes.  I don't know how many times I have seen this behaviour (usually by adults and just last week) but it needs a friendly reminder for kids. Do not stick your fingers or hand into the face of a dog you do not know.  If you do so, you will be invading the dog's space and he will likely be threatened by you (especially if he is a small or a young dog).    

  Do not bug dogs when they are eating (including a bone), sleeping or taking care of their puppies.

  Do not hug dogs, climb or ride them, pull ears or in general tease dogs.

   If a dog is playing with a toy or holding a toy and you want to play with the dog – do not do so unless the handler of the dog says it is ok!  



ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION BEFORE APPROACHING, PETTING OR TOUCHING A STRANGE DOG!   :)

    



    Lee, Roman and Madeline




Signature Pet Services is a by-appointment-only pet sitting company serving South Surrey and White Rock, British Columbia, specializing in loving and safe home-style dog boarding in our own home. Signature Pet Services also provides dog, puppy and cat sitting services. I invite you to check out our website (link above) or if you live locally give us a call at 604-818-7841.




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Signature Dog Blog: Signature Pet Services: Understanding your Dog's Body Language






Did you know that you can become an expert in reading (and perhaps understanding) your dog’s body language?

Why is this helpful, you ask? 

Well, when you are able to detect an early sign or signs of your dog's apprehension or uneasiness you can then quickly and quietly offer your assistance to help your dog cope by giving him more space, blocking his energy or another dog's energy, asking people not to approach (just say "We are in training" you can be nice about it and say hello as well) or just keep moving, if you are on a walk. 

If you are reading your dog and he is showing uneasiness, for example, remember, don't chatter at him, don't raise your voice, talk firmly (if you have to) but never ever say to your dog, "It's OK Spot". This may not be obvious to you - but by saying this you are telling Spot it is "OK" to be uneasy, frightened or aggressive. 

Here are some of the more obvious signs to watch for in a dog in an uncomfortable situation: a closed mouth, smacking and/or lip licking, whites of the eyes are showing and skin around eyes is deep red, yawning, and fixating. 





And finally, a wagging tail does not always mean a happy dog! Different wags at different speeds and different positions all mean different things. Some times a wagging tail means "Hi, I would love to meet you" and sometimes a wagging tail means "Hi, I would love to eat you". 

Learn to know the difference - it could save your dog's life or at least prevent costly injuries.

A truly well socialized, friendly and confident dog - the kind you like to meet should actually be doing a full body wag or wiggle along with their tail movement.  When my happy Doberman Pinscher, Madeline, does this - I refer to this as the wiggle dance.  





Two years ago at the local dog park (Dogwood Park in South Surrey) while I was returning to my vehicle with my dog (Madeline, the 53 lb and very petite Doberman) I was attacked by a very large male Rottweiler (perhaps 130 lb).  The dog was very aggressive towards me and my dog all the while wagging its tail.  Its owner (ignorant to its body language) claimed everything was fine because her dog while growling, spitting and lunging at me was friendly because his tail was wagging.   This all just before it launched onto my knee. 

In the aftermath, the dog's owner claimed it was all because her dog the Rottweiler did not like Dobermans.  She said this as she took off into the dog park with her off-leash dog where there were several Dobermans playing amongst themselves.  

I have never returned to Dogwood Park and intend never to do so again.  I feel that if I had not known what was going on with that dog and blocked it with my body - he surely would have seriously maimed my dog or perhaps even killed her. 

A reminder to everyone that an off-leash dog park is never a place for intact male dogs, or aggressive dogs of any breed, size or shape. 


Enjoy the summer!



Lee, Madeline and Roman








Signature Pet Services is a by-appointment-only pet sitting company serving South Surrey and White Rock, British Columbia. We specialize in loving and safe home-style dog boarding in our own home. Signature Pet Services also provides dog, puppy and cat sitting services. I invite you to check out our website (link above) or if you live locally give us a call at 604-818-7841.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Signature Dog Blog: Signature Pet Services - Top 10 Recommended Reading List




I. The Dog Listener – Jan Fennel


II. The Other End of the Leash – Dr. Patricia B. McConnell


III. Before You Get Your Puppy - Dr. Ian Dunbar


IV. After You Get Your Puppy - Dr. Ian Dunbar


V. How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With - Clarice Rutherford and David H. Neil





VI. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats - Richard H. Pitcairn and Susan H. Pitcairn


VII. The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care – CJ Puotinen


VIII. Childproofing Your Dog: A complete guide to preparing your dog for the children in your life - Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson


IX. Puppies for Dummies – Sarah Hodgson


X. Merle’s Door, Lessons from a Free Thinking Dog – Ted Kerasote (Dog lover’s reading feast and tear jerker)







Happy New Year!


Lee, Madeline and Roman



Signature Pet Services is a by-appointment-only pet sitting company serving South Surrey and White Rock, British Columbia. We specialize in loving and safe home-style dog boarding in our own home. Signature Pet Services also provides dog, puppy and cat sitting services. I invite you to check out our website (link above) or if you live locally give us a call at 604-818-7841.