Important for Puppy owners

Socializing your puppy is a must, it will get your dog ready for new experiences.  I have seen very good dogs have lots of problems when they are not socialized some eventually ending up in shelters due to the owner’s neglect during the first important part of their lives.  They don’t do well to new experiences, being alone, attacking house guests or family members,  among an lacking of confidence which is needed to have a healthy life.

In the old days, dogs that were kept away from socializing were done in order to be untrustworthy to strangers and to protect their new owner.  A very social dog can also be protective when they since fear or danger without neglecting socialization in their life.

Socialization will help:

  • How your puppy should play
  • Recognize when your puppy is being frightened, overwhelmed or being inappropriate
  • Learn about important puppy development stages
  • Learn basic behaviors that your puppy should know to be a welcomed member of any social event

Poor puppy!

Today I got a real shocker.  I had a 8-9 month yorkie who had little experience grooming or any behavior training.  I knew it was a challenge but never did I think I would see what I saw today.  I tried safely to complete the grooming but with no luck.  With the yorkie bucking like a horse, biting and acting like a shark in a frenzy, scissors near the pet is a dangerous combination.  I knew for sure this was out of my hands.  I hoped that with the owner’s help that the puppy would calm down at least to get some requested nails trimmed.

As the owner was holding, the puppy was acting out of control once again.  Then the shocker, she brought a “special” flip flop to scare the dog by acting as if she was going to hit its head/face to stay still in fear.  I couldn’t believe it!!!  It became all too clear on why the dog was a biter, every time I got near the yorkie it thought I was going to hit it and tried to bite.  The pet associated  people near its head/face with negative actions or scolding so now that its time to do real grooming work,  the pet won’t allow it.

Nothing was accomplished and when I let the owner know that the behavior was caused by her flip flop hitting actions.  She overlooked the idea and claimed its the only thing that works and that if she didn’t do her shoe method the dog would run her house.  Now the only option is taking the dog to the vet to get sedated for grooming, at such a young age which is costly and totally avoidable with proper introduction to grooming training.

Hurt dogs hurt people.  It’s sad that those cards are dealt for that poor puppy.  I can’t get the image out of my head. She never actually hit the pet but the whole scenario is still frightening.

I had no idea how to approach this.  If I saw a dog on the street about to get hit by a person with a shoe, I’d be right there intervening.  However when a client does it, I found myself set back on becoming confrontational not out of fear but out of shock.

This situation was a real bummer.

Why does my dog shake in fear going to the groomers/vet?

A very common occurrence in vet clinics and grooming salons around the world.

I have heard some owners suspect foul play at with previous groomers and after a visit they were shaking in fear. It’s sad to say that this story is a common one.  Go with your gut, if you suspect something odd try another groomer until you are fully comfortable.

I know that deep in my heart I can go to bed comfortably without guilt of being rough with a dog.  I have no qualms about turning business away if a client would require me to rough to a dog just to complete a service.

Lack of Practice

This is merely an opinion of observation in my years of grooming.  I do see dogs come in shivering not wanting grooming and when I get the question “Why are they shaking?”, I can only say that they don’t want to be here.  Every time they visit me, they gets things they don’t like done like nail trimming, ear plucking, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, dematting, blow drying, nail dremel, etc.  The the association is negative since they don’t get home practice.

Dogs that are handled often like show dogs or dogs who I work with weekly are fully conditioned, some even go to weekly classes to perfect their manners  to prepare for their days front of a judge.  The dogs you see on TV dog shows come with hours of practice getting handled by strangers/handlers/trainers/judges, tails lifted, lips (flews) lifted, stacked, ears handled.   Its very routine and they don’t blink an eye with dremeling their nails since its done weekly nor shake in fear.   Its about making it positive and PRACTICE.  I do have owners who requests not to do anything their dog protests to avoid fear at the groomers.

Same concept when going to the vet which included pricking, prodding, rectal thermometer, ear medication, etc.  I made sure to start very young with our dog by teaching them that vet=treats and nail trims=treats.  He loves going to the vet, they give him liver treats, hugs and lots of attention forgetting about his past stomach surgery, abscessed drained with a syringe among many other dreaded ER visits.

Projection of Fear

Another thing I witness often is when an owner who is nervous about leaving their pup for their short visit unknowingly projects their fear onto their pup.  The fear is sensed by the pup, it shivers which then makes Mom/Dad shiver in voice saying “oh no he’s shaking” then pulling them back into their arms with more quivering on both parties.  As their leaders, they look to us for guidance and structure.  If the leader is scared/weary/worried then what message does that leave a your pup.  Like with humans, nervous parents are more prone to having nervous children.  I see the similarities with dogs and owners just as often.

If you feel fully confident and have a good understanding, trust,and relationship with your groomer.  The best thing to do is be positive and leave with confidence yet promptly to avoid  moments of fear.  I cannot tell you how many times  I have to wait until the owner walks out of the door for the dog to stop quivering and walk confidently along side me to the tub.  Its almost like a game of bluff, as if the pup is saying “Darn, they didn’t fall for it..ok lets go to the tub and get started”.

When you return, reward with their extra special item (special treats, stuffed Kong or ball).   Hopefully they might associate groomer or vet with one of the most important rewards ever in their eyes.

Pet stores I recommend in the East Bay

The stores I frequent are a few, everyone has something that the other doesn’t.  I like to support small businesses but its also good for me to offer a client in the right direction if they need to get something.

In the East Bay we often go to

Wags & Whiskers ,  1528 Locust Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

They have high quality food including raw, Orijen, Acana, Evangers, among others but best of all they have one of the best selection of unique collars I’ve seen.  I’m a fan or Lucky Pup and Hot Dogs all Dressed.  If you have a dog or cat that is a rockstar or princess, this place is sure to have something and if you want to create your own, they can help you.   Beetle has a few collars from there and I had to stop my addiction for now. Their Walnut Creek store is much bigger and has a get together called Yappy Hour so you can hang out with people, food, drinks, dogs among guest speakers at some events.

Paws on Piedmont,3974 Piedmont Ave, Oakland

A small pet store with cute beds, nice toys, food and treats.  They offer dog walking and have a personable sense about their place.  We usually go here when I walk Tank (Beetle’s best friend).  It’s one of the closest places to us that carries Deer Antlerz, the mineral rich chews that don’t splinter and last long.    They have a strong neighborhood following and have fun events from time to time.  I loathe parking in the area but thats anywhere in Piedmont.

Holistic Hound, 1510 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA

Great place not only for the store but a few stores into the square there is a cupcake store.  Amazing cupcakes displayed in cases and the taste, AMAZING.  OK back to Holistic Hound, the owner and staff are very knowledgeable about holistic anything.  If you are looking for natural flea products or natural remedies for ailments, they can help you.  They too carry Orijen, Raw, Evangers, Tripett, among other great products.  Lots of natural pet remedy books too.  I’ve gotten a dog immune booster called Transfer Factor, its pricey but I rather pay that than to have my dog getting sick with his low immune system.

Dog Bone Alley, 1342 Park St, Alameda

When I used to work in Alameda, Morgan (the westie mascot), was one of the dog’s I used to groom.  He was super sweet and I thought to give his place,  Dog Bone Alley, a try.  They too carry Deer Antlerz but best of all they carry a chew that I found at the San Ramon dog show called Himalayan Dog Chew.  My dog wouldn’t let it go and it lasted for a while.  It comes from an ancient recipe of the people of the Himalayas. In the mountains at more than 15,000 feet, it is made using traditional methods with Yak or Cow Milk, all natural products and no chemicals or preservatives.   It has the same texture of hard candle wax and totally digestable.  A few of my friend’s dogs are fans of them too.  I also like their selection of collars especially the Dublin Dog collars.  They don’t absorb odor and come in trendy styles.  They carry a big selection of Puppia harnesses as well.