In This Issue:
We have an App for that!
We now have our very own app – it is available on Android and Apple devices.
We are super excited to be able to introduce Laura V to everyone! She will be posting some pieces for our Newsletter, so let us know of any topics you would like to hear about.
Laura is a qualified dog behaviourist with many years of experience and the founder of “Dognitive Therapy.” The idea came about from Laura’s lifelong passion for animals, in particular the relationships formed between human and animal, and was helped along when she met Chester her beautiful 8.5yr old Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Catch Laura (and Chester of course) every second Wednesday on 3AW with Denis Walter, as they go through a range of topics, suggestions and education for both humans and their pets.
She also has an extensive amount of blog posts that you can jump over to her website to have a look at: https://www.laurav.com.au/blog
I know what it’s like, trust me! The sad doggy eyes as you put on your work shoes, the pacing as you pick up your keys, the barking as you leave the front door. I have seen it, I have experienced it. I have felt the guilt and anxiety you are feeling! But now, I’m here to help!
I am lucky enough to have the best job in the world, where I get to work with the best people I know; dogs… and their humans! I am a qualified canine behaviourist and, like you I have experienced some very challenging behaviours in my time before I decided to make understanding canine behaviour my full-time job. The behaviours I described earlier are just some of the symptoms dogs display when experiencing Separation Related Behaviour (SRB). The idea of you leaving them alone, is often terrifying for your dog and can lead to a spectrum of distressing and destructive behaviours, not just for them but for your home as well. For me as a behaviourist, it is one of the most common and serious welfare concerns to dogs who are in loving homes.
After my radio segment 3AW each week, many people end up contacting me when they can't get through to the show. So, thanks to The Pet’s Hotel, I am able to discuss this a little further in the hope it helps you understand how to help your dog.
I think the most important question we need to ask ourselves is: ‘Why does it happen?’. Overtime, the answer to this has evolved. We used to think dogs were spiting us, or they felt they had to protect the home and began to panic at the responsibility. But now, we have a much clearer idea. Dogs are for the most part, our companions. We have designed an animal to meet our needs for unconditional companionship. They are devoted comrades, embracing our affection and care and, whilst this may be exactly what we have wanted from them, there had to be a trade off at some point. An animal who is designed to depend on us to this extent may indeed experience suffering and anxiety when left alone. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
When I adopted my first dog Chester 8 years ago, I took it upon myself to make him a promise. I promised him that I would invest whatever I needed to, to ensure that his needs were always met. I made sure he had the best food, the comfiest bed (usually mine), the best play time, the most interesting walks and that I would keep him safe each and every day. Eight years later, I have kept these promises.
At the time, I worked for Melbourne Zoo and was faced with the same tortured exits each morning as you may be experiencing with your dog. So, I came across something that all my friends initially laughed at, and that was to take him to doggy day care. Taking your dog to a doggy day care like The Pets Hotel can help your dog not only overcome their anxiety for being left alone, it can give them an opportunity to exercise both mentally and physically as well as engage in positive social interactions with dogs of the same temperament and energy level. Occasionally, I will drop Chester off at The Pet’s Hotel, to which he hangs out with the little oldies. I know that the dogs he is with are the same as him; just there for a nice no fuss time, cuddle and chase of the ball. But whilst doggy day care can be an excellent alleviator for those days where you just need to ensure your dog is supervised, having fun and safe, it is important that you invest your time and energy into preventing Separation Anxiety all together.
Here are some of my essentials:
1. Can your dog have access through a doggy door? If this is safe and possible, allow this as it provides great comfort for your dog to settle in the space they prefer to relax in. Sometimes, this is ALL you need to do.
2. Try not to encourage your dog following you around, instead rewarding them when you walk away. I like to drop some of their food on the ground as I walk away, rewarding them for choosing to focus on the food instead of where I am.
3. Train them to station to their mat. This is a really fun game where you teach your dog to move to their mat for a reward. Ask them to stay there for a second or two, then release them from that spot with the word 'FREE'. Increase the duration of time, until your dog can stay on the mat without you in sight; anticipating a really massive reward upon your return.
4. Go through your separation routine, but pair this with great stuff and pretend to leave, instead of leaving. We call this desensitisation as well as counter conditioning. Gradually add these aspects of the routine such as picking up keys, putting on shoes etc and match them with yummy treats. Initially your dog may not take them. But if you repeat this over and over, eventually they will, because you are creating a predictable pattern. If you do this properly, you can go through your routine, cue your dog to their fun mat, leave and return after 10 or so minutes, without a hint of distress. At this point, you know you have a dog who is learning to deal with their anxieties. Well done!
5. Find the right doggy day care facility and put aside a little of your income each week to ensure your beloved four legged gets what they need throughout the week.
I know what you're thinking... this takes time and it takes effort and even a little expense. Absolutely it does. But nothing in this world that is wonderful has ever taken anything less than a great deal of effort and time. Separation Anxiety can be prevented and if your dog does suffer from it, it can be alleviated. There is no doubt that if you are reading this, that you adore your dog. So, begin your training today with my 5 top tips and celebrate the progressions you achieve together. There is nothing better than coming home after work to an optimistic dog, or picking them up from doggy day care and hearing them snore the whole way home in the back of the car. The sound of contentedness in your dog makes the training and effort all worth it!
Copyright Laura V 2017
Due to The Pets Hotel looking after so many pets over the Christmas and New Year holidays, Day care will be finishing up on Friday 22nd December and will start back again on Thursday 4th of January 2018.
We will miss anyone who isn’t staying with us at this time and wish you all a very big Happy Holidays from The Pets Hotel and can’t wait to see you all again in 2018!
We would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who came in for our Howl-o-ween party on the 31st of October!!!
The facility played host to a great number of superheros, pumpkins, fairies, creatures with many many more fantastic costumes. The staff would like to give a huge congratulations to all the fur mums and dads that helped their munchkins dress up for the day, we had heaps and heaps and heaps of fun!
Our Winner for best dressed went to Dougie P, who had an absolutely amazing homemade costume.
And second place goes to Hugo H, who came dressed as a dog’s worst nightmare….. a Veterinarian!!
To catch a look at how the day went, have a look at our
Howl-o-ween Daycare Party Video.
Christmas has crept up on us with the year nearly at the close, so now is the time to book your pet in for their VIP holiday with us at The Pets Hotel.
As we have limited spaces over this busy period, please call on (03) 9646 3696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in booking in.
Being the busiest time of the year for us, below are some important pieces of information to know:
Don’t forget to ensure your pet has had their monthly flea and worming treatment to safeguard their health.
With Christmas and New Year's being our busiest time of the year, we have an Express Arrival Service that you can take advantage of to skip the long queues! This process will drastically reduce the wait period for check-in around this time as we are expecting hundreds pets this time of year.
To be eligible for the express check-in, we require all information and necessary forms, at least 5 days prior to your arrival date. If you have any questions or queries about any part of this process, please don't hesitate to contact our receptionist on (03) 9646 3696.
We greatly appreciate everyone's patience with us over this busy time of the year and cannot wait to see everyone!
“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.”
- Alfred A. Montapert