It's A Dog's Life

May Your Days Be Hairy & Bright: A Christmas Survival Guide for You and Your Pet

bigstock-Family-With-Dog-On-New-Year-s--214606636.jpg

Everyone knows the classic "Christmas Special" trope: a bright-eyed family sporting freshly-pressed flannel pyjamas...a perfectly adorned fir tree encased by dozens of hand-wrapped presents...and the family dog curled up by the wood-burning fire accessorized with a festive bandanna and not a care in the world. Western society subconsciously sets this cliche as the standard year after year. If you're anything like me, however, you're more accustomed to a sleep-deprived congregation around a Costco-bought synthetic tree that is grossly disfigured by a pack of estranged dogs who are forced to coexist in one household for an extended period. It's the only holiday narrative I know, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Be that as it may, I have developed some coping mechanisms to help eliminate some of the Christmas crazies from my household, and it's many furry tenants.

Like it or not – the holidays are built on an unspoken constitution of assembly - a topsy-turvy week of obligatory gathering. Meaning a motley crew ranging from your dearest friends to your less high maintenence in-laws , will be under your roof. In the hustle and bustle of trying to accommodate your many irregular guests, the four-legged patrons of the household often go forgotten. Depending on how socialized your pet is – the open-doored policy that comes to exist in the latter half of December can be anxiety-inducing for them (even more-so than it is for their owners). Not to mention the possibility of integrating other dogs into the home.

In my specific experience: I have two brothers, both of which are based in different cities than my parents and myself - and both of which (being our mother's son) have dogs. Every year they meet me at our childhood residence and bring their furry children along. Homebase is already inhabited by three dogs and two cats who belong to my parents to accommodate their "empty-nest syndrome." Throw me and my neurotic dog, Stedman, into the mix, and the result is pure anarchy.

bigstock-Happy-Family-In-Stylish-Sweate-216797365.jpg

Even the most socialized pets are innately territorial, and the integration of others can throw off the whole dynamic of the household. What has been proven helpful is the sense of familiarity. Make sure that each pet has access to some form of safe-haven that represents their neutral home. Their year-round bed, a kennel, a blanket or a toy would suffice. Keep it somewhere removed from the chaos where it can be quickly accessed to provide a sense of ease.

The shining beacon that lies within the turmoil of the holidays is, of course, the food (and the alcohol). It's the one time of year that it's encouraged to have gluttony strewed throughout the interior of your home as though it's decoration. There's often not enough table space in a home to accommodate a Christmas assembly, and many guests have to improvise, eating in various nooks and crannies of the house. It's never considered how opportunistic this scenario is for a pet until you look down and your entire meal has vanished from your plate. All the while Rufus is hiding in the corner forcefully exuding a demeanor of innocence.

bigstock-Food-and-ingredients-toxic-to--215252068.jpg

Not only does this violate the pinnacle "Christmas Special" etiquette that we innately strive for, but it could pose potential harm to your pet. Many holiday delicacies are threatening to dogs. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, and fruitcakes all contain ingredients that are toxic to canines. Also be mindful of turkey bones as they are very commonly choked on. Moreover, many popular household decorations can fall under the category of "puppy poison." Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe need to be kept out of reach. Nobody wants to find the result of Rufus's upset tummy under the tree on Christmas morning.

Foremost, I'd stress the maintenance of household boundaries. It's crucial that you don't let your daily obedience regiment slip. You also must enforce that your guests adhere to these rules and standards. The whole "It's Christmas!" one-off mentality doesn't apply here. It only takes Uncle Jim feeding Rufus one plate of scraps to confuse months of behavioural conditioning.

My final tidbit of holiday wisdom is quite simple but needs to be given priority. It can be summed up by the following profound ancient proverb: "Chill out, man!". With the impending weight of gifts and cooking and whatnot, people lose sight of the fact that this is meant to be an enjoyable occasion. Dogs are incredibly intuitive creatures and more often than not pick up on that energy. It's contagious - creating a toxic cycle of you provoking anxiety in your pet and vice-versa. So make sure you take a moment to breathe and enjoy the company of your friends and family; furry or otherwise.

bigstock-Merry-Christmas-Dog-Jack-Russ-214406935.jpg

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Staff of Zoom Zoom Groom, PreZoomably Cats, and The Apex Academy.

 

By: Zane Buchanan

Want a Well-Rouded Dog? Never Skip This!

January 18, 2018

Hi, my name is Melanie Kreker, and I am a dog groomer at Zoom Zoom Groom, but I am also a trainer. My passion for the language of dogs and their training is immense, and I hope that through the venue of this blog, I can share with you what I know for sure.

IMG_4389 2.jpg

Before I do this, however, I think it's essential that you get to know me (my training & background) and even more importantly my dogs. I have two important dogs in my life; Apollo, the genius, who has achieved his Champion Trick Title (pictured above) and much more, and Athena (pictured below) the newest and youngest member of the family, who is quickly emerging as the new prodigy!

IMG_2203.jpg

To reveal my canine passions is essential so you can be assured I have the background to share future blogs with you. I am a member of the Manitoba Animal Actors- training dogs/cats and more for the film industry. I am also involved in flyball, agility, scent detection, dock diving and my favourite- tricks!    

IMG 1773.png

Dogs are my life, and I live and breath all aspects of their development, their physiology, and their psychology!

When I'm not training, I'm making them beautiful with the skills I have accomplished as a Professional Canine Groomer.

So, enough about me! The blog post is titled, "Want a Well Rounded Dog?... NEVER skip this!" What one must never skip is the importance of SOCIALIZATION!

creating-a-balanced-dog2 copy.png

To start with I want to reinforce that the socialization period of dogs can be broken down into two subcategories.

1. Primary Socialization

2. Secondary Socialization

Let's start with the Primary Socialization. Primary Socialization occurs when a puppy is 3-5 weeks old. In this time the puppy can:

  • learn how to communicate with other dogs
  • recognize it's own breed
  • develop bit inhibition
  • Secondary Socialization occurs from 6-12 weeks of age. In this time the puppy can:
  • establish social competition and fight amongst its littermates
  • learn from the mother as her motherly discipline increases
  • will enter a fear period

Puppies that are removed from their mother and littermates before their eight week birthdays may exhibit fear, dog aggression and anxiety as they lacked this important time as a son/daughter under their mother's influence, and the experience of being a littermate in establishing rules and etiquette of the pack.

So what is the best thing you can do for your puppy?

SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE!

Puppies need to learn to play with various breeds to develop standard canine communication skills. Their experiences should always be positive and controlled.

Puppies should start foundation training at weeks of age. In doing this, you are teaching them appropriate behaviors and discouraging or even preventing bad habits from forming.

Puppies attention span and coordination may not be as good as adult dogs, but their learning ability and capacity for long-term memory is equal to an adult dog.

There are so many things to see and do as a new puppy! Puppies should be exposed to different people, surfaces, sounds, animals, and environments! In learning all these new skills, it is important you and your puppy understand socialization safety. For sure, always restrict your puppy from contact with unvaccinated dogs.

I am over-the-top excited to be teaching the first PUPPY START RIGHT classes at Apex Academy of Professional Grooming & Animal Arts in February! (refer to class information here)

In this course my focus will be to facilitate all owners and their puppies in the following skills and learnings:

  • the basics using the clicker training method (sit, down, stay and come)
  • grooming and vet table manners
  • crate training
  • house training
  • nail trimming
  • proper socialization techniques and how to play nicely
  • developmental periods
  • communication signals
  • and more!

Please feel free to phone Zoom Zoom Groom if you have any questions. I include the link for information on my future classes. If you are a client of mine, never hesitate to ask a question about your training needs. I am here to help! It's more than a passion- it's my life.

In closing I'm including a short video of Athena (5 months old) doing puppy tasks. Hope you enjoy it!

Melanie Kreker

How A Single Poodle Named "Gracie" Inspired a Successful Dog Grooming Business Named Zoom Zoom Groom

gracierightside.jpg

“Difficulties come when you don’t pay attention to life’s whispers. Life always whispers to you first, but if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you’ll get a scream”~ Oprah

In 2006 I heard the scream loud and clear.  I was teaching a grade 4/5 split class in a public elementary school. I was 42 years old, taught for 20 years, and feeling I wasn’t doing my life’s purpose.  Don’t get me wrong I LOVED TEACHING, however, being disheartened by school funding constraints, larger class sizes, and limited supplies and resources, my love for the “Teaching” part was extremely compromised.  It was during this time of my wavering conviction to the teaching profession, that I purchased a beautiful, white Standard Poodle puppy named “Gracie“.  She was intelligent, charismatic, and loving, and she somehow knew at the end of the day, just how to de-stress me!


She was a Poodle from an amazing line and she was to be shown in Conformation Shows in hopes to receive her Championship status with the Canadian Kennel Club. Although I didn’t handle her in the show ring, I did take care of her coat, with hours of bathing, brushing & combing- and thus the whispers began…  GROOMING GRACIE RELEASED MY PASSION, AND EXCITEMENT- I became an artist and all I wanted to be was a dog groomer!

My husband (Randy) and I have three beautiful, incredible sons, which at that time were young adolescents/teenagers, and were heavily involved in extra-curricular activities. We had a mortgage, bills to pay, and letting go of a job (which I worked hard to acquire in the first place), was a huge risk/responsibility.  In 2006, I took a one- year-leave-of-absence, purchased a small grooming trailer, and promised my husband and family, I would make as much as I did teaching, and all would be well-  No clientele, no formal training (I went to dog shows and literally sat in a corner watching the professionals groom)- just me and my determination and motivation to make this work.

Gracie became my mentor.  She taught me everything I know on how to groom. To this day, I believe if you can groom a poodle, you have the skills to groom any breed! Gracie became my logo.  Her picture was wrapped on my Zoom Mobile, and she became the famous dog of Zoom Zoom Groom.  My fleet of mobiles grew to three in a year and a half.  My staff was small but growing, and the demands for the mobile grooming service were high.  Needless to say, I never returned to teaching in the public school system. BUT…

“Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher”…. (remember these words as I share more of Gracie and my story).

As expansion continued, I opened a Salon in Regina.  Now, clients could pay for a premium service of the mobile coming right to their door, or they could bring their dogs to our salon at a reduced rate. Our “IN” Salon grew rapidly as well.  Today we have a total of 20 employees who share the Salon and Mobile responsibilities.

Just as we were about to reap some of the rewards financially  (the infamous 5 year point), life threw a curve ball, and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  I was off work for a year with treatments, but thankfully the staff did an amazing job of keeping things running.  During that time Gracie once again became one of my inspirations. During chemo she would literally lay on top of me- at times it was all I could do to breath or move.  It was uncanny- she was telling me all would be fine, life was great, and this was just a “hiccup”.  She was absolutely right!

Remember I said “Teaching” would be reentering my story……  During my isolation year of treatment, I kept myself busy by creating a proposal for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education…… to open a Grooming School that could facilitate students across Canada who wanted to learn the art of Grooming.  I spent hundreds of hours on the proposal- (a proposal that perhaps would never have been submitted if I hadn’t had this downtime).  In 2012, I became the official founder and instructor of Apex Academy of Professional Grooming & Animal Arts– a school that would work directly with Zoom Zoom Groom and allow students to have intensive hands-on training at a very busy salon.  Gracie once again became an integral part of learning for our students… whether she was used for demonstrations, or as a volunteer for a student groom- she contributed wholeheartedly!

As I walk through our Zoom Zoom Groom building, and I look at our mobiles, and I look at our school, I see Gracie everywhere.  She is Zoom Zoom Groom, she is responsible for what I call our “Beautiful Monster”- she was the inspiration.  I can never thank her enough for all she has provided for me and my family.  She is a “God Given Gift” & blessing.

On June 8, 2016,  we sadly said good-bye to our very special family member.  She is now in a place of peace and no pain, where she can continue to share her beautiful spirit.   The story of “How a Single Poodle Named Gracie, Inspired a Successful Dog Grooming Business Called Zoom Zoom Groom” , displays how one dog enriched the lives of our entire family- touching our hearts in ways unimaginable, and creating a legacy in which we are all eternally thankful for!

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers

Five Winter Dog Grooming Myths That Have Dog Owners Confused

 

THERE ARE SEVERAL MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DOG GROOMING IN THE WINTER.

Myth 1: The longer and thicker my pet’s coat is, the warmer it will be in the cold temperatures.

Truth: Grooming in winter is extremely important to your dog’s health. Long, wet, matted hair can create a cold, wet and infection-susceptible dog. Matted fur does nothing to insulate the dog; it can cause discomfort, pain and even hot spots.

bigstock--165370547.jpg

Myth 2: I have a double-coated/heavy-coated breed, so I don’t want to remove any coat in winter.

Truth: If your dog has a shedding coat, the shedded hair will remain interwoven in the healthy coat, not allowing proper skin insulation. This often causes dandruff, itching, excessive shedding and matting. Without proper distribution of the natural oils, the coat picks up dirt and other pollutants, resulting in a dirty, smelly dog.  

bigstock-Two-Dogs-Running-In-The-Snow-168974264.jpg

Myth 3: My pet is fairly sedentary in the winter and isn’t getting dirty enough to warrant a bath.

Truth: Pets require bathing as often in the winter as in the summer!  Pets often suffer from central heating-related dry skin and can absorb salt and gravel into their coats.

Myth 4: I can weather the storm, and bath and comb my pet to prolong its grooming until spring.

Truth: It is possible to maintain a home grooming program and stretch your dog’s grooming needs a few extra weeks, but only if you groom your dog correctly. Different breeds have different coat demands. If your dog has a curly or naturally long coat, there are certain imperative techniques. Your dog has to be 100 percent free of any tangles prior to the bath. If you bathe a matted dog and allow it to dry naturally, the knots become tighter and create a woven pelt.

bigstock-Dog-Print-58385774.jpg

Myth 5: I want to leave the hair on my dog’s pads to keep their paws warm.

Truth: The hair that grows between the pads can grow long and matted. If left unattended, it can cause great discomfort. Snow, ice balls, and even rocks can collect in your dog’s pads. Imagine walking around with rocks in wet shoes! Overgrown hair in the pads may also disguise foot problems such as long and ingrown nails or cracked, dry pads.

A happy, healthy dog has strong, shiny, matt-free fur — all year long. Your dog’s coat provides insights into its physical or emotional condition. A professional groomer can help with your pet’s physical appearance and assist you towards your goal of a healthy pet — both inside and out.

All Fur Love,

Connie Buchanan

We Know From Experience That It's True- There's A Super New Skin Technology For Dogs & Cats

I have seen a change in your pets (cats & dogs) since I started grooming in 2006 and it isn't a good change!

More and more, we as groomers are seeing your furry loved ones suffering from various skin issues, such as yeast infections, ear infections, hot spots, flakey irritated skin and more. These pets are crazy itchy, uncomfortable, and are often driving you, their owners, CRAZY- crazy watching them, and crazy to find relief for their heartbreaking conditions.

bigstock-Sweet-scratching-puppy-28790651-(1).jpg

We all know what feeling itchy is like. Whenever I see itchy pets, I remember a time when we had our rugs professionally cleaned- My husband Randy had a terrible allergic reaction on his feet. Rarely, have I seen him in such anguish. He said it was agony! He was literally going squirrely, until he was given a prescription to return him to normalacy.  I often wonder what many of these itchy, allergic dogs or cats are going through day in and day out, and what they would say to us if they could.

When it comes to ear infections, I think of my mother. She chronically suffered from ear infections all her life, in combination with her genetic deafness. She expressed immense compassion for any child or adult experiencing the pain, as she knew all too well what it was like.

I'm not sure if my need to assist dogs and cats with skin issues stems from past experiences.  All I know is I feel so incredibly bad and want to do anything I can to make things better!  Seeing a cat that has scratched itself raw, or a dog that has licked a hotspot until it is open & infected, begs me to assist.

In the past, we as groomers have only been able to use medicated shampoos. I have always carried an array of shampoo products, containing from Oatmeal, Aloe Vera, Tree Tea Oil and more.  Although these shampoos can make a difference, usually it is short lived.  I am excited to say we now have amazing technology that can really make a huge difference in skin conditions.  Please note I am not a veterinarian and I can't diagnose, and this treatment isn't meant to be a substitute for a veterinarians treatment, however, it can prove to be an excellent companion to it. 

Thera-clean can be used on dogs and cats without skin conditions too.  It can be a way to ensure your pet has the cleanest skin possible.  It is so beneficial to those dogs who are smelly all the time.  The bubbles are odor ninjas!  I notice a HUGE (pardon the pun) difference on my 120 pound Black Russian.  "Buttercup" is a beautiful, lovely girl but she has an odor that creeps in shortly after her normal bath.  The micro-bubble bath takes care of this and no more smelly dog!

Introduce the Thera-clean difference!

So what is the Thera-clean technology?

Thera-clean is a micro-bubble technology created by a machine. It creates tiny bubbles that are smaller than a red blood cell and can penetrate the skin right down into the pores, cleaning them to a level that has never been experienced before. It's truly amazing!  There is a ton of science behind this technology, but I will allow Kyle to explain it in the video below.

Before the video though, I want to share results! I need to show you pictures that display the reason I am so over-the-top-excited about this!

theracleanmachine.jpg

As promised, here is a video from Thera-clean where Kyle is explaining the science of this technology. We are one of two facilities in Saskatchewan (the other in Saskatoon) that offers the Thera-clean experience. This technology can be received at both Zoom Zoom Groom and PreZoomably Cats locations. 

Please give us a call if you have any questions, or if you want more information venture over to our websites; www.zoomzoomgroom.com or www.prezoomablycats.com 

a8a268b7-29e4-46c3-b49c-ed3bb715f23b.png