Monthly Archives

February 2020

Choosing the right Daycare for your dog.

By | Airdrie, Dog Daycare, Dogs, Grooming, Dog Grooming, Airdrie, Crossfield, Uncategorized

Daycare for your dog is the newest trend. With new facilities popping up everyday, and each offering different services; it can be hard establishing the best fit for you and your furry companion. Well, we are here to help!

We all want whats best for our dogs, and daycare can be a wonderful addition to your dogs weekly schedule. A good daycare can fulfill a dogs social, mental and physical needs; leaving you with one tired, fulfilled dog. A fulfilled dog is a good dog…right?

So how do you determine the best place for your dog? First you need to decide what your daycare expectations are.

  • Do you want a one stop shop (boarding, daycare, training and grooming)?
  • Do you want your dog to have access inside and outside freely? (Did you know some places don’t have a outside area!)
  • Is it important that the play group is supervised; if so what staff to dog ratio is appropriate to you?
  • Do you want a daycare that has equipment and activities for your dog, or is just a open space to socialize and play enough?
  • Do you want your dog to go for walks?
  • Do you want your dog to work on basic obedience skills while at daycare?

Personally I tell people to stop by a prospective business and check the place out, get a feel for the staff and the atmosphere, ask questions. Yes, majority of places ask you pre-book a meet and greet; However I believe in transparency; A daycare that does not allow a client to view the area, leaves a bad taste in my mouth (personally). Here at Four on the Floor have a open door policy. You are more then welcome to stop by whenever to take a peek through our window in our daycare, and chat up the staff (if they have time). For a full introduction we will ask you to book a meet and greet (free of charge). This way we can give you our undivided attention. Answering questions, going over everything about our daycare, programs and services, handling protocols, activities, and waivers. During the meet and greet we will ask you a variety of questions about your dog, and introduce your dog to a couple of our mentor dogs. During the introductions we will be able to observe their body language, interactions and behaviors to ensure daycare is a fit.

Not all dogs are a fit for daycare and the highly stimulated environment, and that is okay. Just like not all people like crowds. I found this article to be helpful in determining if your dog is a fit for the daycare environment. The last thing you want is to have your dog in a place that they just don’t want to be, or that will effect their mental well-being. A good daycare will be 100% transparent and honest about your dogs experience and their recommendations. We (Four on the Floor) have a modified program for dogs that need a bit more one-on-one attention from the handlers. This is our first step before dismissal. We like to try and work with the dog and owners before determining if the environment is a fit or not. Majority of the time, the dogs just needs some extra one on one time to feel comfortable. Our behavioral program is tailored for dogs that are overly excitable, and shy dogs that need some practice with their social skills.

Alright, alright…I did say ask questions…So after determining exactly what you want out of a daycare for your pal, it’s time to come up with some questions. Here’s my personal list:

  • Is your play group staffed? What is the approximate staff to dog ratio? “Our play groups and ALWAYS supervised! 12:1 Dog to staff ratio.
  • Do you monitor play? What is your handling? ” We are constantly monitoring play styles (no bullying) and watching ques. We use a variety of force free techniques to redirect the dogs attention away from whatever they were focused on.”
  • Do you kennel dogs? “We do! Kenneling (more like a large run) is crucial for downtime and help bring those adrenaline and cortisol levels down. Some dogs do not self regulate and give themselves a break. The last thing you want is them continuing to practice behaviors in a constant high excited state (no-one wants a adrenaline junkie). Did you know, a hyper aroused brain is poorly responsive to learning and memory. Some of the dogs just need some one on one downtime, away from the group. In this case we like to pair them with handler and take them outside for a small walk or obedience work.”
  • Do dogs have access outside? “Our facility has a full bay inside (heated) with a dog door with full access to outside (fenced). We allow our dogs to have full range of both the bay and outdoors. Both areas are staffed and monitored. Our outside area has artificial turf and a variety of play equipment (as well as a fenced pool for summertime fun).”
  • Do the dogs get to go for walks or participate in activities? “Personally we believe in mental stimulation and physical. Some dogs will only play with a selective dogs and selective times. So we like t ensure each dog is getting a fun experience. We provide a variety of activities such as scent work, obstacle courses, water fun, bubbles, bobbing for apples and carrots, obedience activities, weight pulling, bike riding, off leash and on leash adventures, group walks and so much more. Bonus! No extra cost!”
  • Is your staff certified? “A variety of our staff hold their canine CPR and first aid. Others are proud of their participation in a variety of canine seminars on force free handling, body language and canine communication, behavior and training. Our founder/owner/trainer Rhonda Labas, has years of education and schooling under her belt, completing a variety of certifications. We don’t believe in paying subscriptions for memberships that are not government regulated. We rather put our money into educating and training.”
  • Do you require proof of vaccines? Updated vaccines are crucial for your dog, especially if they are around other dogs (daycare, kennel setting and yes, even the dog park!
Daycare Fun

So there you have it! I hope this article makes your decision a bit easier when choosing a daycare for your furry pal.

Basic Dog Grooming Tips

By | Dog Daycare, Grooming, Dog Grooming, Airdrie, Crossfield, Uncategorized

Dog’s have a unique way of keeping themselves clean (in their eyes haha). Their clean and our clean can mean two very different things. Today we are going to provide pet parents with some helpful tips and tricks on keeping their dog’s coats manageable between grooms.

Freshly groomed Odin, feeling fabulous

Personally, I like to start by giving my dog a good brushing. This helps remove all the nasty bits such as; dead hair, dirt and dandruff and whatever other little things have gotten stuck in their coat. Plus a good brush can get rid of some of the loose mats, and provide you the opportunity to check for pesky little critters like lice, ticks or fleas (yuck!).

Hold up! You maybe wondering what brush to use…

With such a variety of brushes and combs available, things can get confusing. I will name our favorite three, just to keep it simple (there are a ton more options).

Slicker Brush: Basically this is the go to brush. It works well for all coat types. It’s row of thin wired type pins help remove loose fur, assisting in de-tangling the coat. The Pin brush is very similar to the slicker brush. The wire pins are tipped with rubber or plastic, which is made for silkier coat types.

Bristle Brush: A great option for short and wire coats. It’s soft bristles help removes shedding hair and smooths out the fur. A great option for sensitive areas like the face.

Rake: Rakes are designed for thick-haired dogs. It is designed to penetrate the coat, removing the undercoat.

We personally do not recommend the Furminator. In our experience we noticed it tends to damage the top layer of the coat.

Holy heck: Enough about brushes! Let’s get back to our steps.

After you have given your dog a good brush (we call it the prep phase). It’s time for a bath! If you have a tub that contains a handheld hose that’s a bonus! Otherwise you can go to a dog wash station (I recommend this if you have a double coated dog) or fill the tub with a couple of inches of water and utilize a cup or small bucket (to fill and rinse the dog).

Give your dog a good rinse off, soaking the entire coat. Ensure to protect your dogs eyes, ears and nose from water.

Once the coat is damp, begin the shampoo process: Here at Four on the Floor the groomers utilize the Melanie Newman Salon Essential line. I find it easier to dilute the shampoo with water and put it in a squirt bottle (think ketchup bottle). This way I can easily distribute the shampoo all over the dogs body. Once you have the shampoo all over the dog, begin to give the coat a good scrub. Our groomers utilize a rubber bath brush, to ensure each inch of the dogs coat is getting a good clean.

Rinse, and repeat….Yes, repeat the shampoo and rinse.

After the shampoo process you can opt to utilize a conditioner. A variety of conditioners are available at your local pet store. Pick one suited for your dogs coat. I find conditioners are best used for dogs with silky, long haired or curly coats. If using a conditioner, I recommend taking a couple extra minutes to brush your dogs coat while letting the condition soak in (helps de-tangle). Our groomers love utilizing Emu Oil conditioner.

No its time to dry the coat, duh duh duh....

Give your dog a good massage with a towel. Take your time and get all those hard to reach areas (under the legs, stomach, behind ears, in between facial folds and feet). You have a option to grab your hair dryer and give your dog a good thorough dry. This would be a ideal option for those curly and silky haired dogs (their coats tend to get matted when wet and not brushed out). Note: Ensure you put your dryer on the cold or warm setting and not sit in one spot for too long. Once your dogs coat is 100% dry, you can start step one again and give your dog a good brush, removing any matting.

Personally, I would not bath your dog more than once every 4-8 weeks. However; how often you bath your dog really depends on a variety of factors (health, coat type, activity level). My rule of thumb; If your dog looks or smells dirty, it’s time for a bath!

If you get your dog groomed regularly, SKIP the bath, but continue to brush the coat daily or after outdoor activity. This helps keep the coat free of mats and debris free (your groomer and wallet will thank you).

If your anything like me (Jordan), after writing this, I just looked down at my dog and realized he is over due for a groom. If this is the case give us a call (403)945-8834 to book a spot with our two fabulous groomers!