Published Articles

Love your dog? Going away? New Holiday Homestay from Pet Dog School

Owner, trainer and groomer at Pet Dog School Doggy Daycare, Sarah Hesketh says the world never stays still and for our business, to be the best we can be, it is vital we remain open to changes in the needs of our clients. 

Just recently another need has been bought to Sarah’s attention and she isn’t going to let her loyal clients down now.

Wanganui is lucky to have some well patronised boarding kennels but the nights are getting colder and some dog owners want an alternative for their pets.

Now Doggy Daycare clients are welcomed into Sarah’s own home over night, long term or short term. It’s just one more way the dogs of Wanganui and their owners can benefit from the love that Sarah has for her work and her clients. When their humans go away, adored family pets can now enjoy all the comforts of home; like a sofa and human to snuggle up to, a familiar routine, cosy bed, maxed out toy box and fires to sprawl out in front of. Homestay guests play at daycare for free during the day and spend warm cosy nights with Sarah her family and her dogs in their warm, cosy home. 

So next time you’re planning a trip away, book your dog a place on Sarah’s couch. When it comes to Wanganui dogs nothing is too much trouble and if opening her home helps owners help their dogs then Sarah just can’t help herself!

Call Sarah for more details on 06 354 2553

If the Shape Fits – Choose It

Remember the red plastic cube toy that toddlers are given to learn the properties of shapes? The different shaped holes on each side teach little people that, however hard they try or however much they want it to work, a round shape simply won’t fit in a square hole.

Oh you do remember? Did you, like me, manage to get at least one of the shapes into the wrong hole – proof that if you work hard, concentrate and spend the time working out what it needs to go into a hole it wasn’t designed for sometimes you can MAKE it fit! Anyway, back to my point; over the years little, red cube deciphering people become big people and the time comes for them to get a dog; Now they begin the process of deciding which one they want to live with for the rest of its life.

Now as odd as it may seem this rather simple, red plastic cube was all the education these potential dog owners needed to make an educated and ultimately successful choice on the type or breed of dog they should choose – but sadly, I fear, this lesson of recognition, and common sense is often long forgotten. Now, in the adult world afflicted with knowing better than common sense, believing “I want one” is all that is required for successful ‘having’ or liking the look of something makes ‘owning’ it a must, the lesson learned all those years ago on the importance of choosing the right shape to fit the given hole being the best way to achieve success is lost – but just WHO loses out? 

The complex ‘hexagonal’ breed that just isn’t going to slip into a simple ‘triangle’ life, the children whose new ‘star’ shaped puppy refuses to fit into mums’ basic ‘round’ time or dog rearing ability. These are the animals and families that education fails and emotion and short-sightedness destroy.

There are of course exceptions, just like with the toy with slightly different moulding, with time and hard work and learning what’s needed, some individual dogs will fit into a mismatched family, but these are far outnumbered by the ones that don’t.

So, as usual with this column we ask the question: So what can we do to change this?

Before we choose a pet dog we must first look at the ‘shape’ of dog that would successfully fit into the ‘shape’ of home we can offer it. If we are honest at this stage of dog ownership we give ourselves, and the dog, every opportunity to live a happy and successful life.

If you are looking for a PET dog, rather than look at breeds that may suit you, let’s look at the types of dog that probably won’t;

Working dogs – bred on a farm, they need to work. They are highly intelligent and you have NO choice but to train them and allow them to use their brain. Ignored they may collect habits that are at best dismaying (chasing shadows) and at worst down-right dangerous (chasing vehicles).

Pitbull types – have a thin coat and HATE living outside. They desperately need company and if not taught right, when left alone, they will learn to escape, from ANYWHERE. 

Foxies – Are clever and love to chase. They are energetic and when children manhandle them they nip and tears follow. The ending result is a foxie left outside learning to dig, chew, chase and kill things as an adult.

Big Dogs – Need training. They may be calm as adults but they only get that way by being taught not to jump, pull on lead and lose control of themselves right from the start.

Small dogs – Are a long way down if you don’t bend easily. This makes them difficult to train or even pat unless they are jumping all over the furniture or YOU.

There are dog trainers and multiple fun websites that help you choose the right ‘shape’ dog for you. So, decide what shape of home you can offer then let these websites help you pick. After- all; if the shape fits – why not choose it?

There are many different dog breed selector tools online here’s one to get you started:

Winter Woofers

Just a quick reminder that dogs feel the cold too. If your dog has an outside living space, a kennel and metal run or simply outside on the deck, prevent problem behaviours like barking, refusal to come to be put outside or to bed, destructiveness and escaping by ensuring he or she has plenty of dry, clean bedding and can get out of sideways rain, drafts and wind. Cold dogs act out their discomfort and we call it annoying or problem behaviour. You play your part in your relationship by ensuring he is warm, comfortable and dry and he’ll play his part by accepting your care with love, patience and respect.

Preparation for a Successful Dog (Owner)

Long before we take ownership of our first car we have learned that providing it with fuel makes it move forward correctly, putting air in the tyres keep it going in a straight line and putting oil in it keeps it from grinding to a halt – forever.

New stoves come with manuals, flat pack furniture comes with a building guide and even the last pack of grass seed I bought had a little note helping me sow it to give it the best opportunity to grow perfectly.

Now whether we choose to look at this advice or not it is always offered… And, let’s be honest, we know we should take a peak, just to make sure we are doing it right.

Why then do we believe that making a puppy work correctly, keep it going in the right direction or find out where the ‘Off’ switch is, do we think we don’t need to at least have some relevant information to hand?

You know the saying – Fail to prepare, prepare to fail? That seems to be the unheeded mantra of too many dog owners – until that is their charge has gone in the wrong direction, broken completely, or failed to grow in the way they hoped (or assumed) it would. 

Until all puppy breeders recognise their responsibility to the little lives they create and build their own knowledge so they might educate new puppy owners, puppy owners must recognise their own responsibility to their new pet. 

Advise, help and guidance is available for new dog owners from Pet Dog School – in the form of unique written notes and private training sessions with or without dogs. However, just for now here are a few ideas to help you prepare for your new dog and hopefully help you become a successful dog owner in the future.

  1. Puppies are baby dogs, so it isn’t ‘Like’ living with a baby, it IS living with a baby
  2. Puppies are still learning to be dogs, they need a surrogate ‘mum’ who will show them how to behave and introduce them to the world in a way they understand – to do this you must act like a mummy dog not like a demanding human, at least for the first few months.
  3. While learning about the world supported by his foster ’mum’ it is vital to get his sleeping, eating and toileting going well if living alongside his new family is to be successful. Owners therefor need to know what to expect at different ages and development stages of their puppy.
  4. Understanding there are some things that will wait until the puppy is older and some things that need to be sorted out asap can make all the difference between a fun and successful life with a pup and hard work and ultimately disappointment.

If you have a new puppy or want help preparing for one, Pet Dog School can send you their Rearing the Perfect Puppy notes. So, puppies CAN come with a manual… we created it for you. You only have to want to ‘take a peak’’ just to make sure you’re doing it right.

School for Dogs and So Much More

Last month a River City reader found out about Pet Dog Schools new homestay service for its daycare clients. We had so much interest in the services they provide we have returned to find out more.

Most people know someones dog that attends Pet Dog Schools unique Doggy Daycare – a real school for dogs where pups learn social and play skills and older dogs meet best friends and hang out for the day. Check out their facebook page to see who you know.

Grooming is a popular service and provides an extra experience for daycare dogs as well as none daycare visitors. Daycare dogs staying for a full day only pay for a half day providing hours of fun and a full beauty treatment too.

You’d have to go a long way to find another real school for dogs. In Wanganui owners benefit from owner Sarah and her teams enormous experience in rearing brand new puppies, supporting owners through the, “what have we done?” stage and behaviour issues and obedience training.

Private sessions, at the school or at home are chosen by owners needing help to get to the bottom of particular difficulties. Traditional group classes are always popular. The energy and depth of knowledge that Sarah brings to her lessons provide a learning experience second to none.

Pet Dog School provides help to a unique group of people – those that love their dogs and realise that a little help and time goes a long, long way.

Call Sarah on 06 354 2553