The Golden Leash
This week we are highlighting a fellow pet professional and colleague; Justis Bolding! Justis is a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA), and as her name implies, she delivers justice to some of the most difficult challenges that pet owners face.
I had the pleasure of working with Justis at the request of one of my clients that has a new baby at home. Her fur baby was having a hard time adjusting to the sudden change to his environment.
Upon our first meeting, Justis was very friendly, personable, and professional. She joined me and the pup on our walk to observe his behavior where at the end she applied her expertise. I personally thought her observations and training style were spot on!
I have worked with a few trainers at the request of my clients but I particularly liked how Justis’ training style uses positive reinforcement, and she actually encourages the walks to be social and fun. Justis’ training style falls completely in line with our walking style here at the Golden Leash!
Some trainers and walkers discourage socializing in order to limit any chance of a possible incident. But, often times than not, the core of a pup’s behavioral issues are due to the lack of proper socialization coupled with a lack of exercise. Therefore, I was very impressed with her skill, depth of knowledge, and her style in how she handled the pup as well.
At the end of her observation Justis gave our pup great feedback! In addition to the recommendation of making sure the pup received plenty of exercise on a regular basis, she also left my client’s family with guidance on how to help their pup adjust to the new addition to his family.
To this day my client’s family has learned with the help of Justis that they can still continue to have the best relationship with their pup. And Pup is now happy to know that he’s still loved, is not being replaced, but instead, just has a baby brother now!
If you would like to learn more about Justis and see how her training programs can help you and your pup, you can find her here:
I am in love with my profession because I love nature and animals. I believe that nature and animals are some of our very first teachers. The sun tells us when to rise and rest for the day. The seasons advise us when it’s time to go out into the world to plant new seeds and create (Spring, Summer.) They also teach us when it’s time to go within and connect with ourselves, so that we can rest, recuperate, and evaluate the passing year (Fall, Winter.)
Similarly, animals teach us lessons. Dogs are one of my favorite teachers, and below is one of my favorite lessons that dogs teach us:
In the Native American system of wisdom they refer to lessons that we learn from nature or animals as medicine. Dog medicine in this system is associated with many teachings and one of their main lessons is loyalty.
While dogs teach us to be loyal the lesson is two-fold.
On the one hand, dogs are very loyal to their owners and they often seek their approval. Therefore, most things that they are taught to do by their owners, they may do even if it goes against their very nature. For example, there are dogs that are trained to be vicious or fight although they are generally sweet and mild mannered. Pit bulls are often associated with this type of behavior and are therefore one of the most misunderstood breeds. The true nature of a Pit bull is that they are some of the most sweet, loving, and patient dogs. They are naturally family dogs. Next to the American Golden Retriever, the American Pit bull has the most patience of any breed, meaning they are very slow to anger.
So the two-fold lesson here that we can learn from dog medicine is that while it’s important to have a sense of loyalty to others, it should be balanced by checking how readily your sense of loyalty is countermanded by your need for approval. You may want to ask yourself:
- Are you pursuing a particular career because that’s what your parents, spouse, or friends, want you to do?
- Are you staying in a current relationship, or relationship style, simply because it’s what your family or society expects of you?
- Is your sense of loyalty and need for approval causing you to live your life or someone else’s?
Overall, this lesson from dog medicine asks you to not forget to be loyal to your personal truth. Be loyal and true to yourself and your goals first. This way it is much easier to be loyal to others when it falls in alignment with your personal truth.
So next time when Fido doesn’t want to put on doggie clothes, or do a back flip before he can get a treat, just smile. While they are loyal to you, they are simply being true to their nature!
In closing, stay tuned as we’ll share more dog wisdom on a monthly basis. In the meantime, check out these articles below that highlight an interesting study on dog loyalty, and an article on dog inspiration and the lessons they teach us. Enjoy!
In my day to day profession, calming a dog is a skill that I would say I use about 80% of the time. Many of my pups already have natural triggers that are prevalent in this beautiful city of New York, the official concrete jungle! Between the millions of people, the “forever construction”, as there tends to be constant construction at least in the Greenwich village, and the natural triggers that dogs have (men, kids, skateboards, squirrels, large dogs, small dogs etc.) you will have your hands full on any given occasion if you or your walker does not KYD (know your dog) or know how to either avoid or soothe them from any of these anxiety causing scenarios.
In my previous profession I had a role in the Anti-Money Laundering Dept. of a major financial firm. They coined the acronym “KYC” which means to “know your client”. This was a policy that was trained to the Financial Advisors so that they could easily identify any suspicious activity and give us a heads up before any serious fraud or damage to the client’s account or the firm’s reputation occurred.
That’s a transferable skill that I’ve brought with me to this role as a professional dog walker and one that I encourage dog owners to know as well.
Considering the fact that our furry companions do not speak English, it’s not only important that they understand us and our commands, but that we also understand them as well.
That’s why we at the Golden leash like to provide you with the same walker and are pet first aid certified so that we can bond with and really get to know your pup. This helps us to easily identify any unusual behavior vs. typical behavior, and give you a heads up and/or a vet recommendation where necessary.
For instance, I walk a pup that likes to stall…..like every few steps. A random walker or an uninformed owner may just find it annoying or think he’s being rebellious. But while I understood that he’s communicating that he wants to stop and sniff something or he has found a spot to use the bathroom, I also learned that he was trying to tell me the direction that we are going towards is too noisy for him. He could see and hear construction trucks from a mile away and would stall. So l learned that in order for him to remain calm, we need to find quieter streets for me and him to enjoy his walks.
Another thing as a walker is that I try to put myself in their shoes. Small dogs are very very close to the ground so even the calmest dog can get anxiety if he’s in an overcrowded noisy area. Additionally, if you’re too close to the curb and a monster truck goes by they’ll get nervous as well. Therefore, a good way to soothe them is to either pick them up if the area towards your destination is overcrowded, and stand a few feet away from the curb when you approach a red light. You want as much space between your pup and other people as possible when you’re out on your walk. It helps them to feel at ease and keeps their cute little toes from being stepped on as well.
Another typical trigger is skateboards. Some dogs feel threatened by them, some don’t like the motion, or the noise. A key soother here is a treat. If you have a dog that gets unhinged when he sees a skateboard, it’s key to carry treats with you while you’re out on your walks. Especially during the summer or really nice weather days when the skateboarders are out. This will help to give your pups a nice distraction and take their attention off of the skateboard and onto the treat. After awhile, their reaction level should not be as intense.
While all of these scenarios are anxiety causing, some dogs just have anxiety in general if they are left alone for too long. While medication is often recommended for treatment, music has also been proven to help reduce anxiety in dogs. However, soothing sounds of nature or classical music is optimal as opposed to any type of music. So if you’re planning to leave your pup for an extended period of time, you may want to create a play list on your ipad to play while you’re out and leave them with a nice treat or a stimulating toy.
Eventually your pup will begin to have some positive associations with your leaving for a few hours as opposed to getting stressed.
For your convenience I’ve attached a YouTube video that I have used that is wonderful because it plays soothing sounds for 6 hours that will help to relax your pup while your away. If you drive, you may want to create a playlist for the car for trips to the vet or groomer if your pup gets anxious before these visits. The second link is for an actual “First TV Channel for Dogs” called Dog TV.
Additionally please visit this site below for some stimulating toys. Again, KYD! Some pups are super intelligent and can get really bored because they like to learn and like challenges. Therefore, if you have a chewer, get him some tough challenging toys to chew on. If you have a thinker, get some brain busting toys. Here are some links to some great stimulating toys for your pups.
Lastly, be mindful of your own energy when you’re walking or interacting with your dog. Try to remain calm as possible when you see a possible trigger approaching so that your dog won’t pick up on your stress and get anxious. They’re excellent at picking up on your energy and will respond accordingly.
And as you know, provide lots and lots of love and soothing talk and praise to help your pups know that everything is going to be alright.
With these tips you’re sure to have the happiest pups ever!
Your pet’s overall well being is of top priority at The Golden Leash and this includes their safety.
The Golden Leash’s walkers are certified in pet first aid. This ensures that our walkers will be better able to identify the signs of an emergency, and be able to quickly apply some basic skills for limiting damage or starting treatments for some of the more common emergencies or injuries.
However, in the event of an emergency, a trip to the vet is always advisable. Pet first aid is the initial care that you can provide for your pet until you can take her to a veterinarian for definitive care.
Today I wanted to share some basic tips for preparing a pet first aid kit. The tools in this kit are applicable to both cats and dogs. If you have a kit as a dog owner you should ensure that your walker or pet sitter knows where the kit is located and of course always supply them with your veterinarian information.
Below are some basic items that are advisable to use in a Pet First Aid kit along with a brief description of their uses:
- Muzzle – appropriate type and size for your pet when animals need to be restrained to provide care or transport – painful and scared animals may bite!
- Emergency contact information
- Your pets’ local veterinarian information (doctor or hospital name, phone number, and address)
- The nearest emergency veterinary facility information (may be different from above)
- Animal Poison Control Hot-line 1-888-426-4435
- Name & contact information for responsible family members or friends if the primary pet owner is not reachable
- List of any ongoing medical illnesses and any medications your pet is receiving (include drug name, dosage [amount, route, and frequency], and pharmacy information)
- Gauze squares – For applying pressure to bleeding wounds and creating bandage
- Roll gauze- For securing bandages in place -may be used as a makeshift muzzle if one is unavailable or the wrong size
- Roll of elastic, cohesive wrap (“Vetrap” bandaging tape)- For securing bandages and splints
- Adhesive tape- For securing bandages
- Bandage scissors- For cutting bandage material or removing bandages from your pet
- Antimicrobial ointment- For applying to/protecting wounds
- Grooming clippers- For removing fur to evaluate and clean wounds
- Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol – For cleaning skin around a wound
- Towel and blanket- For keeping your pet warm- 6 for transport of smaller animals- As a sling for large dogs
- Disposable gloves – Latex-free preferred
- Hydrogen peroxide – To induce vomiting and to help clean small wounds
- Sterile saline eye wash – To flush the eye
- Quick read rectal thermometer- To take vitals
- Pet nail clippers – To clip nails
- Styptic powder- To stop bleeding from nails that are broken or were clipped too short
- Any other items specifically recommended for your pet by your veterinarian
After popping off the top of my lemon Snapple I decided to get my daily dose of education and read the fun fact on the inside of the lid.
Today’s message……The average dog can understand at least 35 words ….
What a perfect fun fact for a professional dog walker to come across! So this of course totally resonated with me, not only because of my occupation but because I always felt that this was sooo true.
I’ve run into other dog care professionals on my daily walks who’ve shared their opinions on this topic. One that stood out to me was a dog walker who advised that dogs don’t understand the words we’re saying. He thought that we sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to them..”wonk, wonk, wonk.”
I didn’t share my opinion, but rather just thought about his and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t totally agree with it. I agree that yes, it may be a little extreme to pour a glass of pinot grigio and strike up a conversation with your dog, but to say a few words or short sentences to them; absolutely.
As a walker my pups are now hip to my lingo. They know “bye-bye.” That means if you keep stalling because you don’t want to wear your harness then I’m going to leave. Of course I don’t leave but this works like a charm on my pups because I always say bye bye after the walk is over. So if I say this before our walk they get it..like okay let me get it together because we didn’t go have fun yet…and off we go!
There are other little words I use for my pups where they totally get it, including “bathroom”. My one pup will literally focus and start looking to go to the bathroom and go. She knows that and that she usually gets a treat afterwards.
Some dogs that I’ve met for a only a short time are super intelligent and can grasp a large vocabulary of words right away. Harley for Instance, a 14yr old wolf hound/black lab. He’s an extremely vocal dog. I asked his owner if he liked his treats I bought him and the Harley looked at me and then answered with his resounding bark..”Woof” or in other words “Yes!” We clicked right away!
I think Harley understood the entire conversation between me and his owner; He’s that advanced but it all made me think of how we have to be mindful of not only what we say to each other as human beings, but also what we say to our pups.
They already pick up on our energy and they certainly understand tone. They know if we are happy or sad in general, or even if we are happy or disappointed with them.
So keep challenging your pups, and teaching them new words, and of course be mindful of what you say because, they understand!
To dig a little deeper on this topic, check out this Huffing ton Post article on this topic by clicking here.
And for your viewing pleasure check out this video of talking dogs. Enjoy!
Welcome to the Golden Leash Blog!
We at The Golden Leash are dog enthusiasts so we wanted to create a blog that would offer our clients some amusing as well as practical advice that would provide additional resources for caring for your fur baby!
Being a dog walker has allowed me to see how dogs are quite similar to us as humans. Dogs have unique personalities just like us, and they want to have vibrant lives just like we do. They enjoy gifts, surprises, food, and they love to have fun. So today I wanted to share some amusing content that I thought would inspire dog owners to go the extra mile when it comes to putting a smile on your pups face, because they always are sure to put a smile on yours!
Check out the video and enjoy!