Friday, March 29

Dog Proofing for Spring

Spring is here and with it comes some rain, some flowers and for your dogs, some dangers.  The Bark put out a great guide to help you make your spring doggie safe.  I hope this helps you keep your dogs safe in your own yard or out on the trails hiking.


If it wasn’t for the stubborn little crocuses in my front yard, I’d be hard-pressed to believe spring has come to Seattle. But officially the season has sprung, and in most parts of the country, the change is happy news for dogs, who will be spending more time sniffing, romping and rolling in the outdoors. Hooray!

While longer, warmer days bring joy to our hearts, they bring some risks to our dogs. “Every seasonal change can bring dangers, but spring presents some specific risks that can be easy to address, as long as pet owners know what to look for,” says Dr. Peter Bowie, a veterinarian in Marin, Calif.

Among Dr. Bowie’s seasonal priorities is antifreeze. While the deadly chemical is most often associated with winter, he says, veterinarians at the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin see just as many antifreeze poisonings in the spring. Whether it’s due to shade tree mechanics cleaning their radiators, unidentified leaks, or portable basketball hoops, ethylene glycol–based antifreeze winds up in driveways and streets where it tastes sweet to dogs and, even in tiny amounts, may cause sudden kidney failure.  

Foxtails are another not-so-fabulous right of spring. These grass awns, which sprout in abundance this time of year, have microscopic barbules along their surface. Once they catch on animals’ fur, they can become lodged in their skin (most often in the webbing between the toes), ear canal, or nose. Foxtails cause extreme discomfort and often lead to bleeding, infection, and, in the case of ear canal migration, ruptured ear drums. If swallowed, foxtails can lodge in the throat, causing swelling and infection. If accidentally inhaled, they can cause serious damage and infection in the airways or lungs. (Check out Protecting Your Dog Aganst Foxtails by Nancy Kay, DVM).   

Activity in the garden can also be detrimental to our dogs, the use of slug and snail baits, in particular. These combine an attractant, usually apple meal or some other sweet-smelling base, with an active chemical compound such as metaldehyde to poison whatever swallows the bait. Unfortunately, this can include our pets. Increased rat activity also means increased use of rat poison this time of year, one of the deadliest things your pet can ingest. 

Fertilizers, even organic or natural fertilizers, can harm pets. Blood and bone meal are common organic fertilizers, which makes it tasty for pets but can cause vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatic inflammation. Grass and flower fertilizers can also contain toxic chemicals that may be deadly if ingested.

If you’re planting, remember some plants are toxic for dogs, including azalea, chrysanthemum, daffodil, rhododendron, sago palm and tulip. Consumption of these plants can lead to kidney failure in animals. The ASPCA provides a complete list of toxic plants with images.

“I urge pet parents to get outdoors and enjoy the season, just remain aware of your pets’ surroundings,” says Dr. Bowie. “Changes in the environment can be stimulating to them, but new smells in the yard or garden can also be harmful. Simply take extra precautions: be sure all chemicals are completely out of your pets’ reach, keep small pets on a leash at all times when outdoors, and remove foxtails as soon as you see them.”

Companion animals aren’t the only critters more active this time of year. Brian Adams of the Massachusetts Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) reminds us that spring is a time when wildlife is on the move. He suggests a few simple steps to minimize or prevent conflicts between us or our pets and wildlife.

Never feed wild animals intentionally or they will view your yard as a food source. The includes cleaning up spilled birdseed from feeders, which may attract turkeys, rodents, and the animals that prey on them. If you have bears in your area, remove bird feeders.
Avoid unintentional feeding by keeping trash and compost secured and by feeding pets indoors.
Drive carefully and watch for wildlife crossing roadways, especially in areas where road salt remains from winter storms; this attracts wildlife.
Learn more from MSPCA about how to humanely live with wildlife, including advice on critter-proofing your home and what to do when you discover an orphaned animal.

If your dog spent a good chunk of the winter, cashed on the coach, eating a few too many sweet potato chews, you also want to be gradual about bounding into a spring exercise regime. “Often, pets get overly excited to go outside and strain themselves,” says Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow. “Make sure you monitor your pet and start slow before engaging in strenuous physical activity.”

Still, there's no denying it’s a perfect season for launching a daily exercise regime. Dawn Marcus describes the health benefits and a plan for starting a successful walking plan.

Finally, another ritual of the season, spring cleaning poses risks for our pets. It’s important to think smart about your cleaning. Many cleaning products are irritating or even toxic for dogs. Invest in eco-friendly products, such as homemade cleaning solutions featuring vinegar or enzyme-based cleansers.

Thursday, March 28

Pup Saves Hiker

I love rescue stories about dogs, more specifically, when the dogs are doing the rescuing! Such amazing animals.  Here is a great rescue story about a dog named Mole that found a hiker that was was stuck on Mount Rubidoux in Riverside County, you may have seen it on the local news the other night.  What a great dog and lucky hiker!

Riverside, CA, resident Ramon Llamas and his dog, Mole, regularly hike on Mount Rubidoux in Riverside County. It's their routine, three to four times a week, according to KABC-TV. Mole likes to scramble off the trail on his own and check things out.  
But this time, Mole found a hiker who had been trapped for four to six days, without food, and far enough from the paved portion of trail that nobody could hear his cries for help. The trail receives a constant stream of hikers, some with baby strollers, out for daily exercise, but they were all out of range.
"[Mole] likes to go look in the rocks and he kind of pulled me over, pulling and crying and I said, 'What's going on boy?'" Llamas said.
Llamas followed his dog warily. He thought Mole might have found a coyote lurking in the outcropping of rocks, or some other danger. He approached slowly. He peered in. He saw a pair of eyes. Llamas asked if the man needed help. The man definitely needed help.
"He said, 'I need water, please don't leave me.' So I gave him water from my backpack and in a minute he said, 'You got more?' So I give more water," Llamas said.
Llamas got some other hikers and they called 911. Firefighters with the Riverside Fire Department's Technical Rescue Team made their way to the location and rescued the man.
"He was severely dehydrated. He was conscious. We were able to talk to him, but we could not fully get all the information out of him," said Riverside Fire Capt. Bruce Vanderhorst. "He was slightly confused with his timeline of events."
"In talking to him, he came up here during the night time," said Vanderhorst. "So we think he was unaware of his footing, slipped in between some rocks and slid down to the location where he was." 
"He was almost in a standing position wedged down," said another firefighter. "He actually got really deep down inside. It's a good thing that the dog located the victim."
The man was very disoriented but is being treated for dehydration at a local hospital and is expected to be fine. The fire captain said that if another day or so had passed, he would have died.
It bears mentioning that Mole, the hero dog, is himself a rescue.

Friday, March 22

Boot Camp Dog Training

I read an article in that I thought was wonderful!  It was on Boot Camp Dog Training and it really expresses how I feel about the whole thing.  I am asked all the time if I do Boot Camp style dog training or Board and Train, my answer is no, because it doesn't embrace my style of training.  I have done a couple of Board and Train's earlier in my career and it was because of these experiences that I saw why it doesn't work.  The dog can be a perfect for me, but I am the one that bonded with the dog.  Once home the owner doesn't have the bond and doesn't have the experience and usually doesn't keep up on the program so the dog goes right back to where they were when they brought them to me.  No matter how much time a trainer spends explaining this or teaching how to keep up the behavior, if the owner doesn't value the training, it will not work.

This is a strong point in my training style, building the relationship between you and your dog.  The experience of training creates a bond and a language between the two of you.  You learn how to listen to your dog and your dog learns how to listen to you.  The experiences you have, the frustration, the successes, the time of celebration, all of that is what the training experience is about.  That genuine happiness and sense of pleasing you that your dog gets is the ultimate high for them and the same with you when you see your dog get it.  Those are the moments that are mutually celebrated and creates a bond that is strong and connects you a little more.

Below is the article from, it points out a lot of important facts and things to consider if this is something you are considering for your dog.

Have you ever wanted to ship your dog off for a “boot camp” training situation, where someone does all of the work for you and returns a perfectly mannered dog? It’s a tempting scenario, particularly if you’re at the end of your rope with your dog. The knowledgeable trainer works her magic while you get a blissful week or two off from dealing with the barking, peeing, leash pulling or whatever it is that drove you to seek out a trainer in the first place. Though it sounds like a dream, the results can be anything but.
One of the most worrying aspects of boot camp dog training is that you don’t know what’s happening to your dog when you’re not there. Though the trainer might describe the training technique to be used in vague but reassuring terms, unless you’re there to witness it, you have no idea exactly how your dog is going to be handled. For example, one of my new customers dropped his dog off at a local boot camp facility while he was on travel and returned to discover that the trainer had used both a choke collar and a shock collar on his dog. He immediately noticed that his normally exuberant dog seemed suppressed, even prior to the post-camp training demonstration with the trainer. Unfortunately, my customer didn’t think that the facility would use such heavy handed techniques for basic obedience training.
Worse yet, sometimes the boot camp scenario takes a horrifying turn when the trainer injures, or worse yet, kills the dog in his or her care. It’s shocking, but it happens, as these articles illustrate.
I’m not suggesting that all boot camp training will result in a dog abuse. I know of quite a few excellent trainers who offer “board and train” options (which is a much nicer name than “boot camp”) in addition to group classes. I’m sure the dogs in their care end up with some cool new tricks in their repertoire, but I still feel … conflicted about the scenario.
Training isn’t just about ending up with a good dog. Indeed, that’s a huge part of it, but training also helps you develop a stronger bond with your dog. Working through training exercises as a team creates a sense of accomplishment and adds a new layer to your relationship. You learn to read your dog more accurately, listen to what he has to say, and respond accordingly. Those experiences often happen during the minutia of dog training, where an advance during a daily practice session turns into a reason to celebrate. That said, I know that I’m being naive in assuming that everyone takes as much interest in training as I do.
Though I understand the allure of sending an untrained dog away like clothing to be dry cleaned, I feel that it’s so important to be a part of the training process, no matter how challenging the dog might be. Training can be frustrating, annoying, exhausting and at times, seemingly fruitless, but it’s a necessary rite of passage that every dog guardian should experience firsthand.
It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

Again, I agree totally with this article and couldn't say it better myself.  I just love that last line, "It's not always easy, but it's always worth it."  Well said.  I find that most people want training to be easy, but as with anything in life, it is not easy.  I have yet to talk to one parent that thinks raising their child from birth to adulthood is easy, but they do it and they read books, talk to professionals, go to classes in some cases and do their best to give their child everything they need.  In my opinion, dogs should be no different in the sense that your consult books, professionals or go to classes to learn how to provide the best home for your dog.  You will be happier understanding how to communicate with your dog and your dog will be happier understanding how to please you.

Happy training...

Thursday, March 21

Another Recall Alert! This Time Natura

There have been so many recalls lately, what is going on?  This is the 4th recall of food or treats since February.  Please be sure to check your food and treats each time you see a recall alert, if your dog ingests anything that is contaminated it could be deadly.  The scariest part of the recalls is that these are not little brands, these have all been popular, major brands.  Especially this latest recall, the brands effected are very popular.

Below are the last 4 recalls from the most current (Natura, which includes California Natural, EVO, Healthwise, and Innova) back.  Thank you Dogster for your detailed information.

Pet-food maker Natura Pet Products Inc. announced a huge recall of its dry dog and cat foods earlier this week because they may be contaminated with salmonella.
It's the first recall by the company in more than 21 years. However, the recall involves many different varieties of food in four extremely popular brands: California Natural, Evo, Healthwise, and Innova. 
The list of affected products by these brands is long; check here for specific titles and descriptions, sizes, lot numbers, and UPC codes.  
According to the company, the affected products were made in a single production facility during a two-week window in December 2012. Routine testing by the Michigan Department of Agriculture collected from a single retail location tested positive for the presence of salmonella.
No illnesses have been reported. As a precautionary measure, the company is voluntarily recalling all products from this production window. 
The affected products were sold in bags through veterinary clinics, select pet specialty retailers, and online in the United States, Canada, Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Costa Rica. The product expiration dates range from Dec. 17, 2013, to Jan. 2, 2014.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "pets with salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian."
Again, be sure check the full list here if you use any of these brands.
For more information, call Natura Pet Products Inc. at (800) 224-6123 or visit the Natura Pet website.

Bravo is recalling two-pound tubes of Bravo's Raw-Food Diet Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats because of the presence of salmonella. 
An example of the hanging tag (with a date not involved in the recall) 
The recall affects only those tubes made on June 14, 2012, and no other sizes or Bravo products are involved. Look for the ID code 6 14 12 on the white hang-tag attached to the bottom of the plastic film tube. The tubes went out nationwide to distributors, retail stores, and Internet retailers.
While Bravo's own third-party testing did not detect salmonella, routine testing by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture done on samples collected from a single retail location tested positive for presence of salmonella, according to the FDA
There have been no reports of illness. 
According to the FDA, "pets with salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian."
Obviously, a raw food product containing chicken is something to handle carefully, but Bravo appears to have a good system in place, despite this episode. According to its Quality Assurance page, every Bravo raw diet product is sent to an independent laboratory, Northeast Labs, and tested for the presence of bacteria -- and the results of those tests can be sent to customers. 
"No product leaves our plants until we receive confirmation the the product has tested to be free of bacteria," it reads. "We do not subcontract production of any of our products to outside third-party sources. We carefully select the sources from which we buy the raw ingredients, we control how it is handled after delivery to our plant, we control every step of the manufacturing process, and we use human grade ingredients and no animal by-products in any of our formulas."
To contact the company, call 866-922-9222.

Steve's Real Food of Murray, Utah, a maker of raw dog food, is recalling five-pound bags of Turducken Canine Diet (eight-ounce patties), due to potential contamination of Salmonella. 
The patties were distributed to retail stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, California, Minnesota and Tennessee.
The "potential for contamination" came to light after routine sampling of one bag by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. 
According to the FDA, "pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and have these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian." 
Interestingly, Steve's Real Food CEO Gary Bursell says the problem could be the result of a problem with the bags and is not a sanitation issue, according to Pet Product News.
“We use a biodegradable film on the bags, and we've had problems sealing the patty bags, not the nuggets,” Bursell said.
“We sanitize our production facility between every product run,” he adds. “Our plant operates just the same as any human food facility, and everything we've got out there is clean stuff.”
Photo via Steve's Real Foods' Facebook page. 
The recall affects about 240 bags, or about 1,200 patties. The recalled product comes in green-and-cream-colored biodegradable film bags with lot number 209-10-27-13, with an expiration date of October 27, 2013. 
Call Steve's Real Food at 801-540-8481 if you have questions or concerns.

Kasel Associated Industries of Denver, CO, announced a huge voluntary recall this week, incorporating ALL products manufactured at its Denver plant from April 20 through September 19 of last year. 
The reason? Possible Salmonella contamination. However, Kasel says it has not received any reports of illness in connection with the products.  
The Kasel brands being recalled include Boots & Barkley, BIXBI, Nature’s Deli, Colorado Naturals, Petco, and Best Bully Sticks. The specific products number nearly 50, including all manner of dog treats, including bully sticks, chicken jerky, pigs ears, beef ribs, beef knuckles, lamb jerky, pork femur, buffalo hearts, pig snouts, lobster tails, knee caps, beef liver, hearts of lamb, pork jerky, chicken-stuffed femur bone, smoked-beef femur bone, and more -- the list is long. 
If you have have products from any of these brands on your shelves, check the FDA page to identify UPC codes, lot numbers, and best-buy dates for the infected products here.  
According to the FDA, "Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian."
If you have questions, call Kasel Associated Industries at 1-800-218-4417.
In other recall news, Nature’s Variety has announced a voluntary recall of one batch of Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula due to plastic pieces found in bags. The company says the clear plastic pieces present a choking risk to dogs, though it fails to mention the source of the plastic. 
The recall includes the following products with "Best if Used By" date of 10/04/13:
  • UPC# 7 69949 60137 1 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions, 3 lbs. bag 
  • UPC# 7 69949 70137 8 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions, 27 lbs. case 
  • UPC# 7 69949 60127 2 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula patties, 6 lbs. bag 
  • UPC# 7 69949 70127 9 – Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula patties, 36 lbs. case
The affected products were distributed through retail stores and the Internet in the United States and Canada. The company says no other products were impacted.
If you have questions, call Nature’s Variety Consumer Relations team at 1-888-519-7387.

Friday, March 15

Tamara's Training Tips: Discipline/Punishment

Discipline and/or Punishment is a topic that I address with every client.  It is also something that is at the forefront of my mind all the time as I see people on the street administering it to their dogs.  There is a constructive way to do this, in my training it would be a consequence for bad behavior and there is a wrong way to do this which can be just plain abuse. 

It is important that your dog understands boundaries and you know how to enforce them but also make sure you keep your relationship in tack and not simply use fear to rule your dog.  You want your dog to listen to you and trust you, not be feared into acting a certain way.

The strongest consequence for your dog is to take your attention away from them or ignore them.  But this is not always possible.  For those moments I recommend a squirt from a spray bottle, a clap of the hands, or possibly a time out. 

For ignoring, this is a good consequence for things like attention seeking behavior, teaching loose leash walking, manners in public or with visitors in your home, jumping up and other similar bad behaviors.  Remember that ignoring means, no looking at, talking to or touching your dog.  An example on how you would use the ignoring method:  Your dog is really excited when he sees other dogs on the street, as soon as he starts pulling and whining to get to the other dogs, you shorten your leash, stop talking to him, do not look at him and do not touch him, simple keep walking directly by the other dog and when your dog returns to walking beside you and doing a behavior you like, you reward him with a "good boy", eye contact and a pat on the head.

The water bottle is a great tool for excessive barking, unruly behavior on the leash, chewing, biting and many, many other things, but those are a few common ones.  When you use the water bottle you need to simply squirt your dog and try not to look at, talk to or touch as you are doing it.  Remember, the water bottle is the consequence, not you scolding or physically punishing your dog.  An example of use of the water bottle:  Your dog barks excessively at every noise outside.  When your dog begins to bark (I usually allow 1-3 alert barks) give the command you have chosen for "quite", when your dog continues to bark, squirt him with the water bottle.  When he stops barking, say "good boy", give eye contact and pat on the head. 

Clapping of the hands is usually used for most of the same things the water bottle is use for.  You can administer it in two ways, it depends on the sensitivity of your dog.  The first is to simply be in the room with your dog and clap when you see them doing the unwanted behavior.  The second is to get your hands close to their face and clap for the unwanted behavior.  An example of use of the hand clapping:  Your dog is chewing on your couch, you walk into the room and clap your hands loudly.  Your dog looks up and goes right back to it, you walk closer to your dog and clap right in his face, he moves away from the couch, you say "good boy", give eye contact and pat on the head.   For chewing specifically you should also then give your dog the appropriate chew toy to continue chewing.

Time out.  This is a method that is commonly mis-used.  First your dog has to be crate trained or trained to be in a room without you without the onset of major anxiety.  Usually this is used if your dog is being overly hyper, refusing to listen, or being a unruly with guests human or canine.  An example of using the time out method:  Your dog has a play date over, they are playing nicely until there is a fight over a toy.  Pick up the toy, put your dog in the crate (and the play date in theirs if there is one), after 5 minutes or when he is calm, let him back out and continue play.  Be sure when he comes out to at least say "good boy" or give a little pat on the head, this would be the "make up" period so your dog understands you are no longer angry at him.

The most common things I see that make me cringe are the use of leash corrections or leash pops with a choke chain or prong collar and the use of "spanking".  Traditional or Compulsion trainers do use physical punishment on dogs that are exhibiting unwanted behavior.  But this is not my type of training, this type of training is based on your dog fearing you or you have complete dominance over your dog.  There is no relationship and the only reason your dog "obeys" you is because they fear the punishment.

These types of corrections may get what you want in the moment, but they will not get you what you want long term.  Further, I believe any time you raise your hand to your dog, that is not training, that is abuse.  I see it everyday, a spank (smacking the dog on the rump with an open hand), a nose flick or finger slap (flicking the dog's nose with your finger or firmly tapping on the top of it), face/muzzle grab (tightly grab the dogs muzzle to yell or scold), or kicking/pushing the dog with your feet.  All of these I consider abuse.  There is never a need to physically punish your dog to this degree, a water bottle will more than get the job done and if that doesn't work, there are many humane ways to clearly say to your dog, don't do that.

If you have a dog that you feel needs discipline, give us a bark and let us help rebuild your relationship!

Thursday, March 14

Michael Vick Still Making Headlines

I have to say, I am sick of Michael Vick, but the reason why he is in the headlines has my blood boiling!  A couple of weeks ago it broke that Vick has purchased a Belgian Malinois, named Angel.  That immediately made me sick to my stomach and had me wondering why on earth would any breeder allow that man to have this dog?  Does anyone else remember why Michael Vick wanted to own a dog again, it was for his kids.  It was because he didn't want his children to be punished for his mistakes and to lose out on the companionship of a dog.  Well, that is a great statement his publicist put together.  It had to be his publicist because it is a bunch of bullshit!  Are you kidding me?  You got a Malinois for your children?

This is a man that has demonstrated that he cannot handle having a strong, high drive, high energy breed.  This is not a breed that is known to be good with kids, this is a breed that is most notable for their police and military work.  Up until now this breed has remained (for the most part) out of the hands of thug like people such as Vick and dog fighters in general.  But now that other dog fighters see what Vick is doing, one can only speculate that this may lead to another fighting outbreak but this time not Pits, Malinois.

Vick was seen at Petsmart in dog obedience training (by himself, not with his kids) and it is said that he signed up for 6 classes, but this doesn't make me feel any better.  Though they say it is not a publicity stunt, I have serious doubt about that.

My hope is that the proper authorities continue to monitor Vick so he doesn't have an opportunity to start another horrendous dog fighting ring and ruin 100's of dogs from another breed.  It is inspiring to see that his attempted book tour was stopped by outraged people.  He served his time, he is free, he is legally allowed to own a dog and he has met all of his required duties as spokesman against dog fighting.  But the one thing I never saw was remorse.  I do not believe he is sorry for what he did, I believe he is sorry he got caught.

Bottom line, Michael Vick is a master of cruelty, torturer and murderer of  dogs.  This type of person should never be allowed to handle, let alone own, the beauty, innocence and love of a dog.  But I judge thought differently, so now we all need to just cross our fingers that our legal system will work this time and he will do right by this dog he now has.

Thank you to Dogster and Crossing Broad for your coverage!

What do you think?  Give us a bark!

Friday, March 8

DTLA 5K for You and Your Pooch!

Attention all runners, dog owners and people that want to do something fun, healthy and dog friendly!  California Hospital Medical Center (CHMC) of DTLA has organized the first DTLA dog-friendly 5K, Heart of the City 5K run/walk on April 14, 2013.

Below is little more about the event.

This should be a great event and I hope all you DTLA dog owners get your dogs out for this event.  Running can be a great reward for a dog, but be sure you train your dog to run!

Register online today!

Thursday, March 7

Dogs in the Workplace

Having spent 10 years in Human Resources prior to becoming a dog trainer, I read just about every survey there was about employee happiness in the workplace.  It has not been a secret for quite a while that pets in the workplace reduces stress and increases productivity and overall happiness.  Yet this is a hard thing to convince many workplaces to take on as a policy,  usually due to liability or someone at the top not being a pet person.  Now, as a trainer, I find myself  still asked about this on a fairly consent basis.  Everything from "is it true?" to "would you come and talk to my boss?". 

The article below from Petside addresses this topic quite well.  It is from one companies perspective, but it demonstrates the positives of a pet friendly workplace and the rules that should accompany such a policy.

The owners and employees of Indigo Wild, a company in Kansas City, Mo. that produces all natural soaps and lotions didn’t need a study to tell them that having pets in the workplace leads to more productivity and less stress.
Indigo Wild has been allowing all or some employees to bring their dogs to work since the company moved from Emily Voth’s kitchen, who founded the company in 1996.
The company, which has 13 full time and 20-30 part time employees at any given time, has at least 10 dogs in the factory each day.
“There’s just a lot of happiness and furriness,” says Leslie McGuire, marketing manager. “Every dog just has a routine and will go around to different people for treats; it’s a lot of fun.”
That’s basically what a study found that was conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and released last March.
The study was conducted at Replacements Ltd., a retail business in Greensboro, N.C. The company has 450 employees and there are between 20-30 dogs at the business with employees each day.
The study was conducted over a period of a week, using saliva samples and surveys of people who brought their dogs to work, people who did not and people who didn’t have pets at all.
Stress hormone levels tested through saliva samples showed that all three groups of employees had the same at the beginning of the work day, but rose for those employees who didn’t have their dogs at work and those who have no pets at all. Employees who brought their dogs to work with them showed a decrease in stress hormones throughout the day.
The study also showed other less measurable positive influences such as employee interaction with each other and each other’s dogs.
McGuire says that Indigo Wild has never completed formal surveys on employee satisfaction and stress levels from being able to bring their dogs to work, but says that the company is an overall pet-friendly place and everyone likes the atmosphere.
Not all employees at Indigo Wild are allowed to bring their dogs to work every day, says McGuire, but there is a monthly event, Dog Day Afternoon, in which all employees are allowed to bring their dogs, as long as they have a current health certificate from their veterinarian.
“You would think there would be dog fights, but there aren’t,” says McGuire. “We have a dog run outside of the building and many of the dogs really like to play together.”
Many of the employees who bring their dogs to work have worked for the company for awhile. McGuire says there aren’t a formal number of employees who can bring their dogs, but it is limited and employees have to wait for a spot to open to be eligible. “We just have too many employees for everyone to bring their dogs,” says McGuire.
Dogs also aren’t allowed in the production area.
As for McGuire, she brings her five-year-old pug, Daisy, to work with her each day. McGuire has worked for the company for nearly three years and says when she applied, she wrote her letter of introduction in Daisy’s point of view and attached a photo of Daisy to the letter and resume.
“I knew it was a place where you could bring your dog to work and that was definitely an incentive for me to apply,” says McGuire. “I think Daisy’s letter and photo got me noticed as the first thing Emily said to me when she called me back is that I have a cute Pug.”
Indigo Wild has a total dog culture; it not only allows pets in the workplace, they produce Y.U.M. (Your Untidy Mutt), a line of dog soaps that contain essential oils, a spray to keep pet beds fresh and a candle to help eliminate pet odors from the home. 
The company is also a supporter of the Kansas City Sheltie Rescue, donating a $1 of the sale of each bar of  Y.U.M.

What do you think?  Should pets be allowed in the workplace?  What are the guidelines?  Do you get to have your pet at work?  Give us a bark!

Friday, March 1

What's Up Downtown March!

WOW!  2013 please slow down just a little!  I am having a hard time believing today is the beginning of March.  But I am also very excited, March and April are my favorite months.   March holds a lot of fun for us Downtown!  These are some of the things I am looking forward to...

March 5th is the mayoral election, don't forget to get out and cast your vote!

The L.A. Marathon will be coming through Downtown on 3/17, cheer on the runners or just remember about the street closures.  I think there are still spots left, so if you are runner, sign up!

3/17 marks another special occasion, St. Patrick's Day!   There are many celebration options, pretty much any bar in Downtown will be having some sort of special or event that day.  The four I know of are Casey's 41st Annual St. Patrick's Day street festival, L.A. Live's St. Patrick's Day festival, Down & Out's (5th and Spring) celebration and of course Dublin's (7th & Flower).  Or you can always host your own party and look out your window at all the drunk people walking through Downtown, it proves to be quite entertaining every year.

After the day of celebration, you may be ready to try a couple of new places in our neighborhood.  If you need flowers or a nice centerpiece try Glasswing Floral on 6th and Spring.  There are a couple of new spots to eat/drink, I am interested in the Ham & Eggs Tavern in the financial district on 8th & Grand.

This just scratches the surface, there is so much to do DT!  Get out there and explore the city, with or without your dog.  I would recommend leaving your dog at home for your St. Patty's celebration, they will not enjoy it as much as you.