Pawdoption Guide Podcast

Pawdoption Guide

The Pawdoption Guide Podcast explores the challenges and benefits of dog adoption. Every week you can expect Bethany Muir, seasoned Registered Veterinary Technician and proud rescue mum, to bring new insight and advice on dog adoption topics like sourcing local adoptable dogs, adoption applications, Petfinder, rescue interviews, house tours, bringing your rescue pet home, pet integration techniques, positive reinforcement training and finding solutions for post-adoption dog behaviours. Find it all here for great success no matter where you are in your pet adoption journey!

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Episodes

How to Curb Your Rescue Dog’s Excessive Barking | Episode 30
Jun 30 2022
How to Curb Your Rescue Dog’s Excessive Barking | Episode 30
For this episode, I dip into my blog archives to bring you an integration topic that is applicable to rescue dog owners whether you’ve had your dog for a few days, months or years. We’re going to discuss a very common complaint dog owners have and that is EXCESSIVE BARKING. This is not just a rescue dog problem, it is relevant to all dogs and truly the biggest factor in whether the behaviour is exacerbated or addressed is YOU, the dog owner.Most owners can identify something that triggers their dog to start barking excessively and if you can I don’t want you to be ashamed. Barking has always been one of the hardest behaviours to address in dogs. It takes consistency but you can certainly turn things around if you employ the right tactics.To figure out the right tactics to use we must first figure out why your dog is barking.Ask yourself this question while I identify all the reasons why your dog could be barking and what the appropriate responses are in this episode of the Pawdoption Guide Podcast. If you’re experiencing excessive barking because your dog has separation anxiety read my blog on reducing stress for your pet, find the link in the show notes.https://www.pawdoptionguide.com/blog1/6stressrelievingtipsforyourdog/howtoavoidseparationanxietyNow that you’ve addressed your dog’s barking behaviour it might be time to make sure their leash skills are up to snuff with my FREE Mini Course: Tools, Aids & Techniques to Walk Your Dog with Confidence.
How I Went from Managing to Thriving with My Reactive Rescue Dog | Episode 28
Jun 2 2022
How I Went from Managing to Thriving with My Reactive Rescue Dog | Episode 28
If you’re listening to today’s episode, you might just be the owner of a reactive dog. Maybe you are way in over your head with your dog, maybe you knew exactly what you were getting into - just like me, or maybe you know a reactive dog and this just piqued your interest.What does the term “reactive dog” really mean?Well I polled my Instagram followers to find out what the term “reactive dog” means to them and this is what they had to say: “Aggressive”“A dog that reacts (lunges, whines, barks etc.) to certain environmental triggers”“A dog that is aggressive when certain stimulus is in their environment”“A dog that reacts to anything more than necessary for any reason”“Many assume dog reactivity is negative or aggressive but it could just be a new environment, to me it means a dog that reacts more than docility - it doesn’t have to be aggressive”You guys weren’t way off, aggression and reactivity ARE different things. There’s a few factors that can cause your dog to overreact to something in their environment: FEARFRUSTRATIONPAST EXPERIENCEGENETICSBe sure to listen to the entirety of the episode to find out what influenced my rescue dog Rory’s reactivity. I’ll share how I went from merely managing my reactive dog to thriving with her using the four approaches below.Advocating for your reactive dogManaging your reactive dog’s environmentCounter-conditioningConsistently pivoting If your dog has leash reactivity, find out the exact steps I took to go from embarrassed to confident with my reactive dog via my FREE Tools, Aids & Techniques to Walk Your Dog with Confidence Video Course .
4 Top Health Concerns to Assess Before Adopting a Dog | Episode 27
May 19 2022
4 Top Health Concerns to Assess Before Adopting a Dog | Episode 27
Many people are determined to buy purebred dogs or puppies out of fear that they will otherwise take on a dog that has health issues.Trust me, I get the fear of having to fork out a lot of money after just investing in getting a new dog. However, I can tell you that with my experience in a vet clinic, it is a lot more common for puppy owners to be requiring extra vet care rather than the newly rescued dogs. We often didn’t see rescue dogs for months or up to a year after they had been adopted because they had been recently and thoroughly vetted.Nonetheless, I want to help make sure this isn’t a barrier in you getting a rescue dog.I certainly had a leg up by being an RVT when adopting my dogs, I did a physical exam of both of my dogs during their meet and greet, prior to adopting them. But you don’t need to be an RVT or a vet to assess your dog for some of the most important health concerns and health indicators. You just have to prioritize looking in the right places and asking the right questions before you confirm your dog’s adoption. You might be able to start assessing some of these in the dog’s profile photos but the final word will come from the rescue’s medical records and your in-person visit with the dog at your meet and greet.Listen to the full episode to hear my 4 Top Health Concerns to Assess Before Adopting a Dog.It’s up to you whether your dog fails or passes your assessment. None of these health concerns need to be a reason to not adopt the dog but, as always, the more informed you are the more likely you will be set up for dog adoption success and be ready to tackle any concerns.Remember that pet insurance only goes so far. If the dog you are interested in has been assessed by a vet who has noted any concerns, these things will not be covered by pet insurance as they will be considered pre-existing conditions.If you’d like to be more prepared in your dog adoption journey, check out my Dog Adoption Application Survival Kit
3 of the Biggest Mistakes Small Dog Owners Make | Episode 26
May 5 2022
3 of the Biggest Mistakes Small Dog Owners Make | Episode 26
This week’s episode was inspired by the many dog owners in my neighbourhood who have recently gotten small dogs. While watching them go on walks or hang out in their front yards, I’m reminded of the term “Napoleon Syndrome.” It basically refers to the idea of a small statured guy who overcompensates for his size with an incredible hunger for power, control and conquering everything in sight.Small Dog Syndrome is based loosely on this premise. Many small dogs can be quite unruly, aggressive, territorial and quickly secure leadership of the household. This is not something your dog is born with, it’s something we as owners or past owners have taught our dogs.Three of the biggest mistakes I see small dog owners making are:1. Babying or Humanizing their DogA small dog allows you to easily pick the dog up and carry it with you everywhere. This often leads to no clear separation between owner and dog because of this you may see that your dog deals with separation anxiety, territorial behaviour or is often stubborn.2. Lack of Obedience TrainingMany dog owners start out with good intentions for teaching their dog basic obedience but when it comes to being consistent small dog owners are a lot more likely to drop the ball. Why is this? Because teaching your large breed dog to walk well on leash is a necessity or you may be in danger whereas a small dog that is unruly on leash is always physically manageable despite their behaviour. The same goes for a small dog vs. a big dog jumping up on people. It’s unacceptable to be greeted by a large dog jumping on you but a little doing the same is easily shrugged off because it does not have the same impact and social expectation. 3. Not Setting BoundariesThrough babying and humanizing our little dogs we spoil them with all the freedoms of the household. This leads to a lack of leadership and encourages your dog to pick up that role.Allowing your pet on furniture at all times will likely lead to excessive or nuisance barking if you have a little dog that thinks they rule the roost. Even something as simple as regularly sharing your human snack with your dog on your lap can alter the dynamic between the two of you.All three of these mistakes feed into one another and help to create a small dog with a big attitude.So, how can we curb these behaviours?Treat your dog like a dog, stop carrying them around everywhere and use a leash to guide them to the right behaviourGo back to the basics and require manners from them; on leash, when they greet people, in the house, in the car - everywhereLimit their freedoms, regain control by being in control of their toys, food and furniture. Adjust what they can have and when. Try switching their free meals to training sessions so that they can work on important behaviours with great motivation. Remove their ability to be on furniture and eventually work up to allowing it with invite-only.Grab my FREE Walk Your Dog with Confidence Mini Course if you’ve struggled with walking your dog on leash and you’d like to turn that around today!
Red Flags that Scream “Dog Rescue Scam” | Episode 25
Apr 28 2022
Red Flags that Scream “Dog Rescue Scam” | Episode 25
Because of the work I do to help people adopt dogs from dog rescues and shelters across Ontario, I occasionally get feedback from people regarding their personal experiences with dog adoption. In the past year, I have had 6 people share strange and abnormal adoption experiences with me and 5 out of 6 of these experiences have been with the same Toronto-based, GTA dog rescue that I will not name for legal purposes, but think you’ll be able to figure out by the time you’re done this episode or reading the comments on social media. The term scam is defined as a deceptive act or operation. This term covers more than just the people on Petfinder posing as dog rescues that are taking your money before you even see a dog. It also applies to the RARE dog rescue or shelter that is misleading adopters by failing to provide support, care and information that is necessary for the health and safety of everyone involved in the dog adoption process. The five experiences that were shared with me fit the description of a deceptive operation. So today I’m going to, anonymously, share some of these experiences as these people have either received threats to not speak about this dog rescue or are fearful because this rescue organization is known for trying to hush whistleblowers. So, listen along as we point out the red flags present in these experiences, as well as some additional red flags I recommend you watch out for in order to avoid disreputable dog rescues while searching for a rescue dog.Please note that 1 red flag does not a scam make but three or more is a sign that you would be best to look elsewhere!MORE DOG RESCUE RED FLAGS 🚩🚩🚩- Dog not spayed/neutered or up-to-date (UTD) on vaccines- Dog is currently out of country and brought in after adoption is confirmed- Not getting to meet the dog before confirming adoption- Adoption profile is short and doesn’t mention any concerns or negative traits; things you will need to work on- Minimal adoption process- Require full payment or down payment before meeting dog or even requiring an application feeFor a complete list of dog rescue red flags to watch for, get my Is this a Scam? Checklist HERE.Other than the lack of care for the dogs involved in some of these cases, the absolute worst thing about these scams is that they deceive people who are trying to do good; often FIRST TIME DOG ADOPTERS or volunteers and fosters that are desperately needed. Please know that there are MANY great rescues out there saving dogs and rehoming them for the right reasons, the least of which is to make a profit or receive notoriety for having massive intakes.Take note when large groups of people have negative experiences with an organization, especially when those experiences are in each aspect of it; working, volunteering and adopting. The rescue organization we spoke of today is not calculating the collateral damage that is incurred when you bring 100 dogs from Texas across the border with a lack of volunteers, fosters and finances in which to care for them. This organization is lacking in any REDEEMING qualities. If you’re interested in learning more about dog rescue scams I recommend you check out the links below.Affiliated linksListen to PG Podcast episode #6, How to Use Petfinder and Avoid Petfinder ScamsUnaffiliated Links:Redemption FlawsToronto Star Article About a Rescue Dog Scam by Jennifer Yang Instagram Account Sharing Dog Rescue Scam Info
The #1 Thing that Trips People Up When Adopting A Dog | Episode 23
Apr 7 2022
The #1 Thing that Trips People Up When Adopting A Dog | Episode 23
The other day I celebrated 3 years of my dog adoption business, Pawdoption Guide. I’m happy to see how far I’ve come in this business and this very podcast is one of my favourite things I’ve created to date. I really appreciate you being here, week after week!Over these past 3 years I have talked with and helped a lot of dog adopters and without fail I find that there’s one part of the dog adoption process that always trips people up and that is the dog adoption application.Why does the dog adoption application do this to people?One, they don’t expect this to be the very beginning of the process, they expect to get some feedback on the dog or more information before putting in this effort. Many people viewing dog adoption profiles aren’t necessarily sure about the dog at this point so it can be jarring to think of expending much time or effort to just find out a bit more information.Two, they are overwhelmed by the difficulty of the application itself. Dog adoption application questions can be hard to answer, they can be lengthy and preparation is likely required.Lastly, most people don’t enjoy interviews and the dog adoption application can sometimes feel like an interview on paper. Most people are shocked at some of the more complex questions on the application and suddenly feel frustrated and offended by the barrier the application can be to dog adoption. It feels a bit like a test and so I do find it brings out a lot of insecurities in adopters and it’s very easy to just give up at this point and say “Hey, I don’t need this, I’ll just go get a dog from that farm, the next town over.”How you can overcome this hurdle in the dog adoption process:Use social media to your advantagePrepare for the applications before you start: get your references and vet info ready, make sure your pets are up to date on vaccines and annuals (this matters!) and use my Are You Ready to Get a Dog Freebie or get my Application Survival Kit to give you the full picture of how to make your application excel.Try to embrace this part of the process: prepare so you can get good at it, don’t be afraid to apply to more than one dog at a time, save your answers to your application on a Google Doc or even screenshot your answers so that you can reuse responses for future applications with the same questions.Submit general applications by finding dog rescues within your search radius that take general applications. This process often allows you to apply once and if approved, the dog rescue wwill keep you on file or will take you on as an approved adopter and give you first dibs for compatible dogs.Lastly, get all the help you could need within the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience, Not only do you get the Application Survival Kit (for half the price I might add) but you also get my Southern Ontario Dog Rescue Spreadsheet which will help you immensely in finding a compatible rescue dog. On top of this there’s opportunities to ask questions during biweekly Q&A calls and within the private community along with a host of other great dog adoption and integration resources.LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE: Simple prep for the dog adoption application: Are You Ready to Get a Dog Freebie Your tool to conquer applications and stand out amongst the crowd: Application Survival Kit Get assistance with all things dog adoption (start to finish - including puppy training and integration training) here: Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience
3 Reasons Why Social Media Could Be Cramping Your Rescue Dog Search | Episode 22
Mar 31 2022
3 Reasons Why Social Media Could Be Cramping Your Rescue Dog Search | Episode 22
If you have followed me for much time you’ll know that I believe there’s an art to finding the best rescue dog for you. Sure, sometimes things just fall into your lap but otherwise, it takes some straight-up dedication to find your perfect match. I’ve found that a lot of people who will say they are looking for a rescue dog are really just searching casually on Facebook and Instagram while occasionally checking Petfinder. To me, this is the best way to get frustrated and prolong your search. In this episode I’m going to shine some light on why this approach is not setting you up for success and a few ways I am going to encourage you to search like it’s your job and to me that means frequently, consistently and thoroughly. FYI: This is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter. Let’s capitalize on the effort you’re putting into finding a compatible rescue dog.3 reasons why social media could be cramping your rescue dog search:The Algorithm: Social media has an algorithm that determines what you get to see. If you are seeing a particular post it likely means that this post is quite popular and has a lot of engagement. The likes, share and comments are a good indication of this. So when you see an available rescue dog show up on your feed it’s likely that that dog has received a decent amount of interest and if you choose to apply you will likely be applying for a dog that is going to get A LOT of applications. Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean it’s not worth applying it just means you are entering a much bigger pot so there will be a good likelihood that someone else will outshine you in the application process.The Timing: Often, but not always, available dog profiles are first put up on the dog rescue’s website or their Petfinder profile. Because there have been large numbers of applicants for dogs, many rescues will cut-off applications at some point in order to spare themselves an impossible task. This means it’s helpful to find the profile first on their website or Petfinder because if the profile is there you can almost always apply, whereas by the time you see that profile on social media you are more likely to go to where you need to apply and find that they are no longer taking applications. I’m sure you’ve seen those social media posts from rescues where they post a dog but say they’ve already received sufficient applications or are “no longer accepting applications.” You can avoid this by going right to the source.The Discouragement: Not unlike a lot of things on social media, if you perform your search and constantly see dogs that are not filtered or are highly sought after you are likely to deal with a lot of mental dialogue. For instance, you may be seeing a lot of dogs that don’t meet your needs or you may get a bit invested from seeing their picture before you really know much about whether this dog is suitable for you, all because there’s no way to filter on social media (unlike Petfinder). On the other hand, if you are seeing popular dog rescue posts and do get excited and are thinking about applying you often see the number of post likes, shares or comments and immediately think “Well, why bother - there’s hundreds of comments and there’s no way I’ll get the dog!” This ability to see others’ interest just allows you to cast doubt on your ability to adopt the dog. It truly NEVER hurts to try if the dog’s profile is compatible with you - no matter how many people have seen the post but many people will be influenced by the overwhelming response these posts get and will discount it altogether. All of this creates a sense of impatience because you are bombarded with pictures of available dogs that don’t suit you or seem unreachable. Impatience is your biggest enemy in your search for a great rescue dog. That is why I suggest you keep your social media search casual for adoptable dogs. Put the time and effort in elsewhere while allowing the Facebook and Instagram rescue dogs to slip into your feed. Listen to the full episode to get some tips on bettering your rescue dog search or join the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience to get assistance during the entire search, application, adoption and integration process - stop struggling and start thriving with your rescue dog.
Where Do Rescue Dogs Come From? with Liz Sauer of New Collar Collective | Episode 21
Mar 24 2022
Where Do Rescue Dogs Come From? with Liz Sauer of New Collar Collective | Episode 21
When I say the words “rescue dog” what pops into your head?Do you envision street dogs in the Caribbean scrounging for food? Is it a more general image of a timid dog cowering in a corner or do you just see a dog in a kennel at a humane society or shelter?Well, I’ve come to learn that rescue dog is a LOADED term. So many of us, even those of us that are familiar with owning rescue dogs, have preconceived notions about rescue dogs, where they come from and the issues that arise from this.It really grinds my gears that we’ve all been trained to think of rescue dogs as less than their counterparts which are purebred dogs, puppy mill dogs or backyard bred dogs.That’s why I’m taking the opportunity to get the opinion of the rescue on rescue dogs; who they are, where they come from and what situations they’ve been in. Let’s get a more appropriate perspective on rescue dogs in 2022.Many thanks to Liz Sauer, Co-Lead of Intake and Founding Member of New Collar Collective, for joining me in this podcast episode. Have a listen as we discuss myths and misconceptions about rescue dogs, dog overpopulation, finding a reputable breeder and insights into the current dog adoption process, including what Liz’s best advice is for adopters currently struggling to adopt.Looking for help adopting a dog? I have a membership for that! Join today to stop struggling and start thriving with your rescue dog. CLICK HERE to find out more.
5 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Second Dog | Episode 20
Mar 17 2022
5 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Second Dog | Episode 20
We’re going to take a closer look at the beginning of the adoption journey which starts with the decision to adopt. More specifically today, the decision people make to adopt a second dog.There’s many reasons people choose to do this. When we decided to add Rory to the mix, we were looking for a companion for my dog Geller. We thought he’d appreciate having another dog around for when we started having kids and that another dog might encourage him to play or be more active as he was pretty happy being a couch potato at the time.Getting a companion is one of the most popular reasons people get a second dog. Otherwise, some people do so because they want something that their first dog isn’t providing, or because they have more love to share and room to spare and want to help a homeless dog. Heck, I’ve heard lots of people get a second dog because their first dog is older now and they never want to be without one.So many motivators for getting a second dog, but I want you to know that two dogs is not always better than one. It’s really easy to picture all the good that can come from having two dogs but we don’t often think about the hardships or the difficulties that can arise.I’m going to offer you a littler perspective on this, so that you have both sides of the story when considering this decision. Here are the 5 things you should know before getting a second dog:DYNAMIC CHANGE: All animals have social structures, even if that structure is existing independently. So when you go from having 1 dog to having 2 dogs there is a dynamic that is created. This dynamic can have an effect change dog dynamics outside of the home too or with previously known dog playmates. For instance, our resident dog Geller w had been pretty easy going with new dogs in the past, we would visit dog parks and in general he kept to himself or associate with one or two other dogs. He was mainly there for unlimited roaming! Rory was very social and easy going with other dogs when we got her. She easily met and got along with other family dogs. However, we visited the dog park once or twice after getting Rory and immediately they behaved differently with the other dogs at the park. They acted like a pack. Geller was the first to display some aggression towards another dog and with that Rory quickly provided back up with barking and growling. We gained control of our dogs before any harm could come to the other dogs and attempted another visit like this before realizing that they now acted like a team, Geller would instigate if he felt threatened and Rory would join in. We immediately stopped taking them to dog parks or off leash areas following this. This dog aggression extended to our walks and became something we had to undo - with no sign of it having existed before we added a second dog to our household.NEW NUISANCE BEHAVIOURS IN RESIDENT DOG: Another challenge can be that your second dog brings with it some less desirable behaviours that require training. That’s not surprising - you expect to work on some things with them but what can be upsetting is if the resident dog starts to follow the new dog’s example. Most often, barking can be one of those undesirable behaviours that is contagious. You see it in shelters or kennels all of the time where one dog starts barking and the rest follow.Unfortunately, it can go both ways, if your current dog exhibits some negative behaviour, let’s say separation anxiety, it’s possible the new dog may follow their lead. In our household we had a great deal of difficulty walking Rory for the first while after adoption, once we started walking them together, we didn’t have a great handle on Rory’s training yet and she would still pull, this encouraged Geller to start pulling when he had previously been an easy going dog on walks.If you’re struggling with dog walks or feeling embarrassed by your dog’s behaviour on lead, you can ditch your fears and gain control today with my FREE WALK YOUR DOG WITH CONFIDENCE MINI COURSE COMPLICATES TRAINING: Training often needs to be done on a one-on-one basis as your responsiveness to the behaviour being offered will help dictate how fast your dog learns. With two dogs you’ll have to split your training sessions and separate your dogs so that you can focus on one at a time. This often adds another barrier to training and just reduces how likely you are to follow through with it. If you do attempt to train both dogs at once you will find you’re often torn between your dogs differing needs and giving them what they need at that moment. For instance, if your dog is a bit reactive on walks you may have to cut your walk short whilst the other dog has been good and is deserving of the longer walk. I certainly felt this in my household. I know the amount of training I can do with my dogs is reduced because it’s more of a hassle to focus on one and not the other and I will ping pong between training one at a time and training two at a time because I want to satisfy both of their needs at the same time. TRAVEL CAPACITY: You might plan to take your dog with you everywhere and anywhere but this might not always be the case with two. The size of your dogs can certainly factor into this but also the items they require for you to take along such as their food, beds, crates, toys etc.. Another factor in your travel plans is that the change in dynamic or the differing behaviour needs between the two can mean that they’re no longer easy travel companions. For instance, we took Geller camping prior to getting our dog Rory, he was a perfect camping dog. However, Rory was most certainly not, rather than taking one and not the other or possibly dealing with some dog reactivity that Geller gained after getting Rory, we chose to leave them both with the pet sitter for future camp trips.CARE MULTIPLIES: Lastly, twice the love also equals twice the vet bills, food bills and grooming. We’d have some clients come into the vet clinic with both of their dogs for annual vaccines, exams, heartworm testing, as well as getting their heartworm prevention and tick prevention prescriptions for the year. When all was said and done, they could be dropping $1000. That’s not a problem for some and if you’ve got an emergency fund or pet insurance you might be more comfortable knowing this is expected and surprises will be covered. Just a reminder that these annual or monthly costs can really add up. Looking at a few studies, the yearly cost of owning a dog is anywhere from $1500-$2500 - you will be doubling that! Another important way that your care multiplies is in the pet sitting services you require. If you have a family member or friend watching your dogs when you travel or go away, that could be more difficult with two dogs instead of one. Do they have enough space for two, is there a change in the dynamic that would make it hard for them to care for your dogs now (for instance walking them or if they have a dog at their home already)? You may find your previous pet sitter can’t help you out anymore or that you need someone to come stay at your house to watch the dogs now. If you require them to go to a kennel overnight you can expect to pay upwards of $62/night or upwards of $40 for a pet sitter. I don’t want this to all sound doom and gloom. I just know how easy it is to think about the good that can come when you adopt another dog but there is often some less desirable changes that occur too.This episode is a cautionary tale that more is not necessarily merrier. If you’ve never had two dogs before you likely wouldn’t know and that was the case for me (especially as it was pretty early on in my vet tech career when I got Rory). Even if you’ve had a second dog, no two dogs are the same so it’s not likely you’ll get the same dynamic as you have experienced before.Although I caution you, I would not change my decision to get another dog and I don’t regret it - that’s not to say I never felt that way even if just for a moment or two. I know I was meant to be their owner and I have worked so hard and still do to keep our family unit happy. However, I am not the average dog owner, I put more effort into finding training solutions, enrichment and environmental management then most would because of my career. I also am willing to spend more on my dogs because they are a top priority in my life. I really just want dog owners to know that getting a second dog is not a decision you should take lightly and that new family members are bound to change things (for the better and possibly the worst). You will need to be prepared to work harder and address scenarios you haven’t had to before yet it can be incredibly worthwhile.
3 Tips for Better Introductions Between Dogs and Cats | Episode 19
Mar 10 2022
3 Tips for Better Introductions Between Dogs and Cats | Episode 19
A common fear for dog adopters is introducing their new dog to a current pet. There is good reason for this!  Some pets are not social or have not had to be social with other pets so meeting another animal in their home could come as a big surprise. Some pets will change their behaviour with the continued presence of another animal; it’s the resulting bad behaviours that are most concerning here. And of course, some pairings are not meant to be and could really alter safety or quality of life for your pets.Today we’re going to focus specifically on introducing dogs to cats. There are similarities between this approach and introducing a dog to another dog but there are differences as well so we’ll just talk about dogs and cats for now. First off, when introducing a new pet to the household, your resident pet’s happiness and quality of life should always be top priority. There will be some animals that can’t coexist and you should be prepared for the fact that you might have to return your newly adopted pet if you do not see sufficient progress while integrating your new pet into your household.1. A CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENTRight from the start you’ll need to make sure your environment is conducive to adding another pet. Cats will need a refuge where all of their resources are available to them but not the dog. This area should have food, water, bed, scratching posts, litter box and toys.  If you live in an apartment, tight quarters will make it harder to allow sufficient space for your pets while introducing them. Make sure you’ve considered the need for a separate space that acts as your cat’s “refuge” before getting a new pet. Once you have this set up, you will need to decide how you’re going to go about reducing your new pet’s access in the house. A good rule of thumb is that the resident pet should continue to have free rein of the house and the new pet should be given restricted access to start. You can use doors or baby gates to accomplish this. Baby gates allow for pets to come up to the threshold and see everything that’s on the other side without crossing it or being pursued. Now you’ll want to ensure that your cat, who most often requires more protection than dogs, has escape routes for any intentional or unintentional meetings that occur. This means having elevated spaces like cat trees, huts, shelves, tall furniture, possibly a cat door for access to their refuge or a door jam in place that will only allow the cat through.2. TAKE IT SLOWI cringe every time I hear someone say “We just let them sort it out themselves.” Sure, sometimes you get lucky and the introduction between your dog and cat is no big deal. Maybe both pets are respectful or the cat stands its ground and hisses or swats at the dog and the dog’s lesson is learned. However, if you just let them sort it out and there is a negative interaction, one of your pets could get seriously injured or be traumatized by the meeting which can make it much harder to come back from.So the best rule of thumb is to make the introduction gradual.  We want a good foundation on which to build on, not a catastrophic event. To reduce the negative exposures your pets have with each other, keep visits short and start with as much space between them as possible.3. PROVIDE CONTROLLED INTERACTIONSOnly allow your dog and cat to spend time together when you’re around to guide interactions. You’ll need to be actively supervising, that means that you’re on the ready to react as your pets react.Always have your dog on a leash and allow your cat to move freely. You can start by just having them within the same room as each other and reward your dog for calm behaviour with praise or treats. If there’s lunging or an attempt to chase the cat or the dog is on high alert, remove the dog and try again another time.  With continued interactions you’ll hope to see an increase in comfort from your pets and can reduce the amount of space needed for coexisting calmly.Members inside the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience have access to a HOW-TO Dog to Cat Intro video presentation as well as biweekly Q&A assistance with any pre or post adoption concerns.  If you need help integrating your dog into your home check out my membership HERE.
Lessons from a Dog Adoption Dropout | Episode 18
Feb 24 2022
Lessons from a Dog Adoption Dropout | Episode 18
I’d be lying if I said the dog adoption process with my clients is always the same. There’s a lot of contributing factors, including the pandemic, that can come into play and affect your plans. Today I’m going to share what happened with my last one-on-one client that motivated me to pivot to a membership program. By doing so, I hope I can paint a realistic picture of what your dog adoption journey might look like and how you can stay on track when you could otherwise derail.For their privacy, I’ll refer to my clients as Jack and Jill and their dog as Missy. Jack and Jill were new to the dog adoption game. They had some local friends who adopted from a dog rescue in the area and this had them curious about adopting, following the tragic death of their young dog.  Through our first consultation call, I could tell they were great, family-oriented and animal-loving people looking to make their house a home again. On a follow-up call we had a great deal of discussion about how the pandemic was slowing dog adoption due to a lack of inventory and slower processes because of lockdowns and restrictions. I implemented a new policy with them in order to help adjust expectations for how long it might take to find their ideal dog. Basically, we would reassess our collective progress at 6 months, 9 months and 12 months down the road and have the option for a partial refund if they wished to do so. Of course I felt it would be manageable to help them adopt a dog within 6 months but the world was a bit unpredictable at this time. Following our call, I had them fill out a detailed questionnaire called the Dream Dog Match Survey. This helps clarify the clients’ wants, needs and vision for their dog. I then take those results and make a summary for myself to get a concise picture of a compatible dog for them.Here’s what Jack and Jill wanted in a dog:Kid friendlyDog friendlyCan handle long car ridesAffectionate, gentle, not too difficult to train6m-7yrs (ideally a young adult) Not a puppyMed-large sized dog, size of dog not as important; reduced shedding idealDaily walks/outdoor activity companionSmart, playful, outdoorsy, calm, loyal, cuddlyPreferred breeds: poodles/poodle mixes, labs, border collies, aussies and dachshundsAfter this I got to work sending them profiles of compatible rescue dogs that they could pursue or deny. I sent them about 12 matches in a 12 week period. With every match I asked for feedback to better my next search and there were quite a few that I never heard back about any of the matches I had sent them. In the end, they submitted 2-3 dog adoption applications. Although no adoptions transpired from these, one application was approved by a dog rescue as a ‘preferred adopter’ which meant that Jack and Jill would now be sent compatible dogs and have first dibs with this particular organization. This was HUGE news because this dog rescue had a fairly regular and large inventory of dogs compared to most. It seemed like adoption would be just around the corner. Of course, I would still keep searching to ensure they didn’t miss out on any other dogs. Shortly after this, I asked them to inquire about a particular dog with the rescue in which they were considered a preferred adopter. Jill told me at this point that she and her partner were wanting a dog imminently for mental health purposes in their household. They had actually heard about a litter of great pyrenees x at a farm nearby and had arranged to get one of the puppies in a few weeks time. You can imagine I was a bit shocked by this turn of events. Of course I was happy that they were getting their needs met but I was concerned that this didn’t fit their vision and was not setting them up for long term fulfillment in dog ownership. For one, they would be raising a puppy which was something they specifically wanted to avoid, two - they’d be getting a dog that sheds heavily when they were hoping for non shedding or low shedding and three they were supporting a backyard breeder when they set out to get a rescue dog. None of these things aligned with their vision and what I was searching for on a regular basis. I couldn’t help but wonder where exactly we went wrong. Here’s the major reasons I think this train derailed:Communication - During the search process there was often no response to matches sent, even when I sent a follow up to encourage feedback. This is huge for me, I can’t do my job right if I don’t get more specifics and updates on preferences. There were multiple adoptable puppies that I could have sent them during this time but I I didn’t as I was staying true to their wants and needs.Impatience - Everyone starts out the process thinking there’s no rush and that they will have no difficulty being patient. However, once you immerse yourself in the world of rescue dogs or see matches regularly, your mind can get hyper focused on completing the task that you’ve set out to do. It’s important to be able to come back to your original plan and vision in order to stay zoned in on that instead. Jack and Jill were likely dealing with that impatience and weren’t communicating that with me.Family Influence - Their family situation really encouraged a need for immediacy. This could happen in any family and it’s really up to the adopters in this scenario to decide how to proceed. Only they can say how desperate they were for a dog at this point. I do question, are you getting a dog for the right reasons if you’re desperate for one. That didn’t sit well with me, but that was their choice. Unfortunately, I do believe that adopting a rescue dog was not a high priority for them so it was not too difficult to stray from their vision.Although I wasn’t required to, I gladly helped them with the integration of their puppy by providing some puppy prep, training basics, nutrition recommendations and email communication as they needed. That was the end of this client’s adoption journey.This whole scenario left me feeling disappointed though. I initially questioned if I had done enough to help them accomplish their goals and almost immediately realized I had. I was very thorough in my communication, search efforts and support. I could not have done any more than I did.After thinking on it some more, I realized my process could be a little to blame here; it was inefficient. Many of us are short on time so having a middle person like myself, feeding clients information bit by bit just added one more step to everything. This process required additional and regular email communication which was noticeably a struggle for most of my clients. It was clear my clients did not need this level of attention if they couldn’t provide adequate feedback. Lastly, I will never be able to keep on top of a clients’ shifting perspective and this means that THEY are the ideal people to be searching for compatible rescue dogs.All of this and more led me to rethink how I help families adopt their ideal rescue dog.  And now, just over a year later, I am launching my Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience.Today, these same clients could log into the membership and serve themselves as they’re directed through what’s basically a dog adoption masterclass. It’s broken down into five sections and features videos, workbooks and infographics. While working through their adoption journey they’ll have access to additional resources including my Southern Ontario Dog Rescue Spreadsheet, How To videos and biweekly Q&A calls. Also, as a part of a private, growing membership community, they will have the necessary support they need to stay on task and achieve their dream.Jack, Jill, Missy and family are probably all very happy now. They’re through the puppy stage afterall. Anyway, you can’t win them all but I’m pretty darn grateful for this turn of events.  After a year of pivoting and building this membership program out, I’m proud to be opening it to the public in just a few days!! If you or someone you know is struggling to adopt or daydreaming about a dog, you’ll want to join the membership waitlist to get the details of the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience launch. Enrollment opens Sunday February 27th!
Four Moments that Make or Break a Meet & Greet | Episode 17
Feb 17 2022
Four Moments that Make or Break a Meet & Greet | Episode 17
My rescue dalmatian Rory turned 7 today. Truthfully she turns seven some time in February and that’s all the information we got from the rescue, so I just chose Valentine’s Day as a way to remember the date.Of course, when milestones like these come up I often take a little walk down memory lane. I reminisced about the past 6 years, since her adoption - boy has it flown by! That led me to the day we first met at her meet and greet in Chatham, Ontario. So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to relive that day with you all and to point out some major moments that can make or break the adoption during this visit. Clearly, in this case, the meet and greet ended in her favour but it sure didn’t start out that way. We drove 2 hours to Chatham in the fall of the year that my husband, T.J., and I got married. We had had our rescue dog Geller for two and a half years at this point and he joined us for the ride as well. We were on our way to meet an 8 month old dalmatian, her foster parent and a volunteer for PAWR (Pet and Wildlife Rescue of Chatham). We pulled up to a house and went out back to meet everyone in the yard. We had yet to enter the gate and the dalmatian was barking quite incessantly. Not a great start. The foster parent told us to come closer and we knelt to the ground alongside her. The dog wanted nothing to do with us, avoided eye contact and our touch. It was pretty clear she saw us as strangers and felt no need to get to know us. I was at a loss at this point. I had quite a bit of experience dealing with strange dogs as an RVT at a vet clinic and they usually warmed up to me. She didn’t seem like a bad dog but she wanted nothing to do with us so how could we really assess our chemistry or her personality if things were to stay this way? My husband and I definitely exchanged a few “I don’t know about this” glances. We weren’t sure we would be bringing our other dog into the backyard at this point. My memory’s a bit fuzzy, but I believe the rescue volunteer suggested that another dog may make her feel more at ease so we brought Geller to the backyard. Again, a lot of barking occured while we came and went from the yard. Geller had a leash on as we entered the yard but after a few minutes we dropped the leash and let Geller and the dalmatian find their way to each other. It was a pretty calm introduction. Neither of them made too much of a fuss about the other and they seemed to be perfectly content coexisting. Despite Geller’s presence and comfort with us,  the dalmatian still showed no signs of allowing us to handle her. I knew this was a non-negotiable for me. I needed to know more about what she was capable of. So we asked to take her for a short walk around the block, without our other dog vying for our attention. The foster passed her leash over to us without issue. As we walked we realized that Rory had no leash manners and a short attention span. This coupled with her alert barking behaviour was not showing much promise.You see this time around I was outright looking for a challenge. Geller’s integration was for the most part smooth and I was ready to test my training skills and animal behaviour knowledge by getting a ‘project’. So I had a list of behaviours that would be more than I wanted to handle at the time and nuisance barking was one of them. I saw a lot of these dogs in clinic (german shepherds *cough *cough) and I vowed to never own one of them. This was really naive of me and I know now that there’s a lot of reasons why dogs bark and there is a multimodal approach to be taken. However, bad habits can be hard to break so I wasn’t wrong there.At this point in the walk we assumed we wouldn’t be adopting Rory. She appeared to need work on most fronts, from what we had experienced, and that was likely more than we wanted to handle. As a last ditch effort, I sat down on the grass of someone’s front lawn and invited Rory over to me, at this point she gladly came over and sat, then laid down beside me. This was a shocking turn of events considering she wouldn’t let us near her at all in the backyard. When she laid down I did a physical exam of her from head to toe to tail to assess her health but also to assess her reaction to handling. To our surprise, she let us touch her everywhere without hesitation. I really didn’t expect this. I could lift her lips up and check her teeth, touch her toes and toe nails, rub her belly - you name it. This moment changed the entire outcome of our meet and greet. Had I not done this I wouldn’t have seen her affectionate side, her tender personality or her ability to trust us. Seeing how she went from complete distrust in the backyard to content surrender with us on our walk I just knew she had an overwhelming amount of potential. I might have been sold at that point but I had to do a little convincing to assure my husband that we could handle the very apparent training and behaviour issues this dalmatian had already displayed. In the end, his worry was no match for my confidence and we brought her home with us that day.So, here’s the four major moments that were crucial in Rory’s case but could make or break any meet and greet:The first impressionMeeting your current dog Going on a walkThe handling demonstration It’s so crucial to take your time with a meet and greet in order to get as much on the table as possible. The more you know about the dog before adoption the better prepared you can be in making the choice to take on certain challenges. Having the chance to adjust your expectations at this time can also greatly reduce frustrations following adoption and help you get off to a better start.This is why the Pawdoption Guide Membership experience (launching February 27th!!), which empowers dog adopters to excel at each step of the adoption process, has a detailed Meet & Greet Checklist that takes you through these major moments. You’ll know how to greet the dog, how to assess their trainability, how to observe basic health indicators and the specifics to request while the dog’s foster parent or rescue volunteer is demonstrating handling with them. If you’re struggling to adopt the dog of your dreams, join the membership waitlist today.Just as it was with Rory, having bad behaviours crop up during a meet and greet doesn’t have to bring the process to a screeching halt. Instead, it gives you a better idea as to what your focus will be following adoption and whether you are equipped to be the dog owner facilitating that.Rory was anything but straightforward in the integration process. I tried so many approaches before finding what worked for her barking behaviour, her leash skills and her stranger danger. However, as we dealt with these obstacles, it made a huge difference just knowing that we had made the choice to improve them.As Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” My goal with this podcast and the membership experience is to make sure you are always equipped to deal with the rescue dog adoption process and preparation is key to choosing a dog that is compatible with you, creating a bond that makes every ounce of work worth the effort.
Why I Quit Working as an RVT in a Vet Clinic | Ep. 16
Feb 10 2022
Why I Quit Working as an RVT in a Vet Clinic | Ep. 16
Today was a big day for me. My 18 months of mat leave has finally come to an end and I would have been returning to work as a registered veterinary technician at the same small animal hospital I’ve been employed with for over 9 years now.But instead, I’ve chosen to take a big leap and concentrate all of my efforts on the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience whilst caring for my young family. This is huge for me because I am such a proud RVT! I have always loved what I do and have been an advocate for my profession while regularly enjoying the pursuit of continuing education. I thought I had the coolest job in the world; as a registered veterinary technician you’re ALWAYS on your feet and you get to dabble in so many things. One minute you’re prepping and monitoring a patient in surgery, the next you’re taking x-rays, running lab work, reading cytology under the microscope or providing client education. The day to day work I did was everything I had dreamed of during the 2 years I spent obtaining my college diploma for this role. That being said, working in a vet hospital is anything but perfect, although the role fulfilled me, I seriously considered leaving my animal hospital a few times during my career there but I always chose to stay for the standard of care and professionalism that they upheld. I just didn’t think anyone else could match it. So How Did I Get Here…Well, back in 2019 when I started Pawdoption Guide I had no idea when or if it would become a full-time gig. I merely started it with the knowledge that I should have a back up plan because many technicians dealt with burnout or short careers. At one point, a while back, I had heard that the average career length for vet techs was 5 years! Probably in part due to a low salary that was easily matched by that of another job. Shift work, physical demands and clinic atmosphere were most likely a factor in this too. That stat was an eye-opener for me and made me really think that I should have an alternative for what I would do after working in an animal hospital was no longer feasible for me. Now, there are certainly some technicians who stay in the field long term but I would not hesitate to say that only a few of them have children. The birth of my two children quickly changed my priorities from career to family. Unfortunately, veterinary medicine is not an easy field to be in while raising children. I quickly realized how much time I would be sacrificing with my kids if I worked the rotating shifts of an RVT. There would be weeks at a time where I wouldn’t see my kids following dropping them off at daycare in the morning. I decided I wasn’t okay with this. I’ll be the first to acknowledge my privilege to be able to make a choice like that or even have the financial stability to do so. When I went back to work following my first maternity leave I was able to negotiate a stable work schedule with no rotation. However, in doing so, I had to relinquish most of my participation in surgery duties. This was almost unthinkable for me, I loved those responsibilities and my identity as a tech was wrapped up in them, yet I did it because I couldn’t imagine the alternative. It was definitely the right choice for me and I got used to the new norm but my job no longer held the balance and satisfaction that it once had. This, along with a second child were really the tipping point for my in-clinic career. At this point I started pivoting how I was supporting families adopting dogs from one on one consulting to an online membership model. Based on my experiences serving a few families, I realized that it would be more efficient to provide all of my dog adoption resources and expertise upfront and provide routine support rather than feeding them information bit by bit. I’ve created so many resources for Pawdoption Guide like the Pet-Friendly Kids course, the Walk Your Dog with Confidence Mini Course, the Application Survival Kit and my soon-to-launch Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience and they have all enlivened my passion for dog rescue and adoption. I could never have imagined being so fulfilled by something other than my RVT duties in an animal hospital. So, with this personal growth came the awareness that I must continue to pursue this new passion.The nail in the coffin, so to say, was when I set out to write my resignation letter. I did what most people who despise writing do and googled “resignation letter template.” The template I came across looked great and had all the necessities, plus a few optional things. One of them being, to mention a memorable achievement/big accomplishment or highlight of your career.  I thought, sure, how hard could that be. I must’ve sat on that question for hours, maybe even days. I just kept reliving my 9 years as an RVT at this small animal hospital with so many moments where I took on leadership in the clinic, brought something to fruition or showed initiative. I could think of many things but I could not find even one thing that felt worthy of that title. Every example that came close had this mental asterisk beside it for one reason or another. The truth is, as a veterinary technician you do so many tasks; the accomplishments are many yet that’s all expected of you. What you don’t get is the authority to see projects or tasks through the way you may want to. You’re always overseen and managed by a vet or boss.  A lot of people aren’t fed by completing projects or providing leadership. But for me, it was suddenly and overwhelmingly clear that although I enjoyed the tasks I performed as a tech I was left feeling unrewarded because I didn’t feel I could take full responsibility for my accomplishments. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea and think that I resent my workplace for this revelation. I honestly don’t think I would have had a different result recalling a 9 year career at any other clinic. The really joyous or impactful memories for me all surrounded the camaraderie I experienced as a team or with my individual colleagues. It just comes down to the role description of a registered veterinary technician and that is to work alongside and assist the veterinarian. This was no longer serving me.In comparison, with just 2 years under my belt as an entrepreneur, I can name 10 things or more that I’m immensely proud of accomplishing and that have provided me with personal and professional growth. And with that question, I had the clarity I needed to turn my side-hustle into a full-time gig. Pawdoption Guide and the membership experience is undoubtedly the way onwards and upwards for me as an RVT.If you’d like to learn more about the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience, join my membership waitlist today!
The Top 5 Questions to Ask a Rescue Before Adopting a Dog
Feb 3 2022
The Top 5 Questions to Ask a Rescue Before Adopting a Dog
I'm all about being as informed as possible before adopting a dog. I feel this helps adopters adjust their expectations and avoids incompatibility between you and your dog! The goal is to be prepared for the big challenges you might face when integrating your rescue dog into your home. Being informed in the dog adoption journey often means advocating for your own needs by asking questions. Now, the answers to these questions may not be a simple yes or no but they should help you decipher whether you are capable of training and caring for this particular dog.So here are my TOP 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK A RESCUE BEFORE ADOPTING A DOG:Can you provide any insight as to this dog’s history or previous owners?Has this dog had any exposure to children, if so, how did that go?Has this dog shown any resistance to handling (ask about nail trims, cleaning paws, brushing and carrying)?What do you think is this dog’s biggest training hurdle or hurdles? Do you have any health concerns with this dog? (Ask about skin, eyes, ears, mouth, parasites, GI symptoms, mobility, appetite) There is a lot that goes down in the dog adoption process, outright asking this question helps to make sure no information slips through the cracks.If you need more dog adoption advice, I’ve got more extensive resources coming soon in the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience, launching this month! You can join my membership waitlist to get in the loop today.We often get caught up in being “interviewed” during the adoption process that we forget to interview the dog too! This is where some really relevant details can go unspoken so make sure to advocate for yourself and ask questions.REMEMBER: Asking questions shows you want to be prepared and that you take dog ownership seriously - this is never a bad thing!
The Secret to Finding Your Dream Rescue Dog | Episode 14
Jan 27 2022
The Secret to Finding Your Dream Rescue Dog | Episode 14
I want to start with a quote today, “People who succeed have a goal, a dream and make their plans and follow them.” The founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics said this and I don’t just believe it works, I know it works.As with any dream, you’ve got to breathe life into it by talking, writing and sharing about it or it may never come to be.When I set out to get my dog Geller I knew what I was looking for and because I had that vision in my head of exactly what I wanted my first dog to be like, I was able to fly past all of the dog adoption profiles that weren’t right for me. It’s like having tunnel vision - your brain filters out the riff raff and you just see what is within the realm of what you want.When it came to adopting my second dog Rory, it was much the same. I had always hoped to own a dalmatian and had gone to visit one at the Guelph Humane Society, his name was Stanley and he had food allergies. He was lovely but we were too late, I believe we were the 18th application put in for him and at that time it was more important to have been one of the first applications, rather than within a batch of them. However, having met him helped me know that it was possible to fulfill that dream and maybe one day I would own a rescue dalmatian. After a few months of continued searching, I came across an 8 month old rescue dalmatian on Petfinder. This time around I wanted a training challenge in order to test my dog behaviour skills. I knew what troubles I was and was not interested in taking on. For instance, I’d handle some barking, submissive behaviour and a lack of obedience but I wasn’t interested in taking on a dog with a bite history (as I knew we were looking to have children soon) as well as resource guarding or separation anxiety. Because I had these details sorted out, I could envision what I did want and it made my rescue dog search more focused.This is why I’ve included a section dedicated to dreaming about your rescue dog in the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience. Within it there’s a detailed questionnaire that really helps narrow down many factors in dog adoption in order to specify the ideal rescue dog for you. After you take this questionnaire you get the opportunity to summarize and sort the results to further solidify that vision. It’s this part that dog adopters often skip when looking to get a rescue dog. They have a general idea but are usually too flexible about what they want. They let the market or current inventory determine their wants rather than having a vision and whole-heartedly going after it until they find it.So that’s it, that’s the secret to getting the rescue dog of your dreams!It’s VISION, it’s INTENTION, it’s TUNNEL-VISION, it’s DREAMINGAaaaand then it’s being STUBBORN, it’s being PATIENT, it’s being DETERMINED to find the dog that fulfils your dog ownership dreams.At the start of this year I attended a workshop hosted by A Medium Named Bri and Wild Honey Coaching.It provided a safe environment to cultivate my dreams for the year and was a great reminder to manifest what we want in any area of our lives. I strive to do this every year and encourage you to find a ritual that works for you.I actually created a vision board on canva.com that contains images and words that encapsulate what I want to achieve this year and I think I’m going to make this another activity for the DREAM section of my membership so that they can have a wonderful reminder of the rescue dog they’re aiming to find. Because of course, there are times where people become more flexible to align themselves with dogs that they see available for adoption and I want dog adopters to push past this temptation and stay true to their dream. If you stay consistent and keep dreaming big the pay off is amazing! The commitment to your pet is also stronger because you’re like two pieces of a puzzle, and although there will still be some work required during integration, there will be no question that this dog is worth every ounce of effort you expend!So don't forget to dream when you start your dog adoption journey.  If you want to dream with me, grab my FREE Are You Ready to Get a Dog Checklist or join my membership waitlist.
Getting a Puppy the Ethical Way | Episode 13
Jan 20 2022
Getting a Puppy the Ethical Way | Episode 13
So we’re taking a bit of a detour from dog adoption in this episode. Ok, is it just me or are people almost entirely devoid of patience these days! That sounded bitter but I’ll be honest, I’m really disappointed. I’ve seen person after person choose to adopt only to be completely put off by the application phase and then abandon dog adoption altogether. They almost immediately get on KIJIJI and start searching for a puppy to get what I call their “instant dog gratification.”This just breaks my heart!1. I’m sad that people aren’t morally committed to adopting homeless pets - I honestly can’t imagine getting one any other way! 2. It’s frustrating that there are so many pets in need but the process has become too difficult for the average person to see it through.3. Of course it’s easy to get a dog on Kijiji, but you can almost guarantee that you are supporting a puppy mill or a puppy broker, which is basically a sales agent for a puppy mill.I’ve always been a cheerleader for adopting pets from rescues and shelters. Growing up,  I honestly didn’t know any other way; all of my family pets have come from a shelter or have been rehomed to us. It really wasn’t until I stepped into veterinary medicine as a registered veterinary technician that I got an inside scoop on the world of breeding and breeders. Let me just say that personally,  I WILL ALWAYS choose rescue and shelter pets over a breeder but for some, choosing a breeder is the best approach. I often suggest this approach to those with allergies seeking hypoallergenic dogs or cats. However, so many people don’t know what it means to find a reputable breeder. They’re often naive and think they have found one but really it’s just that puppy mills and brokers have just gotten really good at fooling them.Frankly, I don’t care if your puppy comes from a breeder - that is a personal choice! However, I most certainly do care if your puppy comes from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are thriving in the impulse-buying culture we’ve created. Now, more than ever people believe that “If they want it, they should have it and have it now!” That kind of mindset leads to hasty decisions, a lack of homework and eventual fulfilment of the puppy mill’s business model which is ‘ supply and demand’.My passion to support dog rescues and shelters is more alive than ever thanks to the Puppy Scammers podcast which shares about our local (Southern, ON) puppy mill crisis. Kimberley Thomas, of Kismutt Rescue, is a wealth of knowledge on episode 1 of this podcast. Her particular perspective is extremely eye-opening as she has had an insiders’ view of puppy mills in this area from a young age. I have come to understand that there will always be people who choose ignorance and impulsivity over information. I can’t help those people. However, I CAN help the multitudes of future pet owners that have had no exposure to the world of puppy mills and brokers. If that’s you or someone you know, it’s time to get informed so that we can be a part of the solution and stop the puppy mill lifecycle.How can we avoid supporting puppy mills and make sure we’re purchasing a puppy ethically, meaning from a reputable breeder?DON’T SHOP ON KIJIJI - You can almost guarantee that a puppy from Kijiji is not ethically bred and comes from a puppy mill or puppy mill broker. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Puppy List has proven to be an unregulated resource. I recommend you investigate breeders via word of mouth or provincial and regional breeder groups that can be found on Google. These groups often have their own list and tend to oversee the quality of breeders on it.SEE WHERE PUPPIES ARE BEING RAISED AND MEET ONE OR BOTH PARENTS - Are parents healthy and socialized? Take them for a walk to find out! A breeder should be proud to show you at least one parent and where the puppies are raised. Indoors is always preferable to a farm as they are often better socialized, potty trained and are breeding single litters. Puppy raisers that are breeding for mass production are not concerned about upholding breed standards and are cutting corners to make puppies accessible year-round.  DEMAND LEGITIMATE VET RECORDS - A puppy mill may provide a certificate of vaccination or health exam too but they often appear to have questionable details because they are not in fact legitimate. Things like incorrect details for your puppy, corrections on the page or a lack of knowledge from the puppy raiser should all be red flags! Do not ignore these signs as you could be purchasing an unvaccinated puppy or an ill puppy. ASK THE BREEDER QUESTIONS - A responsible breeder should happily share wisdom about your puppy and its specific breed, temperament and health status. Ask details about their vaccinations/deworming and what your puppy is protected against. Have them share their knowledge about common breed health concerns and what they've done to safeguard this puppy against those. Responsible breeders care about the people purchasing their pups, they are invested in your puppy raising journey and want to be a resource to you for years to come.Lastly, for those making the argument that they’re rescuing a puppy mill puppy from a terrible situation, I want you to consider the mother’s quality of life. Please realize that while the puppy is off to better pastures, the mother is left behind and condemned to a life of overbreeding in terrible conditions.Sharing information is one of the simplest ways we can discourage the puppy mill industry. If you’re looking for a puppy, or know someone who is, please share this podcast or this all-encompassing resource onStopping Puppy Mills in Canada - make sure to scroll all the way down the page to get great puppy purchasing tips.
5 Training Staples for when You Bring Your Rescue Dog Home | Episode 12
Jan 13 2022
5 Training Staples for when You Bring Your Rescue Dog Home | Episode 12
Let’s talk integration! By definition the word means to unify with something or incorporate into a larger unit. When discussing rescue dogs, integrating means incorporating your rescue dog into your home, your family, your lifestyle. It’s the introduction, exposure and socialization to those aspects of your life. I absolutely love helping dog adopters with this part of the adoption process because I know how overwhelming it can be and how much time you can spend searching for approaches or methods to use for varying behaviours. I also know how difficult it can be to ask the rescue or shelter for help during this time out of fear that they’re judging you, or they’ll think that you aren’t compatible. The adoption process is so grueling nowadays - it’s fair to feel this way! However, if you don’t get help with minor problems they often turn into big problems. It’s only natural that your rescue dog will have to decompress and adjust to a new environment. Even more so, if your dog came from a shelter/kennel. Take a moment with me to get in your dog’s head:You, a stranger, pick them up and take them into a new car to a new environment. Then comes more new people, new sights, new scents, new sounds and often new rules. So many new things can be overwhelming for any dog. However, there are some integration staples you can employ to make your rescue dog feel comfortable and encourage a smooth transition.ROUTINE - A great way to reduce stress for your dog during this time is to give your dog the gift of predictability. This means having a schedule that they can rely on which includes their bathroom breaks, meals, playtime, walks and down time. A good routine gives your dog a sense of security which also encourages trust with their new family.LEADERSHIP - It is tempting to cuddle your new dog to no end. In your mind you’ve brought them out of a dark existence into a world of joy and leisure and all you want to do is spoil them. However, dog’s crave leadership intrinsically. If you don’t provide direction or structure, dogs quickly seek to fill that role which often manifests itself in nuisance behaviours like barking, pulling on leash, guarding and destructive chewing. You can demonstrate leadership by doing some basic obedience training; sit, stay, down, by setting boundaries like where your dog can follow you and where they should be during your mealtimes. Even deciding when you are going to offer snuggles or pets is a way to demonstrate that you’re in charge. CONSISTENCY - Follow through is just as important as proving yourself as a leader. Don’t risk confusing your new dog by enforcing rules here or there, you either do or don’t require certain behaviour and it’s best to get anyone else in the household on board as well. Everyone should be clear on what the rules and expectations are for your new family member so that your dog is getting a fair chance at learning them.SAFE SPACE - Immediately make a safe place for your new dog to go. Either a bed, a crate or a small room are best. Ensure this safe space has a nice bed and is in a quieter spot. Start training them to go to their safe space with a place command.  First lure them with a treat to the spot and reward once they’re on it, eventually save the reward for when they’re laying down at their place. Then, encourage them not only to go to their place but to also stay starting with short periods and working your way up to longer durations. The only way they can feel this space is truly safe is if no one bothers them while they’re there (people, kids or pets). Another way to offer security when you first bring your rescue dog home is to leave a leash trailing on them when you are at home. This will ensure that you can intervene safely and guide them to where you want to go while establishing communication with them.REDUCE TRIGGERS - It’s not uncommon for new dog owners to want to flaunt their new dog. Sometimes this means an onslaught of visitors or trips to lots of different locations. It’s great that you’re excited but it is important to take your dog’s mental state into account. You don’t want to overwhelm them with too many new experiences or people. Try to take it slow and let their response dictate the pace. You will be learning what upsets your dog, what stresses them, what excites them and that could be a few things or it could be a lot of things. Try to make it a rule in the first few weeks that you only expose them to one new person, place or thing at a time. This will allow you to best support your dog as they experience things with you for the first time and avoid trigger stacking which is basically having to experience multiple triggers at once or in progression which can be overwhelming for your dog. Trigger stacking is a quick way to see your dog’s worst behaviour. Avoid dealing with too much at once until you have a better bond with your dog and have better prepared your dog for these challenges. For more integration guidance with your rescue dog check out my free dog walking mini course or join my membership waitlist to get the most up to date information on when the Pawdoption Guide Membership Experience is set to launch - which is very soon! The Membership offers regular Q&A calls with myself, a private community, as well as training resources to get you off on the right foot!