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Twenty Years of Travel Across The Pet Industry Landscape!

Written by Niki Tudge. Copyright 2011

Dip, ABT, Diploma. Animal Behavior Technology, Dip, CBST. Diploma Canine Behavior Science and Technology Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers -CPDT-KA, APDT – Professional Member, NADOI-Certified,The Canine Behavior College. Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Association of Animal Behavior Professionals – Professional Dog Trainer, American Kennel Club “Canine Good Citizen”™ Evaluator, The International  Training Board, TS1, TS2,TS3

How My Journey Began

I began my journey into the pet industry over twelve years ago. The industry had a very different landscape then. A dog trainer was somebody you called for advice on how to attain the leadership role in your home. The belief was that each and every day you awoke and got up from your bed you had to fend off a hostile leadership takeover spearheaded by your pet dog. The professional advice dispensed was all about how to make your dog OBEY!

Many of the readily available methods were far from humane and in many cases extremely ineffective or dangerous to the well-being of your beloved pet. Searching the internet for dog training books was another challenge. They were hard to find and when they could be located it was not unusual to read advice like “if your dog does not sit, then pull up strongly on the leash while pushing down hard on the dog’s back end.” This is actually a very tempered example.


Much of the professional emphasis was placed around punishing your dog and teaching them who is the boss. These methods and dispensed advice led to many misguided pet owners. Even in the year 2000, I could not comprehend these methods nor was I about to embark on a dog training journey with my first pet dog using such an unpleasant approach. An approach that appeared to be physically and mentally intimidating to my dog and proved to be highly aversive to me and I was at the more preferable end of the leash.

Training wasn’t the only challenge back then.  If you needed professional care for your pet while you vacationed and you were insightful enough to recognize that a commercial boarding kennel may not be a wise choice for your little ‘fluffy’ then you probably tried in-home pet care. This pet care would normally have been negotiated with your neighbor over the garden fence on a warm Saturday afternoon. This contracted labor agreement left some poor press-ganged teenager, who had other ideas about how to spend their summer vacation, caring for the family pet.  I know this all too well. Yes, I was once that begrudging and often belligerent pet-sitting teenager set loose into the homes of our neighbors to feed and water precious pets. I fondly remember a regular client of mine, Hercules. Hercey, as he was fondly called, was a large Ginger Tom who headed up the pet coalition in our neighborhood. Hercules intimidated all and any dogs that crossed his path. He certainly kept me on a tight feeding schedule with his insistent body rubs and shrill meows.

In my earlier years I don’t ever recall the need for dog walkers. Our neighborhood dogs took themselves off for their daily romps. It was a very usual sight to see Scruffy, our neighborhood’s resident canine, happily wandering around while his family members were at work and school.

So here we are at the end of 2011. Oh how things have changed. The marketplace is now saturated with dog trainers, pet-sitters and dog walkers.  Pet care books and the latest training fads are published at a fast rate. Because of the growth of the pet industry it can be difficult determining what works and what doesn’t.  The methods, philosophies and techniques of many  ‘experts’ on dog training and pet care  can be buried in the marketing message and industry jargon often hiding  obsolete techniques, questionable methods, regressive philosophies or damaging equipment choices.  As in any industry, Pet care professionals range from the highly professional to the 21st century version of the reluctant and now more technologically savvy teenager left to care for a beloved pet.

The DogSmith was created to provide a place where like-minded professionals can be more easily found by clients looking for highly effective, force-free, pet care and dog training professionals. The DogSmith provides a one-stop resource for clients who want highly professional pet care providers and dog training professionals who are honest in their marketing, force-free in their methods and highly ethical in their business practices. So if you have found yourself agreeing with my take on the industry then learn more about The DogSmith here



Pet Travel – The Stress Free Way -The DogSmith Pet Travel Guide

First published in 2008

The DogSmith Dog Training, Dog Walking & Pet Care Company. Oxford Mississippi.

The DogSmith Guide to Pet Travel. This is an article first published in 2008. Having just traveled by road for 12 hours with  four dogs I was reminded that traveling with pets can be stress free if you plan and pack accordingly.

Whether you are traveling by air, car, train or foot, carefully consider the needs of your pet and thoroughly review the options available to you and plan accordingly. You should always consider your pet’s health, safety and preferences when deciding whether to take your pet with you or leave them home with a qualified pet sitter. If your pet becomes anxious, motion-sick or does not enjoy new and different situations, especially older dogs, then the best choice is often to leave them at home where they feel safe, secure and comfortable. Always do what is best for your pet. If air travel is involved, then leaving pets at home with a good pet sitter is usually the preferred option.

When you do travel with your pet, deciding what to take is always a good place to start. Depending on the mode of travel and the length of the trip, you will need to pack any necessary medications and medical records, especially if your pet has chronic health problems or is currently under a veterinarian’s care for an ailment. And the appropriate paperwork is essential if your travels take you across international borders (see the links below for specific requirements).

Then you will need the basics like food, food/water bowl, pet first aid kit, bed, leash, collar, required tags (ID and rabies), and grooming tools if your dog requires regular grooming, pet waste bags, crate, and toys (especially an interactive or chew toy that will keep them entertained). You will also need litter and a litter tray or disposable litter trays for your cat. Just in case, take a recent photograph along. It will be much easier to locate your pet if it becomes separated from the family if you have a photo to show people. And if your pet has an imbedded ID chip you will need to have the phone number of the company and your account details so you can immediately contact them.

Your pet should have its own bag so you know where everything is and can grab items when you need them. Don’t forget to carry some water if traveling by car, and remember to take enough of your dog’s regular food for the entire trip. If you can’t find the same brand on the road, abruptly changing a dog’s diet can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, something to be avoided while traveling. It is always best to stick to their regular feeding schedule as well.

If you are traveling by car and your pet is unaccustomed to car travel, begin preparing in advance of any long trips by first getting your pet comfortable in the car and then take it on several local trips of increasing duration. This will help minimize the risk of motion-sickness and help it become accustomed to car travel. If your pet appears to be prone to motion sickness consult your vet. Your dog should never be allowed to ride in the passenger seat, on your lap or allowed to run loose in a moving car.

Always use either a crate or one of the available safety harnesses or other barrier systems to restrain your pets. Restraining your pet is as important to their safety as buckling up is to yours. Some states even require restraints on pets in a moving vehicle. Restraining your pet serves the same purpose as our seatbelts; they help protect your pet in the event of an accident and they keep them from distracting the driver or jumping out an open window. Restraining your pet also maintains control of your pet when you stop for gas or a snack.
Crate-training your pet at home pays big dividends while traveling (see our free e-book on crate-training at www.DogSmith.com).

Not only does the crate provide a safe place for your pet while traveling when secured to the seat or floor of the vehicle, but your pet will feel at home, safe and secure in their comfortable crate wherever your travels take you. And crates are the most effective way of restraining cats and small dogs in a moving vehicle. Your local pet store will carry a variety of styles, sizes and makes.

For larger dogs, or if your pet prefers, there are also pet restraints available that work with your car seat belts or cordon off part of your vehicle. There are a wide variety of styles and types including harnesses, seat belt attachments, car booster seats, and screens and netting that create an internal barrier in your vehicle. Which ever method you choose, make sure it fits your pet and car, is comfortable and your pet will tolerate wearing it for hours at a time. And keep your pet’s head inside the car window to avoid eye injuries. Stop every two hours; this is advisable for you as well as your pets. Stretch your legs and take a walk. Be a responsible pet owner and don’t forget the pet waste bags and antibacterial wipes. Finally, never leave your pet alone in a parked car. They may attract thieves and can easily become overheated and distressed even on a cool day.

Traveling by air is always stressful for an animal so visit your vet well in advance of the planned trip to make sure your pet is physically fit and don’t fly your pet unless it’s absolutely necessary. But if you must, always check with the specific airline carrier and ask about all regulations (see the websites below for more information). Find out what their requirements are including quarantine periods at your destination and if your pet qualifies to ride in the cabin or must be sent as checked baggage. You will need to determine the container requirements, check-in times and health documentation needs as well.

Always use a good quality container in good condition; many mishaps occur every year from pets traveling in damaged or poor quality containers.

If your pet must travel as checked luggage use a direct flight and travel on the same plane as your pet. Don’t travel when temperatures are forecast to be above 85 degrees F or below 45 degrees F. When you book your flight ask the airline if you will be allowed to watch your pet being loaded and unloaded and when you check-in, request that you be allowed to do this. After you’ve boarded, notify the Captain and the head flight attendant that your pet is in the cargo area. If your flight departure is delayed or has to taxi for longer than normal, ask that they check the temperature in the cargo area and report back to you.

Even if you know that your pet is a nervous flyer it is not advisable in most situations to use sedatives to calm them. According to the American Humane Society and the American Veterinary Medical Association, sedatives for air travel are not recommended because it is much more difficult for an animal to regulate their body temperature and maintain their balance and equilibrium if they’ve been sedated. Because of the altitude and temperature of a plane’s cargo area pets that fly in the cargo area are also more susceptible to respiratory and cardiovascular problems if sedated.

Before any trip get your pet’s papers and medications in order. Learn about the area you will be visiting in case there are diseases or hazards foreign to you and your pets. Your veterinarian can give you advice if you will need any additional vaccinations or medications. Have your vet perform a routine examination on your pet.

Get any required legal travel documents (for air travel, contact the airlines for specifics that you’ll need to give to your vet), make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and get any medications your pet might need during the trip. If you’re giving your pet medication specifically for travel test them on your pet several days before you travel to ensure the dosage is accurate and that there are no adverse side effects. Depending on where you’ve been, another examination by your vet after your trip might be a good idea to check for parasites such as, roundworms, tape worms, hookworms, heartworms, ticks and fleas, that were picked up while you were away.

If you are traveling overseas there are very strict and detailed regulations for transporting pets. Be sure to follow the vaccination requirements exactly. You don’t want your family pet to undergo any unnecessary quarantine periods.

Pets are an important part of the family so be sure to take the time to plan and properly prepare them for the family vacation. By planning ahead and knowing what to pack, what to expect, and what to do each step of the way, you will ensure that your pet has a safe and stress-free holiday.

For additional information and specific requirements  of helpful websites you can download this article in a FREE  e-book from our website resources section.

About The DogSmith
The DogSmith was founded in 1998 by Niki Tudge, a leading proponent of positive animal training techniques. The DogSmith mission is to enhance the lives of pets and their owners by improving their relationship and the quality of the life they share, through; 1. Providing professional support and training to Pet Dog owners, 2. Supporting and assisting animal shelters and rescue organizations to minimize the number of unwanted animals and 3. Offering affordable and professional care for family pets. To learn more about the DogSmith and their ARRF® and MTR® methodologies visit www.DogSmith.com. If you are interested in becoming a dog trainer, schedule a free consultation or watch our web cast here

If you need to know more about health care, visit Mississauga Coast2Coast trainings.

How to Become a Dog Trainer, a Professional, Certified & Competent Dog Trainer!

Dog training is a fulfilling career and can provide a good level of income. There are so many ways to open a dog training business and each method has its strengths and weaknesses. Dog Training as a career, like many professional service businesses, requires not only effective technical skills but also requires that the business owner has competent business skills.


The Association of Pet Dog Trainers recommends that you look for a training school that offers a good training program. There website describes a good training program as covering the following topics.  a) History of Dog Training, a complete history of dog training from late 19th century to the present and a comparison and contrast of dog training with other animal training endeavors. b) Animal Learning, classical and operant conditioning, positive and negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment, conditioned reinforcers, discrimination, generalization, habituation, sensitization and desensitization, blocking and overshadowing, motivation, establishing operations, conditioned emotional responses. A comparison of dog learning to human learning. c) Dog Behavior, dog development and ethology, genetics of behavior, fixed action patterns, social signals, body language, social development, critical periods, hormonal influences, breed characteristics. d) Designing Classes, how to design your courses/instruction materials once you graduate. How to counsel individuals, motivate handlers/owners, how to screen and steer clients.

There are many schools and online courses that can be attended to learn and gather the required theoretical knowledge to learn about dog training. However as James Kesel in his article titled, A Career in Dog Training quotes “more dog training businesses fail as a result of poor business practices then because they are doing a poor job of dog training” Peggy Prudden in her article on the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors website says “to be a good dog trainer one must be physically fit, goal oriented, self-starting, and love dogs. It takes a lot of stamina, patience, understanding, insight, common sense, and fortitude to dedicate one’s life to training dogs”

Becoming a Dog Trainer like many professional services requires that you also have a broad knowledge of business skills if your goal is to make a career and earn a living out of the profession.  Many service professionals are good technicians, are able to perform the actual skill of their trade, but are lacking in the knowledge and experience of opening and operating a business.  Business finance and marketing are equally as important to the success of a business as being able to actually perform the dog training skill and these skills are acquired through business degrees and years of experience in a business environment.

Online courses offer an academic overview of dog training whereas on site dog training schools also compliment the academic studying with practical hands on dog training experience. Once you have completed your studies you then join the business sector as a small business owner. Unless you bring to your new career an academic background in business management or have previously worked in a business environment your endeavors’ are going to be difficult.

Dog Training franchises offer both the academic dog training curriculum and the hands on practical skills and provide a lifelong partnership and business relationship that has all the necessary support functions, skills and experience to assist you in your business success. Dog Training Franchises that are not selling systems with a huge capital outlay at the beginning are seriously invested in your business, if you succeed they succeed. A good dog training franchise will be on hand pre-launch, during your launch and continually to support your business growth.  A good dog training franchise will have a leadership team with a proven track record of owning and operating pet care businesses. The leadership team will offer expertise in business finance, marketing, operational effectiveness and will have offer a dynamic and benevolent leadership style committed to your personal business needs.


Sourced http://www.apdt.com/trainers/career/default.aspx December 4th 2009

Sourced at http://www.nadoi.org/howdoi.htm December 4th 2009

Visit this website and review the following pages to get a clear understanding of how a dog training franchise can help you. http://www.DogSmithFranchise.com

Click here to learn more about a professionally developed Dog Training School Curriculum

Read testimonials from DogSmith Franchise Owners


The DogSmith MTR Training Skill # ‘Watch Me”

Teaching your dog eye contact exercises are very effective for a) getting their attention if you are about to give them a cue and b) dogs do not naturally stare into each others eyes. This exercise helps to reinforce your dog for looking directly at you.

The full set of DogSmith MTR cards can be downloaded from our website. www.DogSmith.com

If you would like to take this behavior to the next level and build a strong duration ‘watch me’ behavior then contact your local DogSmith, they will be happy to help you

Becoming a Dog Trainer Can Be a Daunting prospect!

Starting a new business is a daunting prospect for anybody, whether you are a budding entrepreneur or just an ordinary individual that wants to do what you love for a living. Whilst we all dream about quitting the day job that we hate and working for ourselves, there are many factors to consider and the process has to be fully thought through if you want to stand a chance of succeeding with your dream business. By joining The DogSmith you remove much of the ‘start up’ headache. Learn how The DogSmith can help you get started in your own Dog Training & Pet Care Business. More information

he DogSmith® Dog Training and Pet Care Franchise is the only full-service pet care company in the US.

* No experience necessary
* Low investment, low risk, high payoff
* Get paid to do what you love
* A fun, flexible lifestyle working with animals
* Give back to your community every day
* Build wealth by investing in your own business

Top Twenty Reasons You’ll Love Being a DogSmith
DogSmith® School for Dog Trainers

Are you Safe or Dangerous From Your Dogs Perspective?

Dog Talk By Niki Tudge, The DogSmith

A question I am often asked is; how do I punish my dog when it does something bad?

When I hear this question I often react physically and emotionally. I shake my head at the cruel connotations of the word punishment. Why, you may ask, does this word evoke such a strong reaction? Well, it is all about context and application. I normally hear the word punishment used as a description of how a pet owner handled their dog when the dog had “been bad”. “I smacked him on the butt”, or, “I pushed his nose to the ground”, or, “I struck him with his leash”. My aim when talking to these owners is to take the opportunity to help enlighten them on dog behavior and introduce them to the world of non abusive, kind, fun, and effective Pet Dog Training.

So, how should you “punish” your dog? Let us first understand a little more about punishment. What is punishment? In the behavioral world punishment is something that decreases the likelihood of a given behavior in the future whereas a reinforcer is something that increases the likelihood of a given behavior in the future. To further complicate this, dog trainers and behaviorists talk about a positive reinforcer and a negative reinforcer, positive punishment and a negative punishment. The positive and negative components do not mean good and bad they mean to add to (positive) or to take away (negative).

There are two kinds of punishment, positive punishment where something bad starts and negative punishment where something good ends. Positive punishment, such as hitting a dog, or shouting and screaming, can physically, emotionally or psychologically harm the dog. This type of positive punishment should never be an acceptable way to behave toward our Pet Dog.

Positive punishment may produce a quick result, but studies show that in the long term this kind of punishment does not reduce the likelihood of a behavior occurring in the future and can in fact strengthen the unwanted behavior. A good example of this is hitting your dog for not coming to you when you call it. Over time, the dog learns that it is punished for being near you. Dogs are very in tune with associating other things present when consequences of behavior happen.
It will then evade coming to you and the punishment escalates as the dog’s unwanted behavior strengthens in a vicious circle until the dog is being beaten or the owner is being bitten. The dog is more likely to return to you when called if the behavior is positively reinforced; you reward the dog for returning.

Positive punishment is not a clear method of communicating with your dog. It is almost impossible to ensure the dog knows what it is being punished for. Positive punishment destroys the relationship we have with our dog as we move from being a person of safety to a threat in the eyes of our dog. This kind of punishment leads to a total break down of trust and respect and moves the dog into escape, avoidance or aggressive behaviors.

Negative punishment is when a good thing ends. So if your dog is not behaving take away a privilege, remove a toy or stop playing with them. It is only fair before administering any type of punishment to ask

A. Have we trained our dog so they understand the desired and acceptable behaviors we seek in any given situation
B. Is the punishment fair and consistent or do we change the rules of the game each day
C. Is our dog getting enough exercise and mental stimulation
D. Is the punishment I am applying damaging my dog, is my dog fearful or disconnected?

If you are punishing your dog and it is not reducing the likelihood of the behavior then you may be abusing them. Humans tend to escalate punishment when punishment does not work, thus making the punishment worse to the point of it becoming abusive. Abuse is physical or psychological injury caused by mistreatment or the misuse of power associated with authority. The International Positive Dog Training Association (IPDTA) defines abuse in training and behavior modification as the use of any tool or technique that was created or used with the intent to cause harm to a dog including but not limited to; injury, pain, fear, or mistrust, be it physical, psychological, emotional or behavioral. So ask yourself, if I truly love my dog would I abuse it when there are alternative methods that work to reduce “bad dog” behaviors? You should come to realize that as the dogs owner you have many aspects of control because you provide all the resources, thus you decide when good things start and stop. Using this principle you can reliably reward and reduce the behaviors you want in a fair, humane and effective way

© 2008 Niki Tudge

Independence Day! How Independant Are You?

I always considered myself an independent individual until i left the corporate world and became a pet care business owner.  Learning to become a dog trainer and opening my own business finally gave me the  freedom i had only been able to dream about. Finally independence from the corporate world and the chains of a job.

There are so many benefits to becoming independent and opening your own business.These are not in any priority or order of importance.

  1. No more commuting and this saved time can be spent exercising and training my dogs before I go to my office.
  2. Talking about going to the office, my commute time is about 2 minutes and I can wear whatever I like.
  3. I never have business appointments before 8am unless I choose to schedule one
  4. I can work when my brain functions best and do not have to conform to a corporate time clock schedule.
  5. I never have to worry about office politics, I can make well thought out decisions without worrying about the internal gossip group.
  6. Domestic chores are easier as you can schedule appointments and tasks when everybody else is at work.
  7. My office environment is fun; I can play music and be comfortable making my time far more productive.
  8. I benefit directly from my work input
  9. I get to do what I love, every single day
  10. There are many tax advantages to working from home and having your own business
  11. I spend more time with my family
  12. There are no more Sunday evening blues
  13. I no longer have a dry cleaning bill each month
  14. Each day I can have a positive impact on the lives of dogs and cats
  15. My work day is extremely varied, at times I am balancing a bank account and then I am making creative decisions about a marketing campaign
  16. I am doing what so many other people can only dream about doing.
  17. I cannot be fired and have the ultimate in job security.

Think about it, are you ready to open your own business, do you dream of working with animals, becoming an animal trainer and being able to positively impact the lives of dogs and cats each day, sometimes guaranteeing them safety and security. www.Petindustryfranchise.com

Take the tour, watch a short webcast about how you can claim your Independence. Never work another day.