Going to a holiday party? It’s not only the humans who like to look their best anymore. Many owners dress up their dogs in festive kerchiefs or bows to help capture the Christmas spirit.
And dressing up usually requires getting a bath first. Not everyone wants to or has the resources necessary to bathe or clip their pup. And that’s where groomers come in. Many are so busy this season they didn’t have time to chat. But Hiliary Shelton Nunez, a groomer at Clip & Dip Professional Dog Grooming & Boarding Kennel in Roanoke, gave some advice for pet owners who want their fur babies to look their best any time of the year.
Why use a groomer? Why not just do it yourself?
It’s important to use a groomer because it’s very easy to injure your dog when you aren’t trained to groom. It requires a lot of patience, ability to predict the dogs every move and know how to use the equipment. Grooming requires a lot of sharp instruments. It’s very easy to cut a dog with them. When you aren’t trained to groom dogs, it takes a lot longer to clip them. Mats get left behind and sometimes the dogs will end up with brush burn from not using the correct brushes or techniques. Groomers know breed clips and are able to achieve a variety of different looks based on personal tastes without stressing the dog and with minimal chance of injury.
What should pet owners look for in a groomer?
It can take some time to find the right groomer for you. Groomers are not required to have certifications. You can ask your vet and friends for recommendations for groomers that they like. Also check online and Facebook reviews. When you find one you want to try, it’s important that their facility is clean. A good groomer will walk you through all procedures and allow you to see their grooming areas. If they will not let you see their area, that should be a red flag. Ask as many questions as you can. How are the animals handled? How long does a typical grooming for your breed take? What tools do they use? Most importantly, make sure you feel comfortable leaving your pet there for several hours.
What are signs that the groomer isn’t a good fit for the owner or animal?
There are a few signs that your groomer and your dog are not a good fit. The first is that your groomer will tell you that they are not a good match with your dog. They should know when your dog is not comfortable with them or they just do not work well enough together. Another is if the groomer is unable to achieve the cut you want. Sometimes, it will take a few tries to get exactly what you like but it should be close to what you want. Lastly, if you are not comfortable with your groomer, you should look for a new one. They should be gentle and caring with all animals in their care.
***If you have a new puppy, it’s especially important that they become familiar with handling to make it less stressful on the dog and the groomer. Our programs at The Well-Trained Dog & Pet Care address this and other issues such as loose leash walking and problem behaviors including jumping up on guests. Look at our Success Stories page on our website and visit our Facebook page. Contact us at (540) 353-2485 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help!
The Roanoke-based dock diving group, Anubis Air Dogs, will host another competition this weekend at White Rock Winery in Goodview, Virginia. This time, however, it will be part of a much larger event to raise money for Susan G. Komen to support breast cancer research.
New to dock diving? Here’s a video showing what it’s all about.
Tim Boyd heads Anubis Air Dogs and says the fundraiser will also include wine tasting from four local wineries. “In addition, there will be music, food, artisan vendors, and did I say wine and beer.” Come support the vendors and raffles will also raise money for the charity.
Fetch N Fly, a Blacksburg club, will also be demonstrating the sport of disc dog.
“K9 in the Vines Jump for a Cure” will be held from 11:30 to 5:30 Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20 for the two day event for tasters. Nontaster tickets are $10 and children under the age of 16 get in free. There are also fees to participate in dock diving. If you pre-register for dock jumping, your jumps fees include wine tasting. Unlike most competitions, there will be finals both days at this event.
If you’re using your GPS, please use the following address:
White Rock Winery
1500 Bruno Drive Goodview, VA 24095
The winery is located approximately 1/2 mile pass this address
(Look for the signs)
Click here for more information on the event. So bring out your dogs and get ready to have some fun for a good cause.
There’s a new game in Roanoke and it’s called “Fido Fitness”. This new company aims to be more than just a doggie day care. In advance of Saturday’s grand opening, I asked Laura Berg, who owns Fido Fitness along with her husband, Eric, about their new business venture.
What is Fido Fitness?
Fido Fitness is a daytime dog daycare, fitness club, and training center. It is kind of a canine version of the YMCA. During the day, from 7am – 6pm, we offer dog daycare. We do not offer overnight boarding or weekend daycare. In the evenings and on weekends, we offer Yappy Hours – where owners can come learn what dog group play looks like in safe and monitored dog park-like setting – and training and fitness classes. We have multiple indoor and outdoor play spaces for varied uses and groups of dogs.
Why did you and Eric start this business?
This is Eric’s third dog daycare. He helped to start Flying Fur in Newport, VA and Field of Dreams in Vinton, VA. After we married and moved into my home, selling his, we decided we had two choices. We could either buy the house of our dreams or build our own dog daycare, taking what we had learned from over 25 years of dog experience, and applying it to a place where we would love to leave our own dogs. Thus, Fido Fitness was born. Third time’s the charm, right?
What makes Fido Fitness different from other doggie daycares in the Roanoke Valley?
We specialize in small playgroups of dogs. Believing safety is paramount to having fun, we set a limit of 8 dogs in one playgroup. Groups of dogs are placed together based on play style, age, and special needs. Dogs are rotated through the day into various play groups, rest periods (where each dog gets his or her own crate to settle down in), and exercise or training sessions with an employee.
Are small dogs grouped together?
We group dogs based on their play style, likes and dislikes, and special needs. Size matters, but is not exclusive. If the little dog likes to play rough or does better with larger dogs that is fine. Very large dogs and very small dogs won’t mix because the risk of injury is too great, no matter the play style. We do have a special small dog play area for groups of small dogs to have fun safely in a more fitting space, with rocks and such designed for their size.
What classes do you offer?
We are currently offering weekly Intro to Flyball classes on Wednesday evenings. On Sunday nights, we hold Heads or Tails Flyball Club practices. Flyball is a team sport, where four dogs on each team race over four jumps to a spring-loaded box where a ball is ejected. Each dog catches their ball and returns over the same four jumps. As one dog finishes, another starts, drag-style. In the other lane, another team competes. Whoever gets all four dogs down and back quickest wins.
In the next few weeks, we hope to offer some Intro to Rat classes and Barn Hunt practice run-throughs both during the week in the evenings and on the weekends. In Barn Hunt, a dog is trained to use their nose to search out live rats (safe in a PVC tube) in a barn-like setting with hay bales, a tunnel, and climb. Most dogs love the chance to “hunt” and owners the chance to learn how to read their dog. The rats, too, seem to enjoy the excitement.
In the near future, we are also looking to hold Fitness classes for those dogs needing to lose a few pounds and/or just wanting to build endurance or tone up some muscles.
And finally, we are working with a few local trainers to offer some more and different training classes. These classes will be organized, planned, and run by outside trainers, but at our facility. We can’t wait to see what these trainers come up with!
What are your long-term goals?
We are hoping to become “the place” to go in the Roanoke Valley for fun and fitness. Because we offer small playgroups, fitness equipment, mental puzzles, and rest periods, we believe we are the best place for young dogs, old dogs, big dogs, small dogs, pushy dogs, and shy dogs. We also want to be “the place” where folks can come seek out and try dog sports. Once a basic obedience or manners class is completed, we are the next step, where the newest adventures in canine activities are demonstrated and taught.
Anything else readers should know?
Feel free to stop by anytime during regular business hours (7am-6pm) for a tour. We love showing off! No appointments necessary.
Where can readers find more information?
We utilize Facebook the most, posting pictures of new clients and daily videos of our daycare dogs having fun. Along with that, we post updates concerning new events and classes. Additionally, folks can find us on the web at www.fidofitnessrec.com where our application and waivers are available for download.
***Fido Fitness is located at 2037 Shenandoah Avenue in Roanoke. It’s grand opening is this Saturday from 10am to 4pm.
The winter weather is (hopefully) behind us and who doesn’t love a nice dip in the river on a hot summer day. Some dogs do more than take a dip-they take part in the sport of dock diving. You can see dogs from across the country in action this weekend at White Rock Winery in Goodview, Virginia. Never heard of dock diving? We asked Tim Boyd who heads Anubis Air Dogs from Roanoke, Virginia to describe this exciting sport.
What is dock diving?
Dogs run down a dock and jump/fly into a pool or pond. The distance is judged from the end of the dock nearest the water’s edge to the base of the dog’s tail.
How did you become involved in the sport?
I have been into different dogs sports for the last five years. I have done AKC Rally, Weight pull and Protection. One day while looking for an agility competition, I ran across a dock jumping event in my hometown. Took the dogs to the lake and let them jump off a boat dock. When the event came to town, we went and did the practice time. From there I was hooked and this is the sport I prefer to do.
What breed of dog is best for dock diving?
The good thing is, we see all breeds of dogs in the sport. Normally Belgian Malinois and Labs jump the furthest. But there are different jump divisions, so if your dog isn’t the biggest jumper, they compete with dogs that jump in the same division.
How can you teach your dog to run and jump into the water?
Your best bet is to try to take your dog somewhere where you can get in the water with him if you had to. We always suggest a river or lake with a gradual decline. You bring your dog’s favorite toy, and toss it in short – making it as easy for your dog to bend just a little bit to retrieve it. Praise your dog as soon as he gets it. Slowly, toss it farther and farther away. Your dog’s confidence builds each time they have to get the toy and you praise him. Eventually, your dog will have to swim to get it.
REMEMBER, this is a gradual process. Don’t do too much in one day. You can go again the next day. Have the swim vest on hand in case you think that he needs it, and be ready to jump in too…a lot of times a dog will learn to swim on the fly if their owner jumps in first!
Once you get your dog swimming like a fish, just bring him out to an event to try our “Practice Time”. Jumping into a swimming pool is A LOT different than a lake or river. You’ll need our help to get your dog confident jumping into a pool
Tell us a little about Anubis Air dogs.
We are a local dock jumping club in the Roanoke, Virginia area. We are all about having fun with your dogs and other people with the same interest.
If you have a list of dates for practice or events, please include that as well. You can look at Anubis Air Dogs for upcoming events. If you’re not in the Roanoke, Virginia area, there’s a link to Ultimate Air Dogs that you can maybe find an event close to where you live. We have six events between now and October. There is no regularly scheduled practice time. A couple of days (or hours) before, I’ll post it on the Anubis Air Dog’s Facebook group page.
The first event of the local dock diving season will be held this weekend at White Rock Winery, 2117 Bruno Drive, Goodview. The fun starts each day at 11am with the finals held Sunday at 3:30. The event is free.
Dogs are happy when they have a job to do and you’ll see lots of happy dogs if you visit the “Spring Breakout” flyball tournament this weekend in Blacksburg. It’s hosted by New River Rapids and will be held at the Blacksburg Community Center beginning both days at 8am. It runs Saturday until about 6pm and Sunday until 2pm.
Never heard of the fast-paced canine sport of flyball? I asked Dirk Elber, a member of the host team, to explain more about the sport.
What is flyball?
“Flyball is a high-speed team sport for dogs and their people. ‘Team’ is very much at the heart of it – you’ll see competitors cheering for their teammates’ dogs as loudly as for their own.”
How is it played?
“Flyball is a relay race where two four-dog teams race against each other in parallel lanes. Each dog jumps four hurdles, triggers a spring loaded box to release a ball, catches the ball and carries back of the hurdles to the starting line, at which time the next dog is released and the next and the next. Speed is important, but accuracy counts too – any error and that dog has to rerun, adding to the team’s total time.”
“Jump heights are determined by the height of the smallest dog on the team. The jumps can range from 7″ to 14”. Racing is timed using an Electronic Judging System which displays the dogs and team times down to the thousandth of a second. The World Record was just set this past weekend at 14.463 seconds.
What kind of dogs play the sport?
“NAFA (North American Flyball Association) tournaments are divided into divisions that that teams compete against other teams of equal speeds. All dogs, whether purebred/mixed breed, big/small, are eligible to compete and earn titles.”
How did you get started playing flyball?
“We had a high energy dog that needed some way to expend energy…. Saw flyball videos on YouTube back early December 2008. Found NRR via Google, and were at our first tournament three weeks later.”
So there you have it. Hope to see you this weekend at the spring flyball tournament this weekend at the Blacksburg Community Center. The event is free and well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome.
A few weeks ago, I found out a friend of mine was moving cross country with her elderly dog. I asked her to write about her experiences here.
Traveling with a senior dog
By Guest Blogger, Susan Geary
Our dog Emily has been a part of our family for the past 14 1/2 years. We’ve moved several times across the country in that time, and she has always moved with us. But even though Emily was an experienced traveler, we were faced with new challenges due to her age. Here is what we did to alleviate stress for us and our senior dog during a recently cross-country move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Roanoke, Virginia.
Planning and Packing
Because Emily has moved several times with us, she knows what’s going on long before the car trip. She sees the suitcases! She also has her own which contains food and water bowls, treats, poop bags, a brush, nail clippers, flea and tick protection, vet and microchip information, and anything else needed to keep her alive and well. If you’re contemplating a similar move, don’t forget ample towels for muddy feet and wet fur during the rainy season.
We have moved with Emily in the heat of the summer, early spring, early fall, and this time in late January. We found the January trip to be the easiest for several reasons. . .most notably because by this time, we were pretty experienced travelers. We kept a close eye on the weather and were able to avoid huge winter storms. None of us, or our vehicles, was subjected to extreme hot weather conditions that we dealt with during summer time treks. We didn’t have to worry about leaving Emily in the car if we ran into Walmart for an item. Additionally, in late January, the hotels were empty, and interstate road traffic was fairly light. We had alternate plans in case of inclement weather. The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck in a snow storm, especially with your beloved pets.
Food and Water
Be sure to carry enough food and water for the trip. At home, my husband would always cook for Emily. For this trip he packaged chicken and rice, froze individual meals, and then microwaved as needed from the hotel room every night. The chicken stayed frozen in the car because January temperatures dipped below freezing at night. In hotels without freezer space, we left the cooler in the car.
During summer road trips, we would grab a Subway sandwich or a salad at a truck stop and then take it to a rest area so we could all get out of the car and eat together. We noticed on our recent trip that a lot of the rest areas posted signs “no pets in picnic areas”. In January, it was too cold for a roadside picnic so instead we would find a Sonic or other drive through and eat in the car.
La Quinta, Red Roof Inn, and Motel 6 are uber pet friendly with uncarpeted floors in most of their pet rooms and no additional charge for the pet. We also stayed at Super 8 and Hawthorn Suites, where pet charges ranged from $10-$15 per pet per night. It’s important to let the hotel clerk know you have a dog. Whenever possible, ask for a room on the first floor close to an exit. You will want that for middle of the night fast potty breaks. Never try to sneak in a dog. Some hotel properties will charge an extra $250 for not declaring an animal. Call ahead and ask about their pet policy. Some hotels only have so many pet friendly rooms and they sell out quickly. Bring your pet’s bed along. Our dog never slept in the bed with us, so in the hotel it was no different.
If your dog barks a lot, use the hotel to train for a “softer bark.” We always insisted on good behavior and taught Emily to do a “motel bark.” That’s where she was allowed to alert us that strangers were on the other side of the door, but not in a loud, nuisance kind of way. Much like the Soft Dog.
Dealing with incontinence
Emily started becoming incontinent about 8 months ago. Reusable under-pads became our friend. Mostly used in nursing homes, you can purchase them from Amazon for about $10-$20. Walmart sells them as well. Emily was good about laying on them, and whenever she had an accident she would get up and move to the floor. Then we’d change the pad and she’d move back. We brought 5 of them with us for our trip and made sure to choose hotels that had guest laundry facilities. Bringing a good amount of quarters and laundry soap also saved me the hassle of fetching change at the hotel front desk, especially when they were busy checking in other guests at the end of the day. The idea is to hit the laundry room before everyone else so you don’t have to wait for an empty washer. Then you can tend to your dog’s other needs. This includes feeding and watering, a potty break, and setting up their bed for the night.
We kept our driving to about 4-6 hours per day, or 250-325 miles depending on speed limits and amount of food and potty breaks for humans and critters alike. Most of the rest areas offer doggy poop bags, but it’s recommended you carry your own in case they are out. A lot of times are they are. In our 4Runner, we gave Emily ample space to stand up, turn around, and lay down. She was never big on being crated, so instead, we secured any items in the cabin so they wouldn’t go flying into her should we stop suddenly. Bungie cords kept our luggage secure.
We acquired a ramp to help Emily get in and out of the truck about 3 1/2 years ago when it became obvious she could no longer jump into the back of our 4Runner. The ramp worked out nicely until she became incontinent and couldn’t wait for it to be attached to the tail gate. During this move, my husband Jackson lifted her in and out of the truck.
Senility / Confusion
Like people, dogs can become senile and process information slower. Emily is deaf so we used hand signals with her. New environments, such as a different hotel room every night confused her a bit, although she adapted well because she was already a well-traveled dog. It was helpful that we didn’t leave her alone. We always ordered food to-go so she wouldn’t be unattended in a hotel room or car.
In summary, traveling with a senior dog can be done successfully by planning ahead.
I’ve passed this one particular house in Roanoke several times on my daily commute for the past decade. It always put a smile on my face to see several cats just hanging out in the front yard. There was a white one, a black one, and a black-and-white one. I would even look forward to driving past and seeing the cats. Over the years, the white one disappeared. I haven’t seen the black-and-white one for several months now. . .only the black one remains which now sports a collar I can see from the road.
Recently, I noticed different vehicles coming and going from this property. There was a yard sale one weekend and a couple was doing some yardwork another time I drove by.
About six weeks ago, I got up my nerve and stopped. I got out of my car, introduced myself and told the man raking leaves I always looked forward to passing that house, just to see the cats.
John* told me the owner of the house had died recently and there was only one cat left. The black-and-white one died several months ago and was buried somewhere in the yard. The only occupant of the home now was the elderly black cat and he was on a mission to find it a home. John explained he and his wife had raised several animals, including an African Grey, and at this point in their lives, they didn’t want to take care of any more. He had contacted a Roanoke area rescue who said they wouldn’t take Charlie* because he was 14, even though he’s in good health. So Charlie had been staying there until he found a new home because there was no plan for him outliving his owner.
A recent post on Facebook was about a woman who had died and her pets were at a Central Virginia animal shelter because she hadn’t made any plans for them.
Have you ever thought of what would happen to your pets if you weren’t there to take care of them? You don’t have to be like Leona Helmsley, the wealthy hotel magnate who left her Maltese $12 million when she died, but you might want to find someone who will take care of Fido or Fluffy as their own, before it’s too late.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be in writing or in a will. I’m reminded of an acquaintance who died suddenly a couple of years ago. Several times he had asked a friend, who visited his dog frequently, to take her if anything should happen to him. So instead of going back to the rescue, his family, friends, and members of the rescue decided Shawna* should take her in. And Molly* is still there today.
UPDATE: Activity at the house ground to a halt a couple of weeks ago. I contacted John via Facebook a few days ago who said time had run out for Charlie and he took him to the pound, where he’s up for adoption.
So, as you contemplate the beginning of a new year, as yourself, “What happens when I’m not around to take care of my beloved pets anymore? It might be a good time to discuss your wishes with those who care about you-and your pets.
*names have been changed
It’s January, the start of a new year and for some families, the start of a new journey with their recently adopted dog. It’s also national “Train Your Dog” month. But with so many trainers and training methods out there, how do you choose what’s right for you? Let me suggest some reasons for why you might want to hire a trainer who will come to you, instead of you having to travel to group lessons.
If you are looking for Dog Training in Roanoke, WE CAN HELP! (540) 353-2485
Many dogs jump on guests when they come through the door. They may not perform this behavior when they’re in front of other dogs and their owners outside of the home. And you can’t effectively potty train a dog in a group class, especially if you want the dog to ring some bells or give another signal that he needs to go out.
If Fido already knows “sit”, then there’s no need to teach that from the beginning stages. In a group class, some learners may know that cue and some may not. So the trainer will have to teach it, while you and your dog might get bored with what may seem as wasted time.
No need to compete with other owners and dogs for the trainer’s attention. You’ll have the trainer’s undivided attention for the entire lesson and can ask as many questions as you like and get an immediate answer.
Going on vacation or sick one week, just call and ask to reschedule or postpone until the following week. If you’re in a group class and miss one or two lessons, you and your dog fall behind and will have to try and play catch up in future lessons.
5. Socializing and meets and greets can be built into a training program.
You can practice meeting and greeting people and dogs in a proper way, with one-on-one support from the trainer. Lessons can take place in a park, a busy neighborhood, or wherever “real life” situations take you.
Got a puppy that likes to eat tissues that are dropped in the home? That can be trained away using an individual approach because in a group situation, your dog might be the only one with that particular behavior.
***Do you wish your dog would stop doing some of the things you don’t want, such as jumping, pulling on the leash, or going to the bathroom in the house? Tried training already and still having some trouble? Private training in the home is what we do here at The Well-Trained Dog & Pet Care. Contact us at (540) 353-2485 or email@example.com. We can help! We serve Roanoke, Salem, Vinton, Bedford, Lynchburg, Blacksburg, Martinsville, and surrounding areas.
Fall is a wonderful time of year to celebrate your dog and enjoy the cooler weather with him. This is national Adopt a Dog month and whether you’ve just adopted your dog or have shared your life with one (or more!) for a while, this is a weekend to get out and celebrate all things dog.
Saint Francis Service Dogs in Roanoke is celebrating the season with its annual “Dogtoberfest” tomorrow from 11am to 4pm. The cost is $2 for adults. There are games for the young and young at heart, as well as dog games. Something new this year is “Barn Hunt” where the dog tries to find a rat hidden in a tube among bales of hay. This is sure to give the old sniffer a workout.
Roanoke is also hosting the “Go Outside Festival” to encourage people to take advantage of the many activities to do around this beautiful area of the country. Among the bike demos, fun runs, and concerts, Ultimate Air Dogs is back for yet another year. This is one of the favorite activities for those participating and those who just want to watch. Dogs jump off a dock into an inflatable swimming pool and they win ribbons for the length of their jump. Sometimes even their handlers fall in and get wet! The world record was set at last year’s event. Bring your dog and try it. If you’d rather just watch instead, a local group, Anubis Air Dogs, has formed to help you and your dog get ready for next year.
In addition to dock diving, there will also be Fitpaws demonstrations and a Canine Good Citizen test, and your dog can try flyball. Heads or Tails Flyball Club from Roanoke will be there to show how it’s done. And you don’t have to travel very far to see a flyball teams compete. There will be a competition Saturday, November 7th and Sunday the 8th beginning at 8am each day at the Blacksburg Community Center.
If you know of other events celebrating dogs happening this month, please comment below. Get out and have fun with your dog!
Another day of rain in the Roanoke Valley and parts of Virginia. Backyards, usually a place to run and chase balls, are now swimming pools and wiping off the dogs after a walk is becoming more of a chore. So what can you and your pup do to pass the time?
Think of this as a time to do some fun activities you usually don’t have time for. What about working on some basic obedience, such as lengthening the amount of time you dog can sit. You can even play “hide and seek”. Have your dog in a sit or down stay while you duck out of sight, then call him to you. It’s fun watching them search for you if you have an especially good hiding place. You can also do this with a toy, first putting it a few feet away from him, then in the next room. Make it more difficult by putting the toy on something such as a chair or behind something like an end table. It really gets their brain going.
Teach your dog a new trick. Dogs love learning something new and while both of you are stuck indoors, try balancing a treat on the end of his nose, learning the commando crawl, spin, twirl, how to stand on his back feet. . .the ideas are endless.
Just as we go to the gym and stand on a balance board to work on our core, Fitpaws has done the same for canines. They have a variety of peanuts, pods, eggs, donuts, and boards to help puppies learn about their bodies to older dogs retaining balance and flexibility as they age.
Nina Ottoson has puzzles and toys for the dogs to really use their mind. They lift flaps, nose discs, and spin parts of the puzzles out of their way to get the hidden treats. You can also get these toys at Petco, PetSmart, Amazon, and other online retailers.
Let us know in the comments below what you do during days like these. And remember, have some fun!