Aim High K9
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Tips and Information
 Choosing a Kennel
Boarding your dog can be a big step.  You want to find a place that will spoil your dog as much as you would at home. You want this place to be their home away from home!  Unfortunately many people just don’t know what to look for, or that they should visit and tour a kennel long before they decide to board their dogs.  Any kennel should be willing to set up a visit where you can talk to them about your dog’s daily routine and see where your dog will be staying.  When you take your tour through the kennel  you should check for certain things:  
1. Are the kennels clean?  Remember it is almost impossible to clean every “pile” up after every dog, but look to see that at least the majority of all of the kennels are clean and free of piles.  Ask how often the kennels are disinfected and ask what type of disinfectant they use (some dogs may have an allergic reaction).
2. Do the dogs have water?  Water should be available all day for the dogs and should look clean and clear.  Ask the staff how often the water is given and if it is refilled or dumped and refilled.  Simply adding more water to dirty water is not enough, the water should be dumped and refilled with fresh daily.  
3. What is the feeding schedule for the dogs?  Do you need to bring your own food or does the kennel supply food?  Will they try and accommodate your dogs feeding needs/ schedule?  Should you bring your own food bowls?  
4. Do the dogs get outside for exercise?  This is one of the most important questions to ask.  Most kennels don’t have yards or areas where your dog can run.  If there is just an indoor/outdoor run your dog may be confined there the entire time you are gone.  Some kennels will charge extra for play or exercise time if you ask for it.
5. Can you bring blankets and/or toys for your dog from home?  Some kennels will provide their own bedding for your dog and some welcome you to bring your own.  Bear in mind you may not get the bed/blanket or toys back in the same condition.  When your dog is in a kennel they may be a little stressed out and chew to relieve the stress.  So you may not want to bring their “favorite blankie”, save that one for home.
6. Is someone at the kennel or with the dogs all the time?  Some kennels have overnight staff there, but some do not.  Don’t be afraid to ask what hour’s staff is there.
7. If your dog is on medication you should ask if there is a charge for administering the medication.  
8. What shots are required to board your dog?  A kennel should require all dogs to be current on their DHLPP, rabies and kennel cough shots.  This is for the safety and health of all the dogs that stay there.  Flea and tick prevention is also a must if your dog will be out playing in a grassy area.  Some kennels will automatically give your dog a flea bath if they see fleas and add the charge to your bill.
9. Inquire about the kennels emergency procedures if something happens to your dog while they are staying there.  What vet do they use?  Are you responsible for veterinary charges?  
10. Some kennels have different rates for luxury suites.  A luxury suite can have anything from a tv or radio, webcam, private yard,  to special beds and turn down service.

   When you are looking at kennels it is a good idea to bring your dog with you and see how they react to the staff there.  If you have a puppy you may want to find a kennel and board your dog there for a weekend while you are in town just to see how they do.  You don't want to have to board your dog for the first time 3 years down the line when there is an emergency and you have to leave town.  Having a place you feel comfortable with just in case is always good, and your dog knows them and is less likely to be stressed if he has been boarded before.     

Choosing a Trainer?

There always seems to be great debates going about clients choosing a trainer and program for their dog. I will say this…. there is no perfect method or perfect trainer.

To me training is about always being open to new methods and constantly learning about what other trainers are doing. I have had clients come to Aim High K9 for a visit and have been very happy when we explain our training programs. Some people will come for a visit and then say that they would like to do clicker training with their dog. If I can I will actually recommend to them a trainer that will better suit what they are looking for.

When you are considering getting your dog trained you need to think about the goals you have for you and your dog. Do you want a dog with some good house manners, but no time to do the training yourself? Do you want to participate in the training with your dog. Are you interested in group classes or do you learn better in a one on one setting? In all of these instances you can find a trainer that can best fit your needs. Within the realm of training you have many options.

Inboard– you leave your dog with the trainer and they train your dog.

Group lessons– you bring your dog to a group class usually 1x a week for so many weeks.

Private lessons– you work with a trainer one on one with your dog, either at a training facility or at your home.

Once you decide how you want your dog trained it is a good idea to meet with the trainer and ask them about their method for training. Feel free to ask them how they will train your dog and what rewards and or punishments they will use. Also ask them what they recommend for training equipment and if it will be included in the training or if you will need to purchase it. Have the trainer explain the type of equipment they use and why. Even the difference between using a nylon slip collar, a buckle collar, choke chain, pinch collar, gentle leader, e-collar, or martingale can sometimes be confusing if you don’t understand how they work.

There is a wide variety of training methods that trainers use. I am not a trainer who is stuck on one single method being the only way to train a dog. Not all dogs are the same and a good trainer will know how to adjust to your dogs specific needs. Some trainers will train in a purely positive or motivational way. This means they will use treats a lot and do not use any type of correction. Other trainers will use clickers and mark behaviors and reward with treats. Still others will take a middle of the road approach and use a combination of reward and correction. There are some trainers who exclusively use the e-collar in their training. The only method that I as a trainer will warn people away from is a trainer who uses pure compulsion. This means they will start out correcting the dog before teaching what they want. When the dog performs the command the correction will stop. Using pure compulsion is often referred to as “Old School” and was used for a long time before motivational training came along.

If a trainer is not willing to explain their methods or give you a demonstration, then beware. In the end you need to feel comfortable either working with the trainer or with leaving your dog with them to be trained.

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