Big Paw Pet Care Earns Professional Pet Sitting Certification

Mike Meibuhr, Co-Owner of Big Paw Pet Care, Earns the Pet Sitters International Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting

[Windermere, FLORIDA] (August 11, 2015)—Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters, has announced that Mike Meibuhr, owner of Big Paw Pet Care in Windermere, Florida, has completed the PSI Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting and earned the designation of PSI Certified Professional Pet Sitter.

PSI-CPPS-logoTo earn this prestigious designation, a professional pet sitter must successfully earn the PSI Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting, agree to adhere to PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards for Excellence and agree to abide by PSI’s Member Code of Conduct and Ethics.

Successfully completing the Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program indicates that an individual has acquired the knowledge necessary to make vital assessments on pet health and nutrition, canine and feline behavior, separation anxiety, pet loss and more. A certificate holder is also equipped, as a business owner, to make decisions on customer service, employee hiring and safety.

According to Ellen Price, PSI’s academic manager, the certificate is earned after completing extensive coursework and successfully passing a comprehensive final exam on 39 sections of instructional material.

“A PSI certificate holder brings valuable knowledge to the care of companion animals,” Price said. “A pet owner who relies on a program graduate will receive top-quality pet care. The curriculum’s in-depth material also assures that a pet sitter is highly capable of making accurate judgments and quick decisions in an emergency.”

Mike’s commitment to his business and clients led him to pursue this certificate.

“As a pet sitter, I value continuing education that allows me to offer reliable service to the pets entrusted to my care,” Meibuhr said. “Earning the designation of PSI Certified Professional Pet Sitter demonstrates that I am an animal steward committed to delivering excellent service.”

 

5 Fun Facts about Dachshunds

Sausage DogBeneath the squatty, streamlined body of the Dachshund, is a strong and nimble hunter. Although they resemble the frankfurter, these pups were originally bread for their stubborn tenacity to hunt a very ornery critter.

Learn more about the beloved Dachshund with these 5 fun facts:

  1. The name “dachshund” is German and literally translates to “badger dog” but they were also referred to as “hole dogs” as far back as the 18th century. Originally larger than their modern counterparts with longer legs, these fearless warriors were used to exterminate badgers throughout Europe.
  2. dachshund Waldi

    Waldi, the mascot of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games

    Because of their strong association with Germany, the dachshund was the symbol of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich. His name was Waldi.

  3. As of 2012 the dachshund was the 10th most popular dog breed in the USA, according to the American Kennel Club.
  4. Prone to back injuries, a specialized laser surgery developed at the Oklahoma State University Veterinary Hospital was used in clinical trials to correct defects in injured Dachshunds, with a goal of expanding the treatment to all dachshunds as a preventative measure against spinal injuries.
  5. wiener dog races

    Wiener dogs race to finish line

    Known for their speed, thousands of dachshunds and their owners compete dachshund races around the country. One of the longest running is the annual Wiener Nationals which has been held in Orange County California for over 20 years. Locally, the annual Weinerfest held in Orlando, includes entertainment, food and a dachshund race.

Classical Conditioning: A Foundation Of Dog Training

2014-10-13_1413210572My dog, Chase is a “rescue” dog in the most literal sense of the word, rescue. We learned about Chase when we were just launching Big Paw Pet Care. All we ‘knew’ about him was from a frantic email exchange from a friend; an older German Shepherd Dog with a broken leg, and he had 15-minutes to live.

What we got was a one-year-old possible Australian Cattle Dog mix that had been living on the street with a dislocated toe and a huge fear of diesel trucks.

The Adoption

The exchange went down like a hostage swap in a Hardee’s parking lot halfway between Orlando and Sebring, FL. Chase was 35 pounds of skin and bones and looked like a malnourished coyote even after 10 days of dog-pound food . We found on the ride home, Chase’s fear of all things truck. When we would approach a semi truck driving down the highway, this soon-to-be 53-pound dog would try desperately to crawl under the back of the passenger seat of our Saturn Vue.

After letting Chase acclimate to his new ‘foster’-home, our first plan of attack to work on his fear of trucks was to try and create positive associations. We had to desensitize the poor little street urchin through Classical Conditioning.

What is Classical Conditioning?

Classical ConditioningClassical Conditioning is defined as: In Psychology, a learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired; a response that is at first elicited by the second stimulus is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.

Think Pavlov’s dog. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. A short version of what Pavlov did: Pavlov would ring a bell immediately before giving his dog food. He found after repeatedly pairing these two stimuli that when he would ring the bell, his dog would salivate even without the presentation of food.

Putting Theory To Work

With this in mind, Chase and I loaded up in the car with a stash of chicken hotdog bits and went out hunting down diesel trucks and semis. Every time we neared a truck, I would quickly start flipping little pieces of hotdogs into the back seat. It helped that Chase was extremely food motivated. Chase would squirm and get as far away and a low as possible when we got too close. But, it didn’t matter. As long as we were in the presence of trucks, hotdogs would fall from the sky.

Unexpected Result

A few short weeks later, as I was stopped at a stoplight and distracted with my own thoughts, I noticed Chase standing with his front paws on the center console. As I turned to him, I noticed a semi-truck directly next to us. In my blissfully unaware state, I had failed to see the truck pull up beside us.

But Chase didn’t. Chase knew that the truck meant something. In his mind, he was saying, “Hey, where are my hotdogs? Hotdogs should be falling from the sky!”

We successfully modified the association Chase had with trucks from one of fear to one of pleasure. Trucks no longer meant terror. Trucks meant something delicious.

It’s Tough Being A Dog

Don’t get me wrong, being a dog is AWESOME. Not a day passes that I don’t wish to trade places with my pup.

But we sometimes underestimate what it takes to be a dog. It’s a lifetime commitment of training, eating and sleeping nothing but D.O.G.

The video below shows some of the hardships dogs experience each day, but still pull off being AWESOME.

These hardships include:

Doors

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

Doors aren’t always your friend. How do they work anyway?

Reaching

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes selective breeding puts your toys out of reach.

Retrieving

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

 

What is this? A force field?

Fetching

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

 

Top heavy puppies should always pump the brakes.

Catching

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

You can’t be 100% all the time when showing off your sick skills. Witness how tough it is being a dog, handled by dogs who are professional at awesomeness :

source: youtube.com

Magical Golden Retriever

What could be better than one Golden Retriever? The answer, of course, it’s TWO Golden Retrievers.

[Read more…]

3 Reasons To Avoid Rawhide

In our Pet Tech First Aid and CPR course we cover many aspects of your pets daily life to promote a safe, healthy environment for your pet. During our section on choking management, the discussion inevitably turns to chew toys and treats. As pet sitters, we encounter all types of products visiting our clients at their homes. Some are relatively safe when used with supervision, others are dangerous from the outset and should be avoided. 
 
The one item that always falls into the danger category, even under close supervision, is rawhide. 
 
What Exactly Is Rawhide? 
 

pet sitter“Rawhide treats come from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. During manufacturing, the hides are cleaned and cut or ground. Then they’re pressed into chewable dog treats of different shapes and sizes. To make them more appealing for dogs, some rawhide treats contain beef, chicken, or liver flavorings.” (Source: Pet WebMD: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/rawhide-good-or-bad-for-your-dog)

 
Why Avoid Rawhide? 
 
1. Choking: Chunks of soggy, yet firm hunks of rawhide can easily be swallowed by your dog. These flat pieces of semi-rigid, processed flesh can swell when they become wet with saliva. They can lodge in your dogs throat, blocking airways and cause choking. In most instances of choking by a dog, the cause most often is rawhide (more than handballs, small tennis balls and other chew toys).
 
2. Turn Stomachs Into Knots: Some dogs, especially puppies, cannot digest rawhide. Being a processed form of animal skin, it doesn’t remotely resemble the organic nature of prey food that a dogs body is able to digest. Moreover, some dogs are allergic to rawhide and may vomit or have loose stools after consuming it. And going back to point one, if your dog is able to swallow a piece of rawhide, but vomits, it doesn’t mean it won’t become a choking hazard on the way back up. 
 
3. There Is WHAT In Rawhide?: Rawhide is not a food, but a highly produced byproduct of the food industry. And the details can be downright gruesome: 
 
Removing the hair from hides often involves a highly toxic recipe: sodium sulphide liming. A standard practice is to procure rawhide in the “split lime state” as by-products from tanneries, facilities that top the list of U.S. Superfund sites. In the post-tannery stage, hides are washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide. And that’s just one step.
Other poisonous residues that may show up in rawhide include arsenic and formaldehyde. Even dog skin is a possibility. [sic] Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” (Source: http://thebark.com/content/dangers-rawhide-dog-chew-toys)
 
 
A Better Chew “Toy”
 
The fact is for dog owners, you need to supply your pet with something to chew or else you’ll end up with chewed furniture and chewed shoes. Unfortunately there’s not one perfect solution for all pets and pet owners. So we recommend several items for dogs who need to satisfy the need for chewing: 
 
pet sitter1. KONG brand chew products (unstuffed) 
2. Nylabone brand chew products can be safe as long as you select the size appropriate for your dog and they are not consuming pieces bigger than a grain of rice
3. Deer/Elk Antlers or Raw Beef Bones: Depending on your comfort level with raw bones, both beef bones or antlers can be a long-lasting product for your dogs to chew. However, some dogs have been known to break teeth on these types of products, so check with your vet on your dogs dental condition before offering these to him. 
4. Bully Sticks are an all natural, safe alternative to rawhides. 
 
It’s important that you never leave your dog by themselves when chewing a chew toy or bone. Supervision is always required. Additionally, after each chew session you should wash the item with hot water, and a mild soap, as you would your pet’s food dishes, to avoid bacterial growth and contamination. 
 
For more advice on safe pet products or advice, feel free to call us anytime at 321-345-PETS (7387)