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.”

 

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.

Windermere Dog Walkers Warn Pee Pads Cause Problems

Every morning I, like everyone else, scroll through Facebook to check up on family, friends and (sadly) catch a bit of news. With each view comes the obligatory ad or two for products you may or may not have heard about already. This morning an ad for PeePooPads.com scrolled through my feed. Pee Poo Pads promise to “save you money, protect your floors and make house training a breeze”.

The ad also stated that Pee Poo Pads are cheaper than dog walkers. But are they? [Read more…]

Windermere Pet Sitter Warns: Coyote Danger To Small Dogs & Cats

This week the Windermere Florida Mayor issued a warning for all pet owners to keep extra vigilant watching over your pets while outside.

Windermere Coyote

Owners of cats and small to medium-sized dogs need to be extra cautious. Coyotes have snatched at least one small poodle this week. Remains of a cat have also been found. Several pets have been reported missing this past fall and within the past few weeks.

The warning has only been issued in Windermere, however close by neighborhoods like Ocoee, Winter Garden and Dr. Philips should also take note.

What’s a Coyote?  

Coyotes are wolf-like wild dog. They are nocturnal animals but you may see them late into dawn or dusk. Daylight appearances could be a warning sign that the coyote is ill or injured. Make sure you secure all trash as you would to ward off any animal. Finally, make sure to keep your cat or dog indoors during the nighttime hours.

What do I if I see a coyote? 

Trying “hazing” the coyote by using a loud, authoritative voice to scare it away. Make yourself appear as large as possible. Trying throwing rocks or whatever is handy near the coyote to force it to flee. Do not run or allow your pet to run or chase the coyote.

If the coyote is not afraid and doesn’t seem bothered by you – contact Orange County Animal Control. It’s a hard thing to do, but a coyote that is not afraid of humans can become a bigger threat.

If the coyote becomes aggressive towards you, or attempts to attack you – call your local law enforcement immediately.

Memorial Day: Remembering Military Dog Teams

Big Paw Pet Care Memorial Day

US Military Malinois in Iraq

Many of us may spend the Memorial Day visiting grave sites or memorials for loved ones who have served their country. Others will take in a parade honoring our soldiers who have made the greatest sacrifice of all for their country. Each year, Big Paw Pet Care also takes a moment to remember the soldiers and dog teams of our military who work together to keep us safe and free.

Big Paw Pet Care Memorial Day

U.S. Army scout dog “Chief” on patrol in Vietnam.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Originally called Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorating the Union and Confederate dead. But in the 20th century Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who have died serving the United States of America. The first official use of dogs for military purposes in the United States was during the Seminole Wars. The American Pit Bull Terrier was used in the American Civil War to protect, send messages, and as mascots in American World War I propaganda and recruiting posters.

Big Paw Pet Care Memorial Day

Dogs heading to the front lines of the Solomon Islands. Pacific, 1943.

In October 2013 the first National Monument dedicated to military so dogs debuted in San Antonio Texas. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument was created by sculptor Paula Slater and depicts the modern military handler and four dogs — a Doberman, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois, all breeds used in wars. The 5 figures stand on a pedestal, in front of a large granite wall. On one side of the wall there will be photos etched in black marble veneer showing dog teams in combat from the different wars.

memorial day

The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument at night.

The other side has an inscription written by John Burnam. Burnam is a veteran of the Vietnam war with the Army’s 44th Scout Dog Platoon. He worked with 2 different dogs during that period, Timber and Clipper and is the author of 2 books about his experiences, “Dog Tags of Courage” and “A Soldier’s Best Friend.”. “[Clipper] saved my life and saved the lives of others by alerting on ambushes, snipers and booby traps. I wanted to give something back to these animals that have done so much and asked for so little, except for food and water and the love of their handlers,” said Burnam.

The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument is located at JBSA Lackland and maintained by the Airman Heritage Foundation. For more information, please visit the monument’s Facebook page

 

Article sources: Wikipedia.com and the former foundation: jbmf.us.