Part time dogs in a full time world

October 28, 2010

Robert Forto

At Denver Dog Works we train people how to become dog trainers. We train them to become the best dog trainers in the world in my opinion, and in doing so we teach our students how to think outside the box and defend their position on a variety of topics. This past week we were discussing Dog Law and I asked my students to search for an interesting story with a legal angle in regards to dogs. One of my students, Christena Pastoor, found an interesting article on renting dogs and we talked about it for the whole three hour session. I found it such an intriguing concept as did everyone in the room. I even posted the question on the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter and got an overwhelming response. So I decided it write about it on my blog and talk about it on my radio show this week, The Dog Doctor Radio Show heard weekly onwww.blogtalkradio.com/dogworks. I welcome your feedback and your comments because this is a topic that is worth exploring.

There was an article written in September by Kathy McManus on the Internet that has really peaked my interest. It was titled: Renting a Dog Barking Up the Wrong Tree? about a service that is offered in New York City, Los Angeles and London where you can “rent” a dog. Yes folk, renting your best…err…temporary friend. You can lease them by the day from a company called Flexpet.

While this is not a new concept as upscale hotels have lent dogs to guests over the years, Flexpet is making a business out of renting dogs. It is not cheap either. According to the company’s website there is a $99.00 administration charge, a $99.00 monthly membership fee, a mandatory $150.00 training fee and orientation lesson and then the customer can rent as many dog day afternoons as desired for a $45.00 fee for day.

Flexpet says that all of their dogs-many of which are from animal shelters-wear GPS tracking collars with temperature sensors and feed “holistic dog food” and all have stable temperaments and between two and five years old. But of course there are many critics over this practice as they see it as promotion of dogs as accessories. If you are a frequent listener of The Dog Doctor Radio Show we often talk about what we call “Paris Hilton Dogs” the small dogs that are carried in purses and adorned with bejeweled collars-of course no disrespect to Ms. Hilton-we see these dogs as more of a fashion accessory than a pet. I mean when did we decide as a society that we should carry our dogs around in handbags? What would our forbearers think from 20,000 years ago when we first added dogs to our lives?

Flexpet is not without controversy of course. The company is banned in Boston after the City Council passed an ordinance making dog letting illegal. “To rent a dog just seems wrong,” said one legislator. “I’m not for legislating morality, but it just seems like cruel and unusual treatment of a poor, defenseless animal.” In the editorial pages in Boston they took issue with what they saw as people “who want the comfort of a pet, but not the full-time responsibility.”

So just who rents a pet? I would assume people that travel a lot, people who live in apartment buildings or high-rises or places that do not allow pets, people that have family members who may not like dogs in the house or people like Sarah Stevenson who moved from the U.K. to New York. “It’s been difficult for me to meet people because everyone in New York just kind of goes about their business,” Stevenson lamented. But when she is out walking a rented pooch named Oliver, “It becomes a nice way to meet people.”

My trainer, Christena Pastoor had plenty to say about this subject. “In terms of legality I can see how municipalities would allow a dog rental business to operate as long as the company can sufficiently prove quality care of their dogs while at their facility and through a screening process of the renters and their homes.” Mrs. Pastoor, who researched Flexpet thoroughly for her project on Dog Law also said, “According to their (Flexpet) website , they provide vet checks every three months, fit every dog with a GPS collar and require all renters to attend mandatory training sessions before taking a dog.”

Of course there are other concerns than the legal ones. Dogs are pack animals that thrive on routine and security. Renting dogs to any number of people for short periods of time does not provide the consistency that they need to thrive. While Flexpet asserts that these dogs do not live in kennels and they stay with a primary caregiver when not being “rented” there is still a constant flux with different dogs at “home” and ever-changing renters. Dogs can become stressed when they do not have a consistent environment and behavior problems are likely to ensue.

According to Mrs. Pastoor, putting a cash value on time spent with a dog automatically makes the dog a commodity in the eye of the renter. It also creates the risk of the dog simply being viewed as an accessory. Dogs are living beings and should be valued as such, not as an accessory that makes people more noticeable.

Of course, many people cannot take the care of a dog on full-time, however there are many other positive outlets for fulfilling a person’s desire for canine companionship. Shelters and rescue organizations are in desperate need for people to walk dogs and spend time socializing them. All dogs in shelters can benefit dramatically from socialization, which may in turn help then find a new home. Fostering a dog is also an option. Many, if not all, shelters are filled to capacity and of course fostering takes a greater time commitment than renting, but it is not a “permanent dog”. Or if a person cannot find time to volunteer to foster, or work at a shelter, maybe they could find friends or neighbors who would be willing to have them spend quality time with their dog that they might not be able to give themselves. As you may know that the number one cause of behavior problems in dogs in lack of exercise and positive stimulation and that is why most dogs end up in a shelter situation in the first place.

I have a little bit of a different spin on it. Of course I love dogs. They are my passion and my livelihood and I cannot understand just how this business of renting dogs is not only morally irresponsible but financially irresponsible as well, but what about people that volunteer for programs such as Big Brothers or Big Sisters? I am sure they do that to “give back” or to enrich a young child’s life. But doesn’t that work the same if you are “renting” a dog? Also what about dogs that suffer from what I call “kennel craziness”, that is dogs that are in a kennel situation and through lack of positive stimulation or people contact begin to pace and bark and spin, very similar to people in correctional institutions. Even a psychologist counters that people that want to borrow a dog usually just want some companionship. “It may be a short bond,” he said, “but it’s a real bond.”

What do you think? Should people rent dogs? Written in conjunction with Christena Pastoor, Student at Denver Dog Works

Citation: Katy McManus’ 9/24/09 article: Renting a Dog: Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Tags: Robert FortoMichele FortoIditarodTeam InekaDog Training Denver Dog Doctor RadioDenver Dog Works Mushing Radio | Animal law | Dog Law

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Dr. Robert Forto is the training director for Denver Dog Works and The Ineka Project in Colorado. Dr. Forto also hosts The Dog Doctor Radio Show weekly from his training center. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website athttp://www.denverdogworks.com

 

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Culture of Denver Dog Works: Service availability and belief

October 26, 2010

Robert Forto

This is the fourth installment in a series on the Culture of Denver Dog Works. I am only only doing this to give our readers an idea of what we are about at Denver Dog Works but also as an exercise for us here at the training center to make sure we are all on the same page and delivering exceptional customer service and training a client’s dog to be one of the best trained dogs in the world.

The 10 Elements of Culture as defined by Denver Dog Works are:

 

Integrity

Professionalism

Development

Service Availability and Belief

Character

Self Development

A Event Culture

Structured Activity

Leadership

Fun

Service Availability and Belief at Denver Dog Works and our Culture:

Along with a strong belief in your own inner voice, you also need laser-like focus combined with unwavering determination. — Larry Flynt

Yes, I know who Larry Flynt is. That is not up for debate. What I interpret from his quote is that in business you have to belief in yourself in business and if you second guess you will not accomplish your goals.

A lot can be said about the way one business approaches it’s day to day operation over another but you know what? That is what separates the businesses that will succeed and those that will fail.

Service Availability

At Denver Dog Works we designed our business on 40 years of collaborated dog training experience. We pride ourselves on our ability to build you a customized training package with the ability to adjust the program as needed if necessary. Learn how to train your dog with Denver Dog Works and experience the best pet relationship you could ever imagine.  At Denver Dog Works you won’t feel like your walking through a revolving door. You will feel like your taking your dog to the gym! Our trainers will keep you motivated and wanting to come back. Training is for life! For you and your dog.

Core Beliefs

At Denver Dog Works we truly are a mom and pop business. My wife, Michele, and I work every day to make our business a success and something that we can be proud of. We include our family in our business and if you have stopped in on a Saturday you will see our 12-year old daughter Nicole working right along with us. This is important to us and is what we believe in.

I say that at Denver Dog Works we don’t just train dogs, we change lives. In our work with our service dog training program and our constant reminder of the need for a quick and educated response to canine aggression, we strive to make that our business model. As we have covered in previous articles about our culture; our core beliefs are important to us and they should be important to you.

1.) Integrity: At Denver Dog Works we strive to provide each client with the most up to date thorough training available. We design your training program to fit your needs.

2.) Professionalism: At Denver Dog Works we believe that each client is an individual with individual needs for their dog and their lifestyle. There is no cookie cutter packaging available at Denver Dog Works. Our professional staff takes the time to listen to your goals and concerns during our initial evaluation.

3.) Education: At Denver Dog Works all trainers are certified in canine behavior. All staff members are certified in canine CPR and first aid. We have the best and train the rest! We pride ourselves on continuing our educations and experiences by learning new methods as well as updating old methods. We can teach you how to train your dog for any goal. We specialize in sport training and understand the various methods and tools utilized in sport training.

4.) Quality: At Denver Dog Works we believe in the quality of our training rather than the quantity. There are times when an hour long session isn’t going to be enough. In those cases we schedule longer class times to adjust the needs of our clients. We also will address minor behavior issues if they arise in our private lessons and our camp works programs. If it is determined that a larger behavior problem exists we refer you to our canine behaviorist.

Denver Dog Works cares about you and your dog. Our attention to service and customer care gives us the opportunity to expand our availability to you.

I encourage any feedback you may have and of course share the culture of your business as well. I can be reached anytime by email at train@denverdogworks.com

Next Week: Character

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Dr. Robert Forto is the training director of Dog Works Training Centers and the host of a weekly radio program, The Dog Doctor Radio Show which can be heard every Saturday at 9:30 am in the Rocky Mountain West or download it anytime. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.denverdogworks.com

 


Bark and Boo!

October 25, 2010

HALLOWEEN: Ghosts and Goblins, Dracula, Tinkerbell, and the occasional Star Wars character…..toddlers to teenagers all out on the streets running, screaming, darting, spooking, tricking, and treating.  It’s a great time to be a kid!  It’s a terrible time to be a dog.

Treats: Candy, popcorn and raisins; pencils, erasers, and small toys.  All present choking hazards and poisoning risks to dogs. The wrappers pose problems too.  Keep these items out of your dogs reach.

Decorations: While decorating is a fun way to celebrate the holiday, your dog will find it very curious.  Dogs like pumpkin – be sure to watch your dog around your jack-o-lantern.  While ingesting the pumpkin won’t hurt your dog, eating the entire thing won’t make you very happy when it comes to potty time!

Trick or Treaters: Lots of my clients complain about their dog going nuts when the doorbell rings and get even more excitable when guests come inside.  Other dogs will become agitated at all of the activity and disruption even becoming aggressive and confused by the costumes.  It would be best to crate your dog or even have him boarded during the evening’s festivities.

Is your dog into dressing up?  Have a ball then on Halloween.  If you don’t dress up your dog regularly and decide to this year, practice with your dog well in advance to the party or opt out dressing him up.  Some dogs simply do not “get” the whole idea of being clothed.

Under no circumstance do I ever leave my dog outside on Halloween.  Bring your dog inside for the evening even if it’s just the garage.  This will keep your dog safe from potential harm and Halloween pranks.  It will also give your dog peace of mind knowing that every person that goes by the fence isn’t there to break into the yard!

On Halloween, take a moment and think about how your dog will react to all of the happenings and goings on.

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Michele Forto is the Denver Dog Training Examiner, the lead trainer at Denver Dog Works and the co-host of The Dog Doctor Radio Show.


Culture of Denver Dog Works: Development

October 19, 2010

Culture of Denver Dog Works: Development

By Robert Forto, PhD

This is the third installment in a series on the Culture of Denver Dog Works. I am only only doing this to give our readers an idea of what we are about at Denver Dog Works but also as an exercise for us here at the training center to make sure we are all on the same page and delivering exceptional customer service and training a client’s dog to be one of the best trained dogs in the world.

The 10 Elements of Culture as defined by Denver Dog Works are:

Integrity

Professionalism

Development

Service Availability and Belief

Character

Self Development

A Event Culture

Structured Activity

Leadership

Fun

Development at Denver Dog Works and our Culture:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” – Mark Twain

We are on the cutting edge of the dog training world at Denver Dog Works. Everything that we do, whether it be new technology, development of individualized training plans, our customer service team, and our attention to detail, all says our tag-line loud and clear: We Have the Best and Train the Rest.

Sure many companies proport to be the best in their industry. I am sure many of them have won awards from their peers and comrades in their respective businesses, but do you really know what it means to be the best? In my humble opinion it means that you take a moment each day to look at what you are doing right and more importantly what you are doing wrong and you tweak your system to address your challenges.

Sure, this media-biased economic downturn has hurt us all small business owners but we have held steadfast to our belief that we are the best and we continue to evolve every day. We took advantage of the downturn in the economy and the abundance of extra hours in our work weeks and got as much training as we possibly could. We attended a great program that changed the way we do business forever by working on our Brand I attended training to become a neuro-linguistics practitioner and what a difference that has made in being able to work with my clients and help them be the best they can be and reach their full potential. We hold weekly sales meetings and innovative presentations on how we can work together as a team and work together to be the best.

As I said, the opportunity to really pin down our brand has changed the face of Denver Dog Works. We hired a professional facilitator and allowed him to make the tough decisions that built upon my perceived strengths and weaknesses of our leadership team. This team, mainly me, had trouble seeing the forest for the trees and the work of this branding expert allowed me to take a look at it from a different perspective. After doing that, he then helped contain a message that we transmitted and transferred down the rank and file of all that are involved in our business. This has taken us from a mediocre canine training school to one that is sought out all over the world based on the way that we conduct our daily business affairs.

In our course development we truly are cutting edge. I will admit that I have always been a bit of a technology geek and I had a cell-phone when it cost three dollars a minute and I was the first on my block on the Internet in the early 1980’s studying the Dow Jones wires and amassing a $700.00 phone bill that got me in hot water with my parents. In the coming months we are re-working our canine career training course and implementing the new iPad technology to support it. We will be including an iPad in every new student’s package and our course will be fully interactive with video, lecture, webinars, video chat, exams and business development tools. Sure you can do this the old way by writing it all down on paper, but who has time for that? A person told me a long time ago, in order to be a good dog trainer you need to train a lot of dogs. True, but if you don’t have something innovative to offer then you will just be another dog trainer and they are a dime a dozen. It is funny because the person who told me that proports he is an “old school” style trainer and the same three clients and their dogs are still on the trainers homepage as “success stories.”

Some other key areas that we strive to continue to develop and stay abreast of are:

Financial literacy. At Denver Dog Works we must understand budgets, cash flow, bookkeeping and working with other business partners and vendors is a must for any entrepreneur.

We continue to work on our leadership. We recognize that we are the only one in charge of our business. We are not looking for a “bail out” or a promise of a loan. We also recognize that pressures abound since a single decision can grow a business or cripple it.

We at Denver Dog Works strive to stay focussed and committed to the financial success of our company and that spells the difference between success and failure.  Yes, we love to train dogs. It is our passion but we also recognize that we are in this to make a living. While we will not ever drive luxury cars or fly on private jets, we love what we do and are proud we chose this as a career.

As we stated in a previous article, integrity is a hallmark of our business. we handle, care for and train other peoples dogs and they are looked upon as a member of their family. We also handle a client’s money and they have contracted us for our services.

We continue to develop our sales techniques, our marketing plans and how to brand ourselves in a very competitive industry. We continue to exercise sound business judgment and allocating our resources with great care. We also know that we must re-charge our own batteries so we can maintain an edge by offering company training and retreats such as white-water rafting as a team building exercises and attending sporting events as a group to build camaraderie.

As I say all the time, all you need to be a dog trainer is a business card, a leash and a smile. But it takes a savoy businessperson to live through the highs and learn from the lows to be one of the greatest dog trainers in the world. We at Denver Dog Works, truly believe we are and that is what sets us apart.

I encourage any feedback you may have and of course share the culture of your business as well. I can be reached anytime by email at train@denverdogworks.com

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Dr. Robert Forto is the training director of Dog Works Training Centers and the host of a weekly radio program, The Dog Doctor Radio Show which can be heard every Saturday at 9:30 am in the Rocky Mountain West or download it anytime. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.denverdogworks.com

 


The Dog Doctor Radio Show: Growl class and organ donation

October 18, 2010

The Dog Doctor Radio Show

On the latest edition of the Dog Doctor Radio Show we spoke about our Growl Class that we are bringing back by popular demand to our flagship location, Denver Dog Works. Our Growl Class is like no other group class in the country. We bring a bunch of aggressive dogs together and we as the human part of the dog/human relationship learn how to work through the problems. It sounds like chaos right? No, its actually very controlled and you will learn a lot.

[ Rewind: The Dog Doctor Radio Show: Cowboy and Wills ]

We also spoke about organ donation. I know, this is not a dog topic. But it is! We have been given the opportunity to train two family’s dogs (the donor and the recipient) while they go through a kidney transplant procedure. We are happy to be a part of the team.

Check out their blog about their kidney donation experience. I warn you: these ladies have tremendous courage and good story teller’s too!

GottaGetaKidney Blog

The Dog Doctor Radio Show is hosted by well respected canine behaviorist, Dr. Robert Forto and is brought to you by Twine Group Media and Dog Works Training Centers. The Dig Doctor Radio Show demonstrates through guests, call-ins, chats and social media how dog owners can have a balanced relationship with their dogs.

Listen to the latest show here:

The Dog Doctor Radio Show: Growl Class and Organ Donation

We welcome your comments suggestions and concerns. Please comment below or send them to live@dogdoctorradio.com

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Dr. Robert Forto is a canine behaviorist and the training director for Dog Works Training Centers. Dr. Forto is a musher currently in Alaska training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular programs, The Dog Doctor Radio Show and Mush! You Huskies.

 


The Dog Doctor Radio Show: Michele is Back!

October 11, 2010

 

The Dog Doctor Radio Show

 

On the latest edition of the Dog Doctor Radio Show we brought our beloved co-host Michele back! It has been about three months since we did a show together. Now that we have the technical bugs worked out we can now host the show together every week 3200 miles apart. Listen to the show and let me know what you think.

The Dog Doctor Radio Show is hosted by well respected canine behaviorist, Dr. Robert Forto and is brought to you by Twine Group Media and Dog Works Training Centers. The Dig Doctor Radio Show demonstrates through guests, call-ins, chats and social media how dog owners can have a balanced relationship with their dogs.

Listen to the latest show here:

The Dog Doctor Radio Show: Michele is Back!

We welcome your comments suggestions and concerns. Please comment below or send them to live@dogdoctorradio.com

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Dr. Robert Forto is a canine behaviorist and the training director for Dog Works Training Centers. Dr. Forto is a musher currently in Alaska training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular programs, The Dog Doctor Radio Show and Mush! You Huskies.


The Best of The Dog Doctor Radio Show: Raw Diets and Dogs with leah Morse

October 4, 2010

On the latest edition of the Dog Doctor Radio Show we interviewed good friend, fellow dog trainer and breeder of World Class Boxers, Leah Morse. Leah is a graduate of our canine obedience trainer instructors program and is quickly becoming an expert of feeding raw diets to dogs.

The Dog Doctor Radio Show is hosted by well respected canine behaviorist, Dr. Robert Forto and is brought to you by Twine Group Media and Dog Works Training Centers. The Dig Doctor Radio Show demonstrates through guests, call-ins, chats and social media how dog owners can have a balanced relationship with their dogs.

Listen to the latest show here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dogworks/2010/10/04/the-dog-doctor-radio-show-raw-diets-and-dogs

We welcome your comments suggestions and concerns. Please comment below or send them to live@dogdoctorradio.com

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Dr. Robert Forto is a canine behaviorist and the training director for Dog Works Training Centers. Dr. Forto is a musher currently in Alaska training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular programs, The Dog Doctor Radio Show and Mush! You Huskies.