Making Dogs Your Career

Dogs Event
If your life passion involves dogs, know that there’s never been a better time to consider the many dog-related career options available to you, starting just around the corner.

Currently almost every urban core and suburban areas have well-established shelters and dog pounds where abandoned, abused or neglected dogs are surrendered. Many of them need help.

Volunteering is one of the most important initial preparations for a dog oriented career. By volunteering at your local shelter you’re allowing yourself to see if your love of dogs goes deep enough to understand their unique needs, appreciate their behaviours and effectively work with their limitations.

The other benefit of volunteering at a dog shelter is the opportunity to be introduced to the many dog breeds and the specific personality traits that come with each.

If you’re dealing with a fear of a certain type of breed, volunteering to work with that breed is allowing you some important hours clocked with that breed, not only to confront your own fears, but also to prove to potential clients or employers that your dog experience is well-rounded and thorough.

Within six months of volunteering at a shelter and working directly with a large selection of dog breeds, you’ll know whether your dog-loving can turn professional.

If you choose to make a career out of dogs, then your choices are plentiful:

• If dog health and healing is the attraction, you’d be wise to study the many options for entering into a canine veterinary career.

• If behavior and training is the area that most interests you can consider becoming a professional canine behavior specialist or a dog trainer. In these careers, you’ll be working with canines in every field from aviation, armed forces, police and security to the performing arts.

• Perhaps your real interest is in dog shows. With increasing popularity, local dog shows that lead to national and international competitions, are popping up everywhere. Each needs producers, breed specialists and of course, dog handlers. These are the special humans who know exactly the very exquisite way that each breed must be ‘shown’ on the runways. For this career, you’ll need a flare for showmanship as it’s typically the personality of both the dog and the handler that judges assess.

• Finally, if how dogs look is your true calling, then a career as a professional dog groomer is the perfect fit for you. You might also consider becoming a dog photographer since everyone’s favorite family member needs a memorable portrait.

• Not interested in a profession or full time work, only keen to do a little part time work with dogs? Consider applying to be a dog walker, dog sitter, a part-time dog groomer or working part-time in a pet supply store. Here your knowledge of products to make dogs and dog owners happy will ensure customers keep returning.

Any path you choose to take, know that understanding, appreciating and being able to work well with man’s best friend will offer you happiness and the knowledge you are doing good for others.

Benefits of Volunteering

Puppy Paige
Many people don’t feel like they have the time to volunteer, but volunteering offers many benefits. Some people volunteer to advance their career and others simply wish to make their community a better place to live.

Volunteering is Good for Your Health

One of the best reasons to volunteer is for your own health. Not only does volunteering increase life satisfaction, it makes you feel good. In fact, the effects of volunteering are so profound that social scientists say that it eliminates the ingredients of depression. Being around people and doing meaningful work also serves to alleviate negative stress.

In the realm of physical health, volunteering can provide an avenue to stay active. Older adults can especially benefit from the physical aspects of volunteering. Not only do study participants who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who don’t, but they showed a decrease in levels of chronic pain and certain heart disease symptoms.

Volunteering Forms Connections

Volunteering also has a positive impact on your immediate community. Volunteers are often the gears that keep the community machine running. They have the satisfaction of knowing that they are making their world a better place to live and strengthen existing relational ties to their community through various social avenues.

Volunteering Can Help Your Career

If you are considering a career change, volunteering can be a great way to explore your options. You can obtain experience in your field of interest and find out what it’s like to work in that field on a daily basis. Essentially, volunteering can afford you the opportunity to try your new career on for size and see if it really is something you want to pursue. Even if you are not changing careers, volunteering can be an important way to build important career skills such as teamwork, communication, organization, and project management.

Questions to Ask Yourself
Volunteering is a great way to enrich your life. Start by identifying why you want to volunteer and what kinds of things you might want to do. Here are a few questions to ask:
• What causes are important to me?
• Am I exploring new career options?
• Do I want to learn a new skill?
• What am I good at?
• How can I help my community?
• How much time do I have to volunteer?

In order to find the best volunteer position to suit your individual needs and goals, it’s best to visit a number of organizations, meet the people in charge, and be sure to ask questions about the work to be done.

Volunteering can be an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor that has many benefits. Enhance your life by finding a place to volunteer in your community.

Reduce Your Dog’s Barking

Whether you live in a house, condominium, or a homeowner’s association, a dog’s barking is seldom welcomed by the neighbors. Solving a barking problem usually isn’t that difficult. Unfortunately, many of the methods of resolving a barking issue isn’t intuitive to pet owners because they don’t understand how dogs think or why the problem even exists at all. By identifying the root cause of barking and reacting accordingly, most pet owners can resolve their barking problems to their owner’s satisfaction.

Show Your Dog You Care

If your dog is barking, it’s usually to show you something. Your dog may believe there’s an intruder on the prowl, or may believe that something suspicious is going on outside. Sometimes just checking on the problem can be enough to show your dog that you’re taking their alert seriously and that nothing is wrong. Dogs, for the large part, are very intelligent and compassionate animals. Your dog just wants to know that you’re aware there could be a problem.

Correct Your Dog Gently

Screaming at your dog is the best way to get your dog to bark even louder, as your dog will take it as a sign that something is wrong. Your dog is barking because it’s worried, which means the fastest way to calm your dog down is to show it that there is nothing to worry about. Command your dog to stop barking quietly but firmly, check out the source of its concern and then proceed to act as though everything is normal. If you become agitated or frustrated, your dog will be even more convinced that something is wrong.

Exhaust Your Dog

Dogs require both physical and mental attention, and this is especially true of many working breeds.

Dogs that bark when left alone or bark for reasons other than suspicious activity and external stimulus are usually just bored.

If your dog is barking a lot, it’s very likely you haven’t been able to give it the attention that it craves and deserves. Taking your dog out a little more often or taking it to the dog park to burn off some excess energy may be an excellent way to resolve the issue for good.

Dogs rarely ever bark unless there is something wrong. If you currently have a barking problem, the first step to resolving it will be to recognize that it’s actually symptomatic of a different issue. Once you resolve this other issue for your dog, you’ll find that your dog will be calmer, happier and quieter.

Hiking With Your Dog

Dogs Running
Dogs love walking and hiking outside just as much as you do. Next time you go hiking, bring your dog along so he can get some fresh air and exercise in the woods. Keep in mind that you’ll need to make a few extra considerations so you, your dog, and fellow hikers have a good time in the woods. Use these tips when you take your dog on a day hike.

Keep a towel in the car for muddy paws.

Some dogs love nothing more than to get wet and muddy. It’s all well and good to let your dog have his fun, but don’t let him make a mess of your car’s upholstery. Keep a few towels and rags in your car. When you arrive back at the trailhead, clean the mud off your dog before allowing him to enter the car. That way, you can let him romp in the woods without worrying too much about the mess.

Bring a water dish so your dog can hydrate.

You can easily drink out of a water bottle, but your dog needs a flat dish in order to drink and stay cool. You need to bring a minimum of two liters of water for yourself. Make sure to bring an extra bottle for your dog. Pack a flat dish or bowl that your dog can comfortably drink from.

Think carefully about letting your dog off the leash.

You may think the woods are a great opportunity for your dog to get some safe off-leash time without the danger of cars, but remember, you’re sharing the trail with other hikers. Some of those hikers might not appreciate a loose dog. Think carefully whether it’s appropriate to let your dog go without a leash on the trail.

Some people say that dogs should be leashed at all times outside the home. While this might make some people more comfortable, it certainly limits your dog’s enjoyment of the wilderness and it may not be necessary. Use some common sense and discretion regarding whether it’s appropriate to let your dog run loose.

Don’t always assume other dogs have been trained socially.

…and almost more importantly, ensure you understand the socialization side of being a dog owner, so your dog is just that, social. If you find yourself on the leash heavily all the time with other dogs around, there might be some work to do – and you should start there before a wide open hike.

Successful dog ownership and dog behavior starts with YOU.

On a secluded trail, you can usually let your dog off the leash without bothering anyone. On busier trails, you may be able to let your dog off the leash intermittently, but pay attention to passing hikers. If you hear big group coming, call your dog back and restrain him while the other hikers pass.

Be considerate.

Don’t give anyone a reason to feel uncomfortable – large dogs can be intimidating to others, as they don’t know the dog’s character or personality. For crowded trails, it’s good etiquette to keep your dog tethered. Consider your dog’s behavior and number of hikers on the trail before letting your dog loose. Don’t let a natural surprise on the path turn into dog aggression or an accident.

Always try to be the considerate dog owner, and learn the social side of a dog’s upbringing. It will be a great benefit to you and your dog, and you can be a great team on any path.

Enjoy your hike!

Introducing a New Dog to a Dog Household

Dog Named Minnie
Introducing new dogs to each other can be a deceptively complicated process. Done incorrectly, you could be setting yourself up for scuffles, scent marking and even dangerous levels of aggression. Many of the signs of fear, frustration or anxiety displayed by dogs can be very subtle, and you may not pick up on them until it’s too late.

Don’t Introduce Them at Home

A nearby park is an excellent place for two dogs to get to know each other. Many dogs, especially particular breeds, become very guarded around their home. This isn’t because they are selfish, it’s because they’re trying to protect you and your belongings. This instinct has been bred into many dogs over years and it sometimes needs a little time to counteract. If your dog gets to know its new friend on neutral territory, however, it will know that it is a friend and a part of the family. This will make it less uneasy about inviting its new friend into its home.

Set Aside Enough Time

It’s best for you to set aside at least a few hours for your old dog and your new dog to interact. You should not feel worried if the dogs seem to be ignoring each other. Ignoring one another is actually a good sign because it means that both dogs feel comfortable and safe. If you push your dogs to interact with each other, they may begin feeling pressured or stressed as they won’t understand exactly what you want.

Learn Your Dog’s Signals

Dogs have a special type of language that they use to communicate with each other. Learning this language is an excellent way to judge how your dogs are doing and bond with your dog on another level. Many people falsely assume that a dog is always happy when wagging its tail. However, wagging may also denote nervousness or fear. If your dog’s tail is wagging slowly and is held close to the ground, it will indicate that your dog is uncomfortable. If your dog is holding its tail high and wagging it quickly, it’s more likely that your dog is happy or having fun.

Getting a new dog can be a difficult but worthwhile pursuit. When done correctly, this process will enrich your life as well as the lives of your pets. It’s very likely that your dogs will soon be inseparable. You may also find that you encounter absolutely no difficulty at all. Like people, dogs are all different. Some simply are not bothered by other dogs or just seem to get along with everyone. However, it’s usually better not to take the risk and to do things the right way, even if you feel that you know your dog well.

Stress and Your Dog

Dog Named Daisy
Experts tell us that dogs are sensitive creatures that pick up on signals both spoken and unspoken in the people around them. Whenever a new stress comes into your household, you can bet that your dog is feeling it as much as you do. However, dogs may show their signs of stress differently than humans. Here are some situations that cause stress in dogs and how you can minimize the tension in the home.

Sickness, Emotion, or Family Events

When a family member is ill or going through hard times, the dog will notice change in family tempo and will pick up on any sadness or worry that occurs in these situations. Again, exercise is the best way to work off his tensions. If possible, allow him to spend time with the relevant family members so that he knows he has not been excluded from this important time in his family group. Having other family members engage in playtime with him will help to allay his fears about changes going on in the household. Imagine yourself being excluded from these family times.


Moving creates stresses of its own with a complete upheaval of the home environment and a variety of new situations. Your dog will feel the move particularly strongly because your dog depends on the smells in his environment to tell him so much. When the environment changes he has fewer signals to rely on, which can leave him feeling disoriented and unhappy. He may express his feelings with a poor appetite, a short temper or a general air of restlessness.

Make finding a comfortable place for his bed, toys, feeding bowl and other familiar object one of the first actions you take in your new location. Knowing he can rely on these essential items can help to make him feel more at home. Also, spend time acquainting him with the smells, sights and sounds of the neighborhood. This time will help him find his olfactory “home base” so that he can relax and make himself more comfortable in the new setting.

New Animal or New Person Stress

A new animal or person in the household can throw things into turmoil. When a new cat is introduced to a dog, you may have to take special care to separate the two behind a door or gate and gradually accustom the two to living together. For small mammals like hamsters or guinea pigs, you may never be able to have them meet face to face. For some dogs, the presence of a small animal brings out their hunting/killing instincts. Be aware of this engrained instinct to avoid tragedy.

When new people enter the family picture, especially a baby, everything seems to change. Daily rhythms change and different people may visit. Your dog notices all these changes and may feel some of the stress of these changes. He may have accidents in the house, bark excessively at passers by or find a place to hide – especially if a baby is crying. Finding ways to show your dog he is not displaced and that his welfare is still important to you can help to reduce his tension. For new babies, invite him to sit with you during 2 am feeding times to show he is still part of the family group. Make sure his feeding times are on time and take him for an additional walk during the day. Even if you have to call a dog-walker or have neighbor help with walking, it will help him to run off the stress of his nervous energy.

Keep in mind that stress can often be felt, so when there is stress in the air, odds are it is affecting your dog as well. Help you both by staying in touch with your dog and keeping him at your side as a loyal dog owner. He will appreciate it, and so will you.

Keeping Your Dog Safe and Warm

Black Puppy
Pet owners often consider their dogs beloved parts of the family. Keeping them happy, safe, and comfortable is a top priority all year round. However, dogs are especially vulnerable during inclement weather. When the chill hits, there are several ways to help keep your pet safe and warm through the frigid winter days and nights. The best way, of course, being to raise your dog in your home, but for those who use their yards actively, here are some pointers.


It is vital, especially in areas hit with snow and freezing temperatures, that your dog has proper shelter if being housed outside. The size of your dog’s house should complement its size. An ideal house is small and cozy enough that your pet can easily warm it with its own body heat. However, the space should be large enough that your dog can move around and lie down comfortably. Make sure the doghouse you choose has a slanted or rounded roof to allow snow to slide off rather than accumulate.


When it comes to bedding for your pup, there are many options. Traditional pet beds work well and may be the most obvious choice. You can also make use of old rugs or blankets. Recycle your worn sweaters, and use them as a soothing, warm bed. Whatever bedding you opt for, place it in the dog’s sleeping or relaxing area, whether it be inside or outside. If outside, this will create a barrier between your pet and the cold ground.

Food and Water

As with any time of year, a fresh supply of food and water is essential to your dog’s healthy body functioning including heat regulation.

Walking Warmth

Walking dogs in the cold is a necessary reality for many of us. If you sense your dog is cold or he is holding up a paw indicating ice on his paws, adjust accordingly. Walk only in well shoveled areas, or even purchase winter jackets or paw covers. Take advantage of the warmest part of the day to get your dog its exercise.

Bring Them In

The best thing you can do for your dog when the temperature drops is bring it inside. If your pet is normally an outdoor dweller, you can still let it in without giving it the run of the house. During exceptionally cold nights and long periods of cold weather, use baby gates to partition off a mudroom or the kitchen. With your pet inside, it is sure to have a warm and comfortable night, and you can rest easy knowing that it is safe.

Proper shelter, water supply, bedding and heat sources all contribute to the health and happiness of your pet during cold snaps. As the chill of winter takes hold, take these easy measures to keep your pets safe and warm. Not only will you keep your beloved pet happy, but you will have peace of mind as well.

DWW News December 2013



Welcome to the first of Dogs With Wings’ monthly updates. We have said goodbye to the Canine Courier in favour of a format that we can generate more efficiently. Each month we will collect all the news that’s fit to print (and maybe some that isn’t!) and circulate it by email and for our first one, post to our blog. We will still have stories about our clients and the wonderful ways that their dogs help them to be independent in the community. Occasionally, we will give updates on our dogs are up to at the training center and out in the community with their volunteer raisers.

Of course we will continue to focus on the wonderful support we receive from our donors, sponsors and volunteers as they help spread the word about Dogs with Wings and its mandate to assist Albertans living with disabilities.

New Calgary Puppy Program

DWW in Transit2013 Has seen the introduction of a puppy program in Calgary, and is the result of many years planning. Five puppies are being raised there under the guidance of trainer, Cat Harbord. Thanks go to brand new fosters Jamie & Kris Anton for looking after DWW Rogan (Brad Churchill, Remax – Sponsor), Jodie Musgrove who is caring for DWW Shadow (Columbus Club), the Hunters, who have DWW Yogi (Canadian Oilmens’ Executive Association) Lisa Hofmeister, with DWW Scout and Steve & Christine Murphy with DWW Manhattan, aka ‘Manny’. These fabulous folks join volunteers in Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Edmonton and Grande Prairie in the role of giving basic handling and obedience training to our newest recruits. The Calgary pups are already out in local malls and at the C train stops getting invaluable experience they will need later on.

Dogs in Adult Training

We welcome DWW Hutch, Madison, Astro, Kinder, Harris, Star and Reese into advanced training at the Edmonton center. All of the obedience work is behind them now and Trainer Moira Wegner reports she is getting to know each dog individually and learning about their talents as she builds each dog’s skills up towards being placed with a client. She says that this time of ‘new beginnings’ for the adults in training is one of discovery and challenge and she loves seeing them grapple with new tasks they face for the first time.

Event Calendar

Dogs with Wings will be closed from noon on December 24th and will reopen at 9:00 am on January 2nd. Please ensure that you have enough food to last you through the holiday and that if you need a short term boarding home, that you contact Lise as soon as possible.


The holiday season is just around the corner and we would like you to consider making a gift to Dogs with Wings so that we can continue to provide life-changing dogs to the Albertans who need them. A charitable tax receipt will be issued for any donation over $20.00. If you choose to make your gift using one of the ‘donate’ buttons on our site, a tax receipt will automatically be issued to you. You can also call the office and made a secure donation over the phone or mail a cheque to us at 11343 174 Street, NW Edmonton, Alberta T5S 0B7.

Click to Donate Now Through Canada Helps!