At the Lodge, our staff is like a family, and we are always excited to welcome a new member. You may have noticed that our close-knit team consists of a core group of employees who have been on staff for years with new members being added as we continue to grow. It warms our hearts to think of all the dogs we’ve welcomed over the years and how wonderful it is to have the opportunity to watch them grow up. We love reminding each other about all the sweet and funny memories we’ve created with our longtime clients. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do so.
One thing that is special about the CNL family is how quickly and seamlessly the new members seem to mesh right in. I really feel this is because we, as staff members, know one thing even when we haven’t gotten a chance to know a new hire very well. We know that we all made the same promise. If you work at Cold Nose Lodge, you have pledged to only use positive, kind methods in every interaction you have with the dogs. You will never find any of us using fear, intimidation, or any aversive methods–ever. Cold Nose Lodge invests in us as employees, providing the resources and ongoing education we need to decipher dog body language and communication. We are taught how to gain trust and build a strong bond with every dog that comes to the Lodge, as well as positive training and leadership methods. These methods are not only kinder, but more reliable than any negative alternative. This philosophy is woven into every aspect of the Lodge, so when our founder, Rayne, learned about Fear Free, she jumped on the chance to become a Fear Free Certified Professional. She has incorporated what she learned from the program into our staff training and ongoing education. Learn more about our staff training program here and meet our staff here.
Fear Free provides education and certification to veterinary professionals and the pet professional community. The initiative, created by “America’s veterinarian” Dr. Marty Becker, focuses on the importance of the emotional well-being of our best friends in addition to physical well-being. It’s goal is to alleviate fear, anxiety and stress in pets and educate and inspire the people who care for them. Over 13,000 professionals from all 50 states, Canada, and 33 countries have completed the Fear Free program, and 23,000 have registered. Fear Free goes further than just proving tools, procedures, and guidelines on how to alleviate anxiety, stress, and fear. Fear Free is accountability. Every certified professional has taken a pledge to practice these kind methods that pets deserve. We are so happy to see the list of Fear Free Professionals in our area growing! See who is on the local the list here!
At our recent staff meeting, Rayne shared the Fear Free fundamentals with us and explained how we would be incorporating them at the Lodge. From adjusting our lobby, being mindful of our personal energy, and expanding on our use of calming music with portable pet cubes, we were all excited to learn about the new ways we would be making CNL even more positive for the dogs. We also learned about procedures like “touch gradient.” For nail trims, we have been using the “touch gradient” method that consists of sustained physical contact starting on a readily accepted spot. We make our way down to the feet and increase the level of intensity while gauging the dog’s acceptance and comfort, taking it slower if we see signs of stress. We also use treats as a distraction to make nail trims pleasant, rewarding, and easy. From our introductions that allow a dog to explore the room and slowly meet new dogs, to our log-keeping each shift, the Lodge has always found being mindful and proactive when it comes to the emotional well-being of dogs extremely important. We love dogs and you can trust us to always treat every dog with patience, love, and kindness. During our pre-shift powwows, in addition to being provided with the tools we need to make daycare a fun, happy experience, you can hear us giving each other tips on what we have found works best for the dogs who are in attendance that day. All of our training classes have always and continue to teach owners how to use positive methods to train their dogs. We believe dog training should be based on a relationship of trust, not fear. For that reason, we use positive reinforcement, redirection and luring to train dogs at the Lodge. The use of physical corrections and other aversive training methods (choke chains, prong collars, etc.) are prohibited in our training programs. We so happy to have learned about Fear Free. We love watching the ideals we hold dear being spread and pledged to.
When Rayne was completing the Fear Free Certification, she shared that she hoped Fear Free would be extended to individuals outside of the petcare field. Fear Free Happy Homes has launched resources for pet owners at https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/. Membership is free! How awesome is that?! Sign up here. Fear Free Happy Homes offers pet owners resources to enhance their pet’s emotional well-being, tips & tricks to provide pets with in-home enrichment, access to the Fear Free directory, resources, education, and more. We encourage you to sign up.
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