What is Force-Free Ethical Pet Care?

Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Six of Eight)

Niki Tudge chats to Rachel Williams, the owner of The DogSmith of Palm Beach County
Niki Tudge chats to Rachel Williams, the owner of The DogSmith of Palm Beach County

In this post we will take a look at part two of PPG president Niki Tudge’s presentation, What is Force-Free Ethical Pet Care? Caring for Pets, Protocols & Procedures.

Tudge began by explaining that upon arrival at the pet care facility all pets should be examined.  This should be done while on leash, paying particular emphasis to the pet’s demeanor, making sure they remain at ease.  Feeding food treats to the mouth or scattering them on the floor is usually the best way to facilitate the examination.  This is not a veterinary examination but the pet care technician does need to check the general condition of the fur and coat, the eyes and ears.  They need to check for signs of parasites, fleas and ticks and look for wounds, cuts or scrapes.  If the technician finds anything of concern, they do not diagnose but they do inform the pet owner and recommend that the pet be taken to the veterinarian for a complete exam.  If there is any reason for concern, they should not sign the pet into their facility but should ask the pet owner to return after the pet has been given the all clear by the vet.

Don’t get caught out because you leave a client's house and the key is still sitting inside!
Don’t get caught out because you leave a client’s house and the key is still sitting inside!

I found Tudge’s discussion of good key control very interesting as I am sure this is probably something that many pet care professionals should pay more attention to.  Some of the main points were that if we hold the keys for a client’s house we are responsible for the safekeeping of the keys and, as we may have several client keys at the same time, we should label all keys with a code.  The label should never state the home address, owner’s name or telephone number, just a code that only the Pet Care Technician can identify. Tudge gave some other great advice for keeping keys safe including never leaving keys in a vehicle or unattended and the use of realtor lock boxes.

Later in the presentation Tudge discussed the important topic of cleaning and how making changes in how a premises is cleaned can drastically reduce stress in a pet care environment.  She discussed the use of pet safe enzymatic cleaning products and pointed out that they should also be used in play yards.  Tudge stressed the importance of environmental management but pointed out that strong smelling cleaning solutions, such as bleach, should not be used.

I will end with a few questions for you to ponder.  Tudge asked “What are you and who is your customer?”  Pet care businesses need to understand their core services so that they put emphasis where it is needed.  What are the primary products?  What are the customers buying:  boarding, in home pet care, day care, grooming or some other service?  Remember – products can be combined in terms of packages and services.

Niki presenting
Niki Tudge, the founder and president of PPG explains pet care protocols and procedures


In part seven of this series we will take a look at Rebekah King’s day three presentation, Health & Handling.

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If you would like to know more about pet care, why not sign up for The Pet Professional Guild’s Virtual Pet Care Summit taking place on Thursday, August 11 and Friday, August 12, 2016 ? There will be more than 25 hours of educational webinars across a variety of topics geared towards the pet care professional!  More information and online registration here


About Louise Stapleton-Frappell

Louise Stapleton-Frappell - B.A. Hons, PCBC-A, PCT- A, CAP3, CTDI, DN-FSG, DN-CPCT, CWRI BARKS Podcast Co-Presenter and Membership Manager for The Pet Professional Guild British Isles, Louise is a Partner and Faculty Member of DogNostics Career Center and Board Member of The Pet Professional Guild. Louise has constantly built on her knowledge and furthered her education in the field of force-free, rewards based, science-based pet training. A Steering Committee Member of Doggone Safe and Regional Coordinator of Doggone Safe in Spain, Louise is the proud "Mum" of Jambo - Staffy Bull Terrier Trick Dog: The first Staffordshire Bull Terrier to achieve the Title of Trick Dog Champion. The creator of the DogNostics’ Dog Trainer Certification Program, Louise has presented at conferences internationally and has gained a reputation for expertly teaching and training humans and canines at her own establishment, The DogSmith of Estepona, in Southern Spain, where she offers a wide range of both group and private classes and pet dog services.

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