Do you know what you want when you look for a pet care professional? Do you know what to look for? Here are a few questions you can ask to get you started....


For your pet trainers.......

 Question: Ask about their specific training method for one or two of your personal pet problems.

 First off, you should only ask about one or two of your specified problems, or the trainers themselves may omit some info thinking you are a do-it-youselfer. Second, When the trainers learn their occupation, they are aware of different forms of training and each are also trained in slightly different ways. Along with this they each also have past experience that has formed their own personal method of training.

    By asking about their personal methods, you can get some sense as to whether this specific trainer or method will fit your lifestyle.



 Question: What form of training do they use?

A: Positive reinforcement

B: Negative reinforcement

C: Positive punishment

D: Negative punishment

 The most common and best way is Positive reinforcement. However there are some special circumstances that require negative reinforement and even less likely, positive punishment.

Allow me to go into some detail over these training forms: Positive reinforcement is the use of treats, verbal praising and lots of petting for a job well done. Negative reinforcement would be the lack there of, such as withholding treats if Fido does not do what is asked. Positive punishment is showing the pet you are displeased with him verbaly or using the "canine" body language such as a growl that shows your teeth. Negative punishment is the use of a choke chain or pinch collar, or the use of a training aid to detour chewing or barking such as "Bitter Apple" or a shock collar.

Try to better understand these methods to decide what you are most comfortable with.

 Question: Ask if the trainer charges extra for extra sessions if it's not working well the first time.

 First off, you should never feel bad about not getting it right the first time. Some of the training is either hard to understand or not easy to incorporate into your lifestyle.

A good trainer won't guarantee a perfect pet after a pre-established amount of lessons. They should understand that every dog has it's own learning curve. A good trainer or training facility also won't charge extra for extra lessons, nor will they give up or simply "graduate" the pet.

There does seem to be one exception in my experience however, that is Petsmart. Their trainers work for a corporation instead of an actual person. They are also forced to follow a schedule, and if you fall behind, then you will get left behind. If you find yourself unsatisfied with lessons there, don't be afraid to ask for your money back. However, this is a good place for simple socialization.

 For your Groomers...........
 Question: Ask if they accept your breed/size of pet.
 Some groomers only accept  certain anmials, breeds, or sizes. In most cases, you'll find groomers that only groom small animals or small to medium size dogs. However, on the oppposite side of the spectrum, there are groomers that only accept large animals, although this is rare.
 Question: Ask if they use traquilizers.
 Some groomers do use them. It is mainly utilized as a safety measure. However, this can cause some health issues. Some breeds of dogs and cats already have breathing or health concerns which traquilizers can make worse. To find out if your specific pet will have negative side effects, consult your vet. Even though a groomer may use tranqilizers, you can ask them not to. Most groomers will accomodate your requests.
 Question: Ask about price.
 Don't be afraid to shop around or be slightly frugal. Some grooming services have a wide range of pricing, but most are some what similar. One groomer may charge extra for large breed pets or animals other than cats or dogs.
 Question: Ask if you can see a portfolio or before and after pictures.
 If you are a little picky about pet styling, you are going to want to know what to expect from you groomer. This is also a good way to find out how experienced your groomer really is.
 For your vets...........
 Question: Ask about prices
 Prices range widely between vets. One place may offer a rabies shot for $55 and another place may charge $115. This is definitly the time and place to shop around.
 Question: Ask which animals they specialize in or which animal/breed that have worked with most.
 Most vets are highly specialized in domesticated pets. Other vets work mainly with farm animals and some specialized in excotic pets. Depending on the type of pet you have, you will want to find a vet that corresponds well.

 Most of your deductions should come from observations of the clinic itself.

A: The waiting room should be neat and clean ( Some(very few) diseases can be spread in the waiting room itself although highly unlikely.)

B: The reception area should always have personnel on hand to help you and plenty of business cards.

C: The exam rooms should be mostly neat and clean. When it comes to pets, they can do quite a bit of damage to these rooms as they tend to stress out. (note: if you happen to notice blood or fecal matter anywhere in the room, point it out and ask for another room. Staff or personnel should always be on top of cleaning that type of stuff up.)

D: The Smell. A vets' place isn't going to smell like roses, but it should smell sickly either. If you smell fecal matter or any other substance, don't be afraid to ask what it is or point it out.

E: They should have plenty of materials on hand for you regarding any concerns you may have.

F: Ask them lots of questions. Good vets, assistants and even receptionists will be highly knowledgeable and be able to answer your questions directly, honestly and quickly.

G: Last but not least, ask who OTHER people recommend. Ask friends, family, co-workers, and pet care specialists to find out who is highly favorable.


Question: Ask about their insurance, and policy on unsatisfied customers.

Most vets will be covered in case there is an accident, or mishap concerning your pet. Be wary of those who aren't.

You also need to find out what the policy is concerning unsatisfied customers. The are a few vets out there with limited knowledge. (example: A vet had told a friend of mine that his dog would die within a few short weeks of hip dysplasia.)

 For your Pet sitters and Care Specialists...
 Question: Ask where they do business.
 Some pet sitters only "pet sit" in the home of the pet owner, some only on their own premises. Some do both. Figure out what you are comfortable with, what you need, and find an agent that fits you.
 Question: Ask for a tour of the kennel or facility.
 Kennels and care centers vary. Some are small and low-key, some are large and not very personal, and some are located on the owners premises. You'll want to find something you will feel comfortable with when you visit. (note: some kennels have dirt floors. This should not detour you as long as they have a clean healthy environment. After all, in the summer, dogs dig holes to lay in to keep cool.)
 Question: Ask about prices.
 Most kennels, pet sitters, and care specialists are very up front with their pricing, but you will find one or two with those hidden fees. Also, most kennels and pet sitters charge extra for "special meals", walks, playtime and so on.These prices do range widely.
 Question: Ask about policies.
 Different businesses have different policies. If they have a website, it should list them, if not, you should find out. Only about half of kennels, pet sitters, and care specailists will deal with any size dog and cat. Even less will assume responsibilities with other or exotic animals. Most places or people will also want shot records, or other info. You should find out what is required for your specific pet.


Question: Ask about freebies.

As with any business, it never hurts.

Some places may have a special promotion, or give special discounts. Example: Bidefire Pets gives a lot of freebies with different services.

Look at different websites from time to time, or call and ask IF and WHEN they have special promotions.

Promotions and special discounts show that a business has a strong foundation and that they want YOUR business.

Please note that these are all suggestive topics and questions. This is not a strict guide or policy. They are meant to help you make better informed decisions. As always, we want to help you help your pet. You are your pets' best friend and they are yours. We are your pets' OTHER best friend!!!!

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