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January 2015 Photos from the Doggy Day Care Centre – enjoy!

Dogs will use eyes to express moods, and we love dog’s squinting, this is usually a positive sign of contentment, joy and happiness.

A confident socialised dog, during dog to dog induction will squint whilst gazing elsewhere. This is a clear indication your dog is not at all interested in rough play or even a hint of aggression.

Sometimes if you tell your dog of, your dog may squint, but this is usually followed by your dog nudging your hand in an act of saying “sorry”.

When you next give your dog a belly rub, have a look at his eyes, hopefully you can detect a squint and maybe even a smile!

When you’re next  taking your dog out in Redhill or Reigate,  just watch the dogs for 10 mins.

Here’s a wonderful picture of Abby and Lexi, taken at our Doggy Day Care Centre. This picture demonstrates squinting – Abby is in  a very happy, content and joyful mood, you can even see her smile, with her friend Lexi.

Dog's Squinting

Dog’s Squinting

Why does my dog flatten his ears?

This is a more complicated expression and can mean a varying of emotions. This can vary widely at both ends of the emotional scale. (From play to submission and right at the end of the scale, aggression)

  • A fearful dog will have a smooth forward, ear back and cower
  • An aggressive dog’s forehead will be tense and usually wrinkled
  • A curious dog will pull his ears back to concentrate
  • A sad dog may lie on his front paws with ears back and usually won’t move

Also, dogs will pull ears back just before a fight in order to protect them from bites or stretches.

The main ear movement we look for is for a sign of submission, this is the method a dog will use to demonstrate his lower ranking to other dogs.

Here’s a perfect example of “Lexie”, a stunning, compassionate, friendly dog showing her kind and submissive nature, taken at our Day Care Centre:

Flat ears like Lexi's show case a kind, gentle submissive dog.

Flat ears like Lexi’s show case a kind, gentle submissive dog.

Lovely isn’t it?

At Zara’s Doggy Day Care we’re always studying dog behaviour but more specifically in a group environment.

Every dog is required to be vetted by Zara and her dog Bentley before your dog can join the fun, so we’re going to start blogging same of the behaviours we actually look for during the dogs induction or whilst we’re monitoring our clients dogs at the centre.

 So….. why does my dog lick his lips & other dog’s lips?

As with humans, people often forget mouths are not just for eating, drinking, barking, they can reflect expressions and moods. – Same for dogs too!

A dog may lick his lips when they feel unsure about something, say meeting a group of dogs at a training session or new dogs at the park.

When your dog is licking his lips, near another dog, your dog is actually saying:

 “Just to let you know, I am okay”


Some more anxious dogs may lick their noses repeatedly and glance sideways with raised eyebrows so you can see the white eye areas. This is a more nervous gesture, in human terms, they would be biting their finger nails.

Dogs can sometimes lick their lips of they are thinking, for example, you’re teaching them agility or new training tricks such as roll over. – We, humans, actually do the same whilst we exercise high levels of concentration.

Dogs and more frequently puppies lick lips of senior dogs to show respect whilst adult dogs will lick a more superior dogs lips.

So next time you’re watching your dog, especially when they meet another dog, carefully watch your dog’s lips and tongue – you might be surprised what you find out about your dog.

….And here’s a lovely example of Rufus taken at Zara’s Doggy Day Care:


Rufus - dog licking - one happy dog

Rufus – dog licking – one happy dog!


At the weekend we went to Bluewater shopping and noticed a Buff shop. We usually use buffs for skiing or motorbikes but noticed they now sell a dog Buff, we thought it’s pretty cool. 

Dog Buff

Dog Buff

Its £8.50 and I think it reflects good value, they come in various sizes and colours, all have a reflective strip. The fabric is nice quality, soft and stretches. Buff use “seamless joins” therefore you cannot find any stitching which is pretty clever.










So Bentley, our Model, offered to demonstrate.


Traditional fitting, around the dog’s neck:

Dog Buff

Dog Buff












Can be used as a lead, looped around the collar.

Dog Buff

Dog Buff

In a more extreme environment (e.g. walking in snow), you can loop the Buff around the collar, bring it over the dogs nose, and use to tie the ears back, covering the head and ears.

Dog Buff

Dog Buff












Bentley looks pretty stupid, but, he was not bothered by the soft fabric, so next time we’re skiing, I suspect he will adopt this fitting.

The reflective strip is also very effective, with Bentley being black he is quite hard to spot in our garden, quick search with a spotlight we can instantly find him

Overall, I am pleased with the purchase and I think £8.50 per buff offers good value.

It’s just a shame no pet stores stock the buff in Redhill or Reigate, however you can purchase online:












I am sure there are many local firework displays this weekend around Redhill, Reigate & Horley.

I love fireworks, but, unfortunately people don’t think of the impact or effects on animals:

Dogs and Fireworks







So how can you minimise the impact on your dog?

Experiment with an Adaptil diffuser, these work by releasing pheromones associated with lactating bitches and for some reason they calm and reassure dogs.  I had never used one, but I have heard good things. Bentley is usually pretty tired after his work at the day care centre and doesn’t move an inch with fireworks, but all dogs are different. – Many of our dogs are tired and used to a busy action packed day, we hope fireworks will not be to much of an issue with our clients.


What can you try:

  • Ensure your dog is tired from a nice walk or doggy day care
  • Close all windows and curtains
  • Increase the volume on your TV or Radio
  • Don’t let your dog out at night time
  • Don’t punish him for toilet accidents – this is unfair
  • Avoid paying attention to your dog if he shows fear (difficult, but, it will make it worse)
  • Ignore the fireworks yourself, play with your dog with a toy
  • Ensure you dog has access to his safe and secure area / bed
  • Try a crate with a blanket over – great for a secure den!


If you wish to ask or share any other tips, feel free to contact us.


Cats & DogsCats & Dogs

Many cartons show dogs will chase cats but why do they?

Well, it’s because cats run, simple as that.

In the very rare event a dog corners a cat, the dog will not know what to do or is more likely to try and sniff the cat.

A cat’s claw is seven times faster than a dogs bite, the dog will back off and allow the cat to escape.

Most dogs learn to live side by side, our dog Bentley does, in fact, all my dogs throughout my childhood lived with our family cats. This happens to thousands of homes throughout the world and dispels dogs and cats are enemies.

I find one of the most frustrating things with rescue kennels, they often class dogs as “cat killers” just for chasing cats or will not home dogs with cats, even to experienced dog owners who understand and can control and drama between such evil enemies!

Zara’s Doggy Day Care are specialists in taking care of your favourite pets. If its just a dog day care need or full dog boarding, contact Zara today for a quote to take care of your dog.


Taking your Dog Abroad

I’d just like to say happy New Year to all my clients, friends and of course all the dogs!

This year we decided to drive to France, Austria and Switzerland to enjoy some skiing and mountain walks with Bentley

However, I could not part with my dog Bentley, he works with us 5 days a week so deserves a nice holiday too!

This was the first time Bentley has been aboard, I was slightly nervous due to the fear of Bentley being stuck in quarantine. After some basic investigation we found the process easy as long as you take the right steps.

I have written a couple of pointers, hopefully you may these useful for UK dogs travelling inside the EU.

Outbound Journey:

Ensure your dog vaccinations are up to date, check your dogs microchip responds and all passport and vaccinations stamp relate to chip ID. Also suggest a dog tag with a mobile number of which you will be using when abroad.

  1. Ensure your dog warmers are up to date
  2. Book an appointment with your vet to arrange:
  3. Rabies Vaccinations – you will need this administered at least 6 weeks before hand, otherwise you dog cannot re-enter the UK before 6 weeks has lapsed (Important!!)
  4. Ensure your pet insurance covers EU travel – suggest a phone call to inform them
  5. Read the following websites:

Inbound/Return Journey:

When returning, you must visit a vet, inside the EU, who can administrate a very specific dog wormer as this protects a very nasty worm called “schistosoma” from entering the UK.

We identified & spoke to a vet before leaving the UK, for peace of mind.

In regards to the dog wormer you need to be careful in regards to timings, guidance from the official Government website is below:

The treatment must be given between 1 and 5 days (24 to 120 hours) before you’re scheduled to arrive in the UK.

Your vet must record the following details in your dog’s pet passport or certificate:

  • The name and manufacturer of the product used to treat your dog
  • The date and time they treated your dog
  • Their stamp and signature
  • The treatment must have praziquantel or equivalent as its active ingredient.
  • We followed the above steps and found the experience a pleasure. The first port of call is your vet who will hopefully walk through the above steps in greater detail.

For any advice on how to take your dog abroad, or if you simply want a dog boarding service you can trust, contact Zara today.


Dogs & Separation Anxiety

Dogs Separation AnxietyDogs are social animals. That’s why we love ‘em! They’re genetically predisposed to prefer life with a canine group, although they’ll more readily accept humans as an alternate group than most other species.
There are two categories of separation anxiety. Most dogs fall in to the first “normal” category. If your dog is exhibiting more extreme symptoms than what you see below, please read this section completely first, and then go to our Severe Separation Anxiety page.

Normal / Instinctual Separation Anxiety

Dog/puppy chews furniture or other household items when left alone. Furniture or items may be completely destroyed in many normal anxiety cases.
Dog/puppy urinates or defecates in the house when left alone.
Dog/puppy whines, barks, paces, or pants when left alone.
Dog/puppy paws at crate or door, leaving scratch marks, when left alone.
Dog/puppy follows owner around house and cries when owner needs to shut a door (ex., to take a shower, or to fetch something from the car or garden) for a short period of time.

If this list describes the issues that you are having, you must start immediate work on Chew training and House Training. You also need to make a few additional modifications in your daily household setup and routine in order to solve this problem once and for all, and to avoid severe anxiety developing as your dog ages.

That said, this level of separation anxiety can be reduced and certainly eliminated with your help. In other words, as long as you take the time to guide your dog and help him gain confidence while alone, you can breathe a sigh of relief!

First and Foremost

If your dog is chewing, go immediately to our Chew Training page and follow those directions. No, really. You may think that you have properly taught him what’s not OK to chew, but you very likely need some more pointers and more practise. Go read it. You’ll be glad you did.
If your dog is urinating or defecating in the house, go immediately to our House Training page and follow those directions. Again, you may think that you have fully house trained your dog, but you probably haven’t. Sorry, but skipping this section = cheating your dog and setting him up for a miserable life.

Do These Next Things No Matter What

Even if your dog is NOT doing any of points 3-5 above (and certainly if he is), a good dog owner will take the following steps to avoid the development of severe separation anxiety in the future. These steps will also eliminate points 3-5 above.

If he’s living in a cage or crate for more than 4 hours per day, throw it out and house train and chew train him.
Teach him to Stay (start with ridiculously easy stays and gradually increase time, distance and distraction), and practise short Stays around the house. As you get better, start to incorporate short and long time and distance Stays including visual blockages and shut doors in between you and the dog.
Do not respond in any way to whining or barking. Don’t even look at him. Especially in dogs under 1 year old, barking or whining will stop if it is not reinforced by attention.

Vigorous Daily Exercise

Exercise your dog vigorously every single day. Vigorous exercise means very fast walking, or full-on running. If you can’t do this, or don’t have the time or inclination, bring him to doggy daycare at least 2-3x/week or hire a dog walker for the following age group designations.

Age 3 – 6 months minimum 120 minutes daily, broken in to 4+ segments.
Age 6 -12 months: Minimum 3 hours daily, broken into 2-3 segments.
Age 1-3 years: Minimum 4 hours daily, all at once or broken into segments.
Age 3-6 years: 2-4 hours daily.
Age 6+ years: 1-2 hours daily.

Low-Key Greetings and Departures

Keep your hello’s and goodbye’s very low key, or better yet, simply ignore your dog or puppy for the first 5 minutes after your arrival or prior to your departure. Yes, we know this is very difficult, but you may not make any big fuss at the door, anymore, ever! (Give him all the attention and love you want AFTER 5 minutes has passed, please!)

Your dog mirrors your emotional displays, and takes them much more seriously than you do. He will allow them to become part of his emotional routine. Dogs have incredible internal clocks too. If every day at 5pm you make a big to-do out of your arrival home, your dog will anticipate this emotional charge every day at 5pm.

If one day you’re late for whatever reason, he can very easily start chewing at the door – his attempt to stay in the routine you created. Don’t do it. And don’t let children do it either.

Zara’s Doggy Daycare take care of all your dog day care needs in many locations throughout Surrey. We have a specially constructed property to look after your dogs every need while you are away.