Sports for Dogs

Yoga Dog
The greatest joy for your pup could be AGILITY! These classes work with your pets energy level and natural abilities. The owner (handler) directs their dog through a course of obstacles, testing both owners teaching skills and dogs reaction time. “Competitors race against the clock as they direct their dogs to jump hurdles, scale ramps, burst through tunnels, traverse a see-saw and weave through a line of poles.” With scoring based on faults similar to equestrian show jumping, dog agility can be an exciting spectator sport!

Below are five local Raleigh centers that offer some form of Agility class for your beloved furry friend:

1. K9 Solutions
Cost: $65
Duration: 3 weeks
Class size varies

This class focuses on using the built-in surroundings of a city for Agility equipment. We will be having your dog balance on walkways, climb statues and benches, jump over size-appropriate walls. As these classes take place in city areas, your dog will also learn to handle the hustle and bustle of their surroundings.
2.  Teamworks Dog Training
Once per week for 6 weeks
Cost: $130
Class Max: 6 Dogs

Dogs must be reliable off-leash around other dogs and know directional control commands.   Dogs should be familiar with targeting as a method of training.  Dogs will be introduced to  jumping technique and conditioning.  Full sized obstacles will be introduced at less than the standard heights.  This class can and should be repeated as needed until dog reaches class goals.  This class is held outdoors in our fully-fenced and lighted regulation-sized covered arena.

3. Superior Dog Training
Cost: $125
Duration: 6-weeks
Class Max:         5 dogs

Featuring: Treibball

Treibball, the newest competitive canine sport to come to the US, is an off-leash game requiring the dog to herd 8  exercise balls of varying sizes into a goal, acting on the handlers commands.  Some of the benefits of Treibball include building a stronger bond and improving communication between you and your dog, enhancing off leash reliability and promoting independent thinking.  Many people like treibball because it allows their high-energy dogs to get some serious mental and physical exercise, yet low impact.

4. Thunderpawz
4325 Grassy Field Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610.
Cost: Negotiated after first evaluation (free)
Class size: one-on-one
Realizing that not all agility teams are the same, we strive to help handlers create a training program that is custom-tailored to the needs of the team. Our broad range of experience allows us to facilitate handlers of all levels of competition by setting attainable and manageable goals. Lessons are conducted at our home-based training field. We generally plan for a lesson with one dog to be an hour long. Your dog typically will not be working the entire time, but you and your dog will come away from our lessons with a sense of accomplishment and that you learned something useful.

5. Town and Country
Cost: $125
Duration: 6-weeks

Level 1: This class introduces dogs to all obstacles and the basics of this exciting sport in which dogs run an obstacle course. Most work is done on-leash so off-lead control is not required at this stage.

Level 2: Agility (Prerequisite – Intro to Agility):
In this class, dogs begin much more challenging sequences and work on mastering six weave poles and the teeter, and they are introduced to crosses and other handling maneuvers. To participate in this class, dogs must be comfortable on all the equipment, including full-height A-frame and dog walk.

Level 3: Agility (Prerequisite – Level 2 Agility):
Dogs are introduced to more advanced handling techniques, and begin running novice-level courses in preparation for competition.  Dogs participating in the Level 3 Agility class must have mastered six-weave poles and the teeter.

Competition Agility: (Prerequisite – Level 3 Agility):
This class is designed for dogs that are ready to compete or are competing. Participants work on handling difficult courses, solving problems and improving handling techniques. To participate in this class, dogs must excel in off-lead control.

There is a BUG in my house!

Cat Playing With Bug

Good morning little rolly-polly-bug! I just love batting you around like a ball, then pouncing on top of you so you cannot escape! My hunter instincts have kicked in, and I will hide around the corner, waiting for you to start creeping forward again. With tail whipping, nose twitching, I count under my breath: “One, two, three, ATTACK!” My spring-loaded back legs launch me five feet over to your unsuspecting buggy body. I love Pill bugs (armadillidium vulgare) that curl up, making it easy to roll them around the floor! Whap whap, the little rolling bug shoots down the hallway and right up next to a fierce looking Earwig! Those pincers out front look scary, but earwigs do not sting nor are they dangerous – the pincers can only grab-on to things.

Here comes the dog! I quickly duck into the bathroom and discover a couple centipedes. They have 15 pairs of legs that detach when attacked by a predator (like me). Oh rats, he disappeared under the bath mat (they love moist spaces). Crawling behind the toilet, I find another centipede munching on another bug. Although the centipede’s prey is killed through an injection of venom, their bite rarely induces serious effects in animals. They can quickly become an infestation, so I will have to notify my owner about these lots-o-legs bugs!

Finishing up my bug patrol in the house, I head over to the fireplace in the den. Yep, just saw my big buddy Roachie skitter into the fireplace. My owner delicately calls them “palmetto bugs” but I know the truth: long antennae, 6-jointed legs, dark brown to reddish coloring, WINGS equals American Cockroach! Their hard shell makes it easy to pick them up in my mouth. I accidentally bit the head clean off of one roach, and the body skittered away under the sofa. Needless to say, my owner freaked out and demanded right then that I re-home the roach by carrying it over to our neighbors wood pile.

Returning to my yard, I check to make sure no flies follow me in through the flap of my kitty door. “Meow” I politely say to her, meaning “Bug’s are all disposed of – it’s time for my treat”.

By the way, if you are looking for a great pest control company in the Raleigh area, Call United Pest Management.  919-971-9143 Tell them Slider of Four Paws sent you!

Pets on a Plane

cute cat and dog on plane

Pets are a vital part of your family – and when you travel, they come along, too! How do you book their ticket? By reading VERY CAREFULLY the policies below and calling the pet reservation number listed under your airline. If you do not phone in your pet reservation, your furry friend will not be able to accompany you!

All airlines strictly regulate the size of pets, how many, the carrier type to be used, and where they are to be stowed. This blog doesn’t cover unescorted pets traveling as cargo, a whole different issue. There are nine major carriers coming out of RDU airport:

Air Canada
requires that you pre-register your pet for travel on the same flight as yours by contacting Air Canada Reservations within 24 hours of booking travel, 1-888-247-2262. A pet and kennel with a combined weight of less than 70 pounds (32.5 kg) is accepted for travel in the baggage compartment provided the owner is flying on the same flight. Pet carrier counts as your carry-on baggage and costs $50 CAD/USD.

AirTran accepts small, domesticated cats and dogs that will fit in an approved carrier under the seat in front of you. The pet fee is $75 each way. Only three pets are allowed per flight, so advance reservations must  must be made when bringing a pet onboard (1-800-247-8726). The carrier dimensions of 8.5” high x 18.5” long x 13.5” wide, plus carrier must be leak proof and ventilated on at least two sides. It counts as your carry-on bag or personal item.

American accepts small cats and dogs in the cabin of the aircraft (no other animals are allowed). The fee for pets traveling in the cabin is $175 per carrier (each way), and the combined weight of the pet and carrier may not exceed 20 pounds. Call 1-800-433-7300 to make a pet reservation. Pets must remain in the carrier and under the seat during the entire time that the pet is in the aircraft. Cats and dogs only. View breed restrictions for more details. We maintain the right to refuse acceptance of any animal that is exhibiting aggressive behavior.

Delta allows your pet to travel in the cabin with you but it is important to contact Delta by telephone to reserve tickets for yourself and your pets as far in advance as possible after you have confirmed your travel plans. Two pets of the same size and species (generally puppies, kittens or toy dogs) may be allowed in one pet carrier, provided they are able to comfortably fit in one carrier and each weigh less than 20 pounds. If they meet these criteria, they will be charged as only one pet. Call 800-221-1212 for flights within the United States to make a pet reservation.

Frontier allows pets in cabin with a $75 fee per segment. Only certain pets are allowed in cabin such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and small household birds on flights within the United States. The kennel must be large enough for the pet to stand and lie down in a natural position. The kennel must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Call Reservations at 1-800-432-1359 and advise the reservation agent that your are flying with your pet.

Southwest allows customers to carry small pets (cats and dogs only) on board all Southwest Airlines flights. All in-cabin pets must be carried in an appropriate pet carrier. The pet fee is $95 each way per pet carrier. Each customer is limited to carrying one pet carrier on board. The carrier may contain up to two cats or dogs of the same species. The carrier will count as the customer’s carry-on bag. Southwest does not require a health certificate or any other documentation from the customer’s veterinarian for pets to travel. Reservations for small cats or dogs can only be booked by calling Southwest Airlines at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).

United allows domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and birds to travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the U.S. An in-cabin pet may be carried in addition to a carry-on bag and is subject to a $125 service charge each way. The pet must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel that fits completely under the seat in front of the customer. The maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). The maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm). There may only be one pet per kennel, and the animal must be able to stand up and turn around comfortably. Two birds may travel in the same kennel.(1-800-864-8331).

US Airways allow you to carry on small domestic dogs or cats in the passenger cabin for an additional $125 each way. You can only carry on one pet carrier (a second carrier is not allowed).
Each carrier may contain up to 2 pets of similar size/weight/type, as long as both pets can stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in the carrier. Pets must remain inside their approved container under the seat directly in front of you. Remember, a pet in the cabin counts toward your carry-on baggage allowance. Call 800-428-4322 to book your pet.

Mugging for the Camera

I am an extremely jealous cat today – there is an ugly fur ball stealing all my glory on the Internet! Her face is in a permanent frown and she answers to: Grumpy cat.  The cat has big eyes, a bobble head, a silly-short tail – how is that cute?Her owner went on TV to explain that she is not sad or grumpy at all – her permanently grumpy-looking face is due to feline dwarfism. So now we have a Grumpy Cat… that isn’t even grumpy!! Here is the website:

I just don’t get this whole Internet animal sensation. Why can’t that be me? Do I need to shave my fur into a mohawk? Or fall from 20 stories and land on a moving vehicle?

I have a gorgeous smile on my fluffy face and no-one is offering to pay for ads on  my website! Maybe I need to get a pet agent. Yep, there are actually pet agents:
that can help you land gigs, commercials, print ads, etc.  Animal Actors International is a good place to check out if you want to be in movies, ads or live performance.

Personally, I think that starting with my mug in a calendar would help my ego tremendously, so I am entering the Wellness Pet Food monthly competition. When I contacted them, an agent said pets with quirky features stand out in the crowd. So I headed over to the wall mirror, and upon closer inspection, determined my right nostril might be a bit small and I have two different colored eyes! I continued to gaze with narcissism at my lovely reflection, and realized I may need a professional pet photographer to really capture my best side!

The best place to get pet photos in Raleigh is called In between the Blinks.  I love her statement that “Photos tell the stories of our lives and I love to capture the moments that we all sometimes miss in the blink of an eye and the magic in between “.  Hopefully, the entertainment industry and internet world will take notice of my Slider Shots… coming soon to a billboard near you!

Not Just Dog Bones Anymore!

Bone Sugar Cookies And Condensed Milk, Selective Focus

Treat your pet to a local bakery serving everything from cakes to cookies, trail mix and other novelties! Wake County has many unique spaces where you can bring your pet and sample the seasonal dog treats. Some cater to pets with allergies, offering peanut-free, gluten free and sugar free options. Below is an alphabetical list of stores – make sure to check out there hours before you go as several are not open on Mondays, some are by appointment only and others open later in the day.

Three Dog Bakery in Apex recently closed –  it really is a dog eat dog competition for clients! So when you find a bakery that your furry friend enjoys, Like them on Facebook, write a review on Yelp, help market them by word-of-mouth to neighbors!

Bone Appétit Bakery
NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh
Gourmet Dog treats, with wheat-free options, peanut butter, pumpkin or honey berry bites.

Gourmutt’s Bakery
, Raleigh. NC.
Our delectable goodies are baked on premises daily using only the freshest human grade ingredients. Our treats contain NO added Salts, Sugars, Preservatives or Artificial Dyes. All of our treats are tested by the Clemson University Food Sciences Department and registered with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the FDA. Not only will your dogs LOVE our treats, but you will also feel good about giving them.

La Di Dogs
419-B Daniels Street Raleigh, NC.
Cute store in Cameron Village that sells clothes, toys, treats and more for dogs. Mostly for smaller dogs.

Pet-Friendly Store
2460 Wycliff Rd
Raleigh, NC 27607
Unleashed offers only natural, healthy and safe treats, chews and foods for dogs and cats. They sell baked treats from local suppliers.

Wag Pet Boutique
General Pet Stores
7414 Creedmoor Rd
Raleigh, NC 27613
Specialty pet store + bakery (leashes, collars, apparel, chews, toys, premium foods)

Woof Gang Bakery, Cary and Raleigh
Groomers & Spas, Pet-Friendly Stores, General Pet Stores, Pet Boutiques, Neighborhood Stores
4421 Six Forks Road, Suite 120
Raleigh, NC 27609
Woof Gang Bakery is the leader in raw, frozen and grain-free diets for cats and dogs. They offer premium pet food selections, as well as gourmet dog treats, tough toys, grooming products, stylish collars and leads, and much more! Woof Gang Grooming is the very best in Pet Care.

Knowing Your Client Personally

Desert tropical island with palm tree, chaise lounge, suitcase.Why do customers go back to the same restaurant, salon, mechanic, or pet service? Customer Service. Even when a new one comes along that offers coupons and cheaper prices? The quality of service comes into question, and once you have customer loyalty, you have success!

There will be problems or misunderstandings eventually, yet loyal customers won’t leave and bad-mouth your company to the community. The way to earn this amazing trust from your clients is to go above-and-beyond, whether that is a follow-up email/call or a hand-written note. To stay one-step ahead in anticipating their needs. To document in their file as much information as possible, so that the next time they reach out, you can speak knowledgeably of what has happened in the past.

“No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.” – Calvin Coolidge

While consumers like discounts, they are even more interested in incentives for booking with you or living a healthier lifestyle. By pairing our pet sitting with travel agent services, we can now handle the trip and the pets, providing a discount when you book the two together!

Visit we can reward book phenomenal rates for travel and reward your customer loyalty with 15% off your pet sitting services through Four Paws!

A Cat Toy that ROCKS! And ROLLS!

Yes, Slider cat is not easily impressed with human-versions of “fun”. A string? Pleeeze. Until now – this new toy they brought me is “The Cat’s Meow”!!!!

It drives me CRAZY that I can’t see what’s under the yellow nylon cloth. The longer I watch it, the more determined I become KILL IT with a pounce and crush leap!
I go into wildcat attack mode, back legs launching me forward – claws extended- teeth barred and crush the moving object. Sit on it for awhile to make sure it isn’t moving.


The minute I get up and stalk away, the movement begins again, a skittering that switches directions and speeds! It looks like a mouse or small squirrel is under the cloth. I must find out which one, so I hunt for the cardboard box it came in and read:

* (4) different speeds; Slow, Medium, Fast and Random. Your cat will love the variety.
* Long Lasting durable nylon cover
* Peek-a-boo wand mimics scurrying mouse
* Stops clawing and scratching on curtains and furniture
* Hours of fun and exercise for cats of all ages -PetZoom

The mystery remains – they don’t reveal what the creature is under the yellow cloth! I did find the pricetag that said $19.99 but I know my owners got it for $13.99 by ordering on-line. They are always looking for “a deal” when it comes to cat-toy shopping!

So if you have a fat cat, or a bored cat, or a kitten with energy to burn – go buy this toy. It will entertain multiple cats at once, too! Just make sure you pick up the 3-C Batteries to make it work!

What to do About Stray Cats and Dogs

Little Dog Walking

You see the flash of fur, then a tail disappears under your deck, or into your bushes! Who’s cat is that? Or maybe it’s a dog wandering along the side of the road. Do you stop to try and catch it, or call the animal catcher? What is the backstory on how this furry creature came to be left out in the open?

There are several options for any stray animals that you may encounter. Read below to determine if one of these may work for the animal you have “found”:

1. Animal Control: 919-996-1449. They “work closely with rescue groups that attempt to find homes for the nearly 5,000 animals they pick up each year.”-Raleigh NC Gov

2. Another option is an Animal Shelter. In Wake County, the Animal Center is “an open-admission animal shelter operated by Wake County. We receive all stray, abandoned & surrendered pets in Wake County. We work in partnership with fosters, volunteers and local
rescues, to treat and rehome thousands of homeless animals every year.” They are located at: 820 Beacon Lake Drive, Raleigh and their phone number is: (919) 212-7387.

2. Having a large military presence in our state, some animals are left behind when their owner deploys. There is a Rescue that works to find homes for these animals, Guardian Angels for Soldiers pets:

3. Triangle Lost Pets ( This website, sponsored by Wake County, allows individuals to post descriptive information and view maps of where pets have been lost or found. This site also allows individuals to prepare a Pet Flier that can be posted in neighborhoods.

4. Feral (wild) cats that are discovered/rescued/surrendered to shelters are normally not adoptable. Cary Community Cat Program: 919-378-1867

5. Finally, there are several Foster Pet Programs:
where found animals can be viewed and fostered. C.A.R.E. for Animals, Best Friend Pet Adoption (dogs only), Heaven and Earth Animal Rescue Team, Marley’s Cat (and Dog!) Tales and Paw Prints Animal Rescue to name a few!

Please don’t ignore the animal, because if you don’t do something to help, who will?

Is Your Pet Afraid of Storms?


When every single hair on my tail stands on end, you know I have been spooked! Originally it was only thunderstorms with their booming claps that sent me diving under the bed. Over the next year, loud noises like firetruck sirens, ambulances or simply a backfiring muffler caused me to hit the floor and hide.

At first my owner laughed at my noise phobias, but as they continued to multiply in number she realized that I had a serious need for…

The Thunder Shirt!

Made not far from my Raleigh home, in downtown Durham, the snug-fitting jackets are amazing!Immediately, when it was put on me, I calmed down and felt secure as if my owners arms were wrapped around me.

How does this invention work?

Much like a tightly swadled baby calms down immediately, putting one of these snug jackets on applies pressure, “which has a calming effect on the nervous system, possibly by releasing a calming hormone like endorphins”-Thundershirt website.

The Thunder Shirt was founded in 2009 after “…proprietary research also uncovered that over 30% of pets suffer from one or more of these anxieties making anxiety one of the leading issues for today’s pet parents.”Sure, they were originally made for dogs, but I consider them the test market!

Here is the link for cats size 6-13 lbs. If you are a bit “fuller figured” then I suggest checking out the dog sizes:       

Check with your local veterinarian about the results they have seen, I consider myself the unofficial spokesperson for the Thunder Shirt and it’s success story!

Dog Gone It! Where is MY Tail?

Brindle BoxerAww, look at that little nub of a tail! We don’t ask why the dogs tail is gone, or docked, and that is the real controversy.

Dogs are born with tails that express their feelings. So how do pet owners justify taking them off? This practice has been going on since the 1800s for about 50 breeds, particularly for Spaniels, Terriers, Boxers, Pointers, Poodles and Schnauzers.

Several articles say there are three main reasons why people dock a dogs tail:

1. With long haired breeds the tail is docked for hygiene issues.
2.  With a hunting dog, the tail is docked so that it won’t get stuck in brambles or hurt during hunting.
3.  With a guard dog, the theory is that it could be seized by the tail to thwart its attack.

So how is it done? One of two ways, the first being surgery and the second, more common technique is known as “banding” “In which a ligature, normally an orthodontic band, was placed over the end of the puppies tail at 24-96 hours old. This effectively cuts off the blood supply to the end of the tail, which comes away within 3 days.”-Vet News.  The cut goes through skin, cartilage, nerve endings and bone. Does it hurt the puppy? The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) states that “Puppies, just like human babies, have a fully developed nervous system and do indeed feel pain. They point to biological markers, which show pain is occurring during and after a procedure such as tail docking.

So it seems the real question is not “How harmful is the procedure?”, but rather “Is there sufficient justification for performing it?”-Canadian Veterinarian Journal. Dog Gone It