Bark About News……

Bark Busters Newsletter  December 2012
Consider the GIFT of TRAINING for the DOG OWNERS on Your List!

Gift Certificate Contact us for Gift Certificate details – perfect for holiday giving!
BellaBella Northville, MI

Bella is sweet and full of life! She is an energetic lab who enjoys doggy daycare and a good game of fetch. She is working on walking nicely on a leash and other good doggy manners.  Bella is very sweet and silly. She

has lived with kids and cats and gets along with other dogs as she has already attended doggy daycare. House-trained and working on crate-training.

CLICK HERE to search by location, breed, age and more!

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Client Testimonials
MARIL IS VERY PATIENT with me and EASY TO WORK WITH. Verbal commands / praise is easier to work with than “clicker” or “treat” training. My puppy could sit on command at the end of our first lesson. It is so convenient to schedule in-home training and I am glad to have training support as issues arise.

– Paula L., Novi MI

Maril verbally and physically explained the techniques which made it easier to understand.  Mylo is extremely stubborn, but you could see that he was walking on the leash better buy the end of our session.  The techniques are friendly and easy to understand.  They are very simple, but I had never thought to do them. I LOVE THE TECHNIQUES since it is all about body language, sounds and leadership.  I don’t want anyone hurting their dogs.  It was an enjoyable experience and so much more relaxing because it is done in the comfort of your own home – which is also easier for your dog. – – Colleen Lachat, Northville

Very easy to understand and to follow through with.  Mia hasn’t tried to bite my hands since Maril left. WISH I HAD CALLED BARK BUSTERS SOONER. I learned many things I never knew about dogs.  I would Absolutely recommend Bark Busters to anyone with a puppy.  People need to know the way their dogs communicate.  – – Stephanie Good, Wixom

G’day, !

Happy Holidays! We hope your holiday season is filled with all that’s good – food, friends, family and fun! And that goes for your tail-waggers too!

Any time of year, good manners are essential social skills. In this issue, we offer tips for appropriate dog etiquette that ensure your dog is viewed as well-behaved and amiable to everyone he meets.

While humans may enjoy the busy holiday season, it can be a strange and stressful time for your dog. Routines change, visitors appear at the door, and there’s a TREE in the living room! Below you can read tips to help you manage your dog’s holiday stress.

If you’re giving your dog toys this holiday to keep him busy and happy, contact me to help you select just the right puzzle toy!

to forward this newsletter to all your dog loving friends!

Maril & Bob Zbik

Behavioral Therapist and Certified Master Trainer

248-752-7782(Bob) / 248-219-3781(Maril)


Holiday time brings guests to the house, delicious foods on the table, and delivery people on the sidewalk. If your dog regards these scenarios as exciting, he may display unwanted behaviors in response, such as jumping up on visitors, stealing food, and barking uncontrollably at passersby.

None of these behaviors are welcome during the busy holiday season, nor at any other time of year.

CLICK HERE to read tips for appropriate dog etiquette both inside and outside the home!

Help your dog stay busy and out of the holiday trimmings by giving him a variety of fun – and safe – toys designed just for canines. The Buster Cube™ and Kong™ are virtually indestructible puzzle toys that reward your dog with treats and keep him well entertained. Contact me for details!


While we humans enjoy the cheerful hustle-bustle of the holiday season, the family dog may find it to be a confusing and stressful time.

Some dogs enjoy a change of pace in the household, but others may be upset by new activities. Your normally laid-back dog may suddenly begin to display unusual behaviors, like jumping up on people, stealing food, or even growling and snapping at visitors.


As your dog’s leader, you need to communicate and demonstrate to him that, while his world may be different, you will continue to keep him safe and secure.

When an insecure dog (of any size or breed) encounters a new situation, he doesn’t know what to do. If he feels threatened, his instinct may tell him to react defensively with a snap or bite. On the other hand, a well-socialized dog is more comfortable with new situations, including meeting and being with others – both dogs and people.

Following are some tips to help calm your dog and keep everyone in your home safe during the active holiday season.

Boundaries and Security

Dogs need to have their own place where they feel secure and calm. If your dog doesn’t already have a peaceful space of his own, create one for him.

  • A crate or pet carrier provides a natural safe haven for your dog. Keep his crate or dog bed in a quiet area of your home, and direct him to go there when you need to set boundaries. While he may not like being separated from you, he will still feel secure.
  • If your dog begins to bark or nip at visitors, lead him to his safe place until your guests have gone.
  • Keep your dog out of certain rooms where he can get underfoot. For example, training your dog to stay out of the kitchen-where most household accidents occur-is a good safety measure. It also helps prevent your dog from begging for food.
  • Use a baby gate or other barrier to keep your dog in a room or area of the house where he can be safely contained yet not feel cut off entirely from the activity.
  • If you travel during the holidays, take your dog’s crate/carrier and/or his bedding to help him feel more relaxed, since “home” is wherever he finds you and his familiar bed.

Front Door Behaviors

A knock on the door can be a stimulating event for a dog, whether he sees it as fun or alarming. It is natural for your dog to want to know who the visitors are to determine if they are “friend or foe.”

However, a dog that explodes with excitement at the sound of the doorbell is both annoying and unsafe. The dog may dash out the door and run into harm’s way; he may get underfoot and become a trip hazard; he may knock people over; or he may become aggressive to the visitor.

  • To help your dog be calmer, exercise him prior to the arrival of guests. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, your dog will more likely be relaxed or want to nap.
  • As a general rule, don’t allow your dog to greet unfamiliar guests, since commotion and unusual situations can cause stress for dogs.
  • Maintain better control of your dog by putting him on a leash before guests arrive.
  • Teach your dog to sit and stay on command. When the doorbell rings, put him in a sit-stay and do not open the door until he calms down.
  • If you know your dog gets overly excited with arriving visitors, remove him from the scene ahead of time. Place him in his crate in a quiet room, and then let him join the party later.

Children Visitors

Dogs that live in a household with no children may not be comfortable when kids come to visit. The chaos created by youngsters like grandchildren will inherently raise the energy level in the house, causing the dog to worry or stress. Here are some ways to control such situations if your dog does not cope well with children.

  • Always supervise kids (especially very young children) and dogs when they are together. Most dog bites to children occur when kids and dogs are left alone together.
  • Parents of very young children must be vigilant and monitor their toddler’s interactions with the dog. Parents should teach children of all ages to treat dogs with respect and gentleness.
  • Never invite a child to feed a dog by hand-this teaches the dog it is acceptable to take any food from a child. Because of a tot’s small size, the dog may view her as an equal and thus may try to take advantage of the situation.

Elderly Dogs

Senior-aged dogs may not enjoy the extra hubbub of the holiday season. Be mindful of keeping your older dog comfortable when his routine is disrupted.

  • If your elderly dog gets cranky around visitors, simply take him to his quiet place where he won’t be bothered and can feel secure.
  • Remind children to be considerate of your older dog. Always provide supervision when dogs and kids are together.

By anticipating how your dog may react to new activities and visitors, you can help ensure that everyone-both two- and four-legged-enjoys a fun and safe holiday season.

To read tips to help your dog stay safe during the holidays, CLICK HERE.

Ask A Vet   


Q. My dog Gia is a long hair dachshund. Every year around July or August she suffers from alopecia on her mid-back to the base of her tail. My vet said it’s common in doxies and has me give her melatonin. By the winter it does come back, but it hasn’t on her chest. She has been tested for Cushing’s disease. She also has what the vet calls a rat tail. It is almost bald and doesn’t grow back. Do you have any recommendations or solutions for the tail or alopecia?

— June D., West Chester PA

A. Gia may have two different conditions. First, dachshunds have a breed predilection for canine pattern baldness, most commonly on the chest, ears and head. Melatonin is sometimes prescribed, but is only effective when used within the first 3 months of treatment.

The hair loss on Gia’s backend, however, is not usually  associated with pattern baldness and so could be due to a second condition, especially since the hair re-grows during the winter months. Hair loss on the hind end is most frequently caused by parasites, mainly fleas. If an animal is flea allergic, it only takes one flea and one bite to cause itchiness and hair loss in this exact region. The timing for the hair loss could equate to flea season in your area.

Another common condition Gia might have is hypothyroidism, characterized by her “rat tail,” a common sign of this condition. Therefore, I recommend you ask your veterinarian to perform a thyroid test and discuss treating Gia for fleas in the summer. If neither condition is diagnosed, then allergy testing would be the next step.

— Dr. Janis Fullenwider

Tuscawilla Oaks Animal Hospital, Oviedo FL

Do YOU have a health-related question for the highly qualified doctors on the Bark Busters VAC? Email it to, along with your name, your dog’s name, your city/state, and, if you wish, your dog’s photo! One question will be selected and featured in the BarkAbout e-Newsletter and on each month.
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In The News…..

 Please take a moment to read the story that was puplished in the Westland Observer today about Zeus and our fundraising efforts.

Saving Zeus

Westland woman raises funds to treat dog’s rare disorder

Aug. 5, 2012 |

Melissa has started a fund-raising drive to benefit her six-year-old Rottweiler, Zeus, who has a rare disorder, Immune-Mediated Polyarthrisis.

Written by Sue Mason Observer Staff Writer

Melissa is putting social media to the test in getting the word out about her dog Zeus. She has a blog, a Facebook page and even a Saving Zeus website, all aimed at helping her 6-year-old Rottweiler. A part of her “family” since he was seven weeks old, Zeus is in need of medical testing and treatment of a rare genetic disorder that is causing him severe pain and difficulty walking. “He is the most loving, caring, gentle giant in the world. He truly loves everyone,” the Westland resident said. “He is my utmost favorite dog of all the dogs that have been in my life over the last many years. The thought of losing him makes my heart break and causes me physical pain.”

Zeus was diagnosed with immune-mediated polyarthritis in May. According to Melissa, an allergic reaction to antibiotics has caused his immune system to attack his joints, leaving permanent damage in its wake. Zeus has allergies and Crowley estimates she and her husband have spent upward of $20,000 on allergy treatments and skin and ear infections over the years.

He had been on an antibiotic for a skin infection for 14 days. It hadn’t cleared up, so a second round was ordered. Eight days into the second round, Melissa came home to find that Zeus wouldn’t get up for anyone, including her neighbor that he “loves.” He couldn’t put weight on his front legs; he had difficulty sitting and standing. She stopped giving him the antibiotics and within 24 hours he was back to normal, but shortly after that he had several accidents in the house, something he never does. “The doctor wanted to do a urinalysis for a bladder infection and used a different antibiotic that had to be made especially for him. A 10-day supply cost $300,” Melissa said. “Within three days, Zeus couldn’t walk. The vet said he was having a reaction to the antibiotic. This time he didn’t get better.”

Zeus was put on two different types of pain medications, but those didn’t provide relief. Now doctors are using high doses of the drug prednisone to depress his immune system so that it stops attacking his joints. Each time they lower the dosage to a safer level, though, he has a relapse. The prednisone is keeping Zeus comfortable, but it isn’t a long-term solution. Prednisone can cause diabetes and Cushing’s disease. The doctor at the Michigan Veterinary Specialists in Southfield wants to do digital X-rays and joint taps to see what else is going on in Zeus’s joints. The tests alone cost $2,000, and Melissa estimates she needs $5,000 for the test and the treatment.

The Catch-22 is he needs the tests before he can get the treatment. “We don’t have the funds and the only other option is to wait until it gets worse and we have to have him put down,” Melissa said. “We’ve spent so much on this dog over those six years, but this time we don’t have $2,000. My husband calls him the million-dollar dog.”

Melissa has launched an online fund-raising site,, where people can log on and make a donation, and a Saving Zeus Facebook page —!/SavingZeus. She also is blogging about her beloved pet at So far she has gathered $1,205 in donations. She’s also doing a fund-raiser — Putt for a Cause … and Save These Paws — planned for Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Putting Edge, 44225 W. 12 Mile, Novi. The event will be 1-4 p.m. and include 18 holes of miniature golf, arcade games, pizza and pop, prizes for the most holes in one and best game score and a 50/50 raffle. Advance tickets are $20 and $25 the day of the event.

Admitting that it saddens her to see her dog in so much pain and unable to do the things he loves to do, she hopes she’ll be able to raise the money needed to save him before it is too late. If Zeus’s condition worsens and he passes away before the fund-raising efforts are complete, or if they don’t raise enough money for his tests and treatment, proceeds will be donated to his veterinarian, Dr. Steven Mantay, owner of Healthy Paws Veterinary Medical Center in Westland, to help another animal in desperate need of medical attention, Melissa said. “I just can’t bear to sit back and wait until the day comes to put him down without doing everything I can to try to help and save him,” Melissa said. “I will be completely heartbroken, if we lose him.” (313) 222-6751           Zeus?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CWestland%7Cs

Saving Zeus

Melissa Crowley is putting social media to the test in getting the word out about her dog Zeus. She has a blog, a Facebook page and even a Saving Zeus

Thank You!!!!

Zeus and Lucky reminding the neighbors to get a news paper today!

Zeus and Lucky Would like to remind everyone who lives locally to get your Westland Observer today

and check out the story about Zeus. Also, our family would like to thank all of the amazing people who have

visited our fundraising site and have made a donation! So far we have reached 28% of our goal, raising

$1,420! if you haven’t donated yet, and would like to, just visit my blog and click on the fundraising link.

Thank you so much for your support!

News Flash!!!!!!

Time to wake up Zeus, you are going to be in the News Paper!!!

NEWS FLASH…… Wake up my sweet, sleepy, boy, the Westland Observer wants to do a story about you! A story about Zeus and our fundraising efforts will be in Sunday’s paper, I really hope it helps us reach out to our community for the help we need to save our sweet boy!!!!! Make sure to get a Westland Observer on Sunday to read our story! If you would like to help us raise funds for the medical tests and treatment for Zeus, please visit our fundraising site to make a donation! Thank you for your support!