Dog safety event stresses problem prevention

New business wants to make sure all dogs are safe

Scarlett Luke of Pack Leader Fitness says keeping pets safe is a key responsibility for owners.

Scarlett Luke of Pack Leader Fitness says keeping pets safe is a key responsibility for owners.

As just about any dog owner knows, man’s best friend has a propensity to not only roll in nasty substances, but to eat them, too.

Sometimes, those nasty substances can not only be smelly, but dangerous, even fatal.

Dogs can also run out onto the road and wander off and get lost — both of which can also have fatal consequences.

Those are some of the problems that Scarlett Luke, of Pack Leader Fitness in Parksville, wants to help address during a special Save Your Dog safety seminar, slated to be held Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Arrowsmith Hall in Coombs.

The hour-long event, from 2 to 3 p.m.,  will teach dog owners tips how to keep their pets safe from the many hazards they can face in today’s modern world.

“We’ll deal with poison-proofing and other issues,” she said. “We’ll be telling owners how to protect their dogs from common things that might happen, such as eating mystery food on a walk and preventing them from taking food from strangers or food that’s been left on the ground.”

The event will also cover parking lot safety and how to get dogs to wait at the gate, instead of bolting through every time they find it open.

Part of the focus, she added, is to avoid losing your pet to less scrupulous dog fans who might want to just pick up your pal and make off with it.

“Thankfully there haven’t been a whole lot of incidents in Parksville, but it can happen,” she said. “For instance, there were two dogs that were taken to Courtenay and one died, while the other one was found, wandering and starving.”

Those incidents are clearly the exception, but she stressed a few simple precautions can make all the difference between reading about it happening to someone else and have it happen to you.

“We’ll talk about all kinds of safety things, how not to leave them unattended in the yard, and why it’s important to make sure you know your neighbours, and how, if you do have a barking problem, to do something about it, so the neighbours don’t take action of their own.”

Luke is a certified master dog trainer who recently opened her business in the Parksville area to teach dog obedience, with a mandate to create a healthy, happy bond between dog and owner.

One of the key points she makes involves the need to cut back on treats.

“One of the principles is that dogs need exercise, discipline and affection — in that order,” she said. “I stress the importance of taking them for a walk instead of giving them treats all the time. A walk is a reward, but a different kind of reward instead of just treats”

Luke also runs puppy classes along with regular obedience school and is a certified personal trainer.

Not only the dogs get a workout, she added.

“I have a boot camp where you warm up and then do stations while dog must stay in a sit or down,” Luke said. “You get exercise and your dog gets exercise, too.”

For more information about the Save Your Dog seminar or to sign up, visit