Fear Free Practices

happy dogsRecently, members of our Leadership Team had the opportunity to expand their pet care knowledge through Fear Free Certification programs. These techniques help us increase our ability to create enjoyable experiences for the pets in our care while also prioritizing their physical well-being.

Central to Fear Free practices is a deep understanding of pet body language. By tuning into subtle cues, our handlers can tailor their approach to each pet’s unique needs, creating a more empathetic and enriching environment. Various sensory stimuli, such as sights, sounds, and scents, all impact a pet’s stress level. By addressing different types and causes of stress, Fear Free techniques cater to pets across the anxiety spectrum.

Lodging & Daycare

Jessie, our Pet Services Manager, completed the Fear-Free Training specific to Lodging and Daycare. Even for frequent guests, daycare and lodging can be stress-inducing, and Fear Free practices aim to alleviate stress and foster a sense of security. “Fear Free techniques help us to quickly assess a dog that may seem fine but is experiencing anxiety, which allows our team to be proactive before it progresses, potentially preventing stress-induced diarrhea or other concerns,” says Jessie. Special attention is paid to individual preferences and comfort within our guests’ enclosures, such as providing favorite hiding spots for cats or allowing familiar blankets and toys in suites. Personalization is key to enhancing the lodging experience.


London, our Spa Supervisor and Groomer, completed the Fear Free training specific to Grooming. The courses helped her “…understand how fear and stress affects the pet long-term and what it means for their mental state going forward, as well as how to recognize stress in herself and how the pet can pick up on that.” Fear Free grooming is about transforming spa sessions into pleasant experiences for pets. Every step is taken to minimize stress and help our guests become comfortable with the entire bathing process, including bathing, brushing, nail trims, and drying. London says, “A gradual approach to appointments for pets experiencing heightened levels of anxiety is a great tool. This involves scheduling frequent visits focused on single tasks, such as a nail trimming session or a brushing session, to acclimate the pet to the environment over time.” Our team can also help pet owners with Fear Free techniques to try at home to prepare them for visits.

Creating a Fear-Free environment requires a multi-faceted approach. From updated training materials to comprehensive wellness checks to noise absorption improvements, every aspect of the care we provide is paired with a commitment to alleviate anxiety where possible. When we understand and address the needs of fearful, anxious, and stressed pets, we create environments where we can build a positive and pleasant experience for all.