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Petropolis Strives For A Fear Free Environment

buny-4As a nationally recognized pet care facility, our visions and values have always included a respect for pets and a high standard of care. Our vision states that we will “Respect the bond between people and pets. We recognize that all of our pets share emotions. They feel pleasure, pain, fear, anxiety, happiness and sadness. Although we take pleasure in the relationships we build with our pets, we consider the effects we have upon them for their benefit, both mentally and physically.” To further our relationship with the pets in our care we have been working towards a fearless environment through multiple changes and new techniques being used in our facility. These changes are detailed below and in the upcoming months we will explain how each of our departments are using these new practices to improve your pet’s experience at Petropolis.

Fear Free Certification

One of the first steps we took to create a better environment for your pets was having our professionals complete the Fear Free Certification course. Developed by “America’s Veterinarian,” Dr. Marty Becker, the Fear Free initiative aims to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’” by promoting a considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. While this course was designed for vets, we are using the methods and protocols to reduce and remove anxiety triggers, creating a rewarding experience for the pets in our care.
Our Fear Free Certified Professionals

  • Paul Schifano, President/CEO
  • Joseph Schifano, Vice President
  • Lorrie Curnes, Training Manager
  • Mike Halker, Hotel Manager
  • Susanne Schenberg, Pet Behaviorist
  • Jan Starns, Certified Master Pet Stylist


Another step we are taking to ensure a positive environment for your pet is the use of pheromones at Petropolis. Pheromones are natural chemical signals that are used for animal communication. When emitted, pheromones are detected by individuals from the same species and affect their behavior. Pheromones cannot hurt your pet in anyway and cannot be detected by humans. We have chosen to use Adaptil products for dogs and Feliway products for cats. Using pheromone spray will ensure pets feel safe and can relax in the unfamiliar environment.


If you have visited us recently you may have heard one of our recent changes. We have introduced the use of “Through a Dog’s Ear” music over our stereo system to assist in our lodging experience. While playing this music, we have created a calmer lodging environment for our dogs that can even reduce anxiety. Studies have shown this music is able to gradually reduce the heart rate of a dog, providing yet another way to help ease any stress animals in our care are experiencing.

Pet Empowerment Program (PEP)

Perhaps one of the largest steps we have taken is to teach the fundamentals of pet empowerment. The Academy of Pet Careers, located at Petropolis, now offers the Pet Empowerment Program (PEP) to teach identification and practical application of dog behavior with a focus on fear and stress. This course is once a week for 16 weeks and provides a hands on experience for students to learn behavior modification techniques that can reduce problem emotions as well as techniques to prevent them from the start.

As shown in our vision and values, we have always been aware of pet fear and stress. For years we have worked to reduce these behaviors through techniques such as our quiet room lodging and removal of pinch collar training but with these new pet empowerment techniques and methods, we are once again leading the way in the pet care industry. Through the Fear Free Certification, pheromones, calming music and the new PEP course, we are one of the only pet care facilities in the Midwest to work towards a stress free environment for the pets in our care.

Look for more posts soon as to how we are using these pet empowerment methods in our daycare, grooming, lodging and training departments.

For more information on our pet empowerment techniques, please contact Petropolis Pet Resort at 636.537.2322.

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