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Dog Behavioral Training: Communicating Effectively With Your Dog
by Dr. Mayra Alfonso

Basically, dog behavior training is mostly about communicating with the pet. From a person viewpoint, the dog trainer is the one who communicates to the pooch which conducts are desirable and which ones are not positive, as well as circumstantial conducts and when to do what. From the dog's context, the dog trainer should also deduct what factors inspire the pup to support reach optimal results.
A trainer must also distinguish the puppy's way of communicating. A dog pup can signalize to the trainer if he or she is unsure, cheerful, disoriented, excitable and so on. The puppy's emotional put has an important fact and should be considered while doing the dog behavior training. A distressed or distraught canine, same with a individual, won't learn effectively.

Using extremely persistent hand signals as well as verbal communication would enable your flurry friend to comprehend them more quickly. It is additionally pivotal to ackowledge that the reward of the dog isn't the same as the reward marker. The reward marker is a dog hand signal which faciliates the dog know that he has earned a reward.

A reward can extent from a appraise, a puppy treat, a toy or anything else that a dog will find beneficial. If you omit to reward the pup after doing the reward hand signal then the value of the reward gets smaller thus making the dog training harder.

Other than the use of hand signals, mechanical clickers can also be used as reward markers. But hand signals as well as the handler's body language are the most consequential part in a dog's learning process. The meanings of the hand signals can be instructed to your dog through continuous repetition, that way he will create an connection with a certain hand gesture.

Using classical conditioning you can also educate your pup the punishment marker in conjunction with the punishment itself. But don't forget that pups cannot generalize commands very freely. A hand signal which might work in the house might become confusing for them the minute you do it outside. So the dog command would have to be instructed further in every brand-new situation. Frequently referred as to "cross-contextualization" it means that a pup has to use what's he's learned in one meaning to the others.

Rewards for dog behavior training are instances wherein handlers go through the process of fundamentally training a puppy to develop a substantial craving for a certain toy therefore making the toy a stronger positive reward for a desirable act. This practice is frequently called "building prey drive" and is useful, in general, in the training of Narcotics Detection and Police Dogs. The purpose here is to generate a pet dog who willingly works singly for extended time periods in the longing of getting the toy as a reward.

As for punishment the dog owner should consider what's correct to the puppy's character, knowledge, age as well as their mental and physical conditions. A firm "no" works on many dogs but there are those that demonstrate signs of nervousness or fear towards strict verbal corrections. Negative reinforcement should also only be used if the unwelcome doggy conduct is something that can be right away corrected, and the punishment should never embrace physical punishment. Dog behavior training should be fun for you and your pet.

About the Author
Increase the happy years of your dog check out my free dog training cd. In it I reveal all the secrets I've used to develop a happy, well behaved dog. Visit Dr. Alfonso's dog training blog right now...

llness That Brings Pets to the Vet
by Joan Lowell Smith - NJ Star Ledger

Vet Brian Voynick working with a cat at American Animal Hospital in Randolph. Ever wondered what prompts pet owners to make an appointment with the veterinarian? What better source for answers than the largest and oldest pet health insurance company in the country: Veterinary Pet Insurance in Brea, Calif., which provided a Top 10 list of reasons for owners to plop their pooches and kitties in the car for a trip to the vet.

1.Ear infection
2. Skin allergy
3. Pyoderma/hot spots
4. Gastritis/vomiting
5. Enteritis/diarrhea
6. Urinary tract infection
7. Benign skin tumor
8. Eye inflammation
9. Osteoarthritis
10. Hypothyroidism

1. Urinary tract infection
2. Gastritis/vomiting
3. Chronic renal failure
4. Enteritis/diarrhea
5. Diabetes mellitus
6. Skin allergy
7. Colitis/constipation
8. Ear infection
9. Respiratory infection
10. Hyperthyroidism

Carol McConnell, vice president and chief medical officer for VPI, acknowledged that pet owners may be surprised by what's not on the list. "Falling just short of the Top 10 are major injuries -- broken bones, poisoning, trauma from car accidents or animal attacks," she said.

McConnell added that hypothyroidism in dogs rose from No. 11 in 2006 to No. 10 last year, jumping sprains to No. 13, and then explained that hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, which is responsible for regulating metabolism. Dogs suffering from that malady appear lethargic and gain weight, despite a strict diet and exercise.

Feline enteritis leaped from No. 16 in 2006 to No. 4 in 2007. One-third of all common conditions are often related to or exacerbated by diet changes or "dietary indiscretions" -- a nice way of saying the owner is overfeeding or giving the wrong foods to kitty.

The good news is that the pet food recall has had a positive effect on dietary choices. "This past year," McConnell said, "our numbers indicate that pet owners took gastrointestinal and dietary difficulties more seriously."

Many claims are associated with age-related changes, such as osteoarthritis and renal (kidney) failure, but she said any of the Top 10 can occur at any age. As the economy squeezes consumer's discretionary income and many pet owners are recalculating budgets, VPI averaged claims state by state on non-routine veterinary care in 2007: California's $500 per pet topped the list. New Jersey's average was $437 and the lowest per pet non-routine medical expenses were Mississippi's at $207. For more data on VPI, call (800) USA-PETS or visit

Voynick's views

We checked with Brian Voynick, a veterinarian often quoted in this column. Owner of American Animal Hospital in Randolph and host for 11 years of "Pet Stop" on News 12 New Jersey, Voynick agrees with the lists.

"Sure," he said. "Those have been the reasons for the past 26 years I've been practicing, but it's not that complicated. Many of the items are related to the skin. For example, ears are an extension of the skin. Most patients we see have either skin problems or gastrointestinal problems."

"With cats, we're in the dark ages when it comes to proper nutrition," Voynick said. "We should be preventing most of those conditions. We've come a long way with dog diets, but we're pitifully deficient when it comes to cat nutrition." When he attends continuing education meetings, Voynick said the most crowded seminars are always those dealing with skin disease and GI problems.

He also explained hyperthyroidism in cats as "a benign tumor on the thyroid gland, which you can feel -- about the size of a pencil eraser -- accompanied by excessive appetite, weight loss and a racing heart that can hit 220 beats per minute."

At a conference in London a couple of years ago, a world-renowned endocrinologist named Mark Peterson tackled cat diets. "He showed us the perfect diet for a cat by displaying a giant cartoon of mice being poured from a cereal box," Voynick said. "Think of it. Mice are vegetarians, so the cat is getting veggies, too."

Contact Joan Lowell Smith at P.O. Box 302, Garwood,N.J. 07027 or e-mail her at

Pet Owners Petition to Take Animals on Ottawa Buses
CBC News

(CBC)More than 2,500 pet owners in Ottawa have signed a petition urging OC Transpo to allow animals on the buses.

Across Canada, many cities allow small animals in carriers on buses during off hours. But Ottawa is not among them.

OC Transpo has said that up to now there wasn't enough interest in the idea, but there was also worry about passengers having allergic reactions to the pets.

Candice O'Connell, of the Ottawa-based group Responsible Dog Owners of Canada, said Thursday that allergies should be not a concern.

"If you're carrying a small animal in a crate, there's very little risk of transferred pet dander. In fact there's more pet dander transported by pet owners' clothes daily that ride the bus," O'Connell said.

But not everyone thinks taking pets on the buses is a good idea.

Joy Newton, a sheep dog owner, rides the bus every day.

"There's [going to be] too many things on the bus besides people. You've got dogs, then you've got large ones and small ones, and you pack that bus up.

"It's hot, you can't breath on it, you can't move on it, and it's claustrophobic, and you expect animals to go through that as well? I don't think it's a good idea," Newton said.

Coun. Rick Chiarelli said the idea has merit, but there may have to be some conditions set, and it may require pet owners to pay extra.

"The 101 Dalmatians can all pile on the bus for free? I don't think that's in the cards right now," he said.

The idea will be debated at the city's transit committee in August.

Continental Raises In-Cabin Pet Fee staff report

HOUSTON -- Another day, another fee increase for airline travelers.

Continental Airlines raised the in-cabin pet fee this week to a whopping $125 each way.

In case you didn’t do that math, toting Fido will cost you $250 round trip.

That’s more to some destinations than the cost of a human ticket.

On most U.S. flights Continental allows pet cats, dogs, rabbits and birds in the cabin.

Other airlines, such as Jet Blue, Delta and US Airways, also increased their pet fees.

Family Wants Local Pet Laws to Change
By Bernadette Flores - Bakersfield Now

A Bakersfield family wants the law regarding dog attacks to change.

This after their dog is mauled and the family is forced to put their pet to sleep. 29Eyewitness news reporter Bernadette Flores talked with the upset owners and city officials to find out what can be done to end this.

Currently in city limits, an animal can only be taken away by animal control and euthanized if there is a documented history of violence by the animal. But one family who lost their Pomeranian in a dog attack last night says one time should be all it takes.

Lori Venters says she was outside her home in the 1700 block of Cherry Street with her pet Pomeranian when her neighbor's pit bull came running towards her knocking her down and began mangling her dog. "He was up to here, I was eye to eye with him as he was jumping, I don't know how he didn't bite me, Rocky was in my arms," says Venters.

The attack happened Thursday afternoon. Rocky's pelvis was crushed and he had to be put to sleep. Her neighbor's voluntarily gave up the pit bull to animal control, something Venters doesn't understand.

"What if he mauled me or the kids that are around here all the time, all it takes is your dog, your child, your neighbor's dog again," says Venters.

Animal control says they would not have forcibly taken the pit bull because there was no documented history of violence or a serious injury to a person. "There's always talk of an ordinance against pit bulls by pet people involved, it would be something city council would do, and currently there aren't any," said Sgt. Grey Terry with the Bakersfield Police Department.

Police say the best thing you can do is report every instance of violence however minor to animal control. That way there is a record if the violence progresses.

Bakersfield police say the pit bull owners were cited for not having their dog on a leash. They can be held responsible in civil court for the Venters pet bills.

Ask Smudge & Bryson:
Inactivity in Older Dog Should be Investigated
Oregon Statesman Journal

Hey, Smudge and Bryson! I'm Molly. I am a 10-year-old beagle and lab mix.

I like to lounge a lot and almost never run.

My step-sister, Oakley, is older than me by about 7 months and she runs and exercises a lot.

My worst point is that the only times I ever get up is when I get scared, when I am hungry (four times a day), when I need to go outside and when I just want to relocate to another part of the house.

Can you help me? Love, Molly

From Bryson: Molly, thanks for writing. I am quite worried about you. It sounds like something may be wrong with you. So I've made a call on the "Vet Phone" (it's like the "Bat Phone" but much more helpful) and caught up with Dr. Melissa Turnbull of West Salem Animal Clinic:

From Dr. Turnbull: Hi Molly — it sounds like a trip to the vet is needed. You should get geriatric blood work that includes a thyroid test.

If all checks are normal, you might have a weight problem and need a reduced-calorie diet and a new exercise program to get you moving!

Good luck.

— Melissa Turnbull

Dear Smudge and Bryson: My name is Misty and I am a basset hound.

A new movie came out recently called "Kit Kitteredge, An American Girl," and it features a basset hound named Grace who is adopted by a little girl.

It's a good movie but I'm worried that kids may get the wrong idea that caring for a basset hound is easy.

I need your help getting the word out that taking care of a dog isn't as simple as it looks in the movies.

We basset hounds can be a real challenge.

We may look like small dogs, but bassets are actually medium-sized dogs on really short legs.

This means we eat the same amount of dog food as any other 50-pound. dog.

Also, our breed has lots of unique characteristics that make caring for us difficult.

Our long ears, that make us so adorable, sometimes get infected and we have to go the vet a lot. That adds up and not everyone is prepared for the unexpected costs.

Also, we are social dogs who don't like to be alone. So when we are lonely we are prone to barking and howling.

And boy can we howl. Neighbors have been known to complain.

Like any dog, we have to be walked often.

People see a dog in the movies and decide to get one, only to discover later that they are not prepared to take care of us.

When our humans can't care for us anymore, we often end up abandoned at the shelters.

That's what happened to me.

My current humans were prepared when they adopted me from the Willamette Humane Society.

They educated themselves on my needs, they had lots of room for me to play and they had time for me.

I am really happy now, but not all dogs who go to shelters are as lucky.

Fortunately, there are people out there who are willing to find foster and adoptive homes for dogs like me.

Oregon Basset Hound Rescue is one such group, and they are having a fun event called the Oregon Basset Hound Games on Sunday in Woodburn.

If you want to learn more about owning or fostering a basset hound like me or Grace from the movie, come out to the Games.

The event is both educational and a lot of fun. I will be there so you can meet me.

Thanks, Smudge and Bryson, for helping me get the word out about educating humans on the responsibilities of dog ownership.

Hopefully from now on when someone sees a dog in a movie they won't get themselves into a situation where they have to give up their pet.

See you at the Oregon Basset Hound Games! — Love and puppy licks from Misty the basset hound

From Smudge: Tail wags to you, Misty, for the great advice.

Dr. Jim Randolph, a syndicated pet columnist for McClatchy Newspapers, says this week on the online site Pet Doctor, it's no coincidence that after the movie "101 Dalmations" premiered, veterinarians and shelters everywhere began seeing spots.

"Parents were buying those puppies for their kids," who'd seen the movie, Randolph said.

But as we all know, very few movie mutts pee, poop or puke on your floor.

They also never grow up to weigh 125 pounds and leave a blanket of fur on your sofa.

Movie-star dogs never bite a good guy or have skin problems.

So I agree with you Misty, it's a good idea to talk to other dog owners and vets before adopting or buying a dog or cat (my pet parents should have done that with one of our house mates, Thunder. Boy does she have a catitude. But I digress.

To learn more about basset hounds in particular, be sure and check out the Basset Hound Games with Misty on Sunday.

The fun starts at 10:30 a.m. at Legion Park in Woodburn (Exit 271 off Interstate 5, east on Highway 214 for 2 miles, right on Park Street).

Registration for the day is $10 per dog. All dogs must be current on shots and be on a leash. No selling of puppies or adult dogs allowed.

There will be a parade of champions, a napping marathon, a best tail wagging contest, a puppy dash, a best costume contest, a best howler contest, and endurance sitting competition, a longest ears competition and best basset hound/child look-alike contest (children 15 and younger).

Food and drink for humans will be available for purchase.

For more information, go to

Smudge and Bryson provide tips and solutions for confused pets. Area experts will help them answer your questions on Fridays in the Life section. Write to them at


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Cat Tricks
by Samantha Matheny

Teaching your cat tricks is an enjoyable and rewarding way to encourage certain behavior or even fix a problem behavior with your cat. Teaching your cat tricks improves your relationship with your feline friend. Here are some tips I learned while working with my kitty.
Remember to be patient. Your cat is an individual, with his own abilities and preferences, just like you. He will pick up some tricks quickly, but may struggle with others. Make adjustments for his personality, and do not lose your temper if training does not go exactly as you planned.

If you are leaving food out at all times for him to eat when he feels like it, stop. Enforcing a feeding schedule has two main benefits: it increases the reward-value of food treats used for training, and also introduces some routine into your cat's life, which most cats actually desire.

If you are using food treats, make sure your training sessions are just before mealtimes. Your cat's natural desire for food at his regular mealtime will sharpen his focus and increase his desire to obey you, so he can get a treat.

Take baby steps. When training your cat, do not jump right into the harder tricks. Making sure he has a solid grasp of the basics will make learning the harder tricks that much easier.

Remember, cats have quite short attention spans and become bored very quickly. Try to keep your lessons short and interesting, and always end your lessons on a positive note.

Want to know more? Come to check out more articles at 4 Legs And A Tail and learn more about training your cat.

About the Author
Samantha is an ambitious young woman from west Michigan who is dedicated to finding a better way to live. She has a wide variety of interests and is always seeking new knowledge. Samantha's love of writing has lead her to become an author of e books and articles in hopes of helping people to live a better, healthier life.


Starting A Saltwater Aquarium: Introduce Plants
by Eugenio Pastanella

Adding plants to a saltwater aquarium, is an fantabulous way to ameliorating the esthetic of the tank, but it facilitates also having a better water quality and grants a more natural habitat to your fish. Here are some suggestions in order to help you in the selection of your plants. For your purchase, you can simply visit online retailers or a specialized shop.
The first step is opting for plants that will be compatible in the aquarium with the other lifeform. The plants that you select should be well-matched with the fish types that you have in the fish tank. Every situation is singular. The goal is searching for plants that fit good in the saltwater with other inhabitants so together they'll create a equilibrated organic system so it aids each of them hold up.

Find out plants that act with the level of carbon dioxide of the saltwater aquarium, then give them what they necessitate. Plants require a big quantity of CO2 to live. Whenever this is getable just supply the right ingredients, as well plants with a scheme of strong roots, yield them good quantities of light so they could hang on with temperatures at the correct level. Depending on the necessity of the fish, mate the right plants for the tank.

Look at algae cautiously. Algae acts very good in aquariums because it likes nonmoving water, but don't select prosperous algae as it will fill the tank. To obviate this, replace 25 percent of the water of the tank every two weeks or build up a system that will maintain the water movement so the algae suppress its growth.

Buy the right sort of plants from respectable suppliers. Some particular plants to ask for including halimeda (no-invader and no probable to be fertilized) or penicillus (absorbs nutritious of tank excessively and frequently so it shoudn't be fed too much). Other alternatives include macro algae that are well contained and they supervised.

Avoid some plants in your saltwter aquarium that cannot act good or that can harm other beings in the tank. Ask your saltwater fish supplier about any specific harmful plants to the fish you buy. Avoid something like bubble algae because they're very aggressive. If you use this type of algae, introduce Emerald crabs or Sohal Tang fish in the tank so they'll eat the algae.

Remember to ask a estimable retail merchant of saltwater fish to assist you choosing the most suitable aquarium plants for your tank established on the fish you buy and the tank setup.

Well-done, starting a saltwater aquarium isn't an easy task. You're just few steps away from completing it.

About the Author
If you want to know how to set up and take care of a saltwater aquarium, you can find other detailed and useful informations on Starting A Saltwater Aquarium

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