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Becoming the Leader of the Pack: How to Feed Your Dog With Authority
by James Hodges

If you have read my other articles, you understand that you have to be the Leader of the Pack. This should take place by structured obedience training, by real life dog training and by everyday real life living.
One of the many ways to show your dog that you are his leader occurs when you feed him everyday. With many families, feeding their dogs is an act of servitude.

I bet many of you didn't realize that, did you?

Why not let the act of feeding your dog help change the way your dog looks at you? Here is what I do with my dogs and what I recommend to my Winston-Salem dog training clients.

1. Always run your hands through the dog food. I like for my scent to be all over his food. Why? In the wild, the Leader of the Pack is always the first to eat. By putting your scent on his food, we are teaching our dog that we are the leader. Our dog will eat only after we have finished with it.

2. I don't just put the food down for him to eat. I will hold it and make him do some form of obedience for it before he eats. This can be sitting, laying down or just standing their being calm. Many dogs are so excited to eat and devour their food, it becomes a frantic process. I purposely slow down the event. I am showing my dog I am in the lead position. By doing this, you are also giving your dog mental stimulation in this process by making him relax and be patient. This is a mental exercise which is just as important as physical exercise for a well rounded dog.

3. I also make sure I praise him for good behavior and I make sure I always win. I never give in without getting the respect the Leader of the Pack deserves. If you do give in, you are just showing your dog you are not his leader, that you are pretending to be. Nothing good can happen in this situation.

You have to be consistent with all aspects of training in the obedience setting and in real life. If you do this, you and your dog will explore a totally new relationship together. You as his leader. Your dog as willing follower. Believe it or not, you dog will be much happier with this relationship.

That's all we need to discuss right now! If you have a food aggressive dog you must contact a dog training professional before you attempt this; but, this should be a relatively safe event as long as you are not trying to remove his food while eating.

Note: Jim Hodges is a certified master dog trainer training dogs in Winston Salem, NC. He also trains dogs from other areas of the country via his North Carolina Residency Dog Training Program. The information he shares is from his many years of training and observing/studying dog behavior.

About the Author
Do you want to become the Leader of your Pack? You can find more information on how to lead your dog at Winston-Salem Dog Training. Jim also contributes to Contain-A-Pet at Pet Containment System Contain-A-pet is the leader in combining dog training and behavior with pet containment systems.

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MEMA Urges Pet Owners to Prepare for Gustav

PEARL – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency asks residents who own pets and livestock to have disaster plans in place for their animals as Gustav approaches.

“If you evacuate, take your pets with you,” said MEMA Director Mike Womack. “It is the best way to protect them during and after a disaster. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed.”

Pets are not allowed in most public shelters. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets. During a disaster, make sure your pet wears its collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times.

In your disaster supply kit, include all important pet documents a back up leash, collar and ID tag. Also include a crate, pet carrier, litter box if appropriate, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach in your kit to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs.

“Evacuating with pets during an emergency takes extra time and planning,” Womack said. “If an evacuation is recommended, leave early. Don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order.”

If you own smaller animals and pets, the following actions are recommended:
Your pets should be wearing up-to-date identification at all times and be micro chipped.
Because most evacuation shelters, unless designated as “Pet Friendly Shelters,” do not accept pets (except for service animals), you must plan ahead to insure that your family and pets will have a safe place to stay.
Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask if a no-pet policy is waived during a disaster.
Ask if friends and relatives who live outside your immediate area could shelter your pets.
Make a list of board facilities and veterinary offices clear of the evacuation zone that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies. Include 24-hour telephone numbers.
Have a properly sized carrier for each animal – carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn around.
Have an animal’s own food – stressed animals may experience intestinal problems, but using the same food will help reduce the trouble.
Have copies of pet vaccinations, medical records and prescriptions – it may be difficult to get a prescription filled by a veterinarian in another area.


For large animals such as horses and livestock:
Reinforce your barn with hurricane straps.
Install a hand pump and obtain enough large containers to water your animals for at least a week.
Secure or remove anything that could become flying debris: make a habit of securing propane tanks, trailers and other large objects.
If you must leave your animals, prepare halters for horses that include your name and phone numbers and/or spray paint your phone numbers on the animals.
Know where you can take horses and/or livestock during an evacuation. Agricultural centers that can board large animals are available in most counties. The MBAH Web site has a link to a map of all agri-centers in the state.
Make arrangements in advance to have your horse contained in an approved trailer in case of an emergency or evacuation. If you do not have enough trailers for your animals, have several people on alert to help secure more trailers.
Place information about tests, veterinary papers, identification photos, medical history, allergies and emergency phone numbers in a water resistant envelope.

If you own a farm, make a farm disaster supply kit so you will have supplies on hand in the event of a disaster. Place the kit in a central location and let everyone know. Check the contents regularly to ensure fresh and complete supplies.

The kit should contain:
Basic first aid kit.
Suppliers for temporary identification of all animals such as plastic neckbands and markers.
Tools and supplies needed for sanitation.
Stored feed, water and buckets.
Current list of all animals, including their location and records of vaccinations and feedings.

The Mississippi Board of Animal Health has a section of its Web site dedicated to disaster issues that includes a listing of pet-friendly hotels at

Kitty Carries Away Clothing
Steve Dale • Tribune Media Services

Q: Our busy, happy kitty carries various pieces of our clothing around the house. This usually occurs at night. The next morning, we find our clothes all around the house. Why is she doing this? -- J.C., Napoleon, MI

A: "Dirty clothes smell like family members, which may give comfort to your kitty, particularly if she doesn't have access to family members overnight," says veterinary behaviorist Dr. Katherine Houpt at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY. "If she's also picking up clean clothes, and she's vocalizing as she's carrying them around the clothes, this could be predatory behavior. It certainly can't hurt to focus the predatory behavior on an interactive toy (fishing pole-type toy with feathers) before bedtime. This may also serve to tire your kitten so she's not up very late at night. If you periodically give your cat attention for the behavior, this could be an attention seeking. Of course, if you pick up all the clothes before bedtime, you solve the problem. A kitten may motivate good housekeeping."

Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to Include your name, city and state.

San Diego Officer Pleads No Contest in Police Dog's Death
L.A. Unleashed

A veteran San Diego police officer pleaded no contest today to a misdemeanor charge of animal neglect.

Officer Paul Hubka, a 22-year veteran of the department, was ordered to pay a $411 fine and $4,941 in restitution for the death of his police dog.

The dog, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, died of heat stroke after being left in the back of Hubka’s police car on a day when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. Hubka was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and will serve three years’ probation.

It's the latest in a two-month long court battle in the case.

As criminal charges were pending, San Diego City Atty. Michael Aguirre refused to approve a $50,000 payment to Hubka, as part of Hubka's share in a settlement of a lawsuit filed by three officers alleging that they deserve extra pay for their duties as canine officers.

Aguirre then filed a civil complaint in Superior Court seeking damages from Officer Paul Hubka, whose police dog died of heat stroke while left in Hubka's squad car.Aguirre wants Hubka to pay the cost of acquiring and training a replacement for his dog. He said the cost exceeds $25,000.

After the death of the dog, named Forrest, Hubka was transferred out of the canine patrol, where he had served most of his career.

He said that leaving the dog in the back of his car was a mistake. He had returned home after an overnight shift and had left the dog in the car.

With 45 dogs for patrol and weapons and drug duties, the San Diego Police Department boasts the largest K-9 unit of any department in the country.

-- Tony Perry

Music to Soothe Your Savage Beast
SF Tails of the City

I enjoy the company of my iTunes while I write and have often wondered if The Doone likes music. While she appears to have her favorites (The Beach Boys, The Police, Aimee Mann and The Beatles) and her not-so-favorites (opera and anything by Elliot Smith), it's difficult to tell if certain songs truly move her one way or the other.

Who better to consult with on this question than L.A.-based Laurel Canyon Animal Company? They are the the only record label that makes music about, for and with animals — including dogs, cats, birds, gorillas, and dolphins. Founders, graphic designer and composer Skip Haynes and composer and producer Dana Walden, created "Ugly Dogs Need More Love" and "Songs to Make Dogs Happy" specifically for canines and their fans. "We're interested in all animals," says Hayes, "but our hearts are closest to dogs."

He and Walden even tapped the talents of intuitive animal communicator Dr. Kim Ogden (a.k.a. Dr. Kim) for the making of "Songs to Make Dogs Happy," the first qualitatively and quantitatively researched musical CD for man's best friend. (There is also a Spanish version.) According to Hayes, Dr. Kim organized "canine focus groups" selected from more than 250 dogs nationwide to "test" the music and help shape the final compositions and lyrics.

"You would think it would be easy to figure out what dogs like, but it took us six months to get there," says Hayes. As a result of the focus groups, he and Walden learned that the dogs loved up-tempo beats — sambas tested extremely high, as did polkas. And not surprisingly, when it came to subject matter, food (the wet stuff in particular) was at the top of the list. They also discovered that dogs weren't crazy about piano and most classical music and hated the word "no," which Hayes struck from the lyrics completely. ("Dogs just shut down when they hear this," he says.) "Rimshots" were also avoided (apparently, dogs from bad neighborhoods thought they sounded too much like gun fire).

A former skeptic of anything in the psychic realm, Hayes says he "got so pumped" from working with Dr. Kim that he wrote five songs in two days. But when they were tested, only one passed muster. "Dr. Kim told me the others were too complicated and that the dogs wouldn't understand them," he says. If dogs like over-the-top happy and simplistic, that's exactly what they got. For example, there is only one lyric in "You're a Good Dog." "It's the most cheerful album I've ever made in my life," Hayes admits.

The music is ultimately designed for people to listen to with their pooches because, as Hayes is quick to point out, "animals don't have credit cards." He says the idea is to encourage more quality hanging-out time, as well as to help ease separation anxiety and calm animals while traveling in the car. The CDs are also used by shelters and rescue organizations to comfort homeless canines and by veterinarians to help speed recovery.

Hayes says he has been interviewed more than 200 times on the radio and every time they play "Squeaky Deaky" the phone lines go bizerk. (There is also a Spanish version.) "Sometimes I can't believe I wrote this song," he says. "People tell me they can't get it out of their heads. This is what every songwriter wants to hear." In fact, for some it's so sticky it can be a little maddening. One listener commented, "If I hear that song one more time I'll commit suicide." After a few test trials with my friend's beagle Trudi, I found myself in this later category. And I wasn't able to elicit much of a response (either positive or negative) to "Squeaky" or "Good Dog," the albums top two hits. (Granted, Trudi is nearly 12 and suffers from Lyme Disease, but I was still a little disappointed.)

For fun, feel free to try out a few music samples on your dogs and see what happens.

Hayes and Walden are currently working on a album for cats, which he says is proving challenging. "It's hard to put a bunch of cats in one room for focus groups," he says. According to Dr. Kim, cats like music even more than their canine counterparts, but they don't like to talk about it.

Do your pets have musical preferences? (And even more importantly, did they love "Squeaky Deaky"?) What's their favorite tune and how do they let you know?

Posted By: Amelia Glynn (Email) Aug 28 at 11:30 AM

Party Animals: A Fete for Your Pet?
SF Tails of the City

When Lorna Doone turned the ripe-old age of six this past spring, we celebrated with a low-key romp through Buena Vista Park with her "boyfriend" Cuba and a selection of her favorite treats from Osso & Co, which she refused to share and gobbled down in a few Jaws-like bites. At the close of her "special day" The Doone appeared happy and content as she officially settled into her "40s."

A few weeks later I received a fancy party invitation in the mail accompanied by a tinge of guilt. It was for Harold, a friend's Lab-Beagle mix, who was turning three. Really? A birthday party for a dog? A part of me (albeit a very small part) started to worry that The Doone was now harboring some deep-seated resentment over the fact that I have yet to throw her a big b-day bash.

After a Google search for "pet birthday parties" (which turned up a staggering 3,820,000 results) and a few spontaneous "man-on-the-street" interviews, I learned that Harold is not alone. Pooch parties and feline fetes are growing in popularity across the country — not least of all here in the pet-pampering Bay Area. According to a 2005 Pew Research Center Survey, 85 percent of dog owners consider their dogs members of the family, so why not throw them a woof-day party?

SF Chronicle staff writer Chris Cadelago recently described a typical celebration at Bella & Daisy's, a dog boutique on Union Street:

"After their guardians serenaded the four-leggers with the song 'Happy Birthday,' the canines enjoyed cake made from wheat flour, oats, peanut butter and filtered water. Then the hosts opened their party favors and gifts: large packages full of chew toys, treats and blue pajamas."
These parties cost $200 and include cake, supplies, activities and party favors. The shop also offers gift registries on items ranging from $4 to several hundred dollars.

Not suprisingly, the popularity of pet parties has led to a demand for printed announcements. BarkTalk sells dog birthday party invitations, new puppy announcements and dog thank-you cards, all available online for $13.95 to $16.95.

In 2007, Americans spent $39 billion on their pets, according to the "Pet Industry 2008 Strategic Outlook," a consumer-spending report prepared by Dillon Media. BusinessWeek was quick to point out that this is more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world!

Do you throw parties for your pets? Are guests expected to bring gifts? Does the stigma attached to spoiling a child get tossed out the window when it comes to our animals? Share your opinions.

Posted By: Amelia Glynn (Email) Aug 26 at 03:30 PM


My Cat Will Not Eat
by Max Young

If you are reading this, most likely you've become worried about your cat's eating behaviors. Perhaps your cat seems fussy about food, eating little amounts at a time. Or maybe your cat is refusing to eat at all and doesn't seem concerned in much of anything.
It will be easier to work out what is making changes in your cat's eating habits if you're acquainted with its normal eating routine. Are you sure your cat hasn't always acted this way? If so, realize that simple changes in the surroundings can cause anxiety for your pet. Even switching the furniture around can be upsetting to a cat.

If you've recently been away and left the cat at a kennel or had a friend stop in to feed him, this sudden food indifference could be a mild case of depression that will be quickly relieved now that you're back. Be sure to provide some extra attention and tasty treats.

Yummy treats or a taste of your cat's preferred food can be good ways to coax your pet into eating more normally again. This is also a fine way of deciding if he's just turning away what you're serving him because he doesn't like the taste of it.

If you have recently attempted a switch to healthier cat chow, your cat may be showing a taste for his former diet. He may be trying to wear you down in the hopes that you'll return back to what you were giving him previously. If you are trying to feed your cat a diet of low carbohydrate food, he could decline to eat for days. This could cause serious liver troubles, so it is best to try and rectify the situation rapidly.

Additional reasons for not eating could include a problem with your cat's jaw or teeth that's causing pain during meals. Digestive problems, such as stomach irritation or intestinal infections, would also cause pain while eating. If your cat hasn't eaten for a few days, it could mean he has one of these or another inherent health issue. Consult your veterinary surgeon for advice on treatment. Have a look at the following information about cat marking as it may happen when some of the above situations occur.

There are a number of reasons why cats mark:

- Territoriality: the cat is letting other cats know that the marked area is "his" territory - To communicate sexual availability - Out of stress or anxiety - A change of location: some cats will begin to mark when their owners move house - If a new animal or human is introduced to the house - Because of overcrowding (too many other cats in the house) - The cat is receiving less attention than normal - A significant change in lifestyle or routine (for example, the owner gets a full-time job; someone moves out of home; the house is renovated)

About the Author
Max Young is an information researcher whom presents working information to be used for every day experiences. To get the inside word on preventing and dealing with problem behaviors like aggression and dominance in your dog, click now on the following link.


How to Train Your Puppy to Respond to Your Name
by Joseph M. Sabol

After you have set a name for your new puppy, teach him to associate it with himself. The goal here is for the dog to know that you will use that name to get his attention. Whatever he is doing, he could be playing or sitting in a corner, but once you call him by that name, he should turn and run towards you.
Teaching your pet puppy to respond accordingly to his name is, in fact, basic in training your dogs with such commands as stay, sit, come, or roll. You will not be able to train your puppy successfully with these if he is not focusing on you. This is exactly why calling or commanding your dogs by their names is important.

In every thing that you want your puppy to do, start the command by his name. Whether it is a call for eating time, or for bathing time, call him by his name. This way you are teaching the puppy to be familiar with the sound of his name. In addition, he also learns to associate his name with a command. After he gets used to this habit, he will run to you every time you call him by his name.

Using rewards is helpful if you want to train your dog effectively in responding to his name. But aside from rewards, you must make sure that you associate his name with good and pleasurable things. Never get his attention with his name to remind him that he chewed your sandals. Situations like this register a bad notion in the dog's mind, believing that every call of his name is a time for being told "back off". Also, do not spank or punish your dog if he does not respond to you right away. It is a step-by-step process, so be patient in teaching your dog to react to his name.

Again, rewards are helpful so always keep treats handy. Since puppies often get distracted by other objects, it is okay to use a leash during your training. This way, you have full control of your puppy and he cannot wander off.

It will also help if you call his name in a happy and relaxed tone. A loud and angry voice may sound threatening to him. Say it joyfully and praise him with words, such as "good boy" or "nice puppy". Training your dog to respond to his name the right way takes time, just be consistent and persistent. Remember to say his name in a happy and gentle manner, reward him for every successful response, and associate his name with happy situations only.

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About the Author
Joseph M. Sabol is a world class Doberman breeder. Please go to or to for further information

Is Your Dog Stubborn Or Dominant? How to Tell the Difference?
By Kevin Salem

It doesn't really matter whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, spoiled or abused, big or tiny. If you don't pay attention to these certain characteristics, your dog could easily become your boss and may get aggressive with you, with other dogs, or toward your loved ones.

You must be able to recognize these signs from the early start before they get worse. If you notice your dog already being very persistent and even a bit dominant, the last thing you need to do is spoil it rotten and let it get away with murder. You basically would be pouring gasoline on fire. Take kids for example, say a kid is already strong, brave and rebellious AND you go out of your way to spoil it to death. You'll definitely have your work cut out for you and might even end up on the Dr. Phil show for losing your sanity!

Here we go.

Does Your Dog:

• Constantly jump up on you, on others and on kids, regardless of how many times you tell him to stop? Do you always find yourself getting physical trying to restrain him, or else he won't settle down right away?

• Refuse to stop barking, whimpering, scratching, throwing a tantrum inside the crate or when he demands to come in or be let out?

• Squeeze through door the door like a flying bullet and push you out of the way? How about crowding you, pushing you out of the way by making you back up and by stepping in your space every time you ask it to obey a command?

• Respond to commands only if you are holding a treat, eating at the table, or have some sort of treats in your hands? This means: "Look lady. You're not worthy of my time. But, if you have something tasty, then I'll think about it." These dogs, especially around distractions, will ignore even your moist treats and STILL won't respond to you. Sometimes the owners make the horrible mistake of giving their dogs the treats regardless of whether they responded or not. So the dog wins either way!

• Demand your attention and rarely stop misbehaving when you tell him to? You'll notice your dog jumping up on you, getting on your lap, nudging at your hands and he won't care whether you are tired, not in the mood to play, or if you are holding a cup of hot coffee. He will jump up on you even when not invited. "Drop whatever you're doing, Mommy. I need to cuddle and love a tummy rub and I need it RIGHT NOW!"that's what your dog is saying to himself.

• Keep on barking back at you when you are trying to stop him from an unacceptable behavior. This could be when you are trying to stop him from begging for food, barking back at you, mouthing, and if you happen to stop him from stealing food off tables. Some dogs get on their hind legs and try to stand up to you to challenge you.

• Rarely obeys the commands that she already KNOWS and ignores you in your day-to-day routines. You most likely find yourself getting louder and louder, and end up forcing your dog into a sit or down position. Sometimes you might find yourself grabbing your dog's collar to make her mind, tugging on her leash, or restraining her the entire time so she doesn't embarrass you even more.

• Play-bite on your hands and wrestle you by pushing down on the leash with his paw or worse, sometimes with both paws. (Boxers are famous for this.)

• Jumps up on you and sometimes throws himself on the ground so you can't make him do anything else against his will. Large breeds and spoiled dogs do this all the time and the owners end up picking them up and carrying them like a baby. (Yeah. Try carrying a Bullmastiff, Great Dane or a Saint Bernard!)

• Holds the leash in his mouth when you are in the middle of training or walking him. In your dog's mind, he is walking you! This might seem cute to you and others, but in reality your dog sees you as the "dog" and he has-YOU--on the leash.

• Resists lying down for you on command. You might see your dog trying to compromise by giving you his paw, sitting, barking and even doing a rollover instead. Some of these dogs turn it in their favor and trick you by showing you their stomach and what even funnier is, most of you end up giving them a belly rub after all. Remember, it's a down command! Not a "let me give you a belly rub" command. You probably didn't know this, but the more your dog lies down for you flat on his tummy, the more he is actually submitting to you and sees you as an authority figure.

Here's an interesting fact about the Down Command: If you tell ten dogs to sit for you, eight out of the ten might do it. But if you ask a group of a hundred dogs to do "a down," you'll be lucky if you can get five out of the hundred to do it. Getting your dog to lie down is a great way to establish leadership without being harsh or abusive. Try doing it WITHOUT a biscuit, holding your fingers as if you have a treat, pointing, bending over or slapping the ground. And good luck!

• Keeps getting frustrated and wraps the leash around you, backs away, nips at your hands and feet, starts to lunge and makes noises as if he's gone mad. All this drama and temper-tantrum so you let him get to other dogs, cats, squirrels, kids on wheels or cars driving by. In a way, your dog's trying anything possible to get his way.

• Humping anything that moves or breathes. This is rarely sexual. Most humping are a sign of dominance. Whether it's a certain family member, your kid, your roommate, a poor stuffed animal, your sofa, or even the poor visitor, your dog is desperately trying to assert his dominance by letting them know that "he" is the one in charge here.

• Leans on your foot when you ask her to sit. This sometimes happens when a dog is scared or nervous. However if you notice your dog often sitting on your foot after the sit command, even without any distractions, sudden noise or any other reason you can think of, you better believe that she is trying to dominate you. It's just like the neighborhood bully who loves to lean on that weakest kid in school.

• Out of the blue, urinates or defecates in an inappropriate place to upset you. You know for a fact that your dog is completely housebroken, has been outside, had access to the doggy door, and is NOT sick. It's been weeks and even months since his last accident. This usually happens when you didn't give your dog the attention he wanted. It could also be more serious issues such as: when you leave town, work longer hours, have a change in your schedule, brought a new pet into your home, have a guest over, date someone new, or start training your dog with a new attitude/new ground rules and your dog is upset and retaliates to get back at you. Yes. Dogs do this more than you'd think.

• Is a bit unpredictable when you grab him by his collar. Some of these dogs do back-flips and you can feel your fingers bending backward as you scream in agony. Trainers have dislocated their fingers and injured their wrists with such dogs. Basically, your dog is fighting you and saying, "NO WAY. I am not going to let you hold me against my will. Let's see if you can still hold on to me when I do my psycho move on you." These dogs may act fine in one moment, but then in the next moment, when you grab them by their collar, they try to bite your hand off. Unless you are dealing with a scared or abused dog, which is very unlikely, your dog should let you grab him by his collar at ANY given time. This shows trust and the fact that he truly "respects" you as a leader.

Make sure you seek the help of an expert in private. These bad habits always get worse as time goes by. Get ready because the next chapter goes more into dominance and aggression tendencies and these dogs will make these dogs seem like pussycats.

Kevin Salem is considered to be one of the brightest minds in the world of dog training and one of the pioneers in his field. It's hard to paint Kevin's image with the same brush as others, as his unique way of thinking, writing, and philosophy truly makes him distinct.

Kevin offers Doggie Boot Camp or House Calls Nationwide. Try his book, hire him in person, or see him put his eyebrow raising skills into action on his award-winning web site:

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