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Dog Whispering
Author: George Kane

Dog whispering is the talk of the town when it comes to dog training world. Dog whispering is more of an art rather than a theoretical training. It is one of the hottest trends believed to give out maximum benefits to the dog trainers, owners and the dog itself!

Dog whispering is not just mumbling a few nice words to your dog. It involves techniques to understand the behavior of your dog through interpreting it's body language.

Your communication with your dog is based on your perception of the dog's behavior and actions. Dog whispering gives out a feeling of a natural way of communicating with a dog that cannot be described in words alone. Dog whispering involves a radical approach that does not promote the practical ways of dog training.

Some believe that dog whispering is not so different from the technique used to understand the behavior of wolf packs. Dog whispering refrains from any scientific studies or standard research; it is rather a combination of genuine intuition and social behavior. Despite its popularity, many dog trainers don't consider dog whispering to be a realistic way to train dogs.

There are no disciplinary commands or even obedience codes; it is just a simple method of understanding a dog it's most basic level. Jan Fennell is a well known dog whisperer, who has acclaimed the art by using this natural way of communication with the dog. Based on canine ethology, dog whispering is a unique concept in the world of dog training. Although nothing concrete has yet been proved on the effects of dog whispering, there are certain mystic elements that make this a hot topic for debate. More in-depth studies are necessary to prove the benefits of dog whispering, while there is no doubt that it has been accepted by many dog lovers as the most humanistic approach in dog training.

Alpha dog paradigm seems to have inspired the concept of dog whispering. In the case of wolf packs, when a certain wolf becomes the leader of the pack then it displays dominance. The dog whisperer is believed to become the leader of the dog while understanding the dog's natural instincts without putting him on obedience training. The main reason for becoming a dog whisperer is to attain a good relationship with the dog. How far would you go to become a dog whisperer? Maybe you are just content to teach your dog a few tricks?

It doesn't really matter as long as you know how to train the dog in your own way of life. If you are passionate about your dog's life, then it might be time to open up a few books on dog whispering. History awaits you to write a whole new chapter on this popular belief that has captured the hearts of many dog lovers.

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George Kane writes for Dog Training A to Z on topics such as Dog Whispering and the top Dog Training eBooks such as Sit Stay Fetch

Pet-Friendly Lodging is Available at More Places
Brian J Cantwell - Seattle Times

Here's how to find pet-friendly lodging.

Q: Where can we find a list of hotels and B&Bs that will allow a pet (our dog)?

— Tom, Seattle

A: The lodging industry has awakened to the fact that we're crazy about our canines, and some hotel chains decided to get a bite of that market share by encouraging managers to take down the "no pets" sign.

But it's not often a chain-wide policy, so it can take some looking. For example, while a number of Best Western hotels in the Puget Sound area allow pets, individual policies differ, with variables including size of pet and what sort of fee you'll pay for bringing along Spot or Fang.

For example, the Best Western on Bainbridge Island charges $50 per stay for pets and limits pet size to 25 pounds; the one in Tumwater charges $15 per night, with no other restrictions. On, under "Find a Hotel," click on "More Search Options" and under "Special Features and Amenities" check the box for "Pets Allowed."

There's an easier way, though: Dog lovers have their own search engines. Go to for a list of lodging chains and hotels within those chains that welcome pooches.

A quick look found that La Quinta Inns is among the most dog-friendly chains, with more than 500 pet-friendly hotels nationwide. Many La Quintas charge no pet fee and have no limit on size of dog. Others on's list include Motel 6, Holiday Inn, Sheraton/Westin, Comfort Inn and more.

Another Web site we liked: It helps you search in a given city for pet-friendly accommodations, and you can sort by price.

The more intimate setting of a bed-and-breakfast limits the number that welcome dogs. But, which lists 5,200 inns nationwide, includes a "search inns by amenity" tool that includes "pets welcome." We found nine in Washington and 13 in Oregon that welcome pets.

In This Class, 'Teacher's Pet' Gains New Meaning
By Caroline Melia - San Diego Union Tribune

VISTA – “Fairfax is here!” the third-through fifth-grade students in Robin Hooper's special-education class often exclaim as they walk into their classroom at Hannalei Elementary School in Vista.

A Labrador-golden retriever mix, Fairfax graduated from a two-year training program in May and can react to more than 40 commands. Hooper also had to “graduate” from a special training program to receive the dog, at no cost.

Canine Companions for Independence is a national nonprofit founded in 1975 that provides trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to people with disabilities or to people who work with the disabled.

The children in Hooper's class have moderate to severe disabilities, which can range from cognitive and physical disabilities to developmental delays. Fairfax's main purpose is to help students with their fine-motor and communication skills, which vary from student to student.

“Just being able to say they want to sit with Fairfax helps – trying to get them out of themselves and communicate,” Hooper said.

Spending time with Fairfax is often used as a reward, and Hooper said students are more in tune with activities when Fairfax participates.
“Students will look at books with Fairfax, they show him pictures, and they really get into it because he's listening to them,” Hooper said.

The children count how many treats they are going to give Fairfax and how many times they are going to brush him. Sometimes they simply cuddle with the dog.

Hooper worked as a special-education teacher at Hannalei Elementary for two years before her first experience with an assistance dog. Last year, she shared a dog with another teacher on campus while she was on a yearlong waiting list to receive Fairfax.

“I would call it almost a calming mix or an air purifier,” Hooper said. “There's something about him in the room that just calms everything and makes it peaceful. It's amazing what a difference the dog makes with the kids.”

The Vista branch library also uses pets to encourage education. Love on a Leash: The Foundation for Pet-Provided Therapy is a nonprofit founded in San Diego in 1984. Dogs and volunteer owners from the organization visit local libraries and invite children to read aloud to therapy dogs in a program called Paws to Read.

Paws to Read is a tool to help children gain the confidence to read aloud and improve their reading skills.

The Vista library has incorporated Paws to Read in its weekly school programs since 2005 and has 10 to 12 dogs and volunteer owners involved, said Vista children's librarian Donna Melnychenko. The therapy dogs and their owners also provide therapy at senior centers, nursing homes, schools and hospitals.

Kathy Lambert, a retired special-education teacher and two-year volunteer for Love on a Leash, said, “I think for a lot of (the children) reading has not been an enjoyable experience and it teaches them it can be fun.

“No one is going to correct them if they make a mistake,” Lambert said.

My Pet World
By Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services

Mandatory spaying/neutering sometimes does more harm

Q: I work for a state representative who was approached about the idea of mandating spay/neuter for all dogs and cats by six months of age in our state. What do you think of this proposal? -- C.S., Cyberspace

A: Let me begin by pointing out that, in general principal, I'm absolutely for spay/neuter. Without question, spaying or neutering prevents irresponsible or accidental breeding and is a good idea to benefit health. Therefore, you'd think the next logical step might be to mandate spay/neuter of all dogs and cats. The truth, however, is that mandatory spay/neuter is not only ineffective but, worse, contradicts its very intent.

Among the many unintended consequences of mandatory spay/neuter is that visits to veterinarians decline. The fact is, not all the people who don't spay/neuter are negligent, allowing accidental or on-purpose reckless breeding. They care about their pets, visiting veterinarians just as often as clients who do spay/neuter, but many don't want to hear a hard sell about spay/neuter, or worry they may be turned in to authorities if they decline the procedure. When vet visits fall, the general well-being of pets is affected. Also, rabies vaccine compliance plunges, creating a public health risk.

Mandatory spay/neuter laws are written to lower euthanasia rates, primarily at municipal animal-control facilities. A Best Friends Animal Society survey of shelters in 1992 determined that 15 million pets were euthanized nationwide that year. The good news is that, due to voluntary spay/neuter, breed rescue and the "no kill" movement, that annual figure has dipped to around 5 million. Clearly, that's still too high, but we're moving in the right direction. Do we even need mandatory spay/neuter?

The dirty little secret is that if you take away pit bull-type dogs, many communities have so few dogs available for adoption that they're forced to "import" canines from elsewhere. Animal-welfare expert Mike Arms, president and chief executive officer of the Helen Woodward Animal Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., concurs. "Greatly, the overpopulation pet problem is about cats," he notes. Mostly these are stray/feral cats or loosely owned indoor/outdoor cats.

"Mandatory spay/neuter laws do nothing to address cats," Arms adds. Besides, most estimates indicate that 90 percent or more of indoor-only cats are already spayed/neutered.

As it happens, researchers recently discovered that for some dogs, under some circumstances, spay/neuter after a year is best for their long-term health. When to spay/neuter, or whether to do the procedure at all, is a medical choice between client and veterinarian. I say, keep government out of our pets' private parts.

Q: We've been administering subcutaneous fluids for six months to our cat, and he's been doing fairly well. He's always slept with my husband, but in the past few days he won't come into our room. He's acting well and seems active but just won't show us any affection. Do you think he's associating us with the fluids we give him? -- K.B.P., Churchville, Pa.

A: "I assume you may be administering fluids to treat kidney failure," says Houston-based veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lore Haug. "I mostly worry that the disease has somehow worsened. Cats are subtle about showing signs of illness, and any change in their interaction with us may be a sign. Please see your veterinarian. What's going on may be clear to your veterinarian, or maybe it's something less obvious, perhaps high blood pressure affecting your cat's vision, for example. If everything physiological is ruled out, or not, it can't hurt to offer your cat a treat (something your veterinarian approves) right as you give the cat fluids. Perhaps he'll associate the treat with getting the fluids."

Q: My 20-year-old cat had big bumps, the size of golf balls, on her leg and stomach. The bumps, tender to the touch, burst open. There was no pus or anything. I put some Vitamin E oil on the area and the sores healed. Around the same time, the cat had a few pea-sized bumps on her neck that never got any bigger and eventually went away.

I can't afford to take my cat to the vet, and besides, the trip is extremely traumatic for her. The last time she was at the vet, for a urinary tract infection, she had to be sedated to be examined. I don't want to put her through that again. Any advice? -- D.B., Las Vegas

A: The good news is, genetics has been on your cat's side, and you certainly must have been doing something right. For a cat, reaching age 20 in relatively good health is quite an accomplishment. However, Dr. Debra Eldredge, co-author of "Fully Revised and Updated Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook" (Wiley Publishing, New York, 2008; $34.99), is concerned.

"You definitely need veterinary advice," she says. "I understand that putting the Vitamin E on helped, perhaps. But you were also lucky your cat didn't lick off enough Vitamin E to suffer Vitamin E toxicity. Whatever is going on doesn't sound good. I do understand the trauma involved in taking the cat to a veterinary clinic. Perhaps, you could ask your vet if a veterinary technician could come to your home to take a needle aspirate of the growth. While it's true that due to finances and the cat's age you may not be able to treat, depending on what the problem is. It's also possible that these growths can be treated so they don't become infected. That may be all you have to do. After 20 years, it's only fair to your cat."

Cesar Millan May Be Famous, But He Remains Controversial
By Steve Dale - TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES/St Louis Today

Cesar Millan has an opportunity enjoyed by no other dog trainer in history. Here's the only problem: The messages he delivers are sometimes debatable, some even say dangerous, leaving many animal behavior experts cringing about the outcomes.

Dog training books by H.R. East and William Koehler were trendy back in the day, but they greatly pre-dated TV. Captain Haggerty delivered dog training to TV audiences early on. He was followed by a wildly popular, stern British lady who repeated the command "Walkies." However, Haggerty and Barbara Woodhouse peaked before the explosion of cable TV and the Internet.

Millan is everywhere and his reach is unmatched. He continues to host "The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan" on the National Geographic Channel, and is a frequent guest on other TV shows, even appearing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." There's his personal Web site,, and now a new interactive site,, where followers can pay for lessons and network with likeminded fans. He recently released his fourth book, "A Member of the Family: Cesar Millan's Guide to a Lifetime of Fulfillment with Your Dog" (Harmony Books, New York, NY, 2008; $25.95).

Unfortunately, his impact isn't all good. Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lore Haug, of Houston, is among dozens of dog trainers, behavior consultants and veterinary behaviorists who've told me that they see a lot of clients because of Millan's advice. "My colleagues frequently have dogs come to us after owners unsuccessfully used his methods, often making a problem worse and damaging the relationships between dogs and their owners," says Haug.

In fact, there are pop-up bubbles on Millan's TV show warning viewers against attempting his techniques at home.

In a recent appearance on "Pet Central," my Chicago-based WGN Radio show, Millan said, " 'The Dog Whisperer' is not a 'how-to' show; the book is for that. I don't want people to try it at home because every episode is tailored to a specific family and specific dog."

Still, many viewers ignore the warnings.

"I realize many viewers say we know we're not supposed to try this at home, but it works, of course," Millan said. "God bless their hearts. But we still say you're not supposed to try it."

What about concerns that children, some barely able to read those warnings, may still follow Millan's instructions, or that people have been hurt attempting replicate his often intimidating methods of dog training? Credible organizations that have expressed concerns about the "Cesar Way" include the American Humane Association and International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

"Everyone has their own way of doing things," Millan said. "I'm not saying every dog trainer should be me. My way is not the only way. I'm always learning from whatever I see."

So who is Cesar's teacher? He mentions Leon S. Whitney, who authored dog books in the 1950s and '60s, including "Dog Psychology: The Basics of Dog Training."

"I read every single (dog training) book; it's always good to be in a surrender state and stay open to everything," Millan says. Yet, he fails to come up with the name of even a single contemporary dog trainer whose work has influenced him, or the name of a recent book he's read.

One criticism is that Millan's methods and philosophy were contemporary back when Whitney was writing, taking dog training back decades toward intimidation over contemporary learning theory. One example is how Millan compares dogs to wolves and how owners must assert themselves as the dominant pack leaders in their homes.

Appearing later the same night on my radio show, Dr. John Ciribassi, a veterinary behaviorist based in the Chicago area and immediate past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, said, "The reality is that the pack explanation, the need to fight for dominance (in a home) is an arcane theory. The idea of dominance and need for it implies the need to, in fact, dominate our dogs. There is a need to communicate and to motivate but not to dominate. (Millan) uses the word 'leader' (for the owner); perhaps the word 'teacher' is better."

"My emphasis is on getting the behaviors you do want," added Dr. Barbara Sherman, president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (veterinarians board certified in animal behavior) and professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "It's the over-riding rule of animal behavior: Encourage the behaviors you want; ignore the behaviors you don't. Also, punishment doesn't make clear what you want the dogs to do. And punishment, like rollovers (rolling a dog over and/or pinning a dog) can be very frightening. You may get a backlash of aggression because the dog is scared and doesn't know what is going on. This can worsen behavior."

Interestingly, Millan admitted he has softened his views somewhat.

"Listen, dominance is a mental act," he said. "Just like a cat controls a dog just with a state of mind, we can do the same; control (a dog's behavior) using our minds. And I'm certainly not against using food, or whatever it takes to motivate a dog."

Viewers who closely follow Millan may note that his views have moderated to accept more conventional and contemporary approaches. "Of course," he says. "It's all about moving forward. Most of the time, I come to cases when other professionals have tried, and it's up to me to save that dog. I have a certain knowledge and common sense. I hope to share that knowledge through my video game, or, or the TV show. My job is to help dogs."

(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 PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is; he can be heard Sundays on WGN Radio, 8 to 10 p.m. CST ( to listen live), and hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend.


A Look at Cat Breeds
Author: Nicholas Tan

Over the last thousands of years, cats have pretty much handled their breeding themselves. In the beginning, they were used for one purpose - hunting and killing rodents. As the years progressed, we began to breed cats more to our liking. Nowadays, there are several different breeds of cats - which you can tell if you look closely.

These days there are over 70 distinct cat breeds, which are recognized through cat registries. There are several registries that will recognize around 40 breeds or so, as they exclude the more domestic breeds such as tigers. There are also many variations as well, including wild cats that have longer hair.

There are some cat breeds who have roots going back quite a bit in history. Some Japanese breeds, such as the Japanese Bobtail, can be traced back more than 1,000 years in history. These cats were very common and well known throughout Medieval Japan. Now days though, they are all but a myth throughout Japan and the entire world.

The more common cat breeds that are found in North America include the alley cat, long haired cat, and Persian cat. Siamese cats are also common, although they are well known to be destructive and to have a foul temper. Persian cats are very popular, proving to be loving companions. Persian cats can be very expense, depending on where you get it and what type of Persian cat it is.

Alley cats are the most common in North America. There are actually several different breeds, although most of us just refer to them as alley cats. They make good pets, although there are literally thousands of them in existence. Cats are known to breed more than any other pet, and they will continue to breed until they are stopped. Alley cats are among the most bred, as there are hundreds of thousands of cats that are homeless - and have nothing to do but breed.

The look of the cat is the easiest way to tell what breed he or she may be. Some people choose to go by color, although color isn’t as easy to identify. Different breeds of cats have different looks, such as the Siamese and Persian cats. Siamese cats are almost always black, and easy to identify by their color and their eyes. Persian cats on the other hand, are easily identified by their body type and their hair.

Over the years, there has been quite a few breeds come along. Cats were one of the first pets, and easily one of the most popular. Millions of people around the world own cats, with many people preferring a cat over any other pet - including dogs. No matter breed of cat you get - you’re sure to get a pet who make for a great companion for years and years to come.

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15 Things to Do For Reef Tanks to Keep Your Reef Aquarium in Top Shape
By Darin Sewell

Having a successful and stunning reef aquarium is every reef keepers goal. For many people however their attempts are met with failure and frustration. Usually it was not one big thing that lead to the tank failure but a series of small ones. To avoid this there are some things to do for reef tanks that can help you fend off disaster.

15 Things to Do For Reef Tanks To Keep Them Thriving

--Give your tank a visual inspection everyday. Look at all livestock and give the tanks equipment a quick visual check.
--Check the water temperature, nothing can kill a reef faster then a cold reef or an over heated reef tank.
--Test your nitrates and phosphates weekly and keep them at the lowest levels possible.
--Do not over stock your tank and hold off the impulse to add just one more fish.
--Clean filtration equipment and your protein skimmer frequently to ensure it is performing at its peak levels.
--Check and maintain your calcium and alkalinity levels and keep them at appropriate levels.
--Do not over feed your fish or corals
--Do not over use additives or add additives into our tank unless you can test for them
--Add water to replace any water that has evaporated from your reef aquarium.
--Have back ups of critical equipment like heaters and pumps.
--Have a battery operated pump to use in the event of a power failure.
--Keep at least 10 gallons of pre made saltwater on hand for emergency water changes.
--Use purified Reverse Osmosis water to make saltwater and for top off water, this will cut down on algae.
--Research all corals, fish and invertebrates that you want to put into your tank before you buy them, this could save you alot of headaches!
--Do small frequent saltwater changes to keep pollutants low

Want a crystal clear successful Reef Aquarium? Our reef tank guide will show you how to avoid the common mistakes that lead to fish death, algae and an ugly tank. To get the secrets to creating a and maintaining a stunning reef aquarium at

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Contact: Cynthia Linnon
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How to Uncover a Serious Illness in Your Dog
By Sean S. Fredrick

Serious illness can overcome a seemingly healthy dog in a short while without proper observation and prompt action. Detecting early signs of illness is essential for proper care and treatment of most canine maladies. Dogs, like humans will exhibit common signs such as lethargy, weakness, and irritability.

Dogs overcome by illness will walk slowly, sleep often, and walk with their ears and tails down. Gray and cloudy eyes, discolored nose or tongue, or discharges from their ears and other areas should alert you to problems. Don't take chances with their health, as many canine ailments will overcome them in a much shorter time than human ailments will to you or I.

The quickest way to determine if your dog is sick is to look at their nose which should be clear and free of any discharge. Vomiting and diarrhea are also signs of a stomach or digestive condition. Slow and Labored breathing and movements, especially when attempting to stand up can be a sign of organ or kidney failure and should be addressed immediately with your veterinarian.

While bathing or handling your dog be sure to check the skin for injury, bruising, or hair loss. Excessive scratching, problems with walking and balance, and frequent urination can be caused by a variety of bacterial infections. The general mood or energy of the dog can be a great gauge of their health. Any sudden drop in activity or excessive sleeping should be noted and communicated to your veterinarian immediately.

Healthy dogs will have clean skin, bright eyes, and a pink tongue and gums free of unusual colors or discharge. Their temperature will be around 102°, and will take about 20 steady breaths per minute. They will be able to jump to their feet on command with little or no difficulty. Their bowel movements should be consistent, and they will have a good appetite.

Remember that you and only you are the first line of defense against any disease that your dog may struggle against. Constant care and awareness of your pet and their health will ensure their long and happy existence.

For more interesting, entertaining, and heartfelt articles about dogs and many other kinds of pets, visit Thought Search Articles.

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