Pet News - Pet Advice

Beat the Winter Blues - Yours and Your Pet's
SF Gate

As my father likes to say: "Live too long in San Francisco and you'll get too soft. Live too long in NYC and you'll get too hard."

Personally, I think a lot of the truth that lies in this old adage can be tied to the weather. Whenever I find myself brutally confronted by the feeling of frozen nostril hairs, I can hardly believe that people actually CHOOSE to tough out many a month in sub 30-degree temperatures (says the recovering Midwesterner). Sure we have bone-chilling fog, but we don't have to shovel our cars out of it in the mornings.

Anyway, my point is that even though our winters are pretty dreamy compared to most, the change in seasons and the diminishing light (especially post Daylight Savings — um, why do we do this again?) can send even the cheeriest of Californians into a trough of despair. And, as it turns out, our pets aren't immune either. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD as this affliction is so aptly named, can put a damper on their dispositions too.

According to a study by the veterinary charity People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), one in every three dog and cat owners sees a downturn in their pets' moods during the colder and darker months of the year. Pets also echo humans in turning to comfort food to combat symptoms of fatigue and depression.

While we can send ourselves happily packing to warmer climates, invest in family packs of full-spectrum light bulbs or medicate ourselves into a sunny state of bliss, our four-legged friends can benefit from even simpler solutions. Stacy Peardot-Goudy, an award-winning agility trainer, offers these suggestions for keeping dogs or cats healthy and happy this winter:

1. Create your own indoor pet run - If the weather's lousy and you've got a home with closed stairs, play fetch by throwing a toy up to the second floor and having your pet retrieve it over and over and over... All the up and down will make for a great work-out.
2. Change up the chow - Offering different forms of pet food (kibble, canned and raw) and types (meat, fish, poultry and veggies) such as in the Nature's Variety Rotation Diet, will help keep your pet healthy and interested in eating. You might also want to consider reducing the amount of food you are feeding your pet since they are often less active during the rainy winter months.
3. Use the time to train - Dreary days are the perfect time to break out the training books and videos and work with your pet to improve basic skills. Reinforcing and rewarding heel, turn, sit and stay commands will keep your pet mentally active and engaged and help build your bond.
4. Play hide and seek - Orchestrate a treasure hunt for your pet by hiding treats in different places around the house. This interactive game will get your pet moving and encourage him to explore and exercise curiosity. To avoid overfeeding, use a handful of your pet's regular kibble as treats (and feed him a handful less at meal time).
5. Get kicking! - If you have access to an indoor pool or know of a nearby pet rehabilitation center, swimming is a great physical activity for dogs that is easy on joints. Start with short sessions and build up the duration and intensity of the swims over time. (Wag Hotels offer 20 minute swims for 20 bucks to doggie guests.)

Guy Fawkes Night: Pet Owners Asked to be Home
By Natasha Joseph - Cape Town News

Pet owners should consider staying at home on Wednesday night, Guy Fawkes Night, to offer comfort and reassurance to nervous animals, says the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

If this is not possible, says the organisation's CEO, Allan Perrins, it is still important that all pets be kept indoors.

Outdoor rabbit hutches and aviaries should be covered for the night, and gates should be kept closed so that animals cannot run away, Perrins said.

He also suggested that pet owners keep a radio or television on to "muffle loud noises".

People who own "anxious" dogs could obtain homeopathic or conventional sedatives from a veterinarian, Perrins said.

Animals should have proper identification so that, if they did run away, they could be reunited with their owners, he said.

Perrins also said that all curtains should be closed, because dogs had been known to jump through glass windows in order to escape the noise of fireworks.

The SPCA's hospital, at its Grassy Park headquarters, will be open throughout Wednesday night.

The hospital can be reached on 021 700 4154. Acts of animal cruelty can be reported to 021 700 4158/9. If these numbers are busy, call 083 326 1604.

Perrins said any instances of crackers being let off illegally in suburban areas should be reported directly to the police.

The City of Cape Town has issued a list of sites across the city which have been designated as legal spaces in which to discharge store-bought fireworks.

People or organisations wishing to discharge display fireworks as part of a public event must obtain permission to do so by contacting the Chief Inspector of Explosives and the City of Cape Town. The city's corporate call centre can be contacted on 0860 103 089.

The city's designated areas for the discharge of store-bought fireworks are: the parking areas of Mnandi Beach, Maiden's Cove, Strandfontein Beach and Vygieskraal Stadium, Gordon's Bay Main beach, Strand Beach (at Deep Blue), Macassar Beach, Sunrise Beach in Muizenberg, Fish Hoek Beach (the gravel parking area between the lifesavers' clubhouse and the lighthouse), Hout Bay Beach, De Grendel Sports Ground in Parow, Sleepy Hollow Park in Elsies River, Nooitgedacht Sports Ground in Bishop Lavis, the sports ground in Roosendal Street, Delft, the Blue Down Sports Stadium, Delft, Mamre Park, Blaauwberg, Wesfleur Sportsfield, Atlantis, the Palms site, Milnerton and Blaauwberg Beach.

Sister Shares Pet Peeve
By Carolyn Hax / Tell Me About It / Boston Herald

Dear Carolyn:

I am single with no kids but have dogs. Sometimes I think my brother thinks his life is more important than mine because he has children. When the subject of my newly adopted dog came up, he rolled his eyes and abruptly left the room. In the past when I have brought up my dogs, he has commented, “They are just dogs.” I am so hurt - we spend endless hours talking about his kids, yet he makes me feel as if what is going on in my life is not important. What should I do or say when this happens?

- Childless With Pets

Next time, tell yourself that two adults are still competing for attention, probably as fiercely as they did as children. That would explain your brother’s need to talk endlessly about his kids (sorry, nothing’s that gripping), and your need for his validation of dog-rearing.

The image of siblings sneaking punches in the back seat of the family roadster does not age gracefully.

Of course, there are huge differences. You’re not belittling him - you just want inclusion, while he apparently needs to win. He’s also wrong. Your dogs certainly matter.

But whether he grasps that is irrelevant. On your own, you can choose to override your childhood circuitry. You can decide your brother’s opinion has no bearing on your satisfaction with life. Wanting a sibling’s approval is natural, but don’t mistake that for needing it. You made your choices for your reasons - and in those choices, in those reasons is where your fulfillment (or emptiness) lies. So when he says they’re “just dogs,” simply say, “They matter to me,” and then finish what you meant to say.

Read Carolyn Hax in the Boston Sunday Herald. Write to Carolyn Hax, care of the Boston Herald, P.O. Box 55843, Boston, MA 02205-5843, or e-mail her at

Think Twice Before Giving Pets as Gifts This Holiday

American Humane Suggests Leaving Furry Friends Off of the Holiday List

DENVER, Nov 03, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- There is nothing cuter than a cuddly puppy or kitten under the tree on Christmas morning, perhaps with a holiday bow attached to its collar. And while that scenario makes a great holiday card illustration, the American Humane Association cautions that the days that follow can often result in a lonely pet facing an uncertain future at the local animal shelter.
"There are millions of animals at local shelters that need homes. However, giving a pet as a surprise gift is never a good idea, especially during the holidays," says Marie Belew Wheatley, American Humane president and CEO. "The holidays are stressful for everyone, including animals. By surprising people with a pet, you are assuming they have the financial, emotional and time resources necessary to care for an animal, as well as the desire to care for a living being for the long term."
Before you pick out the perfect furry friend for a child, grandchild, niece or nephew -- or anyone -- consider the following:
It's Personal
-- Choosing a pet is a very personal decision. It should not be made by anyone other than those who will take care of the pet.
Not Much Different Than a Baby
-- Pets, especially young pets, require time, energy and money for proper care. It can be overwhelming to a family, especially when it is a surprise.
All Are Not Created Equal
-- Before purchasing or adopting a dog or cat, take time to educate yourself on different breeds, how to give an animal a safe and satisfying home and the long-term commitment of owning a pet. The best pet for the family is a decision only the family can make.
Pets Are Members of the Family, Too
-- Because many dogs and cats can live 15 years or more, the pet becomes a part of the family. It is important to ensure that everyone in the house can and is willing to provide a healthy environment for the pet.
The Holidays Aren't a Vacation for New Pets
-- Pets are not toys. Children can confuse proper treatment of an animal with the excitement of new toys around the holiday. Pets need a calm, safe place where they can feel comfortable and begin to acclimate to their new surroundings. A less-hectic time of year is probably a wiser choice to bring a pet in to into the home.
Time Is of the Essence When Training a New Pet
-- Since the holidays often come with travel and irregular schedules, families may miss out on the best opportunity to train a young pet. Shelters often consider poorly trained or poorly socialized animals not adoptable, resulting in euthanasia. In most cases, this could be avoided with more time training.
Owning a Pet Is Life Changing
-- When a pet does not work out for a family, it becomes someone else's problem, usually the local animal shelter. In the months following the holiday season, shelters see a sharp spike in animal surrender.
Overall, pets are a fun gift for humans but likely not for the animal. Rather than a living "gift," consider books or videos about potential pets, or pet supplies like toys. Should you decide that a pet is a good decision for the family before the holiday season, check with the local shelter to see if it will issue an "IOU". That way, the family can make the best decision about the breed, age and size of the pet during a less stressful and frantic time of year.
About American Humane
Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the only national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, American Humane develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link(R) between violence to people and violence to animals, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane's regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the "No Animals Were Harmed"(R) end-credit disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane's office in Washington, D.C., is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. The American Humane Certified(TM) farm animal program is the nation's original independent certification and labeling program for humanely raised food. American Humane meets the strong, comprehensive standards of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (does this need a trademark?), has been awarded the Independent Charities of America's "Best in America" Seal of Approval, and has met the stringent standards for financial efficiency and accountability required by the American Institute of Philanthropy to qualify as a Top-Rated Charity. Visit to learn more.
Mandy Melby
Carmichael Lynch Spong
(720) 946-6326

Kelley Weir
American Humane Association
(303) 925-9418

Adopting Needy Neighbor's Pet Could Pay Big 'Dividends'


Q: My neighbors are losing their home to foreclosure. Freckles, their 12-year-old cat, loves our three kids and they love him. Freckles has visited our house many times and gets along fine with our two cats and dog. His owners say they can no longer afford to keep Freckles. They've offered us the cat, but no money to pay for his care. Do you think I should ask for money?

-- B.B.N., Cyberspace

A: I'm so very sorry for you neighbor and for Freckles, although this cat is luckier than some pets these days who land in shelters or are left to starve in foreclosed homes. Clearly the economic mess has led to a crisis for many animals.

I realize that with three children and as many pets (and who knows, maybe a lizard, frog or hamster you didn't mention), you have enough going on, but if you take in this cat, no questions asked, think of the lesson your children will learn. I'd say unconditional compassion is worth far more than whatever Freckle's care will cost.

I have a hunch you'll do the right thing. Do take whatever cat food the neighbors have left for Freckles so you can slowly make a transition to whatever diet you prefer. Best of luck!

Q: My 11-year-old-plus hound mix has had three seizures in the past three years. (I've had this dog for exactly that long: three years.) During these attacks, he shakes. I'm not able to lift him into the car to take him to the vet. He would have to be sedated if I got help lifting him, because he's very aggressive. Any advice?

-- P.W., Tulsa, OK

A: For starters, veterinary neurologist Dr. Carley Abramson, of Houston, TX, wonders if you dog really is having seizures. She says seizures have a specific start and stop. During the seizure itself, a dog falls into a different state of consciousness and is not responsive. Following a seizure, for a few minutes to a few hours, there's a period of time where the dog may act unusual, often especially clingy. This is called the postical phase.

However, the best way for your vet to determine if your dog is having seizures is to watch one happening. That means having the presence of mind to record a seizure if it happens again.

"It's really very important you see a veterinarian to rule a seizure in or out," says Abramson. Here's why: If what you're seeing is, indeed, not seizures, you probably want to know what's causing the "shakes." The good news is, this long-term problem is happening so intermittently that it's not likely to be serious, but even that's hard to say. Possibilities include an electrolyte/sugar imbalance, cardiac disease, or a response related to kidney disease or liver disease, or some sort of muscle weakness.

If your dog is having seizures, they appear to occur relatively infrequently and are mild. However, the most common kind of seizures, idiopathic epilepsy, typically first occurs anytime from six months to around the age of 6. Seizures starting later in life may be linked to underlying disease. "Because you didn't have this dog until recently, you don't have any way to know if the seizures have occurred for the life of the dog," says Abramson. "It certainly is in the best interest of your dog to at least begin the process of ruling out any physiological explanation."

Even if this all makes sense to you -- and I hope it does -- the next issue is how to get your dog to a veterinary clinic without him snacking on any friends or family.

"We see plenty of aggressive dogs, and they wear muzzles," says Abramson. "Of course, the staff and veterinarian are warned the dog may be aggressive." While it may be stressful for you and your dog to visit the vet, the price you pay may be more if you don't.

Q: We brought a puppy into the house two years ago, and to this day, our cat walks up to him at least once day and pokes him in the nose for no reason. Benji doesn't seem to mind, but we feel badly for him. We've hollered at the cat, but it doesn't do any good. Any advice?

-- C.V., Hartford, CT

A: Cats are control freaks, and your cat is simply reminding Benji who's in charge at your house. Benji seems to understand this, and is taking it in stride. My advice is for you to do the same. Hollering could backfire. Cats with this sort of "Type-A personality" also enjoy controlling people. I bet your cat has trained you in order to get a rise out of you. We can train dogs. Cats can train us.

Q: Our 9-year-old tortoiseshell cat vomits too much. We took her to two vets, and all tests came back normal. Her stomach rolls and then she vomits. It's not a hairball issue. Sometimes she vomits right after eating, sometimes many hours later. She can do this four times a day, and do it daily for weeks. Then, for maybe eight weeks, she doesn't vomit at all. Any idea what's going on?

-- B.S.B., Ontario, NY

A: "I'd really like to know what testing has been done on this cat," says Dr. Audrey Cook, clinical associate professor and internal medicine specialist Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine, College Station. "This would probably include basic lab work and then some imaging, at least X-rays and maybe an ultrasound. If that's all been done, and this remains a mystery, consider seeing an internal medicine specialist." The next step might be an endoscopic exam.

For Cook, the real mystery is how your cat can vomit so often and then, suddenly, the symptoms disappear for a couple of months without a single episode. This leads her to suggest there might be a relationship to a change in diet and/or table snacks. Could your cat be chewing on a plant that's making her sick? Cook suggests you stick with one food, and cut out the table snacks -- at least until your vet visit.

Get Inside Your Dog's Head: Check Out 'Dogs Gone Wild' on Radio Station WTAN
By Ester Venouziou, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer

Steve Pica wants pets and their human companions to get along, and the way to go about that, he says, is by understanding, not punishing. Every Thursday evening, he offers advice on his call-in talk radio talk show, Dogs Gone Wild. We caught up with him recently.

How did you become a pet counselor?

"I started by volunteering at SPCA in Largo," Pica says. "Walking dogs, taking them out every once in a while. They don't get out much in shelter environment. Then I started thinking . . . why not spend time with them in the kennel, too?" Pica started spending more time in the shelter. A few years later Pica started volunteering on SPCA's behavior helpline, to help pets stay out of shelters in the first place.

Tell us about your radio show.

The show started in late March, and is on 5 to 6 p.m. Thursdays on WTAN-AM 1340 and streamed live on "The show doesn't take the place of an obedience class," Pica says. "It fills in the gap. It won't give you all the answers." The show focuses on behavioral problems, like scratching furniture and disobedience. To treat aggressive behavior, Pica recommends working with a trainer.

Any tips for choosing a class or private trainer?

Because pet counseling and training is an unlicensed profession, anyone can put up a sign and call himself a pet trainer, Pica says. That means a lot of bad advice out there. Pica suggests asking potential trainers about training they have attended and checking credentials. His top advice? "Ask the trainer what kind of punishment they use. . . . It's kind of like a trick question. A good answer would be 'time-out.' I'd shy away from anyone who mentions physical punishment." When choosing a class, Pica says to go observe it first. Do pets — and people — look happy? Proper training is very important, he says. He points to a study by the Journal of the American Veterinary Association that concluded dogs whose owners said they received helpful behavior advice had a 94 percent lower risk of being surrendered to a shelter.

What is the funniest question someone asked?

"A father called in. He had a pit bull mix that was really interested in his son's hamsters," Pica says. "He wanted to know if he should introduce them. . . . I told him getting predator and prey together wasn't a good idea. Please don't do it!"

What is the most common problem?

"Lots of what they (pets) do is natural to them, but for us it's inappropriate," Pica says. "To them, it's all natural: scratching, digging, barking." A solution: Give them new outlets for their hard-wired behavior. Put scratching posts near furniture, for example. Pica also suggests using rewards for positive reinforcement. "It's all about redirecting behavior and outwitting your dog." There's no need to use force, unless the pet is in danger, or endangering someone, he says.

To tune in to 'Dogs Gone Wild'

When: 5-6 p.m. Thursdays on WTAN-AM 1340 and live on

Questions? Call (727) 441-3000; dogsgone E-mail:

Pica's favorite online resources The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Open Paw.


Noise and Your Dog: Using Soothing Music to Calm Your Pet
by Ron Ayalon

So often we think of our dogs as one giant nose, sniffing up the garbage can, each other's butts, and our dirty undergarments that we forget they have other senses as well. Of course, if you stop and think it only makes sense. After all, why do dogs bark when the leaves rustle outside or come running when they hear the chip bag crinkle? Dogs have great hearing, and our everyday noises just may be stressing them out. Bang, Boom, Crash! Most humans have become pretty desensitized to the constant noise going on in our lives, but many dogs haven't. Blaring televisions, honking horns, and lawn mowers all permeate the fabric of our daily lives. Of course, these noises can cause your dog to become really strung out and start barking at the most minor things like leaves blowing by, which must surely be an intruder! The cumulative effect of all the noise in our daily lives can cause our dogs to become really stressed out, on top of any other anxieties or fears they may have. Soothing Music Dog trainers and psychologists began to wonder if music could have a calming effect on dogs just as it does with people. In 2002 animal behaviorist Deborah Wells decided to do a short study on the effects of classical music, human conversation, pop music, and heavy metal music on shelter dogs. She found that heavy metal agitated the dogs, while human conversation and pop music was relatively neutral. Classical music however caused the dogs to bark less and rest more. Recently, animal experts Joshua Leeds and Susan Wagner delved further into the subject with their book "Through a Dog's Ear". In their studies they found that classical music with a slow tempo, low tones, and simplified structure caused dog's heart rates to lower as well as their respiration rates. Some of the dogs exposed to the music in a home setting even went to sleep. They also tried the music on dogs with specific anxieties and fears, such as riding in the car. By playing the right type of music they were able to calm the dog enough to at least lie down. What Kind of Music Works? Obviously the most calming music for dogs, according to studies, is classical music. But don't just pop in any old CD. Look for music with low tones and slow tempos, too many instruments working at too fast a beat can agitate rather than calm your dog. Harps are a great sound for dogs because they are low and melodious. Celtic music often has a slower tempo, and includes harps as well. Of course, if you don't want to have to search for music on your own there are many premade CDs specifically marketed for calming dogs. But don't feel like this is your only option, because any slow tempo classical music will do. Where/When Should I use Calming Music? One of the best places to use calming music for dogs is in the car. Riding in the car is often a very sensory intense experience: smells coming in through the window, the landscape whizzing by, and the engine roaring. Calming music could do both you and your pooch some good. Also consider leaving calming music on when you leave your dog at home. Many people leave the TV on, but music is far more calming for your dog.
Now that you know what a positive effect music can have on your dog, why don't you pop in a CD and settle down on the couch to see if your canine companion likes the tunes?

Puppies Long Island. Visit Worldwide Puppies and Kittens in Bellmore, New York, or call them at 516-679-7880 for more information. Their website is No matter what your lifestyle, Worldwide Puppies and Kittens will ensure that you will find the perfect puppy or kitten with the perfect size and temperament to match it.

About the Author
Puppies Long Island. Visit Worldwide Puppies and Kittens in Bellmore, New York, or call them at 516-679-7880 for more information. Their website is No matter what your lifestyle, Worldwide Puppies and Kittens will ensure that you will find the perfect puppy or kitten with the perfect size and temperament to match it.

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Grinding Dog Nails is Safer than Cutting Them
by Alexander Gray

We all love our pets so much. But, nobody likes to have them scratch up our furniture and floors. Nor do we like to have them tear holes in upholstery or pillows. And it's very annoying dog or cat nails snag our clothing or hosiery, not to mention painful when they accidentally scratch us. But, all that aside, nail care is also absolutely essential for the comfort and health of our pets!
If you have ever done it yourself, you know that trimming their nails is scary, unpleasant, and can often be painful for your pet if you cut into the quick of the nail. If you've every cut your own finger or toenails too short, you have had a small glimpse into what this pain is like - but cutting into the quick of your pet's nails is more painful. And other than to yelp in pain or run under the bed, your dog or cat can't give you very good feedback on how you are doing as the work is in progress. You can't blame them for running away when you approach them with clippers. You can almost hear them thinking, "Oh no, not the dreaded nail clippers again!" as they run for that one place in the room where you can't easily reach them.

But rather than cutting your pet's nails, there is another way. You can begin grinding dog nails or cat nails using a product like PediPaws. PediPaws is a pet nail grinder used to gently sand down a cat or dog's nails instead of using a traditional clippers. That's right, PediPaws doesn't have clippers. It has a filing wheel that doesn't cut the nail, just files it down. That's why is a revolutionary solution to pet nail grooming that eliminates the hassles.

Not only is PediPaws better than a clipper, but it is much better solution than a regular rotary tool like the Dremel. PediPaws is better because it is specifically designed for this grooming task, so has a well-designed pet nail guard and does not use a really high speed motor. The nail guard is a plastic case that surrounds the filing wheel, with a hole just big enough for your pet's nail to fit through. Then the tool applies its precision filing wheel to gently remove thin layers of nail and leave the paws of your pet touchably soft and your home safe from scratches

As for the brand, the company behind PediPaws™ is committed to providing the best products and friendliest customer Service, at an amazing low price. In summary, PediPaws It is fast and easy to use and is very gentle on your pet's nails. It can be used on dogs, cats and pets of all ages and sizes. It eaves no mess and is and painless. In seconds your pet's claws sharp and jagged edges are gone. PediPaws is the fastest and easiest way to keep your pet nails trim, rounded and smooth without the mess.

About the Author
Written by Alexander Gray. Pet nail care is a scary and difficult task. But an inexpensive tool like PediPaws makes it safe and easy. To learn about PediPaws and special bonus offers, please visit

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Dog Training – Easiest Dogs to Train
Author: John Williams

There are many different breeds of dog and choosing the right one for you or your family can be a difficult choice as there is several different aspects to consider. This article may help you decide on the one you want by naming the dogs with the best training abilities.

There are no guarantees with which dog breeds will behave in certain ways and there will always be exceptions in every breed of dog but there are many characteristics that you can look out for when finding the correct breed for you, here are some of the top dogs in order of ease to train and how quickly they pick up the different tasks and activities.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever is a very affectionate dog that takes well to unknown strangers, very friendly and the best of our choice of dogs that are easy to train.

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian cattle dog is yet another easy breed to train and teach new tricks to due to their passion for learning, not so good with other pets and may be a bad choice if other pets are around at your home.


Sheepdogs are renowned for being a good well behaved training dog on places such as farms and holdings. Although good and faithful to owners, these dogs don’t take so well to other people who are not familiar, if you have many visitors to your home it may be a choice of breed.

Australian Shepherd

This is again a dog with very high drive to learn new things and explore things further but is not as friendly as the Labrador retriever at the top of the list and is not as energetic either, but is a good protector of the home.

Border Collie

The border collie is not as trainer friendly as some of the breeds above but is a very hard working dog with lots of affection and energy. The border collie enjoys challenges and challenging training schedules. If you cannot spare at least an hour of intense exercise this might not be the correct dog breed choice for you.

There are many other dog breeds around, and you may prefer other training breeds so before getting a dog be sure to explore all aspects to make sure the chosen dog is correct for you.

Article Source:

Franklin Pet Memorials
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Contact: Cynthia Linnon
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10 Minutes to Train Your Cat
Author: Jim Moore

If you have a cat - or more than one cat - then you're in the market for some quick and easy training tips. The following tips . . . tricks . . . and techniques cover a variety of situations that most cat owners encounter.

The key to effective training is consistency. Whatever you choose, be sure to do it on regularly, otherwise, you'll be sending your cat mixed signals. And that will only make it that much harder to train her. Forget about cat training in 10 minutes!

Below are ten "must have" tips that will get you through your initial phase cat ownership.

1. Cats really don't care that you punish them. It's true. If you've owned a dog, you know that punishing him will help change his behavior. It doesn't with cats. Bottom line. Don't waste your time. They'll sit there purring at you and just perform that same behavior again.

2. Corporal punishment is out of the question. Because a cat's body is so delicate, you can't "spank" a cat the way you do a dog to get its attention. That means when you're training your cat, you have to match wits with it. Don't worry. I'm confident you'll win. There are things out there like cat clicker training, but I don't recommend it.

3. Use a form of positive reinforcement. As you become a seasoned cat owner, you'll discover that it's difficult to catch your cat in the actual "crime". It's far easier, then, to reward your cat when you see her performing a right behavior. Keep some cat "treats" on hand. Feed one to your cat whenever she is doing something positive - like using the litter box or using her scratching post.

4. Keep plenty of toys - either store bought or make shift - around the house. Much of the "bad" behavior of cats is simply because they're board. The feline is by nature a predatory animal. Remember the scene in the Disney movie, The Lion King, where little Simba gets "pouncing lessons." When you think your cat is literally bouncing off the walls and tearing down the curtains, he's only practicing his predatory skills. Provide him with alternatives and he'll tame down - at least some.

5. When you're away, keep him busy. If your cat is used to company, he may get bored and inadvertently destruction while you're at work or are gone for any length of time. Here's a quick hint. Buy a timer for your television set, make sure the TV is tuned to an animal-friendly channel (an outdoor channel or Animal Planet for instance) and then have the television automatically turn on at different times of the day. Cats can see images on the screen. He'll come to investigate the noise and stay to watch the picture - at least for a while.

6. The value of a spray bottle of water. In some instances, spraying a cat with a harmless water bottle is enough to get their attention and stop the bad behavior. You only need a simple spray bottle that you use for misting plants. Squirt the cat if it misbehaves. Soon, he'll know that he can't do that.

7. Blow a harmless puff of air in your cat's face. Yes, this sounds crazy, but it really works. If your cat is literally in your face and you need to teach him to keep a certain distance and give you some space, try it. Blow a puff of air into his face. It'll startle and puzzle him. Soon, he'll associate the two and you won't be bothered by the unpleasant attention he gives you.

8. Make sure you cat has "a room with a view". You know what they say, "curiosity killed the cat." More appropriately, an irate owner went berserk over something a bored cat got into. Much of the bad behavior of your cat is simply due to his innate curiosity. Make sure he has a ledge or window sill that he can sit in comfortably to check out the birds and squirrels in your yard. If your window sill isn't large enough for him to sit for extended periods, you can by an extension at the pet store. Or, if someone you know is handy, you can make your own.

9. Spend quality time with your cat. As a training technique, this may sound a bit unorthodox. But, it's really a savvy move on your part. The more time you spend with your kitty, the better you'll be able to communicate with her. Cats definitely have a form of communication skills that involves more than just "talking." The better you know your cat - and just as importantly, the better your cat knows you - you'll be able "to read her mind". You'll just "know" when she's considering an improper move. And she'll know when you disapprove just by reading your body language and the look on your face.

10. Confine the aggressive cat. Reward the victim. Got more than one cat? Then you probably have that occasional "cat fight." Felines are territorial animals. They will get into a fight now and then over their "catdom." If you view the fight, your first step is to disengage the action. Using a water sprayer is the best method. Squirt the aggressor. Try to avoid squirting the victim. After that, confine the "bully" in a less attractive space. In the meantime, reward the cat who didn't attack - even when she was being attacked. Give her a treat and let her free roam the house. When you do put this pair of felines together again, try to keep them as supervised as possible.

These ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when you're training your cat. As you and your pet begin to know each better, you'll discover a language of your own. It may be through speech - you talk and she meows. But more than likely, the two of you will eventually be able to read each other's body language. You'll soon learn the subtle nuances of this very effective form of communication . . . and teaching your cat what she needs to know will be easier than you can ever imagine.

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About the Author:
Jim Moore has come to appreciate throughout his life how you should take care and give loving attention to your cat. Jim owns and maintains

Barking Mad: Owners of Obese Dogs and Fat Cats Could Face Jail Under Controversial New Rules
By David Derbyshire - The Daily Mail

Owners of fat cats and obese dogs could be fined or jailed under controversial Government rules.
New beefed-up codes of practice for pet owners published today state that overfeeding pets is a 'serious welfare concern' that can lead to unnecessary suffering.
People who refuse to put seriously fat pets on a diet could be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act - and face a fine of up to £20,000 or even 12 months' jail.
Enlarge Model owner: Agyness Deyn and other pet lovers must follow rules
Environment Minster Hilary Benn said the toughened codes of practice were designed to remind pet owners of their responsibilities under the law and would protect animals from cruelty.
But Tories branded the guidance 'absurd' and warned that much of the advice was patronising.
Fat cat: Overfeeding pets is a 'serious welfare concern'

The draft document, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, gives detailed advice to dog, cat and horse owners about looking after animals - and tells them how to avoid being prosecuted for cruelty.
It also tells owners to provide 'entertainment' and 'mental stimulation' for pets, make sure upstairs windows are 'cat-proofed' to stop animals falling out and to avoid taking dogs for a walk in the hottest part of the day.
In addition, it points out the importance of giving animals a suitable place to live and ' somewhere to go to the toilet'.
The codes follow last year's Animal Welfare Act which introduced a legal duty on owners to ensure that pets are properly looked after.
The documents will be published as leaflets after an eight-week consultation period. Although breaking the code is not an offence, courts will use it to judge whether owners have been cruel.
The document on cat welfare begins with a warning: 'It is your responsibility to read the complete Code of Practice to fully understand your cat's welfare needs and what the law requires you to do.'
It warns that if they are taken to court, failure to follow the code could be used against them.
The code tells owners to ensure their cats are looked after when they go away and to brush them regularly. Long-haired cats should be groomed 'at least once a day'.
The code also tells owners to have a cat litter tray available inside, even if their cat has 24-hour access to a garden. Dog owners are warned not to feed their pets chocolate or raisins for health reasons and to avoid giving them medicines designed for people.
Mr Benn said the new codes of practice ensure that 'no one will be able to claim ignorance as an excuse for mistreating any animal'.
But the Tories' spokesman for animal welfare, Bill Wiggin, said: 'These new codes are absurd. Defra has missed the opportunity to produce a set of sensible proposals that would protect animals from abuse and mistreatment.
'Here we have this ridiculous guide which tells people not to walk their dog in the heat of the day or feed it at the table. Defra are taking people for fools.'

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