Why Do Dogs Bite People?

Keep Pet Food Consistent,
with Predictable Mealtimes
Nashua Telegraph

Are picky eaters born or made? Mothers of young children are not the only ones to ponder this question. Some pet owners struggle with eating behavior problems, as well.

Feeding is one of the main responsibilities of pet ownership. Starving an animal or contributing to malnourishment is inarguably neglectful and abusive. But is it enough to provide nutritious kibble in a bowl and let the pet take responsibility for eating? Many dog and cat owners disagree and make it their duty to ensure the food provided is palatable, as well as nutritious. For some pet owners, it is not enough to provide healthy nourishment, the pet must also relish its food. This is where the trouble begins for some.

There is a huge market for pet food and treats. The variety of available pet food is astounding. You must choose a manufacturer: name brand, generic or boutique. Then texture: dry, moist or canned. After that, things are narrowed down, but each brand usually has several lines and flavors to choose from. Of course, you could opt out of commercially prepared diets altogether, and start cooking homemade meals for your pet. So, it is easy to see how someone could get overwhelmed and question the choice in pet food, especially if the pet doesn't seem to like it.

So back to the store for more food, and again and again, until you find something that your pet will eat. But maybe that food is appealing only for a short while, and your pet stops eating again. The cycle starts over, and as time goes on, compromises are made about choosing healthy food. There is a willingness to feed treats or human food just so the pet will eat something.

Thus the trap is set. The pet has learned a couple of important things that will affect its eating behavior. First, it will get to choose from many different dietary options. Second, there will eventually be another option if the first is not appealing. It is beneficial to wait and see what might be coming later.

What pet owners don't often know is that cats and dogs are able to skip a meal or two easily without a negative impact on their health, and a finicky pet is willing to do this if there is the slightest possibility that something better will come its way. It makes sense. Personally, I am not going to eat a hot dog when steak tips are on the grill, even if the hot dog is ready first.

It is also important for pet owners to realize that the daily caloric requirement for the average couch-potato pet is easily met with a surprisingly small amount of food. To put things in perspective, a standard-sized dog biscuit is like the same as a candy bar in terms of calories. Would you feed a child a candy bar or two if he didn't eat his breakfast, lunch or dinner? Would you expect him to eat healthy meals if he ate candy bars between meals? Treats and handouts sabotage a diet for a pet just as easily as it does for a child.

If you want to promote good eating habits in a finicky pet, the following tips can help:

• Feed a consistent, veterinarian-approved diet. Avoid switching foods too often.

• Feed meals at predictable times. Twice daily is sufficient for most pets.

• Choose a quiet place for feeding where there are few distractions. Stay with your pet if it eats better in your company.

• Measure the amount of food and know how much to feed to maintain a healthy weight.

• Only offer food during mealtimes. No snacks or treats.

Essentially, to create healthy eating patterns for a picky eater, the food should be offered for 10-15 minutes and then it is removed until the next scheduled feeding time. The pet will eventually recognize the pattern and realize that it must eat when food is available, regardless of what being offered. When starting a meal-only feeding schedule with a pet, you should expect to see a skipped meal or two, sometimes more. This is OK in a healthy adult animal, but contact your veterinarian for advice if your pet does not eat for more than 24 hours.

Most pets will not starve themselves, though, they just need to understand that there will be no alternatives available and be hungry enough to eat. It is definitely an exercise in tough love and not easy for some pet owners to do. Just remember, you are doing it for the health of your pet, and your pet depends on you to make the good choices regarding nutrition.

Cat, the Gift Giver
by WereBear - Way of Cats

Why do cats bring us “gifts” of their prey? What do they expect us to do with it? And why is it in such widely varying degrees of repair?

Whether it’s an outdoor cat who brings the real thing, or an indoor cat who lovingly disembowels a toy mouse and leaves it on the bed, our cats are actually paying us a great compliment.

They are showing they want to feed us.

They are showing off their hunting skills.

They expect a fuss.

The fuss they get, especially with the recently or not quite dead gifts, are often not the ones they expect. When I had my cat rescue, I had a chain link room on the side of the house where the cats could go out, safely. One day Bubby, my Maine Coon mix, had left something for me in the middle of the living room. A very large, very dead, crow.

I came upon it suddenly, and Bubby, standing by for my reaction, got his feelings hurt by my screaming and fleeing. It was the surprise as much as anything else.

Later, when the dead crow was fussed over and discreetly disposed of, I kept telling him how amazing he was, as a way of making up for my first reaction. It was an extraordinary act of hunting skill for him to catch a crow, kill it, pull it through the chain link and the pet door, and then arrange it on the living room floor.

It was not his fault this loving impulse was met with such a poor reception.

So we should always make a fuss of some kind, because it is difficult to discourage cats from doing what they were born to do. Shrieking when it’s on our pillow and being happy when it’s on our doorstep or the kitchen floor will encourage a cat to show off their gifts in a way that will suit us better.

Mother cats bring prey to their kittens. Cats in colonies have been observed sharing prey with their kin, or even their friends. Lions in prides share their kills. So it’s a recognition of how much the cat values us, and how good our cat is at taking care of their friends.

We shouldn’t punish the cat, ignore their gift, or try in other ways to get the cat to stop doing that. They can’t stop doing that. It’s what they do.

What we can do is try to let the cat know we’d prefer their gifts certain places, and we’d appreciate being tipped off, first. Praising the cat’s hunting skills will often result in the cat “standing by” to view our reaction, which can let us know a gift is in the area.

We should follow similar procedures when we get a toy mouse left for us, and we can usually dispense with the startle reaction. Still, they are doing the best they can, and we should also make a fuss. Talk about what a fight it must have put up, and thank the cat for caring.

One time Dear Husband pretended to eat the toy mouse Mr. Bond had left on the bed. Mr. Bond made his whole face into circles of astonishment, and kept giving me sidelong looks. Doesn’t he know it’s not real? Mr. Bond had meant it as a symbolic gesture.

Whether it’s real or not, cats appreciate our appreciation of their efforts, especially when they have gone to the trouble of setting aside a delectable part just for us. While bits of prey are even less appealing than whole prey, it’s that little extra that says they love us.

So we don’t need to pretend to eat it; this would be difficult to pull off in any case, and would only encourage the cat to take better care of us. Thank the cat, praise what fine hunters they are, and let the item be disposed of while the cat is not looking. They can assume we ate it, or they can assume, as Mr. Bond did, that we will know what they were saying.

It can mean the cat sees us as their kittens. It can mean the cat wants to return the feeding favors. It can mean the cat wants to show off in their area of expertise. It can mean all these things; we are many things to our cats.

But it is always a loving gesture, and we should treat it as such.

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Wash & Groom Your Horse - Things You Should Know
About Horse Grooming & Washing
By Gary Houston

Lets first talk about the subject of horse washing; I always get asked how often do you wash your horse? Well I feel like horse washing is a practice that is done way too much. I see people wash their horses for everything.

If you think about it how often do horses get washed in the wild in a natural setting?

Horse usually get washed in the rain if the is not protection or when forced to swim across a river or lake. Otherwise they get along pretty well with out it. I don't think any harm is done for the lack of a bath. I believe this to be true for the domesticated horse as well. A lot of times after working a horse hard and he is wet and full of sweat, most people like to hose them down with cold water. Washing a horse with cold water when he is hot or when the whether is cold is a major temperature shock to a horse. How would you like it if someone just all of a sudden hosed you down with cold water especially in the winter? Though when my horse is hot after a work out I sometimes will hose his legs down but that's it. Also when washing your horse its not necessary to use soap or detergents every time you wash him. This will remove natural oils from the skin and hair.

Instead after a hard ride, walk your horse around a bit until he dries off then brush him. A lot of times I unsaddle my horse and turn him out and let him roll in the arena or pasture while I go clean his stall. By the time I come back to halter him up he is cool. Then I brush him really good making sure I brush away all the sweat marks.

The only time I think its really necessary to wash your horse often is if you are showing your horse. You don't want to be competing or showing with a dusty looking horse. When you do wash your horse make sure you scrape all the excess water and let him dry in a place where its not very cold or use a good light weight blanket.

The best way to groom your horse clean is with a brush & curry comb and use plenty of elbow grease. This is another good way to bond with your horse & your horse will love every minute of it. Give him all the attention he wants. Brushing usually takes no time at all. Keep in mind your horse should always be brushed well before saddling. He may have hay or stickers on his back or girth area from rolling around. And if you saddle him, you may come flying off when you get on to ride. Lastly always brush your horse after you ride to clean up any sweat marks that appear from being saddled. It's also a good idea to run your fingers down your horse's spine to make sure your horse isn't experiencing any soreness.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gary_Houston

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Man Saves Dog From Gator, Loses Fingers

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A West Palm Beach man lost two fingers as he saved his dog from a 7-foot alligator.

The gator was lurking in a lake behind David Grounds' home when it suddenly snatched his terrier.

Grounds was able to save his pet but lost two fingers in the process.

"My first thought was, 'I've got to pry his mouth apart to keep him from killing her,'" Grounds said. "I'd trade these two fingers for her, for sure, without a doubt."

A few hours after the attack, trappers caught and euthanized the gator.

Take Pet Training Tips from Zookeepers
By LINDA LOMBARDI For The Associated Press

You'll never have to teach a panda to walk on a leash. But if any kind of animal lives in your house, trainers at the zoo have some useful lessons for you.

Modern training methods rely on a simple principle of learning: If an action has a pleasurable consequence, the animal will repeat it. Or as animal behaviorist Emily Weiss puts it, "If it feels good, do it again."

Training what comes naturally in a pet

A wild animal can't be physically manipulated like a pet can. If a lion won't sit, it's a bad idea to try to push its back legs underneath it to give it the idea.
These limitations force trainers to use their imagination, and the resulting methods can be useful to pet trainers as well.

One useful technique is to take a natural action and put a command to it.

Laurie Thompson, biologist of primates and pandas at the National Zoo, says this method is used to train the pandas in many behaviors, such as opening their mouths so that their teeth can be examined and extending their front legs for blood draws.

Rather than trying to force or elicit any of these movements, keepers simply "capture" the natural behavior by rewarding the panda when it opens its mouth on its own, and associate a word to the action.

If you're a dog owner, try this method to train your pup to eliminate on command--a useful skill when you're late for work or it's pouring rain.

Simply choose a command, preferably a phrase you won't accidentally use in the living room, and repeat it every time the dog goes.

A food treat isn't necessary--it may distract, and the comfort of an empty bladder is its own reward.

It may take a couple of weeks of repetition but eventually when you say your command, the dog will start looking for a place to go.
So it should be easy to mold a pet's behavior--reward it when it does what we like, and don't when it doesn't.

But getting the details right can be a challenge, whether with a panda or a pup, and that's often because we don't understand what is actually rewarding to the animal.

The simplest type of reward-based training involves food, and it's incredibly powerful. It works with animals that don't care about pleasing us, or that we can't even safely get near. Weiss has trained a Komodo dragon to enter a crate using food.

But it's critical to realize that food is not all that's rewarding, and that the alternatives may be unexpected, such as when Weiss found that Aldabra tortoises could be rewarded in training by having their necks stroked.

Being aware of other possible rewards can help if your pet is not particularly food motivated, but it's far more important than that. If you're not aware of everything that's rewarding to an animal, you may be accidentally training it to do exactly what you don't want.

Weiss tells of a time when she was trying to train a group of chimps using their favorite food reward, Jello jigglers, to hold still for injections. But she couldn't even get to the first step: getting them to put their hands on the bars. The problem was that they wouldn't stop using their hands for something else instead: throwing feces at her.

"After a month, it finally dawned on me--what do you do when a chimp throws poop? You jump. You wipe it off," she said.

Once Weiss realized that watching her reaction was more rewarding to many of the chimps than getting a treat, the solution was simple. When humans stopped responding in an interesting way, the behavior stopped.

Many pet problems arise the same way, and the solution may be just as straightforward. If your dog jumps up on you when you come home, it's because your reaction, like Weiss's to the chimps, is rewarding. Try turning your back and not making eye contact or speaking until he stops jumping, and the behavior should eventually disappear.

In other cases, you may also need to think about how to prevent the behavior before it starts. Consider a dog that barks constantly, or what zookeepers call stereotypical behaviors, such as pacing up and down the same part of an exhibit.

The first step is the same: Be sure that you're not accidentally rewarding the behavior. But after that, your best bet isn't trying to train the animal to stop doing something. Rather, says Lisa Stevens, curator of pandas and primates at the National Zoo, "Change the environment that elicits the behavior."

This requires some observation. For pandas, keepers may notice that pacing starts at a certain time of day, for example, and changing the animal into a different enclosure before that time may be all that's needed. Likewise, if you figure out that your dog's barking begins when a person or dog walks by, the best solution may be restricting access to the room that faces the street, or not leaving him in the yard alone--much simpler than the big project of training the dog to stop barking on command.

Finally, like a good animal keeper, make sure that your pet's lifestyle allows him to exercise his natural abilities. Part of what zoos call "enrichment" is providing a complex environment that allows an animal to perform its natural behaviors. A panda that has opportunities to climb and search for food is less likely to pace.

Likewise, a dog needs enough exercise and chances to use his brain. In fact, both pandas and dogs enjoy the many types of puzzle feeders that are now available. Give your dog enough chances to be a dog, and he'll get into less trouble.

"Often behavior problems in dogs are because they're not living in an enriched environment," says Stevens.

Why Do Dogs Bite People?
By Lamar Dean

Dog attacks each year cause serious injury and even death to many victims. An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten each year. Children and older people are the most common target of attacks. Over half of dog attacks involve children under 12, and those 70 and older make up 10% of the bites and 20% of those are fatally injured. Fatalities from dog attacks have risen over the years. Is the dogs owners to blame or can it be blamed on certain breeds of dogs? There is much argument over this.

Which dogs bite? Is it a certain breed and/or breeds that are the most dangerous? Is it the lack of training or poor training by the dogs owner? Aggressive dogs are often owned by irresponsible owners who provide inadequate training or, worse, teach the dog to be aggressive. Owners should not encourage aggressive behaviors such as playing tug-of-war. This encourages dominance aggression. Dogs not spayed or neutered tend to display more dominance behavior. Male dogs are more aggressive than female dogs.

Pit Bull-type dogs and Rottweilers are just two examples of breeds that people associate with aggressive dog behavior and has caused some individuals to conclude that certain breeds of dogs are more likely to bite than others. Remember that dogs are predators by nature and instinct is something that never completely leaves them. Usually in a domestic situation canine aggression is controlled unless they are trained to attack trespassers, are threatened, or provoked. Most dogs that have been around and/or familiar with human beings cause are less likely to attack. However, because a dog has been around people doesn't necessarily mean it will not attack anybody. If a dog feels threatened it may attack.

A person needs to be familiar with different factors and warning signs associated with dog attacks and maulings.

4 dangerous situations to avoid from being attacked or mauled.

- Avoid tied or chained dogs. They can be very dangerous if they break away from their restraints.

- Avoid going into a persons yard where one or more dogs are present and the owner is not present.

- Avoid unneutered male dogs. They are more aggressive than females.

- Avoid dogs in a pack. Often tame dogs become uncharacteristically violent and fierce when they are in a pack.

Why do dogs bite? There can be several reasons. Some determining factors are:

- Breeds: Certain breeds of dogs have been bred into being aggressive.

- Socializing with people: Poor socialization results in dogs having less self-control to bite and take on other undesirable behavior.

- Training: The quality and amount of training depends on a dogs behavior. A dog that has been trained to scare people is clearly a danger, but so is a dog that has not been properly trained or not trained at all.

- Injured dog: A dog hurt and in pain may bite if it feels threatened.

- Provoking a dog: Hitting or beating can provoke a dog to bite or attack.

If a dog attacks, give it something to bite on, like your jacket or purse.

Lamar Deane offers free information on how to select a dog breed best suited for you. Read other articles on dog control and training.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lamar_Dean

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Cat Behavior Issues
By Gregory Hill

Behavioral problems are a lot more common with cats than many people are aware of. There are usually many solutions, but correcting a bad habit can often take quite a bit of work, and the longer these behavioral problems are left unchecked the harder they are to correct.

It will take patience and perseverance as well as the right techniques to get your cat to behave as expected.
These behavioral problems can be anything from urinating inside the house to aggressive action towards you and other people.

Knowing the proper techniques will eliminate a lot of the frustration that is involved in trying to train or retrain a cat, and will ensure that you get the desired results as fast as possible. These problems often stem from an underlying condition that is bothering your cat and resolving it will make your cat and you and your family a lot happier.

Urinating and aggressive behavior can often be associated with your cat feeling insecure about itself and its surroundings. Consider whether there are other cats or threats to your pet and try to eliminate these first to see if they help to curb or cure the problem. It could also be as simple as a litter box that you don't clean often enough. Some cats are simply more sensitive to cleanliness than others, and might relieve themselves outside the litter box if it is too dirty or smelly.

Often the elimination of any threats towards your cat will result in your pet being comfortable with its surroundings and not feel that it is necessary to mark its territory or to be aggressive towards other pets and people. Sometimes it can be a jealousy problem if there is more than one pet in the family and the cat with the problem feels like it is not getting enough attention.

Even as a change of location can affect stress levels for people, the same can happen to cats, so any changes in their environment can have a marked effect on the way that they act and time will need to be spent on them to ensure that they feel secure.

Bottom line, take your cats feelings and circumstances into consideration when trying to figure out why he is doing the wrong things, and correct any adverse situations first. 90% of the time this will solve the problem. However there can be times when a cat is simply not compatible with your home situation and will need to be removed. If this happens, please do the right thing and find it a good home. It's not the cat's fault, and putting it out on the street or taking it to a typical animal shelter is a sure death sentence.

Greg Hill

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Gregory_Hill

Choosing An Indoor Rabbit Cage
By Andrew Massaro

Choosing an indoor rabbit cage is less demanding than an outdoor one. It will not have to endure the elements, keep rabbits safe from predators (apart from other household pets), and doesn't need to provide as controlled an environment. This gives you a bit more freedom to choose an indoor rabbit cage based on your own needs, as well as those of your rabbit.

Perhaps the only disadvantage to an indoor cage for your rabbit is that you won't be able to simply allow waste to fall through the wire mesh floor, as you might with an outdoor hutch. Rabbit cages typically offer a catch tray under a wire floor which can be slid out for cleaning, or simply have a plastic base that detaches from the rest of the cage. The slide out trays are the most convenient for the purposes of cleaning, as they can be removed easily and aren't too bulky. Plastic bases, on the other hand, are better able to contain bedding and litter that might otherwise be kicked out the sides of an indoor rabbit cage.

Your rabbit will need to be able to get in and out of the cage, and you'll need to be able to reach inside. Consider how accessible the interior of an indoor rabbit cage is when choosing one. At least one door on the side is preferable, as it is much better for your rabbit to enter and exit an indoor rabbit cage under its own power, rather than be lifted in and out. Rabbits can seriously injure themselves if they are held improperly, and even if this doesn't happen, being forced in or out of their indoor rabbit cage will make your rabbit less secure and "at home" there. Make sure you are able to reach all parts of the interior easily, as you will be needing to spot clean an inside rabbit cage, refill and clean food bowls, remove old food or treats, etc. An indoor rabbit cage with one side door and one top door is probably best.

Also, if you plan to change the placement of your indoor rabbit cage frequently, you will want to choose one that comes with rolling casters. This will make it easy to move, although you will want to do this only when the rabbit is not in the cage, as the movement and disorientation will cause stress for the animal. Some indoor rabbit cages that do not have legs or wheels have carrying handles on top, which will also make it more convenient to move.

If space in your home is limited, you may want to consider one of several inside rabbit cage models that feature a multi level design. It will dramatically expand the effective space the rabbit has to move in, and they will enjoy being able to elevate for a better view of their surroundings. Make sure the ramps have a surface with plenty of traction to prevent slips and falls.

Keeping rabbits in an inside rabbit cage is really the best way to care for a rabbit. They will be in a safe, climate controlled environment, and being near you and your family will help them become socialized. With a knowledgeable owner, and a loving, comfortable environment, you and your rabbit will have many happy years to share together.

When it comes to the health and happiness of your pet rabbit, choosing a quality living environment should be on the top of your list. Whether you choose quality Rabbit Cages or opt for larger Rabbit Hutches, the quality of the materials and the construction of the dwelling will determine how well it works for your furry friend.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andrew_Massaro

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