Smart Dogs and Talented Cats

Not So Stupid Pet Tricks for Cats
By Jennifer Viegas, Studio One Networks -

Dogs often steal the spotlight when it comes to tricks because cats are "misunderstood when it comes to training, enrichment and living a happy and healthy life indoors," says Cary Rentola of the Larimer Humane Society. You may not be able to teach an old dog a new trick, but you can teach your cat tricks commonly associated with dogs.

The Benefits of Trick Training

Teaching new behaviors promotes a healthy lifestyle and helps relieve feline boredom while offering cats mental exercise, says Cheryl Kolus, a Colorado State University veterinary student and a volunteer with the Larimer Humane Society. Training also gives them an outlet for instinctual behaviors. "When you're working on a trick through positive training, it becomes a bonding experience for you and your cat," adds Rentola.

Trick Training How-to

Here are five fun tricks for your cat. Repeat a trick two to five times per session.

1. Sit - Move the treat up above cat's head so your pet sits back. At the same time, say your cat's name along with "sit." Once your cat assumes the position, click and offer treats and praise.

2. Beg - Hold a treat over your cat's head so it has to sit up and reach with its paws to get it. Say "beg" along with your pet's name, and the moment kitty does something resembling the trick, click and hand over the treat. Do this around three to five times, depending on the cat's attention span. Then put the treat away and say "beg" again. If your cat performs the trick without being asked, immediately offer praise and a treat.

3. Fetch - Toss a toy a few feet in front of you and let your cat run after it. As kitty rolls around with it, walk over and offer praise. Take the toy and say thank you, then pet your cat for a short while before throwing the toy again a little further. Retrieve the toy again as your cat plays with it, and this time, return to your original position before throwing. Repeat the procedure a few times, then give your cat a final rubdown and put the toy out of sight until the next session. Conduct these training sessions at the same time each day, and your pet will start anticipating this game. Every time you play, it will carry the toy closer and closer to you.

4. Play dead - Call your cat to a place it enjoys. When it comes, offer a treat and say its name in a soothing tone. Then put your hand on its back and say, "Play dead." Gently press down on your cat until it lies down. Praise and click before giving another treat. With enough practice, your cat will learn to obey this command without your hand on its back.

5. High five - Hold a treat out of your cat's reach, inviting your pet to sit in front of you. Once kitty comes, say, "High five," and lower your hand. If your pet tries to get the treat with its teeth, raise your hand out of its mouth's reach. Kitty will then try to get the treat with its paw. If the paw hits your palm, click, provide a treat and offer praise. If kitty doesn't reach for the treat, close your hand over the treat for five seconds, then try again from the start.

A few more important things to keep in mind as you train:

•Keep sessions short - Cats have short attention spans, so train in a quiet place each time.

•Train before meals This is when your cat is most responsive. Be sure to break up treats into smaller bits so your cat doesn't end up overeating.

•Be patient - Never yell at your cat, or "it will shy away from wanting to participate, no matter how tasty the treat," reminds Rentola.

•Time rewards correctly - In the seconds it takes to reward a good behavior with a treat, kitty may get distracted. "For all she knows, turning her head is what got her the reward," says Rentola. Eventually, your cat will respond to your voice alone.

•Repeat often - Hold one or two five- to 10-minute sessions at scheduled times every day for two to three weeks.

Despite their reputation, cats are very trainable and social. Teaching yours to obey your commands will help debunk the myth that dogs are the only loyal pets. Just remember, as Kolus says, "Patience, kindness and consistency are key."

Darcy Lockman Darcy Lockman is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

Help Your Pet Snooze Well
by Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori -

For many people, a good night’s sleep is hard to come by, for reasons as varied as stress, caffeinated beverages, and snoring spouses. But one problem took researchers at the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine by surprise: pets.

More than half of the patients at the clinic reported sharing their bedrooms—and often their beds—with their pets. The physicians started recommending tossing the pet out, but pet-lovers don’t usually like doing so.

Whether your dog snoozes in bed beside you or your cat meows incessantly outside your bedroom door, here’s how you can enjoy sleep instead of counting sheep.

To help dogs and cats rest easy, have them checked for external parasites—fleas and ticks—as well as bacterial or yeast infections. All can cause scratching and discomfort, often all night. Allergies can also cause constant itching, so check with your vet for a proper diagnosis, says Dr. Peter Ihrke, a professor of veterinary dermatology at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. For dust-mite allergies (common in pets and their owners), wash dogs’ beds every week or so. If your dog sleeps on your bed, enclose the box springs, mattress, and pillows in barrier covers and wash your linens frequently.

Older dogs and cats often suffer from pain-related problems like arthritis that can make it difficult for them to get comfortable when they try to sleep.

Pain medications and supplements can help ease discomfort. Most important, says Dr. Robin Downing, a veterinary pain-management expert in Windsor, Colo., if your pet is overweight, help him shed the extra pounds. “Without weight-management, everything else we can do will be less effective,” she says.

Finally, when a pet sleeps all day, it’s no surprise he may want to play all night. Get him on the same sleep cycle as you, says Dr. Gary Landsberg, a veterinary behaviorist in Thornhill, Ontario. Toys that keep pets active during the day can help them to settle down when it’s time to sleep at night.

What if none of these strategies work? Then it’s back to the doctors’ advice: Somebody has to sleep on the couch. And we’d hate to bet whether it will end up being your pet—or you.

Dr. Marty Becker is the veterinary contributor for “Good Morning America.” Gina Spadafori is his co-author on best-selling books.

Advice on Keeping a Pet Chihuahua
By Markus J Andrews -

Like most small dogs, the Chihuahua is easily frightened and lacks self-confidence. It therefore barks a lot and can be snappy.

For these reasons, Chihuahuas aren't recommended as pets for households that have small children. Children can be rough with dogs and Chihuahuas, apart from being temperamental, are also fragile creatures.

They are perfect for small houses since an adult Chihuahua is barely a foot high and weighs about 8 pounds. In large houses, the Chihuahua is likely to burrow in a corner and remain hidden a lot of the time.

Since they are small, these dogs are highly portable so if you travel a lot and want to take your pet with you, the Chihuahua is probably your animal.

Moreover, these dogs are clannish and adopt their master (could be more than one person) early during the course of their relationship with humans. This means that they're faithful and will follow their master around. This also means that they find it hard to accept strangers and can become very jealous.

Like most other dogs, Chihuahuas get jealous of other animals getting too much of their master's attention and will usually not tolerate another dog unless it too is a Chihuahua.

Since they are small, however, the Chihuahuas are fairly harmless and can easily be intimidated. They make good watchdogs because they are alert but can provide very little real protection because of their small size.

The Chihuahua is difficult to potty-train since it eats constantly in very small quantities. For this reason, this dog is best suited for young people - not kids but not old people either.

It is a faithful, fun animal to have around and can be a very loving companion.

Click on banner to visit The Pet Warehouse

Is Your “Natural” Cat Food Truly Natural?
By Elizabeth Wasserman -

The health food craze has caught up with kitty.

Over the years, people have become more concerned about making sure the food they put on the table for their families is "natural" or minimally processed. Now that concern is being extended to what they put in their cat's dish, according to Katy J. Nelson, D.V.M., an emergency veterinarian in Alexandria, Va., who also works on pet nutrition.

But just what is a "natural" cat food?

Regulation of Cat Food

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates labeling of cat food in the United States so that companies can't make claims about pet food products that are untrue. The FDA also regulates pet food, although the administration doesn't directly state what constitutes a "natural" product.

The AAFCO defines the term "natural" as being "… derived solely from plant, animal or mined sources … not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices."

Most commercial pet foods do contain some synthetic sources of essential vitamins and minerals in order to comply with AAFCO's requirements that the food be "complete and balanced" to meet a pet's nutritional needs, says Amy Dicke, D.V.M., a Dayton, Ohio-based veterinarian who has worked with teams of nutritionists and researchers.

While experts like Dr. Nelson and Dr. Dicke caution that there is no scientific agreement yet that natural foods provide more safety or nutritional value than certified "complete and balanced" cat foods, they add that natural ingredients certainly don't hurt. "I don't want people to expect health miracles from feeding a natural food," says Dr. Dicke. "There is no evidence that supports that a natural product is better or safer than, let's say, a traditional product. But I'm not saying that it's worse. It's a personal choice … another feeding option."

Natural Ingredients to Look For

In deciding on a food, talk to your veterinarian about your cat's individual needs. Some pet food companies also list toll-free phone numbers on their packaging so that you can call and ask questions about the nutritional contents of their foods.

•Protein Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that, due to their genetic makeup, cats need to eat the tissue of other animals to survive. Meat must be the primary source of their nutrition, so one of the first ingredients should identify the protein source: poultry, fish or some other meat.

•Byproducts This term has gotten a bad rap. Meat- or plant-based byproducts fit the definition of "natural" under the AAFCO regulations. "Good, high-quality pet food byproducts don't need to be a four letter word," Dr. Nelson says. Think about a cat's diet in the wild. Feral felines eat mice, and not only the white meat, but also the organs and tissue. These byproducts often give cats essential amino acids, such as taurine.

•Grains Natural sources of carbohydrates, such as corn meal, brewer's rice and whole grain barley, can provide energy for your cat's activities during the day, Dr. Dicke says.

•Fruits and vegetables Spinach, tomatoes and peas are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants that will help your cat build its immunity. Beet pulp and apples are a great source of fiber to keep your cat regular. Some added vitamins and minerals are needed in commercial pet foods to meet the AAFCO standards, but if the food contains high-quality ingredients, there shouldn't be much supplementation.

•No added artificial colors, flavors or preservatives "Natural" cat foods should not have synthetic fillers, artificial colors or flavors or man-made preservatives. Natural flavors and colors are okay. Some preservatives are naturally occurring, such as vitamin E and tocopherols (TCP), which are fine to help preserve food.

Elizabeth Wasserman a Washington, D.C., area-based freelancer, has been writing about pets, among other topics, for more than 15 years. Her love of dogs, in particular, was handed down through the generations from her great-grandfather, Eric Knight, who wrote the book Lassie Come Home in the 1930s.

Do Your Part:
Be a Responsible Pet Owner
By Lisa Moore -

Responsible Pet Owners Month presents an opportunity to take a fresh look at how we are caring for and treating our pets. Beyond our own home boundaries, this is an occasion to set an example, or pass on to others the essential aspects of being a responsible pet owner. Among them:

- Set an example when out in public with your dog. Keep your pet on leash and under control, and don't allow him to interact with others without an invitation; not everybody is a dog lover. Always have a bag to pick up waste.

- Providing your pet a nutritious diet is essential to his health. The market is saturated with various pet foods, but not all of them are wholesome. There is plenty of information available to help you find and provide the best diet for your pet. Talk to the veterinarian or a pet professional, learn to analyze pet food labels, and make smart choices when determining your pet's nutritional needs.

- Early training and socialization is crucial when raising a puppy to become a shining example of how great having dogs as pets can be. Without proper socialization, dogs often grow to be nervous, shy, fearful or aggressive around people. Proper training helps to solidify the dog's status as a true family member; a well-mannered, smart and gentle pet is a pleasure to be around. A primary reason that dogs end up in shelters is because of behavioral problems. This is especially frustrating, as most behavioral issues are a direct result of a lack of early socialization and training, and can easily be avoided.

- A pet cannot be considered healthy unless its coat is in good shape. Many short-coated pets require little grooming care -- an occasional combing or brushing, flea control and a nutritious diet for a glossy, healthy coat. But our long- or heavily coated pets require much more attention. Without frequent brushing and coat maintenance, your pet's fur can become tangled and painfully matted, resulting in skin irritations and secondary infections. Know what your grooming limitations are, and choose a pet with a coat type you can manage, or find a reputable groomer to gently and properly care for your pet's coat.

- It is vital that we all do our part to reduce the number of homeless animals that end up in shelters, which the Humane Society estimates to be 6 million to 8 million per year. There is no logical reason to abstain from spaying or neutering; low-cost surgical options are available, and your pet will live a longer, healthier life.

Owning a pet is as much a responsibility as it is a pleasure. Your pet doesn't have the option of selecting his caretaker, and when you choose to become a pet owner, it's on you to be the best you can be. Your pet is counting on it.

Lisa Moore's pet-behavior column appears once a month on the Weekly Pet Page. Write to her in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352.

Do You Have the Smartest Dog?
by Carla Kucinski Seward -

Not all dogs are created equal. According to an article in the new issue of Miller-McCune magazine, evidence shows that some dogs are smarter than others. But even the average dog is as smart as a 2-year-old kid, with the ability to comprehend more than 150 words, count to five and consciously deceive their loving owners.

Which breeds lead the pack in terms of their intelligence? These seven are the smartest of them all:

1. Border collies

2. Poodles

3. German shepherds

4. Golden retrievers

5. Dobermans

6. Shetland sheepdogs

7. Labrador retrievers

-- Courtesy of Miller-McCune magazine

Carla asked me to post a picture of Cassie, my "smartest-dog border collie." So that's her on the left. She and Greta are playing, like they usually do. But she's clearly up to something. I think that's obvious. - Andrea Martin

View Photos of Singles -
Click the banner to visit

Choosing a Shelter Pet
by Rhiannon C Knight -

Choosing a shelter pet can be an exciting event for your family. However, there are some things you should consider before signing pet adoption papers.

Here are some tips that will help you find the right pet for your family and lifestyle.

Choosing a Shelter Pet Tip #1: Ask About the Pet’s History

Some animals that are up for adoption at animal shelters may be strays that were picked up by animal control or brought in by good Samaritans. However, many pets at animal shelters were released by their former owners. If you are interested in a particular animal, ask an animal shelter employee for the pet’s previous history if applicable.

If an animal was surrendered by their previous owner, it may have been for a number of reasons. Maybe the dog nipped at a child or had medical issues the owner couldn’t afford to get treated. A cat may have attacked another feline resident in the home or started to ignore its litter box when nature called.

Finding out as much information as possible before deciding to adopt a shelter pet ensures you know exactly what you are getting into.

Choosing a Shelter Pet Tip #2: Bring the Whole Family

Having the whole family present when looking for a pet at an animal shelter allows you to see how the pet interacts with each individual. It is particularly important to see if there are any behavioral issues present based on how a prospective pet reacts to young children and adults. You may find the pet is aggressive towards one gender or the other. This often occurs when a pet has been abused and neglected.

Check with the animal shelter before visiting to see if they will allow you to bring in any other furry residents of your household. Some shelters are willing to allow this as long as your current pet is up to date on its vaccinations. Doing this can enable you to see if Fido will get along with that cute little poodle you have your heart set on.

Choosing a Shelter Pet Tip #3: Be Empathetic

Keep in mind that pets at animal shelters are often scared and nervous because they are in an unfamiliar environment and routine. Pets may also be confused if their owner surrendered them. The cowering animal you see in the cage or kennel may react totally differently when they are brought to a quiet private area for a meet and greet.

Choosing a shelter pet is a wonderful way to add a new addition to your family. Keep these three tips in mind and you are bound to find a lifelong friend.

Dog Wedding-Day Afternoon

When wedding guests rise upon hearing the “Bridal Chorus” from Wagner’s Lohengrin opera, they don’t usually expect to see a canine trotting down the aisle.

Though not the norm, betrothed pet owners often want to include their pups in their special day, whether the tail-wagging creature is accompanying the bride on her march to the altar or looking spiffy in wedding day photos.

“People bond with their pets before they have their kids, so they can’t imagine that they won’t be part of their special day,” says Tracy French, owner of The French Connection, a wedding planning firm in San Antonio, Texas.

Of course, the idea is easier said than done. It’s hard to predict an animal’s behavior, and the logistics of managing an animal on one of the most stressful and meaningful days of one’s life is pretty ambitious, say wedding experts.

“You think it’s cute and easy, but like weddings themselves, everything’s much more complicated,” says Michael Willms, owner of Entertainment Design Events in Los Angeles.

French remembers a wedding that was delayed because the ring pillow that the dog was to wear during the ceremony went missing. Another couple, she says, was adamant that their dog be part of the ceremony and reception, but French was unable to find venues that accepted animals indoors. The consolation was a reception at a hotel that allowed the pet to stay in the hotel room.

Some dogs get to live the good life on their masters’ wedding days. Sedona wedding planner Karen Lynn has incorporated dogs into weddings held at upscale locales.

“They didn’t behave 100 percent,” Lynn says. “They stray a bit so the guests coaxed them, ‘C’mon, c’mon.’”

Willms suggests couples think it way over before deciding to include Fido on the big day itself. When couples plan for younger guests at weddings, they often have a special room set aside for the kids with their own baby-sitter, activities and pizza spread. He encourages couples to make the same investment for their furry friends by hiring a dog handler who can bring the pet to the rehearsal and the ceremony then take the pet back home. The pet wrangler also is in charge of canine treats and clean-up after any accidents.

The added expense of another professional is worth it, Willms says. Otherwise, disaster may ensue.

“With a wedding, you get one shot; it’s not a like a TV show that you can reshoot and reshoot,” he says.

3 Tips to Pet-Proof Your Kitchen
by Staff Writer -

Understanding how to properly pet proof a kitchen is essential for sanitary and aesthetic reasons. The items found in most kitchens could create disaster when met with pet slobber, teeth or claws. Be extra diligent in storing food away from pets’ reach and keep trash tightly enclosed. Failure to do so could result in pets getting sick and you dealing with a great deal of mess. See below for tips on how to best share the space with your dog or cat.

1. Consider Proper Food Storage

Both you and your pet can be harmed by improperly placed food in the kitchen. Most pets are willing to dig into anything edible, so don’t temp them by leaving food out anywhere within their reach. You won’t want your pets slobbering and chewing on your newly purchased groceries without your knowledge and you don’t want them consuming anything that can be harmful to them. Be especially conscious of foods known to make pets sick, such as chocolate, which shouldn’t be left out anywhere remotely within a pets’ reach.

Store dry goods in cabinets with reliably closing doors. Many like to keep a fruit and vegetable bowl out on a table or counter, but those with pets may not be able to afford this decorative element. Some produce items can be harmful to pets’ stomachs and digestion when consumed, so they also belong in cabinets or the refrigerator. Be sure to properly store pets’ own food as well. While it’s not poisonous to them, you don’t want them chewing through the bag and consuming excessive quantities of it. The best option is store it in a large tupperware-style container in a cabinet they can’t get to.

2. Conceal Utensils and Containers

Pets are always looking for chew toys and don’t always recognize that not everything within their reach was created to be such. Some animals will chew through anything and even swallow the remaining bits, so be conscious of how you store not just your edible items but also your utensils. Chewing on metal utensils can be seriously harmful to animals, so be sure to keep silverware and pots and pans in drawers and cabinets that close tightly.

For those with cats that climb on counters, you’ll want to be careful about leaving too many of these items out to dry, especially for cats who climb on counters enough to knock things over. Put dishes away as soon as you can, so your feline doesn’t shatter your ceramics to the ground.

3. Enclose Trash and Recyclables

Many pets aren’t just interested in your scraps before they are consumed, but are willing to go after anything that has the promise of food. This means trash. Keep garbage in cans with tight lids that hinge to the rest of the container. Heavier metal cans make the best options. If you recycle, be sure not to leave empty bottles and cardboard boxes out freely, but seal them up in trash cans or similar containers as well

Click on banner to visit Lucy's Dog House

So, You Got a Gun Dog Pup. Now What?

Recently I’ve received a few e-mails from newbie gun dog owners who have just picked up their pup. The common theme among the emails is simple: “What next?” Well, that would require that I write a book, and there are plenty of good books on gun dog training.

But I do have a single bit of advice—OBEDIENCE! But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Connie Cleveland, founder of the Dog Trainer’s Workshop in Fountain Inn, S.C., had to say about the topic when I asked her:

Basic obedience is the foundation for all training. A gun dog that is not obedient is of no use. Most of us, in our excitement to encourage our puppies to retrieve, either simply don't spend enough time on basic obedience, or do not have a high enough standard for the correct behaviors. Obviously, a young puppy can't be expected to be perfectly obedient. However, once the instinct to retrieve has been encouraged, the dog’s ability to become a great gun dog is going to be directly related to his obedience skills.

Amen, Connie. It has been just under a year since I picked up Pritch from the breeder (photo above with the Chief Spoiler—my wife), and I’ll admit I was much more concerned with retrieving skills than obedience. And I’m frequently reminded of this as we trod down Gun Dog Road. We’re working out the kinks, but I can promise you it’s a lot easier to correct your pup early than it is when some bad habits have taken hold.

That’s my advice to the new parents of gun dog pups. Anyone else have anything to add?


from Beauregard
I do a lot of traveling between home in South Carolina and school in Mississippi, so training my Boykin to relieve himself on command ("10-100" and "stool") has been helpful with pit stops. I don't have to wonder whether he will need to stop again in 20 minutes. The commands were also helpful in housebreaking and before hitting the dove field.

from pinopolis
obedience is key. the best advice anyone gave me was that everything you do with your pup—not just when you're working on retrieves—should be treated like a lesson. Whether you're on a walk (heel!), at home (master goes through the door first!), or letting her loose on the beach (here!). if you're diligent, they quickly learn you're the Big Dog, and become increasingly eager to please you in the field.

from blackdawgz
I find that there is so much diversity among Labradors that the best thing you can do is bring out the best of what's already inside without doing any damage. With intelligent dawgz from Champion stock, This is as challenging as anything you will encounter in this lifetime. As a triple Professional (including a Master's in Education) I was prepared for this. I know that, if I followed the sage instruction of my two best training manuals, there was ample opportunity and advice to ruin both of my present companions. The marketing of rigid training schedules and goals is beyond bordering on the Irresponsible. You just ain't gonna get it out of one manual. You can turn your dog into a Zombie that does or does not retrieve. Fortunately, Labs are very forgiving when young.

Two things that can and will absolutely destroy your dog beyond repair are force training and the e-collar. Both of these confine your dog to a very narrow range of behaviors. Eventually, he will become paralyzed with fear and refuse to do anything. There have been some near-misses with some now-famous dogs, who could have been much more dimensional.Patience and time always prevail. This has been a topic of controversy among people who teach teachers, but it becomes more evident with every passing day. Not everybody has any business doing it.

Some "professional trainers" are merely scammers who can appear to do nothing else. There's no doubt. Unless you were trained by an Old Master with a successful track record of training Field Champions, or have considerable College education in Psychology or Education, forget it! many times, people see me training and ask what they can do to overcome the effects of an e-collar or inept trainer, and the answer is the same: Be kind to your dawg, and don't take him to the pound!

Pet Bird Room Necessities--
3 Things That Every
Healthy Bird Room Needs
by Debbie Davis -

Making a bird room a happy haven for you and your feathered pets can be fun and exciting. But beyond the basics of fresh food and water, every bird room needs to have the following 3 things to insure a happy, healthy bird.

Proper Housing-Do your research first. Some birds enjoy living together in pairs or groups, some do better living alone. Some get along with other birds, and some not so much. Be sure to find out from a breeder or veterinarian which type of housing is best for your bird and provide a space that fits your birds' needs. Knowing what your bird will require before you purchase it will save heartbreak later.

Oversize the space you provide for your bird so that they have enough room to spread their wings without hitting and possibly damaging their wings. The bigger the enclosure the better it is for your pet.

Toys for Emotional and Physical Health-Just like people, birds can get bored. They need toys to stimulate their interest. Chews, perches, cuttle bone all keep beaks and feet healthy which can greatly increase their life span and will make your pet a happy member of the family. Toys should be rotated regularly to avoid boredom. And old items that become unsafe should immediately be replaced by new ones.

Keep color and texture in mind when purchasing toys. Brightly colored objects will not only stimulate your pets but will create a visually appealing room for you as bird keeper as well.

Clean Air-Every bird room should have a high efficiency particle arresting (or HEPA) air purifier to clean the air. This type of purifier is specifically designed to remove large to minute particles as small as.3 microns from the air. And the really good news about this type of filtration is that the only by-product is fresh, clean air. And there is no down side to supplying you and your bird with a steady flow of fresh air.

Because bird's air passages are extremely small and can easily become clogged with dander, feathers, and dust filtering the air is essential for a healthy bird. Clogged air passages are often the first step towards disease and infection. Unfortunately, because birds instinctively hide symptoms of illness, it is often to late to help once you realize your bird is sick.

Keeping airways clear by continually filtering the air in your bird's room can greatly reduce the chance of disease and infection, increase the life span of your pet, and will surely increase the quality of life from day to day. It will also make breathing easier for those humans in your home whose allergies and asthma are more likely to be triggered by having a bird in the home.

Retrieved from ""
(ArticlesBase SC #1786817)

Family Desperate to Get Back Lost Dog
by LiAna Arenas -

PHOENIX -- If you lose a pet and it winds up at one of the county shelters, you have three days to claim it because if you don't, your pet is no longer yours.

It's just not the same for the Potter family anymore since their dog, or as they put it their family member, disappeared recently.

"Since he has been missing already we can't sleep and can't eat," Dale Potter said.

Potter is talking about the family's 1-year-old mastiff they named Drama, a dog that certainly lives up to his name.

But now photos are all the family has left because Drama turned up missing from their backyard.

By the time they found Drama three days later at the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control facility, they were too late.

"They said he had already been up for adoption that morning and that all they could do was contact the new owners," Potter said.

Potter says he and his family were devastated mainly because they found Drama just one day after the three-day time frame before dogs are legally adopted out.

So, the Potters made an emotional proposition to the new owners, saying, "We would be willing to pay for a new puppy for you."

3 On Your Side tracked down Drama's new owners who accepted that offer. As a result, the Potters immediately bought a puppy and gave it to 3 On Your Side to swap out.

After a short drive the second family took in their new puppy, who they say they instantly loved.

3 On Your Side loaded Drama into our vehicle and returned him to his old family. A family that was overwhelmed to get that "drama" back.

The Potter family says they never would have seen their dog again if 3 On Your Side didn't get involved.

"My 200-pound son has come home," Potter said. "I'm so happy. We couldn't have done it without you. 3 On Your Side was really on my side today and I really appreciate that!"

Remember a couple of things. First, make sure your animal is microchipped and registered with the county. If it is microchipped, the shelter will scan it and let you know they have your pet.

Second, remember that after three days your pet can be adopted to someone else even if you do find it.

And No. 3, be careful about naming your dog Drama because you may get more than you bargained for.

Is Your Dog Digging Up
Your Flowers Again!

There are 2 extremes of opinion when it involves dogs and their digging habits: one, that a dog is a dog, and we tend to should allow him to precise his true canine nature by permitting him free reign over the yard and flowerbeds; and two, that a flowerbed could be a flowerbed, and no dog should even assume about expression his dogginess if such an expression comes at the price of a season’s worth of rosebuds.

My very own viewpoint tends to favor the center ground. Though masses of dogs do like to dig, and it’s healthy for them to be permitted to indulge during this habit sometimes, there’s a distinction between allowing your dog to precise his inner puppy, and permitting him to run rampant in the yard. I don’t see why a dog ought to have to come at the value of a garden, and vice versa: flowers and dogs will coexist peacefully.

If your dog’s developed a taste for digging, it’ll simply take a bit of time (and a few crafty ingenuity) on your half to resolve the difficulty satisfactorily. Initial of all, if you have nonetheless to adopt a dog and your concern for the fate of your flower-beds is purely hypothetical, take into account the breed of dog that you’d like. If you’ve got your eye on a selected mixed-breed dog, what looks to be the most prominent?

The explanation that I ask is simply because breed usually plays a significant role in any given dog’s personal valuation of digging as a rewarding pastime – terriers and Nordic breeds in explicit (Huskies, Malamutes, some members of the Spitz family) appear to notably fancy digging.

In fact, when you get right right down to the add and substance, each dog is first and foremost a private, and there’s no guaranteed way to predict whether or not your chosen familial addition is going to be a burrower or not. However if you’re making an attempt to cut back the chance of an involuntarily-landscaped garden as abundant as possible, I suggest you keep removed from all breeds of terrier (the name means that “move to earth”, after all!) and also the Nordic breeds. Why do dogs dig?

In no particular order, here are some of the more common reasons that a dog will dig:

* Lack of exercise. Digging may be a good manner for a hyped-up, under-exercised dog to burn off a number of that nervous energy.

* Boredom. Bored dogs want a “job” to do, one thing rewarding and interesting, to help the time pass by.

* Digging is typically the best answer for a bored dog: it gives him a way of purpose, and distracts him from an otherwise-empty day.

* The need for broader horizons. Some dogs are simply escape artists by nature – no matter how a lot of exercise and attention they get, it’s nearly impossible to confine them. For a four-legged Houdini, it’s not the digging in itself that’s the reward, it’s the fantastic unknown that exists beyond the fenceline.

* Separation anxiety. To a dog that’s seriously pining for your company, digging below those confining walls represents the foremost direct path to you.

Separation anxiety is an unpleasant psychological issue comparatively common among dogs – however as a result of it’s so complicated, we won’t be addressing it during this newsletter. Instead, you’ll be able to notice excellent resources for each preventing and coping with the condition at Dog obedience training – Separation anxiety

Many of the reasons contributing to your dog’s want to dig recommend their own solutions: if your dog’s not getting enough exercise (usually speaking, a minimum of forty-5 minutes’ worth of vigorous walking per day), take him for a lot of walks. If he’s bored, give him some toys and chews to play with during your absence, and wear him out before you allow thus he spends most of the day snoozing. An escape-artist dog might want to be crated, or at least kept within the house where he’s less possible to be in a position to break free.

For those dogs who simply wish to dig as a pastime in itself, though, here are a few basic tips for controlling inappropriate digging as much as is fairly attainable:

* Limit your dog’s access. This can be the most effective thing you’ll do: if he’s never within the yard without active supervision, there’s no chance for digging.

* Use natural deterrent. 99.nine% of dogs can back back, horrified, from the prospect of digging anywhere that there’s dog poop. Even the ones who prefer to eat poop (a condition referred to as coprophagia) typically won’t dig anywhere close to it – it offends their basic, fastidious dislike of soiling their coat and paws.

* Use nature’s own wiles. If the digging is bothering you because it’s upsetting the additional delicate blooms in your garden, plant hardier blossoms: ideally, those with deep roots and thorny defenses. Roses are ideal.

* A a lot of time-consuming, but super-effective manner of handling the problem: roll up the primary inch or two of turf in your yard, and lay down chicken-wire beneath it. Your dog won’t apprehend it’s there until he’s had some tries at digging, however once he’s convinced himself that it’s pointless (that won’t take long), he’ll never dig in that yard again.

*Settle for your dog’s would like for an outlet: offer him an area to dig

If your dog is ready on tunneling your yard into a grassless, crater-studded lunar landscape, however you’re equally determined to stop this from happening in the slightest degree costs, please take a moment to contemplate before embarking on a grueling and time-consuming preventative strategy.

Setting yourself the goal of eradicating all digging behavior, amount, is pretty unrealistic: it’s not fair on you (since, extremely, you’re setting yourself up for failure), and it’s not extremely truthful on your poor dog either – if he’s a real-blue digger, it’s simply part of his personality, and he desires a minimum of some chance to specific that. However a lawn and a dog don’t have to be mutually exclusive: the foremost humane and understanding factor for you to try to to during this case is merely to redirect his digging energy.

You do this by allocating him an area where he’s allowed to dig as abundant as he pleases. Once this zone’s been established, you’ll be able to build it crystal-clear that there’s to be fully no digging in the rest of the yard – and you’ll be able to enforce your rules with a clear conscience, since you know your dog currently has his own very little corner of the globe to flip upside down and within out as he chooses.

However what if you don’t have a “spare corner” of the yard? What if the entire thing, grass, flowerbeds, and gravel path, is just too pricey to your heart? That’s OK too – invest in a very sandbox, that you can place anywhere in the garden. You’ll even make one yourself (the deeper, the higher, clearly). Fill it with a combination of sand and earth, and put some leaves or grass on top if you like – get your dog curious about it by having a scratch around yourself, till he gets the idea. Make positive the boundaries are clear.

To create it clear to him that the sandbox is OK but that everywhere else may be a no-dig zone, pay a very little time supervising him. When he starts to dig within the box (you’ll be able to encourage this by shallowly burying some choice marrowbones in there), praise him energetically – and if he starts digging anywhere else, correct him straight away with an “Ah-ah-aaaah!” or “No!”. Then, redirect him immediately to the sandbox, and carried out vociferous praise when digging recommences.

To essentially clarify the lesson, offer him a treat when digging gets underway in the sandbox – the shut proximity between the correction (for digging out of the sandbox) and praise/reward (for digging in the sandbox) can guarantee that your purpose strikes home.

Click here for "Dating Tips, Relationship Advice and Intimacy"

Click here to visit The EZ Online
Shopping Network of Stores

No comments: