Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Did you resolve to lose weight in 2009?


Plenty of people did, and that's probably a good thing - but not for me. My resolution is to gain a few pounds.

But... I did resolve to take some pounds off my pooches.

For a while this early winter I tried getting outside and making them exercise more every day - which meant going for a walk myself. I devised a plan to let them get way ahead of me, then call them back for a minute, then let them get ahead again...

But that only lasted until the snow got deep and the road got slick. Now their activity is limited to going between the house and the shop with my husband or going out with me to feed the horse. Even their usual mad dash down the hill to the creek is curtailed by snow too deep for running. A change in weather could give it a crust and then they'll be off and running again.

Meanwhile, ever since last fall I've been trying to cut back on the food, but I'm not seeing much progress. Guess I need to switch to some low calorie food and/or cut the portions back a bit more.

We never had a doggie weight problem here until Pepper came to live with us. I always left the bowl full and they ate what they needed. But under the influence of a dog who had been starved, things changed.I'm convinced that starving for a while turns a dog - or a horse - into an eating machine. Somewhere in the back of his mind he remembers a time when he was hungry, so eats all he can when he gets the chance.

The exception is Old Roy dog biscuits. When we go to the bank the drive-through teller always gives the dogs biscuits, and Pepper always buries his in the blanket on the seat. No way is he going to eat that.

Anyway... knowing that overweight is no better for dogs than for humans, I'm determined to get some pounds off these pups. If your dog is overweight, you should probably do the same.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Keep Your Dogs & Cats Safe On New Year's Eve

Having a party this New Year's?

Take some precautions with your pets - both dogs and cats.

If they're excitable and apt to become upset by noise, confusion, and strange people acting silly, put them in a separate room and go in now and then to check on them and assure them that all is well.

Most cats will simply go hide when things get confusing - make sure your cat has a safe place to go where you can check up on him or her later.

Even if your dogs love guests and won't be bothered, keep them locked up during those times when the most guests are arriving or departing. If they're like most dogs, they Will be excited by having company, and excited dogs can get out the door in a flash. If you aren't standing right there to notice and bring them back inside, they could get lost in the confusion.

Meanwhile, during the party: Stress to your guests that the critters aren't allowed human treats. Even if you usually share, letting everyone share could lead to a stomach upset, or worse. Remember that chocolate and raisins can be deadly to dogs!

Remember that your dog needs his/her normal routine even if you're having fun with guests. So if you feed your dogs in the evening, keep to schedule. And remember to let them outside for a potty break on schedule too!

After the party, when you're cleaning up, be sure to pick up stray goodies - including leftover alcoholic drinks. Some dogs and cats think alcohol tastes pretty good, and you don't need a drunken dog!

Some communities shoot fireworks on New Year's Eve - if yours does, be sure to bring your dogs inside and away from the noise. Frightened dogs can sometimes scale the highest fence in their effort to run away from loud noises!

If you're going to a large party somewhere else, leave your dogs at home - even if they've been invited. Under calmer circumstances taking them along can be fun, but many dogs become stressed in strange surroundings - and when there's plenty of noise and confusion.

Our rescue group spent weeks hunting for a dog who had gone along to a party and had been tied outside the front door. We don't know if he got bored or frightened and decided to get himself loose - or if some prankster untied the leash. But we never did locate that lost dog.

Keep your best friends safe - so you really will get your new year off to a happy start.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

If you also love cats...

If you love cats as well as dogs, Conrad Strays urgently needs your help. If you have cat loving friends in the Napa, Idaho area, please pass this message along in hopes of finding foster homes...

Here's the heart rending message I got from Teresa:

There are approximately 50 abandoned cats on a property in Nampa. The owners moved and left the cats to fend for themselves. The majority of them are super sweet and extremely adoptable. We only have a few weeks to get them out before the place is auctioned. None of the shelters have space to take in this many. If we don’t get people to help, the majority of them will have to be humanely euthanized or cats already at the shelters will have to be euthanized to make room for them. We took in 7 on Christmas Eve, and they are in warm loving foster homes. Most of these cats are very healthy and very people friendly. Earlier in the week a few other people had taken in some of them.

We need financial donations to pay for spay/neuter, testing, vaccines, and antibiotics if needed. Each cat will cost a minimum of $61.00 ( x 50) IF HEALTHY! NONE ARE SPAYED/NEUTERED! Donations can be sent to our po box, online from our website or paid directl to our veterinary account.

One older cat, a chocolate pointed tabby, is likely the mother of most of them. She will get tested and have senior blood work done on Saturday. She will also need a dental! Her teeth are very bad. She's a purring sweetheart.

We need foster homes! If you have an extra bedroom, bathroom, pantry, or laundry room. Please sacrifice a few weeks of your life to foster one or two of these awesome cats/kittens.

Food donations will help out a lot! These can be dropped off at the Orchard Animal Clinic.

We need safe outdoor and/or barn homes for the skittish and/or wild kitties (other wise they may be euthanized at the shelter). We have no places like this at this time.

We need to know if you can help or these cats will most likely not make it.

Thank you to the people who have been helping feed, care for, and search for help for these cats.
Please pass on this email to others who may be able to help. Please let us know by email if you can help in some way.
Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Sincerely,

Teresa Conrad and Cats
Conrad Strays Cat Rescue and Adoption
PO Box 84
Middleton, Idaho 83644
(208) 585-9665
www.conradstrays.com

"Making a difference, one cat at a time"






Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Freckles: A new family member


Well, kind of anyway. My neighbor invited me to go along with him to the animal shelter to get his new puppy yesterday, and now she calls me Aunt Marte. (Of course she does!)

What a doll! I got to snuggle her on my lap and help her play with her new toys on the way home - she misses the toy occasionally, so I also got to find out what sharp teeth puppies have!

All shelter pups should be as lucky as this one. After we picked her up we shopped for a bed, toys, treats, and the best puppy food the pet supply store could provide.

Today I learned that she already knows her name and comes on the run when called - a smart little twerp!

Next step: to get my dogs and my husband's dog to treat her with a bit more tolerance. They kind of frown on that puppy jumping around stuff.

December is Home for the Holidays Month at animal shelters across the world - so give someone you love a gift certificate to your nearest shelter. Then, as soon as the Christmas noise quiets down, go with them to choose their new companion.

OR... Give yourself the gift of a new friend.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Want to write a book about your dogs?

If your dogs are as much fun as mine, you may have entertained the idea of writing a book about them - kind of on the lines of Marley and Me.

But you may have thought you wouldn't have a clue how to start. Well, that excuse just went out the window - seriously!

There's a guy named Steve Manning who has got it down to a science - how to write a book in 14 days, guaranteed. I've got his manuscript and I know that all I'd need to do is take a half hour or so a day and I'd have a book. The tips and tricks he uses to organize thoughts, get your creative juices flowing, and words coming from your fingertips are nothing short of amazing.

Unfortunately, I seem to be hung up on writing short articles instead, but that's another story.

If you're thinking along these lines, go and get his free report - you have nothing to lose, and possibly a book (with royalties, fame, and fortune) to gain!

Don't worry if you can't spell - that's what proofreaders are for. Just write the book.

Promise me one thing (please.)

If you get his materials and put them to use, please write and tell me so I can give your new book a great big plug right here on the Doggie Blog!

To success!

Marte

Some dogs love the snow

Ralph likes to keep a close eye on the neighborhood - and when there's something going on down the valley, the best spot is in the middle of the pasture below the house.

If we'd go for it, he'd lay outside and let himself be covered in snow as long as the temperatures don't fall below about 20 degrees. When it gets colder than that, he joins our short haired dogs in making quick trips in and out!

But... Although he seems to think snow and cold in moderation are just fine, when he comes in he needs that snow and ice removed from his "feathers" and between his toes. We trimmed those feathers this year, just to keep the snowballs from annoying him so much.

City dogs need more than snow and ice removal - if you've been out on sidewalks where de-icer has been used, your dogs need their feet washed with soapy water, rinsed, and dried.

The salt and toxic chemicals that make walking easy for you are NOT good for your dog's feet - and are even worse for his tummy when he starts licking it off. If I lived in the city, I think I would invest in doggie booties.

I've posted a whole article on cold-weather dog care at my Do You Love Dogs site, so if you aren't sure what to do, give it a read.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just found a new contest for rescues

Tonight's mail held a notice from Care2 about a $10,000 contest for animal rescues. I've posted the link to the site in the sidebar - so go vote for your favorite rescue!

Today we visited a brand new shelter - and of course I felt saddened by the number of dogs and cats confined there. Especially the dogs in their brand new "cells." They were soooo small. I hope when our local rescue finally has the funds for a better facility the kennels will be a bit larger.

The cats had it a little better - good sized rooms filled with beds and climbing toys - each room housing 6 or 8 cats. All they were missing was human laps to curl up on.

One bright spot! They were all warm and fed - and this is a no-kill shelter. So hopefully their confinement will lead to a good life in a loving home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Too cold for dogs and cats


For the past several days we've been busy keeping warm! Hauling in more wood than usual to keep the fire burning brightly when the high for the day is a blistering twelve. Overnight low was minus 12.

But - we're OK. No ice storms, no roofs caved in, no power outages. Other people are having a tough time - we're just chilly if we go out.

The dogs, who generally want to go out and spend 20 minutes 2 or 3 times during the evening, now rush out, do what they need to do, and come barking at the door. Even the Tiger - that big yellow ball of feline fur - wants back in almost as soon as he goes out.

Since my house has lots of glass, and since the cold has done something funky to my sliding door - the one right next to my desk - I used push pins to hang a comforter over the door. Looks pretty low-rent, but helps keep the cold out and the warm in.

Today I heard one of the pins pop out - which isn't too strange since they don't push in very far. Then in a minute, another one popped, so I turned to look and saw the comforter moving around. In the next instant the whole thing came down - right on top of a Pepper dog who then could not figure out which way was out of there!

Since the sun was shining at that moment I didn't hurry to put it back up - and in a few minutes, there was Pepper, comfortably curled on top of his "new bed." Hmmm... did he deliberately take that down so he could have a comfy spot near my desk? You never know with a Pepper dog. He does like to be comfortable.

Unfortunately, not all dogs have such privileges. I heard about one yesterday who is living in a van because his people moved in to town and the landlord doesn't allow dogs. They're going out into the country once a day to feed him. I wonder if they're remembering warm water. Once a day isn't sufficient, but is definitely better than the poor thing trying to hydrate his body with snow.

I hope he's the same dog I got an email about this afternoon - one who is now living in a foster home and looking for a permanent home.

When we had a dog whose bathroom habits dictated that she live outdoors, we had a heated water bowl that sat next to her dog house with its heated bed. I just wish all dogs could be so loved.

Cats need water too - so if you have outdoor cats (or dogs,) remember to set a bowl of warm water out a few times a day- or get a heated bowl and keep it full. And remember to thump the hood of your car every time before starting it. Many a cat has lost life or limb from crawling up in the engine compartment to get warm. We rescued one once who had just a bloody stump for a tail...

A friend of mine has an outdoor cat that isn't really much of a "people kitty." But she managed to get her into the laundry room night before last. Turns out that cat preferred the cold to the house - she was NOT happy. And my friend wasn't happy with the mess she made. So her sheltered bed is filled with woolen blankets to cozy down into.

Stay warm...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An Unprecedented Act of Dog Obedience

I could hardly believe what happened a couple of nights ago.

We had company, which always gets the dogs a bit wound up. Then the cat came in and started pestering them. After he got tired of the game he bounded off down the stairs and they all ran after him... until I said "No."

So all 3 laid down at the top of the stairs to watch and wait... maybe that Tiger would be coming back?

Our company thought that was so cute that she pulled out her camera, so I did the same. But what was amazing was when I decided to go down the stairs and get a picture from below. I told them all to stay put and not move - and they actually did it!

I don't think I've ever had a dog or a cat sit still and stay put when I deliberately went after a camera.

This trio finally gave up and went back to visiting with our company after I told them it was OK to move - and the cat never did come back. Guess he decided it was bedtime even though the rest of us had no sense.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Should you give a puppy as a Christmas gift?


Yes, absolutely. And No, absolutely not.

How's that for a definitive answer?

The real answer is this: Giving a puppy to someone who really wants one is a fine idea, but you should not give the puppy as a surprise, nor should you give it during the hubub of opening gifts.

The best plan is to give a stuffed puppy, with a gift certificate for the real thing attached to its collar.

For one thing, choosing a puppy isn't really something you can do for someone else. No one knows what invisible energy passes between human and dog that makes them both think "You're for me!" but there definitely is a "something" that shouldn't be ignored. Therefore, your gift recipient should be the one to do the choosing.

Second, the time to introduce that pup to his or her new home is when things are calm and quiet. Definitely not when people are rushing around, laughing, talking, tearing gifts open, eating, etc.

Think how you'd feel if you were suddenly thrust into a room full of people acting like goofs. And think how you'd feel if hoards of them descended on you- grabbing, poking, petting, and sticking their faces into yours to say "Oh, aren't you just the cutest thing!"

Talk about terrifying!

If your gift recipient has definitely decided on a favored breed, and if you've been able to locate a reputable breeder, arrange a time to take him or her to view the puppies and make a choice.

If the goal is a puppy - any puppy - then find out which shelters have pups and arrange a time to go see them.

Whatever you do, don't buy a puppy from someone parked alongside the road - or from a pet store. Those puppies come from puppy mills and there are very good reasons not to buy them.

First, they are usually unhealthy - which means you could lose that new pup within a matter of weeks.

Second, every time you buy a puppy mill pup you encourage those sub-human creatures to breed more. And the parent dogs are suffering horribly to produce those cuddly bundles of fur.

I know it's tempting to take one - just to save it from going back into an overcrowded, filthy kennel at a puppy mill. But don't do it. They'll just produce ten more to take its place.

Definitely give a dog lover a puppy - but do it in the best way for the puppy.

Merry Christmas season...

The size of the dog in the fight?


This came in my email tonight and I had to share. Talk about knowing the value of intimidation!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unnecessary dog adoption heartache

Today's newspaper told a sad story - and it's a story that was entirely preventable.

It seems a little dog wandered out of his yard and got lost. His humans looked high and low, posted signs with his picture everywhere, contacted all the surrounding animal shelters, and even posted his picture on all the websites that list lost dogs and ran ads in the local newspapers - with his photo.

One of those shelters and websites they contacted was the one where he was brought when he was "found" nearly 2 weeks later.

The day after he was found, a gentleman came to the shelter and asked to adopt him. So when the requisite 72 hours had elapsed, he went to his new home. A month later, by chance, his original family learned where he was and tried to get him back. No dice. The man said he adopted him fair and square and that was that.

This case has already been to court once and is going back again. The question seems to be where the dog was found - in the city or the county. The answer to that will determine whether the shelter had authority to take him in and adopt him out.

This is sad for the dog's original owners - and for the new person.

What should have happened when that dog came in was a cross-check with the lost dog reports - and the shelter's own website. Had they looked, they'd have seen his photo, made a call, and helped him get back home.

It's also sad for animal shelters. Many depend upon public support for funding, so a mistake like this could cost dearly. Who wants to support a rescue group that won't even check the lost dog reports before sending a dog off to a new home? Sounds like a pretty sloppy and uncaring organization.

And, people being human, they're apt to paint all shelters with the same brush.

All rescue workers have too much to do - so often volunteers are not trained well. I don't know if that's what happened in this case, but it is a shame that so many people are hurting - and spending big $$ on attorneys - when the whole situation should never have happened.

My heart goes out to these humans - and to the poor little dog who now has two homes and can only live in one.

Maybe, before you adopt a dog, you should ask:
  • Has this dog been checked for a microchip?
  • Have you checked your lost dog reports to make sure no one is searching for this dog?
That way you could possibly avoid the heartache that these folks are facing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

That Mothering Instinct

Sometimes humans just don't give animals enough credit. And sometimes I think our 4 legged friends, or our feathered friends, are a lot better people than people. I think Andy Rooney said that, and I agree.

When I was a kid we had a mutt - D.D. was a black dog who looked kind of like a Cocker Spaniel but had a beautiful flowing feathered tail. For about 2 or 3 years there was a barn cat who had her kittens in a manger in the barn, and D.D. guarded them so well that sometimes mama had trouble getting in. You can bet that the other dogs around did NOT get near those babies.

We hear stories all the time about different species caring for young of other species - like the one that 's been around the internet for a while about the giant turtle and the baby hippo.

Well, today a friend sent me another one, and although it has nothing to do with dogs, it was so heart warming that I posted it on a page on my "Do you love dogs" site.

If you love more animals than just dogs, go here to have a look.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Setting Training Limits for Your Dog

  1. The dog is not allowed in the house
  2. OK, he can come in, but only in the kitchen
  3. Well, he can be in the living room, but he has to stay off the furniture
  4. The dog can only get on the old couch, not the new chair
  5. Fine, OK. The dog can sleep on the living room furniture, but not on the beds.
  6. The dog can be on the bed, but only when I say so.
  7. The dog can sleep on the bed any time, but not under the covers
  8. The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only
  9. Fine then. The dog can sleep under the covers every night
  10. If it's OK with the dog, the humans can sleep under the covers too.
I thought this was cute, but it really doesn't address a couple of problems: Such as the dog being a bed-hog. Sometimes I can't understand how such a small critter can spread out over an entire bed.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Do you donate to animal rescue?

Tonight I was going through some old files looking for a donor appeal letter I wrote some time ago - and I came across this information.


A University of Chicago General Social Survey found that donors who give to charity at least once a year have these characteristics:
  • 15% more likely than non-donors to give directions to a stranger.
  • 17% more likely to give up their place in line
  • 22% more likely to give p a seat on the bus
  • 46% more likely to give food or money to a homeless person
  • 125% more likely to give blood

I'm sure this applies to people who donate to any charity, not just animal charities. But of course I think everyone should donate to animals when they can. (I have a biased opinion.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Americans Love Their Pets!


According to "Planet Dog," there are more than 100 million dogs and cats in the United States. And we Americans spend more than $5.4 billion on them each year.

Of that, $1.5 billion is spent on pet food - which is 4 times the amount spent on baby food.

Why do we love them so much? 94% of us say that our pets make us smile more than once a day. Also, some studies have shown that people who own pets live longer, have less stress, and have fewer heart attacks.

Would you say those pets are good for us?

On a shopping trip last week we visited several stores, and since we're social people, visited with the clerks who helped us. Most said that sales were down - which is what the newspapers are saying. But the pet supply store was just as crowded as ever!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Important!! Dog Toy Warning!!

This news has been around since August, but hit my in-box this morning. I considered pasting the email here, but the photos are so awful... I couldn't do it.

The pimple toy with bell - a ball with one hole is VERY dangerous - and has been taken off the market.

After reading why, it appears that ANY rubber toy with just one hole in it would be just as dangerous.

Here's the link to the Snopes article: http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/pimpleball.asp

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Priest River Animal Rescue Quilt Raffle


This just in from our local rescue...

Dear Friends and Family,
A very generous supporter of Priest River Animal Rescue has made a completely hand-stitched and hand-pieced quilt (NO machine quilting) and donated for a raffle.

Please see attached photograph to see the beauty of this amazing quilt. The photo is on a California King size bed and you can see the quilt hangs over on all sides. It measures 8' 7" X 8' 7". Very large.

The other details are:
- Quilt is made with the Log Cabin pattern.
- Quilt is made from 100% pre-washed cotton.
- Quilt can be machine washed and dried on gentle cycles. I LOVE THIS!
- Tickets are $1 each and a maximum of 1,500 will be sold for this raffle.
- 100% of the funds raised go directly to rescue the animals (medical bills, food, kennel cleaning supplies...)

Please help Priest River Animal Rescue (www.pranimalrescue.org). A very worthy, hard-working group. I know y'all here it from me regularly, but I see the miracles this group accomplishes on a daily basis.

If you would like to mail me a check, I'm the coordinator of the quilt raffle and I can mail you back your raffle tickets. My mailing address is: Barbi Johnson, 12893 Highway 57, Priest River, ID 83856.

Now... A big favor... please forward this e-mail to anyone you think would be interested to get "the buzz" started on this raffle.

Thanks for your support,
Barbi Johnson

Saturday, November 22, 2008

7 Reasons Not to buy a Puppy from a Pet Store

  1. Pet shops get their puppies from puppy mills - where breeding dogs are kept in conditions so horrible that most of us cannot even imagine it.
  2. Pet shop salespeople are on a par with used-car dealers - they'll tell you anything to make the sale.
  3. You won't receive "customer support" if something goes wrong. Reputable breeders stand behind you with advice.
  4. You'll get no health guarantee - and won't even know if your puppy has had it's first shots or wormer medication.
  5. Pet store sales people know nothing about a puppy's parentage or care requirements - while reputable dealers will love to tell you all about the parents' personalities, along with how to care for your specific breed.
  6. Many pet store puppies are already ill, while many others are incubating serious disease. Parvo is a big one - and the puppies may have contracted it after being in the store. The result, you and your family will become attached to a puppy who will either die soon or cost you thousands in vet bills - or both!
  7. Every pet store purchase encourages the puppy mill business. As long as there are willing buyers, dogs will be used as living machines to crank out litter after litter after litter. When they can no longer produce, they're shot or just dumped out somewhere to die. Puppy mill breeders don't put dogs into a comfortable retirement - there's no profit in that.
If you plan to give a puppy for Christmas, please do your homework first.

Research breed traits and care requirements until you've figured out what breed or breeds would fit best in your family. Then check your local animal rescue shelters to see if they have puppies of that breed. They may not have papers, but papers don't make a dog more lovable, smarter, or more beautiful. All they do is stroke the owner's ego. (Unless you want to show your dog, in which case papers are required.)

Reputable animal shelters quarantine puppies to make sure they're healthy before being offered for adoption, deworm them, give them their shots (and give you the records of those shots) and generally have the pups spayed or neutered before adoption. Some also microchip.

If there are no rescue puppies available, start researching reputable breeders. ALL reputable breeders will allow you to see the puppies at their kennel. If they won't let you see the kennel and meet the mama, they're running a puppy mill.

Lastly, take the puppy's new person along with you to choose the puppy. The attraction needs to be between them and the puppy - not you and the puppy.

I know, it spoils the surprise. But it doesn't need to. Instead of putting a puppy under the tree, buy a stuffed toy that resembles the breed and attach a card telling of the real surprise. Then choose your live puppy on December 26.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Canine Coiffeur and ...Anal Glands?

As a city girl living in a high-rise condo, and also lacking coiffeur skills, I take my dog to the groomer once every three weeks. Ma Cherie is a clean dog and a princess of her own volition. A true Miami gal, Ma Cherie is more about vanity than manners--shiny, tangle- free white coat, two bows 24/7 and a change of bows for the seasons or special occasion, clean ears, nails clipped, the whole treament. (Don't worry, I'm not obsessed, no toe nail polish). So every visit to the groomer, I always wonder about this canine treatment of (excuse my non French) "releasing the anal glands".

The first time I took Ma Cherie to the groomer, Juan Carlos at European Pet Grooming, explained the "usual". He mentioned anal glands. What is that and what happens in the process? He says they manually release the anal glands of the dogs but he couldn't really explain why. I phoned another groomer who offered the same service but could not explain why. Sounds painful so I asked my vet. Dr. Sanchez explained that dogs naturally release their anal glands when defecating and it's not necessary at the groomer unless the dog is old. So for years, European Pet Grooming has Ma Cherie listed as NO ANAL GLANDS.

Just last week, while, ironically I was getting my nails done, a woman next to me told the nail technician to excuse the dirt under her three inch nails because she works with animals (First why would anyone that works with animals keep fingernails that long? Another mystery I'll have to solve later, maybe in dog years, much later). I seized the opportunity to probe her career. Sure enough she assists in surgical procedures for all types of animals, normally zoo animals and canines for the police department.

So I asked the million dollar question: should dogs have their anal glands released at the groomer? She said ABSOLUTELY, even if they're young. According to my manicure neighbor, she said the glands grow larger into cysts and then become painful. Releasing the anal glands once a month is like popping a pimple, so it should not be painful for the dog. Thinking to myself, I've had pimples in my teenage years and they were not always pain free to release. Confused, I explained that my vet said it was not necessary. Who do I believe?

What about dog owners who do not take their dogs to the groomer? Is this common knowledge that suddenly this cavewoman has seen the light?

So this posting I'm reaching out to all dog owners who really know dogs. Won't you please help me learn what is the best care for my little girl? To manually release anal glands of my dog or not? Why or why not?

Ever so grateful!
Christine from BLOG SISTERS

Monday, November 17, 2008

On-line Auction from Hope for Pets - shop for Christmas!

Thanks to Kathy Rice for sending us notice - Looks like a great place to find early Christmas gifts!

HOPE for Pets' On-Line Auction is in it's third and final week. The auction ends at 8:00 p.m. on November 21. The On-Line Auction is carried over to a Silent Auction at our HOPE for the Holidays Bazaar on November 22.

If you are unable to attend our event Saturday, you can still win the auction item you are bidding on. With Absentee Bidding you place the highest bid you are willing to pay for the item. One of our volunteers will continue your bid up to your maximum amount at our Silent Auction on November 22nd.

Auction items range from exotic vacation getaways to donated items guaranteed to delight and surprise. Whether it's for your home or to be given as a gift, we have something that fits your needs! Go to www.hopeforpets.org and click on the Auction link.

A portion of the funds raised will go to our Jordan Medical Fund with the remainder used to buy equipment for a new Spay/Neuter Clinic. We need your help and support! If you do not see an item you are interested in, please consider making a monetary donation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Garden Mulch that can kill pets

I've seen this before, but a friend sent it tonight and reminded me:

Cocoa Mulch smells good to dogs, and if they eat it, it can kill them.

It has the same chemical composition as chocolate, which by now everyone knows is not good for dogs. Get the full story at snopes: http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/cocoamulch.asp

I Rescued A Human Today (another point of view)

Just found this in my email from friend Sally...

I rescued a human today.

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering
apprehensively into the kennels.

I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I
had in the back of my cage.

I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today.

Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to
think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my
past.

I only have the future to look forward to and want to make
a difference in someone's life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.

I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort
her.

Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all
would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly
jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.

I would promise to always be by her side.

I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and
sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.

So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors.

So many more to be saved.

At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So, How does one do this kind of dog training?

Looks like lots of dogs can say "I love you" but there's even more!

An unbelievable story about dog mis-identification

This morning's newspaper had a "hint" that left me shaking my head.

It seems a couple took their dog to the groomer to be shaved. The lady paid the bill while the husband went after the dog. Everyone was upset because they couldn't find the collar and leash that went with the dog, so the man carried the dog out and put it in the car.

When they got home and took the dog inside, it ran around sniffing everything and acting as if it had never been there before.

Turns out it hadn't!

Suddenly the man noticed that the dog running around their house was a female, and their dog was a male.

They had come home with the wrong dog! A quick phone call to the groomer and a trip back got them their own dog, along with his collar and leash.

The caution was to be careful, because shaved dogs all look alike.

Can you believe that?

Did their dog not act glad to see them? Did they not "know" their own dog just from its face and its attitude toward them? If you love your dog, surely you would recognize him or her.

This, to me, is like saying that you need to be careful picking your kids up from day care because they might have switched clothes!

What do you think? Would you be able to tell your dog from all others, even if he or she was shaved?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not a dancer, but a smart (alec) dog


After dinner I fed the dogs, cleaned up the kitchen and sat down with a book for a little while before coming back down to work. The dogs made a quick run outside, as usual. And as usual, I said "No biscuits this trip. You know that's for later."

So, I no more than sat down at the computer when here came Pepper. His big eyes said he really needed to go out. The paw on my leg said "please!"

So, back I went up the stairs to let them out. Suzie came, Ralph came, Pepper stayed in the living room until I insisted that he go out too.

Did he need to go out? Heck no! He knew that the next trip outside was followed by a treat. The little con artist!

Dogs we have to admire

Just had to share this video that came my way... I have Hughes Net, so I can only see it in snatches of a few seconds at a time, but I still love it.

I think you will too!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dogs aren't fuzzy humans

I'm still thinking about that dog who was beaten with the chicken. It bothers me that the dog's owner was foolish enough to leave the dog with the chickens in the first place.

After all, dogs are canines - hunting is bred into them at the deepest levels of their being. Just because they now live in a household with humans who provide the food doesn't change their basic instincts.

How can people be so ignorant as to ignore that?

I know, many dogs have lived in harmony with chickens, but they had to be patiently taught that the chickens were not "prey."

It reminded me of a time when I was working in rescue and someone wanted to have a mama with new puppies put to sleep because she had killed a ferret.

First of all, the people shouldn't have let the ferret intrude into her space when she had new babies. But second, most dogs will kill a rodent - and what is a ferret except a rodent? If the dog had killed a rat they'd have been singing her praises. She's supposed to know the difference?

Fortunately, the veterinarian refused to kill the dog and she got a new home with a more sensible person.

I just wish that people would realize that dogs have instincts we don't understand - and that dogs are not just furry humans.

Yes, they understand us and are sometimes far more perceptive than humans. But they're still dogs. Why can't we just love them for all the wonderful things they are and not expect something different?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Help for traumatized dogs

You probably don't know that I sometimes write special promotions for FeelBach! - the company that sells Bach Flower Essences. Because I've studied the use of Bach Flowers, and because of my history with animal rescue, I also get to help people who write them with dog-related problems.

This week a woman wrote to ask how to help her friend's dog. It seems the dog had killed some chickens, so the man had picked up a dead chicken and beaten the dog.

The dog hasn't gotten over it. It barely eats, has diarrhea, and cowers when people go near.

I won't say how I felt about that. Since you're a dog lover, you already know.

Anyway, my job was to help find relief for the dog. In most cases, dogs who are upset or fearful can get relief from the "shelf blend" called Feel5ive.That's the formula I've used on rescue dogs who were having a hard time adjusting to their new life in a kennel cage.

But this dog was more than just upset, so I went through the attributes of each of the flower essences and chose those that address problems with trauma, fear, anger, rejection, and loss of trust.

My hope now is that this owner will be diligent in giving the dog the treatment. And I hope he'll look inside and realize that his mis-treatment of that dog was an outward sign of his own emotional problems. Bach Flowers can help him, too.

I also recommended that the man sit down with the dog and apologize. I don't know how many of our human words dogs understand, but I know they understand emotion. If he's genuinely sorry, the dog will know. And maybe the Bach Flower Remedies will allow him to forgive, and to trust that human again.

What would you have advised? Did I miss anything?

Monday, November 3, 2008

A tribute to the family dog


This has been around a while, but when a friend sent it to me again yesterday, I couldn't resist sharing it with you.

Now, if we could all start behaving a little more like the family dog...

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

...Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Well-mannered, polite dogs

Sunday I went horseback riding with a friend, and when we got back we settled on her front porch for a bit of refreshment. Her 4 dogs were there to greet us.

Usually, walking onto a porch with a crowd like that would mean 4 dogs, all pushing each other out of the way for attention, but these dogs don't behave that way.

First, Abbey came to greet me. She's the blind one, so she had to sniff a bit and make sure she remembered who I was. Abbey was one of a litter of pups who had been dumped in a ditch and found muddy, cold, and hungry. She was the only blind one of the litter, and as her foster mom, my friend found she couldn't part with her. Abbey does fine with her nose and her ears to guide her.

Next came Louie - the only boy in the household. He got up on the bench next to me and snuggled a bit. Experts say dogs don't like hugs, but they forgot to tell Louie. Louie was a rescue too, but his situation wasn't quite as dramatic as Abbey's or Tika's.

Tika is the girl with 3 legs. She was one tough rescue, forcing us to borrow a live trap to catch her after she'd been seen wandering around for a couple of weeks dragging a broken leg. It took days to trap her, even after the neighbors got around to letting us know about her.

But she's fine now, and you'd never convince her that there's anything wrong with the way she gets around.

Finally, ever the lady, Annie came to get some attention. She's my favorite, maybe because I've known her the longest, or maybe just because she's so darned sweet. My friends got her because one of their neighbors went snow shoeing and found her living by a travel trailer that had been abandoned when the snow got too deep that winter. She was a skinny, hungry pup, but that changed as soon as she got to my friend's house.

Unfortunately, the people had been gone too long - the rabbits and chickens left in their cages were all dead. But, a couple of weeks later another pup showed up, and he found a wonderful home.

I don't know how Sally taught her dogs such perfect manners, but it sure makes it a pleasure to visit with them.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween for Dogs can be Spooky or a Treat

This is Christine Michaels from Blog Sisters writing as guest author at the invitation of my fellow writer Marte. Thanks Marte!

Well Halloween is exactly one week away. This holiday is not just for children anymore. Adults and parents now enthrall in the spirit of masquerades and disguises and bobbing for beer bottles if it's an adults-only party. Even pets are part of the festivities. Just like a new home is full of booby traps for new born babies, the traditions and rituals of Halloween can spell treachery or treat time for pets. Careful planning will ensure the entire family has fun.

Doing some homework is always a good step. The ASPCA offers these 10 Easy Ways to Keep your Pets Safe on Halloween.

Now my little dog, Mon Cherie (a white maltese) has grown up with costumes since she was one year old. One year we even dressed as Thee Little Mermaid and Sebastian the Crab (I was the mermaid and she was the crab with a custom made costume). For Mon Cherie, she knows it's treat time--as in it's a treat for her to go out with mommy. She loves to go anywhere with me --shopping, to work, traveling within Florida--as long as she's with mommy, even it means wearing some dogg'on costume. One year all three of my pets, the dog and two cats were ducklings. The kids loved it! My home is considered "the Halloween best" (yes I live in a condo) because we don't just hand out the good candy (chocolate candy bars, not acorn candy), but we decorate the front entrance and I get dressed up in a costume along with the pets.

It's a great way to nurture neighborship.

If you need ideas for pet costumes, visit Alicia's Blog (my Blog Sister) for some funny and creative costumes.

Have a Safe & Fun Halloween!!!

Christine Michaels for BLOG SISTERS

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good news for military dogs

My friend Ken just forwarded me the link to this story...I think you'll like it:


Military Hospital Opens for Dogs Wounded in War

Patience...


Here's my first try at this blog thing.. I have a dog named sam he is a sheppard, collie, husky mix.. but this dog deserves a medal for the patience she has and could teach many of us a lesson or two..See I am a animal lover at heart doesn't matter what kind ( of course dogs are my favs.. ) and I tend to bring in many different animals in my home that need shelter or rescue.. and needless to say the new guys get most of my attention .. while Sam takes a step back to let me do my work. She will come to check them out to make sure they are ok and then goes back to sitting patiently. Rabbits have run around her, stepped on her head, stolen her bed, kittens have bitten her ears nose, tail, other dogs have stolen her food treats or favorite chair and yet Sam stays patiently waiting.. Just like in this pic as she waits to have her bed back.. lucky the rabbit was making her nest and had her babies in her bed ...

I would also love to take this opportunity to thank Marte .. recently she took some of her time to help me write a letter that we so needed. We our opening a much needed shelter here in our small community and when I sent her an email she never hesitated and immediately helped. Thank you Marte... we need more people like you !!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Smart dog - relieved humans

Our local newspaper ran a story yesterday that I have to share...

It seems that Abby's family was going on vacation and her usual dog sitter was also going to be away, so her family took her to the home of a relative. While they were out for an evening, Abby decided to go out too - out under a gate and away.

For 15 days her family - and both sets of sitters - searched high and low, driving the streets and the side-streets, calling and hunting. And then, her sitter opened her front door to find Abby sitting on the porch. She said she had to check the ID tags twice because she just couldn't believe that Abby had made the 9 miles, through traffic, to find her house. (Her "real" family lives another 20 o 30 miles farther, so Abby took the smart alternative and went to her sitter first!)

As an animal rescuer, tales of dogs and their human families being reunited always warm my heart.. and that reminds me:

For everyone who has been following the tale of the Iraq soldier who wanted to bring her dog home... Here's more good news.

Hurrah for dogs and the humans who love them!
Marte

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Freestyle dancing - dog style

Hey there! If you're lucky enough to have a good internet connection, check out this video... http://www.familytiez.com/video/gin.htm

My Hughes Net satellite connection is too slow to get to see it except in little chunks, but if you have high speed and can watch videos, you'll love it!

Some Dogs just need to dig...



Deprive a dog of a place to dig and what does he do? This one found an oversized planter!

So why do they do that? For some, it's just fun. They're the ones who destroy your flower beds. For others there's a purpose. My old Harry Dog was constantly on the trail of those underground critters. It drove him nuts to see one dive into a hole - and he would dig until all we could see was his back end sticking out. Alas - he never could dig fast enough to catch one.

Some, being of a conservative nature, want to put something away for a rainy day. They're the ones burying bones for later retrieval.

Other dogs, such as my friend's Husky, are hard-wired to create a den for themselves. They want that hole to lay in!

And of course, there are dogs who simply don't want to be contained, so dig a hole under the fence as an escape route.

I have never learned a good way to keep dogs from digging ... so if you have, do share!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Border Collies



You mustn't believe everything you read...

Tonight I read that the Border Collie is among the 10 most intelligent breeds - She shares the top 10 round-up with Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Labrador Retrievers, Papillons, Rottweillers, and Australian Cattle dogs.

Hmmm... They're right about the Border Collies. Suzie is especially smart. However, the only Golden Retrievers I know are very loving and kind, but intelligent? Not especially.

Then I came across another list - and the Border Collie was listed among those breeds who hate cats and should not be left alone with them. Guess I'd better tell Suzie and Tiger they can't be friends any more.

I also learned that Border Collies are type A dogs for type B humans, and that they make great jogging companions. I don't know about jogging, but Suzie makes a great "go feed the horses" companion.

Border Collie's are also listed as one of the ten clumsiest dogs... maybe because they move so quickly? I think I won't tell Suzie about this, because she'd be insulted. She thinks she's a graceful, beautiful princess... and she is!

Here's to happy critters,
Marte

Friday, October 17, 2008

A great book for dog lovers

As you've noticed, I've been reading a cool book called "Planet Dog" by Sandra Choron.

I just checked and it's available through Buy.com for under $10 - and I paid $14.95 at the store. Just goes to show that buying on line can save a lot of money, especially when you can get free shipping.

Planet Dog is filled with tips, trivia, facts, and fun. For instance, I just learned that an estimated 1 million dogs in the United States have been named the primary beneficiary in their owner's will!

This is a fun book - get a copy for every dog lover on your list this Christmas and they'll get hours of enjoyment from it. That's a whole lot better than a sweater that's the wrong color or a kitchen appliance that means more work!

Just click below, and your Christmas gift giving will be off to a roaring start!


Planet Dog: A Doglopedia

A Dog Creation Theory

1. On the first day of creation, God created the dog.
2. On the second day, God created man to serve the dog.
3. On the third day,God created all the animals of the earth to serve as potential food for the dog.
4. On the fourth day, God created honest toil so that man could labor for the good of the dog.
5. On the fifth day, God created the tennis ball so that the dog might or might not retrieve it.
6. On the sixth day, God created veterinary science to keep the dog healthy and the man broke.
7. On the seventh day, God tried to rest, but He had to walk the dog.

From Planet Dog by Sandra and Harry Choron

Dogs and Cats - Love or Hate?


Do your dogs pick on your cats? Or is it the other way around?

I have a big yellow cat who loves to terrorize my dogs as much as they love to chew on him and pull his hair out all over the living room carpet. When I tell them to "leave it" they go lay down, but then he hides behind a chair and waits until one of them moves so he can jump out on them.

Do they hate each other? No, not at all. I think they're quite fond of each other.

Years ago I had Harry Dog and a cat named Snodgrass. They would wrestle and chase each other - tumbling around just like my dogs do with each other now. Then when they got tired, they'd flop down together for a nap.

I had a "yard sale cookie jar" in a window sill. It had no lid, and it was filled with small dog biscuits. Snodgrass would jump up there and throw down 2 biscuits - one for him and one for Harry - and they'd eat them together. Theirs was a partnership like few humans ever enjoy.

How about your critters? Do your dogs and cats love or hate each other?

By the way, the critters pictured here aren't mine - this is a photo I got in an email and couldn't resist sharing...

Here's to happy furballs,
Marte

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How do dogs get themselves in such trouble?


This week-end I started noticing blood on the floor in the kitchen - and more blood on the floor by the bathtub. Since my dog pepper is the only one who likes to sleep in the bathroom, I knew it had to be coming from him, but why?

I checked his feet - no cuts. And then I made him stand up, and there right on the part of his backside that hits the floor when he sits, was a glob of bloody hair.

With the help of my clippers, I discovered a cut about an inch long - not deep enough to warrant stiches, thank goodness. I treated it with ointment and applied a bandage, which stayed on for perhaps all of 5 minutes.

But why? How does a dog get a cut on his "sitter-down" parts? We don't keep knives embedded in our floors, there are no barb wire fences that he can't run under without hitting the wires, we don't live in an area filled with sharp rocks - I can see nothing here to put a gash in a dog's hind-end.

I guess I'll never know the answer. I'll just be glad the gash wasn't deep and aside from wincing when he sits down, Pepper is none the worse for wear.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Keeping shelter dogs warm and cozy

Yesterday I talked to a woman who has taken it upon herself to provide blankets to dogs living in California shelters. It seems that when the dogs are more comfortable, and thus happier, they're adopted faster.

Who'd have thought that a blanket would help get a critter a home?

I thought you might like to read about her work...

Woman keeps shelter animals blanketed with puppy love - LA Daily News


CNN Headline News story.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Plug for Priest River Animal Rescue

Off to the right you'll see a new addition - a contest in which some animal shelter will win $10,000.

I voted for Priest River Animal Shelter because I helped start it about 6 years ago, and because our small town has a great need for more spay and neuter funding.

So, unless you have a favorite of your own, please go vote for PRAR by November 1.

Thanks,
Marte

Ever hear of "Bedbug dogs?"

Our local newspaper ran a story this week that proves once again that dogs are "Man's best friend."

It seems that America is experiencing a resurgence of bedbugs. Yeah - those icky little creatures that live in your bedding and come out during the night to bite you!

When I was a kid they were associated with people who didn't bathe - or wash their bedding. Now they're showing up all over the place. In upscale hotels and even in hospitals.

The article didn't say why, but it did say what some people are doing about it. They're hiring "Bedbug dogs" to sniff them out so they can be eradicated.

Just like drug sniffing dogs can alert on a suitcase or a car fender, these highly trained canines can go into a room and find the little insects where they're hiding.

So, to those idiots who starve, abuse, and abandon dogs and then say "It's just a dog," we can once again reply: "Idiot."

Here's to the dogs!
Marte

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fearful owners = frightening dogs!

Yesterday a friend and I went horseback riding.

On the way back we met a man and a beautiful German Shepherd on the path, and the dog looked none too friendly. It's hard to describe his body language, but it was threatening. The man with him recognized that and reached for the dog's collar - whereupon the dog whirled around and snapped at him!

The man jumped back and made no further attempt to contain the dog, so I put my palm toward him and told him to stay back (in my sternest deepest voice) and then eased slowly past him. My friend did much the same and we got safely by.

I really wanted to go back after we put the horses away and suggest that the man and the dog should be at an obedience class - because if he's allowed to continue that behavior, he really might hurt someone. Maybe even his owner.

The dog definitely had the upper hand in that relationship, and had he decided to come after the horses, I don't think any commands from his owner would have made any difference at all.

It's a shame - he's a beautiful animal.

Yours for happy and safe canine companions,
Marte

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tips on fostering dogs


Thanks to Jackie at Safe Haven Rescue for sending the following tips on fostering. I told her that I know many people (such as my husband) avoid becoming fosters because it's too hard to part with an animal you've grown to love - and after 4 or 5 you just can't keep more!

I also asked her to give us some advice about introducing new foster dogs into the family - because that's a second reason people give for not becoming fosters. They're afraid their resident dogs (or cats) would not cooperate.

Here's what Jackie had to say about it:

"As far as fostering, I know that if I keep all of them, I would not be able to help more. I have a 17 year old daughter and she was like your husband. I took her to adoptions and she could see who was looking to adopt. When she helped with the selection of who could have one of the animals, it seemed to help."

"Now the tough question. How to introduce the new animal. I usually keep them in a crate in the house or yard where the other critters can check them out without any threat. Then I take one of mine with the new one and let them get acquainted without all the others. If I leave all the others out, there is sometimes the "pack" mentality even though they are not mean. They just think "Hey we can all jump on the new guy"."

"As I said that is the tough part, but when I look at all the pleas for help, I know that I do more by fostering and then those eyes are more bearable. How unfair to all of those precious lives that they cannot live longer."

"If we could just REQURE spay/neuter, we would not have this problem."

I agree with Jackie - spay and neuter are the answer to creating a world with "No more homeless pets."

Here's to our 4-legged friends,
Marte

P.S. If you're a foster and have tips to share, please post a comment. If you're thinking of fostering and have questions, post them too!

P.P.S. The dog in the photo is Buddy Joe - a Priest River Animal Rescue dog who was simply left behind when his people decided to move away. He's young, healthy, and anxious to play.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wow! I got it back

I don't know how - but when I tried to go back in here to fix the sidebar I couldn't find the layout link. So I kept poking around, and suddenly - the stuff I lost the other night came back!

So I have your links again, but would still like the blurbs for my website, and would still love for everyone who hasn't sent their links to do so... You jut never know when being seen somewhere might get you a loyal new donor or volunteer!

Guess now I'll just go somewhere and smile a while... and give thanks to the computer gremlins who took pity on me.

The ultimate in dog obedience and training

This is not only beautiful and inspirational, but shows just what you can do with a smart dog and a ton of love and patient training.

Click here to see a fine display of doggie dancing...

Enjoy!
Marte

P.S. Remember to send me your rescue links again!

Technology got me again! Dog rescue groups deleted...

Grrr... Tonight I tried to add this blog to my Do You Love Dogs website - and in so doing, lost all of the customization I had on the sidebar.

I'm going to go back through emails and comments to try to find everyone and their links, but if you don't see your rescue here within a day, PLEASE comment to this post with a short blurb about your rescue and the link to your website.

I didn't lose you on purpose - honest!

Oh - and if you hadn't gotten around to sending me your link, go ahead and do that too.

Darn! I know this is all good - I wouldn't be talking to you at all if not for the wonders of technology. But when it erases my work I sure get frustrated.

Tomorrow is another day...

Marte

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Training kids or dogs - not a lot of difference

I just finished reading an article about the epidemic of doctors prescribing behavior modifying drugs for children - babies, even.

The article went on to say that changes in diet would probably be more beneficial to the children than prescription drugs, which could cause irreparable harm to their bodies.

But then it mentioned something people don't talk about much - discipline. And I was struck by the similarities between raising a pleasant child and raising a pleasant canine companion.

Check out this advice:

Count to three and then place the child in “timeout.” (Our Pepper used to get put in the kennel for an hour after he tried to chase passing cars.)

Also, let your child know the rules, and what the consequences are for not following them. If your child fails to clean his room for example, let him know that he’ll be placed in timeout and won’t be able to play with his toys for the rest of the day.
(Can't quite link that one to dogs - but they do care a lot about approval and need to know immediately when their behavior is not what you expect from them. Consequences could just be being sent to go lay down in the corner.)

Even more important, follow through and be consistent with what you say you are going to do. By the same token, don’t forget to reward exceptionally good behaviors.
(This one definitely relates - being consistent with what is or is not acceptable is of absolute importance. And reward is a major motivator for dogs as well as children.)

Nurturing -- Paying attention to your child, giving him/her responsibilities, and building his self-esteem is another key to eliminating behavior problems.
(Giving your dog a job to do - be it retrieving a ball or helping to herd the cattle or jumping through a tire, or letting you know when a stranger approaches - is always a good thing. Everyone needs a job and feels good when they contribute!)

And of course - plenty of appropriate praise is always a key. Treats are good - but some dogs don't care about them and would rather you tossed a ball.

My Mom told me to raise my kids so that other people could also love them. I did, and they do. I try to raise my dogs the same way, and so far it's working. Everyone who comes to our house speaks first to my dogs -

Yours for happy canines!
Marte

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obedience training comes first when you adopt an adolescent dog

Many dogs who come in to shelters as "lost" are adolescents - and I suspect that it's often more a case of abandonment than loss.

People get a cute, fuzzy little puppy and take it home to play with. But they ignore their responsibility to train that puppy - and it becomes an unruly adolescent. It might be a very nice dog - loving and wanting to please. But it has no idea what it should do to please. No one has ever given it any rules or let it know what kind of behavior is expected.

So, the dog jumps up on everyone, chews what shouldn't be chewed, digs in the trash, chases cars (or bicycles or chickens or cats), steals food from the kitchen counter, and generally makes a nuisance of itself.

Then, since the dog is no longer fun to have around, they drop it off at a shelter or simply drive out on some country road and kick it out of the car. After all, shelters often charge turn over fees, and dumping is free.

Later they wander past a grocery store, see kids giving away puppies, and start the cycle all over again.

Unfortunately, they also fail to spay or neuter, so the cycle of unwanted pets starts over again too. But that's the subject for a different post.

The bottom line for you as the adoptive parent of an adolescent dog is that you've got some serious training to do. And you'll have to begin at the beginning, because it's likely that your new dog doesn't even know that it should come when it's called.

We've been talking about calling your dog by his or her name and teaching it to pay attention when you speak that name. That's important when you've raised your dog from a pup - but it's difficult when you adopt an adolescent, because you don't even know what his or her name used to be. You'll have to be extra-careful to use that name often and praise your dog every time he responds.

Patience will be the name of the game, but your effort will be worth it. Your new dog will appreciate knowing the rules and being praised for following them - and you'll be blessed with the best friend a human could ever have.

Yours for happy pets,
Marte

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Walking with your obedient dog


Ever see people who are pretending to take their dogs for a walk, but who are really being pulled all over the place by the dog?

I even saw that in dog obedience class - and not just on the first day. I think those folks weren't doing their homework.

Happy walking begins with the initial work of getting your dog to pay attention to you. He should be watching where you're going instead of gawking at everything under the sun. And they do. I took an untrained rescue dog for a walk one day and she got distracted by a piece of "cotton" falling from a Cottonwood tree. She really wanted to chase it!

I don't remember if our instructor gave us specific words to use, but I always said "walk with me." And if Suzie started trying to pull me off the path, I gave her a sharp tug with the choke collar to get her attention. It didn't take long before she realized that "with me" meant with me.

A lot of people don't want to use those - thinking it's cruel. They aren't cruel at all - as long as the chain is long enough and it is worn properly so that the instant you stop the "jerk" it releases. When you and your dog are walking happily, the chain will hang loose below his neck.

If your dog persists on trying to pull you, simply stand on the lead and let him go to the end, where he'll give himself a jerk back to attention. Of course, if you're dealing with a dog who has been allowed to learn bad habits, you might have to give a few mighty tugs before he figures out that the rules have changed.

Another trick we learned to keep the dogs paying attention was to walk briskly and do a lot of turns. With the dog on the right they sometimes got drug around a left turn, and sometimes got their toes stepped on or their bodies bumped into on a right turn. They learned quickly to watch their humans to see where they'd go next.

Going for a walk should be fun for both you and your dog - and it can be if you take some time to teach proper dog obedience manners.

Yours for happy pets,
Marte

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Skunks are on the move: Here's a recipe for odor remover

Friends are telling me stories of skunk encounters - and calling to ask what I use to get rid of that horrible smell!

Years ago we used tomato juice - had to keep several cans on hand, just in case. Now I have a remedy that works better and is much easier to rinse out!

Start with dishwashing soap - the recipe originally given to me called for Ivory, but others have said Dawn. I'm not sure the brand really matters. Pour 1/4 cup or so into your bucket, then add about the same amount of baking soda, and about a half cup of hydrogen peroxide. Add warm water about half way up the bucket, then start scrubbing.

Be careful around the eyes - this would sting!

Go first for the spot that got the brunt of the blast - it will make it easier for you to breathe and get the job done if you calm that down first. Using a rag or a sponge, lather the whole dog and work it into the hair. Then rinse thoroughly. If you want, you can go ahead and use some doggie shampoo to help remove the residue.

If you have anything but a faint lingering odor when you've finished, you missed a spot. By the time Rover is dry you probably won't notice the smell, but when he gets wet again you might be reminded of the fun you had.

I then recommend having a good heart-to-heart talk with that dog, explaining that those black and white "cats" are not good to play with. But... he probably won't listen. Dogs just have to investigate strangers in their yards.

If you're having a persistent problem, go rake up all the fallen fruit from your trees (and put where they can't get to it) and bring any dog food, etc. in the house at night. They aren't there with the intention of attacking your dogs - they're just looking for good-tasting tidbits.

Wishing you no need for this recipe!

Marte

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dog obedience training: A very important command

What do you think is the most important command you can teach your dog? I guess it would be hard to rate them, because things like come and stay and off (or down) make such a difference in how you get along with your dog.

But I think one of the most important is "Leave it." Teaching it takes a little bit of patience, and a little bit of "setting the stage." When you're interacting with your dog at home or when you have him on a leash, he isn't getting into too much mischief.

To teach this, have the dog on a leash so you can give a tug at the same time you give the command. Put something interesting where he'll be attracted to it. (This could happen naturally if you're out walking in the neighborhood.)

As soon as the dog starts to go toward the object (or other animal) give a tug and say "leave it." If you have to tug a bit harder to get his attention, do it. Then when he comes back to you, tell him "Good leave it" and praise him mightily. Give a treat, too.

It sure is nicer and more effective to be able to yell "leave it" and have your dog get out of the trash than to scream "Get the H... out of the garbage, you idiot!"

The other day I let my dogs out of the car at a neighbors and one immediately spotted the cat and headed that way. I said "Pepper, leave it." And he came right back to the car. Of course I felt just a little bit smug when my neighbor commented on how well my dog behaved.

Living with well-behaved canines really is a lot of fun. Now if I could just figure out a way to make the cat listen...

Yours for joy,
Marte

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Your dog and the law of attraction

Ever wonder why some people have a terrible time with their dogs, and others have a fine time?

I've decided that it has to do with the Law of Attraction. I've been reading the new book "Money & the Law of Attraction," and listening to the CD that comes with it, and I'm realizing that everything we do sets up a vibration that attracts more of the same.

So when we approach our dogs with confidence and a clear expectation that they will learn to behave as good family members, they do. Conversely, when we expect them to run the other way when we call them, potty on the carpet, and chew up our shoes, they do that.

Think about the people you know who treat their dogs with kindness and respect, while expecting good behavior. Then think about the people who are constantly screaming at their animals or hitting them.

See if you agree with my thought...

Yours for happy pet families,
Marte

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dog Obedience Training Treats

Our dog obedience instructor recommended that we use different treats for training than we might use at other times. She said it set things up in the dog's mind that "This is work time." In fact, she often used that word - telling us to tell the dogs it was time to go to work.

One of her favorite treats was hot dogs - cut into small pieces and then cooked in the microwave until they got pretty hard. They're still greasy tho, so don't put them in the pocket of your best jacket unless they're in a plastic bag.

She also recommended string cheese - again cut into small pieces.

My dogs absolutely love liver. I bake it in the oven until the "slimy" goes away, then cut it into small pieces and continue baking it at about 250 degrees until it gets crunchy. In other words, I dehydrate it.

Anything your dog really loves will work, as long as it's different from the normal treats he gets when he's not "working." My son has dogs who love fruits and vegetables, so apple bits would probably motivate them! (Just stay away from the grapes, raisins, and of course the chocolate!)

I quit buying commercially made treats after reading a few dozen labels. I just can't bring myself to feed all those chemicals to my canine kids. So I bake their treats at home. Since mine don't have preservatives, I keep the bulk of the batch in the freezer and keep only enough for a couple of days in their cookie jar.

Our mainstay treats are beef and cheese - I buy inexpensive cuts of roast beef when it's on sale. Then cook it and pulverize the cooked meat in the food processor. After that I cut some chunks of cheese, add some flour so it won't stick together, and pulverize that. Then, a little olive oil and the juice from the roast. After I dump in some whole wheat flour and about a tablespoon of yeast I add water (or beef or chicken) broth to make a mix about the consistency of bread dough.

You can be fancy and roll this out and cut it like cookie dough, but the fast and easy way is to roll chunks into long "ropes" and lay them side by side on a cookie sheet. After the sheet is full, take a long knife and score the tops so the pieces will break apart easily. I usually let the dough raise before baking.

Then bake it in a slow oven until it gets crunchy.

If you'd like to share your favorite doggie recipe - please do!

Here's to happy pets,

Marte

Friday, August 29, 2008

Don't Telegraph Your Frustration to Your Dog

When Suzie and I were taking dog obedience classes there were several people in the class with dogs they just couldn't seem to handle. The harder they tried, the more they and the dogs became upset.

Getting their dogs to sit down beside them and stay quiet was almost impossible - until our instructor gave us one simple technique. She pointed out that our feelings - vibrations, if you will - transmit through the leash. So the more we become frustrated, the more the dog feels it and becomes frustrated as well.

We watched several people, especially those with large dogs, being literally drug around by their dogs.

The solution: Get the dog to sit or stand beside you, then lengthen the leash and simply stand on it while you hang on to the other end, just in case it slips. When the dog resists, the leash stays firm. And for some reason, your foot doesn't transmit frustration.

The strange thing was - and I think I've mentioned this before - not all of the human students followed instructions. So our ever-patient instructor had to keep reminding them. She also had to keep reminding them to say "good sit" and "good come" and "good walk" instead of "good dog." I think she shook her head and sighed a lot.

Remember to put those treats in your pocket and hand them out generously until your dog firmly learns each new command. After that, you can give them every 2nd or 3rd of 4th time - just to keep him on his toes.

Oh, and don't forget the praise and the petting. Those are darned important, too.

Another rescued dog finds a home...

I just got off the phone with the animal coordinator at our local shelter, and she told me one of my favorite dogs just found a home - and the other one has a good possibility of being adopted tomorrow. That makes my whole evening brighter.

Both of these two were adult dogs, and so loving and kind. Both prefer being with people and will follow the shelter workers around, begging them to stop cleaning for a minute and rub a belly. Both had beautiful manners. So why were they there?

Poppy lost her home because she chased horses. Well, she's part Heeler, of course she would chase livestock! But her humans didn't want to take the time to teach her when to chase and when not to, so they turned her in to the shelter. My own little Pepper would have been more than happy to "herd" my horses, but we taught him that wasn't the thing to do. We humans actually had a little help on that score from a horse and a well-placed hoof - which thankfully didn't break anything.

My other favorite was Sally - a Siberian Husky who came in with 5 puppies after being found running down a highway. What was her story? Did someone dump her and the puppies and drive off, so she was trying to follow? Or had she been dumped long before and given birth to her puppies in the woods? She was certainly skinny enough to have been going without good meals for quite a while.

We'll never know of course. Thankfully, neither she nor her babies will be having any more babies, and all 6 are now in homes. We can only hope the homes are good ones and that the 5 pups don't turn up later as the unruly teens we talked about last time.

Here's to loving dogs,

Marte

P.S. Remember - if you'd like me to list your rescue on this sidebar and on my rescue page at www.doyoulovedogs, all you have to do is comment here or send me a note at writer@marte-cliff.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spread the word about your rescue group

This week I sent a message out to my ezine members with an invitation to send links to their animal rescue groups for posting on this sidebar. As you can see, a few have responded. I hope you'll follow their links and see the good work they do - and choose to help them if you can.

If you work in rescue and are not getting my ezines, you can sign up by sending an email to rescuethem@getresponse.com. Meanwhile, feel free to add a comment here with a link and information about your rescue.

As well as on this sidebar, your information will be posted on my doggie website with a little information about your group and/or your activities.

And now, back to the dogs themselves...

If you rescue, you've noticed that many of the dogs who come in are "teen-agers" who haven't been taught basic manners. People dump them because they've become unruly - running through the house, jumping up on everyone, knocking things over, getting in the trash, chasing the cats, and generally behaving like wild things.

Of course that isn't the dogs' fault - it's the humans who somehow thought the dogs would learn to behave with no effort on their part. Humans aren't too bright sometimes, but then, if you look around, a whole lot of them think their kids will thrive under the same kind of non-training. But that's a different story, for someone else's blog.

Your challenge in turning those unruly teens into adoptable canine companions is a huge one - especially if you're understaffed and don't get to spend good quality time with the dogs.

You should, of course, begin with teaching them to give you their attention - we covered that in the last post. Then what? For many, it's learning to keep their front feet on the floor rather than smearing mud over visitors - or knocking them down.

Everybody seems to have a different method of training dogs to stay down, and I believe different methods work with different dogs, but there's one thing that should remain constant, and that's the verbal command.

Somehow, each rescue needs to gather all their dog handlers and fosters together to agree on the commands you're teaching these dogs. Otherwise they'll be confused, won't know what you want, and thus won't mind - and then people will think it's their fault.

Commands like come and sit seem to be universal, but what will you say to tell a dog not to jump on people? Some say "Off" while others say "down" or even "get down" and others choose "No" or "damnit, get offa me!"

I recommend a one-word command - a word that's only used for that purpose. But the most important thing is that it be consistent - and that ALL of your handlers use it.

Dog training really is a matter of training the humans...