Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Animal Abuse Awareness Month

I know abuse happens, but because my hu-mans love me so much, I have difficulty comprehending how and why it exists.

My hu-man recently read an article in the newspaper about a young German shepherd that had been tied to a backyard tree and left him without food or water until he was so hungry that he ate dirt.

According to the Orange County Register,
German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the owners of the dog they named "Courage."
Someone saw the emaciated animal and brought him to an emergency animal hospital last week in Garden Grove. Veterinarian Dr. Bill Grant says the 3-year-old dog weighed just 37 pounds - less than half his normal body weight. He now weighs 41 pounds.
Grant says Courage faces months of recovery, but is recovering well. More tests will determine if Courage's liver and kidneys will recover from the advanced malnutrition.
The good news is, a good samaritan's actions helped to save this dog's life. 

The paper recently reported, that as of Monday, Courage weighed 46 pounds.  In addition, there is a long list of people who are interested in giving Courage a home.
While the dog is doing better, it will be another couple of weeks before Grant can be certain his internal organs will recover and he will survive.
Courage still has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but thanks to people who care and his will to live, he is doing much better.

So what went wrong? 

It is very difficult to know what went wrong.  It turns out, Courage's owner Kimberly Nizato is a 26 year old veterinary technician in Irvine -- it is she who was arrested in this case of animal abuse.  She was released on bail and in the meantime, is suspended from her job, with pay, because she has a child.  I appreciate the compassion of her employer, to consider the welfare of Kimberly's child, but I hope and pray that Kimberly would share the same compassion with animals and individuals in her life.

This was a difficult story to share, but in light of Animal Abuse Awareness Month I thought it was important to share...
Please do what you can to help stop animal abuse.  ~Zoe

Read more: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/04/19/1109416/vet-says-dog-has-gained-about.html#ixzz0leZvtm78

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday's Favorite Foto

Today's favorite photo was submitted by Judy.  The image is of "Mouse", a cat that allows herself to be cared for by Judy's son Niels and his partner Susie.

Thank you for your submission Judy!  ~Zoe

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday's Telling: Are you heart aware?

My hu-mom just signed us up to walk in the Heart Association's Heart Walk.  She and my hu-man have had several friends lately who have been diagnosed with heart disease -- unfortunately in some cases, the diagnosis came too late.  As a result, she and my hu-man have both gone in and had their hearts (and health) checked at French Hospital, through their FREE "Heart Aware" program.  The program begins with an on-line questionnaire.  Once you have completed the questionnaire, you can immediately print out an assessment with suggestions for improving your heart health.  In addition, you have the option of signing up for a FREE 1/2-hour appointment with the nurse who coordinates the program.  She will give you a fasting cholesterol test, review your results, and discuss lifestyle changes/adjustments for improving/maintaining a healthy heart.  At the end of the evaluation, you have the option of taking a calcium CT scan  (cost was $99), to determine if there are any blockages or build up found in your arteries. 

Well, this is a "dog" blog, so I'm going to get to talking about dogs.  Did you know that dogs get heart disease too?  Yes, we have first hand experience with that one in our home.  Kip has heart disease.  We learned about it a couple of years ago -- about the same time he had a 10 lb. splenic tumor removed.  Kip used to walk 2-3 miles a day -- now he walks to the end of the block and back.  Sometimes that is even too much for him.  He takes multiple medications daily, which help keep his heart beating fairly strong and regular and reduce the fluid in his lungs and body.  We love Kip and are thankful for each and every day we have with him.

So, how do you know if your dog has heart disease?  DogTime posted an excellent article on heart disease in dogs.  To read it, click here.

There is much we can do to combat heart disease -- I know I and my hu-mom will be walking to support the cause.  If you would like to walk with us...or donate to the cause, please sign up on our Heart Walk Web Page --  As a thank you for your support, we will send you a FREE PawPrintArt card made with my paw print and my hu-mom's imagination (see above). 

Until next time, do all that you can to live HEART HEALTHY!  ~Zoe

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday's Favorite Foto

Stephanie submitted the following photo, used to announce Purina's "Bark in the Park" in Australia.  The photo's title..."Half Time at the Dog Park"

Thank you, Stephanie, and Happy Friday to all!  ~Zoe

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Tackling Leash Aggression

Today's tip comes straight from Dogtime.com and deals with leash aggression...

Leash aggression is an extremely common behavior issue faced by many dog-loving owners.

You start on the blissful journey of puppy parenthood, envisioning a future of leisurely strolling with your dog: cup of coffee and newspaper in hand, ready to settle in on a park bench, street café, or just around the neighborhood. Then reality sets in. Lovable Fido often resembles Cujo while on leash.

I feel for owners battling leash aggression. I know they scratch their heads in bewilderment, sometimes even resorting to defending sweet Fido by blurting aloud to passersby, "Really, he's very sweet. He only does this on leash!"

Here's what is going on. Your dog is probably frustrated and anxious. Very likely, he wanted to run after or gain access to whatever he saw while on the street; it could've been a squirrel, other dogs, skateboards etc.

That pesky prohibitive collar and leash however prevented your dog from gaining access to these things and over time, exuberant curiosity was replaced with frustration. Your dog needs to release that frustration and voila, the barking and lunging begins.


It is very likely that your dog's initial outbursts were met with some form of disapproval from you.


The cycle then begins and now Fido begins to also feel anxious. He begins to think that not only do these things frustrate him, but they make Mom and Dad angry!


Now that we likely know the why, let's focus on how to manage the behavior.

In any case of aggression, I strongly advise working with a gentle and humane professional to guide you through this process and teach you about the importance of your timing and consistency. Seek a trainer whose methods are firming planted in reward-based training.

You need to develop a more refined replacement behavior for the lunging and barking. A dog that is quietly trotting along your side, staring into your sparkling eyes is ideal. In order to get this going, you need to be a vigilant owner. It is now your job to scout out other dogs before your dog has the opportunity.

You must also be a well prepared owner. You must always be stocked with tasty treats or your dog's favorite tug style toy.

Game plan

The very second you see a dog (before your dog has the chance to react) you quickly get Fido's attention with a happy voiced, "Fido!" Give him treats or access to his toy as you get close to and continue to pass the other dog. During this time, it's important that you remain calm, happy and refrain from tightening up on the leash. We are teaching Fido that both you and he need to relax in presence of other furry friends. Once the other dog has passed and is at a distance, the treating stops or the toy is put away.

Learning that you are the giver of all good things, your dog will become conditioned to look at you automatically when spotting another dog. This conditioning will also help improve Fido's association with other dogs.

It is very important, in kicking off this project, to be lavish in your reward giving, distributing treats every second while in sight of another dog. People often immediately retort, "My dog is going to get fat!" Not if you are a good owner and recognize that treats are incorporated into your dog's daily ration of food. Cut back on what is going into the bowl, knowing that tackling this behavior hurdle is top priority for the health and happiness of both you and your dog. It might take a bit of retraining yourself!

Over time, as your dog becomes increasingly comfortable looking at you, while ignoring other dogs, you will slowly decrease the number of treats given. If you are a good consistent trainer, by the end of this process you will be flipping one treat to your dog after you've passed the other dog and even sometimes simply offering a "good boy!"

Setting yourself up for success

  1. When you are feeling lazy, avoid routes with dogs! If you aren't going to be a good trainer, don't allow your dog to react--and thus unravel all the work you are doing. (It's like a smoker who picks up a cigarette again!)
  2. Practice "Fido, look!" every chance you get, NOT just when faced with other dogs. Your dog must make eye contact with you for everything he wants in life: before you put his food dish on the floor, snap on his leash, open the door for him to go outdoors, between each toss during a game of fetch. This is your batting practice. The more you and your dog get in the batting cage, the more successful you'll be at the big game!
  3. Exercise your dog. If you have a backyard, play fetch for fifteen minutes before going on a walk. Your dog will be a bit more tired, a bit more convinced that you are cool (after tossing the ball to him), and likely to be less anxious about those other dogs.

Work hard and your training will pay off. Sitting at at outdoor café without worry that your table flies out from under your plate as Fido lunges for another dog IS possible.

[NOTE: If your dog is unable to pass another dog--while being treated and without reacting--you will need to consider proximity. Establish a comfort/space threshold: approaching other dogs only to the point where your dog is comfortable, and then crossing the street or creating a visual block as you get by. Over time, you'll increase proximity. This will definitely require working with a professional.]

Written by Colleen Safford, of New York Walk & Train and Far Fetched Acres, one of NYC's most recognized dog trainers.
Can't we all just get along?  ~Zoe

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday's Tellings: Tails of Woods

As you know, this month we are featuring Woods Humane Society.  Well, you'll be pleased to know that Woods provides a multitude of ways to get involved.  We've already shared about pet adoptions, training, etc., well, here is just one more way you can support Woods!

Woods Humane Society is proud to announce the return of our annual dinner/gala fundraiser TAILS on Saturday, May 8 2010 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo. This year’s Tails of Woods promises a night of elegance, friendship, and fun. Join us for exclusive wine and beer tasting, a full course dinner, dessert, and both live and silent auctions.
Woods has been an important part of the Central Coast since 1955, sheltering and finding homes for those cats and dogs that find themselves in need. We are proud to have placed close to 40,000 dogs and cats into caring homes over the last 55 years. Our state of the art facility has allowed us to do so much more, but it takes events such as Tails of Woods to keep the facility running and continuing to realize its full potential. Fundraising represents 70% of our operating budget and the primary purpose of our event is to raise enough revenue to offset one full month of operational expenses.
Will you put a wag in our Tails?

Please contact the shelter directly at 805-543-9316 x19 for tickets, event information, or to join us as a business sponsor. Moreover, check back soon for a listing of this year’s wonderful Live Auction Items and participating wineries.
I don't think I'm invited to such an event, but if you are human and will be in the area in May, I encourage you to check it out!  ~Zoe

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chapter 12: Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School

Of all of the training I have received, I have enjoyed the Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School the best!  Linda is the proprieter, and she, along with her german shepherd, Reina, has a wonderful way with dogs and humans. 

My hu-mom had heard about Linda's Good Shepherd Dog Obedience school from several friends -- it seemed EVERYONE with a happy, well-balanced, well-behaved pet had been to the Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School.  My hu-mom was convinced that we HAD to go to "that" school!

Well we signed up, and Linda did not disappoint!  She really knows her stuff and shares information in such a gentle, but firm manner.  Not only did we learn the basics, sit, down, stay, heel, halt, etc., but she made sure there was a lot of interaction with other dogs and humans, and she also shared a lot about hygiene.  She showed our humans how to brush our teeth, clip our nails, clean our ears, check for and remove ticks,  and bathe us.

There was a lot of postitive reinforcement in Linda's training, and she even prepared us to put on a "show" for some local residents. You see, Linda was involved in taking animals into schools and nursing homes, to share the love of pets, and proper pet care, with those in attendance.

Linda encouraged lots and lots of fun activities with our humans, and helped our humans teach us tricks that we could perform in the show. My hu-mom worked with me to teach me how to shake hands, give a high-five, spin (to the left) and twirl (to the right), do puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit, down, etc), lay flat (play dead, although she didn't like that term so she uses a hand motion to encourage me to lay flat), leave it (with a piece of food), take it (same piece of food), catch (a ball, frisbee, etc), find it (she will hide a toy or food and it's my job to find it), flip a dog bone off of my nose and into my mouth, and curtsey.

Sadly, something happened (I don't remember exactly what), but our performance was cancelled.  So although we didn't get to share our tricks with the public, we had a lot of one-on-one time with our owners and learned lots of tricks!

In addition to the training, the hygiene, and the tricks, Linda also introduced us to dog agility.  Dog agility is F-U-N!  I'm pretty energetic, and had a blast jumping, climbing, running, etc.  My hu-mom and I haven't explored this any further, but I have a feeling this is next on my hu-man's list!

Linda now offers dog obedience, nose work (tracking a scent), and dog agility.  I and my hu-mom HIGHLY recommend Linda and her school to anyone wanting to strenghen your dog-human bond and learn obedience from a pro.  To find out more about the Good Shepherd Dog Obedience School, go to: http://www.appliedvb.com/goodshepslo/


Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

Just a short note to wish you a very Happy Easter!  ~Zoe
(click here)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday's Tip: Dear Labby -- Petiquette Expert

Have you ever run across something clever and thought, "Boy I sure wish I would have come up with that idea!"  Well today's post is about a very clever pet tip site on pet ettiquette -- or "petiquette".

Similar to Dear Abby or Ann Landers, this site allows you to ask a question and receive an answer -- only this site is for dogs and your questions are answered by...
This clever site is run by Dog Time, and as I said before, Labby will answer your dog related questions.  For example, here is a question submitted about whether it is okay or not to correct someone elses dog...
Dear Labby, My mother-in-law's Golden Retriever is a jumper. She's a friendly dog, and I like her, but she's pretty big and I don't care for the constant, attention-seeking jumping. My mother-in-law and I have not always been on great terms so I don't want to rock the boat by chastising her precious pet. On the other hand, I'd like them both to get the message that this behavior is not appreciated. What's the proper etiquette for correcting someone else's dog?
 Signed: Put Off by Undisciplined, Needy Canine Energy

Dear Put Off, Who doesn't fancy himself a dog expert, P.O.U.N.C.E., and relish the chance to drop pearly liver bits of wisdom on naïfs such as ourselves? So bank some points with your mother-in-law by asking her advice. Something along the lines of: "I'm sure you're teaching Cricket not to jump - how can I help reinforce proper behavior?"

It's not unlikely your mother-in-law will respond with, "Oh I don't mind if she jumps!" In that case, it's up to you to set boundaries. Turn away from the dog as soon as you notice her front paws come off the ground; she's looking for face-to-face contact, but if you quickly turn away from her, she'll eventually learn that jumping does not get her what she wants. At least not with you.

In general, the rule is to leave the correcting to the owner. The exceptions are when safety's at stake. Or when you've got a lemon meringue pie in your hands and the Retriever hasn't eaten since morning.
And so, I encourage you to send Labby your questions.  You can reach her at dearlabby@dogtime.com

Today's parting quote:  "Knowledge is realizing that the street is one-way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway" ~Unknown