Monday, September 28, 2009

Tips on Training

Dog training is pretty straightforward, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It requires some practice ... and if you're new to training, some good advice.

Kids (and adults) learn best when the learning is fun or enjoyable, and when they receive something in return. The same is true for dogs.

Using treats as a training reward will make your dog willing and eager to learn. But it isn't enough just to reward a dog. You need to reward him at just the right moment using a treat that he loves .

Timing of the reward is extremely important. After a correct response, immediately reward your dog with a tasty treat within one second of the command. If you wait longer than a second to give the treat, your dog may not make the connection between his behavior and the reward.

For example, when teaching your dog to "sit", here is how and when you reward your dog:

• Find a quiet indoor environment with few distractions.

• Start by using a small piece of food to lure your dog's nose to point upward (toward the treat) and move the treat backwards over his head so that he naturally lowers his haunches to a sitting position.

• Don't hold the treat too high or he may jump up for it.

• Be prepared: As soon as he sits, give him the treat food.

• Repeat the exercise, adding the word "sit," so the dog can learn quickly what you expect of him.

• Rather than forcing his body into position, allow him to discover what is required on his own.

• Once this exercise has been learned, move the training outdoors. Start in the quietness of your yard, then gradually move to more distracting places like the park.

• As your dog proves he has learned the meaning of the word "sit," taper off his rewards so that he only gets a treat every third or fourth time he sits.

• By rewarding your dog unpredictably - but always continuing to offer rewards at times - you can best maintain his interest in the exercise.

I hope this gives you some great tips on training.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pet Poison Help

It was just recently brought to our attention a source for immediate help in case your pet might come into contact with poison.

Pet Poison Helpline™ is a 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet. They have the ability to help every pet, with all types of poisonings, 24 hours a day.

Pet Poison Helpline is staffed with trained veterinary health experts. All of the medical professionals have received extensive education in the area of veterinary toxicology. Pharmacologists and board-certified veterinarians in internal medicine, emergency and critical care, and toxicology are available around the clock, as are herpetologists when needed. This multi-disciplinary approach to case management allows them to offer the highest level of assistance to you and your pet or patient.

In order to provide this critical service, please be advised that there is a $35 per incident fee, payable by credit card. This fee covers the initial consultation as well as all follow up calls associated with the management of the case.

To find out more, visit the website at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pet First Aid Kit

Create your own doggy first aid kit.

Many minor injuries can be self-treated with proper knowledge and equipment. These supplies can be used to help in a pinch until you can get to a veterinarian.

Here is what Animal Medical Center in New York recommends for your kit:

Tweezers: For splinter or foreign object removal

Nail trimmer: Ask your local pet supply store for the style of trimmer right for your pet.

Scissors: Handy for hair clumps and foreign object tangles. Take special care not to cut the skin – this can be accidentally done.

Betadine Sponges: For cleaning of cuts and wounds, to be used with an antibacterial cleanser

Sterile Vaseline for eyes: If you're bathing your pet, this will prevent soap and water from getting in their eyes

Saline Solution: Regular human contact lens saline solution can be used to flush out dirt, sand, or other irritant - just gently squeeze the contents directly into the eye.

Peroxide: To only be used to induce vomiting when Animal Poison Control says to do so. You should call Animal Poison Control when your dog or cat has consumed something from the "no" list. Not to be used for cleaning wounds.

Triple antibiotic ointment: To place directly on a cut

Sterile telpha pads (no stick): Sticky bandages and fur don't mix. Wrap the wound with the nonadherent pads before placing on the bandage.


Remember, proper immediate first-aid is only the first step in the treatment of a dog injury or emergency. While your intervention may prevent serious harm, you must always seek veterinary care as soon as possible to assure the best outcome for your companion.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Helpful Dog

Dogs serve many useful purposes besides being your best buddy.

Could you use your computer screen cleaned?

Dog for hire.

Hope that made you laugh!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cesar Shares What Dogs Teach

When humans bring a dog into their lives, they are most often looking for a companion; what they may not realize is that they are getting a teacher as well.

Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, says, "One of the most valuable lessons my dogs have taught me is how to have a healthy relationship. In any relationship - human-canine, human-human, human-pachyderm you cannot have the bond you are looking for unless you fulfill the others' needs. If you're not giving your dog what he requires, he'll let you know by chewing your shoes, jumping up on your guests, pulling on the walk, or one of many other behavior problems. It's not malicious. He's just finding another way to meet the needs programmed in him by Mother Nature."

According to Cesar, "In order to fulfill one another, we need to look outside ourselves and really understand what the other needs and how their psychology works. That's the foundation for a balanced, healthy relationship with any species."

But that's not all dogs have to teach us. Cesar states, "They educate us about the value of consistency. If you apply Exercise, Discipline, then Affection every day without fail, your dog will reward you with loyal companionship."

He emphasizes that "They show us how to live life to the fullest by being balanced and celebrating every moment. They have taught me to value the simplicity of life itself. They intensify every moment that I am with them. And for that, I am eternally grateful."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Humor Me

My good friend sent me this humorous story for pet owners:

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away."

The distressed woman wailed, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead," replied the vet.

"How can you be so sure?" she protested. "I mean you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room.

He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.

A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck."

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.

The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried, "$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!"

The vet shrugged, "I'm sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it's now $150."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dog Smile

Some dogs do smile.

This dog not only smiles, but on cue.

Watch Sonja; very cute!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dogs are Better than Kids?

Eleven reasons that dogs are better than kids:

They eat less.
Don't ask for money all the time.
They are easier to train.
They usually come when called.
They never drive your car.
They don't hang out with drug-using friends.
They don't smoke or drink.
You don't need to worry about having to buy the latest fashions.
They don't wear your clothes.
They don't need a gazillion dollars for college.
And if they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

Hope you got a chuckle from this!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Different Trainers

Today I received a call from a customer regarding dog training.

He had just purchased an electronic training collar and anxiously awaits the delivery of the product. We talked about his dog. He then told me about the dog trainer that his veterinarian recommended.

Oh my gosh! It sounded abusive and he could not do anything to stop it. The trainer used a pinch collar and made the dog cry out. Then she actually smacked the dog trying to get it to fight back! The gentleman told me that he would NEVER do anything like that to a dog. He then proceeded to tell me this dog trainer had won awards for the dogs she trained. But we both wondered, "Is this a humane way to treat a dog?"

And people are a bit leery of using an electronic training collar because of hurting the dog. A small stimulation is nothing compared to the abuse the dog received under the disguise of "training."

This man was very upset about the treatment his dog received, and rightly so! He felt terrible, and told me that he could not even sleep last night. I felt that he really needed someone to talk to having gone through this experience with his dog. My "counselor" hat was put on.

Just a note to all pet owners to talk with dog trainers before subjecting your dog to training.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"You Are Not The Boss!"

This beautiful evening I was walking with my dog, Ebony, on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington.

I meet the most interesting people on the Trail. Tonight I met Chris who was jogging with her Australian Shepard, Bug.

When I first past her she told me her dog was being naughty and to not allow my dog to meet her dog. As Ebony and I walked away I heard Chris say,

"You are not the boss!"

I could not help but chuckle.

"You are not the boss!"

When we passed again on our return trip, Chris asked if our dogs could meet. I guess Bug had improved his behavior over the course of the hour.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dogs and Mud Puddles

Does your dog look for puddles to play in?

Since she was a pup my son's Golden Retriever, Ginger, is always looking for a puddle. If it is muddy, she is delighted


Would you let this dog in your house?!?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Canine Heros

A kind and gentle seeing-eye dog guiding his blind caretaker across the street, the intense focus of a K9 police unit sniffing out a bomb, a search dog barking to let us know that she has found a missing child - these are the images that come to mind when you think of canine heroes. They use their animal "super powers" of smell, sight, and boundless loyalty to better our lives.

But these working dogs are not the only heroes in the canine community. We live with them every day. Our dogs strengthen our families, bring us back in touch with Mother Nature, and remind us to live every day to the fullest. They change our lives.

These tough times give us cause to appreciate our canine companions even more. Dogs don't follow unstable pack leaders. Instead, they let us know when we have lost our way. We can get so caught up in the concerns over our material wealth that we overlook the real wealth we have. Take a moment to appreciate the riches that your family and friends bring you, and let your dog know you recognize his heroic capacity for love.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dog Walking Dog

Today, my son and I took our dogs to Tracy Owen Station Park in Kenmore, Washington.

It was one of those Washington days; fabulous clouds, sun breaks, and some rain.

My son's Golden Retrievers out for a walk.....

Brinkley walks Ginger

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Airline Just For Pets

An idea coming of age!

Did you know there is an airline strictly for pets?

Rated: 4 Paws

Pet Airways

Friday, September 4, 2009


Have you seen Kate and Gin on Britain's Got Talent?

They are quite the team and very talented.

Take a few minutes to watch Kate and Gin perform.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Teaching Older Dogs

The old saying that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" is NOT true.

Old dogs may not learn as quickly as they once did, but with time and patience most older dogs can be taught to do just about anything that a young dog can do.

If you would like to teach your older dog some new tricks, here are some tips:

1. Teach one word commands. Teaching the correct response to voice cues or hand signals is as fundamental to communicating with a dog as the alphabet is to human language.

2. Be consistent. Consistency is the key to learning.

3. Provide rewards. Reward your dog's good behavior with a treat and tons of praise.

4. If the dog is slightly deaf, speak louder.

To put it all together, this is what you do:

Add a word cue or sign that must preface the behavior if it is to be rewarded. This is called a conditional stimulus; and it must be present if a reward for performing the behavior is forthcoming. The word cue or other cue should be delivered once, and once only. Whatever you do don't repeat the command. If the dog obeys, he must be rewarded immediately. If he does not, there is no reward. The opposite of reward is not punishment it is simply the lack of reward.

Using the above method, any behavior can be trained although more complicated behaviors have to be trained in stages ("shaped").

Reward your dog for performing a desired behavior when that behavior occurs naturally. For example, give your dog a food treat for sitting, lying down or to stop barking. Initially, the reward should be selected to be practically irresistible, not just kibble or a piece of dry dog biscuit. The frequency with which your dog will perform the behavior will increase if the reward is more appreciated.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

World Oldest Dog

A wire-haired dachshund that held the record as the world's oldest dog and celebrated its last birthday with a party at a dog hotel and spa has died at age 21 — or 147 in dog years.

The dog, named Chanel, died Friday of natural causes at her owners' home in suburban Port Jefferson Station, on Long Island.

Chanel, as stylish as her legendary namesake, wore tinted goggles for her cataracts in her later years and favored sweaters because she was sensitive to the cold, owners Denice and Karl Shaughnessy said Monday.

The playful dachshund was only 6 weeks old when Denice Shaughnessy, then serving with the U.S. Army, adopted her from a shelter in Newport News, Va.

Along with her owner, Chanel spent nine years on assignment in Germany, where she became adept at stealing sticks of butter from kitchen counter tops and hiding them in sofa cushions in the living room, Shaughnessy said. She also liked chocolate, usually considered toxic to dogs, Shaughnessy said.

"She once ate an entire bag of Reese's peanut butter cups, and, you see, she lived to be 21, so go figure," Shaughnessy added.

Karl Shaughnessy nominated Chanel for the title of world's oldest dog after noticing the Guinness World Records book had no record.

Guinness World Records officials presented Chanel with a certificate as the world's oldest dog at a Manhattan birthday bash hosted by a private pet food company in May.

Chanel loved the party, especially the cake, which had a peanut butter flavor and had been made for dogs, Denice Shaughnessy said.

Chanel exercised daily and ate home-cooked chicken with her dog food, but good care wasn't entirely responsible for her long life, said her owners, who attributed God.

"Dogs are God's angels sent here to look out for us," Denice Shaughnessy said.

When asked the secret to her dog's long life, Denice said she was shocked he's still with her.

"I have five kids, and all my kids are grown and gone," she said. "Now my grand kids are playing with this dog."