Monthly Archives: August 2019

National “Clear the Shelters” dog & cat adoption event

This coming Saturday, August 17, will be the lucky day that thousands of dogs and cats find a new home. The day marks the nationwide pet adoption drive known as “Clear the Shelters” with more than 1,400 animal shelters and rescue organizations participating in events around the U.S. and Puerto Rico, all aiming to find loving homes for animals in need. Launched nationally in 2015 by NBC and Telemundo owned television stations, this annual event is becoming fixtures in their communities with more than 250,000 pets having found their forever homes since the first Clear the Shelters event.

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National “Clear the Shelters” dog & cat adoption event

This coming Saturday, August 17, will be the lucky day that thousands of dogs and cats find a new home. The day marks the nationwide pet adoption drive known as “Clear the Shelters” with more than 1,400 animal shelters and rescue organizations participating in events around the U.S. and Puerto Rico, all aiming to find loving homes for animals in need. Launched nationally in 2015 by NBC and Telemundo owned television stations, this annual event is becoming fixtures in their communities with more than 250,000 pets having found their forever homes since the first Clear the Shelters event.

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Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

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What Did My Dog Swallow?

A couple nights ago, I awoke in the middle of the night to
that one sound that no dog owner can ignore: that lurching sound of an
impending vomit. I leapt out of bed and saw my younger dog, Woody, standing
near my bed, trembling. He looked exactly like a toddler who woke up feeling
crummy and sought out his mom so he could barf in front of her. Well, that’s
exactly what he did do; he and my
older dog Otto always sleep in the living room.

“Oh, puppy,” I said. “What happened?” I grabbed my phone and
smashed buttons on it, trying to find the flashlight option through bleary
eyes. I scanned the room with the light but couldn’t see any actual puddles of
vomit, so I got up and walked him outside, in case he had to throw up some
more. He walked out onto the lawn and peed, went to the outside water bucket
and drank a little water, and then came back inside. No more trembling. He
settled back onto the couch and I went back to bed.

dog curled up on couch
Sleeping “comfortably” after his vomit

In the morning, with clearer eyes, I found the vomit. It
was, of course, on one of the only two rugs in the house, an antique Persian
carpet runner in my bedroom. In the weak beam of my phone flashlight, I
couldn’t differentiate between the pattern in the rug and the small (now mostly
dried) puddle. There was some slimy stuff that was most certainly just
digestive juices, bits of nearly digested kibble, and . . .  a blob of something. I used some paper towel
to pick it up, examining the blob closely.

A mystery from the depths…of Woody

At first I thought it was a piece of bone or glass, but it
was soft, with rounded edges. It was rubbery – if not actual rubber. I
took it to the kitchen sink and rinsed it off. It was for sure a hunk of
something rubbery and opaque. I could make out some molded edges.

If this happened two or more years ago, I wouldn’t have even
blinked. Woody chewed up lots of things when he was a puppy and adolescent dog,
and he vomited up everything that was indigestible, usually within a day or
two. I had a few surprises – as when he vomited up a piece of something I
hadn’t even known was missing – but mostly I was able to say, “Ah, that’s a
piece of that old Kong toy,” or “Finally, that chunk of the flying disk he ruined.”

But this time? He hasn’t chewed up anything for ages and
ages. I can’t even remember the last time he chewed up a toy or a forbidden item.
And I don’t at all recall any toy that we have ever had that was this
particular color, a sort of a slightly translucent, light root-beer-bottle
brown.

Could this thing have been in there for months or years? Is
that even possible? Perhaps, once upon a time, it was colorful and had sharp edges from being chewed up, and it has
lost color and gained smooth edges from marinating in digestive juices for
years?

This was the theory proposed by my husband, anyway. “What
are you talking about, he never chews up anything anymore?” he asked me,
incredulous. “He chews up his Squeak balls all the time!”

On the hunt for damaged toys

The mystery item is roughly the same shape as the hole in one of the dogs’ favorite Planet Dog Squeak balls, but it is about twice as thick (also the wrong color, and a bit translucent).

That is not exactly correct. Both of my dogs like to chew on
their favorite toy, the Planet Dog Squeak Ball, like they are chewing
bubblegum. The Squeak appears to be the perfect texture, or offers the perfect
amount of resistance for their jaws. But I don’t think either dog is exactly
bent on destroying the Squeak balls; they just chew the balls so much, that
eventually, the balls crack and start to fall apart. And when they start to
fall apart, then one of the dogs (usually Otto) will lay down with the ball and
chew it up into bits. It’s a process that takes months, but that goes fast at
the end.

To test my husband’s theory, I hunted around the property,
looking for all the Squeak balls in various stages of repair. I did actually
find one that had a missing chunk that was vaguely the same shape as the perplexing
lump from Woody’s midnight misadventure. But, no: It wasn’t a credible match.
The baffling item is about twice as thick as the “walls” of the Squeak.

So the mystery lives on. What is that thing? How long has it
been in there? Where did it come from? Is there more in there? I might never
know.

Dogs!!  

The post What Did My Dog Swallow? appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

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The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters

There may have been a time when schools only needed to be charged with teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic. But as society changes schools become responsible for instruction that either used to be provided at home, or represents a new field of study. When I was in high school we had a choice of […]

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Smiling Dog: Dobby

Dog’s name and age: Dobby, 3 years

Story behind the name: When I adopted Dobby at 6 months, he looked just like Dobby from the Harry Potter series with these huge ears. He has grown into his ears now!

Adoption story: I lost my first dog, Samson, in August of 2016. I was completely devastated and thought it would be a long time before I could handle getting another dog. I still needed to get my “dog-fix” in so I started volunteering at the Humane Society of Huron Valley a few months later. Three weeks of volunteering later, I was cleaning up the back holding room and saw Dobby. It was absolutely love at first sight.

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Pet Disaster Plan: Preparing for the Worst

Learn how to prepare for the care of your pet in an emergency

A year ago, Tropical Storm Lane barreled into the Big Island of Hawaii and dropped a torrential 51+ inches of rain on the mainland. People and pets had to dodge mudslides, and rescues were needed to save lives. Three months prior, Mt. Kilauea erupted followed by a 4.4 earthquake — 280 homes were destroyed, 1,700 people and pets had to flee their homes and those not directly affected, suffered migraines and worse from inhaling sulfur dioxide as their beautiful countryside was covered in a LAZE (lava and gasses).

California celebrated July 4th this year with the boom and rumble of three main 6.4, 5.4 and 7.1 magnitude shocks followed by more than 1,400 aftershocks! Although relatively minor damage was suffered, a few building fires and loss of power to thousands, next time the epicenter could be in a more heavily populated area.

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How My Dog Inspired Me to Learn to Become a Dog Trainer

The following article is a guest submission from current Victoria Stilwell Academy Dog Trainer Course student Ruth Hegarty about how her relationship with her dog led her on a journey to become a professional dog trainer with VSA.

Article author and Victoria Stilwell Academy Dog Trainer Course student Ruth Hegarty with her dog, Jake.

Although It seems like yesterday, my journey to become a dog trainer began years ago when I started looking for more humane ways to train my own dog. I adopted a feral dog in 2010 with no idea what that meant. His name is Jake and the minute I saw him I fell in love with his smile. The minute I got him home, however, I realized that it wasn’t going to be an easy task to train a fifty-pound dog that had only ever lived wild in the woods of Virginia. It might not have been so bad except that in his efforts to adapt to his new life he would knock me down to steal my food, bite me and generally scare the heck out of my whole family.

I persevered reading books and articles online, watching videos and generally trying to learn everything I could about how to “make him behave.” I took him to the local dog park which he enjoyed until he was attacked by another dog. After that Jake became dog aggressive and would snarl and lunge toward any dog he saw on our walks. He developed a fear of vehicles after we almost got hit by a car that drove up on the sidewalk which caused him to also lunge at cars on our walks. Since he hadn’t been socialized as a puppy, he also has a near zero tolerance for novelty of any kind. Of course, what I knew about socializing a dog in those days could have fit in a thimble.

I decided I needed professional help so I enrolled in a couple of different obedience classes and even worked one-on-one with a trainer. At that time, I knew nothing about traditional versus positive reinforcement dog training and the trainers I went to were all traditional trainers. I was scolded for not being the “alpha” to my “dominant” dog and advised to use a firm hand and apply punishment in order to get respect from my stubborn dog so he would behave the way I wanted. I’d like to say I saw those recommendations as the bad advice they were but I did not. I gave it all a try. I pulled, choked, shocked and yelled at my dog until I felt like a monster. My poor dog was still afraid of dogs and cars and now maybe a little bit of me, too.

I decided I’d rather have a completely untrained dog than one who’d been mistreated into submission so I quit using all of those techniques. Luckily for both Jake and myself our “back to the drawing board” moment led to the discovery of clicker training. Could I really teach my dog using treats as a reward? Turns out, I absolutely could. Not only did positive reinforcement training (as I came to discover it was called) make me feel better about how I treated my dog, Jake absolutely loved it! I realized the dog the trainers called “dominant” and “stubborn” was really a sensitive, intelligent creature who wanted to learn and have fun with me. He was a good dog who had had some bad experiences and a human who didn’t understand how to communicate effectively with him in the beginning.

Now, at nine years old, Jake is a sweet, well-mannered dog with a happy life. He’s still afraid of dogs and cars but not nearly as much and we still work on it. He still loves our training sessions and still has the gorgeous smile I fell in love with that October day we met.

The more I learned about positive reinforcement, the alpha myth and how dogs think and learn, the more I wanted to spread the message. Then I learned that a lack of training is the main reason owners surrender their dogs to shelters and I remembered that I’d considered returning Jake to the shelter in those first few months. That statistic set me on fire to provide training for adult rescue dogs and their humans so that a lack of training wouldn’t come between them. I researched dog training schools and came across the Victoria Stilwell Academy which resonated with me because of the emphasis on understanding how dogs learn and seeing each dog as an individual. I’d also read one of Victoria Stilwell’s books while learning positive reinforcement training on my own and really liked how she explained everything. As I worked the numbers to see how long it would take me to save up the tuition and vacation time I would need to attend the program, the online course launched. I took the sample course and found the program rigorous and well supported. I signed up for the full course before I even finished the sample one! Down the road I’d still like to take the in-person course but the online program has been in-depth, my advisor has been indispensable and my dog has gone from being afraid of the camera I bought to film my assessments to getting excited when I take it out because he knows we are going to “play.”

I have learned so much over the months I’ve been enrolled in VSA’s Online Dog Trainer Course. My dog and I have both grown in confidence and I’ve been able to live my dream of helping adopted dogs stay at home by working with shelters and training dogs and their families in my community. I marvel often about how my dog has blessed my life with love, challenges and a new career. I could never have imagined that day I walked into the shelter that I’d be writing this today.

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Rally, Utility Obedience, and IPO…on Instagram!

I found Instagram a couple of months ago. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not but I have found that it is incredibly easy to create a 30 or 60 second video clip and upload it directly. So I do.   Which does not mean I am not going to post here or on Facebook, because I do those things as well. But in terms of simplicity and time, Instagram is hard to beat for quick video lessons.

The last several days have been a fairly in-depth look at the out of motion exercises for rally, AKC obedience, and IPO. If you’d like to learn how to get a kickback stand, or a super fast stop, or if you want a pile of games to make it more interesting and impressive, you may want to check it out. My username there is @raikasmom

Here is today’s set of games – I will post this video soon.  These use a foot target and the stanchion behind the dog – an excellent pair of games for individuals working in AKC utility, rally obedience, or IPO.

And for those of you working through reactivity or over-arousal, or if you are a trainer to others, I hope you will join me for my Thursday night webinars! Learn more here:  FDSA Webinars

The post Rally, Utility Obedience, and IPO…on Instagram! appeared first on Denise Fenzi's Blog.

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The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters

There may have been a time when schools only needed to be charged with teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic. But as society changes schools become responsible for instruction that either used to be provided at home, or represents a new field of study. When I was in high school we had a choice of […]

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