Posts Tagged ‘ k-9 ’

Separation Anxiety-Avoiding It On A Trip

March 31, 2012

Well we took our first road trip without our Sophie. We had been travelling with her for the past 12 years & she was well schooled at staying hotels. Willie has been on the road with us but never without her. We were anticipating he would experience separation anxiety when we left him in our hotel room & we definitely didn’t want him to go into a panic when we left so we employed a little forethought during the car ride to our destination. When we got to the hotel, we placed his bed, toys & bowls in the room before we did anything else. One of us waited with him while the other unloaded the car.Then we switched, with the other person staying with him. Then we both stayed with him for a few minutes so he could “find” his way around the room & know it was our “den” even if it was temporary. We then went out & came RIGHT back for a couple of times but did it really quickly to get him used to us going out of the door. Our next step was to gradually increase our time outside of the room. The first time we left, he started to whine like it was the end of the world and we weren’t but ten feet from the door, so we stood still to see what he would do & he actually stopped crying. I must add that this may not work with dogs who are not “well adjusted”. The next time we left the room, he whined & I returned to the door, without going inside. I told him to go lay down & he stopped crying. As heart breaking as it was to hear him whine, we did not go back to pet him. This would have just reinforced his being sad.It would have also given him the message that”If I cry, my friends come back-so I will just keep crying”. We also tried to gradually get him used to being in the room alone. The main point is that it was done GRADUALLY & INCREMENTALLY. We have only been here one night & he seems to have adjusted. The process of leaving him for short stints was done over the course of a few hours & was really no work at all.

Separation Anxiety-at the loss of another dog

March 26, 2012

So far today, our younger dog is doing ok without his momma. It has been cloudy all day so we are hoping that explains his moping around. Since dogs do grieve(yes I assigned a human emotion to dogs because they do feel them), we recognize that he will go thru an adjustment just like us. Since he has hardly been home without anyone in the past 5 yrs, we need to get him acclimated to it in small doses. We both left the house & opened & closed the garage doors-just like we actually left-but we stayed in the garage. We heard him wimper & cry which gave me a knot in my throat. With dogs & kids, you sometimes have to be cruel to be kind. We forced ourselves not to go back inside otherwise, we ran the risk of rewarding his sad behavior because that is just how he would see the situation(When you own a dog, it helps to try to think like one). He would have  said to himself, I cried & they came back-so if I cry next time, then they will come back. So we were cruel & waited until he stopped crying. Once he stopped, we went back in. He was happy to see us. We gave him a casual “Hey Little Guy” but nothing too extravagant because that could create separation anxiety all by itself. Tomorrow we must re-enter the daily grind & will have no choice but to leave him alone. In order for him to make the departure more tolerable for him, we will create a distraction to take his mind off of us leaving. We will fill two Kongs with peanut butter & dry dog food & hide a few small piles of dog food throughout his area. Hopefully, he will concentrate on where we are leaving the food & not us putting our coats on. We will just have to take it from there. As much as we want to coddle him during the transition to being the only dog, we refrain because that will reinforce his being sad. He is getting the same type & amount of attention as he did before he lost his momma and we are maintaining his routine so he doesn’t get further confused. As a rule of thumb, the experts say it takes a dog 3 to 5 days in order to adjust to new environment or a change int heir existing one. This is just a general rule. The dog we just said Good Bye to took a good two years & an addition of a puppy to allow her to adjust to the loss of her buddy. We are also trying not to be sad around him so he doesn’t pick up on it. We will all get through this & we need each other to accomplish it but it can be done.

Sophie-Our Final Farewell

March 25, 2012

On 3/22/12 at 1pm in out yard next to my wife’s vegetable garden with the sun shining & us bawling our eyes out, Sophie left this world at 11 years & 11 months old. Her 12th bday would have been next month, one day after our 12th anniversary.  She had pizza the night before & hamburgers on the morning of. A young gal assistant who is Sophie’s vet office buddy since puppyhood came so that made Sophie happy. This girl was crying too. Sophie had a fantastic day & night (except for us crying on & off) the day before with puppy enthusiasm & energy with her body looking like nothing was wrong.My wife took out her old basket of secret stash toys, which we had hidden from Willie so he wouldn’t destroy them. He thought he hit the toy lottery. Sophie had immediately picked up her pink squeaky ball that she used to guard so no one would squeak it & she started right off where she left off with it & exerting her dominance over Willie one last time, which he respected. We then all watched tv with the dogs actually paying attention to the tv. I tell you if it wasn’t for the looming countdown till the vet came, it would have been the closest I have ever been to complete utter blissness in my entire  life. We then all slept upstairs as we always did & I gave her the last nite time head massage & sweet talk session. I did make her try to walk up the stairs & helped her rear end out by 90%. We had slept downstairs for the past 2 nites with my wife on the couch & me on floor so she wouldn’t have to struggle with the stairs. It was a wonderful evening that should never have ended so she did one last favor by giving us that last great day & night. On the morning of, she was good but not quite as the day before. She hadn’t pooped much in the last 2 days which was probably because the cancer was squishing her intestines. Her appetite got better as did her drinking. Sometimes her head would tremor slightly but not much or that often so we don’t think she was in pain & she showed no signs of pain other than the normal arthritis stiffness when she first got up. She only fell down once in the 3 days when before she had been falling 2-3 times each day when her front paw would sometimes knuckle under. The absolute WORST thing in the world was the ticking clock looming constantly which made me feel pressured to relax with her & suck in every last breath, sight & sound of her. When the vet came, Willie was locked in our den. Sophie laid on her travelling blanket which was hers in the car on every single road trip we ever took. Of course she tried to sniff every single item coming from the doctor’s bag & the vet let her sniff 1 thing & then to business-guess so she wouldn’t get emotional. They injected her with a sedative in the rear leg. She was laying on her side with her head lifted off the ground & was obviously fighting it & trying to keep her head up so she could see where my wife was & what was going on, but after about a long 45 seconds, her head relaxed. That was wrenching to watch her try to stay awake. The vet then tried to put the final dose in her front leg but in true Sophie spirit, it didn’t take & she had to get the injection in her rear leg. About 10 seconds later, the vet pronounced her gone, she farted one last time & then the knife twisted in my heart. My wife cried “Oh My Baby” and then my heart was ripped from my chest. In the morning of this good bye, I called the vet & told them to double & triple check the x-rays because they missed the boat months ago by pushing the Cushing’s diagnosis & I couldn’t take this decision back. They said they checked & we were doing the right thing before this whole thing started. After Sophie passed, we let Willie out hoping he would calmly sniff her & realize she had passed, but he was too happy to have freedom & see people that he actually stepped on poor Sophie’s body. I tried leashing him but he was too excited so he went back in the house & then I helped load Sophie on a stretcher & place her in the vet’s car for one last ride. Then the heart wrenched even more. After about 1/2 hr we agreed there was some sense of relief only in that there was no more clock haunting us. We sobbed for a bit & then took Willie to the beach where Sophie always loved to go with my wife. When we got to the beach, my wife found a piece of blue beach glass & she has never ever found glass at that beach or any other. Her sisters tell her that blue beach glass is rare so we take it as some sort of sign or gift from Sophie. Also of all the places on this huge beach, of course I had find the dog shit & step in it. When we got home, Willie looked at her bed & didn’t even check her bowl for missed crumbs as he always does. When we went upstairs he just stared at her bed when he would normally race to get in it. After he finished dinner, he looked over at her bed. Today he has been extra clingy & off with wind definitely knocked out of his sails. I haven’t caught him looking for her but there is definitely not the same enthusiasm he normally has. He has always been exuberant & a happy puppy. Still waiting for that sense of peace to blanket me so I know she made it safely to her destination. Today had its moments( & really bad ones) & there are spots in the house & yard I just can’t bear to look at. For years I have heard & known that putting a dog to sleep is the nicest thing you can do. While it finally sank in as taking 1 for the team so she would never experience pain, it still doesn’t jive with my longing for her. My wife hasn’t had a total meltdown yet but I anticipate one as this was her first baby from scratch. Just hope we can keep Willie from going into a funk. He hasn’t even been home by himself for more than 30 minutes& not more than a few times  so we will have to  work on that. I can’t concentrate & have been staring at the same pile of paperwork for hours today & got none of it done but at least I am not crying constantly or feeling sick to my stomach anymore. As my Grandma used to say “This too shall pass”. On that fateful day,  time was my enemy and now it will help me-what a dichotomy.

It was ironic that the day after was designated National Puppy Day & then today I saw this article in our paper.

Dogs Enrich Our Lives

March 11, 2012

Dogs can enrich our lives in many ways without even trying or knowing how. They do it by just being themsleves. By having a dog, we have a lesser chance of getting heart disease, depression and a host of other infirmaties. They do this with their mere existence within our world-without any training. The ones that are trained can help us weed out bad guys, find people & items, lead blind people, lend comfort to those in distress, alert people to impending seizures, detect pregnancy and assist handicapped people. Dogs have been found to be able to detect certain illnesses in humans, locate rare species of animals and on and on. I have a feeling that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface with regards to the many ways dogs can enrich our lives.

Top 10 Dog Breeds on Long Island

March 4, 2012

This article was printed in Newsday on Sunday, March 4,2012.


Disaster Tips for Pets-From FEMA

March 3, 2012

Caring for Animals

If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Unfortunately, animals are also affected by disaster.

The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or terrorist attack depends largely on emergency planning done today. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals.

If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency.

Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.

Use the Pet Owners Brochure and the Pet Instructional Video to help you create an emergency plan and kit for your pet.

For additional information, please contact the Humane Society of the United States.

  • Guidelines for Pets

  • Guidelines for Large Animals

  • More Information

A family with their kittenPlan for pet needs during a disaster by:

  • Identifying shelter. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local animal shelter’s number in your list of emergency numbers. They might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.
  • Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they’re not available later. Before you find yourself in an emergency situation, consider packing a “pet survival” kit which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.
  • Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home.
  • Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
  • Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can’t escape.
Prepare Shelter for Your Pet

Take the following steps to prepare to shelter your pet:

  • Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
  • If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located. Be sure to research some outside your local area in case local facilities close.
  • Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current. Include copies in your “pet survival” kit along with a photo of your pet.
  • Some animal shelters will provide temporary foster care for owned pets in times of disaster but this should be considered only as a last resort.
  • If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger! Confine your pet to a safe area inside - NEVER leave your pet chained outside! Leave them loose inside your home with food and plenty of water. Remove the toilet tank lid, raise the seat and brace the bathroom door open so they can drink. Place a notice outside in a visible area, advising what pets are in the house and where they are located. Provide a phone number where you or a contact can be reached as well as the name and number of your vet.
Protect Your Pet During a Disaster
  • Bring your pets inside immediately.
  • Have newspapers on hand for sanitary purposes. Feed the animals moist or canned food so they will need less water to drink.
  • Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
  • Separate dogs and cats. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Keep small pets away from cats and dogs.
  • In an emergency, you may have to take your birds with you. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure that the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.
Caring for Your Pet After a Disaster
  • If after a disaster you have to leave town, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
  • In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood areas. Downed power lines are a hazard.
  • The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.

(taken from )

Nail Clipping-Instructional Video

March 3, 2012

Many dogs absolutely hate having their nails cut. It is usually due to a bad experience when they were hurt during clipping. As a result, the dog has become conditioned to associate pain with nail clipping. As with all training it is important to make every experience a positive & fun one. When you are cutting the dog’s nails, you must be actively conscious that there is a vein running through the nail which is called a “quick”. Cutting into the quick can cause extreme pain in dogs as well as cause them to bleed. Dogs can actually bleed to death from a nail that is cut too short. It is for this reason that I have become a fan of nail grinders. Some dogs have never been trained to accept a nail clipper and get aggressive due to fear of the unknown. Counter-conditioning(teaching the dog to illicit a different behavior) & desensitization(getting the dog used to it) are two very important ways to get your dog over the fear of the clipper. This link will bring you to a very informational video on how to perform these tasks. Please keep in mind that it may take a lot longer for some dogs to have success with these methods, but persistence will prevail. If you are unsure of how to cut your dog’s nails or how short to cut them, then please consult with your veterinarian of professional groomer. Don’t get discouraged-just stick to the program.

Vaccination Side Effects

March 3, 2012

Sometimes dogs can have allergic reactions  to vaccinations. It is important to recongnize these signs as early treatment can prevent fatal results. This link provides some side effects to watch out for. As always, if you are not sure if your dog is having side effects, please consult your veterinarian immediately. Your vet is your best resouce when helping your dog. This link lists some side effects and what to watch out for.

Leash Training-Walking With Loose Leash

February 29, 2012

How To Train A Dog To Walk On A Leash

January 4th, 2012 11:47:14 am

As a dog owner, one of the best things you can learn is how to train a dog to walk on a leash. Walking together enhances the bond between dog and owner, provides exercise, and allows the dog to accompany you on visits to dog-friendly places. All of these are much more enjoyable when your dog walks calmly and isn’t trying to drag you down the street.


The secret to accomplishing this is teaching your dog it’s more rewarding to walk beside you than to pull ahead. This takes teaching him about two things: tension and patience.



When a dog pulls, there is constant tension on the leash. You want your dog to understand that a loose leash is preferable. How do you do this?


Begin by not allowing your dog to grow accustomed to tension on the leash. If your dog pulls, do not pull backwards in an attempt to stop the pulling. Dogs innately pull against whatever is pulling them, so pulling backwards will only encourage him to pull forwards and get used to constant tension. Instead, give a quick, sharp tug on the leash (but never so strong your dog is lifted off his feet). This will get his attention more effectively.


Second, do not use a retractable leash while training your dog to walk beside you. They have their uses, but the constant pull of the gadget creates tension on the leash. Train with a fixed-length leash.




Many dogs pull because they are anxious to see what’s ahead. You want to teach your dog that he will be rewarded for his patience. There are a few ways to accomplish this.


First, show your dog impatience is not rewarded. As soon as your dog pulls forward, say “ah!” or “no!” loudly with a quick tug on the leash to get his attention and communicate that pulling is not ok. If he continues to pull, simply turn and walk in the opposite direction. That shows him that when he pulls, he doesn’t get ahead faster – he ends up further behind. Now, your dog is behind you and will walk towards you. As your dog approaches, say “heel” and praise him when he is at your side. Here’s where the technique gets really useful. If he starts to walk ahead of you, you can stop him and turn around before there’s tension on the leash from his pulling. This gets him used to a loose leash. If he pulls again, repeat this process as many times as necessary. It may get frustrating but it is very effective.


Then, show him the benefits of walking calmly at your side. When he is beside you, say “heel” to associate his position with the word. Reward him with praise. For food-motivated dogs, dropping a training treat is an excellent option. He gets a treat by walking beside you and does not get treats when he is pulling ahead. This gives him great motivation for staying beside you (think of the dog that learns to stay beside the dinner table to catch crumbs).


Putting It Together


As you train your dog to walk on a leash, remember: the training is the focus of the walk, not the distance. If you spend 20 minutes taking a few steps then turning around because your dog is pulling, it’s not a failure. It’s progress towards your dog learning that pulling is not rewarded.


Reward your dog when he is at your side, even if it’s for a few moments. That will show him where you want him to be. With consistent praise and continuous forward motion when at your side, your dog will learn that he will get what he wants by doing what you want.


Don’t be afraid to use training tools to speed up the training. If your dog is food-motivated, keep training treats on hand. If your dog is a serious puller, use a no pull dog harness (shown above) to encourage him to stay beside you. Remember above when we said dogs instinctively pull against whatever pulls them? The no pull dog harness connects in the front, pulling the dog forward with a tug on the leash. Instinctively, the dog moves backwards – stopping the pulling. If treats and a harness are what your dog needs to understand where you want him to be, use it. Click here to order a dog harness no pull set.


Finally, be consistent. Don’t allow any pulling; you’ll confuse your dog about what’s ok and what’s not. Even if you feel like you’re not making progress, continue to work on this daily. Your dog will learn how to walk on a leash more quickly if you work on it consistently. Otherwise, he’ll forget the lesson between sessions.


Here’s the secret of how to train a dog to walk on a leash: show your dog that it is more rewarding to walk calmly at your side than to pull ahead impatiently. Use these tips and you’ll soon be enjoying calm walks with your dog.

(taken from )

Dog Saves Family from Fire

February 25, 2012

This dog was scheduled to be euthanized but was successfully re-homed to a family she happened to save from a bad house fire. The dog appears to be one of the “bully” breeds that have been stigmatized. The husband didn’t want the dog when they forst got it. The lessons I would like people to take from this are: 1. Every creature has a purpose 2. Shelter dogs are wonderful for many reasons 3. “Bully” breed dogs are just like any other dogs and shouldn’t be stereotyped 4. Be nice to all living creatures because you never know when one of them could help you.

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