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Posts Tagged ‘dog ownership’

Those of you in my classes have heard me caution about the sugar substitute xylitol and its toxicity to dogs. Here’s a link to a truly eye-opening article about its appearance in products not labeled sugarfree. Places I had not even thought to look. Take a moment to read this and talk to your vet about it.

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted

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Having worked in animal rescue and health care for decades, countless times I’ve said the words: “There aren’t bad dogs. There aren’t bad owners. But there ARE bad matches”.

I am not the only one. Trainers see it over and over again- owner personalities clashing with dog personalities.

 Roger Hild , a long-time dog trainer in Canada, has put together a wonderful “test” which may help understand the conflicts. If used correctly, it may help prevent mismatches!

Having some insight into a relationship, even a dog-owner relationship can help improve it.

Want to know how your relationship rates and see potential areas for problems or improvements? Check out his People & Pooches Personality Test.

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In the Northwoods of WI, wolves are becoming more common as their population increases. Just as in other parts of the country, wolves invoke lots of emotion. Conflicts with wolves are increasing.

Here are some tips from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website to help us live with wolves and reduce conflicts:

Wolves are shy and generally avoid humans. Most people will never see a wolf, let alone have a conflict with one. Wolves can, however, lose their fear of humans through habituation and may approach camping areas, homes or humans. When this happens, there is an increased possibility for conflict between wolves and humans.

While seeing a wolf is a memorable experience, like any other wild animal, you should use caution when they are close.

Below are guidelines that you can follow to decrease the chance of wolf habituation and conflict while living and visiting wolf country.

 

Living in wolf country Camping in wolf country

 

Watching wolves in wolf country
Do not feed wolves.  Cook, wash dishes and store food away from sleeping areas.  Keep the following in mind when viewing wolves close:
Feed all pets indoors; leave no food outdoors. Pack out or dispose of garbage and left over food properly. Do not feed wolves 
Dispose of all food and garbage in cans with secure lids. Suspend food, toiletries and garbage out of reach of any wildlife.   Do not entice wolves to come closer 
Do not feed wildlife: attracting any prey animal may attract wolves. Keep pets near you at all times.

 

Do not approach wolves 
Hang suet feeders at least 7 feet above the surface of the ground or snow.   Leave room for a wolf to escape. 
Don’t leave pets unattended outside: dogs and cats are easy targets for wolves    Do not allow a wolf to approach any closer than 300 feet 
If pets must be unattended in the yard, keep them in a kennel with a secure top

 

Aggressive or fearless wolves in wolf country:

If a wolf acts aggressively (growls or snarls) or fearlessly (approaches humans at a close distance without fear) take the following actions:

Raise your arms and wave them in the air to make yourself look larger.  

Back away slowly; do not turn your back on the wolf.  

Make noise and throw objects at the wolf.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reality of Wolf Attacks in North America

It is important to keep wolf attacks in perspective. There has been only one case of a healthy, wild wolf killing a person in North America in the last 100 years. Most wolves are not dangerous to humans and there is a greater chance of being killed by lightning, bee sting or car collision with a deer than being injured by a wolf. The injuries that have occurred were caused by a few wolves that became fearless of humans due to habituation. Nonetheless, like bears and cougars, wolves are instinctive predators that should be kept wild and respected.

Information from International Wolf Center, Ely, MN    http://www.wolf.org/wolves/index.asp

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Want premier Pet First info at your fingertips? Here’s the app for you.  Use SL1222 for referral code to get this must have data on your phone now. Droid version to be released the end of Nov!

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Recently I saw an article that stated the number one complaint state forest rangers receive from the public in the state forest campgrounds concerns dogs. Complaints range from barking dogs left unattended on campsites, running loose in the campgrounds, dogs on beaches and in picnic areas to serious dog bites.

The rangers’ response to this was, of course, to strictly enforce the pet regulations -with good reason.

As a responsible pet owner, this saddens me greatly.

Something about being the setting of the Northwoods makes vacationing visitors think they don’t have enforce good dog behavior. Common sense seems to take a vacation, too.

Yes, we have trees and lakes and fresh air. Your dog can enjoy all this without having to run loose, chase wildlife and be a nuisance to residents (people and animals).

We have dangers not found in the urban environment: bears, porcupines, wolves. We have some dangers found in the urban environment: cars, poisons, skunks, other dogs.

It’s not all tourists contributing to this problem, however.

I would say one of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients is out of control dogs…but not THEIR dogs. Out of control dogs accosting their now mannerly dogs while they’re out on a walk…or even worse yet, their own yard!

This isn’t unusual. Trainer’s across the country talk about advice to give their clients about this problem. Some suggest carrying stun sticks-small stun guns. They say the sound of the static charge is usually enough to scare a dog off. This equipment is illegal is some places. The state of WI is one place this is illegal. Others suggest an air horn to scare off the offending canine. Trouble with that is it’ll most likely scare your own dog, too. On the way to work a couple weeks ago, I saw a woman walking her dog on the sidewalk. She was carrying a big, over-sized plastic wiffle ball bat. I suppose some people wondered why she was walking her dog with a bat. I didn’t wonder. I offered it up as a solution to some of my clients. It’s lighter than heavy walking sticks some carry.

If you find yourself out on a walk being approached by a strange dog, first thing- get your dog under control.  The SIT command is great for this. Step between your dog and the approaching dog. Your dog is trained and should hold his SIT behind you. Watch the approaching dog and trust your dog to do what you told it to do. Then protect your dog. You are the leader so act like it. Chase the offender off.  Use your air horn, walking stick or your BOOT.  Then work on getting your dog and yourself to safety.

One thing I will start recommending my clients carry on their walks is called Direct Stop or SprayShield. It’s a citronella-based spray similar to pepper spray. It sprays 10 feet. There are about 12 one-second sprays in a can and it’s reasonably priced. I’ve heard good things about it.

If you run into the same person(s) and dog(s) out of control on your walk, maybe educating them is an option. The more trained dogs with responsible owners we have out and about, the better equipped we will be as a group to defend ourselves and our rights.

Offer to walk together so you can be an example of a responsible dog owner without being in their face about it. Offer helpful, honest tips that may have helped you in the early stages of training. Don’t be confrontational. Remember what it was like to not have control of your own dog. Maybe discreetly place the business card of a trainer under the windshield wiper of their car while they’re chasing down their dog. Be helpful and use it as a training opportunity!

If the offending party is not approachable, make sure you and your dog stay safe-even if that means maybe having to find another place to frequent. Exposing your dog to potential attacks, unbalanced energy and negative experiences can make him lose trust in you. That can be very hard to rebuild.

The bottom line is to be polite and use common sense…even when on vacation!

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I sent photos of the dogs sledding (see The F Word) to some friends – mostly friends I would call “dog people”. Many of them participate in dog sports with their dogs.
A person wrote back: “How on earth…. but, then again I forget the relationship you & your dogs have!”
That made me think about a thread fellow professional trainers have been discussing.
The sad fact is the general public doesn’t know what a trained dog looks like. Many people have asked me why my dog is so sad or what is wrong with it because he or she (or all of them) lie quietly and act mannerly when asked.
I’m always amazed at how many people have seen photos of my pack and asked how I managed to get 7 dogs to sit still to have their picture taken. They are shocked when I tell them I just told my dogs to sit; totally surprised it’s even possible without smoke and mirrors.
I often have clients voice their concerns about whether training will break their dog’s spirit.
Huh? Now it’s my turn to be shocked and surprised.
How is it we don’t recognize training or confuse it with sadness or broken spirit? Seriously, I’d like to know what happened.
With dog-owner rights being taking away left and right, we need to find out how public perceptions have gone so awry and set them right again. ASAP.

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