Friday, July 30, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Prevent your pets from starting fires:
Extinguish open flames! Pets are curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Do not leave your pets unattended around an open flame. Also make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flames before leaving your home.
Remove stove knobs or protect them with covers. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
Invest in flame-less candles. These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails overturn lit candles.
Beware of water bowls on wooden decks. Do not leave glass water bowls for your pet outside on a wooden deck. The sun's rays, when filtered through the glass and water, can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Use stainless steel or ceramic bowls.
Keep your pets safe:
Keep pets near entrances when away from home. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
Secure young pets in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas. Keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home.
Consider using monitored smoke detectors. They are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you are not at home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
Affix a pet alert window cling. Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This is critical information that saves rescuers time when locating your pets.
Clicker training is a popular method used to train dogs and other animals including cats, horses, and dolphins. A clicker is a small handheld device that produces an audible “click” when activated. The basics of clicker training are relatively simple: “get” the wanted behavior, use the clicker to “mark” the wanted behavior, and then “reinforce” the wanted behavior with a reward. Unwanted behaviors can also be reduced with this type of training through a lack of reinforcement. Getting your dog to do what you want him to do with clicker training may be relatively simple. However, understanding why your dog responds the way he does just might require you to dig out your Psychology 101 text book.
Clicker training is based on the concept of Operant Conditioning. The dog learns from his environment by associating a behavior with a consequence. Consequences that increase the desired behavior are termed reinforcers and consequences that reduce the behavior are called punishers. Consequences must be immediately linked to the behavior with a click and rewarded with a treat or praise. With clicker training, you actually teach the dog exactly what he must do to earn his reward by marking the behavior.
Classical Conditioning associates a neutral stimulus with an antecedent condition until the stimulus elicits a certain response – think Pavlov’s dog. Pavlov measured the salivary response of dogs when presented with food. He then began to ring a bell prior to the presentation of the food. Eventually, ringing the bell elicited the salivary response in the dog even in the absence of food. Classical conditioning results in a habitual behavior whereas operant conditioning results in a purposeful behavior.
For more information on clicker training, consult the book “Clicker Training for Dogs” by Karen Pryor or research various dog training methods at www.apdt.com , the website of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
1. To save a life. Foster homes are only temporary. Fosters parents want to be able to give these furry friends a forever home instead of a pet shelter.
2. To spend money wisely. You get the animal you want and that is worth the cost!
3. A companion. You will be getting a companion that needs your love and will give you love right back.
4. Meet others who share your interest. You will find others who are just as enthusiastic about adopting as you are! They will also be helpful to answer any questions you may have.
5. What you see is what you get! You will get the animal you are wishing for and that is wishing to be picked by you!
6. You'll be screened. Hopefully you won't mind answering a lot of questions, because you will be thoroughly screened to make sure you're the right new parent and forever home. This way they are sure your new furry friend is safe and loved!
7. Spayed or neutered or ready to breed. If you want an animal with no surprises of offspring there are plenty of options! However, if you want to have your furry friend pass on the genes, you can also have that option.
8. Generosity. When you generously give a home to a homeless animal, you create a positive place for the animal.
9. Most animals are up to date on the necessary shots and will be healthy. The rescue group will have made sure that your new furry friend is in good shape. They can also answer any health related questions and personality traits about your new pet.
10. Become a rescuer yourself! By undergoing the process of becoming a foster parents, you may wish to become involved in animal rescue yourself.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Bringing a new baby into the home can upset the normal pack order for your dog. By planning ahead, you can make the transition as stress free as possible for your “Good boy” and the rest of the family.
Review all basic obedience commands
Your dog should know to “leave it” and respond consistently to a “down stay” command to ensure your baby’s safety. If necessary, repeat an obedience class prior to your delivery. Also, make sure your dog is up-to-date on all his vaccinations and his nails are trimmed.
Familiarize your dog with baby’s scents and sounds
Desensitize your dog to the baby before it arrives by playing a tape of a baby crying, and gradually playing it louder and longer. Present your dog with the smells of baby lotion, powders, and yes, even a dirty diaper smell. Introduce your dog to the baby’s room and train your dog to the areas that are off limits to him, such as the baby’s crib and changing table. After a general introduction to baby’s room, you may want to use a baby gate to restrict entry except when the dog is directly supervised in the room. Begin walking your dog beside a stroller and having the dog sit next to you quietly as you hold a doll in your arms.
Plan a positive introduction
Your dog has probably missed mom while she has been at the hospital. Have another family member hold the baby while mom enters the house and greets the dog in the typical manner. Once the dog settles down, let mom hold the baby while allowing the dog to approach in a controlled manner, such as being leashed. Reward the dog with treats for a calm, controlled behavior. Your dog is going to be less stressed if you can maintain his routine as much as possible. Consider having a neighbor walk your dog on schedule if you are not able to, especially during the first few days baby is home.
Pick up you toys
Realize that your dog will likely resource guard his toys and food. Crawling babies should be kept away from the dog’s toys and food to prevent bites to the baby’s face and arms. The dog should also respond to “leave it” in the presence of the baby’s toys.
Supervise the baby and dog at all times
Never, ever leave a baby unsupervised in the presence of your dog. No matter how loving your dog is, accidents can happen very quickly and unexpectedly. If you are going out and leaving the baby with a sitter, don’t put an undue responsibility on the sitter to watch the baby and the dog. Instead, crate the dog while you are gone.
Proper planning is key to establishing a positive bond between your dog and the new baby. Consult a professional dog trainer if you have any concerns about how your dog is adapting to his new environment.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
2. Go hiking on dog-friendly trails at a state or national park.
3. Eat al fresco at a dog-friendly cafe.
4. Go camping and sleep under the stars together.
5. Set up a picnic play date for your pooch and her favorite four-footed pals.
6. Let Fido have some fun by tossing a Frisbee back and forth.
7. Have a photo shoot of your pet frolicking in the wonderful outdoors.
8. Spend the afternoon at a dog-friendly beach.
9. Have some ice cream and get Fido his own doggie ice cream or frozen treat.
10. Spend some downtime hanging out in a hammock together.
Remember to keep yourself and your pets hydrate while you play outside in the summer heat!