Monthly Archives: March 2013

How You Train a Small Dog Makes a Difference

By Linda Cole

When it comes to dog training, the size of the dog does matter! It can mean the difference between being successful or falling flat on your face when trying to teach your small dog commands. In a way, it’s easier to train larger dogs because owners of small dogs often treat a smaller pet differently than they would a bigger dog.

Many small dogs belong to the terrier group. This is a group of feisty, high prey drive dogs with lots of energy. They are smart and not afraid to let their feelings be known. Small dogs can be manipulative if they get a chance, and can have an attitude the size of a Great Dane. It’s tempting to let a little dog get away with things most owners wouldn’t accept from a larger canine. His actions may not hold the same weight as a misbehaving larger dog, but a small dog can still be disruptive. If your small dog jumps up on someone to greet them, many will think that’s cute, but if a Saint Bernard leaps up, your guest could be lying on their back with a drooling dog standing over them. Not as cool to some, but could be cute depending on your guest’s sense of humor.

Dogs can understand if they are being treated differently than others around them, and it’s important to treat small dogs just like you would a larger one. Training is about teaching your dog how you want him to act, but it’s also a good way for you to learn who your dog is as an individual. Small dogs can be stubborn. We can accidentally teach little dogs the wrong way to act if they are rewarded for their misdeeds or bad manners.

Part of our job is to instill confidence and trust in our pets. Treating a dog with respect, regardless of size, is one way of establishing yourself as their leader, and says you can be trusted. Don’t give any treats or attention until your dog has all four feet on the ground.

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Are You a Helicopter Pet Parent?

By Tamara McRill

Do you hesitate to let your dog or cat do anything outside or even inside of the home without your supervision? Or maybe you’re quick to give them extra tips and hints during training or games. You’ve probably at least heard the phrase “helicopter parent,” but have you ever stopped to consider that you may be a helicopter pet owner?

Hovering Isn’t All Bad

If you constantly hover over your pet and manage every aspect of their lives, as well as try to solve all of their problems, you just might be a helicopter pet parent. I’ve given this some serious consideration and have to admit that, to some extent, I am. As our dog Cody gets older, I notice we do way more for him, whether he needs us to or not, and monitor everything he does that much closer.

Now this type of parenting has bad connotations, but helicopter pet parenting isn’t necessarily all bad. Like with most things, it depends on how far you take it. Although it does seem easier to take it too far with our pets than with children, since our fur babies are constantly in our care.

As long as we realize our pets deserve to make their own choices at times and need to be self reliant to a certain extent, a little hovering won’t hurt them. It’s when the hovering turns to smothering that there can be a problem. Are you wondering if you may be a helicopter pet parent? Take this short quiz to find out!

Helicopter Pet Parent Quiz

1. When your dog or cat drops a toy just out of their reach, you
A. May not even notice, if you’re not watching at the moment.
B. Glance to see if it’s near breakables or has fallen behind the couch.
C. Jump up and go get it for them.

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How a Unique Shelter is Helping Dogs

By Linda Cole

Most animal shelters are run by kind and responsible people who love the pets they care for in their facilities. Their main goal is finding the perfect owner for the pets. Without these caring individuals, dogs and cats would have no place to live while they wait for their forever home. However, some shelters are thinking outside the box to give pets a better environment to wait in.

Adopt-A-Dog animal shelter in Armonk, NY is manned by an army of dedicated and committed volunteers who help insure each pet living at the shelter receives all the love and attention they need. The animal shelter, sanctuary and rescue began in 1981, and sits on two acres of land. This shelter is unique in how it’s run, and proudly touts a 95 percent success rate in adoptions with practices that include educating potential pet owners about responsible pet ownership, how to properly care for pets, and making a lifetime commitment to adopted pets.

The shelter is run more like a sanctuary. Volunteers walk the dogs, take them for car rides, take them swimming, and play ball and other games with them in the exercise yard. During office hours, cats and dogs are allowed to wander in the office area where they get to spend time with the staff, sack out on a bed or watch TV. The office is in a house and has two people who live there, so someone is always available to tend to the needs of the pets. In order to give all of the dogs in the shelter access to the home, they are rotated on a daily basis.

The adoption process is taken slowly at the shelter. Their goal is to make sure a pet is a good match for someone’s lifestyle. Multiple home visits are made when there are children or other pets in a home. The first step for any shelter is to find someone to adopt a pet; making sure the pet remains in the home and isn’t returned to the shelter can be a harder task to accomplish. This is where Adopt-A-Dog stands out from other shelters by using a program they incorporated to educate potential adopters, and taking time to make sure a pet fits into a potential owner’s lifestyle.

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The Dalai Lama’s Cat: Book Review and Giveaway!

By Julia Williams

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live with one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers? Well, wonder no more! In The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a novel by David Michie, a sassy Himalayan gives us a cat’s eye view of life in the inner sanctum of His Holiness’s household. True to feline nature, the curious cat soaks up the teachings that take place when visitors – everyone from Hollywood celebrities and self help gurus to philanthropists and royalty – seek an audience with the Dalai Lama. To be sure, life is never dull when you’re the Dalai Lama’s cat!

The Buddhist wisdom is artfully interwoven with entertaining tales of a cat just being a cat…getting into mischief, making the most of every opportunity, and purring her way into the hearts of all who meet her. One would expect no less of any feline, let alone one who spends every morning curled up with the Dalai Lama while he meditates.

The Dalai Lama’s cat, a.k.a. Mousie-Tung, The Snow Lion of Jokhang, His Holiness’s Cat (HHC), The Bodhicatva, and “The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived,” is so charming, funny, wise and witty that it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t love her. She even shares her most embarrassing moments for the sake of giving us a good laugh, which is something most dignified felines wouldn’t dream of doing! But the Dalai Lama’s cat is no ordinary feline, and she never lets us forget.

She makes no apologies for eavesdropping on the conversations between the Dalai Lama and his guests, and she puts a uniquely feline spin on the basic Buddhist principles she overhears. Through the Dalai Lama’s cat we learn about concepts such as karma, mindfulness, enlightenment, compassion, and the meaning of life.

The mark of any good novel, at least for me, is that it captures my attention on page one and compels me to keep turning pages despite other distractions and obligations. I read this book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down. And when I finished, I found myself wanting more. You really can’t ask for more from a good book, can you?

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Is My Dog Dumb?

By Langley Cornwell

Of course I’m not asking that question about my dogs; they are perfect. (Ha!). There is a certain dog I’m acquainted with, however, that doesn’t seem to be progressing as quickly as other dogs in a training class we, um, somebody I know is in. This person tells me that her dog is not motivated by treats or affection and is all but impossible to train.

So I went to my most reliable sources – my animal-crazed friends – for feedback about how their dogs stacked up on the intelligence meter.

Heather said her family tried and tried to get their dog, Toby, to roll over on command, but he would just roll over onto his back. She says it was frustrating trying to get him to roll completely over. Finally, thinking he just wasn’t going to “get it,” they started rubbing his belly every time he “rolled over” onto his back.

According to Unleash Magazine, Heather’s dog isn’t dumb; her anecdote is an example of “profitable misbehavior.” Dogs do what works for them. For instance, if jumping on you makes you speak to, touch, or even look at your dog, he’s getting a payoff. Jumping on you is getting him the attention he wants. In cases like this, even if you are scolding your dog or pushing him off of you, he’s still getting what he wants: attention. This response can make dogs seem unwilling or unable to learn, but the issue is with the human who is unwittingly reinforcing undesired behavior.

Another reason people may think their dog is dumb is because he does not respond to them, perhaps due to lack of early human interaction. If I was to take a guess, I would say this is the core issue with our dog er, my friend’s dog because the dog spent his first year and a half in the shelter system and likely did not get enough time with humans. If a dog doesn’t experience enough human interaction during his formative years, he hasn’t learned that humans are relevant and that our words and actions should matter to him.

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Why Was a Dog Honored as Cat of the Year?

By Linda Cole

Mozart, one of my cats, loves Dozer, a foster dog we’ve been caring for. Mozart follows Dozer around, giving him love bites, rubbing against him and standing on his hind legs to give him hugs. It’s not uncommon for animals to form close bonds with different species. In 1998, a dog named Ginny was honored as “Cat of the Year” by the Westchester Feline Club, sponsor of the annual Westchester Cat Show, because of an extraordinary desire she had to rescue stray cats in desperate need of help.

Ginny and her three pups were discovered locked inside the closet of an abandoned apartment. She and her pups were taken to a shelter, but when vets saw her, they were afraid she was too far gone to be saved. They concluded it would be kinder to put her down. But something made them change their mind, and they decided she should be given a chance to recover, and did what they could to help her. Ginny did recover, and she and her pups were put up for adoption.

Philip Gonzalez had been wrestling with depression after he was injured on the job while working as a steamfitter in Manhattan. His right arm had been severely injured in the accident and he could barely use it. A determined neighbor told Gonzalez he should adopt a dog from the local shelter. He finally gave in and agreed. As they looked over the dogs at the shelter, a purebred Doberman caught Gonzalez’s eye. But instead of pulling the Doberman out for Gonzalez to take out for a walk, a shelter employee handed him a leash attached to Ginny, a two year old Siberian Husky/Schnauzer mix, and invited him to walk her first.

Gonzalez wasn’t happy; he wanted the Doberman, not some scruffy looking mixed breed, but he did what the worker asked. He tried to hurry Ginny along so he could get back to the Doberman. Now, you can call it fate or something else, but Ginny wasn’t going to be rushed. She sat down in front of Gonzalez and refused to move. Sometimes it’s the dog that picks us. As he stood looking down into her eyes, something tugged at his heart and he forgot about the Doberman. He walked out of the shelter with Ginny. Gonzalez didn’t know at the time how that little dog would change his life, and the lives of countless homeless cats.

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