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Snake Aversion Therapy for Dogs

Spring is in the air and with this beautiful season follows the arrival of rattlesnakes. If you live in the US, you’ve probably had at least one experience with snakes, and if you live in the Southwest, you’ve probably had a few. 
If you’re out hiking with your dog and stumble across a rattler, what is the best course of action? First off, you should have your dog on a leash at all times – even while on a trailhead. This will help, but oftentimes, it won’t be enough. Snakes have a tendency to lie across the trail or out in the open where they can absorb the heat from the sun. They can be difficult to see if you’re not paying attention, so try to always pay attention. 
If you’re dog attacks or doesn’t see it in time, and is struck by the snake, try not to panic. Get out of there, and if possible, carry your dog out. Adrenaline will increase heart rate, which will increase the spread of poison. Chances are good that your dog was struck in the throat, and if that’s the case, you need to ensure he or she can breathe. The poison will cause intense swelling, which can close off your dog’s airway. Get him or her to the vet as soon as humanly possible. Do not stop and try to suck out the poison (it doesn’t work and can end up killing you). Just get to a vet. 
Of course, the best thing to do is teach your dog to avoid snakes altogether. This can be done through a series of snake aversion training by a certified trainer. 
There are many ways to train a dog to avoid snakes, but aversion therapy is one of the best I’ve seen. Yes, it uses static electricity collars. Yes, it’s difficult to watch. Yes, it will likely save your dog’s life in the long run. The good thing is that it only needs to be done once in most cases. It’s a lesson they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. 
A good trainer will teach dogs to avoid snakes using sight, sound and smell. Ensure that the trainer you use has a long line of references and positive feedback from previous clients. They will lead your dog through a “rattlesnake” course, using snakes that have been rescued from the backyards of terrified homeowners. The snakes should later be released into the wild – ensure you find a humane trainer who handles the snakes humanely. 
Depending on the dogs reaction, there are several events that can occur. These depend on the training methods used. Snake aversion therapy is one of the few training events I would ever use a collar for, because it’s that important for the dog to associate a strong reaction with seeing or hearing or smelling a snake. 
If you’re interested in taking your dog in for “snake aversion” therapy, check your local listings for a qualified, accomplished trainer who offers humane methods of training. Ensure that they treat the “volunteer snakes” well, and you’ll be in good shape. 
It might just save your dog’s life….
ASPCA Poison Control Hotline
1-888-426-4435
Note:  There is a $60 charge for this service.
The National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPPC)
1-800-548-2423
1-900-680-0000
Note: If you call the 1-900 number, the charge is $20.00 for the first five minutes, then $2.95/minute thereafter. If you use the 800 number, the charge is $30.00 per case.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Agility Abilities

Have you ever thought that agility training might just be your dog’s thing? How do you tell if your dog has what it takes to succeed in agility competitions? The answer probably lies in your understanding of the dog. Those who are very athletic, eager to please and who have a wonderful relationship with you are the best candidates. 
History of Agility 
Agility training began in England not long ago and was fashioned after horse show jumping. After making its UK debut at Crufts in 1978, agility became the fastest growing dog sport. Not only is it popular among caretakers, its also very popular among spectators, the action is fast and it is always entertaining whether the dog does as the handler asks or not. It’s fun for everyone. 
Does My Dog Have What It Takes?
The only way to find out if your dog has got what it takes to do agility is to try it out. Find a good agility club in your area where experienced instructors can teach you what you need to know. This will help you avoid injury to your pup. You will want to learn new tricks in a controlled environment that facilitates good training practice on agility equipment that meets safety criteria.
Pursuing the Sport
Once you establish that you and your dog love the sport, it’s worth it to purchase an agility course, or join a club who has the equipment available. You can find some inexpensive equipment online at Amazon, Ebay or even Craigslist, but if you are purchasing used equipment through these sources, ensure that you use a light solution of bleach and water to thoroughly clean the equipment prior to use. 
Purchasing Agility Equipment
There are many different types of agility equipment available. If you’re just starting out in the sport, you will want to stay on the conservative side of purchases. A complete agility course can be very pricey, so wait and see if it’s something you and your dog really want to pursue. 
Once you’re convinced that this is the sport for you, go ahead and purchase the basic pieces of equipment. These include a bar jump, a tire jump and a tunnel. 
Agility can be a very entertaining sport that’s exactly what your dog needs to release excess energy. It can create a strong bond between both you and your dog, not to mention, it’s great exercise for both of you. 
Additional Resources: 

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Smart Games to Play with Your Smart Pets

Whether you live in the northwest and are being pelted with rain, or in the Southwest where you’re plagued with heat and allergies, or even the Northeast where there’s still snow on the ground, we all have days when it’s just not too comfortable or safe to go outside.
So how do we keep our very smart pets entertained on days when we just can’t get outside to play? Play a game! Pets need quality time with their parents as much as children do, and these games will keep the entire family entertained!
Here are some “smart games” for you and your “Smart Pets” to play.
Hide A Treat: One of our personal favorites. This game consists of you hiding a treat someplace in your home, and then asking your dog to go find it. In essence, you’re training your dog to become a “tracking dog”. Keep in mind that you’ll need to show your pet how this game works the first few times, but it won’t be long before they take the challenge on themselves!
Hide and Seek: Do I sense a hiding theme here? Anyway – this is a fun game to play when you can sneak away from your pet. It’s even better when you learn to throw your voice and appear to be coming from another room! Either way, you’ll find this game to be entertaining.
Teach a Trick: Teach your pet a new trick! Yep, even old dogs and stubborn kitties can do this. Cats are wonderfully receptive to clicker training, and you can learn more about this method by clicking here or here.
A Day of Dexterity: Remember the great times we all had growing up making a “Front room Fort”? Why not try that with your pet. Be sure the area is safe. Then take a few minutes to set up a short agility course with blankets, chairs and maybe an old box, or a 2×6 plank that they can try walking on (under constant supervision, of course).  Try it out with your pet first by having them follow you through the course, then rearrange it and try something new.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

All About Stacy Mantle

Contrary to popular belief, I dread writing a bio. In fact, I even enlisted the assistance of a friend to create the one you see all over the internet. But, I’m going to give this a shot in a traditional “blogging” sort of way.
Obviously, I love animals. From wanting to marry Rudolph (the reindeer, not Valentino) when I was four years old, to living with 18 cats, a turtle, 200 gallons of fish, 2 dogs and a wolf/coyote hybrid, you won’t find many photos of me without an animal. Fortunately, I have an amazing and very understanding husband (not a reindeer) who loves animals as much as I do.
My fascination with all things wild led to three possible careers: that of a veterinarian, a biologist or a writer. Since I doubt I could put a pet to sleep, and I’m terrible at math, I chose to be a writer. And so far, that has been the path of least resistance.
I am the founder of PetsWeekly, a website that features reviews of the best new pet products on the market, and just about everything you ever wanted to know about animals. I am also the author of several books, including Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One). This book and others I’ve written are available in Barnes & Noble bookstores nationwide, or online at Amazon. My stories, articles and reviews can be found in such print publications as Pacific Yachting, Cat Fancy, The Arabian Horse Times, Jackson Parents Magazine and many others. I am active with feral cat Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) programs nationwide, wildlife preservation and the rescue of many different animals, including wolf hybrids when they are located. I belong to a number of associations within the pet care industry, and regularly attend trade shows, activities and events.
As I’m also a strong advocate of early learning and the benefits of educating children in humane practices, my business partner and I began the company GrokQuest. We publish educational activity books for younger children. We have a number of titles within several different industries, including the pet care world. Those titles are “So, You Have A New Kitten!” and “So, You Have A New Puppy!”. 
Currently, I am staying way too busy as a fulltime freelance writer, owner of PetsWeekly, and attending school in pursuit of my MBA (only a few months left!). If any of you are active in the social networking zoo, I hope you will add me as a friend at PetsWeekly, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.