Category Archives: pet etiquette

Being a Responsible Pack Leader

Responsible Pet Ownership is in part the ability to be a responsible “pack leader”. Here are some very general hints on how to do this:
  1. Understand your pack: This is the most important. Learn the body language of your pets. Since they can’t really speak, it’s only through body language that we can identify the reasons behind behavior. No animal attacks without a warning sign. They always tell you when enough is enough, and each animal has their own method of communicating this.
  2. Be Fair: Treat all members of the pack fairly. If one is disciplined for stealing a treat off the counter, ensure that all are disciplined in the exact same way if or when they engage in the same act. Being predictable will help your pack trust you.
  3. Be Consistent: Animals, like people, need to understand that there are rules. They also understand that there are consequences if those rules are broken. Biting, growling, or negative behavior should never be encouraged.
  4. Be Organized: Organization is key to maintaining a healthy pack and being an effective pack leader. The less chaos, the better the performance. Stay on a schedule for feeding, walks, and playtime. Sure, go ahead and introduce your pup to new things. It’s important for their development, but do it in an organized, calm manner.
  5. Training: Much like people, certain people have certain abilities and temperaments. Pushing an animal or pet into a specific task or role can almost guarantee disaster. Find out what they like, what motivates them (a ball, a treat, affection) and use that for training. The best trainers in the world use positive reinforcement and offer animals roles doing what they are already good at and enjoy.
  6. Trust No One: Don’t turn your dog into a babysitter or guardian. Certain animals are predisposed to certain roles and not all of them fit what you may view as the “perfect pet.” They may not have the tolerance level for children and if that’s the case, don’t try to force them into the role.
A Note on Trust: Domesticated does not mean “trustworthy”. I love my pets – all of them – and I’m more guilty than most in anthropomorphizing my pets. But, there are limits. Understand that a dog’s reaction to a crying baby can easily be to pick it up by the neck just as they would a pup. Their responses are not the same as ours. Realize that changing the order in which pets are fed can result in a battle for dominance. Why? Because they see things differently than you or I.
What I’m trying to say is that years of conditioning do not make an animal trustworthy. Animals are unique, each hold different roles in a pack, and we empower them to make decisions. Be a responsible pack leader and never provide an opportunity for them to take advantage.
You’ll find that these skills also translate into being a good family member and a great member of society. Like us, most animals are prey-driven and pack-oriented. They are social creatures. Respect your pets and they will return that respect.

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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Fostering Animals – Jake

As I mentioned yesterday, my husband and I fostered two pups a few months ago. They were only about 3 days old when we got them, so it meant a lot of feeding (every two hours), a lot of cleaning (they grow up fast and learn to chew everything), and a lot of training (because you have to teach them how to live in a pack).
While it was a lot of work, I wouldn’t change a thing and I’ll do it again in a second. I christened the pups, Jake and Jasper, and I only named them after they were 6-weeks old. Why? Because I was not completely confident in my ability to successfully raise an animal (it’s been awhile) and both pups had a lot of problems. 
First off, their mom had stopped caring for them.  Someone had dropped the mom and her litter off at the rabies/animal control facility’s door only a few hours after they were born. Momma didn’t stand much of a chance. When we saw her, she had already given up on life and her stress and depression had cost three of the pups in this litter their lives. Not from abuse, mind you – simply from neglect. So when we picked Jake and Jasper, they were only 3 days old, had already lost 3 siblings and were hungry, dirty and hypothermic. Luckily, all three problems were remedied immediately and you can read about our saga.
I want to talk about what happened after their successful recovery. 
Jasper, as I mentioned before, is now living in a beautiful home with a very loving family. Jake, has not yet been that fortunate. 
Jake, the Chow / Shar Pei mix, still resides at the rescue, but it’s not a hard life. He’s living with lots of friends on a large ranch in cool weather and is given a great deal of attention as he waits for his forever home.   Although he has yet to find a home, I know that he will soon. He’s too great of a dog not to be adopted by a loving family. 
Jake had a lot of things to overcome in his first few weeks of life, including pneumonia and entropy.  The important thing is that he overcame them. He’s a beautiful dog and if you’re looking for a puppy with lots of love to give, Jake may just be the one for you.
I hope you’ll visit Circle L Ranch at PetFinders and see for yourself. He’s a calm pup with lots of patience; he’s built like a linebacker, is smart as a whip, and loves kids and other animals. He won’t even shed much! What else could you ask for in a dog? 
And if you’re not ready for a new addition to a family, why not try fostering? It’s a short-term fix for the puppy withdrawal we all go through and you get the satisfaction of saving a life.  
Besides, they need you… 
Find an adoptable pet in your area at petfinder.com!
Stacy Mantle

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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.

Fostering Animals – Jasper

There’s something to be said for fostering pets….
Let me share my own foster experience with you – and bear in mind – I’m the most neurotic, over-protective animal person in the world. Seriously. If you knew me, you would understand that I’m not exaggerating here. I also “keep” everything – from worn out shoes to stray kittens. 
So I really believed that fostering was not for me. I thought that I would have problems giving up two beautiful puppies that I bottle-fed every two hours for 3 weeks and later potty-trained and taught tricks too. 
Turns out, I was wrong. 
Oh – I’m not saying it wasn’t difficult, because it was. But, I was working with a strong, reputable rescue that I trusted and I knew that it would be unfair to keep the pups when I already had three large dogs (and 18 cats) of my own. So when I was ready, I released them for adoption. 
I just got an email from the adoptive parents of Jasper and I couldn’t be more proud. His new family has glowing recommendations about him, he’s got his own toys, his own bed, his own bowls and even his own cat! (Okay, maybe not his own cat, but the cat is still a playmate.)
He’s become a traveler. He’s been to the Grand Canyon, North Carolina (cross country trip, even) and has seen the snow. These are all things that I never would have been able to give him because let’s face it, loading three hundred-plus pounds of dog in your car and controlling them while you’re driving is not for the feint of heart. 
And that is Jasper’s story. Am I happy that I rescued the little guy? You bet. Was it worth the time and energy I put in to save a “mutt”? Just ask his new owners. I think they will agree that he’s one of the best things that’s happened to them… 
Fostering is not easy, but boy – when it works out like this has, it’s sure worth it… 
I want to encourage our readers to foster a puppy or kitten (or an adult dog or cat who has fallen on hard times) today.  Yes, I know you get attached. Yes, I know it’s hard to let them go. But trust me, when you hear about the outcomes that go along with fostering, it’s well worth the effort.  Tomorrow we’ll talk about Jake who had a very different outcome but is just as great of a story!
Contact your local animal control or rescue association and find out how you can help an animal.
Find an adoptable pet in your area at petfinder.com!
Stacy Mantle

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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.

Fostering Animals 101

Let’s face it. The economy has wrought devastation and destruction on many, and pets are often the causalities of economic war. Many people don’t think of animals the same way that we do, and pets are often discarded, abandoned or turned in to rescues. Occasionally, it’s just necessary for the safety and health of the animal. 
And this is where we must, as a society, do our part in the world. Fostering is one way that we can save a life. 
In November, my husband and I fostered two puppies who were only three days old. We plan to do a lot more fostering as this was so enjoyable. So, for the next few days, we’re going to regale you with tales of how to foster, what our experience was, and how it all turned out. 
The Down and Dirty
The first thing about puppies is that they sleep, eat and poop. In that order. In fact, that’s all they do. They are like human infants, but their eyes and ears are sealed. At the age of 5 days, they operate solely on touch and smell.
Feeding
These two are each eating about 0.50 – 1 oz of Esbilac fluid every 2 hrs or so. This works well for me, because it’s hard to get me away from the computer that often. If I hear a puppy crying, it forces me to get up and attend to them. Good for me, good for the pups. As they mature, we recommend a well-balanced diet of CANIDAE food – you won’t need to switch them out later in life and it’s a very high-quality food. 
Tricks We’ve Learned
Don’t spend money on the bottles you get at pet stores, as they are largely inefficient. We are using a Playtex Ventaire, which is perfect for the pups. The bottle vents excess air itself, is curved and has a larger nipple for easy puppy suckling. (Wow… Never thought I would be talking about nursing anything… I’m just VERY happy that it deals with puppies and not humans. :)
Heating
Heat is very important to these little ones. Right now, we have them in an enclosed room with no drafts, away from the other pack members (despite our pack’s affinity for new arrivals, we opted for isolation for safety reasons). We use an electric blanket on low placed on the floor, the small crate they are kept in are kept on that, and if they still get chilly, we add a magnetic heat pack under the box towels they sleep on. This way, they can decide where they want to be. They can crawl pretty well….
The “Messy” Side
Since they can’t even defecate on this on their own, we have to use a warm, wet cotton ball of paper towel to “copy” the mother’s licking/cleaning response. This is the bad part of the event. Puppy poop is sort of disgusting… I would get into other poops, but you know… Do it twice, before and after feeding, in order to cover your bases.
Toys
Although these guys are too little to play, we learned a lesson from the numerous squeaky toys that we bring in for our other pets. They’ve learned that if it squeaks, it’s a toy. Not a great lesson for your pets if you’re trying to foster… We’re working on establishing the difference between live pups and chew toys with Cheiss right now.
Please consider taking in some fosters of your own. Tomorrow we’ll discuss some of the success stories of foster!
Find an adoptable pet in your area at petfinder.com!
Stacy Mantle

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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.

Hiking PET’iquette

If you’re anything like me, you prefer the great wide open to the confines of a dog park and there’s nothing wrong with that. Like me, my dogs also prefer to hit the trail. But, there are rules of etiquette in the wilds, just as there are in the city. Here are a few tips to Doggie Pet’iquette on the trail.
Leashes. Always…
Just because you’re in the wild doesn’t mean your dog gets to act like a wild animal. Especially if you live in the West. Out here, we carry guns and most know how to use them. In the west, there is the potential to run across a rattlesnake (which is no fun when you’re two miles into the mountains and have to carry out a 100 lb dog), and if you’re in the East, you could run across lots of other creatures. So keep your pet on a leash at all times. Trust me – they’ll still enjoy their time! All those smells, new sights, fun things to explore… Yeah, they’ll love it even if on a leash.
Size Matters
The rule is, the bigger the dog, the more of an interred threat. As dog servants, we know that this is not always true, but to the layman, they associate a big Rottie with an eminent attack. Now, if you have a friendly Rottie, you can teach the newbies a thing or two, but never force your knowledge on another. Generally people who fear dogs are fairly unreasonable to begin with, so just show how great your Rottie is by having him sit quietly by your side and letting the person pass by you. Don’t let your big dog off leash – ever. You never know when someone will take their friendly bounds as a sign of aggression and react like prey. We’re all instinctual creatures after all.
Keep small pets off the trail. There has been a recent increase in reports of prey animals (cougars, coyotes, even owls and hawks) snatching small pets from the arms of owners on a trailhead. And just for the record, this is due to human encroachment, not increased aggressiveness on the part of wildlife.
Trail Traffic
Traffic on the trailhead (and you should always be on a trailhead), is largely the same as on a sidewalk. Move to the right to let other people and pets pass, keep a wide margin of error between you and other pets (even if your dog isn’t aggressive, others may be), and if you pass someone who is obviously terrified of animals, put your dog in the sit position and let the humans pass.  The rule is, “dog and owner yield right of way to hikers.”
Clean Up
Be sure that you bring along a lot of plastic baggies and a way to pack out waste. Your dog’s waste can seriously impact the delicate ecosystem and even pass along disease or parasites to the wildlife, but it’s also a matter of having respect for the environment. Be sure your dog is well away from water sources before allowing it to eliminate. 
Additional Resources
Photo Credit: Copyright PetsWeekly, 2001
Stacy Mantle

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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.

Doggie Day Care PET’iquette

So you’re thinking about alternatives for your very dominant miniature pinscher, or your high-strung Jack Russell, or your laid back (easily dominated) Golden Retriever. Doggie daycare is an excellent way for your pet to beat boredom, eliminate destructive behavior, and get exercise at the same time. But, before you sign up, there are a few things you need to know.
Daycares Don’t Train
That’s not to say they can’t train, but that’s not the point of daycare. Daycare is designed to be a social outlet for our highly social pets and give them an opportunity to burn off some energy. Ensure that your dog responds to their name, knows basic commands, and “plays well with others.”
The Lone Wolf
If you have a dog that prefers to be the lone wolf, don’t torture him (and everyone else) by subjecting him to a pack he doesn’t want or need. Doggie daycare is designed to simulate a pack scenario and there are dogs (like mine) that just prefer to be alone. Yes, this means more daily walks for you, but hey – if you’re like me, the extra exercise will do you some good.
PERSONalities
Find out how the daycare is organized. There should be separate play areas for different personalities. An ideal pack consists of one ‘commander’ (remember that ONLY the HUMAN should be the Alpha), a second in command, and an assortment of other roles that members play. That’s not to say that all packs will be like this, but dogs should be carefully evaluated and their “role in the pack” established before they are turned loose. Two or more dominants in the same pack spells trouble.
As for you, let the sitters do their job. If your dog is being dominated in the corner for the first 10 minutes, let the handlers handle it. Jumping in to your pets rescue is like breaking up a fight between two men. If the handler is responsible (and it’s your job to ensure that they are), let them determine when enough is enough. Posturing is common in a pack situation – it’s a way of establishing roles, so don’t interfere because you’re overprotective.
Signals
Before you drop your dog off at a daycare, be sure he understands the rules of the pack. If your pet doesn’t get that annoying the big Shepherd in the corner is not a good idea, do yourself a favor and get your dog out of that pack. Dogs will “train” other dogs to a point, but if you happen to have one of those pups that are just oblivious to the signals they’re annoying others, you might want to reconsider daycare and just start walking your pet more often.
photo credit: Copyright PetsWeekly, 2005
Stacy Mantle

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

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.