Monday, January 16, 2017

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing!

1. Prevention! Want your dog to stop chewing up your stuff? Don’t let him chew up your stuff. Easier said than done! Puppy proof your house. Keep your puppy where you can see him/her. Having privileges of the whole house need to be earned, after you can trust Rover to not destroy things. Babygates, tethering the dog to you, keeping him/her in the same room you are in so you can keep an eye on things. When your dog has developed good chew toy habits and has stopped making mistakes, you then can allow more freedom when s/he’s home alone.

2. Prevent boredom! Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Go on an adventure: walks, hikes, play fetch, play tug-of-war, play with flirt-poles. Don’t forget about brain work. Your dog needs mental stimulation. Ideas: agility, puppy class, canine disc, trick training, scent work, obedience training. Feeding your dog from puzzle toys such as the Nina Ottoson Brick or Spinner or any of the slow feed bowls also works your dog's brain.

3. Get rid of the food bowl! There is a very simple thing that will produce a fast and huge change in your dog’s behavior — hand feed your dog! Yes, put the food bowl away for a month and feed all meals by hand! When you hand feed your dog, you make yourself very important, you can teach bite inhibition and you will gain your dog’s undivided attention! Click here for ideas on hand feeding

4. Chew toys! Teach your dog to chew on safe pet chew toys such as the class Kong. Make it exciting by not leaving the chew toys out all the time. Make a big deal out of the chew toy when you hand it over. Make your Kong a bowl! You can stuff your dog’s daily food allowance into a KONG instead, offering him much more stimulation and exercise than simply gobbling it out of a bowl. Split your dog’s daily ration of food into 4 or 5 and place into 4 or 5 KONGs. Now hide them in different places about the house or garden.

5. Redirect the wrong behavior! When your dog is in a chewing mood and going for something s/he should not have, get some high-value chews or that stuffed chew toy. Teach your dog, "don't chew that, chew this!".

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Clicker Training vs. Verbal Marker

Clicker Training vs Treat: Equally Good in Dog Training
By: Companion Animal Psychology

Scientists find unanticipated results in a study that compares the clicker to a verbal reward-marker and the use of food alone in dog training.

An Australian Shepherd looks at a clicker in a dog training session

The study, by Cinzia Chiandetti (University of Trieste) et al took 51 pet dogs and trained them on a novel task. 17 dogs were trained using a clicker, 17 using a verbal reward marker (“Bravo”), and 17 with only a reward. Then they tested the dogs to see how well they performed when asked to generalize the training to something similar and something more different.

The results were a surprise to the scientists, who expected to find that using the clicker would lead to better results. In fact there was no difference between the three groups of dogs.

They write,

“Although we should be cautious in drawing any strong conclusion from statistically non-significant results, our study is consistent with previous works conducted in different laboratories with both dogs and horses… which, taken together, point toward no advantage in favor of the shaping method using one acoustic signal over another.”

A clicker is a secondary reinforcer, meaning something that predicts a primary reinforcer (food) is coming. This is a classical conditioning relationship (click means treat). The clicker or verbal reward is used to mark the precise time at which the dog is performing the behaviour that earns a reward. It is commonly used in reward-based dog training.

Proponents of clicker training have often argued there is something about the click which makes dogs learn better. The purpose of the study was to test this idea, since we don’t know without empirical evidence (see: canine science is better than common sense).

In this study, the verbal reward marker was “Bravo.” It was always said in a neutral tone of voice. Read the entire article

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Friday, January 6, 2017

Cold Weather Tips

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and

stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.

Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death. Read the entire article

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Cat Food Recall

Orrville, OH - The J.M. Smucker Company today announced a limited voluntary recall on certain lots of 9LivesTM, EverPetTM, and Special KittyTM canned cat food due to possible low levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1).

The issue was discovered by the Quality Assurance team during review of production records at the manufacturing facility. No illnesses related to this issue have been reported to date and the product is being recalled out of an abundance of caution.

Cats fed diets low in thiamine for several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is essential for cats. Symptoms of deficiency displayed by an affected cat can be gastrointestinal or neurological in nature. Early signs of thiamine deficiency may include decreased appetite, salivation, vomiting, and weight loss. In advanced cases, neurological signs can develop, which include ventroflexion (bending towards the floor) of the neck, wobbly walking, circling, falling, and seizures. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat is displaying any of these symptoms. If treated promptly, thiamine deficiency is typically reversible.

The affected product was distributed to a limited number of retail customers from December 20 through January 3, 2017. Click here for details

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Aversive Dog Training

Countering The Aversive
December 30, 2016
Author: Drayton Michaels

The notions that dogs are seeking to “dominate” humans or gain rank on them have been firmly debunked by the science community.

Some pet dog trainers that are either using aversive methods or some that call themselves “balanced”, and use a combination of both aversive approaches and food rewards, may carry the notion that positive reward based trainers are against them personally, or that are looking to have them stop training dogs.

While I can only speak for myself, it is not personal at all. What it boils down to for me, and many others, is the potential fallouts of using shock or choke, and/or physically reprimanding a dog that has me and other at odds with training via fear and pain. Once trainers who use such methods stop the aversive approaches, why would anyone want them to stop training dogs? After all there are lots of dogs that need help.

The other aspect of pet dog training that has many +R trainers agitated is the continuing false notions that dogs are “dominating” humans or looking to “gain rank” on humans when they resist or are not as compliant as humans would like.

David L. Mech, who was one of the proponents of the “dominance” theory, came out quite a few years ago and said he and his research team got it wrong.

Ray Coppinger has said many times in interviews that dogs are not “pack” animals like elephants are. Sure, dogs pack up for procreation, prey acquisition, and play, but dogs are not classified as pack animals, they are social animals, as most animals are.

It is these two-misguided notions, 1 – that fear and pain is needed to “train” and 2 – that dogs are “dominating” humans when resistant, that keep causing humans to imprint behavior issues such as increased fear and aggression, and have an adversarial relationship with dogs. It bears repeating dog’s at social maturity have the cognition of a three-year-old child, for life.
Read the entire article

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pet Food Recall

Blue Ridge Beef voluntarily recalled two of its frozen pet food products due to potential contamination with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes, according to FDA. The affected products were distributed to retail stores in the following states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona and Texas. This pet food recall was initiated after the FDA received two complaints associated with these products, including one complaint of a puppy death and one complaint involving two kitten illnesses. Subsequent testing by the FDA of a 2 pound chub of beef for dogs and kitten grind collected at a veterinary office revealed the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. There is no direct evidence linking the reported instances of pet illness to contaminated product. Recalled product identification The products involved in this pet food recall are sold in 2 pound chubs and can be identified with the following manufacturing codes: Beef for dogs Lot # - mfd ga8516 UPC code - 8542980011009 Kitten grind Lot # - mfd ga81216 UPC code - 854298001016 Read the entire article

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Facebook Contest

Happy Holidays! We are running a contest on our Facebook page.  We are giving away a set of Poochie Bells, a housetraining aid! Go to the page, like, comment and share the post for a chance to win!