The Real Man's Guide to Dog Training  

Posted by — Kim in , , , , , ,

Here's a great article that I thought I would pass on...hope you find it interesting! –Kim

The Real Man's Guide to Dog Training - Part 1
By Eric Goebelbecker
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." –John Quincy Adams
Dog training is an activity that is clearly dominated (if you'll pardon the pun) by women. I don't have the actual numbers in front of me, but it's probably safe to say that at least 90% of the people involved in dog training are women.
Why is this? To be honest, I'm really not sure. The most recognizable dog trainer on television (and probably in printed media) right now is a man. He takes a very masculine approach to dog training, with a lot of "macho" language and posturing. He certainly makes it look like something that men (at least, sterotypical men) should not only be good at it, but also be attracted to it.
So why are there so many more women than men "down in the trenches?" Is there something about dog training that makes it more appealing to women than to men? Are women better at it? Is it just too hard for men to do well? Is dog training unappealing to men?
Having spent the better part of the last decade becoming a dog trainer, I think dog training is pretty cool – and I obviously think it is something that a man can do. For this reason, I have decided (with a little help and convincing from some friends) to put together "The Real Man's Guide To Dog Training."
(Based on the very demographics I just complained about, there's a good chance that you are a woman. Keep reading! You won't find this boring and you may find some of the information useful when you deal with men that are trying to figure out dogs.)
There is no reason why men shouldn't be interested in dog training. As a matter of fact, when you strip all of that "pack leader," "alpha wolf," "dominant" rigamarole away, dog training is really about the true essence of leadership.
Why Dog Training?
What makes a guy decide to become a dog trainer?
I first became interested in dog training when my wife and I adopted Caffeine, a 9-week-old puppy, who turned about to be quite a handful. This is a story I share with probably half of the dog trainers out there. The other half are the trainers that were always interested in some form of animal training and/or animal career.
Don't get me wrong, I have always been fascinated with dogs. But when I was a kid, I wasn't able to have one. When I finished high school and left home, it was straight into the Army for 8 years, where having a dog just wasn't practical. When I returned to the States with my wife (whom I met while in the Army), we lived in a few different apartments where pets weren't allowed.
Finally, we bought a house, and within a few months, a fence was installed and we adopted our first dog together, Sally.
Sally wasn't the kind of dog that makes you a trainer. She was already 5 or 6 when we brought her home. (We found this out later – we thought she was 2.) She was completely housetrained, had a notion of basic obedience, and never chewed or destroyed any property. She had ample energy that, with her brindle and white coat, contributed to the confusion over her age. But she had a great temperament and was always very agreeable – what some trainers call "biddable." My wife and I would watch the occasional dog training program on TV (hosted by a guy who now seems to spend all of his time writing how terrible other trainers are, nowadays), but we really didn't have any serious problems with Sally at all.
We lost Sally pretty quickly to cancer after six years or so. I don't think we lasted a month before we were looking at Petfinder and calling rescues.
We decided to get a puppy. We both knew that a puppy would be a lot of work, but not knowing how old Sally really was made us want to start with a dog from "scratch."
We brought Caffeine home on a Friday night. That Saturday morning, we woke to a horrible mess of vomit and feces. She had parvovirus, a frequently fatal viral infection. She spent three days in intensive care, and when she was sent home, our veterinarian said one of the funniest things (in retrospect) I have ever heard.
"She won't have the energy she should for a while."
Well, if that was true, thank heavens.
Caffeine was nuts! At the age of almost nine, she still is. This lead to a journey of sorts — which I will write more about in the next entry in this series.

© Dog Spelled Forward (Eric Goebelbecker) / CC BY-ND 3.0

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Inner City Rescue  

Posted by — Kim in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

N.J. Couple Rescues Abused, Special Needs Dogs

Nyier Abdou
May 10, 2011

New Jersey couple offers second chance for sick and abused dogs. The inner city animal shelters Michael Pravec and his wife, Stacey, frequent have locked doors and no sign. These aren't places animals come to get adopted. It's where they go to die. They can't save them all, so the North Haledon couple looks for the worst cases – the ill or abused dogs that are hopelessly hard to find homes for. With the help of donations and a word-of-mouth network of foster homes, animal shelters, veterinarians and trainers, the dogs are nursed back to health, trained and placed in permanent homes. The emotionally wrenching work has consumed their lives and led to the founding of their own non-profit, Special Needs K9.

A chorus of excited barking greets Michael Pravec as he enters the dog pound. The concrete hallway is lined with cages for large dogs, nearly all of them pit bulls, their noses pressed desperately against the bars.
"This is the hardest part," Michael, 45, of North Haledon, says. "You want to leave here in a bus loaded with every single one of them, but you can't."
It's early on a weekday afternoon and Michael, a retired Paramus police officer, is supposed to be at a physical therapy appointment for a neck problem that requires surgery. But instead, he and his wife, Stacey, are at the Associated Humane Societies animal shelter in Newark. They're looking for a certain kind of dog – not the adorable young ones, but the worst cases: the abused, the discarded, the disabled.
"Everybody wants a puppy, not a dog that's scarred up," said Michael, who runs the animal rescue Special Needs K9. "Instead of the most adoptable, we take the least adoptable."
Michael is a man on a mission he sometimes wishes he never found. "It's taken years off my life," he said, adding that nearly 20 years on the police force was "a breeze" compared to the emotionally wrenching work of dog rescue.
While volunteering at a local animal shelter, Michael found himself drawn to the special needs cases – so much so that by the end of 2009, he and his wife made it official, incorporating as Special Needs K9.
With the help of donations, social networking, and relentless effort, the couple has saved more than 50 dogs, most of them abused, many of them in urgent need of medical attention, and placed them in homes. Michael and Stacey are the only employees – they earn no salary – and the work has quickly taken over their lives.
"Mike feels he's obligated to give back to the animals that have been abused. I take my hat off to him," said Denton Infield, who manages Associated Humane Societies-Newark. Many inner city shelters are far less scrupulous, however. Those are the ones the couple frequent but never name – shelters behind locked gates, where abandoned animals are sent to die.
Stacey, an attractive blonde who gave up her interior design business for the rescue, admits she's used her feminine wiles more than once to gain access to these shelters. Sometimes, a sympathetic worker will let her know the shelter is going to euthanize a large number of animals, and Stacey will race over and spend time with each dog slated to die.
"I give them treats, I try to take them out," Stacey said. Almost always, she says, "I leave in tears."
What keeps her going, Stacey says, is the one or two dogs they are able to save – dogs like Pennie, a deaf lab-pit mix pulled from a shelter earlier this year. Pennie was housed at Kamp Kanine, an upscale doggie daycare in Little Falls that works with Special Needs K9. She was nursed back to health and trained in sign commands before being adopted a few weeks ago.
But the work is taking its toll, Michael concedes. The couple do everything themselves, ferrying dogs to doctors and conducting home checks. "We bite off more than we can chew," he said. "When we run out of funds, I just use my own credit card for food or vet bills."
Still, on a Friday morning last month, the couple found themselves driving out to Oakland to see a dog referred by a local shelter. Isabella, a half-lab, half shar pei mix, suffered from entropion, a condition where the edges of a dog's eyelids roll inward, causing a painful scratching of the cornea that can lead to infection. Isabella's case had been left untreated for so long that the repeated scarring had forced her eyes shut.
"This dog is blind," Michael said, as he tried to pull Isabella's eyes open enough to put some drops in. "This is the worst I've ever seen."
Gail Lino, who took in Isabella when the dog's previous owners lost their home to foreclosure, said she could foster Isabella, but couldn't afford the necessary surgery, which can cost upwards of $2,000. The problem was, Special Needs K9 couldn't afford it either.
So, Michael got on the phone to his brothers. In his family, they don't give gifts, they give charity, and the brothers agreed to pull together the money for Isabella's surgery as a birthday gift to their dad. "She's lucky that my dad turns 80 today," Michael sighed.
That night, at a birthday dinner, his dad was "near tears" when presented with a picture of Isabella. The surgery, performed less than two weeks later at Pompton Lakes Animal Hospital, was successful, restoring the dog's sight.
Michael is long overdue for his own surgery. He walks with a stiff gait, unable to turn his neck freely. For months he's been waiting for things to "slow down" so he can set aside some time to recuperate, but there's always one more dog.
"When you start something like this, there's no going back," Michael says. "It's like an addiction. I'd like to stop, but I can't."

© 2011 All rights reserved.

Also, see:
  • N.J. couple volunteers to rescue special needs dogs gallery (27 photos).
  • For more information on Special Needs K9, visit the organization's Web page.
  • CLICK HERE to see the detailed list of No-kill shelters at the bottom of this blog!

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Ear Infections  

Posted by — Kim in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here's an informative article that I thought I would pass on...hope you find it helpful! –Kim

Ear Anatomy 101
by Dr. Andrew Jones

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons that pet owners visit their veterinarian. Typically, I would see an increased number of ear infections in the spring.

Now is a good time to review ear anatomy, what causes ear infections, and exact steps you can use to prevent and treat them at home.

The ear consists of the outer portion (the pinna), the 2 sections of the ear canal (the vertical ear canal and horizontal ear canal), the ear drum and the inner ear.

Most ear infections involve the outer ear, meaning the vertical and horizontal ear canals.


Your pet keeps shaking his head and scratching at his ears. Often you will see a foul-smelling black, yellow or brown discharge. The ears may be very red and tender.


Ear mites are infectious parasites primarily found in young cats. They are spread through direct contact from cat to cat. Ear infections are most typical in dogs. Most ear infections are caused by an underlying allergy. Some are caused by water in the ear after bathing or swimming. Dogs with large floppy ears, such as Basset Hounds, are prone to infections as their ear canals have poor air circulation, trapping moisture and allowing bacteria and yeast to grow.

The basis for PREVENTING ear infections is learning how to clean your pet's ears properly.

How to Clean Your Pet's Ears Properly

You will need an ear cleanser, cotton balls, and may need someone to help gently restrain your pet by holding their head while you clean his/her ears.

Apply cleanser to the ear as shown or by soaking a cotton ball and placing it in the ear. Attempt to fill each ear canal until it is overflowing or apply approximately 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of Ear Cleanser. This can be a veterinary cleanser, or a mixture of vinegar and water.

Massage the cleanser into the ear canal by gently massaging the base of the ear where the cartilage turns. Massage for about a minute to dislodge the attached wax. If necessary, occlude the canal with a small amount of cotton during this process to protect against drenching, should your pet shake his/her head. For maximum benefit, allow cleanser to remain in the ear canal for at least 5 minutes before attempting to manually clean.

With a cotton ball over your fingertip, wipe the accessible portion of the ear and ear canal clean (so the debris sticks to the cotton), as shown.

Let your pet shake out any excess cleanser.

Repeat the above steps in the other ear.

Don't insert cotton swabs into the ears! They should only be used in the visible portion of the ear and ear canal.

Treating Ear Infections

When your pet has an ear infection, you need to be doing more than just cleaning it.

STEP 1 - Cleaning

CLEAN THEM. White vinegar (acetic acid) is very effective at removing debris from the ears and killing the yeast and bacteria responsible for ear infections. *If your dog or cat has red, open wounds, do not use this, as it will be painful. You need to use a soothing topical first (i.e., olive oil and Vitamin E).

Dilute the vinegar with water 50:50. Pick up a syringe from your local pharmacy and put 5 ml of the vinegar solution per 20 lbs of body weight into the affected ear. (Your cat would get 2.5 ml or 1/2 tsp). Grab the ear where it attaches to the head (at the ear base), gently squeeze your thumb and forefinger together, rubbing the solution deep into the ear canals. Wipe the inside of the ear well with cotton balls to remove debris coming from the ear canal. Continue to do this daily for 5-7 days. For dogs with recurring infections, this can be done weekly.

HEALING OILS. This is especially helpful if your pet's ears are inflamed and difficult to touch. You can use a mixture of 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil combined with 1 capsule of Vitamin E oil and insert that into your pets ear. Let it soak for 5 minutes, then rub the base of the ear well and wipe out excess debris with a cotton ball.

BURROW'S SOLUTION. This is one that I discuss for use in Hot Spots, but it can also be used for ear infections and ear cleaning. It is a solution of aluminum acetate in water. It is used as an astringent wet dressing to relieve inflammatory conditions of the skin, such as swelling, allergies and bruises. Burrow's solution has antibacterial effects, and will inhibit the growth of bacteria commonly found in ear infections. Apply 5-6 drops in both ears, cleaning twice daily.

STEP 2 - Treating the Infection

LESSEN THE INFLAMMATION. Most ear infections produce red, inflamed ears, so it is important to decrease the inflammation. ALOE or CALENDULA essential oil can be applied topically in the ears twice daily to decrease inflammation.

HERBAL INFUSION. Another oil infusion consists of: OREGON GRAPE, MARSHMALLOW AND GARLIC. Soak the dried herbs overnight in olive oil – this can also be mixed with Vitamin E.

TREAT THE INFECTION. GARLIC, SAGE and THYME have antibacterial and antifungal properties. One treatment is to soak garlic cloves overnight with Calendula oil. Remove the garlic and instill the calendula-garlic mixture twice daily.

HOMEOPATHIC: SILICA. Useful for dogs with recurrent ear infections. Most have excessive debris. The typical dose is 30C twice daily.

Common organisms causing the infections include yeast (suspect this if the debris is brown and has a sweet odor). Yeast often responds well to vinegar.

Less commonly, there is a bacteria called Pseudomonas. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a specific species of bacteria that is resistant to almost every possible antibiotic. This is often found as a cause of chronic, recurring ear infections.

Silvadene/silver sulfadiazine

This is as a wound cream, but it also has activity against Pseudomonas. The cream can be prepared in water for an easier ear administration.


EDTA is a binder of metals that are important to the bacterial cell wall. It is sold in veterinary clinics as TrizEDTA, a 4 ounce container to which 112 ml of distilled water is added. The method of usage is to place the TrizEDTA in the ear. In practice I would combine it with injectable Baytril, and I found it to be effective for Pseudomonas.

STEP 3 - Preventing the Infection From Coming Back

Most recurring ear infections have an underlying cause.

ALLERGY DIET. For dogs that get recurring ear infections, it is important to try a less allergenic diet. It should include a completely different protein with minimal added ingredients. For example, one commercial diet is made of fish and sweet potato.

BIOFLAVONOIDS. These are the wonderful groups of structures found in the pigment of fruits and vegetables. Quercetin has been effective for people with allergies and may be effective in dogs. The dose is 25 mg per 10 lbs of body weight daily.

FATTY ACIDS. These are a must for any allergy that triggers recurring ear infections: flax oil for dogs (1 tsp per cup of dog food) and fish oil for cats (1 capsule per 10 lbs). I advise therapeutic doses of EFA's at 1000 mg per 10 lbs, daily.

VITAMIN C. This may help your pet, and is worth a try. It suppresses the product released from cells in the body that causes itching (histamine), and is an antioxidant. Start with a low dose of 100 mg twice daily per 10 lbs of body weight.

ANTIOXIDANTS. Vitamin E may help: the dose is 100 IU per 10 lbs of body weight, once daily.

ANTIHISTAMINES. Benadryl is the most commonly used antihistamine. It is given at a dose of 1 mg per pound of body weight, 2-3 times a day. Cats respond well to Chlortripolon at 2 mg, 2-3 times a day. It is best to consult your veterinarian before using these medications. It often takes 14 days of using these to see if they are helping.

Some ear infections simply cannot be controlled with the above steps (although MOST can). In those advanced cases surgery may be your only option. BUT if you are diligent in cleaning, and attempt to prevent the infection in the first place, you can AVOID surgery.

Source: (requires membership)
Copyright © 2011 Four Paws Online Ltd

Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM has been a practicing Veterinarian for almost 20 years. He is a strong advocate of Natural Pet Health Care, and knows that the most important way to heal our pets and prevent disease is through proper nutrition. He developed Ultimate Canine to give our dogs that extra advantage – something that will provide them with everything they need to develop stronger immune systems to fight disease, heal sore or stiff joints, and help them live longer, happier lives. Dr. Andrew Jones' main focus is on alternative, non-traditional remedies for pets. His interest in alternative pet medicine culminated in the writing of his book, Veterinary Secrets Revealed.

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Short-Faced Dogs More Apt to Die on Airplanes  

Posted by — Kim in , , , , , , , , ,

Here's a great article that I thought I would pass on...hope you find it informative! –Kim

Half the Dogs Who Die While Traveling
By: Maria Goodavage

Thinking about flying to your next vacation destination with your dog? If he's a bulldog, pug, or other short-snouted pooch, you might want to consider some new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation: Short-faced breeds account for about half of the dogs who died while traveling in the cargo hold in the last five years.

During this period, 122 dogs died while traveling as cargo on passenger planes, according to the DOT. The figure includes 31 bulldogs and 11 pugs. Vets say respiratory issues are usually to blame.

Owners "should consult their pets' veterinarians about any genetic features in dogs of this type and the medical condition of their pets before deciding to transport them by aircraft," the DOT said. Many vets recommend against transporting these dogs at all in the cargo hold.

Delta Airlines has specific regulations against flying with short-nosed dogs. According to Delta's website, "Pug or snub-nosed dogs and cats are not hot-weather animals and therefore do not thrive in warm temperatures. As a precaution, Delta will not accept them as checked baggage or as air cargo if the temperature on any part of their trip exceeds 70° F." The site goes on to list 25 dogs breeds and four cat breeds that fall into this category.

Other dogs are not immune to the difficult, and sometimes deadly, conditions in the plane's cargo area. Labs and Golden Retrievers placed fairly high on the DOT death list.

Jake doesn't exactly fit under the seat in the passenger cabin. (He couldn’t even get his gigantic head under it, most likely.) So, if he is going to vacation with us, we'll take the car. I've never flown with a dog in cargo, and hope never to have to. Would you? Have you? What has been your experience?

(c) SAY Media, Inc. 2011

Also, see:

Pet-friendly Hotels

Kids and Pets ALWAYS Stay Free

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List of No-kill Shelters and Rescues

List of No-kill Shelters and Rescues: 
Find local shelters near you! LOCAL SEARCH
You can adopt or foster from any of these shelters or donate to support their efforts. Be sure to confirm that they are a "no-kill" shelter. Then, be a part of the solution!

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