Playing in the Snow

Posted in Dog diary, life with a working dog, pets with tags , , , , on February 13, 2014 by rattlerjen

Snow brings out my inner child

It snowed about 14 inches here at home in Northern Virginia.  I have two dogs and a hill in my back yard.  This of course calls for the implementation of a bad idea. Deja vu!

My dogs needed exercise

Molniya has a special pulling harness she has been taught to pull on and a bungee leash. She had tons of fun running down the hill. I had so much fun, this will likely be repeated again tomorrow morning!

 

Are your Pets Ready for a Disaster?

Posted in howto, pets with tags , on February 12, 2014 by rattlerjen

Before the Disaster

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The key to survival during a disaster, crisis or emergency is to be as prepared as possible before the storm hits. Take the time to make a plan and assemble an emergency kit for you and your pet. By taking these steps now, you will greatly increase your pet’s chances of survival.

Prepare for Everyday Emergencies

These are example scenarios that could happen to you at any time, anywhere in the country. Prepare yourself for these events, and if a large disaster should ever hit, you will be ready and know what to do:

  • The roads are icy, traffic is a mess and you decide to stay with a friend instead of risking the drive home from school or work. Who will check on your cat and feed her?
  • While you were out running errands, a propane truck overturned on the street near your neighborhood and you are not allowed to go home. A police officer tells you the electricity to your neighborhood was shut off. How can you make sure your birds stay warm?
  • Your mother-in-law has had a heart attack and you are going to meet your wife at the hospital. It may be a long night. Who will give your dog his medicine?

The Humane Society of the United States (with some of my modifications) recommends the following actions to make sure your pets are taken care of when everyday events like these prevent you from taking care of your pets:

  • Find a trusted neighbor and give them a key to your house or barn. Make sure this person is comfortable and familiar with your pets.
  • Make sure the neighbor knows your pets’ whereabouts and habits, so they will not have to waste precious time trying to find or catch them.
  • Get your cats and dogs used to being in crates and carriers. Feed them in their carriers so they associate it with something positive.
  • Create a pet emergency/disaster kit and place it in a prominent place where your neighbor can find it. Include pet medications or list their locations and instructions on how to use them inside the kit.
  • If the emergency involves evacuation, make sure the neighbor would be willing to take your pets and has access to the appropriate carriers and leashes. Plan to meet at a prearranged location.
  • If you use a pet sitting service, they may be available to help, but discuss the possibility well in advance.

Disaster Supply Checklist for Pets

Every member of your family should know what he or she needs to take when you evacuate. You also need to prepare supplies for your pet. Stock up on non-perishables well ahead of time, and have everything ready to go at a moment’s notice. Keep everything accessible, stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be carried easily.

If you reside in an area prone to certain seasonal disasters, such as flooding or hurricanes that might require evacuation, create a kit to keep in your car.
In your pet disaster kit, you should include:

  • Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food.
  • Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first aid kit. A pet first aid book is also good to include.
  • Cat litter box, litter, garbage bags to collect all pets’ waste, and litter scoop.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can’t escape. Carriers should be large enough for the animal to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time while you are away from home. Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets. These may require blankets or towels for bedding and warmth, and other special items.
  • Current photos and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated and to prove that they are yours.
  • Pet beds and toys, if you can easily take them, to reduce stress.
  • Information about your pets’ feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.

Other useful items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, grooming items and household bleach.

Find a Safe Place Ahead of Time

Because evacuation shelters generally don’t accept pets (except for service animals), you must plan ahead to make certain your family and pets will have a safe place to stay. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to do your research.

  • Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets. Ask about any restrictions on number, size and species. Inquire if the “no pet” policies would be waived in an emergency. Make a list of animal-friendly places and keep it handy. Call ahead for a reservation as soon as you think you might have to leave your home.
  • Check with friends, relatives or others outside your immediate area. Ask if they would be able to shelter you and your animals or just your animals, if necessary. If you have more than one pet, you may need to house them at separate locations.
  • Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies; include 24-hour telephone numbers.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if it provides foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. This should be your last resort, as shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched to their limits during an emergency.

In Case You’re Not Home

An evacuation order may come, or a disaster may strike, when you’re at work or out of the house.

  • Make arrangements well in advance for a trusted neighbor to take your pets and meet you at a specified location. Be sure the person is comfortable with your pets and your pets are familiar with him/her, knows where your animals are likely to be, knows where your disaster supplies are kept and has a key to your home.

If you use a pet-sitting service, it may be able to help, but discuss the possibility well in advance.

Don’t Forget ID

Your pet should be wearing up-to-date identification at all times. This includes adding your current cell phone number to your pet’s tag. It may also be a good idea to include the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area—if your pet is lost, you’ll want to provide a number on the tag that will be answered even if you’re out of your home.

During the Disaster

When You Evacuate, Take Your Pets With You

The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to take them with you when you evacuate. Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. Animals left inside your home can escape through storm-damaged areas, such as broken windows. Animals turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents.
Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence.

  • If you leave, even if you think you may only be gone for a few hours, take your animals. When you leave, you have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets.
  • Leave early—don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely with your pets. If you wait to be evacuated by emergency officials, you may be told to leave your pets behind.

If You Don’t Evacuate, Shelter in Place

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Be sure to close your windows and doors, stay inside, and follow the instructions from your local emergency management office.

  • Bring your pets indoors as soon as local authorities say there is an imminent problem. Keep pets under your direct control; if you have to evacuate, you will not have to spend time trying to find them. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification.
  • If you have a room you can designate as a “safe room,” put your emergency supplies in that room in advance, including your pet’s crate and supplies. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water inside watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies. If there is an open fireplace, vent, pet door, or similar opening in the house, close it off with plastic sheeting and strong tape.
  • Listen to the radio periodically, and don’t come out until you know it’s safe.

After the Disaster

After the Storm

Planning and preparation will help you survive the disaster, but your home may be a very different place afterward, whether you have taken shelter at home or elsewhere.

  • Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.
  • While you assess the damage, keep dogs on leashes or in crates and keep cats in carriers inside the house. If your house is damaged, they could escape and become lost.
  • Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.

“Reprinted by permission of The Humane Society of the United States.”

Safely securing a Kong to a crate

Posted in dog, how to, pets with tags on December 29, 2013 by rattlerjen

This is wonderful for introducing a dog to the wonders of his nice safe den, the crate!

Materials

  • kong
  • short eye bolt
  • nut (comes with eye bolt)
  • washer
  • one and a half inches of double sided scotch tape
  • carabiner
  • socket wrench long enough to fit into kong

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step 1. Put eye bolt through the small hole in the kong.

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step 2. Place double sided tape over end of wrench
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Step 3 Put nut on top of tape and push the nut and tape into the socket.

Step 4 Place washer over the end of the socket wrench pressing firmly on the tape sticking out of either side of wrench.
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Step 5 Place middle finger through eye bolt and pick up kong with big hole facing down.

Step 6 Put socket wrench through the hole in kong. It helps to find the bolt by aiming for your finger through the eyebolt on the outside of the kong and gently feel for the bolt.

Step 7 Tighten the nut until finger tight. Don’t tighten too much!

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Step 8 Attach carabiner to the eye hook.

Step 9 Stuff the kong with peanut butter, wet food, kibble, cheese, or other goodies. You may even freeze to make it last longer.

Step 10 Attach the kong to the back inside of the crate near the bottom so the kong is laying on its side. In order for your dog to have the kong he must be inside the crate. Start with the door open the entire time. After many days you may close the door for longer and longer periods while you dog is enjoying his kong.

Save a Hero’s Life

Posted in dog, life with a working dog, pets with tags , , on October 11, 2013 by rattlerjen

This dog can do anything!

pyro_look

Help him work again

Pyro is a dog on my Search and Rescue team that does it all.  He can climb anything, find anything, do pretty much anything. Right now he is need of some help.  For some unknown reason, he has developed an infection that is costing his wonderful handler a bit of cash and a ton of heartache.  She will do anything for this dog, and this dog will do anything for her. HIs handler/owner is broken to pieces over this boy and she will not give up.

Every tiny bit helps

Long time readers know I do not post about charities on this site. This dog is special. If you can only give a dollar, go for it. Nothing is too small.  If you cannot give a dime, spread this post around. Maybe someone you know can give something. Pyro has done so much to help humans. We can do something to help him. Find his story and Donate now at the link below.

pyro

Donate now through Go Fund Me

http://www.gofundme.com/4qv66s

Grom and Molniya Got Wet

Posted in Dog diary, pets with tags , on August 30, 2013 by rattlerjen

All Feet!

Many of you long time readers may remember my posts about trying to get my dog to like swimming.  Read a post about it, here: http://houndandthefound.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/its-sort-of-like-swimming/

We tried everything.  We threw his favorite toys in the water. We threw other dog’s favorite toys in the water and he watched those dogs swim for them.  We threw Grom’s favorite toys in the water and let other dogs swim for them.  I got in the water and teased him with his favorite toys.  I got in the water, put a life vest on the dog, and helped him “swim,” through the water. We did everything short of just throwing him in to the water.  No matter what, he would only get to the point where his feet stopped touching the bottom. Then, he stopped going any further.

He never really liked to swim.

Until now.

All it took was his best friend in the whole world, a lab named Seamus, to go swimming.  There must have been a doggie conversation between the two, because after Seamus went out, so did my dog!

But that is not all!

Did you catch the little dog in the lifejacket?  That’s right, it is little Mo! She loves to swim!  Of course she really enjoyed biting the waves and digging in the sand too.

What a great day on the water.  Woo Hoo!

A Journal Entry

Posted in Dog diary, pets with tags , , on August 20, 2013 by rattlerjen

Let’s get you all up to speed

Some of you have been wondering what has been going on with my posts.  They have lately been infrequent or have not included any updates of my Search and Rescue life.

I have been one busy chica

golden puppy

I have also been pretty bad at keeping up on my blog here. What have I been doing? Well, eight months ago I began my education towards becoming a Certified Dog Trainer through Animal Behavioral College.  My nose was deep in reading material and my brain was smoking with information.  My time was  spent driving to and from animal shelters to train dogs so they may be adopted as good pets.  My skills were assessed by a mentor in real life training environments.  I was also working a job with early morning hours and training two Search and Rescue dogs to boot!  My husband said I had three jobs going at once.  Well, now it is over and the real work begins.

I started my own animal training business

pcalogosmall

This is not something I really thought I wanted to do.  All the paperwork, and taxes, and responsibility, and…..  Until my husband pointed out that I practically did all of that at my last job anyway.  He was right, of course :)  Now I can truly make my own hours.  I can even go on a search and rescue mission whenever I am needed!  The best part is that I can continue to work at the wonderful doggy daycare with a fantastic staff and an amazing pair of owners.  My clients include dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, small animals, and even fish!  Now, how cool is that?

My website is coming together.  Check it out.

Pawsitive Critter Academy

What’s up with Search and Rescue?

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This is where I wish I was able to update all of you more on this blog.  Remember the rescued little Malinois we named Molniya?  She is turning into a wonderful dog that finds new ways to test me on a daily basis.  I call her the Rubik’s cube.  She has found a way to perplex myself and everyone else to boot.  More on the sweet little girl on another post.

At the moment

I am visiting my family in New Mexico for a week. Here’s to hoping some desert sun will kickstart my brain back into blogging!  Check back later this week for some awesome news about Grom and Molniya that was a very long time coming!

Paws Up!

-Jen

Debunking Dominance Theory

Posted in dog training, pets with tags , , on August 13, 2013 by rattlerjen

Yup, I am going to say it. Dominance theory is poodle poo.

poodle

Dog trainers have been using the Alpha theory for years to back up some notions on how to train a dog.  This has been passed around for decades among the dog training world.  This has simply been passed from trainer to trainer as fact (aka, meme). The theory was based on a very unscientific observation of a single artificial group of wolves in a zoo.  Wolf biologists themselves have discarded the theory. Before you Alpha Roll your pup, check this out:

Whole Dog Journal – Debunking Dominance - Filled with references and comprehensive

Australian Veterinary Association – Debunking Dominance in Dogs

Time Magazine – Animal Experts Debunk the Myth of Alpha Theory

Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science – Fresh Look at Wolf Pack Theory -Science stuff

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior – Official View on Dominance Theory

Association of Pet Behavior Counselors – Why Wont Dominance Die

Dr. Yin – The Dominance Controversy

Science publication University of Bristol

 

 

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