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Training 911

posted October 31st, 2015 by
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That Dog’s Got Skills

By Mary Green

 

My new friend asked, “What are the most important skills you can teach a dog?”

I had a fun conversation the other day with a first-time dog owner.  Like any “new mom” she was feeling overwhelmed about training her dog and was getting way too much unsolicited advice about what to do. As a dog trainer, I am always asked about how to fix many behavior problems, but I don’t get much opportunity to talk about how to prevent behavior problems. As we chatted, I thought about her question and what dog owners really need to train. It’s pretty simple, really.

 

My top 3:

Sit

Come when called

Self-settle

 

Sit

Isn’t it amazing that most dogs figure this out pretty quickly? They sit quickly if you head for the cookie jar or the treat bag. Even very inexperienced pet owners can figure out how to get their puppy, or dog, to sit. If you’re not sure, just take a little treat and “lure” the puppy by moving the treat over his head (and slightly toward his back) and give him the treat as his knees bend or his rump hits the ground.  So many behavior problems or challenges can be avoided with a rock solid “sit” cue.

Anti-jumping up: sit for all petting.

Bolting: sit at all doorways, intersections, etc.

Lunging on leash: (turn away) and sit will diffuse many tense situations.

Impulse control: sit to get the leash on/off, sit and wait for food, sit to come out of crate or confinement… and so on.

 

The science of operant condition, an approach labeled by psychologist B.F. Skinner, tells us that behavior which is rewarding has a higher likelihood of being repeated than an un-rewarding behavior.  Our dogs sit because they know that if they sit, good things happen. You can build your dog’s willingness to sit by giving him treats and other things he likes for sitting.  You are making deposits in his brain bank, which is creating a “reinforcement history.”

 

Come when called.

A solid “recall” can be the one skill that can save your dog’s life.  I want my dog to come each and every time I call him.  I want this to be a reflexive action rather than a decision. There are many reasons why your dog may not come when you call.

 

He is having too much fun: sniffing, playing with another dog or person, chasing something, or playing keep-away.

Something scared him, startled him or caused him to panic and bolt.

He is anticipating a reprimand or a punishment.

He has insufficient “reinforcement history.”

Too much freedom without enough training.

 

Regardless of why he is not coming when you call him, you would practice basically the same way. You would do many, many practices in a place where there are no distractions—inside, away from the other animals, with a handful of yummy treats; say, “Brutus, come!” and give him a treat for coming to you. Then give him a second treat as you touch his collar, so he can’t dart away. Gradually add distractions and practice in different safe locations where you can be 100-percent sure that your dog cannot fail.

The best way to have that reliability is to always reward your dog in some way for coming to you.  Pet him if he likes that, give him a treat, play tug, go for a car ride or a walk. It will build that reflexive head-turning, spin-on-a-dime, solid recall.

There are some common things that dog owners do to cause their dogs not to come.  For example, don’t call your dog to scold him for something such as getting into the trash or having an accident. Don’t call him when you’re angry! Don’t call him and trick him into something he doesn’t like. If I’m putting my puppy in his crate, I say, “Brutus, get in your house!” and he learns that there will be a treat in there.

If he didn’t like going into his crate, I would just go get him and put him in.  In my experience, many dogs (puppies and small dogs especially) don’t want to come because they have been pursued and picked up. They don’t like this, so they run away. This is especially problematic if children have been chasing and grabbing them.

 

Self-Settle

I see a lot of dogs that have absolutely no ability to calm themselves. Many of them have trained their owners to be at their beck and call. They seek and solicit attention in a number of ways such as barking, whining, stealing things they shouldn’t have, pawing or scratching, begging, and going inside and outside incessantly. And I see some really exhausted owners.

If you have a puppy, start him early on stuff-able, chewable toys, such as Kong toys.  There are lots of products available that are safe to leave with a puppy. Stuffing a toy with your dog’s food, treats, biscuits, etc., and putting that in the crate with him can really help him settle down.  This isn’t just for puppies—all dogs can benefit from chew toy training.

Give them a place to settle down besides the crate. Teach him to go to his mat and settle down there. That’s a safe place where good things happen. He can be with the family, but the children are not allowed to disturb him when he is on his mat. He can hang out with you without being underfoot.

Respond to his attention-seeking behavior by telling him to sit before you pet, get up, or otherwise engage him. If you can learn to observe your dog for calm behavior, and reward him for that, he will hit that point of decision whether to be calm or not. If he has had more rewards for calm–the impulsiveness can fade away.

If you would like more information about teaching some of these behaviors, check out our website at www.k9-manners.com. On the “what we do” page, there are some one-page .pdf files you can review or print!

Do the Math

posted October 30th, 2015 by
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Do the Math

Do the Math.  It’s true – there’s an Oklahoma Standard when it comes to helping in time of great need.  I witnessed it first hand following the Murrah Bombing and one of the devastating Moore tornadoes.  Recently, that Oklahoma ability to come together during a tragedy happened on the campus of Oklahoma State University.

If only that standard could be a part of the world of rescue.

We opened our doors in late April.  It quickly became apparent we would need to transport out-of-state if we wanted to save some of the homeless dogs that came into our facility.  It felt wonderful to quickly find organizations in Colorado and Wyoming that needed our dogs.  However, this great feeling of accomplishment only lasted for a few days.  Then we do the math and reality hits us and we’re once again looking for organizations out-of-state to help us.

What we are really saying is:  We don’t have an Oklahoma Standard when it comes to saving the lives of homeless dogs and cats.  We’re just sending our problems to someone else.  I know, for a fact, that Colorado is beginning to take notice and I won’t be surprised if they enact some changes.

Here’s the math for three months – – from three rescues.  A total of 584 – – YES – – 584 dogs were transported out-of-state.  Look at an Oklahoma map – – the Vinita/ surrounding area can be multiplied by at least 5 (or more) and when you do the math you begin to realize in all probability more than 2,500 dogs found new homes out-of-state.

We can set the Oklahoma standard.  Support spay/neuter clinics, be sure your pets are “fixed” or look in the mirror and understand that as the weather turns cold, the roads become treacherous, all of us will send fewer dogs out-of-state.  However, that doesn’t mean fewer dogs needs homes – it just means more dogs will die.

Kay Stout, Director   PAAS Vinita  [email protected]  918-256-7227

TANNER and BLAIR

posted October 24th, 2015 by
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The IncrediblePair

By Sherri Goodall

 

Remember Tanner and Blair?

One (Tanner) born blind with a seizure disorder, and one (Blair) found with a gunshot wound to her pelvis and, in turn, extremely distrustful of people. It seemed like a God thing that the two would not only meet, but turn into a pair assisting each other, both physically and emotionally.

Their story not only went viral throughout the U.S., it was translated into 12 languages and touched people all over the world. Their story was reported in 2012 by Burt Mummolo with Channel 8, and picked up by 29 countries. Reported on by Diane Sawyer, Katy Couric and Jeanne Moos, ABC, CNN and Huffington Post were just a few of the news organizations that picked up the story.

Blair, a Labrador mix, was found with her sister by a Good Samaritan and taken to Woodland West. Her sister was quickly adopted but Blair was very shy, scared, and unfriendly to people.

In January 2010, Tanner came to Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue after his owner died. He was just a few months old, blind since birth with seizures. He was fostered out twice, but neither owner was able to care for him with his multiple issues. Unable to care for him herself, Pam Denny of SGRR took him to Woodland West Animal   Hospital where he spent weeks in their care supervised by Dr. Mike Jones.

There were many mornings when Dr. Jones would come in and find evidence that Tanner had seized during the night. This occurred almost every night regardless of the medications Dr. Jones gave him. So frequent and severe, Dr. Jones called  Pam Denny to talk about putting Tanner down as the most merciful solution to his many problems.

One fateful February day, Blair ambled into the yard where Tanner was. As if she was on a specific mission, she trotted up to Tanner and took his leash in her mouth and their bond was sealed. They were inseparable from that moment on. They ate together and were crated together, which is a no-no—especially overnight—but each morning Dr. Jones found the two happy and no evidence of Tanner seizing.

Tanner, who used to seize nightly, had a total of three seizures in the few months since being with Blair. His anxiety issues dramatically decreased, resulting in fewer seizures, and his medications were greatly reduced.

Dr.  Jones said, “We recognize the human-animal bond. We know that this bond helps decrease blood pressure in humans.  Simply petting a dog lowers a human’s blood pressure. We should also recognize the animal-animal bond, and the good it can do as well.”

Blair had become a better dog—more friendly, trusting, and outgoing with people. She seemed happy with her new life as Tanner’s assistance dog.

When their story made national and international news, calls came in from all across the globe. SGRR received over 100 applications from L.A. to New York from people wanting to adopt the pair.  There would be much to consider in choosing the right home for these two with their special needs.

Finally, after many reviews, the Sibley family of Jenks, Okla., was chosen to become the “forever” family of Tanner and Blair. Prior to her adoption, Blair was made an “honorary member” of SGRR. To add to the mix, they would have a new brother, a chocolate Lab named Louie, who also had a seizure disorder. The Sibleys were no strangers to dogs with issues. It didn’t take long for  the three dogs to bond. Blair remained ever protective of Tanner, still leading him around with his leash.

Shortly after the adoption, Tanner had cataract surgery and a lens inserted. The hope was to improve his vision, no matter how minimal. His owner said he still bumped into things, but possibly saw shadows. Not to worry, with Blair ever  ready at his side, Tanner now had a constant in his life.

I wish this story had a happy, ever-after ending, but four months after Tanner’s adoption, he had a severe series of seizures over a weekend and had to be euthanized. The outpouring of sadness and affection on Tanner and Blair’s Facebook page was astounding.

Blair, however, is doing quite well. The Sibley family moved to Washington with Blair and Louie. The latest update from Tiffany Sibley says Blair is doing fabulous. She thinks she is a lap dog and loves to be cradled in her family’s arms like a baby and will just fall asleep. Her buddy, Louie, is also doing well. They hate to be apart. If one goes to the vet, the other is quite anxious until the other returns. The bond between them seems permanently forged as was Tanner and Blair’s.

Blair’s favorite toys are stuffed hedgehogs. Louie tears the stuffing out, and Blair carries what’s left in her mouth.

Sweet Blair turned 4 in July.

Tanner’s spirit hangs lovingly over Blair, the Sibleys, and Louie.

Connection

posted October 23rd, 2015 by
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Connection

There is documented evidence of the connection between domestic, elder, animal and child abuse.  Sadly, they are all too prevalent in our society.  All you have to do is ask anyone who works in rescue, child welfare, law enforcement, education or religion.

 

For all the negative aspects, there is hope of breaking the cycle of violence through intervention.  One proven, winning, solution has been the interaction between animals, especially dogs, with those have a history of being the recipients of abuse – or were the abuser themselves.

 

My first encounter with the latter was the dog training program at Lexington Prison.  Thanks to a documentary underwritten by the Kirkpatrick Foundation, The Dogs of Lexington, tells the redemptive story of shelter dogs, prisoners, and people.  Sarge was a growly, grumpy, nippy schnauzer mix, deemed unadoptable.  Today Sarge is the resident therapy dog for the Norman, Oklahoma Veterans Center.  I personally watched the magic happen.

 

Last school year, I spent one day with middle school students in rural Oklahoma.  It was disheartening to realize how many of their lives were chaotic, except in the classroom.  The value of therapy dogs in schools, like this one, would pay rich rewards as the students transition through high school and then try to find their place in society.

 

What I have learned is that doing nothing – – solves nothing.  The abuse continues, more lives are affected and the cycle grows and grows and grows.  It has to stop somewhere – it can stop with you, the person reading this article.

Kay Stout, Director   PAAS Vinita  [email protected]  918-256-7227

Pet Travel Guide

posted October 23rd, 2015 by
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Pet Travel

PET TRAVEL GUIDE

Pet Travel is becoming more and more popular. Bringing your pet on holidays with you adds to the fun of your trip and alleviates the worry of not knowing what’s happening with them while you’re away. Before travelling, you need to do your homework. Planes and cars aren’t designed with animals in mind. You also need to know what to expect when you do reach your final destination. There are a lot of rules and restrictions in place from country to country. By planning your pet travel ahead of time, you can make your hard earned holiday a truly relaxing time for everyone involved. To help you and your jet-setting animal companions, Greyhounds As Pets have produced an infographic that shows you the most important things you need to know about taking them on holidays with you. The Website URL is http://www.gapnsw.com.au/dogs-for-apartments/

Tom Clarke
Marketing Manager

greyhounds as pets
Building B| 1 Homebush Bay Drive Rhodes NSW 2138
t : 02 87 67 0535 | f : 02 97 64 6244
Website: www.gapnsw.com.au

Pet Travel

Lost and Found in OKC

posted October 21st, 2015 by
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Lost and Found in OKC

Pet Lost and Found can be a harrowing experience

These guidelines are thanks to OKC Animal Welfare

Lost Pet:

Not being able to find your pet is an especially traumatic experience. Here are some helpful tips that will increase your chances of finding him or her.

 

Visit our Shelter Daily:

OKCAW takes in lost pets and stray animals every day at our shelter located at 2811 SE 29th steeet. Lost pets and stray animals are held for three days if they have no identification and five days if they are identified in order to provide you with enough time to visit the shelter and find your pet. If no one claims the animal during the holding time, the animal is evaluated for placement options. When you arrive at the shelter to look for your pet, go to the front counter and tell the staff member that you are looking for a lost pet. Bring in ID for yourself as well as for your animal. You will fill out a short form and a staff member will escort you through the building. While you’re at the shelter, take the time to look at every cage; this will eliminate the possibility of you passing a cage that your pet may be in. We recommend that you visit at least every two days.

 

Ask the front desk for a blue “lost card”.  Make sure to fill this out completely and in detail, and it will be posted on our lost and found board.

 

Search our Website’s Found Pets Database:

Pictures and/or descriptions of animals that have been brought to our Care Centers are posted on our website hourly. To search the database of found animals in our care:

  • Go to http://www.okc.gov/animalwelfare
  • On the left hand side select Search for Pet
  • Animal Type: select which animal you are searching for
  • Animal Gender: select No Preference
  • Animal Age: Select No Preference
  • Animal Size: Select No Preference

 

The last page shows the most recent animals we have received.  Please start on the last page and work your way back to the beginning.  If you find an animal that resembles yours please write down the animal ID so that one of our representatives can point you in the right direction once you arrive at the shelter.

If you see an animal that fits the description of your lost pet, visit the shelter to reclaim your pet. Please make sure you come in with the animal identification number from the website and pictures of your animals for identification purposes.

 

File a Lost Pet Report Online:

A report filed with OKCAW will be entered into an online database that searches our computer records and will send you information if there is a match. This report will be valid for 30 days and will continue to send you information if applicable during those 30 days.

When filing the Lost Pet report, please remember to upload a photo of your lost pet (a clear full body photo, if possible). Also, please leave the top check-off box unchecked so to allow a copy of your report to be sent to OKCAW. If you check this box, our Lost and Found will not be able to reach you if a match is made.

  • Go to http://www.okc.gov/animalwelfare
  • On the left hand side select I Lost a Pet
  • Click the appropriate link for dog or cat
  • Fill out the report with as much detail as possible
  • Attach a photo of your pet
  • Click the “Submit Request” button

 

Found Pets:

Thank you for taking care of the lost pet you have found. Below is a list of options to assist you in locating the family of the lost pet.

If the animal has identification, contact the owner. Identification comes in many forms, so please check the animal thoroughly for a tag, tattoo or microchip. You can bring an animal to most shelters and veterinary hospitals to scan the animal for a microchip. Some owners write their phone number on their pet’s collar. If the animal has an OKCAW rabies tag, call 405-297-3100 during normal business hours or send us an email to [email protected] and we will return your message as soon as possible.

 

Bring to the Pet to OKCAW:

If the animal was found in Oklahoma City, you may bring it to the shelter. OKCAW takes in lost pets and stray animals every day from 9am-5:45pm at our shelter located at 2811 SE 29th St in Oklahoma City. Lost pets are put on hold for three days if they have no identification or five days if there is identification in order to provide the owners with enough time to locate their pets. After three or five days, the animal gets evaluated and made available for placement. Note: If you are a finder of a lost pet and are interested in adopting the pet after the hold period, please be at the facility by noon on the day the hold period is up to adopt. All adoption criteria apply.

Please note that all animals that come into our care are scanned for a microchip. If the animal has a current chip or other form of identification, we make every attempt to contact the owner to reunite them with their pet.

 

Keep the Pet at Your Home:

If you want to keep the animal during the hold period, please come to the shelter to fill out a green “found card” (ask the front desk for one).  We will post this form on our lost and found board in the building. Also, file a found report on our website.

File a Found Pet Report Online:

A report filed with OKCAW will be entered into an online database that searches our computer records and will send you information if there is a match. This report will be valid for 30 days and will continue to send you information if applicable during those 30 days.

When filing the Found Pet report, please remember to upload a photo of the found pet (a clear full body photo, if possible). Also, please leave the top check-off box unchecked so to allow a copy of your report to be sent to OKCAW. If you check this box, our Lost and Found will not be able to reach you if a match is made.

  • Go to http://www.okc.gov/animalwelfare
  • On the left hand side select I Found a Pet
  • Click the appropriate link for dog or cat
  • Fill out the report with as much detail as possible
  • Attach a photo of your pet
  • Click the “Submit Request” button

 

Other Tips on Locating the Owners of a Found Pet:

Post flyers within a 2-mile radius of where you found the pet. Your flyer should include a detailed description of the animal, pictures and your contact information. Post this flyer with permission in as many places around the neighborhood as possible: pet shops, veterinarian and doctors offices, supermarkets, police precincts, bulletin boards, bus stops, taxi services, laundromats, delivery people, schools, etc. If someone responds to your flyer, make sure you see proof of ownership prior to releasing the pet to the person. Pictures work best. Do not forget to remove all flyers once the pet is reunited with his or her owner.

Place an ad in local and state newspapers, as well as in online publications. Most newspapers do this free of charge. You may also create a Twitter account and/or Facebook Page.