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Country Living Training Tips

posted May 30th, 2016 by
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Country Living Training Tips – Training 911

By Mary Green

I know lots of people who live on farms, ranches and other acreages. I think they are so lucky! I am pretty sure that my dogs would love to have some room to roam. The problem this presents, though, is dogs may roam off of the property. I am often asked how to teach the dogs to stay on the property.
Can dogs learn to respect and understand their boundaries? Can they be taught to stay home even when they are left loose?
The short answer is, as always, “that depends.” Some factors to consider:

• Intact dogs are more likely to roam than sterilized dogs.

• Dogs that lack human interaction are more likely to roam, so bring them inside!

• Dogs that are not bonded to people are more likely to roam.

• Dogs new to the household may be chased off by established family dogs.

• Owners must comply with leash laws in their area.

• No dog should ever be chained up.

• It takes time for a dog to learn boundaries. Never expect a new dog to stay put!

Many of my friends have dogs bred to work on the farm: the herders like Border Collies, Aussies, Heelers, and the guardian breeds like the Anatolians and the Pyrenees. These breeds or types of dogs have an innate sense of territory. They work with people. They have stock sense. They are more likely to stay close to the livestock, or hang out on the porch than perhaps a hunting dog would. They learn the territory in a natural manner by accompanying their owners, doing farm chores. It’s a natural evolution for many dogs.
Learning the ropes can be passed from older to younger dogs. The youngsters stick close by the elders who teach them what is allowed. They learn what to chase and not chase, what animals belong there, and what animals do not. They gain working knowledge of life on the property in an organic process.
If you don’t have a mentor dog, you can still train your dog to understand boundaries. Use a long line (like for tracking dogs) or a horse lunge line to allow your dog some freedom. You will hold on to one end as you would a leash, but you don’t reel it in or even pull on it. You call your dog and reward him for coming to you. Repetition is key to success in this. Over time, your dog will learn to stay close by. If you are one of the lucky folks who have property plus an ATV, you can teach your dog to ride on the vehicle with you, or run along with you as you do chores.
If you cannot be 100 percent sure that your dog will not roam off of your property when you are not present, then he must be confined in some manner. Failure to do so can result in his death. While it is unreasonable to expect someone to chain-link fence a 10-acre area, it is completely reasonable to expect someone to fence a suitable dog yard. At the very least, put up a chain-link dog run!
Not everyone without a fenced yard lives on a farm. I also know plenty of wonderful, responsible dog owners who live where fences are not allowed. There are ways to train dogs to stay on your property, even if you live on the golf course.
I am not a fan of the invisible fences where the dog has to wear a collar that delivers an unpleasant shock if he ventures out of bounds. These fences do nothing to prevent other animals from entering into your yard. There are also lots of dogs that charge out of dog doors, barking, lunging and snarling toward the barrier. The person, or dog, happening by has no idea that the dog will likely stop before the barrier. It’s pretty traumatic to that individual!
Even on a small unfenced property, you should teach your dog the boundaries in a positive manner. Make a routine of walking your dog along your boundary line. Walk every day, or several times daily, to help establish boundary understanding. All the reward, reinforcement and “good stuff” happens on your property.
Make it your habit to walk your dog on leash to your mailbox if it is at the curb. Practice your obedience training in your yard. Make that the place where all good things happen. Teach a solid come-when-called behavior, and practice it often with a really yummy reward.
My dogs get super excited when I say, “Do you want to go to Sharon’s?” because they know they will get to run in the meadow. They will smell all the favorite country aromas and forget for a little while they are city dogs. They would probably love to live on a farm… as long as they could be near me and sleep on my bed.

A Rewarding Week

posted May 28th, 2016 by
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A Rewarding Week

It’s been a rewarding week – – a week to look back, reflect and realize we are making a difference.  And, best of all, it’s the week Xavier went to his forever home.  He’d been with us a long, long time.

I had the privilege of telling our story to the Vinita Rotary Club on Wednesday. I gave them our year in review and the exciting new programs we now have – – –  there are no words to describe the feeling of acceptance and validation I received.

A Rewarding WeekIn a little more than one year, 800+ animals have been touched by PAAS in some way – – – adoption, out-of-state transport, low cost spay/neuter, feral cat Trap/Neuter/Release.  We’re making a difference – and people are taking notice.

Xavier has been with us for a year.  Smart dog, loves people, tolerates cats and accepts other dogs.  For some reason, people just kept walking past him – or not selecting him for transport.  Yes, he has a square face – yes pit bulls have square faces – but so do lots of other dogs.  Then, on Thursday, his new owner walked through our door – looked at our dogs and chose Xavier.  Picture is below.

Also on Thursday, we had our first graduates from the training program at Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center.  The program is off to an excellent start and the next class will be 5 dogs – 10 inmates will be selected to work/train them.  The pictures show Xavier and his new Dad, and Jackson & George with their trainers.

Yes – – – it’s been a good week.

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

Xavier

Taming the Rude Greeter

posted May 21st, 2016 by
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Taming the Rude Greeter – Training 911

by Nancy Haddock

Imagine quietly relaxing on your sofa, enjoying a favorite TV program, when suddenly your peaceful evening is interrupted by a knock at the front door. Chaotic barking shatters the calm as Fido explodes into four alarm style while spinning and jumping as he prepares to spring onto your house guest with all the enthusiastic welcome four paws and a cold, wet nose can muster.

If this sounds familiar, do you long for a different scenario where your well-behaved pooch calmly and politely greets your house guests? 

Let us compare the above behavior with the sport of agility. Agility is a high-intensity sport in which dogs run through an obstacle course with adrenaline pumping through their veins. The dogs require an enormous amount of self control in the presence of heightened excitement. This is very similar to the heightened excitement many dogs experience when a visitor comes to the front door. You can use some of the same training techniques we use in agility training to teach your family pet to politely greet guests. 

Before we start, your dog must know how to sit on command. If you dog is inclined to bolt out the front door if it’s open, I suggest you start with a door to the backyard. 

Step One: 

Let’s begin by teaching the dog to sit while a door is opened and wait patiently for permission to go through that door. Position the dog two to four feet from the door. With the door closed, ask your dog to sit, and then reach for the door handle. If the dog moves, simply remove your hand from the door. Do not tell him “no” or “stay;” just simply remove your hand from the door knob. Wait until the dog is sitting still again and reach  for the door handle. If the dog moves, remove your hand from the door handle. If the dog holds still, start to open the door. As soon as he moves, shut the door. Continue repeating  this process until the dog remains seated      as you hold the handle. During this period, I absolutely say nothing to the dog, except “sit.” Most dogs catch on very quickly. If he sits still, I will reach for the handle and open the door, and if he moves, I shut the door in front of his face. 

Each time the dog remains sitting, open the door farther and farther, but always be prepared to shut it quickly as soon as he moves. When you can open the door to a width the dog can walk through, yet he shows self control by sitting politely, reward him by saying “OK” to verbally release him   to go out.  Next, call the dog back into the house and reward him with treats and           an enthusiastic round of petting and praise. Then, shut the door, ask your dog to sit and repeat the training process from the beginning.

This simple process presents the dog with stimulus (the door) and presence of a reward (going out the door). The dog must figure out which behavior earns him a reward. We have limited his behavior choices to simply either move forward or hold still. The dog should quickly conclude sitting politely still is what causes you to give him his reward of opening the door and allowing him to go outside. 

Step TWO: 

When your dog will sit still despite the open door, and not move until you verbally release him to go, you are ready to add more stimulus, such as the sound of knocking. I also add a food reward during this stage since previously the reward was being released to go out. Now your dog will not be released to go out but will be required to sit still. 

Knock on the door, and as the dog starts barking, ask him to sit near the front door and wait for him to quit barking. Then, immediately give him a treat. Reach out for the door handle; if he moves, remind him to sit and reward him. Knock on the door again and reward him if he remains seated. This is the exact same process of choice and reward we used before, only we have increased stimulus with knocking and switched the reward to food instead of permission to go out. However, even though I have shifted the reward to treats, on approximately every fourth successful attempt, I will release the dog to go. Alternating the reward increases his self control.

Step THREE: 

When your dog can successfully sit politely without moving through the knocking and opening of the door phase of training, we will increase stimulus by adding another person into the exercise. Employ the help of a friend or family member. Provide your helper with dog treats, such as a handful of kibble.  Instruct your helper to approach the door from the outside and knock. Ask your dog to sit and repeat the whole process above until your dog can successfully sit politely while you open the door as the helper stands quietly on the other side of the open door.  

Step FOUR: 

Finally, when your dog will remain seated as you open the door, instruct your helper to enter the house and immediately drop multiple pieces of kibble on the floor as he walks in. As your dog has almost finished all the kibble, your guest should drop several more pieces. As the dog finishes the kibble, quickly ask him to sit and reward him multiple times with treats. 

Dropping the kibble cleverly succeeds in two outcomes: no jumping and a guest calmly entering the house. By dropping the kibble on the floor, you have cunningly manipulated your dog’s behavior from rudely greeting a guest, to calmly welcoming a visitor. 

If step four does not go quite as smoothly as I have outlined above, simply send your helper back out the door and start over, just like you have done in steps one, two and three. This is a process, and it is vitally important your dog is successful with each step before moving on to the next. Also, if you live in a multi-dog household, only train one dog at a time. Place the other dogs outside or confine them to another room, so they are not distracting to the working dog.

Learning response time will differ with each dog. Just follow the plan and expect results!

Pet Prevention: Saving Homeless Pets

posted May 15th, 2016 by
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Pet Prevention: Saving Homeless Pets

By Kiley Roberson

IN every community throughout the country, there are homeless animals. In the U.S., there are an estimated 6 to 8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. According to the Humane Society of the United States, barely half of these animals are adopted. Tragically, the rest are euthanized. These were healthy, sweet pets that could have made great companions.
We have thousands of homeless animals in our shelters right here in Oklahoma. These are not the offspring of homeless “street” animals—these are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets and even purebreds. Oklahoma, like most states, has several animal rescue groups, adoptions centers and more, but one local organization says it’s not enough.
Anita Stepp is the president of NeuterSooner, an organization that provides low-cost options for people to have their pets spayed or neutered. She says rehoming the animals isn’t solving the initial problem.
“We have rescued and sheltered far more pets than we can count, and the problem was still staring back at us,” Anita says. “So we decided to change our focus and solve the problem by prevention.”
NeuterSooner was founded in Bartlesville in 2009 as a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals by offering low-cost spay/neuter programs to those who can’t afford the cost. Neuter-Sooner sells spay/neuter vouchers available to families with incomes less than $40,000 annually. Cost for the vouchers is based on family income.
“We were concerned about the number of pets ending up in the Tulsa City Shelter and having to be killed,” Anita says. “There was a need for more spay and neuter services that were easily accessible and affordable. NeuterSooner decided to help fill that need by providing mobile spay neuter clinics in the Tulsa area.”
Oklahoma Alliance for Animals agreed to help fund the clinics, and NeuterSooner has partnered with five regional veterinary clinics to provide the spay/neuter surgeries.
Today, NeuterSooner has spayed or neutered more than 2,200 pets at clinics in Bartlesville, Tulsa, Dewey, Ochelata, Ramona, Skiatook, Nowata, Cleveland, Jennings and Broken Arrow. Even with this success, Anita says there is still a lot to do.
“The need is so great, and we need help, too,” she says. “We can always use more volunteers at the clinics. We especially need people who can answer phone calls, do the scheduling, help with set up and clean up afterward. Donations are also needed to help make spay/neuter services affordable.”
The decision to spay or neuter your pet can be the single best decision you make for his or her long-term welfare. Not only does spaying or neutering help control the pet population, but it also has positive health and behavioral benefits for pets. According to the Humane Society of the United States, neutered male dogs live 18 percent longer than unneutered male dogs, and spayed female dogs live 23 percent longer than unspayed female dogs.
Part of the reduced lifespan of unaltered pets can be attributed to their increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting struck by cars and other mishaps.
Another contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets involves the reduced risk of certain types of cancers. Unspayed female cats and dogs have a far greater chance of developing pyometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system.
Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as 8 weeks old.
Male pets that are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought that they have lowered rates of prostate cancer as well.
Veterinarians also suggest that spaying and neutering pets can help curb bad behavior. Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting of leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.
For felines, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 4 months of age before there’s even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam and fighting with other males.
In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained.
When you factor in the long-term costs potentially incurred by a non-altered pet, the savings afforded by spay/neuter are clear, especially with the help of low-cost spay/neuter clinics like NeuterSooner.
Caring for a pet with reproductive system cancer or pyometra can easily run into the thousands of dollars—five to 10 times as much as a routine spay surgery. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive or high-strung, destroying furniture, household items and fighting with other unaltered pets.
With all this in mind, NeuterSooner says the answer is clear. If we want empty shelters and healthy pets, prevention is key. And the “Sooner,” the better!
You can find out more about Neuter- Sooner on their website (neutersooner.org) or give them a call at (918) 332-6341.

ASPCA-Subaru Grant saved Lives

posted May 9th, 2016 by
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ASPCA-Subaru Grant saved Lives

125 – – and counting

ASPCA-SubaruThanks to a grant from ASPCA-Subaru – – 125 dogs found new homes in Colorado. And, yes, saving lives frequently comes down to “Show Me the Money”. Gasoline is not free, nor are meals for the drivers, and food for the animals. The per animal cost was $39.47 x 125 = $4,934.24 – Our grant was $4,000.00 – – – money very well spent.

No matter how you look at rescue – – it starts and ends with “Show me the Money”.
Sometimes, when we’re sitting around kibitzing in general – -we imagine how nice it would be if – – big IF – we could just fill up the van at no cost, buy all the supplies and medications at no cost and – – in a dream world – – because we worked in rescue – we could get our groceries, living expenses covered by some magic wand. However, that isn’t going to happen – – ever. So – – Show Me the Money is the only way we can continue to rescue dogs and cats, then help them find new homes.

Individual donations, foundation grants, fund raisers by volunteers, monthly contributions – – – collectively they keep us going. No donation is too small; planned donations are our lifeblood (similar to paychecks); grants from foundations literally make the difference

We are grateful to the ASPCA and Subaru for their grant Everyone working together leads to success. And we know the 125 dogs who now have a good life would give kisses, tail bumps and snuggles as their way of saying “Thanks for saving me”.

Kids and Canines

posted May 7th, 2016 by
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Kids and Canines – Training 911

By Mary Green

 

My mailbox has been full lately with questions about kids and dogs. I grew up with dogs, and there were dogs in our household when my son was growing up. So from my perspective, kids and animals go together like peanut butter and jelly. But you must have a good plan of action and realistic expectations of the amount of work involved. And understand that all dogs aren’t Lassie, and all kids aren’t Timmy.

What’s a good age for a child to get a dog? School-aged children can help a lot with a dog! They can learn how to measure the dog food and scoop it into the dog bowl. Feeding the dog presents a great opportunity for the dog to learn some self-control, like sit and wait for food. If you teach the kids, and the dog, the kids can help brush the dog’s fur. Taking the dog for a walk should be a family activity—there should always be an adult present.

There are two very important rules for children to learn: Never touch or bother a dog while he is eating, and leave sleeping dogs alone. Obeying these simple rules reduces potential dog bites.

One mother writes, “How can I get my  16-week-old puppy to play gently with my kids. They are 1 and 3 years old.” My answer may not have been quite what mom wanted to hear. At 16 weeks of age, the puppy needs to be in a good training class, learning how to “sit” on cue, take treats gently, and how to settle. And the adults need to be training the pup.

A 1-year-old child is too young to play with a puppy. Children in this age range don’t generally have a concept of “personal space” that a dog may need. They also love to hug dogs (which dogs do not like), and they pursue dogs no matter where the dog tries to go! Every interaction between the puppy and the 1-year-old must be closely supervised by an adult. We certainly don’t want the puppy and the baby to be afraid of each other, so don’t segregate them—but supervision is essential to ensure a positive experience for them both.

A 1-year-old can learn how to properly pet a dog. Preferably an older, calm dog to start with! Use a stuffed dog if an older, calm dog isn’t available. The puppy can learn that cool things happen when the baby is around. If the baby is present, the puppy can be rewarded for calm behavior.

The 3-year-old child can give basic cues, such as sit, lie down, and stay, once the puppy understands these behaviors. Kids of this age can deliver a treat to the puppy, as long as the puppy has learned to take treats gently. Again, every interaction is well supervised by an adult. Playing together means there is a toy for the dog. It does not mean wrestling or chasing! It does not mean teasing the puppy with the toy. The child can toss the toy away and see the puppy get it—the puppy may not bring it back, but the interaction provides a positive experience for the puppy.

From another parent: “My 7-year-old son has been begging us to get him a dog. I don’t really have time for a dog, but he has his heart set. Is he old enough?”

Two (anonymous) quotes come to mind when I hear this question. “Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one,” and “Every boy who has a dog should also have a mother, so the dog can be fed regularly.”

At 7 years of age, basically your son can feed and water the dog. He cannot be responsible for walking the dog. He cannot drive the dog to training class, and he needs a lot of support to train the dog. He can play with the dog if he is taught how to do so appropriately (no chasing, no wrestling). That being said, a dog can be a great friend to your son! As they both grow up, they can have a great relationship and do lots of things together. Just be realistic that for the time being, the majority of dog duties will fall to the adults.

“I’ve told my boys that if they don’t stop tormenting our dog he’s gonna bite them.” “Yes,” I thought. “He sure will.”

 Teasing a dog is a great way to provoke a bite. Teasing, tormenting, bullying, and scaring are not fun for a dog to experience. Younger kids may be able to understand   this if parents can relate it to how the kids feel when they are teased, bullied or tormented. Again, if proper adult super-vision is happening, this will stop! And don’t threaten to “get rid of the dog” if the kids’ (or dog’s) behavior doesn’t improve. 

Some dogs that have not been around children are fine, while others are very uncomfortable. Dogs that are used to children of a certain age may be wary of younger or older children. Your family dog may be safe and trustworthy around your own kids, but may not be safe around visiting children. Be smart! Do whatever management you need to in order to keep everyone safe. My advice to one pet owner whose grandchildren were coming to visit from out of state was to board her dog when they were here. It would be less stress on the family and less stress on the dog!

Each year nearly 2.8 million children are bitten by a dog. Most of these bites are not coming from some scary dog that got loose. Sensational stories make headlines, but most dog bites are more commonplace. Half come from the family’s own dog, and another 40 percent come from a friend or neighbor’s dog.*

I know that kids and dogs belong together. There are so many fun activities for kids   and dogs, like going for a walk or hike, playing fetch, running agility courses and just hanging out. I’ve seen some awesome Junior Handlers in the Obedience, Rally and Agility rings. My own dogs get super excited when my grandchildren come over. The older kids love to help with dog chores. Jackson, who is 6 years old, loves to let the dogs go outside. He tells them to sit and wait at the door, and sends them out politely. Julie, who is only 3 years old, is very proud that she can say, “Brutus, sit,” and using the hand signal, the 6-month-old puppy responds. They are going to have big fun with Grammy’s dogs, and maybe they will have a dog of their own some day.

 

*Colleen Pelar’s Living With Kids and Dogs.com