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Vaccinations

posted November 8th, 2015 by
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Looking Back

Vaccinations

VaccinationsVaccinations for children are certainly a controversy.  Trust me, there’s an equal controversy about the reality of vaccinations for dogs.  Every week we see the results of those who do not believe in vaccinations for their dogs – and the dogs have heart worms or ehrlichia.  For the most part, dog owners, get it with rabies vaccinations – in large part due to municipal ordinances and the actual reality that humans are at risk if bitten by a rabid animal.

Every year many people get the flu shot – especially if they didn’t one year and caught the flu.  Well, in dogs ehrlichia can make a dog feel as though it has the flu.  If you don’t want to feel lousy – then care enough to get you dog the monthly medication  so they do not test positive for ehrlichia.

Now – the big challenge.  Heartworms.  True confession, I grew up in rural Wyoming – it freezes every winter and all the mosquitos die.  Heartworm is not the problem it is in this area.  They’re preventable with one tablet per month – the treatment if they have heartworm is expensive and the dog must be kept quiet.  What’s so sad for too many municipal shelters is the raw fact that they do not have the funds to treat heartworm.  You know the rest of the story.

And then there’s fleas – – lots and lots of fleas.  Yes, they itch – and when they’re bad enough they cause hair loss.  Dorothy (pictured below) is a visual example of a sweet little Chihuahua who was covered (yes covered)  in fleas so badly her hair had fallen out.  The second picture is Dorothy in her pink Sunday outfit – designed to keep her warm until her hair grows back.  I can only imagine how awful she felt before treatment.  Fleas itch – – they really, really do. You can prevent fleas on your dogs and cats and in your home by treating the animals on a monthly basis.  Simple, effective and guaranteed to give your animals and you an itchy/scratchy free life.

Vaccinate, Immunize, get the shots – it’s a simple solution

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

Rehabilitate, stop animal abuse

posted November 7th, 2015 by
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Anicare of Oklahoma

Working to rehabilitate, stop animal abuse

By Wilhelm Murg

 

Studies have shown a correlation between animal abuse and other social problems, including child abuse, spousal abuse and other violent behaviors.  Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have mandated or recommend that judges order treatment for anyone convicted of animal cruelty in order to stop it before it spreads. Local teacher and activist, Martha Brown, has started a grassroots campaign in Tulsa to help Oklahoma adopt such a policy. Her newly formed organization is Anicare of Oklahoma.

The name comes from the Anicare Program designed by the Animals and Society Institute, an independent think tank based in Ann Arbor, Mich. The group is dedicated to stopping the cycle of violence between animal cruelty and human abuse, promoting new, stricter animal protection laws, and further studying the relationships between humans and animals.

The Anicare program, under the umbrella of the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals, is a combination of assessment and treatment for animal abusers built around the concepts of “accountability, respect/freedom, reciprocity, accommodation, empathy, attachment and nurturance,” according to the Institute’s literature. Brown is currently working out the details for a seminar to be held 2015 in Tulsa where the program would be taught to education, psychological and law enforcement professionals.

Brown says she was associated with a group, Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which transformed into ASI over the years. “It’s mostly an academic group that publishes papers on issues of animals and human problems and relationships, but they started talking about Anicare as this program they had developed for intervention in cases of animal abuse, [rehabbing] the perpetrators, which could be anyone from small children to adults,” she says.

The program is structured to concentrate on the attitude of the perpetrator. “It’s a matter of getting the abusers to accept the fact that what they have done is wrong, and to learn how to take responsibility for it,” Brown says. “Also, the counselors are encouraged to notice whether these people have been abused as children because there is a very real connection between people who have been abused who go on to abuse animals as they get older. People in their own households may have abused animals; sometimes parents hurt the pets as punishment when the kids have done something wrong, so the children are often encouraged or grow up thinking it is OK to abuse animals. They’ve wrongly learned through their families that animals have no value independently of what we can get out of them.  These attitudes are often ingrained into the people.”

Getting both children and adults to take responsibility for their actions is another one of the main goals of the program, which is actually split into two parts parts—one for children and young people and one for adults. “Very often abusers will not take responsibility for what they have done, so there is a whole series of questions, not to make them feel guilty, but to try to show them other ways of looking at their behavior and also at animals,” Brown says. “The hope is that if they change their ways of thinking and feeling about animals, they may also change their behavior toward them. It uses applied principals that are already established in psychology and psychiatric intervention to this specific problem.”

Brown pointed out that animal abuse is often connected to other problems within families so there are scenarios where the program calls for getting the abusers’ families involved with the therapy. “You have to really concentrate on some of these things because the people in therapy are quite clever at trying to change the subject or keeping away from acknowledging any kind of wrongdoing, or that they could have done something differently,” Brown says. “You have to be pretty persistent in dealing with them, and   I imagine this is true with other kinds of problems as well; if you are too accusative, then the kids tend to be defensive of what the parents have done. Often, the parents have been abusive to them as well.”

Brown does not see this as a very expensive process, but she says it does need a lot of organization and volunteers. “We have financing for training workshops, and eventually we’ll need a little more money, but probably not a great deal,” she says. “What we really need is publicity, so people know there’s somewhere to go in cases when there is suspected animal abuse. We have a list of people who are interested; we have a list of organizations that we think will be  useful in referring people, and we are putting a presentation  together so we can talk to representatives of these groups because a lot of it will be voluntary.

“There are examples in the materials of children that have been referred by school counselors or their parents who have just   noticed what was happening, so publicity is one of the main things we will need.  We’ll need the help of some judges, some lawyers,   and some psychologists that are in practice, and any counseling groups, any therapy groups. I know that in some cases, judges in places like Chicago, Kansas City and Denver have been sentencing people who have been charged with animal abuse to complete the program as part of their treatment. We know there are programs in those places that are working well, and there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing here.”

The Tulsa seminars are scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at College Hill Presbyterian Church. “The seminars are training mostly for psychologists, but the first part is for anybody    in the criminal justice system or school counselors, anyone involved in the counseling and therapy communities, for talking about the general ideas and their approach to intervention in the case of animal abuse,” Brown says.  “That would be the first morning of the two-day workshop, and the rest of the time is more technical training for people who would be doing the intervention.”

With the community’s help, Brown sees her program as a step toward building a stronger, healthier Oklahoma.

For more information on the Anicare program, visit the Animals & Society Institute website: www.animalsandsociety.org. To stay updated on upcoming seminars, volunteer opportunities and more, visit the Facebook page, Anicare of Oklahoma: Stopping Animal Abuse, or call Martha Brown at (918) 583-3652.

Who Trained The Trainer?

posted October 31st, 2015 by
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How to Select a Qualified Dog Trainer

By Nancy Gallimore, CPDT-KA

 

On two different occasions, I have been chatting with friends about dog training, and in the course of casual conversation, both people mentioned how stubborn their dogs were. I immediately questioned why they felt their dogs were being stubborn.

The answers were almost identical. “Because the moment my dog sees our trainer, he hides behind me. He’s just being stubborn and trying to avoid training.”

And this is the point where my heart falls to the floor. If your dog is not thrilled to the point of doing a happy dance to see your trainer, then something is wrong. If your dog does not see training as an opportunity to have fun with humans, again, something is very wrong.

Every dog is an individual training puzzle to be solved, and there are numerous techniques for training dogs. Modern training techniques should (and that is a huge “should”) focus on humane methods, positive motivation and teamwork between dog and handler. Nothing about training should make a dog want to be “stubborn.” And I’m here to tell you that when I’m presented with a “stubborn” dog, I can almost always replace that adjective with afraid, nervous, confused, stressed or frustrated.

Obviously, all dog trainers do not bring the same level of experience, skills and methods to the table. Dog training has evolved significantly over the past few decades to embrace positive, dog-friendly, motivation-based methods versus correction-based techniques. This transition has had a profound effect on not only training but on relationships between humans and their dogs.

Positive reinforcement training found its roots among exotic animal and marine mammal trainers. Think about it… If you can train a large predator, such as a killer whale or a tiger, by focusing on capturing and rewarding desired behaviors, there is no reason you can’t do the same with your dog.

This is especially important to consider when working with dogs demonstrating fear or aggression issues. As knowledge of animal behavior is strengthened through scientific research, the findings reveal that using aversive training methods when working with fearful or aggressive dogs can actually lead to worse behaviors. Meanwhile, the studies also show focusing on rewarding the animal during moments of appropriate behavior can alleviate fears and anxieties, boost confidence and help create more well-adjusted dogs.

This article, however, is not really about how to train your dog as much as it is about how to select someone to help you train your dog. Truth be told, anyone can hang out a shingle, claiming to be a professional dog trainer. This industry is not regulated, so it falls on the shoulders of dog owners to do their homework and do background checks.

For the dog owner looking in from the outside, it can be quite confusing to figure out which dog trainer will be the right match, which dog trainer has valid skills and ability to properly read a dog and construct a sound training plan. You look at websites; you talk with friends; perhaps your veterinarian has a recommendation.

What it boils down to is this: don’t be afraid to ask questions. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter without background information. You wouldn’t select a contractor to remodel your home without doing some research. The same diligence should hold true when selecting a dog trainer.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) is a professional organization for people who are committed to becoming better trainers through education. The organization also offers great public information about different training methods, as well as suggestions for how to find responsible, reputable trainers.

According to APDT, it’s a good idea to use open-ended questions so that trainers can explain their personal experiences, methods, and philosophies to you in depth. Here is a list of questions you can use as an interview guide, some from APDT, some suggested by certified trainers in the Tulsa area:

How long have you been a professional dog trainer?

How/why did you become a dog trainer.

How long have you been training your own dogs? What types of things do you do with your own dogs? Have you achieved any titles through competing with your dogs in obedience, agility or other events?

What is your educational background in the area of dog training and behavior?

Have you recently participated in any continuing education or attended conferences or workshops?

What methods of training do you endorse?

If you teach group classes, may I come observe a class?

What type of equipment or training aids do you typically use?

Can you provide a list of references? (Clients and veterinarian references would be ideal.)

What professional associations do you belong to? If none, why?

What are your credentials, and do you have any certifications? If yes, through what organization? What are the requirements

for certification? (For example, the letters CPDT-KA following a trainer’s name stand for Certified Professional Dog Trainer -Knowledge Assessed, a certification through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.)

The answers to these questions can help you find a trainer who will help you achieve your goals with your dog, whether you just want a well-mannered companion, or whether you are having issues with your dog that need to be resolved.

Your dog is an important part of your family and your life. The guidance of a good trainer can help you understand the learning process from the dog’s point-of-view, so you can avoid the “stubborn dog” pitfalls and work toward nurturing a mutually-rewarding relationship.

Above all, remember that training with your dog should be fun for everyone involved. Listen to your gut. If you have a trainer asking you to do things that make you and/or your dog uncomfortable, perhaps it’s time to find a new trainer.

Do the Math

posted October 30th, 2015 by
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Looking Back

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

 

A Cat Tale

posted October 24th, 2015 by
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by Camille Hulen

 

Here We Go Again!

As I sit here and watch this kitten gaze into my eyes, I cannot help but think: “Here we go again!” This little girl came to me on Thanksgiving Day from a litter of three orphans. One kitten was already dead, with mama cat nowhere to be found. As spring approaches, this scenario will play out all too often.  Fortunately, this girl and her brother were in good shape and readily took a bottle. Others will not be so lucky.

What can you do? Spay and neuter now before the major mating season begins!

You, the TulsaPets reader, probably think I sound like a broken record because you care about your pets. However, the Tulsa area still has a problem with pet overpopulation. Statistics for 2014 are incomplete as of this writing, but here is the depressing news for 2013 from Tulsa Animal Welfare: 3,785 cats were taken in, and 2,562 were euthanized! This doesn’t even include dogs or animals from suburbs such as Broken Arrow, Sapulpa or Owasso.

Nationally, some progress is being made on pet sterilization. I was excited to read recently in a Wall Street Journal article, “Too  Many Dogs: A Simple Solution,” about a new chemical method for males which could be significantly cheaper—as low as $1 per animal. It consists of an injection of calcium chloride into the testicles and requires only a light sedative with  no need for anesthesia or incisions. This method has been studied primarily on dogs but could be applicable to cats as well. An extensive study was done in India, and calcium chloride has been used on dogs on the Sioux Indian reservation in South Dakota. Closer to home, an animal shelter in Lawton, Okla., has been using it since last spring.

Although the calcium chloride research goes back to the 1970s, it has not been approved by the FDA. It is such a common chemical that it cannot be patented, so drug companies have no motivation to invest the money ($10 million, according to the Wall Street Journal) for FDA approved trials. A few local veterinarians with whom I spoke seemed somewhat ambivalent.

Ruth Steinberger of SpayFirst! says her organization uses calcium chloride, but did not run blindly into the method without first conducting research. They had testosterone tests run at the endocrine lab at Colorado State University.  After reading all of the already conclusive research, they    still worked on this for months before feeling that they had enough data to support using      it in the field. On another front, an approved sterilant called Zeuterin should be available for about $20 per animal to nonprofits.

Regarding feral cats specifically, most experts feel that sterilizing females is more effective than working on males. If a female goes into season, it doesn’t matter how many males in the colony are fixed; one from somewhere will likely find her. Neutering colony males only stops that particular male from being the father; it may not prevent a litter. But another chemical, megestrol acetate, is being tested on female cats. This is added to canned food on a weekly basis. It could be beneficial when a feral colony is being  fed but cannot be captured. Apparently this method has been known about for decades, but is being ignored because there is no profit in it.

While a few dedicated researchers continue their studies in new methods, education of the public is the biggest challenge. Not everyone knows about the low-cost spay and neuter clinics available. What’s worse, not enough people care! My hope in writing this article is to bring   this problem  to your attention once again.  When I tell people the sad story of how many cats are euthanized (I prefer the word “killed”) everyday, they are shocked. They cite rescue societies without realizing that they are always overloaded.

Locally, SpayOK is a great resource, with two locations in Tulsa, and StreetCats issues vouchers for low-cost spay/neuters. Both Oklahoma Alliance for Animals and StreetCats have traps available for loan. Please spread the word. We do not need more homeless orphans like the kitten pictured here. Let’s continue to speak out  for her and others who cannot speak for themselves.

Training 911

posted October 24th, 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!