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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!

Connection

posted October 23rd, 2015 by
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Looking Back

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

 

 

TANNER and BLAIR

posted October 17th, 2015 by
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The Incredible Pair

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.

Getting Dumped

posted October 16th, 2015 by
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Looking Back

Getting DumpedGetting Dumped

Getting dumped in the country is not OK.  Not sure why too many pet owners make the decision that it is.  While they may think that the farmers/ranchers in this area are just waiting for a new dog or cat to join the clan – – the real answer is not hardly – – no way.

I realized just how frustrating it is for all of us today when I got royally chewed out by a very irate person.  She had lots of dogs and a few cats/kittens that needed new homes today and she wanted to bring them to the shelter.  Once she heard the word “no” in our response the conversation did not go well.  Did she yell – – absolutely;  was she mad – – without question; did it change the situation – – no.

The area shelters and rescues work tirelessly to find homes for as many dogs and cats as possible.  All of us are committed to saving lives – – each organization may do it differently – but in the end – – we’ve collectively made a small dent in the problem.

The heartbreak is that for all our hard work and expense – there will still be more dogs and cats needing homes.

My ears are no longer ringing from the irate person on the other end of the line. I know it will happen again and again and again.  However, all I have to do is look into Megan’s eyes, or see Zelda go out the door purring – and even being yelled at with threatening words is still worth knowing we make a difference.  For me – it has been a significant contributor to my white hair.

Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue

posted October 12th, 2015 by
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Blaze's

Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue – October 12, 2015

Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue, Inc. located in Jones, Oklahoma, is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that strives to improve the lives of neglected, starved, and abused horses.  We provide equine rescue regardless of age or disability.  We promote and teach horse care and humane, natural methods of training horses.  Our primary focus is Animal Cruelty Cases.  We work closely with the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office with their Equine related Animal Cruelty Cases.  We also assist any other local/rural county sheriff’s office who request our assistance.

Urgent Assistance Needed:

Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue is asking for your assistance.  We understand that times are tight for many right now, but the smallest amount can go a long way in the rehabilitation of our rescued horses.  Our Donations and Adoptions have dropped dramatically and we are having to turn horses away that need rescued.  We have several horses that are waiting for much needed surgeries.  Please help, any amount that you can spare is greatly appreciated.  All donations are tax deductible and 100% of your donation goes towards the horses in our care.  Please consider making a donation today!  

 

Or Donate online at:

www.blazesequinerescue.com

If you are new to our program, please watch our video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SkqZy8lQm4

Here is a breakdown of our immediate needs:

Many of you may know Double D.  A beautiful horse that came into our rescue program shortly after Rudy arrived in January.  Double D and Rudy are best friends.  They both rely on each other for emotional support.  Double D has gone through 2 surgeries to remove squamous cell carcinoma from his eyelids and his penis.  He had several large masses on his penis that were excised by our Veterinarians.  We treated the cancer with cryosurgery and implantation of chemotherapy slow release beads on his eyelids and his penis.  Both appeared to be a huge success, however, the mass on his penis has returned and once again, he will need surgery.  This surgery will need to be much more aggressive to make sure they are able to get all the way to the cells that are producing the cancer, after the removal of the tumors, he will again be treated with the cryosurgery and implantation of chemotherapy slow release beads.  We are praying that this surgery will be successful and the mass will not grow back.  Double D is a happy horse and enjoys his days with Rudy.

In case you are just now learning of Rudy or Double D.  Please follow their stories here:

http://blazesequinerescue.com/Rudy.html or http://blazesequinerescue.com/Double%20D.html

You can also see a wonderful video of Rudy and Double D here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym6SMrLDB_s

We also have another rare case!  Shemar came into our rescue program in April from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.  Shemar is a beautiful, Black, Quarter Horse Stud.  He is estimated to be 7 years of age.  He came in very thin, body score of a 3, infested with internal/external parasites.  Shemar appears to be a double crypt-orchid and will need surgery.  However, before we can address his needed surgery to remove his testicles, we have ran into some liver conditions.  Shemar shows no signs of being ill.  He is a happy go lucky horse and we would never know he was having any form of complications had we not pulled blood work prior to sending him to surgery.  Shemar’s blood work shows that he is going into some form of liver failure.  However, we don’t know what would be causing this.  We have taken Shemar to OSU for diagnosis and possible treatment.  However, I came back from OSU just as confused as I was before going.  If you have been following us for a while, you know that we always seem to have the rare cases.  OSU diagnosed Shemar with a rare disease, so rare, OSU has only seen it 3 times in the last 20 years.    

Sadly, we just didn’t find the positive answers we were hoping for. Shemar has been diagnosed with a severe Pulmonary Disease Due to “Multisystemic eosinophilic epitheliotropic Disease” (MEED). MEED occurs primarily in young horses, ranging in age from 3 to 13 years. The disease is histologically characterized by eosinophilic and lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates and the formation of eosinophilic granulomas in different organs. The clinical signs vary according to the organs affected. The prognosis of horses with MEED is invariably poor. However, attempted clinical management includes treatment with hydroxyurea and dexamethasone.

They still have a few tests that we are waiting on results to come back from, but we aren’t expecting any different of a diagnosis. Shemar’s liver is smaller than normal and due to the location we didn’t feel necessary to risk pulling a liver biopsy. So, that leaves us with a lot of thinking and deciding what is best for Shemar. We still have the fact that he is a stud and surgery is still needed.  His last diagnosis leaves me more confused, as he has done incredibly well since we returned home.  He has gained about 100 pounds, he looks amazing, and he seems to be feeling just as good as he looks.  However, his blood work still shows him to be in some form of liver failure.  If you know me, you know that I don’t give up easily on our horses.  I want to see Shemar live out the life he deserves.  I want him to be able to run in the pasture and play with other horses.  Before I can do that, we must prepare him for surgery.  At this time, OSU felt that he could still undergo surgery, as nothing shows that he physically can’t endure the surgery.  We need assistance to continue to proceed with getting Shemar the care he needs.  I just feel like there should be more answers available than what I am finding.  I am asking for you to please help me, help Shemar!

First picture is Shemar upon arrival, Second & Third picture is Shemar today!

Blaze’s Equine Rescue purchases grain weekly.  We spend $925.34 each week on the required grain we need to feed the horses in our rehabilitation program.

We purchase 24 round bales of hay weekly.  24 round bales with delivery cost us $1400.00 a week.  Sadly, we don’t have grass and have to feed hay year round.

We purchase shavings and fat supplements weekly.  Cost $294.75 a week

Our veterinarian expenses are much higher than our typical years past, due to the extreme medical cases that we have seen this year.  Typically we spend $30,773.92 a year.  We have currently already spent $40,570.45 this year alone on medical expenses and this is only October and we still have extreme cases that require a lot of medical care and expenses.  On average we spend $2500.00 to $5000.00 a month for veterinary care.  Keep in mind that is not only surgeries, etc., but also basic care such as pulling a negative coggins, vaccinations, deworming, teeth floating, castrations, injuries, physical examinations, lameness issues, etc.,  

Our farrier expenses average $500.00 every 2 weeks. 

It is an expensive endeavor caring for over 100 horses daily.  We can’t do this alone and we are asking for your assistance.  Please help us continue our rescue efforts. 

Of course that is only part of our everyday needs.  We also have many projects that we need completing, such as repairing structures and fencing for our rescued horses.  Our needs are always great.  We have saved over 1,290 horses in the last 15 years and we have adopted out One Thousand and Fifty Six horses to forever, loving homes. 

If you or anyone you know is looking to add a horse to their family, please check out our adoptable horses.  We have so many great horses seeking their forever, loving family.  Adoption is another great way of helping.  All adoption fee’s go back into the program to continue to assist other horses in need.  Adoption saves 2 lives.  The one you adopted and the one you opened up a place for a neglected horse to enter our program. 

Remember every little bit helps tremendously and we simply cannot thank you enough for your continued support.

Donations can be sent to:

17667 Markita Dr.  Jones, OK  73049

(405) 399-3084 or (405) 615-5267

[email protected] www.blazesequinerescue.com

Federal I.D. 43-2024364