Saturday, August 20, 2011

Dog Bites -- Why your dog may bite even you

Six Tips for Dog Owners to Prevent Biting


  1. Socialize and train. Your dog should be comfortable interacting not only with family members, but with visitors and other animals as well. Socialization before your puppy reaches 14-16 weeks of age is a crucial step in raising a balanced, well-adjusted dog.
    Basic obedience training is also essential for both you and your pet. Owners need to learn to work with rather than against their dog’s instincts and this isn’t a skill most of us are born with.
    As your dog grows and develops, it’s important to continue socialization and training. It will increase the bond you and your pet share, and it will keep your dog’s mind stimulated for a lifetime. At my hospital, I encourage owners to keep puppies in class through their first year of life, similar to encouraging your children to graduate from college versus stopping their education after elementary school.
  2. Spay or neuter. When your dog becomes balanced both physically and mentally, it’s the right time to spay or neuter. Intact male dogs are more likely to bite than neutered dogs. Female dogs, both those in heat and those nursing a litter, can exhibit unpredictable behavior. Ask your vet to help you decide when it’s the right time for your pet. If your vet suggests your dog is brewing a temperament problem, taking the sex hormones out of the equation sooner rather than later will be the recommendation.  
  3. Supervise. Your dog is a pack animal, and you’re the pack leader. Dogs weren’t designed by nature to hang out alone in most situations. Your pet needs your presence and guidance, especially when other people and animals are around.
    Leaving your dog on his own to decide how to behave can make him feel insecure and anxious, or alternatively, overly confident. This lack of emotional balance can spell danger to those who cross your dog’s path when he’s unsupervised.
  4. Remove the shackles. Dogs that are chained, tethered or otherwise tied up become stressed. Their feelings of vulnerability and protectiveness increase, which ramps up their potential to be aggressive. If you need to confine your dog occasionally outside the house, fencing the entire yard or a section of yard is the way to go. A fence keeps your dog safe inside your yard, and prevents kids and other animals from interacting with your pet unsupervised.
  5. Exercise control. Nearly a quarter of fatal bites are delivered by dogs that are running loose and off their owner’s property. Dogs are territorial, and if your dog is allowed to run loose around the neighborhood, her perceived territory is greatly expanded from your address. She could decide to defend her ‘turf’ in a neighbor’s yard or the playground down the street.
    That’s why you must control your dog at all times when she is away from home. Keep your pet secure on a leash, and if you can’t control her even when she’s leashed, allow another family member to step in until your dog is trained to behave on lead and consistently obeys your verbal commands.
  6. Nurture good health. A dog that doesn’t feel well -- is aching or in pain -- is more apt to snap at an unsuspecting person or animal. Keep your dog healthy throughout his life with a species-appropriate diet, plenty of heart-thumping exercise, regular at-home exams and wellness checkups with your veterinarian.


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Love conquers all

Here is an article that touches my heart.  Please read this and the others you will find at Best Friends News.
Saving a dog, no matter the health or age is always an act of love.  This couple personifies that act.

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August 8, 2011 : 3:37 PM ET
By David Dickson
Falling in love with an animal is easy, and often entirely unexpected. You walk into a room, stare into a pair of big brown eyes, and that’s all there is to it: a sudden and powerful love that lasts a lifetime. That very thing happened to Bruce and Nancy Palmer when they met Maddy, a former puppy mill dog who came to Best Friends recently through the Pup My Ride program. “I was pretty much smitten from the first time I saw her,” says Bruce.

Maddy
Maddy

They were certainly interested in adopting. When they learned Maddy had a history of cancer, however, Bruce explains that he and Nancy experienced at least a moment’s hesitation. Already 9 years old, Maddy (formerly Teva) had a cancerous lump that vets removed at the Sanctuary. The medical team at Best Friends explained that Maddy could have four months or several years left. It was impossible to know. In the end, Maddy’s health history didn’t sway Bruce and Nancy for long. They decided to adopt.

“If she’s going to have four months, she’s going to have a good four months with us,” says Bruce. “She’s going to have the best life she can have with us.” Besides, Bruce and Nancy remain optimistic she’ll be with them a lot longer than four months. As it turns out, Nancy and Bruce have gone through this before with another Best Friends animal.

Niles
Niles

In June of 2009, they adopted Niles the cat from Best Friends. They’d met and fallen in love with him while volunteering at the Sanctuary. Bruce and Nancy volunteer several times each year. When they adopted him, Niles had a clean bill of health. Nearly a year later, though, he developed lymphoma in the stomach and required surgery.

Bruce and Nancy never hesitate to do anything they can for their animals. With Niles, they consulted with a specialty vet in Phoenix, who put Niles on a course of treatment that included surgery and radiation. For quite a while, Niles’ health was Nancy and Bruce’s top priority. All the TLC paid off. Niles is now cancer-free and doing great. “Niles is just Mister Personality,” says Bruce. “Nothing seems to phase him.”

In fact, Niles got to feeling so much better that Bruce and Nancy felt they had room for another animal in the family. As it turns out, this was Maddy’s lucky day.

Bruce and Nancy brought their dog Kody, a 9-year-old they’d adopted from a golden retriever rescue, to meet any possible new pals at Best Friends. Maddy got along perfectly with Kody. Nancy and Bruce knew in their hearts that they wanted to adopt this gentle spirit, no matter her health history. They haven’t looked back since.

Maddy
Maddy snoozes with her best friends.

“With Maddy, the day she got to our house it was like she’d been there forever,” says Bruce. That included making fast friends with the two cats in the house, Niles and Lucy. Kody prefers to ignore the cats, but with Maddy, that just won’t fly. She loves the cats! Sometimes she even startles them accidentally when they’re snoozing on the bed and she leaps up for an impromptu snuggle session. They’re not used to having a dog around who wants to hang out so often.

Maddy loves exploring every inch of her new 5-acre yard, yet even then she prefers doing so right next to Bruce as they walk together. She adores playing fetch and would probably chase tennis balls for hours at a stretch if given the chance. In other words, this former puppy mill dog is having the time of her life in the home she’s always deserved.

“None of us know how much time we have,” points out Bruce. “Every day is this incredible gift.”

Donate!
By giving to Best Friends, you are helping to save a life! All the animals at the Sanctuary receive all the TLC they need to be the best companion animals ever!

Adopt!
We have pets of every breed, temperament and size looking for their perfect forever homes! Check out our Adorable Adoptables.

Become a Champion!
Help a homeless pet today! By becoming a Champion of Love, you can help save lives in your free time!
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Pit bull puppy saves Air Force veteran from committing suicide

The benefit of having a pet is terribly underrated in our society.  Pets are helpers, companions, family, and even life-lines at times.  Pets keep us grounded in the "here and now" because that is where they live.  Pets can teach responsibility, unconditional love, and how to have fun.  Pets enrich our lives simply by being there.

Here is an article I found in the NY Daily News that reinforces my view on pets.  I hope you read this and take the message to heart.  Get a pet if you don't have one, if you do, go love on your pet and thank God daily that you are allowed to share the life of these wonderful souls.



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Wednesday, July 27th 2011, 4:00 AM

Air Force veteran David Sharpe credits his pit bull, Cheyenne, with saving his life when he was on the brink of suicide.
CBS News
Air Force veteran David Sharpe credits his pit bull, Cheyenne, with saving his life when he was on the brink of suicide.
 
Air Force veteran Dave Sharpe survived two near-death experiences serving in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - but it was his six-month-old pit bull puppy that saved his life.

His dog, Cheyenne, licked his ear and brought a suicidal Sharpe back from the brink when he had put his service pistol in his mouth, CBS reported.

"She came up behind me and she licked my ear," Sharpe told the network of the low point he hit after returning. "And she gave me this look of, 'What are you doing man, who's going to let me sleep in your bed? Listen, if you take care of me, I'll take care of you'," Sharpe said.

Cheyenne's divine intervention inspired Sharpe to reach out to other veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through the P2V (Pets to Vets) organization.

The non-profit matches vets with shelter dogs and cats in an effort to provide companionship.

Sharpe's turnaround serves as the group's prime example of the power of man's best friend.

"Before I met her, I was a wreck," he said of Cheyenne. "I was out of control, I would start fights for no reason."
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