18 Jan 2008

Your Dog Home Alone Troubles

by Mark Haakonsen

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

Do you have problems leaving your dog home alone? Do you come home, only to find that your dog has been up to mischief or tried to escape from the yard? This is not an uncommon problem at all, and we'll explain why your dog behaves badly when alone and what you can do about it.

Dogs experience many of the same emotions as humans such as anxiety, boredom and depression. If one of these emotions is triggered, it will also affect their behavior or lack thereof. Since dogs are pack animals, they are very sociable and simply do not like to be left alone. When a dog is left alone it can experience a feeling of neglect, depression, boredom and anxiety. Neglect can lead a dog to cry and howl for an extended period of time. This will happen as you leave and while you are gone. If a dog feels bored while home alone, this is what can lead to destructive and naughty behavior e.g.: barking, chewing anything in sight and digging up the yard. The most detrimental effect on your dog however, is the feeling of an anxiety commonly referred to as "separation anxiety". The fear of abandonment that sets in can even cause your dog to feel sick, vomit and lose control of its bodily functions.

The good news is that dogs can be trained out of anxiety, and a few simple techniques can be used to help relieve the stress on your dog when home alone.

When leaving the house, a common mistake of owners is to give excessive emotional comforting to the dog. Extended "bye bye's" and "you're a good dog" do nothing but increase the dog's anxiety when you leave. So in future, when leaving, just do so with a quick and firm gesture. When returning, again do not make a big deal about it, just go about your business as if nothing has happened.

It is also important to ensure that your dog won't be left without any entertainment. After all, the dog will need to something to occupy its time. Provide sufficient toys, something to chew on, dog biscuits and anything else that might help the dog beat boredom. If you're dog has a bad behavioral problem, try giving it some exercise before you leave. Getting rid of that extra energy can work wonders.

With a little conditioning, your dog should have no problems being home alone. If you are still not confident about leaving your dog alone for extended periods, then start small. Go out for 30 minutes, then try an hour and progressively build up until both you and pooch are comfortable. If all else fails, then consult your vet, as there are medications available for dog anxiety.

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Caring for an Older Cat - Cat Health and Cat Care

by NS Kennedy

Cats are living longer lives thanks to dedicated care from their humans, and advances in veterinary medicine. Most experts consider a cat's "senior years" to begin on her 10th birthday. After this point, the aging process begins to slow in even the most playful feline. Yet, with a little extra attention from her owner, Miss Kitty might enjoy another 5-10 years of life and love.

Just as with humans, cats often lose the ability to hear as they age. This often goes unnoticed by owners, who might chalk their cat's lack of response to typical feline aloofness. Without keen hearing and vision, however, an older cat is more vulnerable to threats from cars and dogs on the street. It is best to keep an older cat indoors. If she loves the fresh air, make sure you supervise her in a protected area.

Even the most easygoing cat can become a finicky eater in her later years. As an older cat's senses of smell and taste begin to diminish, she becomes less interested in her food. Adding moist food and warming her meals will amplify the scent and make it more tantalizing. Moist food will increase the amount of water in your cat's diet.

It is important to keep fresh water available for your older cat, and to monitor her drinking habits. Her natural thirst drive can fade with age, causing her to become dangerously dehydrated rather quickly. Take note of about how much water your cat drinks each day. If the amount suddenly drops, and you know she is not getting water from any other source, contact your veterinarian.

Remember that there have been huge advances in medical care for cats in recent years. Online shopping for cat medication has become popular, but remember that there is no substitute for regular check-ups with your veterinarian.

Common problems owners see their geriatric cats develop include difficulties swallowing due to decreased saliva production, less tolerance to extreme heat and/or cold, gum disease and tooth loss, a change in litter habits, and not sleeping well.

Recent studies have uncovered a problem with potassium balance in many older cats. Poor coat condition, loss of appetite and lethargy have been linked to a mild form of hypokalemia, or low blood potassium. Low blood potassium damages the cat's kidneys, which, in an older cat, are already weakening. This leads to a vicious cycle because declining kidney function increases the loss of potassium in the blood, which in turn causes further deterioration of the kidneys.

Arthritis and stiffness is fairly common in older cats. Because it becomes more difficult to move, a geriatric cat spends more time sleeping. If her diet stays the same, she'll begin to pack on the pounds. The extra weight adds to her discomfort, making her more inclined not to move. Without exercise her muscles will weaken. It is important to encourage an older cat into some activity every day. Physical movement will help with digestion and bowel function, as well as keep her sharp mentally.

An older cat spends less time grooming herself than in her youth. As a result, her hair becomes dry and painfully matted. Regular grooming from her owner is required to keep her coat healthy and beautiful. Daily brushing removes loose hair that can form uncomfortable hairballs in her stomach.

As your cat gets older its important that she is comfortable. You should ensure that your cat has a comfortable, warm bed that she can stretch out on. Cushions and hammock bed on radiators are popular.

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Why Difficulties In Horse Training A Good Thing

by Andy Curry

I'll never forget one of the first horses I trained by myself. I could not have picked a better horse to give me problems.

This horse was slow to motivate. He was very much his own "person" so to speak and was going to do what he pleased...at least...that's how it seemed.

There are plenty of horses in this world that will move when you want them to move. In fact, some horses can be so nervous it takes little effort to get them moving in the round pen. In a way, they almost train themselves.

When I was first training this horse he moved slowly and not very deliberately. Teaching him to drive was very difficult because he just wasn't going to move for me.

The first time I put a surcingle on him and attached the lines he had no more intention on moving forward than an elephant with no legs.

The lesson I was teaching was to move forward. When you want your horse to move then, obviously, you want him to move...not stand there.

A typical way to teach moving forward and associating the action with a command is to get behind your horse and to the left a little. Then give a slight pull on the left rein, then say "step" or "get up" and tap him on his rear end with the whip.

Most every horse I worked with, this technique worked well. But the technique failed with this horse.

Whenever I tapped him on the butt he would either stand there and blink his eyes or he would turn around and just look at me.

To the trained trainer it may seem he was balking. In fact, that's what I feared was happening.

The next thing I tried to get him moving was a hog slapper. A hog slapper is a small pole like aid with a handle on one end and two pieces of leather on the other end. When you slap the leather end against your boots it makes a loud slapping sound.

It was the loud slapping sound I was hoping would motivate the horse to move. Here's what happened.


The horse didn't take any steps forward to get away from it. It scared him a little the first two or three times I slapped it on my boot, but that's all it did.

Frustrated and bewildered I wasn't sure what to do next.

I began to analyze the situation. I knew the tap with the whip wasn't working so I didn't need to repeat trying it. I knew the hog slapper didn't work so I didn't need to repeat that either.

So I asked myself, "What can I use to motivate this horse to move?"

I got the answer from Jesse Beery.

Jesse Beery, a famous horse trainer from the 1800's, taught training a horse to drive in much the same way I do it. Even the tap on the rear end with the whip is the same.

In teaching a horse to overcome fears and desensitizing him to sounds, Beery prescribes using metal bowls strung together like a wind chime on rope. These bowls make quite a racket when you shake them. Used as Beery describes, they are extremely effective in horse training.

So I thought these noise makers would motivate my horse to move. After all, they are loud and obnoxious when they clank together and make noise.

So I tacked up the horse, grabbed my noise maker, and tried again.

As I was fumbling with the lines and the noise maker trying to get situated, I nearly dropped the noise maker and it made a pretty good racket. Almost the second it rattled, the horse moved away from it.

Immediately I had a glimmer of hope that this was my answer.

So I tried it all again. I gave a slight pull on the left line, I then said "get up", and then I rattled the bowls.

The result?

Nothing except the horse raising his head and looking behind him a little. But I knew that meant I was getting his attention.

So I tried it again.

This time, he took about 3 steps forward and stopped. I was thrilled. I walked up to him and rewarded him with a caress.

Then I stepped back and did it again.

It wasn't long before I didn't have to use my noise maker anymore. All I had to do was say "get up" and he'd move. Not only did he move, he moved with energy.

Although this horse was very frustrating I must admit I am grateful to him. Why? Because he taught me valuable lessons.

The first lesson I relearned was patience.

The second lesson was that not everything will work on the same way on every horse. This was a lesson I already knew but it was reinforced.

The third lesson learned was to reexamine what I knew about horses and use that knowledge to get him doing what I needed him to do. That's why I tried the noise maker.

I knew certain noises frighten horses so I decided to manipulate his fear with the noise maker. I also knew to be careful not to terrorize him. After all, you want to use as little of that kind of motivation as possible. Only use what is just enough.

Fourth, he taught me to keep looking for an answer because one exists even though I didn't know it at the time.

Fifth, if I ever run across another horse that's hard to motivate to move, then I will pull out my noise makers because it worked before.

As I patted myself on the back for coming up with the noise maker idea I was actually feeling grateful for having such a difficult horse. I realized having a difficult horse was a great teacher to me - and I have absolutely loved having difficult horses since.

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17 Jan 2008

6 Basic Tips for Training your Dogs.

How you go about basic dog training depends on several things. You want to take into consideration what kind of dog it is, what dog behavior training you are trying to accomplish, and how old the dog is. But it is important to note that it is never too late to teach a dog a new trick. Here are 6 basic dog training tips to keep in mind.

1) Positive

The key thing to remember is that this is a fun process to teach your dog something new. Therefore, make sure to constantly offer positive affirmations in the form of verbal praise and treats. Whenever the dog does something correctly make sure they know it.

2) Patience

It can be difficult being patient but it is a process that is not going to happen in one session. You have to be willing to give it time and over a period of training sessions your dog will learn. Your dog will pick up on your emotions so hide those feelings of anxiety and anger and keep it positive.

3) Consistency

Consistency is vital with dog behavior training. Training your dog one day and then skipping a few will not get the job done. The more consistent you are the quicker your dog will pick up the trick you are teaching. However, it is not a bad thing to take one day off here and there to give them a break.

4) No distractions

To get the most out of your basic dog training, try to pick a spot that eliminates any kinds of distractions. While this may be difficult to find, try to pick a quiet spot free of people or other dogs. Going in the backyard or an inside room typically are the best locations.

5) Short and sweet

The last thing you or your dog wants is a two hour training session each day. Around fifteen minutes is the perfect time for dogs to learn simple commands. Always make sure to stick with one command or trick per session and do not overlap the tricks within each fifteen minutes. And remember, praise is essential when your dog does something correctly.

6) Above All Else - FUN! FUN! FUN!

Although this is quite repetitive, it is essential that you keep each session fun and lighthearted. Your dog will feed off of your emotions and if you are having a good time they will enjoy it as well. If your dog makes a mistake, you can be firm but friendly at the same time. And after each fifteen minute session, play with your dog for a while.

Over time you will begin to build an even greater bond with your dog as you both learn to trust in each other through these lessons. This will help you on the path to a long and loving relationship with your best friend. It will also provide the foundations for a well mannered and behaved dog who will be a joy to have around the family, and in the company of others.

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How To Choose The Cat?

Before you select a cat, you need to decide which breed is right, not only for you, but also for the rest of your family. So follow this short guide to help you with the selection of your new pet.

Vocal Breeds
Consider whether or not you would like a vocal companion. Seriously, some cats can be pretty noisy. And although you may not find this to be an issue, local neighbors - especially in compact apartment arrangements - can find this annoying, especially at night.

Some cat breeds that are a bit heavy on the vocal side include: the Burmese, the Siamese Cat and the Korat. On the other end of the spectrum are: the American Curl, the Scottish Fold, and the Somali - all referred to as very quiet cats.

Cuddle Factor
You also need to consider if you prefer a cat that seeks attention and is cuddly. Or maybe you'd refer one that is aloof? Cuddly cats need lots more attention, but also give you more back in return, too. And cuddly pets such as these are usually better around children.

Some friendly cats are the Abyssinian, Tonkinese, Maine Coon, Snowshoe, Ragdoll and Himalayan Persian. More aloof cats include the Nebelung, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Russian Shorthair.

Bad Hair Day
An important point to ponder is hair. Do you prefer long hair, not caring so much about grooming and shedding involved, or do you prefer to keep things simple with short hair breeds?

Note: long hair can get matted and messy and require a trip to the groomer or vet for shaving - while the cat is under sedation. So consider whether you have the time, tools and patience to help with grooming regularly.

Last but not least, decide if you prefer to raise your pet from early on; i.e. do you want a kitten? Or would you like to maybe help with a rescue of an older animal?

So wrap it up, consider all of the factors above before you choose your new cat. Look over the different characteristics and the various cat breeds of interest before you begin to seek out your new pet.

Check online for more information about cats. And reach out and call around to your local pet stores and to your local Humane Society chapter with more concerns you may have about cats.

by : Renske Buursma

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Dog Training Schools - What Most of Them Don't Tell you

Dog training schools can be very beneficial for both the pet and the owner. The common conception about these schools is that they train your dog to behave better. Actually, this is not the whole story. What dog training schools aim to do (at least the good ones) is teach the owners how to properly handle their dogs.

Think of it this way -- do you think there is a way to train a dog to be obedient in a short time that would cause them to be obedient forever? Behavior modification requires constant reinforcement to be done over an extended period of time. This means that after your dog has graduated from school, you will be required to continue the training.

Many people who use training schools for their dogs are wishing for a magic bullet, but they just won't get it. In fact, the owners who attend the classes with their pets have a higher success rate of actually making the training stick afterwards than those who just simply send their dogs off to training school.

For example, a reward system to reinforce good behavior is used by every reputable school in existence. Some schools may reward a dog with a treat, while others may do so with a sign of affection or a mixture of both. It is important that you stick with the same type of positive reinforcement after the dog has been trained. Otherwise, if you change the reward you give for positive reinforcement you can confuse the dog and make their behavior inconsistent.

The same goes for negative reinforcement as well. It is important to be consistent with how the dog has been trained to be punished after they have completed their training. Usually punishments are simple, like an authoritative no or a simple tug on the collar.

Finally, it is important to take the time to research your options when it comes to dog training schools before you sign up for one. Just like anything, there are good schools and there are bad schools Make sure that you go with a top-notch school. Make sure the school matches your own beliefs about how a dog should be trained.

by : Terry Edwards

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Safety Tips and Hints on Using Wireless Dog Fence

Wireless dog fence has been proven and tested to be really safe and reliable. However, there are still safety tips that everyone should take into consideration in using it. These safety tips will give your dog a much better protection.

Take note that dogs collar receiver must always be in contact with the wireless signal thrown by the transmitter. Therefore, if the collar loses contact with the transmitter signal, correction pulse will then be sent by the collar thinking the dog has left the containment area.

Just place the transmitter somewhere in your home, garage or tool shed that is not noticeable to avoid any damage on the system. After keeping it in a safe area and completing the set up, the transmitter will then emit a radio signal which will define the containment boundary of your dog.

It is advised that you avoid leaving the collar on your dog while it is inside your house as household appliances may set it off due to unnecessary signal interruptions.

The dog collar receiver has a water proof feature but then the transmitter must always be out of the weather because this device cannot get wet or the emitted signal will be damaged.

Please be reminded that the system will not work well if a drop-off or steep slope is a part of the contained area. This only means that you must also consider whether our dog containment fences are appropriate for your yard before you purchase the product you want.

The size and attitude of your dog is also a key factor. If you know that your dog is too big or stubborn, might as well choose a more appropriate product because this wireless pet containment is only applicable for small or medium dogs which are easy to train.

For safety and more reliable set up, always try to follow instructions in the provided manual that explains installation and training or ask our customer representatives for assistance.

There is an adjustable range suitable for your yard and an appropriate level of pulse correction for your dog.

For safe and easy to remember safe areas against the boundary, try to place a mark on the boundaries by putting training flags so that you and your dogs can easily remember the defined training area.

You must not also worry about unwanted power loss of the wireless dog fence system that might harm your dog because we also feature an automatic safety shut off on the system that will happen after 27 seconds.

by : Andrei Smith

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