Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Going beyond just advertising a lost dog

You pay attention to your dog's whereabouts ---- always. But deep down inside, you know that the possibility of your dog wandering away or getting stolen or injured exists. This is especially true if you allow your dog to freely wander around on your lawn or backyard.

When you must advertise a lost dog, a colored photo of the dog is very effective. You never know if someone has indeed seen your dog and would happen to recognize that dog's photo on your poster. You should mention your dog's name and your phone number on the poster also.

Too many times, owners of lost dogs merely post a gazillion posters in the vicinity and tend to leave things alone for awhile, hoping that a call will happen soon. Unfortunately, it won't likely, now or ever.

Your best bet is to tour the local shelters to look for your dog, because there's a good chance that your pet wound up there not so long ago and is languishing in a cage somewhere. And even more important, you must visit those shelters right away because most of those places are "kill shelters" and don't hold on to lost pets very long. This is the best favor that you can do for your dog and yourself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time to let the dog out!

I love the way in which dogs let you know that they want to go out or come back in the house. Watching my sister's dogs, I noticed first-hand what her dogs do.

Her really active huskie mix, Chloe, becomes restless and just seems to bounce around the house and runs to the door. Actually, what Chloe wants to do is go for a walk, but that's not possible right now. A meal or movie may be in progress and it's just not the right time. Maybe in a few minutes, but sure as heck, not right now. So what happens is that my sister will open the back door leading to the deck and allow Chloe to run around in the back yard for a little while. Doing this keeps the dog out of trouble and gives the dog something to do.

Now the other dog, Aries, is much more laid-back. What he'll do is calmly walk to the door and just kind of hang out. Patiently. Just trying to let everyone know in his own quiet way that he needs to pee and/or poo. He knows that sooner or later, someone will take notice, and open the door and walk outside with him on the front lawn or simply open the backdoor leading to the deck and backyard and allow Aries to go out and do his thing.

Some dogs are going to be more aggressive, some less. But they do get the point across. It's a matter of being closely observant and acting accordingly.

Monday, April 25, 2011

When it comes to training, a dog is definitely easier to train than a cat

I was at Borders yesterday, perusing books on animal care and training and happened to pick up a book whose subject was training cats in ten minutes. Can you believe that?

After all, a cat is not a dog, but that book's methods reminded me of some of the steps involved in training a dog. I think that dogs are a little easier to train. For the most part, they will cooperate, maybe a bit slowly, but with good results ultimately. A cat, for the most part, definitely will not cooperate. It will do the things it wants when and how it wants. A dog is a tad more cooperative.

Once the dog is acclimated, it's fine and shows its love for its owner. Just yesterday, for example, my sister's husky mix, Chloe, licked her face a few times before settling down. Now do you think for one minute that a cat will do the same or similar thing?  Of course not!  Ok, I know that there are rare instances where a cat may do all of that. Its personality allows it to.

Don't get me wrong though. I like cats and dogs, but given the choice of training either one, I would opt for training a dog in a New York minute.....and get results.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Introducing your dog to your other dogs

The answer is, gradually. Things may not be so bad when you already have one or more adult dogs at home and are bringing in another adult dog. On the other hand, introducing a puppy to a home with adult dogs or an adult dog to a home with a puppy may be an entirely different story.

At no time from the get-go should the dogs be allowed to mingle. The new dog needs some time and space to become acclimated to its new home and perhaps sleep or eat quietly. Ideally, you can use a spare room and provide a dog bed, dish of water and food for your new dog. Once your new dog has had some time to adjust to his surroundings, you should allow your dogs to be in each other's company, gradually at first. I don't think that you'll be able to predict the results of this meeting, given the sizes, breeds and ages of your dogs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

He won't hurt you

You're walking along, minding your own business, when suddenly you look up and see a dog walking up to you and its owner a few feet away. The owner smiles, trying to be reassuring (?). And while you like dogs, you instinctively panic as you watch this dog, afraid to move. In the meantime, the owner says something like, "Go ahead. He won't hurt (or bite) you."

Yeah right.

Maybe if the dog was leashed, I wouldn't mind walking calmly by. This happens to be a rather large dog who could easily jump on me and knock me down. And his attitude doesn't seem very friendly, so who are we kidding anyway?

The fact of the matter is that I don't trust the owner, or the dog, for that matter. An unleashed dog can do just about anything.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Coming soon --- Captain Marvel's soon to be Excellent Adventure!

A few posts ago, I wrote about this American Bulldog that I had seen and petted at PetSmart. He was the friendliest dog ever and whose ears and face turned pink when he was being pet up. The dog's name, which I didn't mention, is Captain Marvel.

The coolest thing is that Captain Marvel may just have a new home pretty soon ---- and the person who is probably going to adopt him is my sister! She told me how she was strongly considering adopting the dog. I hope that she can because she's really good with dogs and experienced in caring for them. In addition, she wound up liking Captain Marvel a LOT and is not going to rename him. In my post about this dog, I even said that I strongly considered adopting him, but I've already got four indoor cats and the stray cat outside.

I really love Captain Marvel and know that he will be a great dog!  Hope that my sister can adopt him.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

questions on getting your dog to an audition and maybe even in a movie

Seeing dogs in movies in times too numerous to mention, I've often wondered what it took for those dogs to make it and even achieve some fame. Here's my list of questions:
- Where do you find a list of people/places for dogs to audition?

- What are some typical audition requirements?

- Does your dog have to be a certain type, age, ability?

- Will your dog stand a better chance of winning a movie role if it is especially good-looking or obedient?

- Are there talent agencies for dogs?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading dogs

Well, not exactly dogs that actually read. But more like dogs that help children who are shy or who need help in reading to read. In Ohio, these therapy dogs are being used in one elementary school to do just that! A child selects a book to "read" to the dog, then cuddles next or sits in front of the dog and reads the book. And interestingly, that child's shyness problem or reading issue gradually improves.

I would have loved that sort of thing as a grade school child, as I was very shy and was almost left back simply because I could not speak in class in front of classmates. As a result, my teachers must have assumed that I was stupid and had been more than willing to leave me back. Too bad that therapy dogs weren't available then!

I even think that I would have wound up with a dog of my own, once my parents noticed that I really liked dogs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finding someone to dog sit can be a hassle

If you must leave your dog at home for a few days or weeks at a time, do you miss him or her?  And don't you feel tempted to bring your dog with you sometimes?

It isn't easy, especially if you can't find a volunteer to walk and'or feed the dog for the time that you'll be away. A lot of people who might be good volunteers may be employed full time or live too far away or are too young or too old or have health issues that prevent them from being with your dog temporarily. Of course, you can go the pay route, which may involve hiring an experienced person who knows and likes dogs or even taking your dog to a kennel for the time being.

In any case, doing any of these things can be quite a hassle. If you'll have to be away from home frequently, you may want to think twice before adopting a dog.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Miracle dog

An emaciated pit bull who was lying on the bottom of a trash heap, had been abused by his owner and was close to death. But the poor dog was discovered and nursed back to health. His recovery was miraculous, as no one, not even the veterinarians involved in his care, expected him to survive AND thrive.

To look at him today, you would never think that the dog had gone through such torture.

Fortunately, his owner was found and charged with animal abuse. When I heard this, I immediately thought that the owner should have been treated the same way that he treated his dog. That is, he should have been starved and smacked around.

Unfortunately, a lot of potential dog owners are not what they want everyone to believe they are. Once these low-down, worthless scum are given the privilege of caring for a dog, they abuse it by mistreating the dog. The most frustrating thing is that the mistreatment isn't obvious until it's almost too late, with the dog dying or already dead.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Putting away some money to help your dog

Ok, so you wanted to get pet insurance for your dog, and knowing how expensive that was, you postponed it for the time being. That was fine. You just avoided paying extra money for something that was nice to have, but not really necessary.

What you might think about doing instead is just putting some money aside, perhaps in a special bank account, to cover unexpected issues. That money will likely earn interest and yet, help you cover care and other things like medicine and food. You won't owe monthly premiums or be forced to pay additional money out for price increases and the like. If you didn't sock that money in such a special account, you would probably have to reach deeper in your pocket to cover unexpected costs. But you wisely anticipated those costs and saved ahead of time.

Great move!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Is it possible to really understand the way dogs think?

You want your dog to do certain things and may figure that thinking like he or she does may strengthen the bond between you and your dog considering everything he's learned already, such as not to steal food from the table or following the cat or not eating grass on the lawn.

Now you probably have some idea of why your dog does those things. It's interesting to think about and even to research. Your vet might have a few answers for you in that regard. You can also search blogs and forums for answers. You'll likely find quite a few guesses, especially from other dog owners. For answers, I've looked through books on dog behavior and ownership and found a number of reasons or guesses. If you're still befuddled, though, just remember that experts are puzzled as well. We still have a lot to learn about our dogs, but that knowledge will come, eventually.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Does a good watchdog necessarily have to be large?

There are many good things to say about owning a large dog and letting that dog serve as a watchdog. His or her growling and barking are likely to be louder and more menacing to a would-be burglar. Plus the dog may well be able to defend himself when necessary. Now I hasten to add that large dogs are just as likely to be affectionate to the point of greeting a burglar with a wag of the tail and allow that burglar to do as he or she pleases in the house. You don't want a dog that's too friendly to strangers.

On the other hand, a smaller dog may be perfect!  It may have a shrill bark and be less likely to be intimidated by a burglar or other criminal. And it can easily bite and nip as well. A smaller dog also tends to eat and poo less and may be easier to walk and control on a leash. At the same time, a little dog is just as likely to be friendly to strangers and allow strangers as burglars to pet and give them treats. So again, you've got to be careful about the type of dog you choose to serve as a watchdog for your home!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wouldn't it be great if .....

Today, I happened to see an old guy waiting for his dog to finish doing his business on someone's lawn. Not only that, but the dog then walked a short distance and then proceeded to smell the grass on another lawn. And of course, his owner waited patiently for him to finish.

Now, wouldn't it be nice if all of the things that dogs love to smell and see could be bottled up somehow and later be opened up indoors instead of our being practically forced to go out in inclement weather to walk the dog? The dog would be happy, we would be happy, and free for a little while. It would be a win-win situation, hands down.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

test potential dog owners?

Owning any pet, but especially a dog, usually involves a lot of soul searching. Why do you want to own a pet in the first place?  After all, you are making a commitment of time and money caring for that animal. More importantly, that animal isn't and shouldn't be regarded as a plush toy. It is a living being and needs love and care. If it is a dog, it needs to be walked and exercised, then sheltered in a good home.

I say this because a lot of people only consider a dog's looks and/or breed and tend to ignore caring and commitment issues. A smaller dog still requires as much care as a larger-sized dog and then some. Every aspect needs consideration. Take, for example, a neighbor who owns three rather large dogs and walks them only when it suits her, which is infrequently at best. But she still views them as her pets and takes them and the companionship they provide for granted. If her dogs' behavior changes, that neighbor will blame them first instead of herself. Her dogs are probably smarter than she is.

She and other assuming dog owners take for granted their pets' unconditional love and see their pets as things or objects. They are the very people who should not own dogs. Their ownership qualities are a sham. They and other potential dog owners probably need to take a test or something that will document their willingness to adopt and care for a dog. Otherwise, their non-concern will imperil dogs' lives and the lives of others.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Why do you want to adopt a dog?

Here are a few replies:

- "Because I want one."

- "I want a dog to keep me company."

- "I need a watch dog."

- "A family member wants a dog."

- "I visited a shelter or a place like PetSmart and saw a dog that I love. Now I want to adopt it."

Any thoughts?  Why did you adopt your dog?