Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Chronicles.

It's Sunday morning. Hubby and I already took a trip to Starbucks, played a game of "Words with Friends" on our iphones and took 2 dogs to the park for some play . . . which has lead me to my post for the day . . . which is a long one, but I do hope you take the time read it all.

I find daily things I could post about in order to educate dog owners about responsible dog ownership and training, but I don't know that it would 1) get read and 2) be as important to others as it is to me, and 3) I don't have time to post daily! However, I'll ramble about a few important things in this post, my "Sunday Chronicles".

After returning home from Starbucks I looked at my poor dogs, namely my BC/Aussie mix and Jack Russell, as they are my most active dogs. My poor canine buddies have been on the back burner quite a bit since the birth of my daughter, Sophie, in 2008. I looked at Noah, the BC mix, he wore his big happy smile he always has and I said, "You guys want to go to the park?" Trevor, the Jack, knows that word he got the Jack happiness and began to bounce like a jumping bean. If you have a Jack you know the jumping-bean-bounce I'm referring to.

I keep a JanSport backpack full of doggie items for special occasions only; it hangs on a hook in my laundry room. The toys that reside in there are extremely high-value rewards because they only come out every now and again. When they do come out, they are used for training rewards which makes them extremely fun and exciting. My "doggie bag", as I call it, has the following: a Chuckit! ball launcher that holds an orange rubber Chuckit! Ultra ball, a Kong Wubba, a cheap small, green, rubber squeaky ball and K9 Superfuel powder (aka Doggie Gatorade) that I add to water. On the days that I use the bag I toss in a ziploc baggie of Natural Balance treat roll, cut up into tiny pieces, and my camera (of course!).

Hubby and I loaded Trevor and Noah up in my Honda Element and headed to the River Legacy Park, which is about a 10-minute walk from my house, 1-minute drive! This is an amazing park--huge, huge, loads of grassy area for doggie play, pavilions, picnic areas, hiking trails, biking trails . . . It's remarkable. Great for dog training and proofing.

I noticed on the way to the park, the LOST DOG signs that still hung on the posts on each street corner in my neighborhood. They have been there for about 2 weeks now. They have a picture of a cute German Shepherd puppy, looks to be about 5-6 months old. I remember seeing a dog owner walking a young GSD puppy a while back. I wonder if it's the same puppy. My husband remarks, "Guess that puppy is still missing . . . " This confirms how important it is to do several things as a dog owner. . . .

Many dogs that go missing primarily stay in a backyard when someone is away--while they are at work all day or even if they leave to go eat dinner. This is where the dog lives, except maybe at night or even for a bit in the evenings when someone is home. This is a common scenario, albeit a sad one. This is also the reason why the dog is gone--they are under-stimulated, bored, lonely, and/or possibly unaltered (not spayed or neutered) which dramatically increases the risk of escape.

Dogs are designed to be a human's companion. Dogs, except in some uncommon cases, prefer a human to a dog even if they do enjoy the company of a dog. So if a dog has a buddy in their yard most likely they will just devise a plan together for escape. Now you have two bored, under-stimulated and sad dogs.

There are several things you can do to prevent your dog from becoming lost, or to help him be found. 1) Crate your dogs inside your home when you are away. 2) Microchip your dogs . . . and register the chip! Many dogs are microchipped (we love 24PetWatch) with an unregistered chip, causing the chip to be pointless--so register the chip! 3) Train your dog to have a perfectly proofed recall, i.e., teach your dog to come to you no matter what!

I think that even a lost dog with a solid, proofed recall would be found soon even if some of the other factors were not in play (if the dog was not already miles away, of course.) There is a woman who has started a group on Facebook (Find Kingston) for her lost dog. This poor woman is very obviously a responsible dog owner. However, every time I read her story all I can think is--if only that dog had an incredible recall I bet she'd already have him home. Her dog became afraid when she picked him up from a doggie daycare, slipped out of his collar and took off running. That was in May. She's still looking for him. I give her Kudos as she's hired Doggone Detectives--which utilize Search & Rescue dogs to find missing pets, made her Facebook group, posted signs; she's working hard to find her buddy. The dog has even been spotted several times, but he's still not home. So, I cant' help but go back to thinking if that dog had an incredible recall he would have come back to his owner within a few hours of her searching.

Trevor, my toot of a Jack Russell, is a mere 13-lbs and so he has escaped under our fence, and this was when he was outside for 10 minutes on a potty break! My dogs are never in my yard, unsupervised, for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Never. So, I discover Trevor is missing, usually because Jake, my Lab, gives off this distinguished bark as soon as Trevor is under the fence. It drives Jake insane and he goes nuts. A few times,within minutes, he's already several streets away. Twice I can remember having to get in my car and drive around. Of course I panic--which way do I go first? Do I take this neighborhood or this one? I drive about 2 mph and yell out of my window, "Trevor! Come! Trevor! Come!" Every time, once I get close enough for him to hear me, I see a little white fuzzy dog, panting heavily, bolting toward my car. He would come straight to the car and jump in as soon as I opened the door. I would give him a ball as a reward. Yes. Reward. Reward him for coming. His actual escape was long ago, the last thing he did was come to me, so a huge reward it is! I was always so relieved that I'd hug and kiss on him then give him his favorite ball, that I grabbed before I left the house. The times I've caught him seconds after slipping thru the hole in the fence, I called him and his little head would poke back thru the fence--Yes? You rang? I called him back thru the hole and rewarded him for coming back into the yard. Little twerp. I love that twerp. . . . We finally got a new fence a while back and haven't had any issues since then. We had a heck of a ratty fence with many opportunities for escape for a little dog!

Here is a little video of our park adventure today, along with some tips on recalls. It was a short one. I had to allow my dogs to not get overheated, don't forget to read my post on that from a week ago: Heat & Dogs.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall into Fall with a Doggie Class!

Get back into the swing of things with one of our classes now that the hot weather is starting to subside. Classes are the next step in dog training if you've already done some private lessons, or if you want to do something new and different with your dog. You can find all of our classes online here:

What are your classes all about? Here is a description of each of our classes. If you need help deciding which is best for you, let us know, we can help you decide!

About Town Class In this class we show you how to have your dog out-n-about on the town acting like a polite, well-mannered pooch! We will conduct class 1 with low distractions in a park & then move to busy places such as West Village in Dallas or Sundance Square in Fort Worth (depending upon enrollments). You will be training your dog while in a busy setting with people approaching & possibly other dogs. Learn how to get your dog ready for the public in this new, innovative class!
More details . . .

FUNgility Class In this class we are doing our fun style of the popular dog sport of Agility! This is a super fun class & benefits all dogs. In the class you will learn how to lead your dog through obstacles while building a bond & teaching your dog reliable off-leash skills! Don’t miss this class, it’s a must for all dog owners!
More details . . .

Beyond Basics Class In this class we show you how to keep going with your dog's training; basic commands, distraction work (listening & obeying around other dogs/people), strengthen your dog's skills in a setting closer to real life—polite leash manners, walking with you, sit, lie down, stay, come & perform in close proximity of other dogs/distractions. Learn to get a well-mannered dog in public in this class!
More details . . .

Loose Leash Skills Workshop Unlike group classes, workshops are only a one, or two-time meeting. In this workshop we will work on foundation leash skills & show you how to get a dog that walks on a loose-leash for life! This class is great for all puppy & dog owners & will help build a foundation for all other behaviors to fall into place when out, about & on leash. We recommend every dog owner join this workshop!
More details . . .

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Heat & Dogs.

I write this post due to an incident that happened today, Saturday, September 11th. There was a large outdoor dog event, Dog Day Afternoon, in Dallas. Loads of people and their dogs flocked to the event and for one family, in the car on the way to the event, what happened once they got there was not in their plans.

The family had two English Bulldogs, excited to be going somewhere. Although Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs are much more at risk, all dogs are at a high risk of heat exhaustion and/or stroke if the factors are right. Obviously the family had the A/C on in the car but the dogs must have been so excited, paired with the day's humidity and heat, and once they arrived the male Bulldog was breathing very oddly and then stopped. A wonderful friend, Beth Bowers, who is highly educated in Canine CPR and First Aid (she teaches classes on a regular basis) was luckily at the event. She was rushed to the car to attempt CPR on the dog. It was too late. They did rush him to a near-by vet clinic but his body temperature rose to a deadly 110 degrees. The male Bulldog didn't make it. The younger female is still being monitored, as she suffered heat exhaustion but they feel they may have saved her in time.

Beth will be conducting a special seminar for canine owners to learn Pet First Aid and CPR. I highly encourage you to attend this. If you would like to know when she'll hold this please email her to get on her email list.

We must watch our dogs and never let them stay outdoors or get too excited. It only takes the correct equation to make a disaster, as this story sadly demonstrates. The dogs were simply over-excited, a little hot and those factors caused their body temperature to rise too quickly.


Heatstroke occurs when normal body mechanisms cannot keep the body's temperature in a safe range. Animals do not have efficient cooling systems (like humans who sweat) and get overheated easily. A dog with moderate heatstroke (body temperature from 104º to 106ºF) can recover within an hour if given prompt first aid and veterinary care (normal body temperature is 100-102.5°F). Severe heatstroke (body temperature over 106ºF) can be deadly and immediate veterinary assistance is needed.

A dog suffering from heatstroke will display several signs:

  • Rapid panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting - sometimes with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Coma

What you should do
Remove the dog from the hot area immediately. Prior to taking him to your veterinarian, lower his temperature by wetting him thoroughly with cool water (for very small dogs, use lukewarm water), then increase air movement around him with a fan. CAUTION: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing his body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. The rectal temperature should be checked every 5 minutes. Once the body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and the dog should be dried thoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat. Even if the dog appears to be recovering, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. He should still be examined since he may be dehydrated or have other complications.

Allow free access to water or a children's rehydrating solution if the dog can drink on his own. Do not try to force-feed cold water; the dog may inhale it or choke.

What your veterinarian will do
Your veterinarian will lower your dog's body temperature to a safe range (if you have not already) and continually monitor his temperature. Your dog will be given fluids, and possibly oxygen. He will be monitored for shock, respiratory distress, kidney failure, heart abnormalities, and other complications, and treated accordingly. Blood samples may be taken before and during the treatment. The clotting time of the blood will be monitored, since clotting problems are a common complication.

Dogs with moderate heatstroke often recover without complicating health problems. Severe heatstroke can cause organ damage that might need ongoing care such as a special diet prescribed by your veterinarian. Dogs who suffer from heatstroke once increase their risk for getting it again and steps must be taken to prevent it on hot, humid days.

Any pet that cannot cool himself off is at risk for heatstroke. Following these guidelines can help prevent serious problems.

  • Keep pets with predisposing conditions like heart disease, obesity, older age, or breathing problems cool and in the shade. Even normal activity for these pets can be harmful.
  • Provide access to water at all times.
  • Do not leave your pet in a hot parked car even if you're in the shade or will only be gone a short time. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach up to140 degrees.
  • Make sure outside dogs have access to shade.
  • On a hot day, restrict exercise and don't take your dog jogging with you. Too much exercise when the weather is very hot can be dangerous.
  • Do not muzzle your dog.
  • Avoid places like the beach and especially concrete or asphalt areas where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
  • Wetting down your dog with cool water or allowing him to swim can help maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Move your dog to a cool area of the house. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to keep a dog cool, but is not always dependable. To provide a cooler environment, freeze water in soda bottles, or place ice and a small amount of water in several resealable food storage bags, then wrap them in a towel or tube sock. Place them on the floor for the dog to lay on.