This was a new one on me, but sounds like an interesting program for dogs who don’t like to be crowded. The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for owners of dogs that need space. It hopes to educate the public and dog owners to identify dogs needing space, promote appropriate contact of dogs […]
Adopting a shelter dog and saving it from a possible early death can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience for you, your family and especially the dog.
In most cities the cost to adopt a shelter dog is relatively cheap. Most shelters only charge a modest fee for adopting a dog but that fee actually covers only a small part of the shelter’s costs for food, healthcare, facilities and care giving. Dogs housed in animal shelters will have been examined to make sure they’re in good health before being put up for adoption. The dogs are usually vaccinated, wormed and neutered or spayed. In well-run shelters, a dog’s behavior has been assessed so a prospective new owner can be better matched to the type of dog they want.
Before taking your family to the local animal shelter to choose a new dog, you should understand that the cost of adoption is only a small fraction of the total cost of owning a dog. The average dog owner will spend approximately $ 2,200 per year on food, medical care, vet visits and other dog related expenses. The actual yearly outlay of expenses will vary depending on the type of dog, and also why it ended up in the animal shelter.
Many dogs are surrendered to shelters because they have serious behavior problems, and a new owner will have to contend with those behaviors as well as fear and abandonment issues a dog may have from being mistreated or abandoned to a shelter.
It’s fairly easy to recognize a shelter dog who has fear issues. The dog may run or hide from strangers, bark a lot, or growl at humans. It can be difficult to reduce a dog’s fear, but if you fall in love with a dog displaying those symptoms, understand that those fears can be overcome with patience on your part.
If you’re thinking of adopting a shelter dog, you should get some background information on any dog you’re seriously considering. There are some dogs in shelters who have been given back several times because new owners couldn’t cope with the dog’s crying, barking or other destructive behavior when left alone. Sometimes this is caused simply by separation anxiety where the dog becomes fearful every time its owner leaves it alone. You can lessen this fear by spending as much time as possible with your new dog, gradually cutting down on the amount of time spent one-on-one.
Unfortunately, many dogs who end up in shelters have never been properly potty trained. If this is the case, you’ll need to treat the dog as it were a puppy. Set a regular schedule of when you take your dog outside to go. When it does its duty, reward it with a treat and praise. It shouldn’t take long for the dog to associate going outside to the bathroom with getting a tasty treat.
Many dogs are surrendered to shelters simply because their owners never taught them how to behave. A dog may display unwanted behavior such as jumping on people, humping people’s legs, or ignoring you when you tug on its leash.
While some people are not bothered by this type of behavior, some are and become very distressed by their inability to correct the behavior. The poor dog then ends up abandoned to a shelter. If the owner had a little more patience and understanding of dog behavior, these unwanted actions could be easily corrected with a little bit of positive training. If you’re adopting a shelter dog be sure it’s the right one for you before taking it home.
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Some cool bone images:
Image by melodramababs
My favourite apron. As you can tell, it needs to be washed. Although most of that grime won’t come off.
Image by Travis S.
Bone tools like these are probably wedges. These are used for fire starting. Many of these wedges have concavities rubbed into them. This is where the friction fires are started.
The bones themselves are probably rib bones from a large sea mammal.
I am unsure of the use of the longer, pointier bones.
Bone Yard – 18 October 2008
Image by Marion Doss
Bone Yard – 18 October 2008
Watching a variety of different dogs play is one of the biggest benefits of my part-time job. Dogs really know how to party, and the joy they get from play can be contagious:
Mini-breaks and Time-outs
In this video you several breaks in the action, even in just under a minute of elapsed time. This is a good thing. I highlighted the big one in the video, and there was another right after I stop filming (naturally) where Caffeine was gagging (it happens during allergy season and no, it’s not the collar) and Buddha politely stopped and waited for her to reach up and mouth him to resume play. I really wish I hadn’t stopped filming!
This kind of cooperation is what we want to see. It doesn’t always look exactly like this of course, because all dogs are different and play differently. It’s possible to draw broad generalizations about breeds – retrievers tend to like to mouth wrestle and end up with their heads literally soaked, bully breeds tend to slam dance, some herding breeds like to play tag — however the "tagging" better be gentle — but as I’ve said before, these are broad generalizations and are not always true. Know your dog, and know your dog’s friends.
Symmetry and Handicapping
Patricia McConnell talks about self-handicapping frequently on her blog and in her talks. It’s an important part of play. In the video I highlight a point where Buddha offers to let Caffeine pounce on him for a bit. She rarely takes him up on this offer. She likes to play on the floor and even did that when we had a much larger dog that played much more roughly with her.
In the puppy playgroups at Kellar’s Canine Academy we have a "regular" named Lucy, a 8 month old or so Pit Bull mix, who is an absolute master at self-handicapping. She can switch from letting a tiny puppy half her size jump on her and nibble her face to slam-dancing with her best friend, a 70 pound Rottweiler puppy, in seconds.
Some dogs can adjust play styles. I’m fortunate that Buddha and Caffeine (with the few dogs she will play with) can and will do this. It’s not necessarily common and don’t expect your dog or the dogs you come across to do so. Some dogs take offense, even in the middle of a play session, to a bitten ear or a jumped-upon face. The question is, how do they react? A warning and/or disengaging from play is just fine. Retaliation is usually not.
In a safe environment dogs always have the option to end play by stopping and, if nexessary, leaving the area. This means (at least) two things must be true: the area is big enough for a dog to be able to leave the area of play and the participants are in control to take the hint when a dog wants a break.
So What’s Actually Acceptable?
This is an excellent video, worth watching a few times, about play and body language:
One of the more interesting parts of my apprenticeship was watching how different trainers handled playgroups in both puppy classes and with adult dogs. Some were very hands on and quick to enforce a break in the action. Other tending to go with the flow and tried to engineer things more by strategically picking playgroups.
I came away a bit of a laissez faire attitude, and the fact that I have had to deal with small groups and then ideal facilities (until very recently) have forced me to improvise. I want to see regular breaks in the action. I don’t like to see too many high-speed chases, dogs up on their hind legs, and dogs that seem overwhelmed or afraid need to be helped by pairing them up with appropriate playmates. But attempts to support one dog or another or to enforce specific rules of play are not my thing.
What has your experience with playgroups been?
Anyone who has ever walked a dog or waited impatiently while they did their doggie business outside in the cold knows how carefully they select just the right spot to drop their load. Is it just to annoy us or is there a hidden reason for their strange behavior that we as humans lack the sensitivity to understand? It seems there might be. For over two years a team of scientists has logged 5,582 dog-defecation…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog
http://www.vancesova.com A funny cat is not always a smart cat but to us Whity is both. Watch this half siamese cat paw at cat food treat bag and even sticki…
When raising a puppy, every dog owner experiences the familiar behavior problem of the puppy strongly pulling on its leash. When you want to leash train a puppy it’s much easier to prevent the problem than trying to correct it after it has become an ingrained habit.
There are some training methods that will teach your puppy the right way to behave while on its leash.
The slack leash method of training requires a regular buckle collar and a six foot leash. The first step to teaching a puppy loose leash walking is realize that when you are walking the puppy on a leash, it is a reward for the dog, not a necessary chore. Do not continue walking if your puppy is pulling at its leash. Stop and wait until the puppy gets a sense that what it is doing may not be right.
Give your puppy enough leash to allow it to walk about four feet in front of you. Every time the leash goes slack you can reward your puppy with a small treat, or just a praise if you’re concerned about feeding it too many treats.
When you are ready to begin walking again, say “let’s go” and take a few steps forward. If your puppy begins to pull on its leash again, stop walking. When the leash goes slack again, praise your puppy and start walking again.
Don’t yank your puppy’s leash. If it continues to pull, try talking in a high pitched voice which will usually help a puppy focus its attention on your commands.
The “Donkey and Carrot” method is a very good way to train your puppy while on its leash. Start walking while holding a treat in front of your puppy’s nose. Reward your puppy with a small piece of kibble every few feet that it stays in step with you. If you find that you run out of kibble before the walk is over, try cutting down on the number of treats by rewarding the puppy only when it behaves exceptionally well.
Don’t attempt to train your puppy to walk on a loose leash if it’s acting hyper and needs to burn off excess energy. Play with it for a few minutes to help burn off that energy, then go for a walk when the puppy calms down.
Here’s a quick and easy test to determine if your puppy has mastered loose leash walking: when you can walk your puppy while holding its leash and a glass of water in the same hand without spilling it, your training has been successful.
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NIV Ragamuffin Bible: Meditations for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Brokenhearted by Zondervan Publishing My rating: 5 of 5 stars Having read, “Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brenden Manning, I was intrigued by the concept of turning the foundation of this book and incorporating it into a Bible that will both encouraged the, “Bedraggled”, the “Beat-Up” and the…
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Bill Sargent: 'Mackerel Diane' hooks lots of fish tales
SEBASTIAN INLET — If anyone deserves the title of grand dame among Sebastian Inlet anglers, it has to be Diane Buyce. But if you're a fishing regular at the inlet, you probably know her as “Mackerel Diane.” No one comes close to this personable …
Read more on Florida Today
All quiet on the contested front
Several experienced operators have told Fairfax Media they have been discussing ideas with government for years and run rulers over potential projects on the Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road (and a government-initiated process to redevelop …
Read more on The Age
Despite repeated advice from dog shelters, veterinarians, activists, and us, lots of people gave dogs as Christmas presents this year. As the holiday buzz wears off and the new owners start to realize that owning a dog is a bit commitment, a lot of those dogs are going to wind up in shelters. And a lot of those aren’t going to make it to forever homes; like too many shelter dogs in the United States, they’ll wind up on the euthanasia table.
In the video below, Laura Zambito, co-founder of a New York no-kill shelter for small breeds, Precious Pups, talks about how her shelter is bracing for an influx of discarded dogs from the Christmas season for that exact reason. Even without a post-holiday surge, Precious Pups has its hands full: Last month, it accepted 32 Chihuahuas in a single shipment. Precious Pups is now working hard to get all those dogs into forever homes.
Watching Zambito show off the Chihuahua pups is pretty heartwarming, and even cute (that’s a big admission for me; some small breeds can set my teeth on edge), but she’s talking about some very dark realities. Thanks to celebrities such as Paris Hilton parading them around in public as fashion accessories, Chihuahuas have become very popular dogs, often with people who aren’t ready for the responsibility. But sometimes, being the favorite of the cool kids isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That popularity, according to Zambito, has made Chihuahuas the second most euthanized dog in the United States.
“A dog is for life,” Zambito says in the interview. “It shouldn’t be given for Christmas. We don’t condone that.”
One of the dogs that Zambito shows off is a Chihuahua named Vanilla, who was found wandering the streets wearing a little dress, but with no ID that could be used to return her to her owners. That’s symbolic of the problems of owners who casually decide to get a dog: There’s money for the cute, frilly dress, but not for tags or a microchip. In Vanilla’s case, it looks like there might not have been money for a vet, either. She came in with mammary tumors, which Zambito says will be removed by Precious Pups. She and the others can be thankful that they wound up at a no-kill shelter, unlike so many others who won’t make it through the year.