Counter-conditioning and Desensitization for Dogs (Part 1)

A bell

How do you un-ring Pavlov’s bell?

We’ve all heard of Pavlov, his bell, and his dogs, but what did he really discover, and how does it apply to dog training?

Ivan Pavlov noticed that the dogs that he was already experimenting on (he was using the dogs for research on digestion) would salivate when lab technicians arrived at the lab to feed them — before their food was actually given to them.

This seems kind of obvious to us now, but this discovery was the beginning of Pavlov’s pivotal research on what he called conditional reflex and what is commonly called classical or respondent conditioning today.

 

What is classical conditioning?

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Pavlov’s dogs learned that the technicians predicted the food. Our dogs make similar associations all the time, for example:

  • The sound of a crinkly plastic bag may predict treats.
  • The smell of birch oil predicts food.
  • The sight of another dog while on leash may predict trouble.

These associations are remarkably powerful. A new (conditioned) stimulus is being associated with an existing (unconditioned) stimulus. In the case of the first 2 examples a new stimulus has come to mean “food is available!” while in the third a new stimulus means “danger is near!”

How strong is classical conditioning?

Being able to make these kind of associations is a critical survival skill for any organism – even humans. We aren’t born knowing what the sound of an approaching car is and what it means if the car hits us. But anyone who has suddenly heard a car while crossing a street makes an association and has a reflex — Evade danger!

So it makes sense that these associations have a couple of important properties:

  • They generalize very quickly. Learning that a dog approaching on leash is dangerous after one event will very often become associated with all dogs approaching on leash from that event on.
  • They are very durable. Classical associations don’t tend to go away on their own, even if the associated stimulus is not encountered for a very long time.
  • They tend to override other types of learning. Attempting to punish way a conditioned response or reinforce an alternative rarely works, unless they are combined with counter-conditioning and desensitization (CC&DS). (And punishment is never a good idea.)

How are these associations made?

The obvious way that these associations are made is through experience. If a dog is attacked by another dog she may develop a negative associations with all dogs, dog while on leash, dogs that resemble the attacker, or some combination of factors.

Similarly a pleasant experience, such as a specific person and good treats or a fun activity can create a positive association.

You have probably heard about the importance of early socialization for puppies. Effective early socialization helps puppies deal with new and unexpected things, while an under-socialized dog will often respond to anything new with fear and create yet another negative association.

How are these associations changed?

As I explained above, classical associations are strong. Stronger than the reinforcers and punishers that tend to increase or decrease the frequency of behaviors.

Associations are not eliminated. They are changed via counter-conditioning and desensitization (CC&DS). I’ll explain that in my next post.

Does your dog have any interesting associations? What makes her run to the kitchen? What makes her run to the door? Is there something she is particularly afraid of? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: vintage19_something

Counter-conditioning and Desensitization for Dogs (Part 1) is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Jersey City New Jersey


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I think I need to break up with Disneyland and its 999 Happy Haunts

I spend a lot of time thinking about customer service, and how we as veterinarians are sometimes so focused on being amazing clinicians we neglect to remember the fact that we are in a customer service industry. You can be the most astute diagnostician in the universe, but if your front desk staff or technician (or you!) is  rude, ambivalent or just generally unpleasant, it ruins the whole client experience. It doesn’t take much to be minimally pleasant, but I’m amazed how uncommon that has become.

I’ve always held Disneyland to be the ultimate in the customer service experience. I remember going as a kid and being followed around the park by chipper young men in starched white uniforms, cheerily scooping up the popcorn we were dripping behind us. “Have a magical day!” they’d wink, and we did. The haunted mansion staff got really into being creepy. My friend, who worked there in high school and college, was taken to task for wearing non regulation pink lipstick. The Disneyland Experience was no joke. Yes, we knew it was fake and those cheery people went home and were crabby humans just like everyone else, but we all appreciated the artifice of good cheer.

I know things have changed a bit. Disney has gotten a little more corporate, the college aged employees too stuck in hipster mode to bring themselves to actually act like they’re happy, but I had no idea how bad it had gotten until this past week.

My aunt and uncle were visiting from Massachusetts, and my aunt decided she would like to enjoy Disneyland with my kids- who were on Spring Break. My aunt has MS and uses a wheelchair, which as she reminded me allows you some measure of benefit in the form of getting to enter the rides through the exits, thus a shorter line. The kids were happy to hear this.

Now I know Disneyland and I have had our moments in the past- the Splash Mountain debacle, for one, and a heartbreaking encounter with an accordion playing D-list celebrity I used to be a fan of, but still, I figured how could they screw this one up? All you have to do is make some reasonable accommodation for a disabled guest, blah blah Magic of Disney etc, right?

Yeah. It seems somewhere along the way they have forgotten some of Business Tactics 101, applicable to any place hoping to retain customers, be it your friendly local DVM or a once well regarded amusement park.

1. Staff appropriately.

Part of the problem was that we went during spring break, and I know this. That being said, I had to push my aunt hither and fro round each and every ride looking for some guidance as to where one might enter as it seemed like no one was actually working the line. We wandered through Indiana Jones’ exit line for 5 minutes before finding a line of wheelchairs 30 deep marinating in the shadows, staffed by an ambivalent kid in khakis who was not, I suspect, as into archaeology as he should be pretending to be.

2. Anticipate problems.

See someone trying to get through your front door with a huge crate as big as they are? You open the door for them. Same goes for someone trying to back a wheelchair onto a train platform before the door slams shut on someone’s neuropathic feet. Theoretically. It’s the little things, right?

3. Keep track of your clients.

I  heard horror stories of a physician going home for the day, leaving an increasingly agitated client in an exam room who never got past the nurse. I think it’s reasonable for the person in charge of traffic flow to be keeping an eye on things to make sure no one gets left behind.

Which brings me to my most egregious Disney misadventure to date.

“Actually, we have 999 happy haunts residing here but, there’s always room for 1000. Any volunteers, hmmm?”

Anyone who has been on the haunted mansion is familiar with the ride itself: you step onto a moving conveyor belt and run into a little whirl-a-gig buggy thing, ride around for a while getting spooked, and then extricate yourself from said buggy back onto a moving platform. All fine and dandy for those without mobility issues, but it gets dicier when you’re moving slowly.

Doom buggy, as apropos a title as any.

I entered the ride first, with my kids. My mother and aunt got on the buggy behind us, after asking the person running the line to slow it down so she could get on. This is SOP in these cases.

On the other end, I got off with the kids and they started up the one way escalator off the ride. I heard my mother behind me, saying, “Stop! STOP!” in louder and louder degrees of panic. Apparently, in a cost cutting measure they got rid of whoever normally stands at the far end to make sure people get off ok, and there was just one girl at the near end of the ride who couldn’t hear my mother yelling as there was a horde of 30 people pushing off past her. None of whom, by the way, seemed alarmed by my mother’s distress.

My children, sensing a disturbance and me pausing at the bottom of the escalator, were valiantly attempting to rush back down to me, only to be pushed up by people telling them not to goof off. I turned and saw only the sad sight of my aunt’s hand hanging out the side, waving sadly to us as she disappeared into a dark tunnel to join the 999 Happy Haunts in parts heretofore unseen.

I went up the escalator after my kids. A few minutes later, my mother appeared, sans aunt.

“Where is she?” I asked.

“They don’t know,” my mother responded, which seemed like a bizarre thing for them to have told her. I mean, she’s on a fixed belt and can’t walk, so one might think she would be easy to find. “They said she’ll probably pop up at the entrance.”

Probably. Else they found their thousandth happy haunt.

I went to the entrance, which is an entirely different area, to see if she might arrive there. No one knew where she was there either. My mother, having exited the turnstyle, couldn’t go back down to the exit to wait for her there. Eventually my aunt texted me: “Going through again.”

She did indeed make it back to the entrance, shocking the hell out of the people about to get in the cart with her. The person there stopped the ride and asked her off, but seeing as though her family and her wheelchair were now at the exit, she demurred. Eventually, she arrived back at the egress and had to pick her way, slowly and gingerly, up to the exit turnstyle where my son was frantically holding on to her chair. I had to explain to my kids why I was laughing so hard while we rolled right on out the park and back to our car, pooped.

“Because your auntie is a cool lady,” I said, marvelling. And she is.

On the bus ride back to the parking lot- which was incidentally the best ride of the day- we were helped by an old-timer named Clarence. “You don’t say,” he said, when we told him of our misadventures. “I’ve never heard that one before. Losing a lady on a ride.” He could barely kneel himself, but he helped me maneuver her chair down the bus ramp.

It’s the little things that stick with us in customer service. But all’s well that ends well; at least we got her back. :)

 

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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What’s New at the National Zoo this Spring

Some cool pet healthy teeth images:

What’s New at the National Zoo this Spring
pet healthy teeth

Image by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Photo Credit: Jim Jenkins, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

In this photo: kiwi chick

Visitors strolling through the Smithsonian’s National Zoo one of these beautiful spring days will see a variety of baby animals, some new faces and enjoy an entirely new food experience. Below are just a few of the new critters and experiences visitors can expect. More than 30 animal demonstrations take place every day in which visitors can encounter fascinating creatures and chat with keepers about the Zoo’s conservation efforts. To view the demonstration schedule, visit nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/DailyPrograms/.

1.Baby Bird Bonanza Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s most endangered birds and their chicks up-close at the Bird House. A baby boom officially began March 7 when a brown kiwi hatched from his shell. The Zoo’s flock soon expanded to include a wattled crane, two Guam rails, three rheas and two sunbittern chicks. They’re growing fast, so bird watchers should plan to visit the Bird House in the next few weeks. Soon, the wattled crane chick will be six feet tall!

2.See Some Impressive Tortoises For the first time in its history, the Reptile Discovery Center will exhibit impressed tortoises. Not much is known about these reptiles, so Zoo biologists will study their growth and behavior. The two sub-adult males sport golden brown and black patterned shells, but this beauty has also made them vulnerable to extinction. Along with habitat loss, the pet trade contributes to the population decline of impressed tortoises in their native Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

3.Zoo-perior Food An entirely new dining experience awaits visitors at the National Zoo thanks to its new food partner, Sodexo. Cafés and concession stands will serve a wide variety of authentic ethnic cuisines, as well as healthier versions of traditional favorites. What’s more, ingredients are local, seasonal and sustainable. The menus for six food service stations are available on the Zoo’s website.

4.New Neighbors at the Cheetah Conservation Station Two young scimitar-horned oryx named Sweeney and Omar are the newest residents at the Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. These large desert antelope sport horns that are several feet long and resemble a long, curved scimitar—a type of Arabian sword. The half-brothers were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., last year. Native to northern Africa, scimitar-horned Oryx are considered extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

5.The Inside Story For an in-depth perspective on why animals behave the way they do, stop by the Small Mammal House this May and check out its new exhibit: “The Inside Story.” Learn how anteaters eat without any teeth, how a Prevost squirrel nimbly jumps from branch to branch, and more. Artifacts and x-rays of animals’ skulls, muscles, and tails will show visitors how adaptations help animals survive in a changing world.

Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the National Zoo. Parking lots fill up by mid-morning and then free up early afternoon during spring and summer. Last admittance to the Zoo is 7 p.m. To reserve a parking space 48 hours in advance, call Friends of the National Zoo Guest Services at 202-633-4486 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking reservation fees of for FONZ members and for nonmembers apply.

# # #

What’s New at the National Zoo this Spring
pet healthy teeth

Image by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Photo Credit: Jim Jenkins, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

In this photo: Sunbittern chick

Visitors strolling through the Smithsonian’s National Zoo one of these beautiful spring days will see a variety of baby animals, some new faces and enjoy an entirely new food experience. Below are just a few of the new critters and experiences visitors can expect. More than 30 animal demonstrations take place every day in which visitors can encounter fascinating creatures and chat with keepers about the Zoo’s conservation efforts. To view the demonstration schedule, visit nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/DailyPrograms/.

1.Baby Bird Bonanza Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s most endangered birds and their chicks up-close at the Bird House. A baby boom officially began March 7 when a brown kiwi hatched from his shell. The Zoo’s flock soon expanded to include a wattled crane, two Guam rails, three rheas and two sunbittern chicks. They’re growing fast, so bird watchers should plan to visit the Bird House in the next few weeks. Soon, the wattled crane chick will be six feet tall!

2.See Some Impressive Tortoises For the first time in its history, the Reptile Discovery Center will exhibit impressed tortoises. Not much is known about these reptiles, so Zoo biologists will study their growth and behavior. The two sub-adult males sport golden brown and black patterned shells, but this beauty has also made them vulnerable to extinction. Along with habitat loss, the pet trade contributes to the population decline of impressed tortoises in their native Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

3.Zoo-perior Food An entirely new dining experience awaits visitors at the National Zoo thanks to its new food partner, Sodexo. Cafés and concession stands will serve a wide variety of authentic ethnic cuisines, as well as healthier versions of traditional favorites. What’s more, ingredients are local, seasonal and sustainable. The menus for six food service stations are available on the Zoo’s website.

4.New Neighbors at the Cheetah Conservation Station Two young scimitar-horned oryx named Sweeney and Omar are the newest residents at the Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. These large desert antelope sport horns that are several feet long and resemble a long, curved scimitar—a type of Arabian sword. The half-brothers were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., last year. Native to northern Africa, scimitar-horned Oryx are considered extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

5.The Inside Story For an in-depth perspective on why animals behave the way they do, stop by the Small Mammal House this May and check out its new exhibit: “The Inside Story.” Learn how anteaters eat without any teeth, how a Prevost squirrel nimbly jumps from branch to branch, and more. Artifacts and x-rays of animals’ skulls, muscles, and tails will show visitors how adaptations help animals survive in a changing world.

Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the National Zoo. Parking lots fill up by mid-morning and then free up early afternoon during spring and summer. Last admittance to the Zoo is 7 p.m. To reserve a parking space 48 hours in advance, call Friends of the National Zoo Guest Services at 202-633-4486 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking reservation fees of for FONZ members and for nonmembers apply.

# # #

What’s New at the National Zoo this Spring
pet healthy teeth

Image by Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Photo Credit: Mark Anderson, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

In this photo: Sunbittern chick

Visitors strolling through the Smithsonian’s National Zoo one of these beautiful spring days will see a variety of baby animals, some new faces and enjoy an entirely new food experience. Below are just a few of the new critters and experiences visitors can expect. More than 30 animal demonstrations take place every day in which visitors can encounter fascinating creatures and chat with keepers about the Zoo’s conservation efforts. To view the demonstration schedule, visit nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/DailyPrograms/.

1.Baby Bird Bonanza Catch a glimpse of some of the world’s most endangered birds and their chicks up-close at the Bird House. A baby boom officially began March 7 when a brown kiwi hatched from his shell. The Zoo’s flock soon expanded to include a wattled crane, two Guam rails, three rheas and two sunbittern chicks. They’re growing fast, so bird watchers should plan to visit the Bird House in the next few weeks. Soon, the wattled crane chick will be six feet tall!

2.See Some Impressive Tortoises For the first time in its history, the Reptile Discovery Center will exhibit impressed tortoises. Not much is known about these reptiles, so Zoo biologists will study their growth and behavior. The two sub-adult males sport golden brown and black patterned shells, but this beauty has also made them vulnerable to extinction. Along with habitat loss, the pet trade contributes to the population decline of impressed tortoises in their native Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

3.Zoo-perior Food An entirely new dining experience awaits visitors at the National Zoo thanks to its new food partner, Sodexo. Cafés and concession stands will serve a wide variety of authentic ethnic cuisines, as well as healthier versions of traditional favorites. What’s more, ingredients are local, seasonal and sustainable. The menus for six food service stations are available on the Zoo’s website.

4.New Neighbors at the Cheetah Conservation Station Two young scimitar-horned oryx named Sweeney and Omar are the newest residents at the Zoo’s African savanna exhibit. These large desert antelope sport horns that are several feet long and resemble a long, curved scimitar—a type of Arabian sword. The half-brothers were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., last year. Native to northern Africa, scimitar-horned Oryx are considered extinct in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

5.The Inside Story For an in-depth perspective on why animals behave the way they do, stop by the Small Mammal House this May and check out its new exhibit: “The Inside Story.” Learn how anteaters eat without any teeth, how a Prevost squirrel nimbly jumps from branch to branch, and more. Artifacts and x-rays of animals’ skulls, muscles, and tails will show visitors how adaptations help animals survive in a changing world.

Visitors are encouraged to take public transportation to the National Zoo. Parking lots fill up by mid-morning and then free up early afternoon during spring and summer. Last admittance to the Zoo is 7 p.m. To reserve a parking space 48 hours in advance, call Friends of the National Zoo Guest Services at 202-633-4486 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking reservation fees of for FONZ members and for nonmembers apply.

# # #

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Colorado, Summit County, Border Collie dog – US06 BJA0071 – Jaynes Gallery – 6 Inch Tile Napkin Holder

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Dog Training Blog | Tips and Dog Training Resources

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TRACIE HOTCHNER: YOUNG FEMALE LABS ARE DYING FROM LIVER DISEASE

rpln_logo300wThis week I learned something really worrisome that I had never heard about before: young female Labrador Retrievers are dying all over the country from liver disease that shows no symptoms at all! These seemingly healthy young pooches are succumbing to fatal liver failure that their owners and veterinarians did not realize was going on when they saw elevated liver enzymes in routine blood work. The saddest part is that if people understood the warning signs of liver disease, they could step in early and manage the problem, helping their dog to live a good healthy life.

The issue of elevated liver enzymes is one topic we discussed this week on THE EXPERT VET – my Internet radio show at www.RadioPetLady.com – that is co-hosted by Halo’s own Dr. Donna Spector. Dr. Donna is “the expert vet,” as she is a board certified veterinary internist, specializing in diagnosing medical problems that other veterinarians may not be aware exist. Certainly the owners of Labrador Retrievers, Westies, Dalmations, Dobermanns and Cocker Spaniels – to name a few – have not been alerted that their breeds have a genetic predisposition to irreversible progressive liver disease.

Once Dr. Donna sees these dogs between the ages of 6 and 10 years old – and they are in liver failure, there is nothing that can be done medically and their lives will end tragically early. However, Dr. Donna has found that if she goes back in their history, these dogs often had elevated liver enzymes when they had blood tests earlier in their lives when something could have been done.

The problem is that these liver enzymes are only mildly elevated – and the dogs seem perfectly healthy – and so this early warning sign is often ignored. The veterinarian usually advises that “we’ll just keep an eye on this,” when something should be done immediately. Unfortunately, Dr. Donna has seen many cases where “an eye was kept” on a dog’s blood tests year after year, and the enzymes remained only mildly elevated so nothing is done about it while the liver was being irreversibly damaged. Then one fine day the dog is in full liver failure and it is a tragedy for the dog and for her whole human family, too.

So please note: if you have one of these breeds in your family, you need to keep a vigilant watch on your dog’s liver enzymes. Ask for periodic blood tests from an early age. Each time, ask your vet for a copy of those lab results. As Dr. Donna says, we dog owners have to take a more proactive approach and follow up relentlessly on this topic – especially the millions of owners of the most popular breed in the country, the Lab.

You need to keep an eye on the situation and the minute you see an even a mildly elevated liver enzyme level you will know this is an early sign – the warning flag – of hepatitis or cirrhosis. If your own vet is not aware of how to manage this, then you need to immediately reach out to an internist like Dr. Donna, who does consultations with owners and their vets to help the dogs live a long, healthy life. You can listen to the podcast of this week’s show (and any previous ones) at RadioPetLady.com.

Halo

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Just Released Quarterly Business Plan from Valley Auto Loans Stresses on Creating a Zero Rejection Platform for Bad Credit Auto Loans.


Greenville, SC (PRWEB) April 06, 2013

Bad credit auto loans specialist Valley Auto Loans have just come up with the company’s detailed business plan for the current quarter. This plan has recommended implementation of stringent measures to achieve 100% car loan approval percentage for the company’s credit challenged applicants. Since many years, Valley Auto Loans have done well to offer innovative auto lending service to customers with bad credit.

To get the best car loans service in the country with bad credit, please apply online at https://valleyautoloan.com/apply-now2/.

Valley Auto Loans have recently introduced an excellent car credit policy that is build around the idea of providing easy approval too 100% of their applicants. Three months down the line, they have already come extremely close to achieving this praiseworthy milestone. Interestingly, no other lending company in America is even close to Valley Auto Loans, as far as serving bad credit applicants is concerned.

Discussing the gist of the company’s business plan for the quarter, a senior official from Valley Auto Loans said, “In the next 3 months, we are planning to launch a dedicated department for our bad credit car loan applicants. Our nationwide lending network will also be expanded by including new partners.”

About Valley Auto Loans: Valley Auto Loans is one of the most renowned providers of national and local auto loans. The company understands that it can be embarrassing and frustrating to not be able to qualify for a car loan or student auto loan. Valley Auto Loans connects consumers with the best auto lenders and helps them get approved for an auto loan quickly.







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The Dog of the Highlands: West Highland White Terrier

At around 1700s, the Isle of Skye and other highlands in Scotland were already producing lots of small terriers. Scottish breeds were separated into two: the Skye terriers and the Dandie Dinmont terriers.

The Dandie Dinmonts were categorized as a separate breed. The Skyes included the Scotties, the Cairns and the West highland white terriers or the Westies.

It was also noted that these terriers were the hybrids among the crossed Cairns, Scottish, and Dandies terriers. One could assume that the hybrid would really be loyal and its hunting instincts could not be belittled. In fact, many royalties in Scotland owned terriers that were very similar to the Westies of today.

Another remarkable story is about a Westie that stopped a mother from constantly yelling at her daughter. Every time the mother would yell at her teenage daughter, the Westie would attack the mother. The aggression of the dog got worse over the years that resulted in the mother’s complete inability to scold her teenager.

It turned out that the girl was actually rewarding the dog for his protection by calming and soothing him down after every “threat” from her mother. Many would perceive that the daughter was able to help her mother to change her ways when in fact she was helping herself by rewarding the dog for its behavior.

The following are some of the basic facts breeders would really love to know about Westies:

Category: Terrier
Living Environment: indoors (highly recommended); outdoors (fenced yard)

Coat: about two-inch coarse and wiry outer coat and soft, dense, and furry undercoat
Color: white

Height: between 10 and 12 inches

Weight: between 13 and 22 pounds

Temperament:

Naturally,

•    they like to bark and dig
•    they are not as willful like most terriers
•    they love companionship

When properly trained

•    they can become fairly friendly towards strangers
•    they develop close affinity with behaved children
•    they love to chase cats but they do not hurt them
•    they can become a very good watch dog
•    they can become very lively

Breeders should note of the following health issues:

•         Chronic skin problems
•       Perthe’s disease (hip problems)
•       Jawbone calcification
•       Cranio mandibular osteopathy (lion jaw)
•       Patella luxation, a disorder in the kneecap
•       Liver ailments
•       Deafness
•       Congenital heart disease

Care and Exercise:

•    Their coat should be brushed regularly using a brush with stiff bristles.
•    They should bathe only when necessary.
•    Their whole coat should be stripped at least twice a year and trimmed every four months.
•    The fur on the eyes and ears should be trimmed using blunt-nose mirrors.
•    They will surely be more agile and healthy after regular sessions of play and/or walk.

Origin/History:

As noted, they share the same lineage with Cairns and Scotties (from Skye terriers), and even with the Dandies. This trio was developed in the Isle of Skye, which was one of the highlands in Scotland. It was noted that white whelps were chosen from the wiry-coated Cairns, Scotties, and Dandies to produce the variety that were known as Poltalloch terriers.

Following are some items in the history that show the Westies’ reputation of being owners’ favorite companion dogs.

Records in the history mentioned that around 1620, King James 1 of England requested some small white dogs from Argyleshire in Scotland. Colonel Malcolm, who was considered as the originator of Poltalloch terriers, that are very similar to the Westies of today, accidentally shot his terrier (a dark one). From then on he vowed to have only white terriers.

In the 19th century, terriers that were very similar to the Westies were known as Roseneath terriers in honor of Duke of Argyll’s interest and patronage of this breed. Roseneath was the name of his estate at Dumbartonshire. 

In the first-ever dog show that were organized in the late 1800s, the Westies were called as White Scottish terriers. In 1904, they were classified under the name West Highland White terriers.

During the mid-1900s, breeders of the Cairns in Argyll, Scotland selected white puppies from the stock and interbreed some to obtain white Cairns. However, in 1917, the American Kennel Club ruled that Cairns could be listed if they have the Westies’ lineage.
  
We can say the history repeats itself for this delightful terrier is now mostly a favorite companion dog of many households.


Welcome to The Top Dog Blog!

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Welcome Home to Your New Pet. Now What?

According to recent statistics, more and more Americans are adopting not only their first companion animal, but their second and even third. The pervasiveness of multiple pet households indicates just how important pets have become in our lives, and that we want our existing pets to have companions of their own.

Having multiple pets increases everything: the joy, the cost, the hair, and the cuddles. As a veterinarian, I am often asked for advice on how best to integrate a new pet into a home that already has resident animals. In this post, I’ll be focusing on dog-only and cat-only households.

In a Dog-Meet-Dog World
When seeking to add an additional dog to your family, be sure to choose a breed, gender and personality that compliment your current canine. For example, it’s unwise to match a tea cup poodle puppy with a large or giant breed dog, especially an active one. Even if no harm is intended, the puppy could easily be injured. Similarly, be conscientious if you already have an older dog with arthritis, as a puppy could prove overwhelming. In general, opposite genders get along better, as do spayed and neutered pets (procedures I heartily endorse). In general, we would recommend the adoption of a dog younger than the resident dog; if the ages are reversed, tension could result, leading to recurring fights over who claims dominance. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, personality is an important factor. You know your resident dog’s disposition and it’s essential to take that into consideration when bringing a new dog into your home.

It’s always a good idea to have your existing dog as well-trained as possible prior to bringing a new dog into your home. Trust me, it will make your life easier and may even help facilitate the training of your new dog. As pack animals, dogs instinctively pick up the habits of their pack members. If you have a well-trained resident dog, then he or she can show the newcomer ‘how things are done’.

Even if your dogs seem to hit it off great from the get-go, don’t leave them unsupervised until you are certain that they have fully accepted each other. To that end, some experts advise that the dogs have time away from each other, as well as time off from you, too. This will help foster their bonds to you while also teaching them that it’s okay to be alone.

Feeding time can be a challenge with more than one dog. If the dogs compete for food, it may result in snarly spats and possibly overeating (at least, for one of the dogs). In addition, the dogs may develop the habit of ‘bolting their food’, or eating too quickly while not chewing their food sufficiently. Bolting may lead to serious problems like chunks becoming lodged in the throat, or cause GI distress like vomiting or diarrhea. The simplest way to avoid these problems is by feeding the dogs separately. If you have dog crates, consider feeding them while they’re safely ensconced inside their individual crates. Short of that, consider feeding in separate rooms, but be sure to close the doors! Whatever method you choose, make sure the feeding areas are places where your dogs will feel safe and will be able to eat undisturbed. Remember to remove the bowls after your dogs are finished eating.

Lastly, make sure that you purchase separate bedding, bowls and toys for your new dog. Some experts believe that it’s vital that each dog has his or her own property, as this will help your resident dog feel less threatened by the newcomer.

Cat Plus Kitty Doesn’t Have to Mean Catty
Just like with dogs, be thoughtful of your resident cats when bringing a new cat into your home. If your existing cat is quiet or reserved, then a mature companion can be good choice; if you have an active cat, consider getting a cat with an energetic disposition. If you choose to introduce an adult cat, try to find one who has lived in a feline community before. The best combinations are based on personality, so choose a cat with a temperament that compliments your resident cat. Adding together two unneutered male cats can be recipe for conflict. Please make certain that your newcomer has had a thorough veterinary exam and tests negative for intestinal parasites, feline leukemia and AIDS, as the latter two are highly infectious diseases.

The best way to introduce a new cat is gradually. A new feline in the home will likely lead to some measure of stress for your resident cat, especially if your cat has no prior experience living with other pets. Keep the new cat in an area separate from your resident cat, such as a bedroom or bathroom with a shut door, and introduce them in stages, using progressively increasing increments of exposure time. Never leave them unattended until both the cats appear to fully accept one another. Be forewarned, sometimes this process can take between a week and a month, depending on the temperament of both cats. Cats, by nature, don’t like change. Chances are, your resident cat may hide, ignore or hiss at the newcomer for a few days, so give your kitty some time to adapt. In the majority of cases, the household will resume normalcy over time.

In the meantime, there are things you can do to ease the transition. Give the new cat its own bedding, litterbox, food dishes and toys in an area separate from the resident cat’s belongings. Make sure both cats have separate areas where they can retreat to if threatened. Add additional cat trees and scratching posts around the house for environmental enrichment. You might also consider purchasing plug-in Feliway dispensers, which can reduce stress during the introductory period.

With a little bit of forethought and patience, you too will be able to welcome your home (and your heart) to a new companion animal and incorporate them safely into your existing family.

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DoggyInWonderland.com Announces Addition of All Natural Dog Treats


Houston, TX (PRWEB) March 31, 2013

Keeping pets healthy and happy is the goal of most pet owners today. One way to ensure their health is by feeding them all natural pet foods and treats. Doggy In Wonderland has offered all natural dog food and all natural dog treats since they opened for business.

They are now announcing that they have recently added three new all natural dog treats to their selections. They also increased their all natural dog food selections and added to their all natural cat food product line. Among these additions are Good Dog All Natural Dog Treats which are crunchy chicken treats that come in beautiful packaging. Their next addition is Zuke’s Z-Bones which are all natural grain free edible dental chews for dogs. These Z-Bones assist in keeping dogs’ teeth and gums clean and their breath fresher. Other new items for Doggy In Wonderland include Bully Sticks that are odor free and Made in the USA. These bully sticks are 100% natural and rawhide free.

“We are very excited about these new all natural dog treats because we know how important the health of pets is to our customers because it is very important to us as well. All of these treats provide healthier ways to feed and reward our dogs. Our dogs love all of them,” one managing partner expressed.

The company is currently holding a contest for a $ 100.00 gift certificate. Anyone who joins their newsletter before April 30, will be entered for a chance to win. The winner will be announced on April 30, 2013.

About DoggyInWonderland.com: DoggyinWonderland.com is a leading online pet boutique offering a wide array of pet accessories and other products for dogs and cats. This includes a full line-up of chic dog products such as stylish dog clothing, collars and leashes, pet furniture and dog beds, eco-friendly pet gear, healthy dog treats, dog toys, pet carriers, and a growing collection of cat products as well. Their goal is not only happy and healthy pets, but also 100% customer satisfaction. Call 866.280.1818 for more information, and see the full product range at DoggyinWonderland.com.







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Bless you, Bad Rap!! I wish there were more resour…

Bless you, Bad Rap!! I wish there were more resources like you out there to help people be responsible with their pets.
BAD RAP Blog

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