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MIND YOUR CANINE MANNERS

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on May 11, 2015 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The lure of the dog park is inescapable. That wide expanse of grass. Trees, shrubs and rocks dotted about. Perhaps a metal fence for added protection.

As inviting as the scene may be, it’s essential that both you and your dog pass the test in proper dog park etiquette before you even enter the grounds.

There may be no signs posted stating “BAD MANNERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED,” but every well-informed dog owner knows what they are.

For those first time owners who have absolutely no clue, the following is a list of the most essential DO’s and DON’T’s of playing safely at the dog park.

DO keep your dog under control at all times and DO make certain that he always comes when called. Pity those poor owners standing helpless and hoarse, leashes dangling, treat bags drooping, while their own dogs dance off disobediently into the distance.

DO make certain that your dog has been properly socialized beforehand. What’s worse than watching an aggressive dog going after a timid dog, resulting in punishment for one and pet therapy for the other?

DO ensure that your dog is up to date on all of his vaccinations, is heartworm negative and parasite protected. Think about all of those tiny, unseen menaces like fleas and ticks lurking about in the grass.

DON’T bring an intact male or female dog to the park. Picture the pandemonium that would ensue. Not to mention the potential for a passel of unplanned pups.

DO monitor the behavior of the other dogs in the park and be alert to possible signs of trouble. Step into referee mode and start dropping penalty flags on the field if loose packs are forming, playing is getting too rough or bullying has begun.

DO be prepared to leave the park if it means avoiding a potentially unpleasant or dangerous situation. Whether it’s your dog’s fault or someone else’s dog, finger pointing is preferable to finger biting. But both should be studiously avoided.

DO be considerate of the other dogs and their – hopefully -- considerate owners. Stoop and scoop up carefully after YOUR dog. If you don’t appreciate your dog’s nose sniffing at, or your feet slipping on, another dog’s droppings, you’re certainly not alone.

Forewarned, as they say, is forearmed.

Now, go play!


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

THE DOWNSIDE OF DOUBLE MERLES

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on April 13, 2015 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sadly, in the world of dog breeding, some dogs are bred simply because they are thought to be beautiful -- by breeders and buyers alike. So it is with the double merle.

 

Merle refers to a color pattern, not a color in and of itself. Merle dogs come in many colors, the most common of which is blue merle, found most often in Australian Shepherds. Blue merles are, in fact, black dogs with the black broken up into irregular patches by lighter shades of gray. In some “circles”, the lighter, the better; the whiter, the prettier. This has led to the irresponsible breeding of male and female merles in the hope of producing as many light merles as possible. The unintentional result: the double merle.

 

Whether they are called double merles, lethal whites or homozygous merles, these dogs are born carrying the MM gene, leaving them unable to produce pigment. Some of the most popular breeds affected by this so-called MM genotype include Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Catahoula Leopard Dogs, Collies (Rough and Smooth), Dachshunds (known as dapples), Great Danes, Old English Sheepdogs and Shetland Sheepdogs.

 

The unethical practice of breeding double merles is generally condemned worldwide, not only because so many are considered defective and put down at birth by their breeders, but because of the health problems that plague them, namely, partial or complete deafness and blindness.

 

Numerous myths have arisen concerning double merles. If deaf, blind or both, they are reputed to be aggressive, unpredictable, untrainable, prone to other health issues, even a shorter life span. According to studies, however, none of this is true. Double merles, despite their deficiencies, are generally quite healthy dogs capable of living long, otherwise normal lives. And they are no more aggressive, unpredictable or untrainable than hearing and sighted dogs.

 

To dispel another myth, there are homes more than eager to adopt, train and love such special needs dogs. Experts stress the importance of not viewing them as “handicapped.” While they do have certain limitations, they themselves are not aware of this, and can be as active and affectionate, playful and pleasurable as any other dogs.

 

Families adopting double merles first receive their own training, and what they learn is promptly passed on to their dogs. Deaf or hard-of-hearing dogs are trained through the use of sign language or hand signals. Lights and vibrations can also be used. Deaf/blind double merles are trained by touch signals and scent cues placed throughout the home. Blind double merles are trained through the use of both sound and scent cues. All sharp edges at eye level are either bubble-wrapped or cushioned by towels for added protection. All stairways are baby-gated, and either a textured mat or a scent placed before each one to alert the dog to the gates’ proximity.

 

And, so contrary to popular misconception, double merles can and DO lead happy, balanced and productive lives. In fact, to the delight of their proud and loving owners, double merles excel in many areas and numerous arenas. They often compete at the highest levels in agility, win ribbons at kennel club showings, participate in K9 nosework, and become therapy dogs – to name but a few.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

THE DANGERS OF DOG BREED LABELING

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on April 8, 2015 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

For generations, the pit bull’s affectionate nickname was the "nanny dog." Today, the pit bull is the dog most likely to be shot by the police. For generations, families wanting a loving, dependable and protective babysitter for their children chose a pit bull. Today, the pit bull is considered by many to be the most dangerous and ferocious of dogs. For generations, the pit bull was known for its gentleness, loyalty and reliability. Today, the pit bull is the prime target of so-called Breed Specific Legislation.

 

What has changed yesterday’s beloved family pet into today’s object of hatred and fear? Perception.

 

While “pit-bull type” dogs are the ones most commonly labeled “dangerous,” many other breeds have been labeled dangerous as well, including the Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, Boxer, Cane Corso, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard and Siberian Husky.

 

Why then, is the pit bull being so strategically targeted? Is it because their ancestral roots lay in fighting, when breeding for aggression was considered essential? Is it because some of today’s unscrupulous breeders have selectively perpetuated these aggressive traits for their own nefarious purposes? Is it because they have become the stereotypical “poster pets” for fighting dogs, mistreated dogs, abandoned dogs? Is it because too many mixed-breed dogs look like, and are, all too often, mistaken for actual pit bulls?

 

Sadly, choose any or all of the above, and you would be right.

 

What about the responsible breeders who breed pit bulls with good temperaments? What about the mixed-breed dog with that “certain look" which has absolutely no bearing on its real personality? Once again: perception. The foundation of which is built on half-truths, anecdotal accounts, word-of-mouth and hastily, if faultily, drawn conclusions.

 

Perhaps the most telling of all is the assumption that “pit bull type” dogs are, in fact, actual pit bulls. Studies have shown that people who report either witnessing a dog attack or having been attacked themselves could NOT positively identify the dog as an actual pit bull. The truth is that any breed or mixed breed of dog can be aggressive. Labeling a breed as dangerous can be just as dangerous as the label itself. All too often, it gives people a false sense of security around other, supposedly, safe breeds. Everyone should, instead, be educated about responsible dog ownership and proper bite prevention measures.

 

In most shelters across North America, the majority of dogs are mixed breeds of unknown parentage. Nonetheless, it’s commonplace for the staff to GUESS at a dog’s breed based solely on appearance. Guessing at a breed is -- again -- as dangerous as labeling a breed dangerous. Why? Because of its serious implications. Because it impacts the welfare of hundreds of thousands of dogs in regards to the law, landlords, insurance companies, and service providers. It even affects the policies and adoption practices of humane societies and the animal shelters themselves.

 

Animal experts and behaviorists have cautioned for years that neither visual identification nor DNA test results can accurately predict a dog’s future behavior. For that, they conclude, “we must look at the individual dog.”

Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

CONSIDER THE PET SITTER

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on April 1, 2015 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

 Are you hesitant about planning a vacation because of your dog? Are you stopped by images of your cherished family companion in a boarding kennel run by well-meaning strangers? 

 

Consider another possibility: your dog, safe and snug at home, cared for by someone who’s qualified and experienced.

 

Consider a pet sitter.

 

Pet sitters are paid professionals who come to your home and spend quality time with your pet. The best ones are those who not only feed and play with them, but hold certificates in First Aid and CPR.

 

Consider the benefits.

 

Your dog remains at home, with the same diet and daily routine, and receives both attention and exercise while you’re away.

 

You can feel more secure knowing that, not only is your dog safe, but your home is too. Pet sitters can take in your newspapers and mail, water your plants and provide your place with that lived-in look.

 

To begin, ask your vet, trainer or groomer for recommendations. Ask your friends and neighbors for the names of their own pet sitters.

 

Interview each candidate over the phone, then in person, and ask the following questions: Can they provide written proof that they’re bonded and carry commercial liability insurance? What formal training have they received? Are contingency plans in place if an accident or emergency prevents them from fulfilling their duties? Will they provide extra services like grooming, dog walking or playtime with other dogs? If they provide live-in services, what are the specific times they agree to be with your dog? Will they give you a written contract listing their services and fees? Will they provide you with the phone numbers of clients who have agreed to be references?

 

If you’re satisfied with the person’s answers and if the references have checked out, it's imperative that your dog first meet and interact with prospective sitter. Monitor them closely. Does your dog seem comfortable with the person? Are they a good fit? Are there any issues that need addressing?

 

Once your decision has been made and you, yourself, are comfortable, you can begin to plan that long-delayed vacation: whether for a weekend, a week or longer. Then, before your date of departure: Walk the sitter through your home, pointing out all the essentials needed to make the agreed-upon routine run smoothly and well. Prepare a comprehensive list of emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your vet. Store all of your dog’s food and other supplies in one place, along with extras in case you're away longer than originally planned. Give a trustworthy neighbor copies of your keys and have that neighbor and the pet sitter exchange phone numbers. Show the pet sitter any important safety features, such as fuse boxes, circuit breakers and security systems.

 

With everything firmly in place, all you have to do now is leave. Secure in the knowledge that your precious dog is in good hands and is, after all, a mere phone call away.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

DOG BITING: FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on March 2, 2015 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Dogs may nip or bite for a variety of reasons. The following are the most common:

 

DOMINANCE AGGRESSION

When these dogs bite, their likeliest targets are the ones nearest to them: members of their own human families. The expression “Let sleeping dogs lie” is never more true than in the case of an owner stepping over a dog napping in an inconvenient place or brushing one off a chair, couch or bed. Push down too strongly on a dog’s rump to reinforce the “sit” command or attempt to stare down a dog who seems oddly unsettled, and a warning bark may all too quickly be followed by a bite.

 

FEAR AGGRESSION

This response is usually directed toward strangers. Much like people, dogs are, by nature, fearful of unfamiliar and potentially threatening situations. In old cartoons and movies, it was always the postman who was at the receiving end of a bite. But, in reality, it can be anyone. Anyone the dog doesn’t know, anyone innocently “invading” a dog’s space, or anyone who seems particularly menacing. If a series of cautionary barks doesn’t fend off this perceived danger, a lunge and a bite may result.

 

REDIRECTED AGGRESSION

Well-intentioned, but ill-advised attempts to break up a dogfight often cause the referee in question to be bitten. When two angry dogs are squaring off against each other, baiting, barking and air snapping, and a hand reaches in to seize a collar or a coat, either dog may suddenly whip round and lash out with his mouth at the “intruder.”

 

PAIN-INDUCED AGGRESSION

Even the sweetest and gentlest dog can -- if the pain is severe enough -- bite the hand that’s trying to help. Whether a novice owner, an experienced trainer, or a seasoned vet. Every dog has his own particular threshold and tolerance for pain. Cross it with a normally soothing touch or a tender pat of reassurance, and that nursing hand will need a doctor.

 

PERSISTENT HARASSMENT

This category is reserved for people who either don’t respect a dog’s boundaries or don’t understand that every dog has his limits. Thoughtless behaviors, inconsiderate overtures, constant pestering, poking or prodding – and the perpetrator will be punished with a bite.

 

PROTECTION OF “PROPERTY”

Dogs chosen by families either for personal protection or for the protection of their property may find themSELVES the unwitting target of their dogs’ over-zealous guarding. Trained to defend everything of value – from the family house and car to the family itself – from outside threats, some dogs will even “protect” one family member from another by biting the one they considers a threat.

 

Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are at greatest risk for dog bites. To minimize these risks, they should be taught to:

Report a strange dog wandering through their yard or neighborhood to an adult.

Never approach a strange dog.

Never approach an eating or sleeping dog, or a mother caring for her pups.

Never look directly into a dog's eyes.

Stand as still as a statue if approached by a strange dog.

Never scream at or run from a strange dog.

Roll into a ball and not move if knocked down by a strange dog.

Never play with a dog unless in the company of an adult.

 

To help reduce the incidences of dog biting:

All responsible dog owners must learn about and understand fully the complexities of canine behavior.

All responsible dog owners must obedience train and socialize their dogs – the sooner, the younger, the better.

All responsible dog owners must teach their children to respect ALL dogs, starting with the ones in their own homes.

 

It’s said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. In the case of dog biting, however, a little knowledge is less dangerous than no knowledge at all.

Article written by Nomi Berger

 

AN INFORMED DOG OWNER IS A DOGS BEST FRIEND

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on January 20, 2015 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)



Being an informed dog owner means being a dog’s best friend. Being uninformed can mean a life of misery, even death for MAN’S best friend.


For years, there has been an alarming number of abandoned, surrendered, and euthanized pets in this country. The reasons for this tragic phenomenon are many, and none of them are a mystery. But the greatest contributing factor is the failure of too many potential dog owners to educate themselves fully BEFORE they become pet parents.

 

The educated ones would know to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the breed they’re considering, including the breed’s physical description and personality; trainability and exercise requirements; health issues, and general care and grooming.

 

They would know there’s no such thing as TOO much information. The more informed they are, the more informed their decision will be.

 

They would know to choose a breed that fits in with their particular lifestyle, needs and expectations. Examples? No high-shedding dogs in a home of allergy sufferers. No hyperactive, high-energy dogs in a small apartment. No dogs that can’t get along with cats or other family pets. No dogs in need of constant companionship if no one is home during the day.

 

They would know that, whatever the breed, raising a dog from puppyhood is, like raising a child, a fulltime responsibility.

 

They would know that puppies must be housetrained promptly and socialized early in order for them to develop into well-behaved and friendly dogs with good bite inhibition.

 

They would know to always be consistent, that discipline does NOT mean punishment, and that love, in and of itself, does NOT conquer all.

 

They would also know that certified trainers and supervised puppy classes can be of crucial assistance to them in raising calm and balanced dogs if they can’t manage on their own.

 

The flipside of this are the UNinformed and the UNeducated. The ones who, ruled by their hearts and not their heads, choose poorly from the start. The ones who, sadly and all too frequently, raise dogs that are untrained, ill-mannered and often dangerous.

 

These are the dogs who, over time, will prove too much for their ill-equipped and increasingly frustrated owners to handle. These are the dogs who will ultimately be abandoned in empty lots or left by the side of the road. These are the dogs who will be desposited in secret outside a local pound or shelter or, if they’re lucky, surrendered in person to a rescue organization.

These are the dogs who will be adopted – and probably returned – by unsuspecting people intent on doing the right thing by not buying one from a pet store or an unscrupulous breeder. These are the dogs who, more than likely, will be euthanized due to overcrowding or because of their own people-biting or dog-aggressive behaviors.

 

These are the unfortunate innocents who will pay with their lives for their owners’ unfortunate ignorance. Thereby perpetuating an all-too-familiar and vicious cycle. And the only way to break this cycle is to turn every potential pet parent into an educated pet parent.

 

Ignorance never was, nor ever will be, an acceptable excuse.


Article written by Nomi Berger

 

 

 

A YEAR OF RESCUE RESOLUTIONS FOR YOU

Posted by saskatoondogrescue on January 6, 2015 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)


 

Have you thought of adding some new and different resolutions to your traditional New Year’s list?

 

Have you ever thought of getting involved in the world of the rescue, but didn’t quite know how?

 

Here then, are twelve different ways – one for each month of the year – for you to resolve to make a difference in the lives of rescue animals this year. Even if you choose only one, that choice will make all the difference in the world.

 

1. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter and volunteer your services to them: from office work, to cleaning cages and kennels, to being a dog walker or a cat companion once a week.

 

2. Donate a basket or bag containing such items as food, treats, toys and pee pads, together with either new or your own pet’s gently used collars and leashes, clothes and blankets to that same humane society or shelter.

 

3. Contact a local rescue organization and ask to volunteer for them. Volunteers form the backbone of every non-profit group, and no group can function without them. Areas always in need of extra hands include web site assistance, updating email lists, attending adoption events, planning and attending fundraisers, distributing flyers, pamphlets and brochures, and transporting animals to and from vet appointments.

 

4. Select one particular rescue online that “speaks to you” and make a monetary contribution to them – either as a onetime payment or as recurring monthly payments.

 

5. Read about the other ways you can donate to them – from wish lists to links to various online stores’ web sites – and purchase items both for yourself and them that way.

 

6. Follow that particular rescue’s Face Book page, and both “like” them and “share” their postings on social media on an ongoing basis.

 

7. Instead of accepting birthday gifts this year, ask your friends and family to make contributions to that rescue in your name.

 

8. Host a small fundraiser (bake sales, garage sales and yard sales are among the most popular) and donate the proceeds to that rescue. You will receive not only their gratitude, but a tax receipt as well.

 

9. At your place of work, keep a container on your desk with the name of that rescue on it, and encourage your co-workers to deposit their spare change in it. Once the container is full, bring the change to the bank (already rolled, please), mail a check to the rescue, and begin again.

 

10. Sign petitions, both online and in person: one calling for legislation to ban puppy mills, and one calling on pet stores to stop selling dogs and cats.

 

11. Foster a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue. Learn precisely what’s required of you, then welcome one very needy and deserving animal into your home temporarily, until he or she can be placed in a permanent home.

 

12. Adopt a rescue dog or cat and save two lives – the life of the one you are adopting, and the life of the one who will immediately take his or her place.

 

As for next year? Either continue working your way down this list, or resolve to draw up one of your own.

Article written by Nomi Berger