HappyPet July 2011
Featured this Month: Tips for Training your
New Puppy page 2
Shelters Saddled with Unwanted Horses
How to Pick
A Winner page
Everything you need to know about
Spaying & Neutering
Recognizing if your Cat is Sick page 6
Animal Shelter page
Keeping your pet happy and healthy.
The Sad Truth
Tips for Training your New Puppy
uppy training strategies are often absolute: use treats; don’t use treats; reward good behavior only; punish bad behavior. Proponents of each theory are often absolute about its effectiveness. Whatever system you use, be consistent. Puppies Are Babies
There are about 5000 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters. Approximately 8-12 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year and approximately 5-9 million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state. Less than 2 percent of cats and only 15-20% of dogs are returned to their owners.* Most of these were identified with tags, tattoos or microchips.
There can be no more understanding creature than a well-trained, effectively socialized family dog. If we expect dogs to adopt our ground rules at a tender age, keep in mind that they require the same patience and love as any baby. They are puzzled and often frightened by our expressions of frustration when we try to force them to do what we want them to do. Given enough time, they’d probably pick it up on their own. Training guides the process.
Training Requires Commitment New dog owners are advised to sign up for obedience training. This good advice is often essential for the humans as well as the dog. Local humane societies, technical colleges and vets frequently offer low-cost courses. Visit courses and decide what kind of training you can discipline yourself to apply consistently. Find courses that have “students” that resemble “Baby” in size and abilities--expecting a Great Dane to perform agility exercises with a class full of Shar-Peis and Chihuahuas is unfair.
Find out how soon Baby should be enrolled (trainers usually want house broken dogs old enough to concentrate for three “reps” of a behavior) and sign him up. Whatever training you choose, repeat lessons on at least a daily basis, doing three repetitions of each behavior before reward, praise or play. If you have a serious attitude about training, Baby will follow your lead.
Babies Make Mistakes Babies come with two handicaps: They have remarkably short attention spans and little retentive ability. Both develop with age. When Baby “arrives,” design for success. Take him to his toileting location after eating and awakening and watch for the signs at other times that he needs to “go.” If you ignore him, he’ll start to have accidents. All he’s ever known is that Mom takes care of it and you need to help him learn new behavior. Remember that dogs are pack animals and that you’re the top dog; don’t put Baby out of sync with his place in the pack---like in your bed or standing over you. Although an older dog might adapt, Baby will be confused. Use his name without adding diminutives or “pet” names. He’ll know how you feel about him by your tone of voice, not what you call him. Punishment is an extreme response--use only gentle verbal expressions of disappointment at the moment of the incident to avoid confusion. Concentrate on providing loving praise for jobs well done and Baby will respond with enthusiasm and repeated success.
25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred. Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. 75% of owned pets are neutered.
You can make a Difference!
: k Out Checwww.pawsandclaws.com
Hint: Although cute, it may not be best for training to do this with your pup!
“There is a global market for dog meat, (but) we wouldn’t even dream of selling our pets for that”
Shelters Saddled with Unwanted Horses The forced closure of the last horsekilling facilities in the USA, done at the urging of animal rights activists, has caused a herd of unwanted horses in animal shelters nationwide, according to breeders, ranchers and horse rescuers. The surplus threatens to worsen if Congress passes a bill to ban the selling of unwanted horses to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. “It used to be I could take a horse that is unbreedable, untrainable, injured or unwanted and sell it for anywhere between $200 to $700,” says Sheila Harmon, who has bred Arabian horses in Eagle, Idaho,
for 28 years. “Now I have to pay a euthanasia fee to a veterinarian and a disposal fee to have the animal taken away.”
A ban on selling animals to a meat processor will “drive another nail in the coffin” of her business, Harmon says. Animal activists and some horse lovers say that’s regrettable but that the issue is a moral one, not economic. Horses are pets, not an entree, says Julie Caramante of Habitat for Horses, a large horse rescue operation south of Houston. “There is a global market for dog meat, (but) we wouldn’t even dream of selling our pets for that,” Caramante says.
For decades, horse farms sold unwanted animals to slaughterhouses that Above: Prince continues his recovery at the Rescue Center. shipped the meat overseas While some shelters say they have room to places such as France and Japan, for more horses, shelters in Virginia, where horse meat is an accepted meal, Tennessee and Illinois say they are full. even a delicacy. In 2006, close to At Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue in 140,000 horses were sold this way, the southwestern Virginia, Pat Muncy rubs U.S. Department of Agriculture said. the neck of a brown thoroughbred But last year, under pressure from aninamed Prince that was among 21 horses mal activists, courts in Texas and lawshe has received since September. The makers in Illinois made butchering yearling’s prohorses for human consumption illegal. truding ribs still That forced the shutdown of the last show the effects three horse slaughterhouses in those of starvation two states — and the USA. months after Loudoun County Although it remains legal to ship horses officers seized to Mexico or Canada for slaughter (in the horse along 2007, about 80,000 animals followed with 46 others this route), there is a move in Congress from a Virto close that off as well. Breeders and ginia farm.Some ranchers say such a move would destroyof the seized ‘an important export market they horses are need to stay afloat. thought to be descendants of Triple Kicked to the Side’ Crown winner she says. Seattle Slew that Owners spend between $125 and $600 “got kicked to the side,” Activists say for euthanasia and burial or to pay that no matter the situation it’s wrong someone to haul away a carcass for to kill horses for meat and that industry animal-feed ingredients or the chemical predictions are exaggerated. industry. That can add up for breeders “We are Americans and we oppose horse who supply hundreds of thousands of slaughter,” said Paula Bacon, former horses every year to the race industry, mayor of Kaufman, Texas, who fought to ranches and the riding crowd. close a slaughterhouse there.Bacon says Paxton Ramsey, who represents the breeders produce too many horses and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, don’t try to improve them before sale. says the shutdown of slaughterhouses Slaughter vs. Risk of Neglect has led to stray Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director horses showing with the Animal Welfare Institute, says up in higher the country can handle more horses. numbers on “You can find a home for these horses, public land and most people do.” private property. “There are other Many Americans seem indifferent to the things that can issue, according to a USA TODAY poll. be done with Asked if U.S. ranchers should be allowed government land to sell horse meat to food distributors other than mainoverseas, 45% of Americans had no tain unwanted opinion, 30% said no, and 25% said yes. horses,” he says. Neglected animals are showing up across the country in need of good homes.
How to Pick a Winner
sk trainer Sue Sternberg where you should get a dog and, without hesitation, she’ll tell you to go to an animal shelter. She should know – as a nationally recognized dog trainer and owner of Rondout Valley Kennels, a boarding kennel, training and behavior center, and private shelter in Accord, New York, she regularly works with shelters across the country.
should adopt a dog from a shelter because, as she says, ‘it’s the right thing to do. Because there are great dogs in animal shelters, and because dogs in shelters need homes. There is no need to get a puppy from a breeder in order to raise it right – getting your dog at an early age is no guarantee of how he will turn out. Plus, you can find all the great qualities you could ever want in a shelter mixed-breed dog or puppy, or in one of the thousands of purebreds waiting in shelters on any given day.” Of course, there are plenty of canine train wrecks desperately seeking homes
in animal shelters as well – dogs who will cause heartache and trauma for the average dog owner. Sternberg offers tips to help prospective adopters find the diamonds in the rough world of animal sheltering. Before you visit a shelter There are a few steps you need to take before you set foot inside a shelter. Doing some pre-visit homework can greatly increase your odds of finding the perfect pup. Here are Sternberg’s suggestions: Visit Petfinder on-line, at www.petfinder.com. This web site lists shelters across the country, and can pinpoint the ones in your area starting with those closest to you. You can also search for specific breeds or breed mixes. Caution: If all dogs on a particular shelter’s website are described the same way (sweet, friendly, loving) then the shelter probably doesn’t know the personalities of their dogs very well, or chooses not to be forthcoming with the information. This would be a good shelter to avoid.
In addition, Sternberg , counsels families who have adopted from shelters. and has produced several booklets and videotapes about issues specific to shelter dogs and shelter dog adoption. The booklets include Temperament Testing for Dogs in Shelters and A Guide to Choosing your Next Dog from the Shelter; the videos include The Controversial Pit Bull about temperament testing Pit Bulls in shelters, and Training Your Shelter Dog. She also is a frequent and popular speaker at all sorts of dog-related venues. Setting aside all of the arguments for buying a puppy from a breeder, Sternberg emphatically pronounces that you
Contact the shelters on your list and ask about their return policy. A good shelter will always accept any dog as a return that they have
Everything you need to know about Spaying and Neutering When can I have this procedure done?
Doesn’t neutering alter an animal’s personality?
What are some of the health and behavioral benefits?
Both procedures can safely be
No, it absolutely does not! Actu-
Through neutering, you can help
performed at as early as 8 weeks
ally, any personality changes in
your dog or cat live a happier,
of age. American Humane As-
your pet that may result from
healthier, longer life. Spaying
sociation is a strong proponent
neutering are for the better. Not
eliminates the constant crying and
of juvenile or pediatric spay/
being distracted by the instinctual
nervous pacing of a female cat in
neuter since it is both healthy for
need to find a mate helps your
heat. Spaying a female dog also
pets and effectively reduces pet
pet stop roaming and decreases
eliminates the messiness associated
with the heat cycle.
If I find homes for my pet’s litters, then I won’t contribute to the problem? This could not be further from the truth. There are only a finite number of people want pets. So every home you find for your pet’s offspring takes away a home from a loving animal already at a shelter. They need homes too!
Pet of the Month: adopted out at any time in his life, for whatever reason the owner may be unable to keep him. Ask the shelters about their adoption procedures. You will want to be able to visit with your prospective new family member outside of the kennel. If that is not allowed by a shelter, cross that one off your list. Ask about their criteria for making dogs available for adoption. Good shelters do temperament testing, and do not make dogs available who have a prior history of biting. Some dogs are not appropriate for shelters or adoption. Find a trainer you like, who is kind to dogs and motivates them with treats, toys, and praise. (A selection of trainers from across the country is available at www. apdt.com.). If there are students in the class with shelter dogs, ask them which shelter they adopted from and what their experiences were. Avoid shelters where others have had negative experiences. When you do start visiting shelters, look beyond a slick exterior. A good shelter is made up by people who care, and the good dogs in their kennels. There are lots of old, rundown, dark and damp shelters that have great dogs and are staffed by wonderful people, and there are others that are just as wretched as they look. There are also bright, pretty, high-tech modern
shelters that treat people and animals well, and still others that are all windowdressing, forgetting to treat their human and canine clients with compassion. Avoid rigid preconceptions about what kind (age, breed, sex, size, color, coat length) of dog you want. Be prepared to enter the shelter with an open mind. Size, for example, is not a good indicator of energy level or adaptability to a small house many large dogs are better suited to apartment life than are the typically high-energy but small Jack Russell Terriers. The shelter visit: Although it’s best to avoid preconceptions about what model of dog you are looking for, Sternberg advises that it is very important to know what to look for behaviorally. ‘A high level of sociability will contribute more to a dog’s success in a home than any other trait, Sternberg says. ‘Overall, be looking for a dog that really likes people and wants to be with them, who is affectionate, congenial, and bonds easily and strongly. These are the dogs who are most fun, and the least worry to live with.
Why should I have my pet neutered?
Neutering just costs too much!
Animal shelters, are faced with an incredible burden what to do with the overpopulation of dogs and cats that they cannot find homes for? Approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year, due to the sheer fact that there are not enough willing adopters. Having your pet spayed or neutered ensures that you will not be adding. 5
Many animal shelters offer
Meet Chloe! She is a 1 year and 6 month old Domestic Shorthair Mix . She is already spayed. Chloe loves to play, and is very curious. She is also very affectionate and will not hesitate to hop on your lap to cuddle! She can be found at Paws and Claws Animal Shelter. To learn more about Chloe, go to:
erg: Sue Sternb
Nationally Recognized dog trainer and owner of Rondout ValleyKennels.
A n i m a l S h e lt e r
What are some of the health and behavioral benefits?
Won’t animal shelters take care of the surplus animals?
Through neutering, you can help
No. Shelters do their best to place
your dog or cat live a happier,
animals in loving homes, but the
healthier, longer life. Spaying
number of homeless animals far
eliminates the constant crying
exceeds the number of willing
and nervous pacing of a female
adopters. This leaves many loving
cat in heat. Spaying a female dog
and healthy animals in our com-
ated with providing adequate
also eliminates the messiness
munity that must be euthanized
care for just one litter of puppies
associated with the heat cycle. A
as the only humane solution to
or kittens is often more than the
long-term benefit of spaying and
this tragic dilemma. Only spaying
cost of spaying or neutering.
neutering is improved health for
and neutering can end the over-
both cats and dogs.
low-cost spay/neuter services, and there are also many low-cost spay/ neuter clinics across the country. To find low-cost options in your area, call your local animal shelter. The reality is that the cost associ-
Recognizing if your Cat is Sick As with people, there are things that you need to look for in your cat to recognize if they are sick or not. Below is a list of symptoms that might trigger some concern. Unexplained Weight Loss Loss of appetite/willingness to drink Abnormal Inactivity Trouble Breathing Sneezing and Hacking If any of these behaviors catch your attention you should take your cat to the veterinarian. No matter how clean you keep your cat there is always the chance that some little parasite is going to call your cat’s body its home. If you are keeping a good eye on the health and well being of your cat, you might be able to determine when one of these pesky parasites are moving in. Ticks or Lice: Ticks and lice can be a very annoying problem for you and your cat. In order to determine if you cat is
suffering from ticks and lice; you need to check your cat’s body. You can decipher a tick because you will either see the parasite or will feel it like a bump on your cat’s skin. Fleas: Fleas are a common problem with cats. Again, you can find these parasites with a quick examination of your cat’s body, this can even be done while grooming your cat. Fleas are not something that you can get rid of on your own. Ear Mites: Ear mites are quite common in cats and can lead to many other health problems. If your cat’s ears begin to look a bit questionable and are waxy and icky smelling, your cat may have this. Mange: You should be wary because this is something that humans can be affected by too. If your cat begins to lose fur, bleeds, or has issues around the ears, and nose, your cat might have mange.
The World’s Largest ‘No Kill’ Animal Shelter Way back in 1944, a few animal lovers in Port Washington, New York got together and formed the North Shore Animal League. Their animal work was a very modest effort at first, with the shelter being located in someone’s garage. Soon, a few fenced outdoor runs were built, and a tiny bit of money trickled in to feed and care for the many stray animals they now took in. The League grew very slowly; but they cared for the animals as well as possible, never destroying any, not even the older or ailing ones. In 1969, one animal lover who heard about the League was Elisabeth Lewyt. She couldn’t believe this unusual shelter never destroyed any animals, so she attended their next meeting with her
The Top 20 Pet Names
husband, Alexander M. Lewyt. In the words of Mrs. Lewyt, “These are not strays, there’s no such thing as a stray. All these animals had homes at one time or another - some were good, some were bad. But they all deserve another chance.” Thanks to Alex & Babette Lewyt’s spirit and dedication, North Shore Animal League America has now grown to become the largest pet adoption agency and ‘no-kill’ animal shelter in the world. Their animal orphans are rescued not only from shelters and pounds close-by, but also from animal organizations in near and distant states. All across the United States and around the world today, dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens now
! head e! Go A Nam a Pick
rely on North Shore Animal League America to represent their interests and to provide them healthy, happy lives. Today, North Shore Animal League America is dedicated to saving animal lives- not just in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut areas—but all around the world. While the League’s main adoption facility is still located in Port Washington, New York, their mobile units now allow them to travel throughout the country rescuing animals from various different situations. And, they are expanding their programs worldwide. Today, they are involved in emergency rescue efforts, out of state rescues, breed specific rescues, and international animal relief efforts.