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See how Bark Busters changed the life of an Airforce dog handler or, view the “Aspen’s Story” video on

Editorial he holiday season is upon us! Certain four-legged members of our staff are a little too full of holiday cheer and are abusing office hours to test the holiday gift guide products. Sigh! Perhaps we do need a little more fun around here and little less work. This issue features some great articles. Dr. Amyx’s article on holiday hazards is a must read and don’t miss the training article from Chrissie Dugas with Paw it Forward Training, who offers some great tips on crate training and housebreaking. Also, in this installment of our agility series, Lesley Young of Dog Angels shows us how to use the hurdles that we made in the last issue. Ready. Set. Go! On page 26 we feature a story on one woman’s efforts to help save dogs who are being dumped illegally in Crosby, Texas. We recently spoke with


On the Cover

Issue 11: Volume 5

Rhonda Heffernan about her mission to “Stop the Crosby Puppy Massacre.” It is our hope that by shedding light on the situation, more of you will become involved and help spread the word about the tragedies occurring in this small town. If you’re looking for the perfect gift to put under the tree for Fido, look no further! Our annual gift guide on page 14 is full of ideas for the pampered pooch. As you make your list and check it twice, please visit our advertisers for gifts or gift certificates as they make Urban Paws possible. Urban Paws would like to wish our readers a happy holiday season, and, as you do for yourselves and those you love, please remember to give a little to those who are less fortunate.

Jennifer Kitchens

URBAN PAWS MAGAZINE P.O. Box 1556 Spring, Texas 77383 Design and layout by: ZOECO CREATIVE © Copyright 2011. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Urban Paws magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, feature and idea submissions, or photographs, and such material will not be returned. Urban Paws magazine assumes no liability for the contents herein and has the right to refuse advertising for any reason. Urban Paws magazine does not endorse any specific product or service contained herein; we do encourage you to support our advertisers whenever possible.

Photo by Nicole Bean Photography

Please tell our advertisers you heard about them in Urban Paws! Urban Paws Magazine 5

CALENDAR December 2011 Events DECEMBER 2 National Mutt Day Celebrate National Mutt day with your favorite mutt. For more information, visit DECEMBER 3 Jingle Bell Bark & Brew Celebrate the holidays with the adoptable dogs from Greater Houston German Shepherd Rescue at the Boneyard Drinkery, 8150 Washington Ave. 1:00-4:00 pm. Enjoy some brew, bring your dog for photos with Santa and enter the raffle for an iPad. DECEMBER 10 1st Annual Jingle Tails Fun Run/Walk You, your family and your pets are invited to jingle all the way around Spring Lake to help raise funds for Special Pals Shelter. 8:00am registration. Registration fee is $25 for teens and adults, $10 for children and $5 for dogs. The Lake House at Cinco Ranch, 25202 Springwood Lake Dr. in Katy. For more information, visit DECEMBER 10 Discount Vaccination Clinic at Four Seasons Veterinary Hospital From noon to 4:00 pm. Clients are accepted on a first come, first served basis. For more information, visit

For a full listing of events, visit:

DECEMBER 10 Santa Paws Photos Bring your kids and furry family members for photos with Santa by Amanda Garcia of No Ordinary Photography. Westminster House, 2807 Kings Crossing in Kingwood. 1:004:00pm. $10 for a 4x6 or $15 for two 4x6 photos. All proceeds benefit St. Jude Safe Haven for Little Paws. DECEMBER 14 Gift Wrapping Event at Barnes & Noble Get your gifts wrapped from 5:30 - 9:30pm. at the Deerbook Barnes & Noble book store. Proceeds benefit Houston Sheltie Rescue. DECEMBER 17 Adopt a Rescued Friend Adoption Event Visit the adoptable dogs from AARF at Petco in Spring, 19507 I-45 North. 1:00-4:00pm. For a list of all adoption days, visit DECEMBER 19-23 and DECEMBER 26-30 2011 Holiday Critter Camp This is an opportunity for children ages 8-12 to work hands-on with the animals cared for by the Houston SPCA. Houston SPCA Annex, 7007 Katy Road. 9:00am - 3:00pm daily. To register, visit Paw it Forward Training is offering a 20% discount on training during the month of December. Offer valid for new and existing clients.

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Photos by Phil Bozzo

Kingwood Barktoberfest et lovers and their four-legged friends came out on November 12th for the fifth annual Kingwood Barktoberfest. Dozens of animal rescue organizations and pet-friendly vendors lined the streets of Kingwood’s Town Center Park. Founded in 2007 by Urban Paws’ own, Jennifer Kitchens and Jamie Bakke of Pampered Paws Boutique in Kingwood, Kingwood Barktoberfest has established quite a presence over the years. Nearly $9,000 was raised this year to help care for the animals of the participating rescue organizations. Approximately 6,000 pounds of food was also donated from various pet food distributors. Winners of this year’s proceeds included Weimaraner Rescue of North Texas, Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, All Texas dachshund Rescue, Volunteers for Animal Protection and ADAPT Rescue.


Urban Paws Magazine 7

THE SCOOP Pet Fest Old Town Spring eld the weekend of October 21st, this year marked the tenth anniversary for PetFest in Old Town Spring. In honor of its tenth anniversary, the theme for this year’s event was aptly named “Just like a Diamond, a Rescue is Forever.” In addition to the monetary prizes, this year, 10,000 pounds of dog food was awarded to participating rescue groups. Labeled the “Dog Food Goodwill Ambassador”, Ricco Suave, a Chihuahua, was once on death row himself. He now helps others that are waiting for their permanent homes by collecting dog food donations. Some of this year’s activities included the blessing of the animals, a rescue parade, costume contes, a pet wedding and the Heart of Texas Dock Dogs competitions.



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BODY & SOUL Reiki with Rescues escued animals always come with a unique set of issues, and I’ve found that the ancient technique of Reiki can help with creating a closer bond with your animal, while alleviating the fears that are inherent in working with rescues. Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) translates as universal life energy and is an amazing energy healing method that originated in Japan. It is offered as an alternative treatment in hospitals such as M.D. Anderson and major research centers throughout the world. While it has mainly been used for healing people, in more recent years, many of those who have learned Reiki have realized how beneficial this healing system could be to their own pets and other animals. When the animal is well, energy flows through the body like an electric current, the energy blocks that occur are due to pressures mainly from outside factors such as, emotional trauma, infections, injuries, changes in diet, training issues or a combination of different situations. If left untreated this can leave some areas depleted of energy and other areas overworked. An energy blockage can also lead to behavioral and psychological problems. Reiki will not retrain the animal that is having behavior problems or psychological problems but it will resolve the issue of the energy block which may be causing the problems. I would like to add that many rescue organizations use Reiki on their abused animals for their mental and physical problems. Energy blocks are released and natural balance is restored. Reiki is a very potent treatment, outwardly, it is very subtle in its application but inwardly it is felt intensely. Working with Reiki, positive energy flows into the body and any imbalance or negative energy is dissipated.



By Teri Van Horn ,RM/T Reiki with Pets

The Benefits of Reiki with Pets • Because Reiki is healing energy, it will never harm you or your animals. • If you have rescued pet from abuse or neglect or traumatized by an accident, Reiki with Pets will help to release and heal those old emotional wounds. • Behavioral issues are often tied to anxiety and the animal being stresses in some way. Providing pets with Reiki will calm and relax them away. • Compliment conventional veterinary care with Reiki with pets to speed recovery and calm your pet as they undergo treatment • When your beloved pet is nearing the end of his life, Reiki with your pet can provide peace and comfort to both you and your companion animal. For animals who are healthy, Reiki helps to maintain their health, enhances relaxation and provides an emotional sense of peace and contentment. For animals who are ill, Reiki is a wonderful healing method as well as a safe complement to Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, flower essences, and all other forms of healing. For example, Reiki can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, support an acupuncture treatment, and enhance the effects of flower essences. For dying animals, Reiki is a powerful yet gentle way to provide comfort, relief from pain, fear, and anxiety, and to ease the transition to death. Reiki is ideal for use with dogs because with Reiki, since effectiveness is not dependent upon physical contact, the dog controls the treatment, accepting Reiki in the ways that are most comfortable, either hands-on or from a distance, or a combination of the two.

What Rescued Animals Face Because of the unique situations that rescued animals are faced with, Reiki can provide a sense of security, release fears of abandonment, vulnerability and anxiety. Rescued animals face many challenges – but once you’ve accomplished this task, you’ll never find a more loving, devoted pet! One thing rescues have to overcome is the fact that they love and are dependent on people – yet people have abused, neglected, starved and/or abandoned them. We have to regain that trust factor and help them get past these issues and back to feeling secure so that they can let go and trust again. Despite their best intentions and efforts, once an animal is rescued, it is placed with an organization who will care for its physically – then will place it in a foster home where the animal begins to trust and feel comfortable, getting

over those fears – but then it’s taken from that home and sent to an adoptive family, once again removing it from a situation where it was beginning to love and trust. Quite often, these wonderful creatures are so resilient that they jump into their new families with gusto and everything works out beautifully. Other times, there is a more difficult transition and it’s harder for the new family to connect with their pet. This is one area where Reiki is extremely beneficial and can generally help with this transition in 1-2 sessions. Treatment Sessions A Reiki session with your dog is a very simple process. In fact, most only last about 30 minutes, in which your dog will be extremely relaxed, practically falling asleep. In order to transmit the Reiki energy, the practitioner will simply hold or touch the animal. In extreme

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HEALTHY TAILS Avoiding Holiday Hazards

By Dr. Jim Amyx Four Seasons Veterinary Hospital

ormally, it is everyone’s intention to have a joyous holiday season – not a hazardous one spent in the emergency veterinary hospital with your favorite pet. So, be aware of the typical holiday hazards for your pet. For your reference, I have listed some common holiday hazards below:

wrapping paper and tinsel, if ingested, can cause an intestinal obstruction in your pet. Even indoor and outdoor lights can sabotage your pet. The twinkling lights often appear to be a new chew toy to them. Chewing on the cords can cause electrical shock which can cause burns, difficulty breathing and sometimes death.


Cold Weather Hazards


Most people think of Poinsettia as a Holiday plant poisonous to our pets. Not true. Poinsettias are not toxic to your pet, but lilies, mistletoe and holly can be, and even your fresh Christmas tree poses a hazard to your pet. Poinsettias can cause mild vomiting or nausea and can irritate your pet’s mouth. Lilies can cause your cat’s kidneys to fail, possibly resulting in death. Mistletoe can cause cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems, while holly can cause lethargy, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Your fresh Christmas tree can cause gastrointestinal distress and a dry Christmas tree can accidentally spear your pet’s eyes or mouth. So, if your dog or cat has a tendency to chew on plants, you may want to opt for an artificial tree and give the typical holiday plants to someone else as a gift.

Ornaments and Holiday Decorations

Ornaments, ribbons, tinsel, even wrapping paper, can all be dangerous to your pet. A broken ornament can cut your pet’s paw. Ribbons, 12

Even in Houston, we add anti-freeze to our radiators in the winter. While anti-freeze protects our radiators from freezing, it is dangerous and deadly to our pets. Pets can lick anti-freeze accidentally spilled or leaked onto the ground or garage floor. Even more innocently, your pet can accidentally step in the anti-freeze and then lick it off his paws. Either way, it is deadly, most often causing your pet’s kidneys to fail.

Table Scraps

Yummmm….turkey! Tis the season for big, sumptuous meals – turkey and dressing, vegetable casseroles and salads that could qualify as a meal just by themselves. These delicious, fatty entrees can cause extensive gastrointestinal problems for pets, should we feed them our food or should they sneak a few bites. Turkey bones can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. So remember, feed the humans the delicious 5,000 calorie meal and feed your pets their normal pet diet.

Open Doors

Believe it or not, a door (opening and closing) can create a hazard for your pet. We often have guests visiting during the holidays – more people than normal opening and closing doors to the house. While these doors are opening and closing, your pet can secretly venture outside. And what, at first, appears to be an adventure to your pet soon becomes a dangerous and scary outing. There is nothing joyous about losing a pet during the holidays, so be sure to secure your pet in a safe place when you are expecting guests and make sure your pet has a microchip, just in case they do slip out. The holidays are a time to reunite with friends and family – two legged and four-legged friends. So be careful, be wise and enjoy the season!

Finding the perfect present for your favorite dog or dog lover can be a challenge. This holiday season, there's no need to worry - we've done the work for you. So make your list, check it twice, then take a peek at


our favorite dog gifts, from eco-friendly items to practical gifts that will last long after the holidays are over. It's never been easier to find a dog gift that will set tongues - or tails - wagging!


The hugely popular and seasonal favorite Orbee-Tuff Lil’ Bulb is perfect for the small chew-frenzied, drool-happy dogs. Each features the Treat Spot for stuffing Planet Dog EATS or other healthy treats, spreads and Christmas “cookies” that may show up in a dog’s stocking. Price: $8.45 URL:



These organic candles were designed to promote your pooch's optimum health and well being. Made with 100% organic ingredients, this eco-friendly candle combines soy, palm, beeswax and pure essential oils to deliver aromatherapy to your four-legged friend. Available in a variety of scents. Price: $32.00 URL:

WEST PAW DESIGN BUMPER BED DOG BED This popular dog bed provides comfort and cushion that your dog deserves, while giving you the flexibility to choose the color combination that also fits your home decor! Machine washable cover. Available in 7 colors and sizes from XS-XL. Price: from $72.60 URL:


This is the first seasonal collar to be offered by Spiffy Dog, the maker of the award-winning Air Collar. The collar is made of a lightweight, breathable mesh commonly used in running shoes. Available in sizes Small-Large. Price: $15.99 URL:

Urban Paws Magazine 15


Perfect for the dog or cat lover in your life or as a treat for your self to brighten your fridge! Large Rare Earth magnets are attached with industrial strength adhesive. These will stay put on your fridge, locker, cabinet, where ever you want to hang up to 6 sheets of paper! Non-toxic glaze is used to adhere image. Set includes 6 one-inch magnets. Price: from $17.00 URL:


Eco Merry Bones are crafted with recycled material made from reclaimed plastic soda bottles, and because they’re certified for safety by Oko-Tex you can rest assured that these toys are as safe as they are fun. Available in sizes mini and standard. Price: $10.45-$14.30 URL:


Proudly display your support of rescue and adoption efforts on your chest. Made of 100% cotton. Choose from 3 original Shannon Hill designs. Available in sizes S-XXL Price: $12.95 each URL:


Not only does Orbee-Tuff Mint feature the retro red and white swirls of the real candy treat, this "sweet" toy is infused with natural mint oil. Like all Orbee-Tuff products, it is made in the U.S.A. and is non-toxic, recyclable, durable, bouncy and buoyant. Price: $10.95 URL: 16


Gift certificates make wonderful gifts and are perfect for the pet lover that’s hard to buy for. Choose from pet sitting, dog training, Reiki sessions, or just donate to a local animal rescue organization or shelter.


Show the world that you support rescue and adoption efforts with these witty bumper stickers. Five different stickers to choose from. Price: $3.00 each URL:


Artist Michael Murphy describes this image as “My Golden’s reaction when he saw greeting cards I’d made of the things he’d said.” There are 12 different cards showing how “Pal” viewed lifeʼs joys and frustrations. Each card and envelope is protected by a clear cello. Price: $3.00 each or a set of 12 for $29.00 URL:


Mix and match with Kiss My Mutt! Create your dog's own individual style with multiple colors and styles with Kiss My Mutt collars and leashes! Included in this year's HollyWOOF swag bag for celebrity dogs like Drew Barrymore's mutt and Oprah's clan of pups! Price: $18.00 URL:

Urban Paws Magazine 17

TRAINING Crate Training and Housebreaking WHAT IS CRATE TRAINING? Crate training is the process of conditioning your dog to accept being in a crate (or kennel), which will eventually become his own “den.” Crate training is used for a variety of reasons. It is an effective tool for housebreaking. The crate gives your dog a safe, secure place of his own. Having a dog who is comfortable being crated also comes in handy for confinement during short periods, such as travel or recovering from surgery. Finally, conditioning your dog to accept the crate is a great tool when you cannot keep an eye on your dog. WHY DOES IT WORK? Dogs have a natural instinct not to soil where they sleep, and this is what makes crate training such an effective housebreaking tool. Dogs also have the natural “den” instinct for security. Have you ever noticed your dog likes to sleep under the coffee table or perhaps your recliner? By doing so, he has created a makeshift den! WHAT TYPE/ SIZE CRATE WILL I NEED? There are two main types of crates. There is the hard plastic kind that consists of a top and bottom that snap together, has ventilated slats on the sides, and a metal grille door. The other type of crate, commonly referred to as a “wire crate”, is made of a heavy gauge wire that can often fold flat for storing or transporting. Please be cautious about the spacing between the wires to avoid your dog’s paw getting caught. A new, quality crate can cost anywhere from $35-200. While that might sound like a large investment, it is well worth it in the long run. A damaged carpet alone would cost you more than that to replace! The crate should be just big enough for your 18

By Chrissie Dugas Paw it Forward Training

dog to stand up and turn around. If your dog is a puppy, do not buy a huge crate for him to grow into. Having all that room will defeat the purpose. Why is not having a large space important? If your dog can soil one area of the crate and move to the other side without being bothered by the mess, one of the main purposes of crate training has been eliminated. You may need to buy a puppy-sized crate now and a larger one later. Or, purchase a crate that comes with dividers so you can gradually expand the puppy’s space as needed. IS CRATE TRAINING FOR ADULT DOGS, TOO? Definitely! Many people are under the false impression that crate training is just for puppies, and that older dogs will not “take” to a crate. This is completely false. Older dogs often learn faster than puppies, partly because their attention span is not as short as a puppy’s. Most adult dogs will appreciate the comfort and security a crate offers, especially when adjusting to a new home. HOW DO I INTRODUCE MY DOG TO THE CRATE? Put a blanket or towel that has your scent on it in the bottom of the crate. Think of something that can easily be washed. This will not only be comfortable for your dog, but helps the bonding process as well. You can also put a toy in with your dog. Keep the crate where you want your dog to sleep. For example, place the crate by the side of your bed or in the living room. When first introducing the crate, be sure the door is propped open to avoid accidently swinging shut. If your dog does not explore the crate on his own, toss treats inside, or feed a few

meals in there. Try not to force your dog into the crate because this could form an unpleasant association and make things more difficult for both of you. Each time your dog goes into the crate, say, “Get in your house”, or an associated command of your choice, in a pleasant voice. Your dog will eventually come to associate the verbal cue with going into the crate. Give your dog a treat once all four paws are inside the crate to reinforce the behavior. Remember to be consistent! It is perfectly normal for a dog to whine, bark, or even throw tantrums the first time in a crate. Do NOT reward the behavior by petting your dog, whispering soothing words, or worse, by letting him out. Try simply ignoring him for a while. If he doesn't stop after a reasonable amount of time, simply say, “No” in a firm voice, or tap the top of the crate and say, “Quiet.” However, do not get into the habit of saying “quiet” each time your dog barks or whines. Consistently responding to the behavior will actually reinforce it. THE HOUSEBREAKING ROUTINE There are key points in your dog’s routine to know when to take him outside to potty: immediately after waking up (morning, naps, etc.), right before bed, a few minutes after eating, and immediately after playing. You will quickly come to know the difference between a normal whine and a “need to potty” whine. If the whining becomes frantic during time in the crate, open the crate door, pick your dog up, and bring him out to the spot where you want him to eliminate. If you do not pick up your dog in the early stages of housebreaking, there is a high chance he will eliminate immediately once outside of the crate. Immediately after your dog goes potty outside, praise him in a high, happy voice, and offer a small treat. It is important to immediately praise right after elimination because if we praise during elimination it may startle your dog,

causing him not to finish. There are some dogs who will have trouble holding their bladder all night (usually young pups). Most dogs get used to this routine very quickly and soon sleep through the night without interruption. If your dog needs to potty during the night, only take him outside to potty and immediately return him to the crate. Just remember to differentiate between the different types of whines or barks to avoid your dog training you to let him out when he wants. Watch for signs that your dog needs to go potty. Some signs are circling and sniffing, or pacing near the door. When you see these signs get into the habit of saying “Let’s go potty” and lead your dog outside. Follow the steps listed above once you are outside. If you get in the habit of saying “Let’s go potty” before your dog eliminates, your dog will eventually become conditioned to eliminate upon hearing the verbal cue. If you cannot keep your dog in sight, place your dog in a baby-gated area such as the kitchen or bathroom. You can also keep him tethered to you with a long line or tethered to a nearby piece of furniture where he'll be within your sight. Do not let your dog out of your sight! Accidents happen in a split second. You need to be there to interrupt as they happen. Correcting your dog after the fact is not necessary because your dog will not associate the correction with what he has done just minutes prior. Just clean up the mess and understand he was out of your sight for too long. Your dog can also be crated for brief periods during the day if you are unable to keep an eye on him. For example, if you need to take a shower or have work to do that requires your full attention. Crate training is well worth the time and investment. Giving this permanent place of safety and comfort to your dog is really a gift to you both! Urban Paws Magazine 19

Reiki with Rescues - Continued cases, we literally don’t have to touch the animal, but can send the energy to them. Because Reiki is energy, it is not limited to time or distance, therefore it can be sent to your pet at any time or any place. My preference is always to treat animals in person, but due to logistics and schedules, that’s not always possible. In those instances, Reiki can be sent via Distant Healing and works beautifully with your pet. We have discovered that our success rate with Distant Healing is just as high as working with animals in person. How Reiki Can Help Your Pet Since the Reiki energies only heal, with love, there is nothing harmful that they can do to your pet. In fact, we’ve used Reiki very successfully to help calm shelter animals, rescues, integrate pets into new homes, as well as it’s physical and emotional healing benefits. If your pet is an athlete, Reiki can help improve performance. If your pet has a stressful job (therapy dog, K-9 Unit, etc.) Reiki can help calm them, assisting them to release and relax, preventing them from having physical or emotional problems due to the stress of their jobs. Just like us, pets are subject to emotional distress. They feel separation anxiety, insecurity, and fear. These issues can and are healed, by sending the energies to the animal, in addition to communicating them about what is bothering them. We can also quiet dogs who are barking excessively and/or who have problems getting along with other animals. Often, we can eliminate many of these problems in 1-2 sessions. I’m often asked to assist with pets who have physical diseases or ailments and those are most often the easiest to correct. We’ve worked with tumors, cancer, kidney failure, respiratory failure, leg, hip and foot injuries, all with amazing success. 20

Pooh Bear’s Story Pooh Bear is a male, heeler/retriever mix, about 6 years old. He was raised on the streets, by his mother, until a rescue organization was able to catch him at about 6 months of age. After he was rescued, he was in a foster home, awaiting adoption. He was adopted by his family at about a year old and it was a difficult transition. He eventually was able to integrate into the family and was extremely helpful with working with horses and herding. One evening, a horse bolted past a gate and while Pooh was trying to get him back into the pasture. He was kicked, completely dislocating his hip and leg. He was lying on the ground, crying and trying to get up, but once he did, it was obvious that the leg was no longer attached to the hip. Fortunately, I was there and immediately sat on the ground, gently holding Pooh and sending the Reiki energy to his injured leg and hip. He was quiet and sunk into my lap while I worked with him. After about 20 minutes, he wanted to get up, so I let him go, wanting to see how his leg and hip looked. He slowly limped to the water bucket for a drink, but the leg and hip were now working together and attached! He came back, crawled into my lap and we shared energies for another 20 minutes, when again, he decided to get back up for a drink. This time the limp was almost impossible to perceive. I sent Pooh distant energy that evening and was thrilled to report that the next morning he was seen chasing squirrels, with no ill side effects. To this day (one month later) he is perfectly healthy and fit - back to herding and working with horses with absolutely no ill side-effects from the leg/hip injury. Not only does Reiki work…animals love it!

PLEASE SPAY & NEUTER YOUR PETS One dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years. Eight million animals enter shelters every year and four million of them are euthanized due to the lack of homes.




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AGILITY Part VII - Games to Play with Jumps Hurrah! The weather is cooler. It’s the perfect time to play with the new hurdles that we showed you how to make in the last article. Here are some great ideas for training a new or young agility dog. 1. Value Building for Jumps – Straight to Basics Start with a straight line of hurdles, set about four paces apart and at a low height. Use a target or a friend to help lure your dog forward.

By Lesley Young (MA Hons Dog Angels US

‘back-chaining” process as with the straight line of jumps. A combination of where you start your dog and your handling technique will determine your dog’s path or line through the obstacles. Your “Driving Hand” closest to your dog should cue the take-off point for each jump – the ‘Commitment Point’. Keep your hand steady and signal clearly to your dog without over-handling. Your leg closest to the dog also helps cue his or her line.

Doggy Math is very simple: What’s in it for me? Minus - How much effort do I have to put in? To build value, you can add the best reward you can find, or you can make it easier to perform, or preferably both! Remember, young dogs should not be put under physical or emotional pressure, so keep it positive and at a low height.

1a. More, More, More - Bigger Spaces Once your dog has the hang of it, you can gradually introduce bigger spaces, up to about 6 paces apart.

Where you set your dog up at the start can make a huge impact on his line or path (as denoted by the dotted line). In example 1, the dog is set up 90 degrees to the jump, generating wider, square turns. In example 2, the best balance is achieved, enabling a straight run. In example 3, although a straight line is feasible, the positioning at the start has radically altered the spacing between the hurdles, which can make it difficult for an inexperienced dog.

2. Introducing Angled Jumps Depending on the size of your dog, start with the jumps fairly close together, typically so that the center of each pole is about 4 paces apart. (If you have a large dog, 5 paces). Repeat the

2a. Bigger spaces, too! The purpose of this exercise is that your dog learns to adjust its stride and jumping action and recognize that jumps are not always perfectly straight nor evenly paced.

Start at the end! “Back-Chaining” means starting with the finish and working back to the start. First do the last hurdle – reward. Progress further back to two hurdles, then three. Remember to work on both sides (left and right).


With straight lines, as your dog gains skill and confidence, gradually extend the spaces so you and your dog have a greater challenge. You will be working this on both the left and the right, and you will see that one side is tending to pull the dog towards you and the other is tending to push the dog away from you. With experience, your dog will learn to recognize your signals and clear the hurdles even if they are angled – an important foundation for later – turns, serpentines and whoa, threadles!

Indy demonstrating straight jumps

With thanks to Indy, an 8 month old Visla and his ‘Mum’ Heike, handling. Lesley Young (MA Hons), has 17 years experience of Dog Training - relocating to The Woodlands, Texas in 2009. Lesley runs pet Dog, Puppy and Agility classes and is an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. For a more detailed guide to this exercise, visit the Resources page of her website,

Indy demonstrates angled jumps

Indy demonstrates angled jumps in bigger spaces

GIMME SHELTER Join us in helping our four-legged friends find loving homes. Adopt a dog today!

Texas Gulf Coast Bull Terrier Rescue

Texas Gulf Coast Bull Terrier Rescue is a volunteer-based organization that helps English Bull Terriers in need across the southern half of Texas. The group regularly rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes well in excess of 50 Bull Terriers each and every year. The group is always willing to support Bull Terrier owners with health or training issues and encourages would-be bullie owners to fully research into the breed. Bull Terriers are not the dog for everyone - anybody interested in sharing their home with a Bull Terrier should make certain they know what they are letting themselves in for! Sadly this is why many bullies end up in need of Rescue.

Our cover dog, Teddy Roosevelt!

Photo by Nicole Bean Photography

Teddy Roosevelt found himself sitting in an animal shelter a few weeks ago with a broken back leg. Luckily for him, a good Samaritan saw him and pulled him from the shelter, got the leg repaired and brought him to Texas Gulf Coast Bull Terrier Rescue for rehabilitation. Teddy is around seven months old and he is a real character! He loves other dogs, although he can’t join in play time just yet until his leg is fully healed. He has a super sweet nature and is going to be a wonderful lifelong friend for a very lucky family.

Please note that these dogs may have been adopted by the time you visit them; however, there are many more wonderful dogs in need of forever homes. 24

Reba is one of the sadder cases seen in rescue. Physically she is fit, but emotionally somebody has damaged her terribly. She needs a lot of loving, calm and patient encouragement to help her come out of her shell. Reba feels more confident when she has other dogs around her. Bull Terriers are very resilient and she will learn to trust again, but it is going to take a very special person to help her forget the cruelty she has suffered in her past.


Ooloo Ooloo is a great dog who enjoys regular training sessions and exercise. She will need to be the only pet in the home, and she will need a bullie breed savvy owner on the end of her leash, but she has plenty of love and devotion to give to a new family. Ooloo is a super fast learner and is an attentive, loving and obedient girl.


Bart is an awesome, two-year-old, high energy guy who can bounce three feet in the air. Straight up - from a standstill! Fortunately, he is very food motivated and is receptive to training, but he will need an energetic family who is willing to work with him more on his manners and keep on top of his bullie fun and antics. Agility anyone?

Jolie turned up recently at a rural property and made herself right at home with the resident dogs and cat. Nobody ever came looking for her, so she found her way to TGCBT Rescue where she is patiently waiting for a new home. Jolie is well mannered, calm and has a lovely temperament. She deserves a family who will return her loyalty.

Bart Urban Paws Magazine 25

COMMUNITY Uniting Against Animal Cruelty in Crosby, Texas Warning: this article contains graphic content. n June, a young couple traveling along Highway 90 in Crosby made an exit onto County Road when they came across an illegal dumping ground and the site of a horrific scene. What they saw were several deceased dogs along with body parts and a lot of blood. In shock, the couple got out to take pictures of what they witnessed and discovered a surviving puppy in a feed sack and four adult dogs. The surviving puppy’s siblings had been tortured and killed in the most inhumane ways imaginable. After two trips, all of the living dogs were successfully rescued by the couple and have since been placed in foster homes.


Rhonda Heffernan, a volunteer with various Houston area rescue organizations such as Pals for Pooches and Corridor Rescue, received word of this horrendous crime. She contacted the Crosby sheriff ’s department and the Houston SPCA in hopes that an investigation would be performed. In her freezer are the remains of the three puppies, in case they are needed as evidence. Since the first discovery was made in June, Rhonda spearheaded a united front against animal cruelty in Crosby. A web site has been established to provide more information about the efforts to “Stop the Crosby Puppy Massacres.” Rhonda’s goal is to bring attention to this area so that the public can be made aware of the horrible crimes being committed towards animals. She hopes to raise enough funds to install cameras at the dump sites to record any criminal animal dumping activity. Funds are also needed to help support the rewards for information lead26

By Jennifer Kitchens

ing to information and arrests, as well as for public education and awareness against animal cruelty in the Crosby area. To date, 19 dogs have now been rescued from the massacre sites and five have found loving homes. The one surviving puppy was named Miracle and now has the life that she deserves with her new family. Her father, Asher is still looking for his new home and is available for adoption through Adopt a Rescued Friend (AARF). Unfortunately, dogs are still being dumped in this area, many of whom have been injured by gun shots. Foster homes for the rescued dogs are desperately needed as are donations to help offset the cost of veterinary care and boarding for each dog as they wait for a foster or permanent home to become available. Currently, there is a $500 reward offered for information leading to the arrest of both the people who dumped the dogs as well as those who tortured and killed the puppies. To learn how you can help or get involved, please visit

The only surviving puppy, Miracle


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Urban Paws Magazine 27

Urban Paws Magazine  

December 2011 Issue

Urban Paws Magazine  

December 2011 Issue