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Publisher Jennifer Kitchens (281) 384-5431 Staff Photographer Ashlee Newman Photography Design & Layout Zoeco Creative



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Urban Paws Magazine PO Box 1556 Spring Texas 77383 Web: Twitter: Facebook: Urban Paws’ mission is to be a leading local resource for dog owners regarding regional events, health and wellness information, trends and lifestyle choices. We strive to be a voice to the public for non-profit organizations and promote pet adoption and responsible pet ownership. Dog lovers can pick up Urban Paws monthly at most area veterinarians and pet stores throughout Northwest Houston and Montgomery County, as well as numerous restaurants, cafes and retailers. Subscriptions are also available through the web site. © Copyright 2010. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without the publisher’s permission. Urban Paws magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, feature and idea submissions, or photographs, and such unsolicited 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.

november 2010 SENIOR DOGS MAKE GREAT FRIENDS 10 HEALTHY TAILS 12 The Importance of Pet Dental Health ASK GENEVIEVE 14 Monthly Memoirs of a Furry Genius LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE 18 TRAINING & BEHAVIOR 20 Canine Body Language

GIMME SHELTER 22 Iams Home 4 the Holidays Adoption Campaign

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

Cover photo by Ashlee Newman Photography.

Editorial his month’s issue covers a variety of topics, but one in particular that is near and dear to my heart. November has been declared Adopt-A-Senior-Pet month across the nation. Senior dogs can make wonderful pets. They’ve learned the important things, like shoes are for walking and bones are for chewing.


Many people tend to overlook senior animals in favor of cute little puppies. But, older pets offer many benefits, especially for people who don’t have the time or energy to devote to the antics of puppies. To read more about the benefits of owning a senior pet, turn to page 10. I have had the privilege of sharing the last 15 years of my life with my little Peanut. His hearing is gone, his sight is not far behind, but yet he

Issue 8: Volume 4

still has a skip in his step when he knows it’s time for a treat. He’s been through nearly every phase of my adult life and remains a true friend. I’m so excited to announce a new addition to our editorial staff. Genevieve, a published and very witty Papillon will be sharing her views about us humans. She welcomes your questions and comments, so be sure to send them in. Take my word for it, she’s guaranteed to entertain you! Cooler weather is now upon us. A much needed break from the sweltering heat. Grab a leash, grab Fido and enjoy the fall season by visiting a local dog park or pet festival!

Jennifer Kitchens

The pound sold her to a lab. Don’t let more dogs suffer her fate.


Looking For a Good Time?

Kingwood Barktoberfest Returns

If you’re a pet owner, adoption supporter or just love to see dogs having fun, the fourth annual Kingwood Barktoberfest is a must attend event. Be sure to bring your four-legged friend to this fun-filled (and did I mention free?) event! In 2009, an estimated 4,000 people and their pets walked the parameter of Town Center Park, watching demonstrations, eating and visiting the many vendors lining the streets. One of the more popular attractions each year is the costume contest. Pets of all sizes and breeds don the most creative and fun costumes and compete for prizes and the title of “Best Costume.” Other activities include the flyball and canine freestyle dance demonstrations, low-cost microchipping and the pet owner contests. This year’s event will be full of surprises!

EVENT DETAILS Kingwood Barktoberfest hours are Saturday, November 6th from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Entry is free! Don’t forget to purchase your raffle tickets and t-shirts at the registration booth. Proceeds from the event benefit local animal shelters & rescue groups.

If you are searching for a new furry family member, you’re sure to find a deserving pup with the 20 local rescue organizations on hand. While many of the groups do not offer on-site adoptions, you are encouraged to complete an adoption application, which is subject to approval. The most important aspect of Kingwood Barktoberfest is to raise funds for local rescue organizations and animal shelters. In addition to the raffle ticket sales, a silent auction will also be held the day of the event. There are some wonderful items that have been graciously donated by area businesses and others in the pet industry. Commemorative t-shirts will also be available for sale the day of the event. Over the past four years, Kingwood Barktoberfest has been able to donate thousands of dollars to rescue organizations. Organizations who work year-round to make a difference in the lives of countless animals. If you’re looking for a good time that supports a great cause, come out to Kingwood Barktoberfest! For more information, visit You can also become a fan on Facebook!

Urban Paws Magazine 5

Calendar November 2010 Events NOVEMBER 1 Reiki I for People workshop at Rummy’s Beach Club. 9am - 5 pm. To register, visit NOVEMBER 7-13 National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week NOVEMBER 6 4th Annual Kingwood Barktoberfest pet festival and adoptathon. Vendor booths, contests, demonstrations, raffle and silent auction and so much more! For details, visit NOVEMBER 6 All Texas Dachshund Rescue’s 3rd Annual Fall Pet Festival at the Pasadena Convention Center (Campbell Hall). Noon - 5:30 pm. For more information, visit NOVEMBER 6 Animal Rescue Rally at The Gingerman in Rice Village. Proceeds benefit several Houston area rescue organizations. 1:00 - 5:00 pm. Silent Auction featuring original artwork, jewelry and more. Great raffle items and food and drinks. For more information, visit NOVEMBER 7 Contraband Pre-Test Training at Rummy’s Beach Club. 1:00 - 3:00 pm. For more information, visit NOVEMBER 7 Join Bobbi Leder (former Houston Dogs Examiner) and her English cocker spaniel, Euri, for their paw & book signing/fundraising 6

For a full listing of events, visit:

event at Natural Pawz Heights from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A portion of each book sold will be donated to Gulf Coast Cocker Spaniel Rescue (GCCSR). NOVEMBER 11 Yappy Hour at Barker Street Bakery benefiting Recycled Poms-Houston. 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Raffle tickets are available for just $1 each. For more information call 281.465.1703. NOVEMBER 15 Reiki I for Animals workshop at Rummy’s Beach Club. 9 am - 5 pm. To register, visit NOVEMBER 21 3rd Houston Aeros Chilly’s Pet Pals Night. Aeros fans can bring their dog to a game, as “Chilly’s Pet Pals” with the Texas Stars in town. A portion of the proceeds from the game will benefit the Houston Humane Society. For tickets or more information, visit NOVEMBER 25 - DECEMBER 23 Cuddly canines and frolicking felines will delight the entire family as they play in their specially-decorated windows on the first floor of Neiman Marcus, Galleria. This year, Theater Under the Stars designed the windows in a “Cats” and “Dr. Doolittle” theme. Houston SPCA staff and volunteers will be on hand to assist potential adopters. The adoption fee for dogs and cats is only $65. For more information, visit

Barking Lot

Barkinglot Pawty

great time was had by all at the Barkinglot Pawty fundraiser held at Bark’s 5th Avenue on October 2. The event was held in conjunction with the Houston Dog Park Association (HDPA) to raise funds for the much needed Northwest Houston dog park. The day’s activities included a free training session with Paw it Forward Training, dog wash, vendor booths and pet adoptions.


Dog parks are designated and built specifically for your dog to socialize and exercise safely and off-leash. Houston and surrounding areas now boast over 25 fenced, off-leash dog parks with a variety of amenities including swimming ponds, agility equipment, shaded seating and walking trails. Dog parks encourage responsible dog ownership and exercise for people too. To that end, HDPA spearheaded a grass roots effort to establish a dog park in the Northwest area. The area boundaried by 290, Beltway 8 and 249 is the focus. There are many dog lovers in this area and immense support for a dog park in this area. HDPA will be forming a "Friends of the NW Area Dog Park Committee" to help plan and develop this new dog park. If you'd like to help make this dream a reality for NW Houston dog owners, email to learn how you can help.

Urban Paws Magazine 7

Paw Press News & Happenings in the Houston Area NEW WEB SITE HELPS PET OWNERS SEARCH FOR DOG WALKING SERVICES was launched to help pet owners locate reliable dog walkers in their neighborhood or city. Using’s directory of dog walking companies, users can search by location, neighborhood, or zip code. Information is available for each dog walking company to help you choose a dog walker that best fits your needs. RESCUE DOGS NEEDED FOR CONTRABAND TRAINING AT RUMMY’S BEACH CLUB IN SPRING Tracy Patton, a contraband dog trainer, is on the hunt for rescue dogs to train as contraband dogs. These are the dogs that are sent in to search for drugs and weapons in schools. Dogs must be at least 6 months to 3 years of age, have a minimum weight of about 40 lbs., healthy, up-to-date on vaccinations and on heartworm preventative. Dogs do NOT have to be obedient – the crazier they are, the better, but not aggressive towards other dogs. Think your dog fits the bill? If so, bring him or her to Rummy’s Beach Club for a quick pre-test evaluation with Tracy. For more information, visit or call 713.446.3805. HOUSTON MEDIA COMMUNITY COMES TO THE AID OF THE INNOCENT Travel I-45 south through downtown and you’ll see a larger-than-life billboard that features a sad looking, innocent cat in a police line-up with the headline “Does the punishment fit the crime?” It’s not a perplexing ques8

For a full listing of events, visit:

tion when his punishment could be the death penalty and his only crime is being unwanted and unloved. The billboard is just one of many examples of how the Houston advertising and media community has stepped up to support AAFHouston’s public service campaign for Friends of BARC. Consisting of TV, radio, print and outdoor in Spanish and English, the campaign hopes to encourage more Houstonians to support Friends of BARC, by volunteering, donating money and adopting from BARC, the city animal shelter. TAKE THE BEAGLE CHALLENGE! Houston Beagle & Hound Rescue (HBHR), an all-volunteer organization, cares for countless beagles and hound breeds. They are asking the pet lovers of Houston to take the Beagle Challenge. The challenge is to get 100 people to donate $10 a month. If that goal is reached, one of their former adopters has agreed to donate $1,000 of their own money. The HBHR adoption fee is just $200 for a healthy, happy, vibrant Beagle. On average, it costs HBHR $500 for each Beagle that they take in. Almost all are heartworm positive, have worms, ear infections, have never had vaccines, need a dental and need to be spayed or neutered. Questions? Comments? Call 281-384-5431. Want to submit event information? Visit www.urbanpawsmagazine and click on Add an Event. We’ll do our best to include your event as space allows. A listing of events in full is available on our online calendar.

Heard ‘Round the Fire Hydrant

Alpha K9 Pet Services is offering low-cost boarding to Houston area rescue organizations. Contact Urban Paws for more information! PET-BIOS EXPANDING MARKET TO TEXAS

Pet-Bios has developed an exclusive and fun approach to featuring pets and their unique charm, by displaying them in their very own custom biographical portrait. Each Pet-Bio is tailored to your pet and incorporates specific information such as: breed, nicknames, birthday, "human" peeves, special skills, friends, favorite food, TV show – just to name a few – resulting in a fantastic display of love and adoration towards your favorite friend. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, ferrets, horses, hamsters, snakes, lizards – no pet is left behind! Each Pet-Bio is specially formatted to fit a standard 8-1/2" x 11" frame so that you can hang it on the wall at home...or feature it on your desk at work. To order your very own Pet-Bio, visit

CALL TO DOODY HELPS RAISE MUCH NEEDED FUNDS FOR PETS IN NEED Call to Doody recently sponsored the Yappy Hour at Barker Street Bakery. Over $1,400 was raised for Abandoned Animal Rescue (AAR). Yappy Hour brings together dogs of all breeds in a casual, non-structured setting and raises money for a local pet-related charities. If your business is interested in becoming a sponsor for a future event, contact Barker Street for more information. BARRIO DOGS UNVEILS NEW WEBSITE Barrio Dogs, a non-profit organization aims to educate and raise awareness of proper animal care in low income communities recently launched its new web site. The new site lists information about the various programs that are offered, upcoming events and available dogs up for adoption. To learn more about Barrio Dogs, visit FOUR SEASONS NOW OFFERING DISCOUNT VACCINATION CLINIC Recognizing that everyone, especially pet owners, could use a break during hard economic times, Four Seasons Veterinary Hospital recently announced that it would begin offering a discount vaccination clinic. Pet owners can receive a basic pet exam and vaccinations of their choice, on a first come, first serve basis. Clients can also purchase heartworm preventatives and flea prevention products during the vaccination clinic. The discount vaccination clinic is held every second Saturday of the month from noon until 4:00pm at Four Seasons Veterinary Hospital.

Urban Paws Magazine 9

Senior Dogs Make Great Friends By Jennifer Kitchens

Photo by Chris


ovember has been declared Adopt-ASenior-Pet month by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Animal shelters and rescue groups know all too well how difficult it can be to find homes for pets in their golden years.


As with all stages of life, dogs in their golden years require some special considerations. For example, not unlike their human counterparts, geriatric dogs tend to slow down – in some cases way down. Older animals tend to sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time. It is more difficult to roust them out of bed in the morning, and they may become a bit confused, even snippy, if startled out of a deep slumber. Four out of the five senses diminish with age, leaving only the sense of touch as acute as it was in their more youthful days. Hearing loss is noted by owners who feel that their companion has tuned them out. Such a loss may help to explain why older animals seem to sleep more soundly or react more aggressively to being woken up. Cataracts, eye diseases and cloudy lenses may dim the sense of sight in your older pet. Most animals can compensate quite well for loss of vision and move about with a sense of ease. Sometimes owners do not realize that a pet has gone blind until the furniture is moved and an 10

animal loses it’s way in unfamiliar terrain. A dog that once cherished walks may be somewhat reluctance to leave the house if their sight is diminished. In this case, a visit to the veterinary opthalmologist may be in order. Just like humans, many older pets gain too much weight. Obesity can be attributed to reduced activity, overfeeding, and a lower metabolic rate. The additional weight can add stress on the heart and can exacerbate arthritis, resulting in an pet that is even less likely to exercise. So, how do you help an overweight pooch? Diet and exercise. Foods that can be found at both grocery stores and specialty shops are formulated with your senior companion in mind. Prescription diets are also available for dogs with heart, liver and kidney problems. Moderate play can keep muscles toned, blood circulating, and keep the digestive system moving by preventing constipation. Our senior pet’s years demand our alertness. Weigh your companion every several months. If you pet’s weight changes, in either direction, bring this to your vet’s attention, as this could indicate a serious medical problem. Frequent grooming can also keep you in touch with any physical changes on your dog’s body. Keep your eyes and nose open for tumors, lesions, lumps, discolorations or bad breath, and report any such changes to your veterinarian. Early treatment can prolong your pet’s life considerably. Some dogs, behaviorally, have become set in their ways and resist change. Slow introductions to new environments and activities are in order.

Don’t believe the old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Of course you can - it just takes a bit longer. Many people believe that bringing in a new, younger companion will add some life into their old pet. This is not always the case. If Rover has been the only dog, a new addition can add more stress and cause him to stop eating, become snappy and irritable, or go into hiding. It could also lower his resistance to disease. But, if your dog has always been a part of a multi-animal family and is in relatively good health, a new household member may fit in with little fuss. Although geriatric dogs are seldom the ideal new companion for a young child, they do quite well in a working household or with a senior citizen. If you are interested in providing a few quality years for a canine senior, visit your local animal shelter or rescue organization.

We all want our pet dogs to live as long as possible, but the fact of the matter is that on average, certain dog breeds live longer than others. This might be a consideration when choosing a dog breed and it is therefore useful information to know before hand. In general, smaller dogs live longer lives than larger dogs. This is partially due to the fact that the bodies of larger dogs must work harder than the bodies of smaller dogs. With that said, the life expectancy of any dog is also determined by the quality of its life, what it eats and how well it is taken care of. Dogs living healthy lives can live to up to 20+ years, depending on their breed, environment and how well they are cared for. Pets, like humans, who take care of themselves are living longer lives. Our pets, however, are dependent on us for their longevity.

Healthy Tails The Importance of Pet Dental Health

By Dr. Jim Amyx, Four Seasons Veterinary Hospital

id you know that 68 - 85% of all pets three years of age and older have some form of periodontal or dental disease? They do, and most pet owners are unaware of its presence and the problems that it can create for their pet.


Periodontal disease is dental disease that occurs around the outside of the tooth. It can cause bad breath, sore gums, loss of teeth, bone damage to the jaw, and even infection in your pet’s heart, liver, kidney, or anywhere else the bloodstream travels. Sound serious? It is and it all starts with plaque that has turned into tarter. Look in your pet’s mouth. Do you see clean, white teeth embedded in healthy pink gums? Or, do you see white teeth tinged with a yellow substance at the gum line surrounded by red, swollen gums? That yellow substance is tarter. Yes, tarter just like you and I can have on our teeth. When we notice tarter on our teeth, we visit the dentist because we know the tarter is too hard to simply brush away and only the dentist can clean it off. If we don’t visit the dentist, we get cavities, or worse. It is basically the same for your pet. Tarter builds up, blocks oxygen to the tooth, and fosters a conducive environment for bone eating bacteria. Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie! The bacteria can literally eat the bone around the tooth causing, at best, the tooth to fall out – at worst, a broken jaw or systemic infection in your pet’s body. Ideally, just as you do for yourself, do for your pet. Brush their teeth daily and schedule annual dental exams with your veterinarian. Admittedly, 12

it’s sometimes hard to add another daily task to your already busy schedule, but it’s something that you should try. Studies have shown that brushing your pet’s teeth just three times a week will maintain healthy teeth; however, if the teeth are yellow and covered with tarter, this brushing pattern won’t solve the problem. You need to thoroughly clean your pet’s teeth and that includes a visit to your pet’s dentist – his veterinarian. Once your pet’s teeth are clean, there are many products on the market to help keep them that way. Pet toothbrushes, pet (NOT human) toothpaste, dental wipes, dental rinses, fluoride sealants and plaque repellents, dental treats and pet food specially formulated to help your keep your pet’s teeth clean. So you’re not alone – you have tools – you just need to provide the action. It’s not difficult to realize that your pet probably has the worst dental hygiene in your family. Just think about it: They can’t brush their teeth, they can’t floss, so they eat and eat for days, sometimes years, without ever cleaning their teeth. Smell your pet’s breath. Look inside their mouth. If you don’t like what you smell or what you see, schedule a dental exam for your pet. You, your family and your pet will be happy that you did.

Ask Genevieve... monthly memoirs of a furry genius Hello all my new friends, As a new columnist for Urban Paws, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Genevieve, and I'm a Papillon. I'm also beautiful and extremely smart. When I was a puppy the breeder kept putting newspapers down in my pen, so I started reading them. And I started doing research into those strange twolegged creatures that were all around me. I found out that they're called "humans" and that dogs like to keep them around for entertainment purposes. When I was only one-year-old I decided to start publishing my research and I soon became one of the best-known author-dogs in the country. I've done a lot of touring and many television interviews along the way, and I've been featured in lots of magazines and newspapers. My latest book is Small Dog, Big Life: Memoirs of a Furry Genius, published by Simon & Schuster. I

barktate my books to my human assistant, Denny, and he translates them from Doggerel into English. I really have two missions in life. One is to teach my fellow dogs the best ways to ascend to their rightful positions as heads of the household. The other is to make humans laugh (they give us more treats when they're in a good mood). So that's what I'll be doing in this column. I'll also be answering questions from both dogs and humans (I might answer a cat if it seems sweet). Email your questions to me at Kibbles and kisses, Genevieve

Genevieve's website is Her books are available on and She also has a Facebook fan page under her full name of Genevieve Highpoint La Reine.

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Don’t Judge a Dog by It’s Cover

hat do we love about our dogs? Most of all, we love that they love us. They are always happy to see us. They love it when we give them attention. They are always up for a walk or a game of fetch. They will let us sit by them on the sofa as long as we pet them continuously.


Dogs are able to give us this type of love and affection regardless of how they look or who their parents are. No matter how old they become, they still will greet you warmly when you come home and they’ll give you just as many kisses. Why, then, do certain dogs have more trouble finding good homes and families? Perhaps they are older, have unusual physical characteristics, or are an unplanned mixed-breed. These quali-

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By: Gretchen Loftus

ties do not affect how well a dog fits in with a family or how loving a dog is. Cindy Roth with Houston Area Doberman Rescue gave us some examples of great dogs that are waiting to find good homes. One is Sonny, a fawn Doberman. According to Roth, “Potential adopters are hesitant to consider adopting a blue or fawn Doberman due to a misconception that the dog will have recurring coat or health problems. While they do have a tendency toward a thinner, coarser coat, this is a cosmetic issue.” Looking past Sonny’s coat, you will find a sweet dog with good manners that, as Roth puts it, “seems very wise for his five years.” Another dog, Nikki, is a seven-year old black and tan female Doberman. “Being a senior in the dog world,” says Roth, “Nikki is running into some difficulties being adopted due to people wanting younger dogs.” Depending on a potential adopter’s home environment, an older dog might be more suitable than a puppy. Those who haven’t yet considered a senior pet would surely appreciate certain qualities, such as a calmer disposition and a tendency to be house broken, that are more likely found in older dogs. Then there is Devon, the black and tan Doberman with a tail. Who doesn’t love to see a dog wag its tail? Roth acknowledges that most who are interested in a Doberman would prefer a dog with a docked tail. Again, looking past the wagging tail you’ll find a happy, loving dog that is anxious to please. When looking for the perfect dog, many people may be looking for picture-perfect. By doing so you may miss out on a truly great dog with just the right personality for your family and energy level for your lifestyle. And they’ll give you just as much love, affection and loyalty as any other dog—regardless of how old you are or how you look.



Dogs Lie?


f you’re like most dog owners, you sleep on the edge of your bed, with a small square of the covers only large enough to cover an ankle. We sacrifice a good night’s sleep to accommodate Fido’s needs and we wonder why we wake up feeling so tired. According to a recent pet owner study conducted by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of the participants slept with their dogs. The survey found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.. So, is it healthy to let Fido sleep in your bed? As we discovered, not always.

Cover-Hogging, Snoring Hounds One of the biggest problems with sharing your bed with Fido is that he can disrupt your sleep. 18

By: Jennifer Kitchens

A study released by the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Clinic revealed that nearly half of the patients participating in the study slept with at least one dog in their bed, of which 53% considered their sleep to be disrupted to some extent nightly. It’s recommended that in order to be fully rested, a person needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. This is nearly impossible when you have a dog that’s scratching all night or a loud snoring Chihuahua next to you.

Allergies Another big problem that pets can pose is allergies. Pet hair, dander and dirt can be triggers for people with allergies. Derek Damin with Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, says people who suffer from pet allergies or asthma should not sleep with their dog or cat or even allow them in the bedroom. “Use a HEPA filter and keep them out of the bedroom to give your nose a few hours a day to recover,” Damin says. Even when they discover that their pets are causing their allergy problems, studies show that most pet owners won’t kick Fido out of the bed. For those people, he recommends allergy shots to build up a tolerance to the pet dander that causes allergic reactions.

“Even when they dis-

cover that their pets are causing their allergy problems,



owners won’t kick Fido out of the bed.”

Are there any benefits to having dogs sleep in the bed? Absolutely! If you’re like me, you have no trouble falling or staying asleep, regardless of whether there’s a dog in the bed or not. “If you’re not allergic, there’s really no big issue with having a dog in the bed,.” says Damin. From helping to control blood pressure and stress, there are many medical benefits to having a pet. Patients who have dogs have also been known to have better emotional health than their counterparts. They offer unconditional love and affection; their presence alone helps reduce loneliness for sick people who have otherwise been isolated. They can also provide a sense of security for people who live alone and having Fido sleep in their bed makes them feel safer. So what do you do if Fido’s been hitting the sack with you for years and you want him to sleep in his own bed? There are several ways to approach this. For example, try making it fun for Fido by having him jump off of your bed and into his. When he does so, reward him with lots of praise and affection. Expect him to make attempts to jump back on your bed every ten minutes or so. As with all approaches, remember to be consistent. Each time that he jumps on your bed, put

him back in his bed. Some even recommend using a spray bottle filled with water to lightly spritz Fido when he attempts to get in bed with you. Baby gates are also an effective deterrent to keeping Fido out of the bedroom and off of your bed. If your dog is a jumper, you may need to consider stacking one on top of the other. Only you can make the decision about the sleeping arrangements in your home. You have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of letting Fido sleep in your bed. If you decide that it’s best for him to hit the hay in his own bed, experiment with different approaches. Consistency is key to getting a good night’s sleep - for both you and Fido.

Urban Paws Magazine 19

Training & Behavior Canine Body Language

ody language is one of the ways your dog communicates with you. Body position, facial expression and tail movements are all clues your dog gives to convey what he may be thinking or feeling. Learning to interpret your dog’s body language will help you better understand your dog, increase communication, and help develop a stronger relationship. It is amazing how much a dog can express without ever uttering a word!


The following are some signs related to each type of body language. Your dog may not display all cues listed for each posture, but you will have a general idea of what the behaviors mean. Relaxed Posture This posture is considered your baseline for all other displays of body language. A relaxed dog looks natural, just as you would when you’re relaxed. He is probably looking around and thinking, “It’s no big deal!” Eyes relaxed

Ears up (not forward) or slightly relaxed

Mouth relaxed (may be slightly open) and tongue may be visible

Weight evenly distributed on all four feet

Muscles do not appear tense

Tail down and may have a slow wag

By: Chrissie DeCesare, Paw it Forward Training

Alert Posture An alert dog has been stimulated by something interesting in his environment. He is standing at attention, ready to react depending on what happens next. This does not mean your dog will react to whatever has his attention, and neither should you. Your dog can feed off your energy! Do not react until there is reason to do so.

Eyes wide open with alert eye contact

Tail pointing away, sometimes straight in the air

Mouth closed Leans slightly forward

Stands tall on all four paws

Playful or Play Bow Posture The play bow invites others to play. Dogs may also use a play bow to communicate that any prior rough behavior was not intended to be threatening. Dogs may also assume this posture if they have done something wrong, to let you know they meant no harm and really just wanted to play. Tail up, usually wagging

Ears in alert position

Mouth may be open with a slight grin, sometimes mischievous


Ears pricked & forward, may move back and forth as if intently listening

Forepaws bent and extended

Front end lowered, hind end up

Aggressive-Dominant or Offensive Threat Posture This is a very threatening posture communicating confidence and dominance. Dogs in this posture are preparing to attack and, if pressed or confronted, will bite and will fight.

Submissive-Fearful or Active Submission Posture A dog displaying active submission behavior is offering signs of submission to a dog or person to avoid any additional threats or confrontations—a dog’s way of waving the white flag, if you will. The fearful dog has hopes the dog or individual causing the submissive behavior will retreat or show signs of friendliness. Indirect and brief eye contact

Direct eye contact, fixed stare

Hackles on neck & back raised

Corners of mouth and lips pushed forward (snarl)

Ears back

Stands as tall as possible, while putting most of his weight on forepaws

Mouth formed into a worried grin Raises one forepaw

Body lowered, hind end low, may appear to walk sideways

Tail down and with a slight wag

Completely Submissive-Very Fearful or Passive Submission Posture A completely submissive dog is very afraid of a confrontation. He is signaling to the dominant dog or human absolute surrender, assuring that he is of no threat. This is the most vulnerable position for a dog. Eyes narrowed and avoiding eye contact

Mouth formed into a worried grin

Uppermost hind leg raised to expose groin area Tucked tail between legs, may slightly wag

Ears flattened back

Exposes throat

Ears forward, lifted as high as possible Tail up high, stiff

May wag tail with short & fast wags

May walk stiff-legged, as if stalking

Aggressive-Fearful Dog or Defensive Threat Posture Be very concerned about dogs in defensive threat posture. These dogs are showing signs of fear, or submission and aggression. Dogs displaying this behavior are afraid and may attack if pushed. You may have heard the term “fearbiters” relating to this posture. People often read them wrong, thinking they are harmless because the dog is showing signs of submission. It is important to look beyond the facial expression and hone in on the dog’s posture. Defensive threat is the most dangerous body posture of dogs. Ears flattened back against head

Hackles on neck & back raised

Nose wrinkled Rolls onto back exposing under belly, may remain still if touched

Direct eye contact, fixed stare, eyes large & round Corners of mouth drawn back, lips slightly curled, may slightly expose teeth

Tail tucked

Weight shifts to hind paws, as if thinking of retreating

Body is in a crouched position

Urban Paws Magazine 21

Mike Arms, president of Helen Woodward Animal Center (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) and founder of the Iams Home 4 the Holidays annual pet adoption campaign, tells us why pet adoption is a better choice over pet stores and backyard breeders. Arms highlighted the following top reasons why pet adoption is the right choice:

·• Often times, the cost for adopting a pet can be significantly less than paying the higher costs associated with buying an animal from a pet store or backyard breeder. And the cost of your adopted pet often includes vaccinations, deworming, spaying or neutering.

• There are millions of beautiful, amazing animals waiting for families to • As many as four million “Even if you’re not able love them and we want to orphaned dogs and cats are help them find their forever euthanized each year due to to adopt a pet, there are home. The more foot traffic shelter over-crowding and lack still plenty of ways you we can get into these animal of awareness about the impororganizations through awaretance of pet adoption. Animal can get involved to help ness and education, the betorganizations and pet rescues homeless animals.” ter, so these orphaned anihave a wide variety of commals will no longer be homepanion animals to choose from, ranging from less. kittens, puppies, adults, mature, blended breeds and purebreds. Mike Arms explains the best ways to go about adopting a new pet: • If your heart is set on a purebred, it’s important to know that 25 percent of the dogs avail• Research is a vital part of the pet adoption able for adoption in shelters are in fact pureprocess, so we encourage prospective adopters breds. There are also many breed-specific rescue to make several visits to their local shelter durgroups around the country to adopt from. ing the process. Utilizing online resources and your local shelter websites is also highly recom• Many responsible animal organizations have mended so you clearly understand the needs of processes and services in place designed to help your perspective pet before making this impormake the best adoption matches possible, from tant decision. assessing an animals' health and temperament to offering special resources such as adoption • Volunteering at a local animal organization and counseling, follow-up assistance, pet parenting spending time with a variety of animals can help and dog-training classes, medical services or you determine if pet ownership is right for you, behavior counseling. as well as which dog or cat best suits your lifestyle. 22

ing forever homes for orphaned pets. Founded by Helen Woodward Animal Center and supported by Iams, IH4TH began in 1999 with just 14 participating animal shelters in San Diego County. Since it began 11 years ago, IH4TH – along with more than 3,500 pet adoption centers – has helped 4.6 million families experience the joy of pet adoption, including nearly 1.4 million pet adoptions from this past year alone. For more information, please visit or follow us at or

• Fostering programs are offered by many animal organizations. Since many shelters are crowded with homeless pets, foster families provide the love and stability these animals need while they await their forever home. Fostering a pet is a wonderful way to determine if the animal is a good fit for your lifestyle, and in most cases, the foster parent has the first chance to adopt the dog or cat they’ve been caring for. Arms suggests you ask yourself the following questions before considering adopting a new pet: • Why do I want to adopt a pet? • Am I ready to make a long-term commitment? • Is my family ready for a pet? • Will I be able to spend quality time with my new pet? • Do I know what kind of pet is right for me? • Can I afford to care for my new pet’s health & safety? • Am I prepared to deal with an animal’s health care? • Is my home adequate for an animal companion? • Am I willing to train my new animal companion? • Am I prepared to pet-proof my home?

As one of the most successful pet adoption programs in the world, IH4TH partners with thousands of animal organizations dedicated to find-

About Mike Arms After completing his education and serving a tour of duty as a United States Marine in Vietnam, Mike settled in New York in 1969 and accepted a position with the ASPCA. In 1977 he accepted a position with the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, N.Y. Arms’ success as an “Adoptions Guru” began during his years at North Shore where he created new ways to increase public awareness about animals, increase pet adoptions and lower euthanasia rates. Mike began touring the U.S. as an adoptions consultant while serving at North Shore. In 1997, due to the demand for his services, he began consulting full-time and soon became one of the nation’s foremost animal shelter consultants. In 1999 Arms accepted the position of President and Executive Director of Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego. Under Arms’ direction, Helen Woodward Animal Center soon tripled the number of pet adoptions completed each month. The education program began setting records for the number of youngsters that were receiving humane education, rising from fewer than 4,000 to nearly 25,000 per year. In an effort to encourage families to adopt from a shelter or rescue instead of supporting puppy mills, Arms created an adoption drive called Home 4 the Holidays. In 1999, Home 4 the Holidays began with just 14 participating animal shelters in San Diego County. Arms quickly partnered with Iams to help bring greater awareness to orphaned animals. Today, Iams Home 4 the Holidays – along with nearly 3,500 animal centers – has helped more than 3 million families experience the joy of adoption, including more than 1.2 million pet adoptions last year alone.

Urban Paws Magazine 23

Gimme Shelter

Join us in helping our four-legged friends find loving homes.

Houston Area Doberman Rescue HADR is a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer-staffed group serving as advocates for Doberman Pinschers who have become lost, abandoned, or abused. We vaccinate, microchip, spay/neuter, and treat heartworms before the dogs are placed in new homes. Only dogs of stable temperament and reasonable health are placed through our program. We look for the right home for each dog. Matches are made based upon the needs of the individual adoptive homes and the temperament of the dog. We are dedicated to providing rescue, rehabilitation and placement of Doberman Pinschers in responsible and caring homes in addition to providing a resource for public education on the breed and responsible dog ownership. Check our web site for more adoptable dogs. Donations can be made to HADR. Every penny received in adoption fees and donations goes towards treating the Doberman Pinschers entering our program.

Sonny is a stunner – a fawn Doberman sporting perfect ears. He is simply an elegant dog. Sonny came to us from a notorious kill shelter in Louisiana. He arrived seriously emaciated and anemic. We are certainly glad we were able to give this guy a second chance. He is very sweet, crates well, has good manners and seems very wise for his five years. Sonny is a tall, gracious boy weighing around 80 pounds.


Ms. Whitney is a mature, senior gem around eight years old. Whitney was turned over to HADR by owners who had owned her for over five years and simply discarded her. This once extremely obese girl is now looking slim and trim having lost 20+ pounds! Whitney would do fine as a single dog or with a male dog, but no female companions for this girl. She would do well in a moderately active home that appreciates her calm, sweet demeanor and values how simply wonderful she is with children.

Nikki is a black and tan spayed female with natural ears and a docked tail. She is seven years old and weighs 88 pounds. She has been in a home environment with young children and she is housebroken. She is somewhat calm, but has energy to roughhouse with other dogs. She will be slow to bond with a new family, but once bonded she will be a trustworthy and a loving member of her new family. She has the typical personality of an older, settled dog; calm most of the time, with energy when needed.

Adopt a dog today!

Gimme Shelter

Adopt A Rescued Friend AARF is a 501(c)3 non-profit, no kill, all breed organization. Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home companion animals with families who are ready for a lifetime commitment. We foster in our homes and depend solely upon donations from the public for support. All of our officers, directors and fosters are unpaid volunteers. The only compensation we receive is the knowledge that we are making a difference. Check our web site for more adoptable dogs. Our group is always in need of donations in order to continue to give the needed medical care to our rescues. Adoption fees do not begin to cover all of the medical costs. Any donation, no matter how small is a big help and is greatly appreciated. Since we are a 501(c)3, donations do qualify for tax deductions but please check with your tax expert. Please help us to continue to help them. Thank you.

Nellie, a two-year-old Miniature Schnauzer/Yorkie mix was abandoned in the middle of a hot August day tied to a tree. She had five three-week-old puppies whose eyes were not yet open. Nellie and her puppies are now healthy and available for adoption. Nellie is a lap dog who just wants to be with people and have attention. She is house trained and knows how to use a doggy door. She plays well with the dogs in her foster home and ignores the cats.

Chloe is a three and a half year old Boxer mix. She came to us 3 years ago very sick. She was found by one of our family members in very poor health with several types of worms. After a long stay at the vet and several hundreds of dollars, she has been the perfect pet. Today she is healthy and happy. She plays well with children and other dogs. She loves to play in the water and be sprayed with the garden hose. She will make a great addition to any 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.

Kari, a five-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, was rescued from a backyard breeder who bred who too often and too much. She was covered in fleas, underweight and had an infection so severe that had she not been spayed when she was, she would have been dead in less than a week. She is such a sweet and loving dog and deserves to have the same love in return.

Urban Paws Magazine 25

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Urban Paws Magazine  

November 2010 Issue

Urban Paws Magazine  

November 2010 Issue