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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Assorted Topics [Part 1/2] FAQ

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:02 GMT

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/misc/part1 URL: http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/misc.01.html Last-modified: 20 Nov 1997
======= There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via the Web at http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/lists/faq-list.html, or via email by sending your message to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with send usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list in the body of the message. This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below. It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s). This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty. ========== Assorted Topics (Part I) Author Cindy Tittle Moore, Cindy Tittle Moore, rpd-info@netcom.com Table of Contents * A New Baby * Docking and Cropping * Dog Parks * Dog Vision * Early Neutering * Example of a Spay/Neuter Contract * Facts and Opinions about Neutering + Practical reasons for keeping your dog inta ct + Practical reasons for neutering your dog + Definite myths about neutering + Ethical considerations over neutering + References * Finding a Home for a Dog * Guard or Protection Dogs * Hiking and Backpacking with your Dog * Holidays with your Dog * Housetraining Topics + Getting the dog to go consistently in one a rea + Housetraining an older dog + Sudden onset of marking + Peeing in one spot * Invisible and Electric Containment Fences + Invisible containment + Electric containment * Commercial Kennels _________________________________________________________________ A New Baby Introduce the dog to all the new things you get for a new baby: let it investigate the crib, baby clothes and that sort of thing. Dogs generally seem to know that something is up, especially as the woman gets closer to her time. After the baby is born, but before you bring it home, see if you can take something home for the dog to smell, like a blanket or an undershirt the baby had on. Let the dog smell it thoroughly. When the baby comes home, try to hold everything else normal, feeding time, any morning walks, the like. When you bring the baby in, put the dog on a down-stay and introduce the dog to the baby. Have one of the parents hold the baby in their lap and let the dog sniff the baby. Let it lick the baby if you're up to that, but do NOT let the dog nuzzle (push with its nose) or paw at the baby. It is important to introduce the dog to the baby. This makes it clear to the dog that the baby is a new member of the pack. If you exclude the dog from the baby, it may try to attack this "non-member" to protect its pack. Include the dog in the daily routine with the baby. Give it the same, if not a little more, amount of attention it always got. You do not want it to feel like it has been displaced or ignored in favor of the baby. _________________________________________________________________ Docking and Cropping Docking is the practice of removing all or part of a dog's tail. Cropping is the removal of a portion of its ears so that they stand up. Tails are docked within the first three days of a puppy's life; cropping may occur at different ages but is typically about 4 months of age. Some people claim that docked puppies are slower to develop coordination for walking and running -- the shorter the dock the greater the effect. Docked puppies do catch up in their development. Most docked breeds are left with at least part of the tail and many are left with enough to be fully functional for communication. Breeds with short crops which don't need help to stand upright are done quite early. Breeds with tall crops that may need taping and bracing are done a bit later. The practices have their origin hundreds of years ago when dogs were cropped and docked to prevent injury to those extremities. Ears can be vulnerable in fights, tails can be vulnerable to underbrush when hunting. Docked terrier tails provide a secure "handle" by which to pull a dog safely out of a holes and tunnels For certain breeds, docking and cropping is required by the breed standard. The exception is in countries that outlaw the practices, such as the United Kingdom, much of Europe, and Australia. Today, there is little practical use for docking and cropping a dog. There are movements to change breed standards to reflect this, although some people and organizations feel very strongly the other way. There is at least one practical reason to have some hunting dogs' tails docked. A hunter once described his experiences with a hunting dog he decided not to dock -- and was horrified several years later with the sores that the dog would pick up on hunting trips. He then had the tail docked, but of course the procedure is more painful to an adult dog. If your dog does not hunt, this is moot. Many terrier people who have their dogs go to ground feel that tail docking is a practical and useful procedure in their sport. _________________________________________________________________ Dog Parks This is a summary of information about dog parks that has been gleaned from the helpful responses of several netters. Compiled by Susan Kennedy. It seems that most of the responses came from people who are on the West coast, so maybe the concept of a dog park will drift across the country, as so many California things do. Several kinds of dog parks were described. The first is a wilderness area or beach that allows dogs to be off leash. This kind probably allows your dog to exercise, but is no guarantee that he will find other dogs to romp with or that his safety is assured. The second kind is a smaller area, probably with a fence, where the grass is probably mowed. This area is typically in a city park, and is set aside specifically for dogs. A third kind is an area that does not officially allow dogs, but that police chose not to enforce the leash laws. One dog park was described as a part-time one; hours and days were limited. Still another park is one set aside specifically to train hunting dogs. This one is funded by hunting license fees. But no one complains if non-hunting dogs are exercised there. It was mentioned that typically more upscale cities were likely to have official dog parks. In most cases, the expenses associated with the dog park are paid from the coffers that pay for all other park expenses. One case required a permit, and a fee of $25 per year. One officially sanctioned park was described as a 200' by 600' area, enclosed by a 4 ft. chain link fence. Dog owners are asked to clean up after their pets; in some cases, plastic bags and trash cans are provided for this. It is unclear how careful dog owners actually are about this, or how important it is. It would seem difficult to observe your dog (especially if you had multiple ones) at all times, especially if the landscape prevented a clear view. On the other hand, 20 dogs in one day can generate a lot of output! If it's a concern, you can always make sure your pet has eliminated before going into the park. The dog parks are not policed in any way, other than peer pressure from other dog owners. No attempts are made to screen dogs before using the parks for shots, diseases, fleas, etc. Fighting did not seem to be a problem. It was mentioned that if a new dog arrives and there appears to be the possibility of a fight, courtesy suggests that the new dog wait outside until the other dog has left. Another courtesy rule is that the owner of the agressive dog should take him out if play gets too rough. Verbal control is the most important tool for a dog owner. As might be expected, most dogs at dog parks are medium or larger dogs. Surprisingly, liability did not seem to be a concern for owners who frequent dog parks. But the presence of children (particularly if not accompanied by a parent) should be a concern for everyone, since an injury to the child could happen even in play. Several people suggested that a petition would be a good method to get a sanctioned dog park. One mentioned using as one of the reasons the importance of socializing dogs with other dogs so that they have better manners (towards people), but proving this is a bit difficult. A fee tacked on to the pet license was suggested, or an admission fee. Several people have mentioned a situation that involved taking their friendly, well-behaved dogs to unofficial dog parks, but having a problem when the dog approaches another dog who is fearful of him. The friendly dog chases the fearful dog, and the owner of the fearful dog is upset. The owner of the fearful dog then calls the police. And because dogs are not officially allowed off leash, there may be a penalty for this. For reference: York and Goodavage, _The Dog Lover's Companion - The Inside Scoop on Where to Take Your Dog in the Bay Area and Beyond_. Foghorn press (415) 241-9550 _________________________________________________________________ Dog Vision Excerpted from: Vaughan, Dana (Ph.D.), "Canine:Color Vision," _Gazette_, May 1991: The article explained the following about "color vision" in dogs/people: Normal Human Color range includes VIBGYOR (each letter is a color Violet->Red). The normal ability to see this wide range of color is due to the presence of three cone cell types: blue, green and red cones. The range of colors seen by deuteranopic (green-blind) humans and dogs are probably the same. Color Vision in the VIB portion of the spectrum is normal. However, both deuteranopes and dogs lack the green cones and thus have a color vision deficit in GYO portion of the spectrum. This means that blue-green appears white. Colors more toward the Red (R) portion of the spectrum appears more and more yellowish. Red itself thus appears yellow. Hunters take advantage of this by using bright orange bumpers while training: it's difficult for the dog to actually see the bumper while the trainer has no trouble spotting them. Note that it is difficult for a dog to distinguish between objects which are green, yellow and orange. Note also that the colors red and orange are hard for a dog to tell apart, but that "red" is easily distinguished from blue. Thus dogs are colorblind, but not to the extent of seeing only black and white. _________________________________________________________________ Early Neutering Many animal shelters have instituted mandatory neutering policies in an attempt to reduce the staggering number of unwanted dogs in the US. However, compliance is difficult to ensure, even with financial incentives and inexpensive neutering clinics. Paired with the current practice among US veterinarians to neuter at about 5-8 months, it is very difficult to ensure that animals that should not be bred do in fact not breed. Some animal shelters, in responding to these problems, are looking into early neuter programs. Under these programs, puppies and kittens are neutered before they leave the shelter. Widespread adoption of early neuter programs by shelters should have a positive impact on the pet overpopulation problem. The advantages for responsible breeders are also obvious: pet-quality puppies can be neutered before they are sold, assuring the breeder that there will be no further puppies out of those puppies. Obviously a number of questions have been raised over the appropriate age for nuetering animals, and the safety of anesthetizing young puppies. Some new data is now available that shows * Early neutering did not affect food intake or weight gain. * Early neutering did not result in inactivity or lethargy, in fact the neutered dogs were slightly more active than their sexually intact counterparts. * Early neutering contributed to a slightly higher growth rate * Seven-week old puppies tolerated anesthesia well. * Spaying younger puppies was easier than spaying at the traditional age since there was less fat and less vasculature (resulting in less blood loss), reducing surgery time. Since there are important differences between neutering 7-week-old puppies and 7-month-old puppies, not every veterinarian can perform the early neutering surgery. The more extensive experience many vets have in neutering at the traditional age generally means they will not opt to change, thus for now it may be difficult to find vets experienced with early neutering. Summarized from Marrion, Ruth, DMV. "New Views on Neutering," in _Purebred Dogs/American Kennel Gazette_, April 1992 (pp50-54). Other online pages: * http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/3960/early.htm * http://www.primenet.com/~joell/altering.htm * http://www.he.net/~virginia/00000024.html * http://www.king.igs.net/~brica/esp.htm _________________________________________________________________ Example of a Spay/Neuter Contract ____(Your name and address)___________________agrees to sell the following animal to ___________(Buyer's name and address)___ for the sum of __________________. BREED: SEX: SIRE: DAM: DATE OF BIRTH: LITTER NUMBER: MARKINGS: Registration papers will be held by the seller until proof of spaying/neutering has be received from a licensed, reputable veterinarian. When proof has been received via a receipt and/or written statement for the vet, the registration papers and the sum of __($50 or whatever seems appropriate)___ will be forwarded to the buyer's address. Spaying/neutering of this animal is _required_ to receive the registration papers. It is understood at the time of sale that this dog is not considered to be of show or breeding quality, but is a representative of its breed and is structurally and temperamentally suited as a companion and/or obedience dog. This dog is guaranteed for two weeks against any general health irregularities, and it is recommended that the buyer have the puppy examined by a reputable veterinarian during this period. A refund of purchase price, upon return of the puppy, will be given for any puppy found unsatisfactory during this time limit. No other guarantee is given except in the case of a genetic or temperamental defect which develops, at any time during the dog's life, to the extent that it renders the dog unsuitable as a pet. In the case of temperamental defect the buyer agrees to return the dog to the seller for a full refund of purchase price. In the case of genetic or hereditary defect, the buyer will have the option of a replacement under the same conditions stated in this contract when one becomes becomes available, _or_ a refund of the purchase price. If at any time, the above dog must leave permanent ownership of the buyer, the seller must be notified. This dog is not to be placed in a shelter or humane society without prior notification to the seller. Failure to follow this contract will entitle the seller to the amount of $400 as a result of breach of contract and any legal fees associated with legal actions. The buyer understands that this is a legally binding contract and that a copy of this contract will be forwarded to the American Kennel Club to prevent fraudulent registration of the described dog. Seller:_____________________________________ Date:______________ Buyer:______________________________________ Date:______________ _________________________________________________________________ If you read the contract for its legal content, you'll find that if the owner is your average "joe-pet-owner" he'll benefit by getting a very sound puppy and a small bit of money back from this deal after the neutering is done. That's it, nothing tricky. If, however, the new pet owner does just get the puppy with no intention to keep it later or no intention to follow the contract they will be subjected to quite a stiff fine and legal fees. _________________________________________________________________ Facts and Opinions about Neutering Remember, "neutering" can refer both to spaying bitches or castrating dogs. An "intact" bitch or dog is one that has not been neutered. Practical reasons for keeping your dog intact * Conformation showing requires dogs and bitches to be intact. * Breeding stock (obviously) must remain intact Practical reasons for neutering your dog * Not a show-quality or breeding-quality dog. * It is a working dog (such as Seeing Eye or Guide dog) and must not be distracted by the opposite sex. * Medical and health benefits. * Its breeding days are over. Definite myths about neutering "My bitch will become fat and lazy if I spay her." Not true. If you hold to the same exercise and feeding schedule after surgery that you did before surgery, her weight and activity will not change except as a normal function of aging. Bitches that become lazy after spaying do so because of YOUR expectations: you take her out less because you think she's lazier, and so around and around it goes. Remember, too, that the age at which many bitches are spayed (6-8 months) is also the age at which they begin to settle down from puppyhood into adulthood. Studies done on early neutering (at 8-10 weeks) show that such puppies remain on par behaviorally with their unneutered counterparts. If anything, they are often _more_ active than their unneutered counterparts. "I want her to have one litter before spaying because that will improve her personality." This is not true. Clinical studies show no permanent changes occur as a result of pregnancy. Behavioral changes that do occur are an effect of hormonal levels and lactation and are strictly temporary. If your behavior toward her does not change from before her pregnancy, her behavior will not change, either. Ethical considerations over neutering What is your goal with neutering your dog or leaving it intact? Unless you know what you want to do with your dog, it may be difficult to make the decision to neuter. You must take into account how you will prevent unwanted breeding so long as your animal is intact. For example, you must not let it roam. You must have it under control at all times. Neutering your dog will not solve behavioral problems. Solving behavioral problems is a matter of training. Both intact and neutered animals, properly trained, make fine housepets. Neutering your dog does guarantee that you will have no unwanted puppies. It does guarantee that _certain behaviors_ related to reproduction will be eliminated. This includes dog interest in the heat-scent, and bitch agitation during heat. It eliminates certain physical manifestations in the bitch, such as discharge from the vulva. It _may_ reduce the incidence of urine marking, mounting, and intermale aggression in male dogs. Interestingly enough, the _age_ at which an animal is neutered does not affect the likelihood that neutering will have an impact on a particular behaviors. _Experience_ seems to play more of a role in determining which behaviors are retained. That is, if habits have been established, neutering is not likely to alter them. Behavior patterns common to both males and females, such as protective barking, playfulness, and attention-seeking are not affected by neutering. No basic personality or behavior changes occur as a result of neutering, except that undesirable male behaviors may be reduced or eliminated. It is possible to sterilize dogs without neutering. This means severing the vas deferens in the dog and the fallopian tubes in the bitch. You eliminate the possiblity of puppies, and there is _no_ change in behavior because the hormones have not been altered: the dogs are still interested in bitches and the bitches will still go through heat. However, they will be sterile. You may have to look hard to find a vet that will do this, as it is uncommon. If you intend to breed, the decision is easy. If you are putting your dog to other work, you may be worried about negative or positive behavioral changes from neutering in your dog affecting its work. If you simply have a pet you do not wish to breed, neutering is entirely appropriate. What are the medical advantages of spaying? The medical advantages of neutering? How about the disadvantages? Medical advantages: Your bitch is no longer subject to reproductive cancers, such as mammary cancer (the most common tumor of the sexually intact bitch). Bitches spayed prior to their first estrus have about 0.5 percent risk of developing mammary cancer. If spaying is delayed after the second heat period, the chance of developing a tumor jumps 8-26 percent. Bitches spayed later than this remain at the same level of risk, 8-26 percent. The incidence of pyometra is eliminated in spayed bitches. Pyometra is a common disease of intact bitches, particularly in bitches over 6 years of age, although it can occur at any age. It is a potentially fatal disease. Your dog is less at risk from prostate disease and testicular cancer, both of which can be life-threatening. Even non-malignant growths are a threat because the growth can cause infection that can eventually kill your dog. Medical disadvantages: General anesthesia is a risk to any dog. A small percentage of spayed bitches may develop estrogen imbalances in later life that causes incontinence (or rather, "leaking"), which is easily controlled with dosages of estrogen. There are no medical disadvantages (other than anesthetic risk) to male dogs. However in most cases, neutering a dog does not involve anesthesia. The exception is when an undescended testicle must be removed. What are the psychological effects on your dog? There is wide disagreement over this, but there are various relevant facts to note. First, neutered dogs are no longer concerned with reproduction. This is a psychological effect, but the extent of it is confined to its behavior with respect to heat. The argument is often over whether or not neutered dogs remain "aggressive." In particular, guard dogs and working dogs are often thought to lose something by neutering. This is counterable with specific examples: e.g., Seeing Eye dogs are always neutered and they are fine, working dogs. There are many neutered animals that are dominant over intact animals. For each claim made about the effect of neutering an animal, a counter-example can be cited. This means that the effect of neutering is largely dependent on the individual dog. And, most likely, because dogs are so attuned to their owners, dependent on the owner. Dogs are very good at picking up expectations: if you _expect_ your dog to mellow after neutering, it probably will, whether or not the neutering was actually responsible for it. The question also arises over whether dogs "miss" sex or not. Insofar as neutered animals never display interest in sex afterwards, the argument is fairly strong that dogs do not miss their sexual capability. "Mounting" or "humping" is a dominance related behavior that any alpha dog, of either sex, intact or neutered, will engage in. What are the ethical issues? There is a good deal of controversy over the practice of neutering animals. Please note that some viewpoints are culturally determined: for example, many countries in Europe, especially Scandinavian ones, do not have any sort of pet population problem; whereas in the US, millions of dogs are put to sleep annually because of uncontrolled and thoughtless reproduction. Thus, any debate over the relative ethics of neutering dogs must be careful to keep the background of the debate participants in mind. Your personal decision should also take this factor, as well as others, in making that decisions. In brief, here is a summary, pro and con, of the various opinions and points that proponents of either side make. PRO CON Neutering prevents unwanted You can control your own dog's puppies. reproduction. It prevents certain behaviors You can control your dog; again, such as roaming, being in heat why should we take something away going after bitches in heat. from the dog? There are medical benefits to There are valid moral objections neutering. to "tampering" with your dog. Neutered dogs are content with Who wants to have neutering possibly established pack orders. affect your dog's abilities. Dominance is unrelated to intact- But there are also cases where the ness; many neutered animals are dog lost some edge. just as, if not more so, energetic determined and aggressive as their intact counterparts. Many bitches perform the same But why take the chance on an duties as well as dogs; individual dog's temperament testosterone is not the magic changing? ingredient, training and individual temperament is. References Hart BL. "Effects of neutering and spaying on the behavior of dogs and cats: Questions and answers about practical concerns," in JAVMA 1991;198:1204-1205. Houpt KA, Coren B, Hintz et al. "Effects of sex and reproductive status on sucrose preference, food intake, and body weight of dogs," in JAVMA 1979; 174:1083-1085. Johnson SD. "Questions and answers on the effects of surgically neutering dogs and cats," in JAVMA 1991;198:1206-1213. LeRoux PH. "Thyroid status, oestradiol level, work performance and body mass of ovariectomised bitches and bitches bearing ovarian autotransplants in the stomach wall," in J S Afr Vet Assoc 1977;48:115-117. Marrion, Ruth, DMV. "New Views on Neutering," in _Purebred Dogs/American Kennel Gazette_, April 1992 (pp50-54). Salmeri KR, Bloomberg MS, Scruggs SL, Shille V. "Gonadectomy in immature dogs: Effects on skeletal, physical, and behavioral development," in JAVMA 1991;198:1193-1203. Salmeri KR, Olson PN, Bloomberg MS. "Elective gonadectomy in dogs: A review," in JAVMA 1991;198:1183-1191. Thrusfield MV. "Association between urinary incontinence and spaying bitches," in Vet Rec. 1985;116:695. Weiss, Seymour N. "Dog Breeding: It's Not for Everyone," in DogsUSA, 1992 Annual, p 121. Vol 7, no 1. Wilcox, Bonnie, DVM, "Tell Me Why" in Dog Fancy, March 1992 (v23n3), discusses neutering of the male dog. _________________________________________________________________ Finding a Home for a Dog For whatever reason, you may need to find a home for a dog. List everywhere: newspaper, bulletin boards, computer bulletin boards, newsletters, anywhere you like. But limit sharply: don't adopt out if they don't meet standards. Minimal standards: will neuter as soon as the dog's old enough, committed to a 20 year responsibility, they have a home or apartment that permits pets, knowledgeable about dog health and behavior or committed to become so. Do charge a nominal fee unless you know the adopter well; this keeps away those collecting animals for research. (You can donate all or part of the money to animal causes if you like.) There are many rescue organizations for both purebred and mixed-breed dogs. You should be able to look them up in a local directory listing. _________________________________________________________________ Guard or Protection Dogs Many people consider getting a dog for protection or guarding property. Toward this end, "ferocious dogs," such as Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and other large dogs are procured. In many cases, the dogs will be encouraged to bark, bite, etc. This is an _extremely poor_ approach. In the first place, many burglers are primarily deterred by *attention*. If your dog barks, that may be all that is needed. And virtually any grown dog that is attached to its family will bark when stranger approaches. There is no need to get a "vicious" dog. A _properly_ trained protection and attack dog is a considerable investment of time and money. In addition _you_ must understand how to keep it trained. You will throw money down the drain if you buy such a dog with no idea of how it is trained or how to reinforce the training. In addition, many dogs that are advertised as "trained attack dogs" are in fact poorly trained, and may cause you serious trouble when it goes for your neighbor's child. Basically, if you want protection, put in a burglar alarm and start a Neighborhood Watch program. Neither of these security assets will sell you down the river for chuck steak and neither will be a potential liability. Choose your dog as a companion -- choose it well, for it will be your companion for quite a few years -- and accept its contributions to your security profile as a bonus. _________________________________________________________________ Hiking and Backpacking with your Dog Summarized from a post by Cathrine Reck: Any dog can carry 1/3 of his body weight. There is also a book available: _A Guide to Backpacking with your Dog_, by Charlene LaBelle that is very good. The book is put out by Alpine Publications (or Press). Charlene (a backpacking friend of ours) put the first Pack Dog titles on her Malamutes. She has good advice on packs, what to carry and how to pack. Summarized from a compilation by Sue Barnes who solicited advice on hiking with dogs in July 1993: * Get your dog checked out by the vet first. Dogs with dysplasia or other joint problems should not pack. She should also be at least a year old to carry a pack. Younger dogs will enjoy the hike but should not carry anything while their joints are still growing. Puppies under six months old probably should not go on hikes except maybe short day trips (and be prepared to carry the dog back if you mis-estimate!) * When choosing a pack look for : 1) easy to put on and take off - look at the positioning and types of the buckles; mine has one that snaps in front of the shoulders and another that wraps under the chest and snaps on the dog's side; 2) stays in position - without a good strapping system the packs can tend to shift from side to side; take the dog to the store with you, put one on, load it up, and take her for a short walk/jog; 3) drain holes in the bottom: dog + backpack + water = heavy pack if it doesn't drain quickly; double-bag the food in zip-locks to keep it dry; 4) cool - preferably with an open back. * A well-conditioned dog can carry up to 1/3 of its weight in a pack. But start out with about a third of that weight and work your way up as your dog becomes more accustomed to carrying the pack. You will find that with this extra size the dog will have a hard time doing their business. Hence the importance to train your dog to the pack before trying it out "for real." When you do get the pack, make sure you allow some time for your dog to get used to the idea. Put the pack on the dog when you take her for walks. Start off with nothing in the pack and gradually add more and more weight on subsequent outings. * Always pack weight evenly. For example, if your dog is carrying water, put it in small containers that you can distribute evenly. * Make sure everything you put in the pack is waterproof (ie. don't put your jacket in the pack only to have the dog go lie down in a stream). * One tip from a pack-user: "I added a large zipper pocket right on top of the pack, over the dog's back. I kept small items that I frequently needed there, and could access them without having to take my own pack off. Like having a caddy! * When using the pack, stay close to your dog. The added weight and size will require you to give some help to get over that fallen- tree etc. If your dog rolls over on his back, he may be stuck until you can help him out! * Each night and when you get back, check your dog over thoroughly for ticks, burrs, foxtails and other things in his coat. Check the pads of his feet thoroughly -- if your dog gets sore feet, you'll have to carry his pack, or even him! So make sure he's in good condition and that he doesn't pick anything up while camping. * Suggested things to take: + Current shots & heartworm up to date + Leash and collar with name/address on tag + Something to collect & bury or pack out waste + Extra water, food + Brush if dog is long-coated + 1st aid stuff + flea/tick powder plus tweezers for removal of ticks, thorns, or foxtails + Ball + dish (a frisbee is often good for food/water/play!) + Rope or cord as a tie-out at night, with a large screw-in tie-out stake + an extra pad to protect tent bottom if dog will be in tent with you * Expect your dog to eat about the same amount of food, maybe just a little more, but to consume much more water than normal, and possibly more than you will (they're not as good heat-shedders as humans are). Be sure you know how far apart your water sources are going to be when you're hiking. If you're hiking in areas prone to giardia, try not to let your dog drink the water -- they can get it and it's just as bad in dogs as it is in humans. * If there is poison ivy where you are going and you are sensitive to it, be very careful about where your dog goes and how you touch her after. Dogs can pick up the oils from these plants on their fur and you can be exposed to it just by petting, brushing or even touching the dog. * You need to worry about the types of animals you'll see. Deer are perhaps the biggest worry. Your dog will chase them--leash or not. If there are bears, don't take the dog. Raccoons, skunks, and porcupines present their own set of problems--some of which are a real pain in the you-know-what. Be sure and check with rangers etc. before going. Some areas do not allow dogs at all. Best to know in advance. You'll minimize problems by keeping your dog on leash at all times. * Don't underestimate other campers' disapproval of even friendly, well-behaved dogs... Keeping the dog on the leash when on the trail and near your tent when in camp is a must. You should probably have them leashed at all times to minimize problems with wildlife (in many areas, dogs can be legally shot for chasing a variety of animals, from sheep to deer). * If your dog is prone to barking a lot, you may want to leave him at home if you can't stop him from doing so. Continued and frequent barking will bother the wildlife and irritate other campers and hikers. The January 1993 issue of Dog World has a useful article by Ray Rogers about backpacking with a dog. One last note. Dogs and backpacking are a great combination - but remember that not all people feel this way. Keep the dog under control and clean up after him (ie. bury it!), and both you and others on the trail will have a great time. If you don't -- you may find that park closed to dogs the next time you go! So BE CONSIDERATE! Many hikers hate seeing dogs on the trails -- this is your opportunity to show them that it doesn't have to be a problem. _________________________________________________________________ Holidays with your Dog A little thought and preparation can make holiday decoration possible with as little danger to your dogs and your decorations. Tips: * No tinsel. Dogs (and cats) that eat tinsel can easily cut up their intestines with this stuff. Paper-based tinsel is not as bad, but the plastic or metallic based tinsels should not be used. * Protect the Christmas tree: if your dog likes to knock it over, it's relatively easy to put an eye-bolt through a stud in the ceiling and tie the tree to it. If your dog tends to play with the ornaments or knock them off, put the sturdy ones on bottom and the fragile ones up out of reach. If your dog will eat the ornaments or tree, then you can put an x-pen around the tree. You can decorate the x-pen itself with large red ribbons for a festive flair. It's also possible to set the tree up (in an isolated room or up on a table, etc.) so that the dog can't physically reach it. * Be aware that many plants used in Christmas decoration are harmful or toxic to dogs. Most of them will cause dogs to vomit if they are ingested, so put them out of reach. Contrary to popular knowledge, poinsettias are _not_ poisonous. They are simply very bitter and will be immediately vomitted back up. * Do not put tree preservative in to the water at the base of your tree. * If your pet likes to chew on powercords, coat the wires with Tabasco sauce or bitter apple extract (available from pet stores). * Do not leave pets and lit candles unattended in the same room. * Before placing a present under the tree, ask if it contains food. Dogs especially will make short work of such presents. Pets are at a high risk of chocolate poisoning during the holiday season because there is usually much more laying around than normally. * Keep your pets confined to a particular room or crate them during parties. They may get stressed or upset with many strangers around and accidents may happen in all the excitement, when no one is keeping an eye on them. _________________________________________________________________ Housetraining Topics Getting the dog to go consistently in one area Every time you take the dog out, take it to the same spot and, preferably, give it a command like "potty" or whatever. If the dog is already in the yard and decides to go to the bathroom, distract the dog by yelling NO (or clapping or whistling) and take it to the spot it's supposed to go (even if it's finished already) and give the command to go to the bathroom. Don't yell or correct harshly, just distract it enough to stop the behavior and give you an opportunity to move it to the right spot. It helps if the spot is marked out. A common way to do this is to dig out a square at least several inches deep, line up 4x4's along the edge and fill with gravel. Housetraining an older dog With regards to housetraining an older dog, it can actually be easier to do this. Puppies do not have the physical capacity for "holding" it until they are 4 months old or so. Before that you are just doing damage control and trying to get the concept across to them. Older dogs, especially ones that have been kept outdoors in a kennel, will not want to go indoors because it doesn't feel right. Follow the same rules that you would with any other dog during housetraining: out after every meal, out after every nap, and out every two hours otherwise. And don't just put them out in the yard and expect them to do their business. Take them to a specified spot and wait with them until they do their stuff. Take that opportunity to teach them a word to "go" too, if they don't already know one. And, when they go, outdoors: PRAISE THEM! If they have an accident and you catch IN THE ACT, then tell them NO and take them to their spot to finish, praise them when they do it there. If you don't actually catch them in the act, then quietly, clean it up, control your temper, and pretend it didn't happen. They will learn rather quickly but you _must_ watch them at all times when they are in the house until you learn to read their signs and anticipate problems. Sudden onset of marking There are several possible causes for a dog that suddenly starts marking (urinating) in the house. First, rule out medical problems with your vet. If you've just moved into a new house and your dog starts marking, it's probably to claim the house. Try leaving your dirty laundry all over the house for a few days so that YOU mark it as yours. Take it up after a few days. Peeing in one spot For a dog that pees in a particular place in the house, leaving laundry in that spot can also work to discourage it. Dogs may consider little-used parts of your house sufficiently "distant" from the den that it's OK to pee there. Your laundry there marks it as "den". Also, you can take them to these distant or used spots and do some obedience or other dominance work with them there. It also helps to actually catch the dog in the act. You can then yell "NO" to distract it, and then take it outside. This works well for dogs that simply think its OK there because its "distant" and you haven't specifically said not to. You MUST catch it in the act, though, yelling at it _after_ all's said and done will accomplish absolutely nothing. Be sure to clean up that spot thoroughly with enzyme based cleaners. _________________________________________________________________ Invisible and Electric Containment Fences A great article on fencing in general can be found at CanisMajor. There are a variety of fences that do not use a physical fence. These are detailed below. Invisible containment Brand names include Invisible Enclosure, Pet-Alert, DogWatch, Pet Guardian, DogMaster, Radio Fence, and Freedom Fence. Suppliers include Innotek and others. This is an arrangement where wire is buried around the property and the dog wears a collar that shocks it if it gets too close to the boundary. There is often a warning tone emitted by the collar if the dog gets near the boundary; if the dog continues closer, then the shock is administered. Some newer brands use only a "sonic" (sound) warning. This kind of a "fence" does not depend on the presence of a physical fence, although it could certainly augment one. Points to consider: * You must _train_ the dog to understand what is going on, you can't just expect to put it on and have it work. If the fence does not come with extensive and detailed instructions for training the dog, be wary. The training typically takes from one to three weeks. * _This does not prevent other dogs (or people) from coming in and bothering your dog, unless it is supplemented by a physical fence._ For example, dog thiefs have been known to come in, remove the collar, and take the dog with them! * If your dog somehow gets outside the perimeter of the fence with its collar on, it will be shocked when attempting to _re-enter_! (The collar will not shock the dog beyond a given distance regardless of which side the dog is on.) * If you experience a power failure, you must check the boundaries -- take the collar off the dog and walk along the perimeter and listen for the warning tone. Several brands have lifetime warranties and will fix these problems. In my opinion, these "fences" work very well to augment inadequate fences, divide a fenced yard (for example, to keep the dog out of the vegetable garden), or even block off parts of the house inside. Under no circumstances would I recommend it for use in unfenced properties without supervision. However, many individuals have reported success with their use; you will have to evaluate your particular situation. Electric containment Most electic fencing systems are "do it yourself" or done by contractors. Some kits are available. Many owners, when faced with a dog that persistently digs out or scales the backyard fence, will run a "hot" wire along the bottom of the fence or along the top of the fence. This often works quite well, to the point where the presence of the wire, whether hot or not, will deter escape. Points to consider: * You should _not_ shock puppies. Wait until the dog is fully grown. * For digging, bury the wire under the fence. The depth will depend on how deep your dog is willing to dig. WARNING: Not all wire can be buried for this purpose. To avoid shorts, blown fuses and high electric bills, not to mention risk of fire, be sure the wire you use CAN in fact be buried. When in doubt, check with a professional. * For dogs that scale the fence, run it along the top of the fence. If the dog is jumping the fence, you will either need to make the fence taller, or try an invisible containment method. * This is not foolproof, dogs have been known to get around these, too. * Do not make electric fences solely of electrified wires. They should be put up on wooden fences. WARNING: The hot wires should also pass through insulators so they do not come in contact with their supports unless those supports are totally non-conductive: e.g., fiberglass. Even a wooden post can become conductive when it rains and the wood gets wet. Again, read all instructions completely or consult with a professional to avoid problems. Fences in general: * A three to four foot fence is in general not adequate for most dogs. Toy breeds and specific individual dogs may be alright with this height, but it is not a general assumption that you can make. * Some inexpensive ways to fortify a fence before resorting to the more expensive solutions of a higher fence, electrified fence, or installing invisible containment systems: + String up aluminum cans on six foot string lengths, and hang on the inside of your fence. The racket discourages some dogs from climbing over. + In a similar vein, putting PVC pipe up on a string so that they spin freely will make the fence more difficult to climb. + Installing 9" eyebolts along the inside of the fence and then threading heavy guage wire through the eyes makes another barrier. + Lining the inside of your fence with corrugated fiberglass can prevent both climbing and chewing on the fence. The fiberglass comes in several colors and you can choose a non-obtrusive brown shade. + For a digger, try putting down paving stones as a border around your fence. + Some dogs hate digging in gravel; a gravel border along the fence can work to keep dogs from digging. + A concrete border (more expensive) can also be put down. Note that none of these suggestions will work on a dog that can sail over the fence. A taller fence may be needed, or a non visible fencing system to augment the existing fence will work. _________________________________________________________________ Commercial Kennels Comments summarized from Leisa Diel's posting in May 1993: * If your dog is under 30lbs, it's quite likely it will be caged rather than put in a run. Instead of asking if your dog will be caged, ask if the kennel cages at all and ask to see the area. You want to see clean, neat cages, with clearly labelled information for each dog (medications, feeding & exercise schedule. * Look for places that require proof of vaccinations, especially for parvo and kennel cough. * If you know that your dog is going to be caged mark everything you're giving him with the loudest colors imaginable - ESPECIALLY MEDICINES and explain to the handlers if he has any special needs like a lower cage or a cage out of the draft etc. If you are told that NO dog is EVER caged, suspect you're being lied to especially if you have a small dog. If you're told that your dog WILL go in a run, check up on that a few hours after you leave for the first time. Say that you want to see where Fido is staying and INSIST (if you can't see your dog out front on the runs) on going with the attendant to get him out. * If you feel uncomfortable doing this remind yourself that you've given the kennel every opportunity to prove itself and that under no circumstances should you be lied to regarding your pets care. The kennel people - if they're any good at all - are used to dealing with people who love animals and will be patient with your needs. * Dogs got switched. There were so many schnauzers and boxers and they all looked ALIKE! for the most part. I was in the room when one of the trainees mixed up two sets of identical schnauzers, AND sent the wrong dog home with the wrong owner. The owner (thank GOD!) realized that her dog had been switched and brought the other dog back before his owner took HER other dog away. * SUGGESTION: Put your own dog's bow on him or her. The usual procedure at the kennel was to take off the dog's collars (because of the strangulation danger from chain link runs)and put the dogs in a cage or run with a card bearing their name and weight etc. I paint one or more of Basil's toenails - in a distinctive pattern that I'll recognize. A week long stay won't be enough for the cement to wear the paint off and I rest easier. It wouldn't hurt to have your dog tattooed, either. Also be wary if your dog has been groomed or bathed without your consent. Sometimes this is necessary as dogs will roll in poop or something but sometimes this is because it wasn't your dog who was groomed it was someone elses who had given permission for the grooming. If you ask why the grooming was done without your consent the kennel people have a greater opportunity to see a mistake if they've made one. * Also along these lines if your dog (and you're sure it's your dog)HAS been groomed and /or bathed without your consent it means that somewhere along the route your dog did get switched with someone elses. This is a GOOD thing to find out because it's shoddy record-keeping and you don't want to board your dog there. It may not sound like a big deal if the kennel's switched your dog accidentally for a couple of days until you realize that some dogs get big-bad medicines like pheno-barbital and if they think your pup is one of the dogs who needs the medication - your dog just got a dose. Also if your dog is on heartworm preventative - or worse yet isn't on heartworm preventative and is given one - mistakes could get fatal. * A GOOD kennel will admit up-front any mistakes that did occur when you check your dog out, not later when he goes into seizures or something. * If you want your dog groomed or bathed while they're in the kennel ( I would recommend letting the groomer bathe them before you take them home - its easier and generally the effect it has on the homecoming is positive for you both), check the groomer and the grooming procedure out as carefully as the kennel. Good kennels sometimes have BAD groomers with BAD procedures. * My advice to anyone boarding a dog is to choose carefully, follow up thouroughly, cooperate with the staff as much as possible and in a friendly manner (I saw a lot of abuse of dogs that stemmed from the owners being mean or bitchy and the kennel workers took that out on the dog). Keep your copy of the shot records - give the kennel a copy if you have to but you keep a copy too. Above all though - know your dog. Know what makes him or her unique, moniter his or her state on entry and again on exit. Be wary of glib, rehearsed answers or a brusque, businesslike attitude towards your animal. Good animal people LIKE their work and LIKE animals and you can't fake this. Ever vigilant right? Good kennels have nothing to hide!!!! From: tims@bvc.edu (TiM SEYDEL) First off, thanks to everyone who replied to my post about boarding my dog. A brief summary of the reponses is as follows: 1. Leave your pet with something of theirs/yours. A favorite blanket, toys and other "personal" items will help the animal feel more comfortable and won't forget you. When you leave them with something of yours, leave it "dirty" (i.e. don't wash it-like a dirty t-shirt, etc.). Toys can be better because they won't get washed and hence lose the scent. 2. Make sure to feed your pet the same food-you can usually leave behind your brand of food for your pet. 3. Leave information/itinerary and phone #s with the kennel so they can reach you, should anything happen. 4. Check with your kennel in advance to ensure your pet has all of their shots, as many kennels require they have up-to-date vaccinations. 5. Check with the kennel about where the dogs stay, if they get to go outside for exercise, etc. And ask other dog owners and/or your vet if they have a recommendation. 6. When you get back, try to spend some extra time with your pet and don't get mad if they forget some of their training. They've been out of the daily regimen, but will remember shortly after you get them home. If you have a favorite park to take them to where they can run around, go there shortly after getting home. And have fun on your trip! (Miscellaneous topics continued in Assorted Topics, Part II.) _________________________________________________________________ Assorted Topics (Part I) FAQ Cindy Tittle Moore, rpd-info@netcom.com Hosted by K9 WEB