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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
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
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
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Assorted Topics (Part I)
Cindy Tittle Moore, Cindy Tittle Moore, email@example.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
* 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
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
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.
This is a summary of information about dog parks that has been gleaned
from the helpful responses of several netters. Compiled by Susan
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
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.
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
Excerpted from: Vaughan, Dana (Ph.D.), "Canine:Color Vision,"
_Gazette_, May 1991:
The article explained the following about "color vision" in
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
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
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.
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
* 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:
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 __________________.
DATE OF BIRTH: LITTER NUMBER:
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.
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
"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
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
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
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
What are the medical advantages of spaying? The medical advantages of
neutering? How about the disadvantages?
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.
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.
Neutering prevents unwanted You can control your own dog's
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
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.
Hart BL. "Effects of neutering and spaying on the behavior of dogs and
cats: Questions and answers about practical concerns," in JAVMA
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
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
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
* 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,
+ dish (a frisbee is often good for food/water/play!)
+ Rope or cord as a tie-out at night, with a large screw-in
+ an extra pad to protect tent bottom if dog will be in tent
* 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
* 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.
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
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.
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
* 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
* _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.
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
* 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,
* 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
+ 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.
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
* 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
* 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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
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, email@example.com