Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fun Loving Human Female Pet for Adoption

Sorry - this was too good so I thought I'd post it for a bit of light hearted humour today. It is cross-posted from a mailing list I'm on - I did NOT write it, but thought you'd enjoy.

Fun Loving Human Female Pet for Adoption:

Our beloved human pet seems to need more attention than we as a couple of bachelor dogs can handle at this time and we think is in need of a good home. We need our pad back so perhaps you can help us.

A little about our human pet... She is about 8.9 dog years old (44 in human years), an asian-caucasian mix breed, giant (she's tall to us) and thin, wavy long brown hair and big brown eyes. She's also spayed and up to date on vaccinations.

Her personality is very friendly and affectionate so she loves a lot of attention. She's gets along well with all animals and people. She is also okay to be left alone too, but beware when you see her next she'll be so excited to see you that it may feel overwhelming. If you talk to her she loves to talk back with you. She's very smart and learns all kinds of tricks like sit, down, shake, high five and lots, lots more that we taught her.

She will need daily grooming (bathing, brushing and on occasion nail trimming). She must eat healthy so she can live a long healthy life. She requires occasional outings for exercise as she seems to love to explore away from home. We take her for walks almost daily, but the leash doesn't seem to keep her from where we want to go. She comes with her favourite toys that is too big for us to keep in our pad (cars, sportbike, computers, etc). We're keeping the furniture and dishes because it's comfortable and useful for us.

Adoption fee applies and you must successfully pass a application process too.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Asshat Rant - Pure "Bread"?

Here's something you see VERY often in dog ads and it kills me each and every time! Have you ever seen an ad that says the dog is Pure Bread? I just want to say ... Hello! It's PURE BRED asshat! Bread is a type of FOOD - you know, like multigrain? Or whole wheat? *headdesk*

Here are a few ads and they just drive me crazy.

Here's a "pure bread" chocolate lab. She's 2, not spayed and according to the current owners is an "Old Soul". I'm not going to get into that one ...

Ok, seriously? This person has 3 kids and has decided the family doesn't have time for 2 dogs. Why?

Why can't the 3 kids help out? I'm sure your kids could each spend 30 minutes a day with the dogs - and hey, guess what? If you couple that with the 30 minutes each of the adult owners could spend with the dog, then that's TONS! Why, that's 2.5 hours a day of one-on-one time each ... that's more than most dogs get.

What are you teaching your kids? Disposable pets. We don't want them so we find an excuse to get rid of them. Or perhaps you're just teaching them how to be lazy, self-righteous asshats - because it's "better" for the dogs to get rid of them.

Here's a "Full Bread" Bichon. So first of all, I don't think this guy would be a multigrain variety if it really is a Bichon - maybe more like that white whole wheat bread they have out now - you know, the one that is whole wheat but looks and tastes just like white bread?
Come on buddy, couldn't you write more than two lines about the dog you've had for ... how many years? This poor little guy is 13 years old and the owners have decided they don't have time to "love it enough".
Honestly, your old 13 year old Bichon does NOT "want a new home". He in fact really just wants to laze around in the home of the people who love him and just be.
Good grief. That is the most common (and in my opinion, WORST) excuse to get rid of your senior dog. Do you REALLY think your old dog wants to be up-rooted and thrust into a new home, new routine with new people who smell and sound funny?
Why are people so afraid to keep their dog until it is time to euthanize it? It's one of the worst things you could do is get rid of your dog so you don't have to take it for that last vet trip.
*headdesk headdesk headdesk*

Thursday, January 29, 2009

News Reel - Agility and Babies

I'm a bit down today - went looking for a good story in the news about dogs and all I could find were bad things. I won't get into detail. So, I have settled for two different articles for the News Reel today. One is new and the other is not. Thought I'd brighten up the place a smidgen

The article that is new (click for article) is about the American Kennel Club Agility Invitational (click for link to website) where some unlikely K9's were competing. There's some neat comments about a bulldog and a bernese mountain dog ... not really the sort of breeds you'd expect in an agility competition. You know, this is becoming more and more common -- to see breeds that are not standard agility dogs competing (like border collies). I think it's great to see so many owners out there teaching their dogs fun stuff.

The article that is old (click for article) is a heart warming one. Makes you all warm and fuzzy inside - so I thought I'd share it. The headline reads "Dog protected abandoned newborn" and it was published on Aug 23, 2008.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Featured Rescue - Dora and Zoey the Siberian Huskies

I should post a rescue Siberian Husky today since I posted about the Kijiji BYBer. I'll post two - one a puppy since that's what the BYBer was offering, and the other an adult because they're harder to place.

Please note that Siberian Huskies are NOT easy keepers. They are difficult to kennel, hard to crate train and have to have a certain amount of exercise to keep them happy since they have so much energy to burn. There's a saying in some dog circles that if a kennel is Siberian-proof, than you could keep any dog in it (some people say the same about GSDs).

First I'll post the pup. This (right) is Dora 'the explorer'. She's 4 months old (which is approx. 16 weeks). The ad says she was surrendered by someone who could not keep her because of the high energy level she has (which is typical of the breed). She's very cute and even looks nicer than the ones listed by the BYBer.

Second I'll post the adult. This (left) is Zoey. She's just over a year old, was bought from a breeder (why do they know this but don't contact the breeder??) in March 2008. She knows basic commands - I would assume that means your basic obedience of Sit, Stay, Down and Come (though to assume makes an assoutofyouandme).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Asshat Rant - Kijiji ... BYBers Paradise?

It seems as though they are trying to prevent CraigsList from being the place where all BYBers post. That's a good thing IMHO. There are a bunch that slip through - as there always will be.

There's a new gig in town though and for those who don't know, Kijiji is becoming a BYBers Paradise *cue music*. It's unfortunate, but true.

Today's asshat is breeding Siberian Huskies with Labs - and it'll only cost you $450 a piece!

Why would you breed that?? If it were an accident, it wouldn't bother me, but this person is also advertising two other litters of "Purebred" huskies and they'll only cost ya $700 each.

Not to mention that these dogs aren't much to look at. Why would you only take pictures at this angle? There are 4 pictures on the ad and not one of them gives you a decent look at the dogs. They are all out of porportion because the camera angle is looking on a downward diagonal at them.

How much you wanna bet this guy is only telling you they are 1/4 Lab because it shows? Who knows what the dogs are really, but they have some husky in 'em, eh?

And hey - while you're at it, this guy will also fix your computers! Not only is he a husky "breeder", he's an IT guy who apparantly also will do temporary reception work. A genuine Jack-Of-All-Trades. Good grief - this is NOT the guy I'd want fixing my computers. Don't you know that everyone who fiddles around with computers in their basement is an "IT Guy"? Let me tell you something, if he's got to advertise on Kijiji than he's not worth your buck.

Here's a rule of thumb for you ... If you're good at IT work, than you NEVER have to advertise - trust me. The jobs come to you. The IT business is a field where everyone knows everyone else worth knowing (especially in TO). When someone finds out you're looking for work, you have offers coming in left, right and centre!

Sorry for getting a little OT on this one, but it's a pet peeve of mine. Don't buy dogs from this asshat - you could get better looking ones from shelters. And don't get your computer fixed by him either - you could do better if you took a screwdriver and hammer to it and "fixed" it yourself.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Featured Rescue - Boo the Jack Russell Terrier

Today I've chosen a Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) to be featured for the rescue spotlight. JRTs are often found in rescue - I'd say it's likely because of the high energy requirements of the breed, though I'm not really sure. I know that most we see come through rescue are in dire need for obedience training but that doesn't really offer much insight.

Why is it that so many people with small dogs think they're less work than big dogs? I have found that it's usually the opposite (though there are always exceptions to every rule!) - big dogs are usually less work than small ones.

Boo is the JRT of the day. They don't have much info yet about him, though he looks young from his pictures. Maybe 2 years? Hard to say. Anyway, he's pretty cute looking. He was found in the snow - they figure the result of a dumping, though it doesn't say why they stated that.

There are currently 2,033 JRTs available on Petfinder.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Memo - Google Ads

I received an email from one of my readers about this, so I thought I would reiterate my position on this.

Just wanted to remind everyone that the ads on the page are not endorsed by me, nor do they reflect my opinion in any way. They are posted by Google based on tags and words on this blog. Any money generated by clicking on these ads will be donated to a dog related charity.

Feel free to check them out and look at the pages they refer to (for example, ASPCA was listed as one of them at one point - trying to get you to email for a campaign), but please don't blame me if they point places that are not good or do not reflect the opinions in this blog.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Black Dog Syndrome - BDS

Yesterday I posted a letter written by a shelter manager that mentioned black dogs (it was not the main topic, but they were mentioned). I said in my post I'd discuss BDS. I wonder how many of you picked that up? I wonder how many googled it?

Anyway, BDS stands for Black Dog Syndrome. It is proven fact that black dogs in shelters are overlooked more often than any other colour. Black dogs are the last to be adopted - even if their temperament is better than the dogs of other colours!

The general public tend to look at black dogs with disgust, fear and superstition. Because of their low adoption rates, black dogs tend to be euthanized more often (in kill facilities). Why? Simply because people don't want a black dog.

There is a web site that dedicates itself to the public awareness of the plight of the black dogs. It is called Black Pearl Dogs and this is the link. Take a few minutes to educate yourself about the BDS. When you've done that, take another few minutes and educate others about it!

The more who know about this, the more we can educate others and the more chances those dogs have.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Article from CraigsList - Letter

I'm having computer problems today so I thought I'd just quickly post this letter. I couldn't have written it better myself. I feel the same way some days. I hope you all take a few minutes and read it. This is real and this is life. Get used to it. You know those "nasty things" I have said about BYBers and people who must breed their "Kyoot" dogs? (I've probably ticked a few people off, but too bad) The letter may explain a bit why I believe those things.

The following letter is written by a shelter manager. It's a hard job to work in a Kill shelter. (There's a REASON why I won't volunteer for anything but a NO Kill facility) But guess what? Someone has to do the job. Someone has to make those decisions. And that someone has a voice. Let's hope that some people listen.

Following is the letter as was posted to CraigsList this morning (I'll post something about BDS this weekend):


A Letter from a Shelter Manager

I think our society needs a huge "Wake-up" call. As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all...a view from the inside if you will.

First off, all of you breeders/sellers should be made to work in the "back" of an animal shelter for just one day. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don't even know.

That puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore. So how would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at? Purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays", that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.

The most common excuses I hear are; "We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)." Really? Where are you moving too that doesn't allow pets? Or they say "The dog got bigger than we thought it would". How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? "We don't have time for her". Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! "She's tearing up our yard". How about making her a part of your family? They always tell me "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place for her we know she'll get adopted, she's a good dog".

Odds are your pet won't get adopted & how stressful do you think being in a shelter is? Well, let me tell you, your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off. Sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies.

Your pet will be confined to a small run/kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it. If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers in that day to take him/her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose.

If your dog is big, black or any of the "Bully" breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted. It doesn't matter how 'sweet' or 'well behaved' they are.

If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed. If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed it may get a stay of execution, but not for long . Most dogs get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.

Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down".

First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk happy, wagging their tails. Until they get to "The Room", every one of them freaks out and puts on the brakes when we get to the door. It must smell like death or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there, it's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs depending on the size and how freaked out they are. Then a euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They will find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff". Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood and been deafened by the yelps and screams. They all don't just "go to sleep", sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.

When it all ends, your pets corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back with all of the other animals that were killed waiting to be picked up like garbage. What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into pet food? You'll never know and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was just an animal and you can always buy another one, right?

I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head I deal with everyday on the way home from work.

I hate my job, I hate that it exists & I hate that it will always be there unless you people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.

Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes.


Hate me if you want to. The truth hurts and reality is what it is. I just hope I maybe changed one persons mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say "I saw this and it made me want to adopt". THAT WOULD MAKE IT WORTH IT

Thursday, January 22, 2009

News Reel - animal shelter to reimburse pet owners

Found this one on the news site today. This is why people don't want to adopt from shelters!! It makes me quite incensed.

Horry County Animal Shelter to Reimburse Pet Owners

Basically there was a dog that was tested positive for distemper on November 24. The shelter manager was aware of the situation, but did not tell the board of directors. The distemper spread until it became an "outbreak", but they continued adoptions. More than 100 dogs have had to be euthanized. They closed the shelter in December, reopened it in January and then had an outbreak in the cats sector (though it doesn't say what they got - just that 15 cats had to be euthanized).

Asshats. They fired the ones responsible, but that doesn't always fix it. It still happened and many people lost their beloved pets. Asshats. Asshats. Asshats.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Featured Rescue - Bella the Catahoula Leopard Dog

The Catahoula Leopard Dog is one of my favourites. There are currently 1196 available for adoption through Petfinder. There were a LOT of them available after the flooding caused by Katrina, but the numbers have decreased since then.

This is Bella. She's 5 years old and apparantly an escape artist. It is reported that if she gets bored in confinement, she starts looking for ways to get out.

If you're interested in Bella, she's currently in a foster home in NY.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Question - What do you expect?

On the 11th of January, I posted this question - What is a dog? - and I asked you all to answer it. I got varied answers including:

- Domesticated subspecies of wolf
- Child in a fur coat
- Humans' eyes into the natural world
- Canine, opportunistic, animal, dog

Taking these above answers, I want you to think about them and consider which ones are actually in answer to the following questions - What do we want our dogs to be? What do we expect from our dogs? - rather than the first question which was - What is a dog?

So, knowing this, can our dogs really perform the tasks that we set for them? If so, how can we prepare them to do these tasks? All of the above answers that you gave can be achieved (yes, all of them), but it doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, training, patience, persistence and love.

A few of the expectations I have of my dogs are:
- Urinate and defecate outside ... not in my house
- Don't start fights with other dogs
- Be nice to people (provided they give no reason to treat them otherwise)

Each one of my expectations require training (there are more, but these are the basics). They all take time and patience and don't just "happen" - a concept I find a LOT of dog owners tend to forget. Every one of my dogs is taught these expectations using positive (or is it pawsitive??) training methods with a rewards based system. I have found that these expectations can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to learn depending on the dog, the situation and the scenario.

So, what do you expect from your dogs? (No, this is not a rhetorical question - I am hoping for some feedback on this!) How do you prep them for those expectations?

(note - the answer to this could be anywhere from what I call "soft skills" like the ones I mentioned to obedience, rally-o or other things!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Asshat Rant - Dog Fighting or "Activism"?

Found this little gem on (Detroit News). The article is called:

Police Bust Dog Fighting Ring on Detroit's East Side

The report was written first thing this morning. It is unfortunate that we see this so often in the news. You'd think that as a race, humans could grow above such things ... I started this posting as a News Reel, but it is making me think of a Rant ... please bear with me as I don't think I can contain myself on this one ... I see too many people blog about this and post the same thing ... over and over (how boring!?). Here's my take on the dog fighting situation:

We all saw the stories about Mike Vick, the NFL player who was caught running a dog fighting ring. Although ... perhaps I shouldn't assume that everyone knows about this guy ... for those of you who don't know, here's an article that explains what happened:

NFL Star Indicted Over Dog Fighting

We all know Mike Vick is an asshat - I'm not going to go into details on that. I would like to see them should shut down all the rings and send all people participating to jail to share a cell with an animal activist ... how do you think that would end up?

No matter how much I dislike Mike Vick for participating in the dog fighting ring, I don't agree with using him the way the media as well as charity organizations used him. He became a scapegoat ... these are some of the videos that were created after Mike Vick was Indicted ... "Dogs In the Kennel" ... "Michael Vick is Guilty" ... Neither of these videos has terrible footage so don't worry - some sad pictures and some snarly pics, but otherwise, no graphic stuff (I am trying to keep this clean!)

So, what's the point? My point is ... How many advertising dollars were spent by animal activism organizations for this ... "propaganda"? How much of that money could have been spent directly helping and assisting animals? How much time and energy was spent working on making youtube videos that could be spent doing better things - like charity work?? Charities are ALWAYS looking for people to help them out by donating time, resources and money.

I don't mean to ramble, but I want to ensure that my position is well explained, so bear with me.

Advertising about how terrible dog fighting is will not deterr the men and women who want to participate in it. It WILL, however, create fanatics and infuse hatred in the people who may otherwise have really wanted to help prevent this sort of thing.

Hate and fanaticism will not help those dogs - or any other dog affected by dog fighting. The only thing that will help them is support from the community and people like you and me to the charity organizations that shut these fighting rings down.

Thing is ... I don't know who is the bigger asshat. The guy who participates in the dog fighting ring ... or the guy who sits on his couch and complains about how terrible dog fighting is - but can't be bothered to get up off his duff and do something about it?? Is it the dog fighting guy or the one who calls himself an "activist" because he tells his friends how bad dog fighting is??

Stop dwelling over how terrible these people are because if you're not helping fix the problem than you are a part of the problem.

If you really want to help stop dog fighting rings, why not go to your local shelter and spend an hour volunteering after work today? If communities could get one hour per week of volunteer time from multiple people, than that is a big help.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Featured Rescue Followup - December

Here's the Featured Rescue Followups for the dogs in December (and one from November I missed on my last update). There is some good news and some not so good news ...

Noah the Labrador Retriever
Featured on November 29, 2008
Follow link here to see blog entry.
Kobe Swims the Kelpie listed as a GSD mix
Status: Still available ... NOT adopted
Featured on December 5, 2008
Follow link here to see blog entry. I'm sure Kobe will be difficult for them
to place as they've listed him as a GSD/Rottweiler mix. He likely won't display any of the "normal" breed characteristics of either of those breeds. We discussed him on the blog and the general consensus was that yes, he is more likely a Kelpie.

Tahne the Cocker Spaniel
Status: Still available ... NOT adopted
Featured on December 13, 2008
Follow link here to see blog entry. I still think this gal deserves a second chance. She was a puppy mill dog, so will likely need a bit of work.
Dharma the Dachshund
Status: Assumed ADOPTED - Listing removed
Featured on December 19, 2008
Follow link here to read original blog entry.

So, that means that both Kobe Swims and Tahne are still waiting for their forever homes. I'll follow up with them again next month and see if they've found their special someone yet. If any of you can open your home to them or another rescue dog, I urge you to do so. Kobe Swims is currently located in Cuba, NY and Tahne is in Mentor, OH.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

News Reel ... Flooding in Washington -- Crosspost

This was originally posted on a blog I read called Fugly Horse of the Day, but I thought I'd help spread the word by crossposting the topic. For those of you who may not know, Washington State has experienced some serious flooding this month. This has resulted in a LOT of animals without food as their owners may have lost a lot of resources (food, bedding, buildings, etc) during this time.

The picture to the top right is I-5 at the 76 mile marker. It is under 2.5 ft of water.

The picture of the truck to the left shows just how high the flood-waters rose.
The next picture to the right is inside someone's home. You can see how much water there is in the home and I'm sure you can imagine how much damage there will be!

Over 18 counties declared a state of emergency, as a combination of heavy rain and previous snowfall caused a number of rivers to break their banks. 40,000 residents had to evacuate their homes, many with their pets and livestock. Over 300 horses are being temporarily housed at area fairgrounds.

This last picture shows where the waters have begun to recede. See the damage to the road? Or should I say ... what road?
For the cats and dogs that were rescued from the floodwaters by local humane societies and shelters - they will be given a certain amount of time for the owners to claim them (different for each shelter), after which the animals will go up for adoption. I was unable to find much info on efforts to assist dogs and cats online - did anyone else find anything of interest? All that's posted are links to help people and horses - which are also worthwhile endeavours, but OT for this blog.
If horse owners were storing their Hay in the barns or outside and did NOT have a hay loft lifted to the second floor, than all their Hay was ruined. Unfortunately, hay is quite expensive in Washington (I don't know why, but it's almost 3 times as much there as it is here in Ontario). There is a website that is collecting donations for "Virtual Flakes" of hay which basically allows you to offer to purchase some hay to help out the owners of horses that were worst affected by the flooding. The website is

Here's some hopeful news ... Washington State is Introducing "Animal Disaster Planning Legislation". They are currently estimating that more than 1200 animals died in this month's flooding. Let's hope that in the future, there aren't so many animal lives lost.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Asshat Rant - "Rescue"

I really hate to see this sort of posting that I found on CL. It makes me angry that this sort of thing happens. When I started reading this posting, I was disappointed with the new owner, but after finishing the first paragraph, I started to realize that the issues on this one is the "Rescue" in question.

This owner is trying to get rid of a 6 mo puppy who has gotten too large for the small apartment. Now, I was irritated at reading this, but realized that this was likely not the fault of the adopter. (Yes, they should spend some time training, etc and there are DEFINITELY things they could do to resolve this themselves and keep the dog, but that's not the point of this little ... rant). The adopter was told by the "rescue" that this was a smaller breed dog.

There is a certain amount of responsibility that should have been taken on by the adoptive family - if the dog was obviously not going to fit into their lives in November when they "first saw it" than they should not have brought it home. That being said, ultimately the one who is supposed to be the one with experience in this is the "rescue" and being more experienced in rehoming dogs, the "rescue" should have helped these people through the process.

Here's where I get ticked off ...

The "rescue" in question adopted a dog to them knowing that they were not happy with the size of it. The "rescue" did not bother to ask to meet every member of the family before accepting the adoption application - it was approved before the pup met the author of this CL posting. When contacted by the adopter who wanted to return the pup, the "rescue" stated that the "contract" has expired (now, what kind of rescue contract lasts for only 3 months!??! that's barely long enough for a trial adoption period). Now they will not respond to her.

Why do people run "rescue" operations and then turn around and dump dogs off on people who don't want them??

Anyone who has the least bit of experience rehoming dogs would know that this scenario would not work. From the sounds of it, the whole family didn't even get to meet this dog before the "adoption" took place.

If you can't run a proper "rescue", than you shouldn't be running one at all. Maybe you would do better as a foster home or a dog walker at a local shelter. Sorry to say, but in this case, you (the 'rescue') are the Asshats - not the adopter who got in deeper than they had expected. You are supposed to be there to help them, not to make a quick buck. I wish I knew which "rescue" this was - I would have a fair amount to say to them.

You're NOT saving a dog if you are sending it to a home that doesn't want it or won't want it in a few months. You are only perpetuating the problem! It doesn't matter if you call yourself a "Rescue" or a "Broker" you are still an Asshat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Training Rant - Excitement

How many of you out there have a friend that comes over and plays rough with your dogs? The friend that comes, sits on the floor and plays with toys, heavy pats, picks up your dogs, spins them on the floor, etc. Perhaps he/she comes over and begins a game of tug with your dog which may or may not be a game you allow your dogs to play? Perhaps it is a child? Or an adult who won't listen to your protests and brushes them off as an over-protective owner?

Many dog owners train their dogs to be calm and collected. While this is a good thing to teach your dog and an important behaviour they should know, if the only thing you teach them is to be calm and collected, it will lead to some issues. The problem with this technique is ... what happens when they are in a situation that gets them excited and playful?? Do you make them be calm? How? What if they don't listen? Do you forget it and let them play? These are important questions to ask.

Some people, me included, believe that it is important to teach your dog how to come down quickly from excitement. The reason is simple - you aren't going to be able to control all the people that come to your house ... there will always be that one person who doesn't listen. Sometimes these people get the dogs excited and play hard with them. Although you can't control every person who walks in the door, you can control the behaviours your dog will exhibit and therefore control the situation in this way. The dogs need to know how to handle this crazy person even if their main handlers don't play that way.

You see a phrase, or command, in herding a lot with "That'll do". The way it works is the dog is working or excited, etc and the way the handler tells the dog that enough is enough is through the use of "That'll do" or "That will do". That command means "stop whatever you're doing and look at me regardless of the emotional state you're in or where you are". This is a helpful command when teaching dogs how to deal with overexcitement.

We use the same concept with our dogs when we are playing with them. They learn that at any time regardless of what they are doing, with the command of "That'll do" or "Enough" they settle immediately.

The only way you can trust your dogs in a situation is to put them in that situation and teach them how to deal with it. You won't be able to prep them for each and every scenario, but you may as well help them along and give them a good foundation. (This is another thing that default behaviours are for.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Featured Rescue - Rafe and Redman the Rhodesian Ridgebacks

I find that this breed is quite difficult to rehab if under-socialized when younger (as we so often see in rescue). The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a breed that was developed for hunting Lions in a country in Africa called ... get ready ... Rhodesia.

While Rhodedian Ridgebacks (RRs) tend to be wary of strangers and a bundle of energy when they are younger, they are often quite laid back dogs as they get older. Regardless of their age, they are truly loyal to their family. I thought I'd post two RRs today - one older one and a younger one.

This is Rafe. He is a senior guy who is looking for a nice retirement home.
Age: 10
Gender: Neutered
Housetrained: Yes
Cats: Unknown, but likely yes
Children: Yes
Child Age: Any
The guy to the right is Redman. He's a smaller RR weighing in at only 50 - 55lbs, but that doesn't stop him. He's reportedly full of energy.
Age: 4
Gender: Neutered
Housetrained: Yes
Cats: Wary, but has been known to chase them previously

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Question - What is a dog?

I have a question for everyone who is reading this. I hope you all respond with your opinion. I want you all to think about this question and let me know what you think your answer is. Think about it carefully ...

What is a dog?

When you've answered that, I have another question for you ... I'll post it another day :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Campaign - Chaining Dogs

I was flipping through the CraigsList postings today and found the following campaign website:

Dogs Deserve Better

It sounded so familiar to my blog that I thought I'd put it up here. Basically it is a group that is against chaining dogs up and is working to get laws passed that prevent this.

Sounds like a good campaign. Me, I have other campaigns that I work on, but I thought I'd pass this one on just in case some of you would be interested in it.

I couldn't find any interesting tidbits about it, though as far as I could tell, it is a profit organization, which means it is NOT a charity.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Training Rant - Children and Dogs

I thought I'd follow this topic up. Training children and dogs ... why do people so often forget that both need to be trained to properly deal with the other? Your dog can't truly live in freedom until they are able to be confident and safe in the scenarios you place them. Here's what I mean.

Children need to know and understand how to properly approach dogs and interact with them. They don't know by default, and most kids really want to play with dogs (some don't, but I have found this is usually caused by some underlying fear). It is the job of the parent and the job of the dog owner together to teach the kids how to behave around the dogs. They (and the adults too) should also understand that because the kids are at eye level, the dog sees them differently.

Think about this for a minute ... how does your dog react when you squat down and look him directly in they eye? Does he calmly gaze confidently back at you? Does he sit (or equivalent default behaviour)? Does he get upset and challenge you? Give it a try and you will find that what your dog does while you are in this position will likely give you an idea how he will respond to children - or better yet, have an adult stranger do it.

Mine sit when confronted like this, but that is because it is what we've taught them to do. Why not squat down to his level (or better yet, lie down on the floor) and give him a few obedience commands?? How did he do? If you try this, let me know how it goes!! I'd love to hear it. I find even the best Agility, Schutzhund or RallyO dogs find it difficult to follow commands when the handler is on the floor if the dogs aren't raised with children.

True, some dogs will slip more easily into a friendly relationship with kids - but for how long? Kids run, scream, play, throw things, crawl on the floor, play dress up ... and many other things. These may be actions or sounds your dog is not used to.

What do we do with ours and our fosters? Well, we spend some time working with each dog while acting like children and generally being silly. Then we teach them the proper response to these actions. Of course, there are TONS of cookies involved in this part of the training!! Once we have their response down to what we want, we bring in kids to do the same thing. If there is an instance where the kids do something and the dog doesn't know the proper reaction, than they are taught it at that point (but usually a default behaviour comes out when they don't know what to do like this provided you've done enough foundation training). That being said, the dogs and children are never left unsupervised - if we need to leave the room for any reason, the dog comes too.
If your dog has not been trained how to deal with children, how will he know what is and is not appropriate behaviour?
Don't forget that your dog will need quiet time between "doses" of kids. The more used to kids they become, the longer you will be able to have them interact. It is like any other training session and unless you've worked your dog through them, he won't be able to enjoy the freedom he deserves.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Featured Rescue - Lainey the Australian Cattle Dog / Blue Heeler

When I was younger *enter cheesy music*, we had an Australian Blue Heeler/Border Collie Mix. We got her when I was 4. If you look up the breeds, both suggest not to have with children. They're probably right, but we never had an issue with her herding kids ... if anything, she mothered us. To this day, she was the smartest dog I have owned. Not to mention ... the only dog I have ever trusted explicitly.

When we went to Quebec, the thing I remember most was seeing the Blue Heelers lying on top of the Belgian carriage horses in old Quebec City. Always makes me smile.

Yet that being said, we see a lot of these dogs go through rescue. There are currently 3,005 available listed on Petfinder. They require a lot of work, are high energy and high maintenance dogs ... just like any other herding breed. And, just like any other herding breed, will entertain themselves if you don't "do it" for them.
This is Lainey. She is estimated to be 3 or 4 years old. She is currently in a foster home with 8 children and doing well there. Lainey is located in Temperance, MI. If you can offer Lainey a home, contact The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD) and Heeler Rescue of Michigan
(See her sticking out her tongue? - haha)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

News Reel - Dog Left In Truck

Well, since my post yesterday suggested keeping a dog in a crate in a vehicle, I thought this would be an interesting post.

Here's a link to an article related to a dog that was left in a pickup truck.

What is your opinion? Do you think it is ok or not to leave a dog in a car/truck/van?

My opinion - each scenario is different. Here are some guidelines:
1 - If it is not too hot or too cold, than it is ok. The dogs are better prepared for cold weather than we are (though not hot - be careful with that end!). If you have a short haired dog, you might want to get a jacket/sweater/coat for it to help it stay warm (general guideline - if your dog is shivering after a walk in the cold weather than it needs a jacket!).
2 - If we provide them with what they need than I don't see a problem. Give them water, fresh air and keep the temperatures at a decent level and they should be fine.
3 - If the owner goes out and checks on the dog regularly (like every couple of hours ... even every 4 would do) than they should be fine

How would this be different from all those dogs that have to live in outdoor kennels? Well, for one, it would be warmer not to mention that they are able to be up on the seat with soft cushions. Two, you are out there a few times through the day (attention they wouldn't get from being in a kennel).

Why does Canine Control and Police get called out to an instance like this if they don't shutdown kennels? My opinion is that they should start cracking down on the worse offenders where the dogs are in real trauma.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Asshat Rant - Senior Dogs ... Again

I'd love to send this one in an email to this guy ...

Ok so I've said it once, I'll say it again. If you have a dog that's reached it's senior years, you should keep it for the last few it'll be around!! It's selfish of you to try to get rid of her at this point and it's even worse on her - you'll likely break her heart if not her spirit. Here's an ad from a person who has an 11 year old JRT who is admittedly agressive towards other dogs!! She's free to a good home.

Come on, are you really that stupid? How can you be such an asshat?? Even if you are able to find someone to take your old, dog agressive *DA* dog, do you really think they'll keep her around if she snarls, barks, lunges, or anything else at any other dog?? What about kids? Other people? Cats? How long do you really think she'll last?

If you take her to a shelter, chances are good that they'll euthanize her if she shows agression. Unless you were to take her to a No Kill, which are few and far between and even then there's not really a good guarantee. How long before she shows her DA and is forced to redirect her frustration on the handler? Not all No Kill shelters have people who are trained to work with these dogs (and I for one already have a full house and a waiting list!).

If you've kept this dog this long than why not keep her around? You've shown that at one point you did want her. She's probably going to want to rest a lot of the time since she's older. She won't need as much exercise now as she once did anyway!

Good grief. She's small. You could always crate her in a large sized dog crate in the back seat of your vehicle for the time you're at work. Then take her out at your scheduled breaks (you're in Ontario which means that by law you should have two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute minimum if you are working 8 hours a day). Then walk her when you get to work and when you get off work. She'll probably have more walks doing this than normal for her anyway! Give her access to water and crack a window in your vehicle. Yes, this is easier done with vans, SUVs and other cars with back hatches, but it's entirely doable.

Don't give me the line about how that's "cruel". Do you crate her when you leave? Do you lock her in the house when you go to work? Your house is just a large crate with some comfy couches she can use as dog beds - nothing more. Give her a soft bed to lie on in the crate and she'll be just as happy. Taking your dog to work and keeping it in a crate in the car (if not just in the car w/no crate) is just as "cruel" as leaving it at home. The only difference is the temperature - cold in the winter, hot in the summer. You make sure the dog always has water and a cracked window (if not two or three) and it will be quite comfortable - though your windows may be foggy when you get back.


Ads - Quick Note

Just thought I'd post a quick note about the Google ads to the right of the page. These ads are automatically published by Google and don't necessarily reflect my opinions, thoughts or beliefs. Some are good, some are not. Take them with a grain of salt.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Training Rant - Doggie Door Etiquette

Some friends came over to visit us during the holidays and I found I was rather disappointed with their dogs' door etiquette. In fact, it was more than disappointment - it was downright frustrating. We had a 2 year old over who was frightened of dogs - I'm sure you can imagine the screams and tears. We have spent a week working with this little guy and dogs and how they are NOT scary.

Their dogs came in, ran all over the house from person to person and barked at each when they didn't stoop to pat them. If you still didn't stoop, they jumped all over you. One of the dogs came in and proceeded to urinate on the floor in the middle of our living room (the 5 year old lab). Now, I wouldn't mind if the dogs recently joined that family and needed to learn the rules, but two were purchased as puppies (now 2.5 and 3 yrs old) and the third has been in the same house for almost 5 years ("rescue" as 6 month old pup).

Can you imagine the resulting sounds that came out of that 2 year old child? There goes an entire week of teaching the child not to be frightened of dogs.

One of the first things we work on with the dogs we foster as well as our own is how to greet people at the door. Door etiquette works both ways. Coming in and having people come in. Here's what I mean:

People Coming in:
They are expected to keep away from the door when people come in the house and wait until they are called over for their pats. Yes, sometimes they get excited if they know the person and they will let out a bark, but in that case, they are to go get a toy to let out that excitement with. Otherwise, they have a spot to be and a job to do. They are to stay there until after the people get their jackets and boots off. This works particularly well when we have had people come over who are afraid of dogs or just plain don't like them. (It also helps if you have any uniformed officers come to the house or perhaps hunters knocking at the door.) If the people don't wish to greet the dogs, they don't have to.

The Dogs Enter Another House:
If the dogs are the ones that walked in, they are to sit in a heel and wait until we have come in and taken off our shoes/jackets. They are to stay within a few until they have calmed down. Once they have calmed down they are allowed to greet everyone and wander. If they get excited, they are to return to a heel and sit until calm again and the process is repeated.

Our dogs are NOT allowed to jump on people at the door. Period. The only people they are allowed to jump on are adults who call them up and after the dogs are calm and not anywhere near the time of walking through doors.

I believe I've mentioned this before, but when you walk into my place, you have to climb a flight of stairs. Our last "rescue" that never left (the one in the logo pic) would wait until you got to the top of the stairs, then jump on you. I nearly toppled down the stairs a few times before I was able to teach him how to properly greet people. For him the rules are slightly different as he is unable to sit quietly when people walk in the door - now he gets excited and goes to get a toy and lies down in another room until we come see him. This way he can chomp down on the toy and get out that excitement with the toy. Perhaps in another 6 months he will be able to sit quietly when we walk in ... we'll see - he's still a work in progress.

If you don't bother to teach your dog, especially something as common as how to deal with the situation of people coming in the door, never ... NEVER yell at them for not obeying you when you do finally want them to listen and do a certain thing.

I will reiterate again ... Your dog only knows what you've taught him/her, so why would you expect more than they can give?

Do your dogs have door etiquette? What are your rules with doors? Do you have certain behaviours you've taught them?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Featured Rescue - Duke the Yorkshire Terrier

Today's featured rescue is Duke. There are currently 857 Yorkie's listed as adoptable on This particular one is listed by "Safe Haven Rescue". They are listed as a 501-3(c) non-profit charity and they are located in Ohio. Here is the Safe Haven Rescue website from Middleton, OH ... for some reason, it is not linked from their Petfinder page.

Duke is a cute 2 year old Yorkie that was saved from a Puppy Mill existance. The ad doesn't list how he was "saved" ... only that he's looking to start a new life.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Training Rant ... PVC Collar?

Per a comment on the last blog entry, Rocky and Lacy found this blog and was concerned about a collar that was used on a dog (no, the blog owner did not use it, just posted about it). See picture to the left.

Yes, it's made of piping. It is approximately 36" long and the circle is about 4.5" in diameter.

This collar was found on a dog about the size of a lab. The dog was found on a highway wandering around. There has been much speculation about what this collar was used for. I'm sure you can imagine the condition of the dog and its neck after the collar was removed.

If you wish to read the full details, you can find them on the above mentioned blog.

To the right is a picture that shows how the collar was fitted and uses a dog about the same size and shape of the dog that was found wandering around with the "collar" on.

If anyone has seen this sort of collar before, it would be interesting to know what it is used for. Living in "Farm Country", I've seen all sorts of crazy things and ways to control your dog.

Was it a punishment for something?

Was it simply to prevent the dog from slipping through a fence?

What do you think?

Friday, January 2, 2009

News Reel: Top Ten Animal Finds of 2008

Thought you may be curious ... Here's National Geographic's Top Ten Animal Finds: Most Read of 2008. You can find the full story on this link here.

10. Wildlife Park Official Arrested in Gorilla Killings
9. Colossal Squid Thawing; Hints at Even Bigger Beasts (1,091 lbs squid found)
8. PHOTO IN THE NEWS: "Extinct" Primate Found in Indonesia
7. Colossal Squid Has Glowing "Cloaking Device," Huge Eyes
6. Largest Squid Ever Caught Is "Giant, Gelatinous Blob"
5. FIRST PHOTO: "Lost" Deer Species Rediscovered in Trap
4. Heavy Metal-Eating "Superworms" Unearthed in U.K.
3. Lizards Rapidly Evolve After Introduction to Island
2. Vampire Moth Discovered—Evolution at Work
1. Alien-like Squid With "Elbows" Filmed at Drilling Site

Lots of Squid things, eh? Every once in a while, I find it's good to remind myself that the world is big and there are many things going on.

New Year ... Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone. Welcome to 2009. Does anyone have any New Years Resolutions you'd like to share?

The Holiday season was good for me. Horribly busy, but good. Although I may have gained an extra 5 lbs through the last few weeks, I'm pleased to report that not one of my dogs gained that much! They of course had all sorts of treats, but they seem to have burned it off with us home.

My Resolution? Well, like many others out there, I would like to lose that spare tire around my midsection. Just means I'll have to be more creative finding ways to burn off those calories with my dogs! I love to take them out showshoeing. They like to romp around in the deep snow and look for fuzzy animals in the snow (they never find them - I'm sure they sound like a herd of elephants gallavanting through the snow banks!).

Do you have any great ways to get outside and burn calories in the winter time with your dogs? Perhaps the question is ... do you have snow and do you need to make accomodations for that? Please let me know how you keep active in the winter time. I find winter to be more difficult than any other season to get out and about -- especially since we live with so much snow for so many months in the year!!