Monday, February 22, 2010

Black Dog Monday - Feather

It's Black Dog Monday and you know what that means ...

Today's Black Dog is named Feather. She is 11 weeks old and is listed as a Black Labrador Retriever, Border Collie [Mix]. She seems to be getting along with both the dogs and cats in her foster home. Feather is located in Rochester, NY with Pitty Love Rescue.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Featured Rescue - Frank the Beagle

I had a dog named Frank when I was small so I have a soft spot for any dogs in shelters by that name. Hence today's featured rescue - Frank. The first thing I noticed on this guy was his hound-ears. I love them; so soft and floppy. The second thing I noticed is his pink collar. I wonder if potential adopters will notice? I wonder if that is the sort of thing that would speed up or slow down an adoption??
Don't forget that even little things like a collar colour will affect the speed at which a dog is adopted!!
Anyway, this guy is located at Georgina Animal Control and Adoption Centre in Keswick, ON. He came in as a stray (big surprise there) on February 2 and is now waiting for his new forever home to come pick him.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fun Stuff - A Rose by Any Other Name ...

Here's a fun challenge for you. It is designed to make you think about your dog and his/her personality traits. It is not supposed to be easy - it is supposed to make you think.

If there was a song or a set of lyrics in a song that best describes your dog, what would it be?

For my Australian Cattle Dog, her set of lyrics are the chorus from "I'm So Excited" by Pointer Sisters. She was awarded this because whenever she is super excited and is trying hard to contain herself (like at meal-times), she will sit, her whole body will vibrate and she will stomp her front feet as fast as she can while holding her breath. Most times she gives up trying to contain the excitement and goes all wild-child on me. (She will calm down as she gets older but for now we enjoy the excitement of puppy-hood and are teaching her appropriate vs inappropriate times to "let go".) For those not familiar with them, here are the lyrics:

I'm so excited,
And I just can't hide it,
I'm about to lose control
And I think I like it.

I'm so excited,
And I just can't hide it,
And I know, I know, I know, I know
I know I want you, want you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Product Review - Saved Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform

I recently had the opportunity to review a book called Saved Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform by Karin Winegar. I said I would write a review and I am doing so today. "Saved is a beautifully illustrated tribute to rescued animals who have deeply affected the people who saved them"

If you enjoy a happy ending story, then you should read this book; it falls along the same lines as the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. If you like this style, then this book is totally for you (however if you don't like this style then stay away!). It is well written and has been thoroughly researched (which is nice).

It took me a fair amount of time to read this book, mostly because I find I have less and less time to read nowadays. Personally, I found that it was a bit too mushy for me and focused more on the people than on the animals, which wasn't really what I had expected. I give it three out of four paws up. Just because it didn't do it for me doesn't mean it's not a great book.
You can find it on Chapters here and Amazon here (in paperback and in hardcover). Like I said, if you like this sort of book, then grab a copy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

News Reel - Update on Brittany and Rambo

Things are heating up in Brampton as the battle rages on over the lives of Brittany and Rambo, two dogs who were seized in January for being born after Ontario's Dog Owners’ Liability Act, 2005 was instated. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

On February 12, 2010 Brampton's Commissioner, Jamie Lowery, took out a full page in the Brampton Guardian to write a letter addressing this issue. If you take the time and read this letter, you will note that it is filled with crap to CYA (CoverYourAss) for Lowery. Lowery quotes the DOLA (Dog Owner's Liability Act) and makes it sound as though Animal Control officers were forced to take the dogs because they are illegal.

Reading the article written by Anita Robeson on February 13, 2010 it's hard not to consider that our system is corrupt. Robeson points out that "The City has been provided with statements from experienced veterinarians who confirm the illegally seized dogs are not pit bulls. But the City, bound and determined to be right, will not accept expert testimony as evidence."

Do you remember back in 2005 when they were arguing the new DOLA and the merits of it? Veterinarians, professional trainers, breeders and dog lovers all tried to explain to Michael Bryant that this was the wrong course of action ... now the City of Brampton is repeating history ... don't they say that until something drastically changes, history is doomed to repeat itself?
An article written by Pam Douglas on February 12, 2010 is a bit more politically correct. In it is details for the next rally in support of Rambo and Brittany. This article states the facts and is written in a more calm state than the one above.
If you are interested in attending the rally, here are the details:
Feb 20, 2010
Brampton City Hall

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Featured Rescue - the American Water Spaniel

Today's Featured Rescue is inspired by our Guess The Breed post on Friday. For those of you who were interested, the answer was the American Water Spaniel. Do you know how long it took me to find a picture of one of these guys that was NOT either a puppy picture or a hunting picture with either a gun or dead duck? WOW.

Anyway, this is Suzy. She is an American Water Spaniel around 1 - 2 years old and is in the care of Jackson County Humane Society in Maquoketa, IA. She is a little shy but I bet with some time and patience, she will come around.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Guess the Breed #15

Wow ... I haven't posted a GTB since December! Good grief, you guys should have mentioned something about that earlier. I get sidetracked sometimes ...

Anyway ... Check out this one! What do you think she is? First prize, as always, is a little link love ... Ready? Set? GO!

What would a contest be without rules?

1. No bashing other peoples' opinions.

2. Post your opinion. Don't be shy.

3. Have fun!

The winner for GTB #14 was Dog_geek author of The Dog Geek

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Featured Rescue - Dante the Shiba Inu

I realize today that my choice of words for the title of yesterday's post was poor. It should have been Don't Judge a Dog BY its Breed ... not "ON". Whoops. Ah well - we can't all be perfect. But no one corrected me which is odd ...

Anyway, today's Featured Rescue is a Shiba Inu. Dante is 3 years old and already looking for another home. The rescue describes Dante as "king of his castle and expects humans to follow suit". He is currently in the care of Shiba Rescue GTA

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Asshat Rant - Don't Judge a Dog on its Breed

Ok, this topic has been covered from so many angles it's getting to the point where people just roll their eyes when it comes up. I'm not going to preach about it. I should hope that if you are reading this blog, you would know that you should NEVER judge a dog based on its breed. Something happened on the weekend and I want to pass it on. Considering all the crap going on in Brampton right now (and everywhere else where breed is taken into account more than any other thing), I thought this a fitting story for today.

I was in Toronto this weekend and had two of my dogs with me. I took the Cattle Dog for a walk down Queen's Quay thinking it would be a GREAT place to work on some environment issues (which, by the way, it really was). She was doing awesome with the craziness and business of the place. Before I go further with the story, please remember that when we first got Cattle Dog she would take off blindly running when she encountered a dog she was frightened of. Took a lot of time but we have been working on this and VERY few dogs frighten her now.

We walked up to a set of lights and the corner where we stopped had a dog and owner already there. The dog looked like the below picture but with more white (below is a Shiba Inu). Wish I had my camera with me at the time ...

The dog was in a sit behind the owner (who was standing looking at the lights/traffic). To a person who doesn't know much about dogs, this would be a dog that looks safe and friendly; it was in a sit, watching us, wasn't pulling on the leash, was wearing a flat collar, and is FUZZY (because EVERYONE knows that fuzzy dogs are the friendliest! They are just so darn KYOOT! It's those darned "dangerous dogs" in the news you have to watch out for).

The dog was facing us. The closer we got to the dog, the lower the dogs' head went. The closer we got, the faster Cattle Dog was spinning on the leash trying to tell me to "Get Away! Don't go Closer!".

Listening to what the Cattle Dog was telling me, I stopped a healthy 10 feet away and had the pleasure of hearing the quietest, lowest, deepest growl ever. If I hadn't been listening for it, I would have missed it. The owner turned around to look at his dog, looked at us and smiled before turning back to the intersection. He said nothing to his dog, he said nothing to me. I called over a friendly "Hello" which he ignored. The dog never stopped staring at us, its head level with its elbows (his shoulders were the highest thing on him). Once it had started growling, it didn't stop. I was glad we had stopped so far away.

I waited to see which direction he was walking and promptly went the other way. I lucked across a place called PawsWay. Neat place! It's got all sorts of information about dogs there and they encourage you to bring your dog in with you. Super cool. Since Cattle Dog was about done with the outside stimulation for the moment, we went inside and hung out in a corner until she calmed down.

While we were inside, a man came up to sit at the table in front of us with his dog and a stroller while his wife went to find some hot coffee. His dog was all over the place - so excited! (So slobbery!) Since the floors are tiled, the dogs' feet were going super fast but the dog wasn't moving.

The dog was short haired and muscular. He was an intact male (how could I miss that!), brown brindle and was wearing a prong collar. To the average person who reads far too many newspapers and hears all about how terrible these sorts of dogs are, he would have been very scary looking - especially with the prong collar. He looked like exactly this:

The owner looked at his dog, looked at me and chuckled. He asked if it was ok if his dog said hello and I consented. The guy initiated contact, he had an infant and his wife with him and the dog looked like he was about to explode with excitement. The most important thing? Cattle Dog was pulling to go see the Staffy. She was super excited to see him. Total opposite than the dog outside. In this situation, I trust my dog's judgement more than I trust my own. She was the one who let me know that she could say hello to this dog. She was the one who told me to stay away from the other dog.
The two dogs interacted in a friendly manner and tried to play but they were both too excited (you know the kind of excitement where they can't stop wriggling long enough to think?). The moral of the story? Don't judge a dog by its breed. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Don't expect people to say hello to you in big cities.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Black Dog Monday ... er ... Tuesday

I didn't post our Black Dog yesterday because of that news reel ... here it is:

Today's Black Dog is Xena (click for Petfinder link). She is 5 1/2 months old and is listed as an Australian Kelpie / German Shepherd Dog mix with Buffalo Humane. What a cutie! She is beginning to nip at the feet of people when she gets excited and will need a home who is willing to take her to Obedience Classes.

Everything in this ad was going really well until I read through it in its entirety ... I really don't like this comment that was near the bottom and I'm sure they didn't mean it the way it came out BUT COME ON! You TOTALLY have to have people edit things before publishing because the following quote was not worded well: "would benefit from having a canine companion to play with as an outlet for her herding tendencies" Otherwise, a good ad; if informative but a little wordy.

I couldn't resist posting two pictures of this one because she's so photogenic ... A good picture is SO important for adoptable animals!! Isn't this one cute?

Monday, February 8, 2010

News Reel - Protest at Brampton Animal Services

The Ontario battle rages on ... see Part 1 here.

Saturday morning there was a protest at Brampton Animal Services. In attendance were approximately 100 people, and NDP MPP Cheri Di Novo (who is trying to garner support for her Bill 222 which will repeal the breed-specific portion of the law).

The dogs are being cared for by staff at Brampton Animal Services until a decision has been made regarding their fate. See below for the latest news articles:

Dog lovers plan protest in Brampton
Protesters barking mad

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Featured Rescue - Amber the Boxer/American Bulldog

In light of the situation in Brampton (please check the link if you don't know what's going on), I have decided to feature a Boxer/American Bulldog mix today. Her name is Amber. She is located at Camp LotsaDogs which is in Ontario ... I heard about this place last March - so far haven't heard much about them through the rescue network. If anyone has experience with them, please pass it on!

PS - Did you notice at the bottom of Amber's page it has a section dedicated to Coonhounds and Beagles?? Here's a quote ... A lot of people think Coonhounds and Beagles are stupid but they're not! They are just joyous dingbats for sure but very trainable. They are funny, happy clowns.

Joyous dingbats ... yep - that sure makes me want to adopt one today!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Asshat Rant - Repetition

I happened across a situation the other day that made me shudder ... this is the second time I've run into this and it kills me every time.

Nothing bothers me more than idiot dog owners. You know, the ones who shout 25-100 times for their dog to "Sit" in a high pitched, shrill voice that makes you want to cut off your ears? Oh my. I could only imagine how the poor dog feels.

*headdesk headdesk*

This is what we heard ... "Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit, Sit" while the lady was chasing the dog around trying to put a leash on him.

My dogs stood there, looked at the lady, looked at the dog and looked at us as if to say "Is there something wrong with her?" It looked like they were grinning ... I wish I could have laughed but it would have been too much. The lady looked at me like I should do something, so I asked my dogs to sit and they sat. So, I sighed and helped corner the dog with a bunch of other people so she could take him home.

If you are trying to teach your dog a behaviour, you really don't have to repeat it a thousand times. Your dog is not an idiot (though some owners are - it's scary when the dog is smarter than the owners ...) so don't treat him like one.

If you have to repeat yourself when asking your dog to Sit, then one of two things is going on. One - He doesn't really know the behaviour and doesn't understand what "Sit" means. Two - He doesn't think he has to do what you ask, couldn't care less what you say and is going to ignore you no matter how angry you get; the more angry, the more fun.

This lady gets today's Dogs Deserve Freedom Asshat Award.

Congratulations, Dumbass, you're the Asshat Of the Week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

News Reel - Rambo and Brittany on death row

I know this is sort of old news for those who have been following this story and I wasn't going to blog about it since it is so well covered by many other dog blogs ... but I can't help myself. I have to blog something. If nothing else, to show my support AGAINST Breed Specific Legislation.

On January 13 Brampton Animal Services seized two dogs, siblings, for violating the province's pit bull ban. The dogs are 2 years old and are brother and sister. They are Boxer/American Bulldog mix. Now, if that picture of Rambo doesn't SCREAM Boxer, I don't know what would.
“We stand by the fact that the dogs are boxer mixes,” said Rui Branco, 42, whose brother owns Brittany and her parents, Jersey and Tyson. There was no warrant, no complaints or abuse complaints. The city has been stonewalling us. We got a letter a day ago from the city ... certifying Brittany as a pit bull.”
Up until the news article today, I haven't read anything that would suggest a cause for this action from Brampton Animal Services ... until I read this:
Animal Services said that Joseph Branco had registered Tyson as a restricted pit bull in a 2008 licensing document, which means it’s against the law for Tyson to have puppies. “I have no idea how the city registered Tyson, the father, as a pit bull and I have no idea what led them here,” Branco said. “Their excuse for being at our door was to collect the licence fee. The bylaw officer said, ‘I’m going to hunt (Tyson’s pups) down, one by one,’”
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Breed bans don't fix the problem. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) does nothing to make irresponsible owners accountable, punishes responsible dog owners and costs innocent dog lives. If you are interested in reading some of the news articles that have covered this story, check them out below.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

News Reel Rants - Dog Bites Family and Biting Dog

Sunday was the first time I've picked up a newspaper in months (aside from our local community news - I always check up on the Humane Society's column). I don't usually like the dog training columns in the paper because they don't generally give advice that I agree with. The unfortunate thing is that other people will read the article and then apply whatever advice given to their own dog(s). Usually it's the total opposite of what you should do or it's only partly correct. I couldn't believe it on Sunday ... I read the article Dog Bites Family and actually agreed with the columnist!

Holy Jumpin. It's a day for celebrations. Here's the quote that I ABSOLUTELY love ... "I class all truly abusive and positive dog trainers in the same category. They both hurt dogs. The former does it in an obvious way and the latter an insidious way." Beautifully written. I couldn't have said that better myself. If you have time, check out the article. There's some good info in there.

Then I get an email about this article, Biting Dog Needs to be Desensitized from a different paper and a different columnist. I read it and couldn't believe what I was reading. Basically the article said not to use punishment (positive or otherwise) because it doesn't work or if it does, it is only temporary. Check out what this columnist published ... The blue is her published work, the Red and Black are my comments:

"Leash corrections are in the same category as spanking" WTF?! Are you serious? That's one broad statement. So if a person has a dog on the leash and the dog is aggressively charging the TV (the example given - what if it were another dog or a child??), you should not use the leash to correct? What the heck do you suggest the person do? Let go? Do you even know what this "correction" is that the person who wrote in used?

The most interesting thing is that by using the word "spanking" as the comparison, the columnist has half the readership already nodding in agreement not because they disagree with leash correction but because they disagree with spankings.

Watch what you read.

Most good writers are taught what's called persuasive writing ... In fact - did you know that most grade school children are learning persuasive writing?? I have the pleasure of sitting in on some of these classes during my day job - interesting stuff ... wish I could learn some of it! HA.

Then she wrote this "Research indicates the effects may be temporary unless the punishment is immediate, consistent and severe". What research? I would like to read some research studies that prove this - it would be interesting. I don't agree with this statement. (This is where I'm going to have all sorts of readers up in arms about what I've written) Again, it is far too broad and doesn't explain spit. What does "severe" mean? Each dog will view punishment as different so you really can't make such a statement. I also don't agree that punishment needs to be immediate for everything ... while I have many examples I could use, this is the best and most recent one I can think of ...

You better believe that the day I walked in the door after work to see my nice new cat pillow shredded all over my livingroom floor, my dogs knew exactly what was going on when I picked it up and said "What is THIS?! Who ate my pillow?!" (I knew exactly who it was because only one dog was new to being out of the crate throughout the day and she is a "destructor dog".) (Granted ... living with 5 dogs I really should have KNOWN that a CAT PILLOW would not be on their Top Ten List for decorating our house but I think of it sometimes as MY house). I didn't catch them in the act. I did give them trouble about it - all of them. They haven't done it again (I have a matching pillow with a DOG on it and they seem to think that one's just fine). It's all part and parcel of training. If I had expensive crap, I wouldn't have dogs. What's the point of this story? My dogs received verbal correction, then got the cold shoulder until dinner time. The punishment was not immediate (it was possibly even hours after the behaviour), consistent (it didn't happen more than once) or severe (not physical in the slightest; all they got was me tossing my arms around my head in frustration, a bit of yelling and then the ignore button) but it worked.

"Although punishment may work for some, it can be ineffective and even has the potential to backfire" At this point in the article it sounds like this columnist is lumping all punishment in the same box. You have to think outside the box when you're training dogs. Punishment is different for each and every dog and when you find out what works for that dog, it is quite effective. You sure wouldn't use the same template on every dog. Not all dogs are the same. For some, I could use verbal. For others, I could put them on ignore. For others, I would put into isolation. For others, I can use a leash correction. For others, a time out where they aren't isolated but are limited in movement works. You can't assume that the thing that works for dog number one will work for dog number two and if you have assumed this than of course you would make a statement as above.

While this columnist has some good points ("Systematic desensitization is one effective choice. Instead of waiting for the dog to fail and then correcting it, the dog is set up for success"), these shining rays of hope are overwhelmed by the huge amount of crap she has written. It honestly sounds like she picked up a Behaviour Modification book and cut, copied and pasted certain key phrases to be interspersed with the crap. That way it sounds like she actually knows what she's talking about. She uses key phrases like "positive punishment", "learning theory", "Systematic desensitization", and "anxiety-provoking triggers" but then puts in the sentences as outlined above.

Here's what really bothers me ... when you get someone giving advice in such columns and they have no idea what they are talking about. The scary thing is that people at home will take that advice and apply it to their own dogs, often making the problems worse.

If you have a dog at home that exibits any aggressive tendencies (or other negative behaviours) you wish to resolve - PLEASE go to a trainer! Don't just read an article in the paper and assume you can fix it yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black Dog Monday

Today's Black Dog is named Corey. He is a big ol' Black and Tan Coonhound (with more black than tan as you can see). He is 5 years old and is reportedly good with other dogs. He looks gorgeous ... I love hounds; with their "froppy-ears" and "a-roo-roo-roo" ... my heart melts.
He is located at Sanilac County Animal Shelter which does euthanize due to space constraints. They have 14 dog kennels and 6 cat cages. "Although we try very hard, not all of our animals are placed and unfortunately have to be humanely euthanized due to limited space and funding"
If you can offer Corey a home (even a temporary one!) I encourage you to do so. One dog at a time, right?