Christopher Aust, Master Trainer
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I have received a lot of letters from people worried about the canine flu we have all been hearing about. Some folks seemed a little paranoid about it so I wanted to put out a little information I have found.
This is a newly emerging pathogen, and researchers have very little information to make predictions about it. According to Dr. Cynda Crawford of the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, “Because dogs had no natural immunity to the virus, virtually every animal exposed would be infected. About 80 percent of dogs that are infected with the virus will develop symptoms.” She added that the symptoms were often mistaken for "kennel cough," a common canine illness that is caused by the bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria.
“Both diseases can cause coughing and gagging for up to three weeks, but dogs with canine flu may spike fevers as high as 106 degrees and have runny noses. A few will develop pneumonia, and some of those cases will be fatal. Antibiotics and fluid cut the pneumonia fatality rate.” Dr. Crawford said.
It is believed the fatality rate is between 1 and 10 percent.
The virus is an H3N8 flu closely related to an equine flu strain. It is not related to typical human flus or to the H5N1 avian flu that has killed about 100 people in Asia.
I have talked to a couple of people who are in veterinary care and they don't feel anyone needs to panic at this point. Personally, if we all take a few precautions I think we should be fine.
Make sure your dog is healthy. The healthier they are, the better they will fight of illness. Give the dog some vitamins, keep them hydrated and feed them a high quality food.
Be smart about where you take them during this whole thing. Avoid allowing them to come in contact with dogs you don't know. You might want to avoid the dog park, doggie day care and boarding since these areas are all linked to the infection. Wash your hands if you have handled another dog before greeting yours and playing with yours.
I know the holidays are coming and people will be shopping and traveling so avoiding day care and boarding kennels can present a problem. What I recommend is hiring a pet sitter to come to your home while you are away or having a trusted family member or neighbor come by. This way you decrease the chance of the virus getting to your dog.
I don't think this is going to be an issue too long as they seem to feel they will have a vaccine in fairly short order. I'll keep an eye out for the info and let you know what I find.
Okay, that's it for now. I'm outta here!
Dog Chewing the Sofa? Puppy Eating Your Shoes? Or WORSE?
We are planning to get a puppy after the first of the year and have been looking around for the right breed. After reading a couple of your past articles, I noticed you said most bad behavior is because of common mistakes people make with their dogs. What are those mistakes?
You've heard me say it before, and I can't reiterate this enough, you have to treat a dog like a dog. I know we love them like our kids but they are dogs and deserve to be treated as such. To treat them any other way really isn't fair to the animal.
The success of bringing any new dog into a home starts with compatibility. You want to have a breed that will compliment your lifestyle. For instance, if you are looking for a lap dog, a Great Dane probably isn't going to be a wise selection. Now, I know that example is pretty obvious but I think you know what I mean here.
You also want to prepare your house. In the same manner you would baby proof a house and have a nursery ready when you get home, you have to dog proof the house and have their things set up before you go to pick up the dog.
You have to decide what is and isn't going to be acceptable behavior from your dog at all stages of their life. Once you have made that decision, you have to enforce it from the time the dog arrives home. For instance, if you know you aren't going to allow the dog to sit on the furniture when it is fully grown don't allow it to sit on your lap when it's a puppy.
Let's look at the example above so we have a better understanding. When we allow a puppy to sit on the couch with us, we have made this an acceptable behavior. Then when the dog gets big and we start to correct them for getting on the furniture, they become confused.
We have all heard the term, “rank has its privileges.” Nothing could be more true in the mind of the dog and those “privileges” mean everything to a dog. A dog isn't going to understand they have simply gotten too big to sit on the couch. In their mind, they have lost a privilege for no reason and thus, lost pack position. The result is they can often become resentful, which can lead to destructive behavior.
Dominance games come in a couple of different forms so I am going to talk about the ones that seem to be the most common or popular. Before I do though, I am going to touch on what makes something a dominance game.
A dominance game is any game that will enhance or increase the prey drive instinct in a dog. In the majority of aggressive dogs I have worked with, dominance games had been played or encouraged by the owners. Some examples of dominance games are;
Unfortunately, we are increasing the dogs prey drive and by letting them win, we are telling them it is okay to fight for something that is in our hand and that they are dominant over us and make the decisions. Often these dogs will snap at people when they try to take things away from the dog. Dogs must always understand they must drop whatever they have when they are told to - if for no other reason than safety.
The first I will mention I like to call arm wrestling. This is when we play on the floor and the puppy attacks our hand, wrapping its paws around our forearm. We then allow it to gnaw on our fingers while we shake it around the floor. While they love this game (and it is fun for us too I will admit) it is teaching them it is okay to bite on people.
Next is the “Escape and Evade” game. This one holds a double whammy because it teaches the two worst behaviors all in one. The game is played with the dog and person facing each other squared off. The human then quickly runs off and gets the dog to chase them.
The human usually stops and try to psych the dog out again. This game I believe to be the cause of numerous dog bites on children because the child will inadvertently make a quick move, causing the dog to instinctively snap. Beyond that, it enforces to the dog it is okay to run from the owner and also makes it clear to the dog they are faster than us. If you have ever had a dog that has figured this out, you know what a pain that can be.
Now, I started out saying that we have to treat dogs like dogs. Some of these things may seem minor, but they can often be significant contributors to inappropriate behavior.
Your story about your German Shepard was so beautiful. I was so touched by it, and passed it on to many friends. Thank you for sharing.
Just a note to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter. Well said and to the point. I have a not for profit rescue organization and our focus is Outreach. In East Tennessee we seem to take dogs in, chain them to a tree, and then let them have puppies, throw them out on the highways ... and you know the rest of the story.
We have a "Humane Society" and "Animal Control" nothing except us in the middle. Our Outreach focuses on helping the animals and teaching owners how to do better with their dogs. We also do spay and neuter, we pick up the animals, take them to the vets and do fund-raising.
In the meantime, keep writing your newsletter. It is a refreshing point of view.
Our dogs, like our shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well.
BREED OF THE WEEK
Probably one of the most well known JRTs currently is Eddie. Eddie was the dog on the television sitcom, “Fraiser.” This dog made millions laugh with his antics that really are reminiscent of common JRT behavior.
This is an intelligent, high energy, devoted and loving animal. They are extremely inquisitive and playful and need to be trained and extensively socialized from a very early age. A JRT can become stubborn and really does need consistent and experienced handling. They will do well with respectful children and make a great family dog.
I mentioned a secure yard for a couple of reasons. First, they have a strong prey drive and are great hunters. If they smell something they want to track down and it leads outside your yard, they will look for a way out. They have been known to climb chain link fences and a twelve inch JRT can easily jump over five feet.
Now, you may be thinking, “Wow! That's a lot of work for such a little dog!” Well it can be. However, if you are prepared for a JRT and know a little bit about them in the beginning, you will find you have a wonderful little buddy. Their expressions and uncanny ability to look like they understand every word we say will keep you laughing. The devotion they exhibit will cheer up your day and their ability to learn tricks is amazing.
If you are considering getting a JRT for the first time, I
would recommend getting one from a JRT rescue group. Dogs from
these groups have often been given some training and been
fine-tuned by people who know the breed. They are always
willing to help match you with just the right dog, and give you
tips along the way.
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Outside a radiator repair shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."
In a non-smoking area: "If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."
On maternity room door: "Push, push, push."
On a front door: "Everyone on the premises is a vegetarian except the dog."
At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
On a taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."
On a butcher's window: "Let me meat your needs."
On another butcher's window: "Pleased to meat you."
At a used car lot: "Second hand cars in first crash condition."
On a fence: "Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive."
At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We'll hear you coming."
Outside a hotel: "Help! We need inn-experienced people."
In a dry cleaner's store: "Drop your pants here."
In a vet's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
On a music teacher's door: "Out Chopin."
At the electric company: "We would be delighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don't, you will be."
In a beauty shop: "Dye now!"
On the door of a computer store: "Out for a quick byte."
In a restaurant window: "Don't stand there be hungry, come in and get fed up."
Inside a bowling alley: "Please be quiet. We need to hear a pin drop."
On the door of a music library: "Bach in a minuet."
In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully, we'll wait."
In a counselor's office: "Growing old is mandatory. Growing
wise is optional."
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Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
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Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
Don't forget to send your comments, questions and suggestions on the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter to:
Newsletter Archive: Master-Dog-Training.com/archive/
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