Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Breed Discrimination

Breed discrimination is a widespread problem across the U.S. with Pit Bulls and Rottweilers being the main culprit. Breed Specific Legislation uses laws to restrict and even ban the ownership of a dog based on its physical characteristics. These dog's characters are being determined based on how they look. Sound familiar with humans? Did we not use to judge a person's character based on how they looked? Now it is (hopefully) common knowledge that someone's personality does not depend on how they look. So what's so different about dogs?
  By owning a discriminated breed you could have a higher insurance, not be allowed to live in certain places and have your dog taken away and euthanized if it is considered a banned breed in the wrong place.
I feel that banning a specific breed gets us no-where, because it is not a breed of dog that is dangerous, it is a certain type of owner. Get any Pit Bull puppy and have it raised by a 'good' owner and I bet you all of those dogs will be happy and safe dogs. Now give any Lab puppy to the wrong type of owner and this dog will more than likely develop dangerous or unwelcome behaviors like fear and aggression.
No dog is born bad. Yes, some dogs may develop aggression or any other behavior more easily than other dogs, but all dogs are INDIVIDUALS. No dog should have a label put on it based on its looks.
I think a great alternative to BSL laws is to make it mandatory to spay and neuter your dog and also have laws that report/prevent/punish a reckless and/or abusive owner with ANY breed of dog.

The link above goes to a recent story that is a perfect example of why BSL and breed discrimination does not work, and in my opinion does more harm than good.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Spaying and Neutering


There are sooooo many reasons to spay and neuter your dog/s. Your dog's health, the lives of homeless dogs, your wallet, your dog's training, the list goes on.
Your dog's health
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer. Spayed females live 23% longer than un-spayed females.
Neutering helps prevent testicular cancer if done before 6 months. neutered males live 18% longer than un-neutered males.
Neutered males will not feel the need to roam to find a mate. Intact males will do anything they can to escape their yard when they feel the need to roam. Not only is it inconvenient to chase Fido around the neighborhood, but it is dangerous. Your dog risks getting hit by cars, getting lost, injured in a fight with other males and many other disasters. 
Spaying and neutering does Not make your dog fat.
Intact dogs often spend more time marking territory and looking for a mate then paying attention to their owners. Early neutering and spaying will prevent many, many aggression and overall behavior issues.
The cost of spaying and neutering is WAY cheaper than having to care for a litter or take your dog to the vet after is has gotten in a fight with another dog or has some sort of preventable cancer or infection. Raising a litter of puppies is not cheap, it is not something you can do responsibly and still make a profit.
 The homeless
This is a big one. 6-8 million homeless animals enter shelters every year, not even half are adopted, and the rest are euthanized. more than 2.7 MILLION healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are KILLED every year because there is no room for them. More than 90% of these are strays that come from unplanned litters. This can be prevented so easily and so cheap! Spaying and neutering saves lives. Help the over population problem, don't add to it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fear of Loud Noises


Many dogs are fearful of sudden and loud noises like thunder, fireworks, or sirens to name a few. For some dogs it's worse than others, and the phobia can appear for no apparent reason to us. The trigger noise can cause some dogs to cower, become destructive or even run away. There are a few things you can do to help your dog through its fear, or try to extinguish the fear altogether.


For a lot of dogs, it is enough to simply make a dark, quiet and safe place assessable for your dog. If your dog does not like to hide when frightened, and anxiously wanders, you may find it helpful to keep your dog engaged in a fun activity that distracts him from the noise. If your dog loves to play fetch, then start playing fetch before any real fear sets in. If your dog loves treats, or training etc, use that to distract him until he calms down, or the noise stops. If, during any distracting activity, the dog starts to show any fearful behavior stop the activity immediately or your dog may begin to associate that activity with the noise and fear. 

If you want to play a more proactive role in your dogs fear, you can do some desensitizing training to get your dog to not react to the trigger noise. It is very important to start very slowly, your goal here is to make your dog comfortable with the noise and not show any fearful behavior. To start, get a recording of the noise and play it low enough that the dog does not react, feed him his dinner while you play the noise, and gradually increase the sound over a few weeks until your dog is comfortable with the real thing. If your dog shows any fear at any point in the training, take a few steps back until your dog is comfortable once again.
There are many CD's out there that are made for this desensitization process. 

Things NOT to do:
Don't pet or comfort your dog while he is acting fearful, this can be perceived as a reward for their fearful behavior.
Don't lock your dog in his crate against his will.
Don't punish your dog for being fearful.
Don't force your dog to be near the trigger noise if he is fearful to do so.