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The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Dog Training: Bigs vs. Littles

Interesting perspective. I don’t know about the science behind it, but it does make sense! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!

Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Win a YEAR OF THE DOG Bracelet Set!

Friday, February 16 marks Chinese New Year and, in 2018, this ushers in the YEAR OF THE DOG! (Irie and Tiki think that every year is Year of the Dog so I haven’t told them otherwise!) To…

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Basset Hound Agility

In honor of today’s Super Bowl and Puppy Bowl, I wanted to post something athletic. I’ve always said I could never do agility because I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my dog. I see now that my problem is I don’t have the right dog. This one, I could keep up with. This […]

Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Win a Plush Paws Products Pet Seat Cover!

Who is Best in Show at your house? Soon the world’s eyes will turn to New York to see just which dog is judged Best in Show–but we know that YOUR best in show dog is cuddled up with you…

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7 Ways to Protect Your Pets in an Emergency

Here’s some good advice from some animal-loving friends Down Under, about managing risks to our pets during emergencies. With all the weather-related emergencies around the United States, and beyond, I found good information in this article in “The Conversation,” about ways to prepare for emergencies with our pets.

While the details of Australian emergency situations might differ from those in America, even in the U.S. every community has its own risks and geography and emergency services (or lack of them), which means we pet lovers should prepare to take full responsibility for the animals in our care.

Some of the best tips for taking care of your animals in an emergency:

  • Create an emergency plan for your whole household that includes pets.  Consider a range of potential emergencies: heat waves, prolonged loss of power, floods, tornadoes and fires. Consider every creature in your household, including birds and small mammals.
  • Plan to leave early. Evacuating with animals can take longer, especially when you have multiple types of animals or need to make multiple journeys. It is not safe to leave animals behind, or to leave a household member behind to take care of the animals.
  • Stay aware of emerging weather conditions and emergency warnings by tuning into the radio or television news.
  • Have an emergency kit for your animals: fill a “go bag” (or box) with items you’ll need if you need to leave in a hurry. If you have essentials (like medications) you can’t leave in a box, make a checklist and know where they are.
  • Plan where you will take your animals. Emergency services can’t help evacuate your pets or larger animals in emergency situations, and not all evacuation centers will accept them (although this is changing). The responsibility is entirely yours, so  you need to know where you’ll take your animals and how you’ll get them there. Most people rely on taking them to friends or family, but this can sometimes mean that different animals need to go to different places.
  • Plan for what will happen if you’re not at home, or can’t get back home. No one likes considering this situation, but it is often a reality. Speak to neighbors or nearby friends about what you would like them to do if you’re not home (and offer them your support if they’re away). Make sure you have contact numbers for neighbors and those who might be able to help in these situations.
  • Practice your plan. Nobody likes to embrace the possible reality of an emergency, but all professional preparedness advice recommends practicing your plan – which is particularly important with pets. It’s better to find out early that your ideal plan actually doesn’t work so you can find alternatives  and make a plan B and C. This is much easier if you aren’t in a panicked situation with the threat of imminent danger.

Remember, your animals depend on you. Plan for all the human and non-human animals in your household, and stay safe.

Halo Pets

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Which Grammy Award Winners Help Dogs, Cats in Need?

As we get ready to watch the Grammy Awards, here’s a look back at just a few of the many performers who have won not only the coveted accolade, but also a place in our hearts for turning up the…

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George Bird Evans and his Old Hemlock setters

George Bird Evans was the most famous gundog writer West Virginia ever produced. He raised a strain of close-working English setter at his eighteenth century home in Preston County.

The home was named “Old Hemlock,” and his setter strain started with a dog bred George Ryman. The Ryman strain was heavy in Laverack blood, so the dogs look more like what an international audience would think an English setter would look like. They also point with their tails horizon and not erect (“showing off the license plate,” as my Grandpa called it).

This film is colorized from the 1950s, and you can see how good the grouse hunting was in parts of the Alleghenies, including some amazing footage of Canaan Valley, the Blackwater River, and Dolly Sods– “the Canadian Zone” of West Virginia.

These dogs are beautiful but still quite useful. The strain exists today, but it is maintained with more scrutiny and quality control than any gun dog breed that isn’t a German HPR.

The commentary on these dogs and the birds is quite good. I particularly like the discussion of a gray phase ruffed grouse being taken– the only one ever shot in these mountains. Virtually every ruffed grouse in West Virginia is a red phase. The red phase is the minority color for the species, but it isn’t here. Red ruffed grouse are an Appalachian specialty.

I enjoyed this footage of the grouse days long passed, especially those “Canaan days.”




Natural History

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Sudden Weight Loss in Dogs: Signs and Symptoms

Sudden weight loss in a dog that is not attributable to increased exercise or activity should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. Some dogs do experience cyclical weight changes because they live in seasonal climates and are exercised and walked less during the cold winter months.

To be healthy, a dog should have sufficient fat covering the ribs. …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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Interrupt “Bad” Behavior With A Reward!

interrupting bad behavior

We have all heard about ways to stop your dog from doing something we don’t like by basically “snapping him out of it,” using various methods of distracting him from his shenanigans.

There’s the squirt bottle that often comes up as a supposedly harmless intervention. Some trainers suggest that if you have a really stubborn dog who seems insensitive to the squirt of plain water that you put some lemon juice in the water so it stings a little if it gets in the dog’s eyes or mouth.  In theory you’re supposed to squirt the dog at the moment she’s doing the unwanted behavior and it stops her – although in truth even if it does cause a pause in her efforts to dig up your rose garden, there’s not any lasting effect. She might even find it refreshing as then return to her excavation. This means that you have to pretty much grab her by the collar and pull her away from the garden, which you could have as easily down without the squirt bottle!

There’s the shake can of pennies, which many trainers make themselves from an empty can filled with a handful of coins and duct tape over the open end. The owner is supposed to give this can a vigorous shake toward the dog at the precisely-timed moment that coincides with the dog embarking on the behavior – like jumping up on a visitor. In theory, the shake can sound will startle him and take his mind off the task. In truth, I’ve never timed it well or had the pennies inside make enough of a clatter to “scare a dog straight.”  It usually results in a withering look from the dog when he realizes how inept I am at getting across my wishes.

A big ring of door keys is another tool espoused by some trainers. They suggest having handy a ring of keys you can throw in the dog’s general direction when you want him to stop chasing the cat, for instance (although it probably scares the cat more than the dog and makes them both go even faster).

I guess you could say these interrupters fall into the category of “positive” training, because they are presumably not cruel or harmful, intended only as interrupters of the dog’s shenanigans, without being harsh. However, if the interruption doesn’t happen,then it’s harder on the dog, who is baffled by what you want and then gets subjected to angry frustrated words from you. In my view, it’s unfair to the dog because he doesn’t really absorb the message you’re trying to get across.

So here’s a novel idea: how about changing what your dog is doing by calling him to you with a delicious treat? It has to be an extra delicious treat – you can’t just have a dog biscuit! The treat has to be better than the pleasure of the behavior he’s exhibiting and you’ll get the same effect as harsher tactics – your dog stops his behavior to come to you. And you get an opportunity to be the benevolent leader, reliable dispenser of All Good Things!

The treat needs to be bits of hot dog, cheese or one of the pure protein freeze dried treats that creates joy in your dog’s mouth! You need a super yummy treat to get their attention focused on you. And give a few treats in a  row, a real jackpot to make listening and coming to you – even when highly distracted – an enjoyable choice.  

Here’s an example: my girls Maisie and Wanda play extremely rough between them – slamming into each other at full tilt like rugby players, their jaws snapping the air like castanets. I know they’re having a grand time, but I worry their adrenaline levels will go too high and they’ll lose their self-control and hurt one another. They are each more than 80 lbs of pure muscle. Maisie goes at Wanda from behind and tries to bite her back legs out from under her. Wanda launches herself at Maisie with such force their ears fly up in the air.

I used to yell at them to try and get them to stop – wave my arms frantically. I’d even tried a shake can, but they were oblivious. However, because I always have a pocketful of Halo’s Liv-a- Littles when i go out with the dogs (for insurance that they will always come when I call out that word) they know that what comes out of the right coat pocket is reliably delicious. “Hey girls!” I call out in a happy voice as they are knocking each other over in the snow – and I hold out two chunks of dried beef right as they are knocking into each other. “Here!” I call out cheerfully (not in a scolding or frantic tone) and they stop what they are doing to grab their morsel. Then I feed them a few more pieces (I’ll often put different Liv-a-Little proteins in one pocket for the delight of variety),to reinforce the belief that all good things come out of my right pocket! But also to take their minds off what they had been doing.It’s all I need to do to break the spell and point their attention in a different direction. get them to chill out.

A friend who saw me do this misunderstood and asked why I was “rewarding bad behavior” with a treat – but the reward is actually for stopping what they are doing for paying attention to me – which is the best reward of all!
Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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