Pets Left Behind

Back in my days as an animal shelter manager few things saddened me more than a pet being dropped off at the shelter because of the death of an owner.

Some people don’t like to think about it, but it’s a reality. What happens to your pets if you are involved in an accident or worse?

What to do:

The best thing you can do now is make arrangements for an “in case of emergency”.
There are two scenarios.

First is a person who will help care for your pets if you become sick or for some reason cannot care for your pets.

The second is who will take your pets in the case of your death.

After you decide who you would like to share this responsibility, talk to them. Even though you may have friends or relatives that like your pets, caring for them and being responsible may be another matter.

Ways to prepare:

Leaving instructions in a will is mandatory but may not be enough.

Depending on where you live, you may have to seek further advice of an attorney. Leaving keys with this emergency person is a must in case they need to get in your house to get to your animals. I know areas of the world that when someone dies the police will “seal” your property and unless you have legal documentation that states this person can enter your property your emergency person cannot get to your animals. This may only take a day or two but imagine how confusing this can be for the animals. Not to mention if the animals are confined in the house.

Leave instructions. Here are some ideas of what would be needed:

Feeding schedules
Care instructions
Allergies or medications
Special needs
Locations and phone number of veterinarian

Another good idea is take your animals to your emergency person’s house. Visit several times or even let your pets spend a night or two. This would make the transition for not only the animals but also the emergency person much easier. If there are already animals in the home, make sure everyone gets along.

If your animal has certain behavioral issues, make sure everyone is aware of these issues and how to deal with them. Loosing an owner can be devastating to some pets and this will make the transition much easier.

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Hoofin’ it with your dog

The benefits of walking

* All the photographs in the article were taken on one walk with a client. All but the last picture are just some of the stray dogs encountered on this walk. Mind you, we may run in to more strays living in Panama than you would in your part of the world. Both of her dogs (also shown in last photo) were dog aggressive before she started walking.

Are you thinking “Why should I walk my dog when he runs around all day?”

In this article I want to discuss a few of the reasons why you should walk your dog. You won’t believe the benefits. And no, obedience training is not always enough.

Maintaining control of your dog:

I tell people in my training classes, you either have control of your dog or you do not. “Control” does not mean you are a tyrant; it simply means you live in harmony with your dog under all circumstances. Many people tell me they have control of their dog unless it’s distracted or unless it doesn’t feel like it…the reasons go on and on.

Rules of walking:

Don’t let your dog pull on the leash; your dog should remain by your side when walking. This teaches the dog to walk with you instead of on his own out in front of you. Allowing a dog to walk in front of you tells the dog he is in charge of the walk, not you.

I also tell people in my training classes that a walk should be a walk. Not a sniff, not a zig-zag otherwise known as “coursing”. This means if you have to walk in the middle of the street to make it easier for you to keep your dog’s nose up, you do so. Yes, your dog can go potty or investigate on a walk, but only when you allow him to.

Walk with purpose. Head up, shoulders straight, relaxed. The more confident you are on the walk the better your dog will behave.

Slack in the leash; do you know that when you allow your dog to keep a tension in the leash you are actually encouraging the dog to pull ahead? Keeping slack in the leash will teach the dog to stay with you and not pull. If your dog begins to pull, you can use a treat or a pop on the leash to remind the dog he will be walking with no tension.

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What tale does the tail tell you?

I received a video today on my “bravodoberman” facebook page. As I was watching it I laughed to myself when I noticed the brown Doberman near the end of the video. Notice this dog wagging his tail as he attacks the “bad guy”. Many people think a dog only wags his tail to show signs of friendliness. As you can see in this video this dog clearly “likes” this bad guy, in the same way I like a good cut of steak.

The tail of a dog can tell you many things about how a dog is feeling but it may not always be what you think. Learning what a tail is telling you can be a valuable tool when evaluating the intentions of a dog.

There are two key ways to read what a dog is feeling. These would be his ears and his tail. Each dog has their own unique way of expressing themselves but certain stances are the same in all dogs.

Aggression and wagging tails

A raised tail wagging slowly usually means this dog is aggressive and dominant. If that tail stops wagging and you see the head lower and the ears go flat, the next sound will be growling. At this point if something doesn’t happen to change this dog’s intention, this action would be followed by a strike. It is also possible for the dog to go straight to a strike especially when he is challenging another dog.

The Doberman in this video is an excellent example of a strong, dominant dog with clear intention. If he had more of a tail, you would see it standing tall. This dog’s tail is wagging furiously because the dog is very stimulated.

Bottom line; don’t trust the wagging tail of a dog that you are not familiar with. Be cautious and patient. Give the dog time to make a next move to show you what his intentions are. Could save you from a very bad situation.

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