I have a thing for hats. I’ll fully admit that this is due in part to the fact that they allow me to be lazy with my hair, but it’s more than that. Throwing on a stylish hat instantly transforms an outfit. Even if the hat is ultra casual, I still feel a little bit fancy. For whatever reason, I feel especially inclined to wear hats in the springtime. I’ve never worn an Easter hat or been to the Kentucky Derby or done anything that would directly cause me to associate hats with this time of year, but I do. And the hats you see above are some of my favorites right now.
Are you a springtime hat person? Which is your favorite of this bunch?
Two weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking at the AAHA National Convention as a part of the BlogPaws veterinary social media track. In a fit of what I can only imagine was perhaps a hypothermia-induced lapse in judgment, Bill Schroeder invited me to co-present for the day.
Bill Schroeder, Dr. Patrick Mahaney, that one person, Tom Collins, Dr. Lorie Huston, Kate Benjamin (courtesy Dr. Patrick Mahaney)
For those of you who don’t know, Bill helms In Touch Vet, a veterinary marketing company that works with 8,000 vet clinics across the country with website design and social media. And I, well, I manage one site, which is slightly less impressive, really. He’s spoken all over the world. I’ve spoken all over the midwest. I’m not entirely sure what he was thinking, but I didn’t want to correct his mistake, so I accepted his offer. And this is why:
Five years ago, there were about three veterinarians on the web. I attended a social media lecture at Western States and they held it in the basement, on Saturday night in Vegas, where a woman with no veterinary experience whatsoever got up in front of the bored looking crowd of 10 and attempted to explain what a “Facebook” was. Now, things have changed. I see more vets trying to get on board. I say “trying” because this is what tends to happen:
1. They attend a lecture, think to themselves, yup, I should do this.
2. Log onto Facebook, become immediately overwhelmed.
3. Back to work / consider asking receptionist to share some pics from George Takei’s page, or worse, post some dull news brief from an academic journal.
Done right, social media is fun, and engaging. I wouldn’t be here all this time later if I didn’t think that were the case (because trust me, I’m sure not making a living off writing on this site.) We’re lucky, as vets: we don’t need 20,000 fans or fans in Dubai or strangers we’ve never met, though I like all of those things; we just need a small and loyal group who support what we do. Being here makes me a better vet because it forces me to concentrate on my communication.
So I got up there with Bill, and he said all sorts of profound things and told some great jokes and showed some compelling slides. I watched. I said a few things, the most profound of which was probably my comparison of Twitter to a one-night stand (it’s not about long term relationships there, and that’s OK), but the one thing that struck me more than anything was: wow, we’re all still pretty far behind the eight ball as a profession. That, and the fact that I should wear lower heels when speaking.
The Fallacy of That One Vet From Michigan
Let me share with you something someone said after one session: a veterinarian, and I won’t guess his age because, well, I never do that anymore, came up to us and said: “yeah, this is great and all, and I’m sure where you are in San Diego everyone’s all into this social media thing (I can’t recall if he used air quotes or not), but I don’t need this where I am.”
So we asked where he practiced, and he said, “Michigan.” Then he said, “Only 2% of my clients use social media. I know this. We have data.” I wasn’t thinking of calling him a liar, since we are an honest profession of course, so I believed him. But then he said this: “So I just think maybe we need to focus on our traditional methods of new client recruitment. Like going to Rotary Club.”
Now look. I like Rotary Club. My father in law is a past president of a well renowned local chapter and the members are amazing. But I think even he would agree, that as a sole way of looking for new faces to come in the door, maybe it is a somewhat limiting strategy.
Social Media: Old People Like Me Use It Too
Then I really pondered what he was saying. Only 2% of his current base uses social media. Who are these people, 98% of whom eschew online interaction? Other than the local Rotarians, I mean. We know, generally speaking, that 67% of US adults are active on social media. According to pingdom, half of all social media users are 25-44, with another 20% 45-54. That’s plenty of middle aged people with pets, I think. More than half are women, who, at least in my practice, show up in the waiting area more than half the time. That works out well.
So I ask myself, does this person live in a small town of Luddites who eschew all forms of web based communication out of a sense of nostalgia? Is there really some place in this country so far off the national average outside of Amish country? Or is he simply handing over, to the clinic down the street, this huge chunk of potential clients who aren’t even aware his clinic exists because they don’t go to Rotary meetings?
Maybe it’s a San Diego thing, but I really can’t comprehend a town where more pet owners attend Rotary than go on Facebook, or yelp, or any of the other places we now go to find recommendations for businesses. Perhaps, like the good men and women of the Old Mission Rotary, they do both.
I sense from many veterinarians the feeling that the internet, and social media in particular, is overrun with 14 year olds who go onto reddit, post a few LULZ and then get on with their day, none of which involves being the primary caretaker for animals. If that were the case, I would have abandoned ship long ago.
I, however, have spent the last half decade getting to know all of you, and I’m pretty sure that none of us are shopping in Forever 21. I think we’re all pretty solidly Ideal Veterinarian Client Demographic: educated, emotionally vested in our animals, and committed to their well being.
Social media: it’s not just for college kids and Beliebers.
And that connection I share with you all, that sustains me in my moments when I questioned my sanity going into the profession in the first place, is why I wanted to speak at AAHA.
I thought it went well, at least until I saw the first group picture.
The Boxer is an amazing dog and is extremely playful, energetic and definitely a handful (in a good way of course). This breed if dog is extremely loyal and when a friendship is built it lasts forever. The boxer is very unique and not for everyone, if you’re a new owner of a boxer you have to be aware that they need a lot of attention and training. They are extremely intelligent dogs which can work to your advantage when it comes to training, but then again can be very disadvantageous as they know how to use their intelligence to get what they want.
Boxer dog training consists of training them up to become guard dogs, this is their main profession if you like. People who don’t know boxers tend to assume that they are naturally aggressive when they are in fact the opposite and couldn’t be more playful than any other dog! Because of their good stature and aggressive look, people are automatically assuming this dog could do more harm than good. If your boxer isn’t trained properly then he just might.
Because of their intelligence Boxers can be very stubborn but when it comes to training a boxer it can be very helpful. Owners must remember that there will be times when you ask him to do something and he’s going to look you in the face and basically tell you where to go, he knows he is supposed to do what you are telling him but he decides he can’t be bothered and doesn’t. The main thing you have to remember in these circumstances is to be patient. From as early as 6 weeks old you should start your boxer dog training as this will help him when he grows up, socialize him, play with him and teach him, but do it in an exciting way and he is more likely to listen.
The main aspect of training for a boxer is socialization. Boxers can be very friendly dogs but they need to be trained to become one. They need to get accustomed to other dogs and people. The best way to do this is training classes. That way your boxer will be trained alongside other dogs.
When your boxer reaches 13-16 weeks old it’s time for some serious boxer dog training, this is the stage where he is going to test for dominance, he will nip and try to show you that he is the more dominant one, mainly by not listening to you. You have to be a strong leader at this time, you must show him that him acting like that will not be tolerated no matter what!
Boxers are genuinely a lovable family dog and would make a proud pet for anyone, they are dogs that prefer to sit on you lap for a cuddle than anything else. Train your boxer early with some serious boxer dog training and you can be assured you will have a stunning, loyal family friend!
When Lily the pit bull wants a burger, she's going to tell you … OK, she'll at least try. Fine. Maybe she's not exactly saying "hamburger" — but, I'm 99% sure. If a dog were trying to speak, what else would they be trying to say?
Judge for yourself:
What's possibly cuter than pets trying to speak?! Absolutely nothing —
This post is brought to you by Betty Chu, an Executive Producer for AnimalPlanet.com and a Guest Contributor for The Daily Treat.
The newest dog training craze is clicker dog training. A clicker is a small rectangular plastic box with a metal button on top that clicks, hence the name clicker. It’s the type of training that the dog decides whether or not it suits him. There have been a lot of success stories with clickers, but with my dog he just didn’t want to know!
Researchers in dog studies believe that the clicker promotes enforced training, without punishment! As we all know when we do something good and get rewarded for it we are going to do the same again, a dog thinks the same way. Dogs learn through consequences, if they do something and it earns them a treat and praise they are going to want to do it again because they like this consequence. If they do something that you don’t like and they get ignored or said no to in a strict voice they know that they aren’t going to get any treats so are not going to do it again.
Clicker dog training works in such a way it reinforces good behavior. If your dog sits, click and give him a treat. The next time he sits do the same but don’t say anything to him. He will soon realize that when he sits he will get a treat and hear a click, so when you eventually come to click before he sits he knows to sit. Its not all that confusing when you think about it.
Punishment is not used with clicker dog training as researchers believe that although punishment does stop some bad behavior it may also create another unwanted behavior. Punishment is almost always carried out after the dog has done something wrong so dogs see punishment as a random consequence therefore punishment doesn’t really solve anything.
Clicker dog training is not only used or dogs! It is widely used for other animals such as dolphins and horses. It is a widely practiced training method and does produce results; if carried out properly.
Image by Selbe B
I clean my ferrets ears quite often, about every few weeks. I looked at Munchlet today and found this. It is like he has tons of wax. I have never seen this much wax in and coming out of a ferrets ears in just a few weeks. It is in just one ear. The other ear only has a little bit of wax, nothing out of the norm. What could cause something so bad? He usually sleeps on this ear. Maybe it’s ear mites. I’ve never seen a case on a ferret before.
We are in the process of moving to CT and his ear cleaner is currently down there. It was too late to run to the store. I used water to clean his ear out, I felt so bad for him.
UPDATE: After a trip to the vet and a few test is was determined that he has an ear infection, not mites.
Bacterial infection leads to plant death in tissue culture tube
Image by IITA Image Library
Plant death as a result of bacterial infection of yam in tissue culture tube. (file name: GE_TI_005a)