Controversy at 2014 Crufts Show

What do you do if your show dog has flyaway hair? At most dog shows, you would simply use hair spray to keep the fur in place during the show. However, outdated Crufts rules outlaw the use of any artificial enhancers such as hairspray or the chalk some handlers use to make white dogs appear […]


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A Labrador in Heaven

A few nice skin allergies images I found:

A Labrador in Heaven
skin allergies

Image by pmarkham
We had several inches of rain out at the farm last weekend — enough that it turned about 1/3 of the pasture into a temporary lake. The dogs thought this was *FABULOUS* and immediately decided it was time to go swimming and playing in the water.

Holly especially loves to play in the water any chance she gets.

Holly was originally supposed to be a Helping Paws service dog. My wife and I trained her from the time she was 8 weeks old. A year into her training she developed skin allergy problems. Between that, and her quirky personality, it was decided she wasn’t a good fit to be a service dog. She now lives with my friend Steve (the guy who owns the farm I always talk about).

A Labrador in Heaven
skin allergies

Image by pmarkham
We had several inches of rain out at the farm last weekend — enough that it turned about 1/3 of the pasture into a temporary lake. The dogs thought this was *FABULOUS* and immediately decided it was time to go swimming and playing in the water.

Holly especially loves to play in the water any chance she gets.

Holly was originally supposed to be a Helping Paws service dog. My wife and I trained her from the time she was 8 weeks old. A year into her training she developed skin allergy problems. Between that, and her quirky personality, it was decided she wasn’t a good fit to be a service dog. She now lives with my friend Steve (the guy who owns the farm I always talk about).

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Hank: Star of the Cactus League

If you follow pre-season baseball, you may have already heard about Hank, who is overshadowing this year’s players at the Milwaukee Brewer’s training camp. No, not the Hank Aaron who started his career in Milwaukee. This Hank is a stray dog who wandered into the team’s complex back in February looking a little worse for […]


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Meet Malcolm and Murphy

2 Dogs 2,000 Miles

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Counter-Conditioning and Desensitization for Dogs (Part 3)

Basic Graduation 2-14-12

Last week I described the counter-condition and desensitization process (CC&DS). When is it the right approach, as opposed to addressing a problem with reward-based training?

Deciding that an association is causing your dog to behave a certain way means making assumptions about what is going on "inside" the dog. These kinds of assumptions are not always right. As a matter of fact, these kinds of assumptions are what can lead to describing a dog as stubborn, dumb, or even the dreaded (and horribly misused) "dominant." Which is not a personality attribute dammit. But I digress…

With the understanding that we are making judgements based on our dog’s body language and behavior there is a general rule we can follow. We use CC&DS to change an undesirable response to a stimulus that seems to be driven by a negative reaction to the stimulus. Let’s consider three possible responses to a human stranger approaching a dog:

  1. The dog attempts to escape.
  2. The dog lunges, growls, barks, in what we would characterize as an aggressive manner.
  3. The dog attempts to jump up and greet the person.

In numbers one and two the dog’s reaction is negative. Both reactions are likely driven by fear. In number three his reaction is positive – he is happy to see the person and wants to greet them, albeit in an inappropriate manner.

We need to change the emotional response in scenarios one and two. A dog that is attempting to flee or attack cannot be taught to greet someone politely, and even if it were possible, he would probably still be distressed. We want to make him more comfortable. This is job for CC&DS.

In scenario three the dog is happy to see people! We certainly don’t want to change that. We have a training problem: we need to teach him how to greet people politely.

In situations where we need to make something "bad" become something "good" (or at least a lot less bad) we use CC&DS. In a situation where something is already good but the response is what is "bad" we use training.

That’s it for CC&DS in this series. Next week we move on to a new chapter in the ABC’s.

But before we move on, here’s a cute video illustrating how classical conditioning works. I wish I had found it when I started this series.

Counter-Conditioning and Desensitization for Dogs (Part 3) is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Bergen County New Jersey


Dog Spelled Forward Website and Blog

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Q&A: Guinea Pigs and Mites?

Question by Nibbles Biscuit: Guinea Pigs and Mites?
What is Mites and how do I Prevent it? is it contagious?

Best answer:

Answer by Luv-A-Bee <3
they’re called mange mites and no they aren’t contageous, but if you own other guinea pig’s it can be passed from one to the other. They are like fleas. To prevent them you should house your guinea pig’s inside (as wood cages are where they live) . Also if you bathe your guinea pig with special guinea pig shampoo that can prevent it. To get rid of them you have to take your guinea pig(s) to the vet to get a special drug used on them.

Add your own answer in the comments!

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We love you to death

Veterinary medicine, the happiest field on earth, land of puppy butts and kitty snuggles and Pet Doctor Barbies in hotpants, or so they told me when I was 10.

Or perhaps it is the land of crushing student debt, clients frustrated that they are priced out of affordable care, and the unending mental strain of not being able to make every client happy and whole at the price they want you to provide it for.

Maybe it’s somewhere in between, but to be honest it seems to me like it’s leaning a little more towards the latter than the former. It wasn’t always this way, and yes, there are plenty of vets who still tell you they couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but for many, they can. And do. I was shocked to see how many of my colleagues- good, smart, compassionate veterinarians- have left the field. It happens a LOT.

kittysnuggles

Kitty snuggles may not solve all the world’s ills, but it does help a whole lot.

Burnout rates are high, depression is rampant, and though the world was shocked to learn veterinarians have the highest suicide rates of medical professionals, no actual vets seemed too shocked by the news. The truth is, this is a tough, tough field, and the toll it takes is financial, physical, and mental, each and every day. We are expected by society and each other to buck up and put your own needs on the backburner, day after day after day, and it. wears. you. down.Justine Lee has a great article on the topic: one in four vets have considered suicide.

Last week, a colleague followed through, and our field is all the less for her loss.

It might surprise you to know that while our field tiptoes around the concept of compassion fatigue, it’s not regularly acknowledged as an almost inevitable part of what we do. Those who feel the strain are often left to feel guilty and disappointed in themselves for feeling that way. When the timing is wrong, when the wrong case hits at the same time as a broken water main or someone delivering a court summons, it can be very easy to forget that there is a way through that mess.

Animal lovers are deeply sensitive by nature, and I think both animal care providers and clients may be prone to those intensities of emotion that can veer into unhealthy places. I’ve dedicated my work the last year or so to acknowledging we need to do a better job supporting the emotional needs of our clients, but the truth is we need to so the same for our own.

I sincerely hope our field is able to provide better support for our own in terms of learning to cope with the unique stressors of this career, that those support groups that exist within the veterinary community are not kind of shoved in the corner to be sought out in desperation but held up as a standard for healthy venting and encouraging each other to live well and live outside the clinic.

I bring this up for several reasons, namely because I was very saddened by Dr. Koshi’s death and the circumstances surrounding it. I want my colleagues, especially those of you who are young and still learning how to do this vet thing and do it well, to understand that we all know how hard it can be. The internet has not made this easier. We need to be able to rely on each other and on the profession as a whole.

If any of you are struggling, please reach out, to your friends, to a hotline, to me, I don’t care who you reach out to but just stick your hand out and wave and we will take it. I am happy to hear multiple veterinarians including Dr. Lee, Dr. Myers, and others at NAVC met up to discuss what we can do to be more organized in our support of each other and stop being ashamed of admitting sometimes, this field is HARD.

And for you non-vets, because I know many of you are amazing clients, I want to thank you for being the kind of people who make going to work worthwhile. You are the reason we continue to pull our lab coats on every day.

RIP Dr. Koshi, and know that we will acknowledge and remember the wonderful work you did in this world.

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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It’s OK to laugh

On March first, I hit ‘send’ and the first draft of my manuscript went flying through the ether to New York to land in the capable hands of my editor. It was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. If any of you watched the Oscars and heard De Niro deliver this little nugget:

The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying thing. Isolated, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination, consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing, and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.

That pretty much sums up my experience of churning out a manuscript. It lifted my spirits to know I was in such good company in my certainty of inadequacy. I’m still not sure of the publication date yet; it depends on a lot of things, such as Grand Central’s current catalogue and how many rounds of editing the book has to go through before it’s whipped into shape like a perfect meringue. I’ll be sure to keep you posted because I did guarantee AT LEAST 25 copies sold and my mom can’t buy them all. :)

In the meantime, I set myself to a side task which turned out to be rather entertaining. As part of my contract I get to submit about 15 black and white photos for the book, covering my life with Taffy, Emmett, and Kekoa. The latter two I’m set on, but finding old pictures from my childhood was a bit more of a challenge.

My father, like my husband now, was an early adopter of new photo technology. This is all fine and good if the technology sticks, but of course as we’ve found it usually doesn’t. This resulted in two major problems:

1. 1975-1983 exists solely on old slides.

2. 1997-2002, the early digital age which also coincided with vet school, ended up on an old-school iOmega zip disk. The whereabouts of said discs are unknown. They may be floating in a box that’s been packed since the day I left vet school, or in a Goodwill store somewhere, or maybe Brian put them on an old PC that is also dead and gone, who knows. It is possible the pictures could be recovered if I actually HAD them, but at this point I would need a genie and a committed tech nerd.

Fortunately for me, my father kept his slides miraculously intact, and spent the last year faithfully transferring them into a digital format. It was crazy to see what he delivered, keeping in mind the last time my father actually set up the projector in the house was 1983. I hadn’t seen any of those pictures since then, kindergarten, first communion, all those moments from decades ago. Taffy as a puppy.

I chose one or two of Taffy looking cute then a few more of me looking as dorky as possible, which meant pretty much all of them (I had a very extended awkward phase.) So because I love you all and I thought it was funny, I wanted to share one of the pics I didn’t end up using but is very illustrative of my formative years:

Scan 3.jpg

I’ll need my sister (the elegant brunette in the back) to chime in on the age of this one. Mid 80s for sure. And there’s me, the love child of Sandy Squirrel and Benny Hill:

sandy

It was a bad time for fashion in general.

And of course Taffy, who was as always plotting her escape. Or perhaps planning where in the house she wanted to pee next. I owe my dedication to the newest odor removing technology to years of following her around with an ineffectual roll of paper towels and whatever carpet cleaner they had in the 80s.

Your turn- who was your first pet? What is your most clear memory of them?

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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TRACIE HOTCHNER: FRITZ IS A NEW MAN ON THE HALO HEALTHY WEIGHT CHALLENGE

DrDonnaSpector-Morgan2011_250wDr. Donna Spector (my superb co-host on THE EXPERT VET on the Radio Pet Lady Network) has been steering the ship in guiding the weight loss plan for Fritz – our first lucky pup on the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge – which we talk about on our show and Dr. Donna has been blogging about online.

Fritz’s Mom, Holly, has added lots of vegetables like steamed zucchini to Fritz’s Halo and has had to use all her self-control to keep his calories restricted to Dr. Donna’s firm but gentle prescription for weight loss. Holly has been reporting the slow but steady loss of 1% to 2% loss of overall weight weekly, which is the optimal way to get the job done.

Since Fritz went on Halo Health Weight Management food, Holly’s family has gotten a whole “new and improved” dog! They knew that choosing Halo as the best dog food to lose weight was working because the success was clear every week on the scale at the vet’s office. And in just a few weeks, Fritz has slimmed down and gets more winks from the girl dogs he encounters when he is away from home. But there’s been a surprise bonus!

Little did they know that losing pounds would also mean an entire personality change for their darling dog! Fritz is a Southern rescue pooch, who was getting a bit fat and lazy with Holly’s family, who showed him a bit too much love with added calories. Ever since we chose him for the Halo Healthy Weight challenge they have watched the pounds melt off, but the exciting bonus is how losing weight has literally transformed Fritz into a whole new man, with a new outlook on life!


Holly reports that as the weeks have gone by and Fritz has gotten slimmer on the Halo Healthy Weight Management food (with vegetables between meals for snacks) her doggy has become more engaged in what is going on, more outgoing and affectionate, has more opinions (which he expresses in a variety of barking howling vocalizations), and he’s playing more with his fellow rescued pooch, Max.

She has seen that along with his weight loss, Fritz has become more active – and has achieved more weight loss from the increase in activity. “When he was heavier, Fritz didn’t really want to play with Max and now they are going at it big time, with Fritz now taking turns being in charge of the play. I think he felt like a fat slob before and now feels a whole lot better about himself, thanks to Halo.”

We all know that carrying excess weight is unhealthy for any of us, which is why Halo created the Healthy Weight Management food so that we can get our dog’s weight down to his two-year-old level and maintain it there. We know that those extra pounds put strain on the joints and can cause problems with organs and overall health – but we’d love this additional Take Home Message for everyone: you may discover amazing added benefits to the weight loss, including surprising energy and upcharged personality. So what are you waiting for?!

Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

Halo

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Q&A: why are fleas host specific?

Question by Recher: why are fleas host specific?
why are fleas host specific?

what is special about dog blood that for dog fleas its life essential?

same for human fleas…what’s in human blood that they need to live and procreate

Best answer:

Answer by Common Sense
Their digestive track cannot digest other blood types. They are attracted by the odor of the animal they feed on. To a dog flea, humans stink.

Give your answer to this question below!

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