Spring / Summer 2017

 

BABIES SPRING/ SUMMER 2017

 

Hi There

I’m sitting at my desk with happy faces around me waiting to go back outside and play in the snow as I type this.  There have been changes at Hearts Delite with new additions to our family and new championships.  Those of you reading this will realize that I’m  an old fart technologically challenged so I am behind with how to add new info and slow to update. One of the ways to find out what is  new would be finding us at  the Hearts Delite Havanese facebook page, whereby I try to put in new articles and pictures of  home and new babies, plus you’ll find folks who already have  dogs still comment and would be probably more than likely to respond if you had any questions such as , if they were happy with their dog, us, etc .  On facebook, I try to update on  training, good training facilities, vets and so forth.

I am happy that you look at this site and read about us, but I do prefer to chat with potential owners of our dogs so that you can ask  all of your questions, and I can ask you a few. There are two reasons why I do this, firstly my priority is to be with my dogs and I find I could spend all day on the computer answering  questions and I can answer questions faster on the phone, plus you  get a sense of me and I get a sense of you and  developing a rapport is vital so that we feel a connection of trust , that I am a dedicated ,responsible breeder, and that I learn about  who you are and help in anyway the questions you need answered on this particular breed.

 

There will be litters this Spring and Summer, but  folks have and are  reserving,  so reserve if you feel comfortable with me, sooner, rather than later. If I don’t have a dog for you, I will know responsible professional Havanese people who also follow similar ethics and guidelines and I will recommend  them to you. It is vital that with the popularity  of this breed that you find someone who is not breeding loads of dogs, not breeding a bunch of different breeds as well as havanese, and that they are well aware of potential health issues and doing their best to maintain healthy dogs and doing the proper health certifications prior to breeding. many of us are now doing genetic Diversity as well but it is still new in its inception.

I think a dog is a family member and not livestock so it is vital to me that  I find you the best match for you and  not one just based on colour or gender.

My number is 519-942-9090 Home and 416-822-5150 cell

Warmest Regards

Kim


Winter /Spring 2017

Looking forward  to puppies in February and March 2017. Please call Kim at 519-942-9090 and she’ll be happy to  answer all of your questions.

We are members of The Havanese Fanciers Of Canada  as well as HOLA, and follow the guidelines and ethics to ensure that  this breed is healthy and we only breed healthy dogs who have completed  O.F.F.A. health testing as well as Genetic Diversity. Our dogs have completed their Canadian Championships (and some Grand Championships) and some continue to shine and win ribbons in the ring. Most importantly they are our family and our dogs only go to discerning wonderful folks! .

Please research this breed and breeders carefully, as there are many puppy mills, and  people trying to profit from the dogs popularity. We have already had customers who bought dogs who had compromising health issues , were poorly bred, and  lost at early ages. I don’t think anything is more heartbreaking than losing a loved  animal because someone decided to throw two dogs together.  If you say “but I don’t want a show dog, I want a pet, my response is, “what I put into my show dogs, ie: pedigree, health, temperament and classically beautiful looks, is what I put into my pets. You can also find us and get quick responses on Hearts Delite Havanese  on Facebook and see pictures of dogs, updated articles on training, nutrition as well as  happy Hearts Delite pups and their owners

I am always so happy to talk to anyone who would love to know more about this amazing breed.

HAVA-NESE Day!  ( corny, sorry)

kim

 

 

HAVANESE FANCIERS OF CANADA

 


Ten Things People Believe About Dog Breeders

Ten Things People Believe About Dog Breeders (That Simply Are Not True) Mar 3, 2015 by Farm Dog When I created ILRDB in 2012, my intention was to provide a place for breeders, rescuers, and all manner of pet owners in between to discuss controversial issues that affect the dog community. Though we try to cover a variety of topics in our posts, the same issues tend to be brought up repeatedly on ILRDB by people who, it seems, don’t understand exactly what it is that dog breeders do. And so here we have the follow-up to our previous post about misconceptions that people have about service dogs. ILRDB is proud to present: Ten Things People Believe About Dog Breeders (That Simply Are Not True): 1) Breeders “only do it for the money” We’ll start right off with the one that we probably hear the most often. And we’re going to make an important point from the start that you will see repeated here throughout this article: not all dog breeders are the same. Are there breeders that breed for money? Yes. Are we talking about those breeders? No. The debate over whether it is ethical or reasonable to expect to make money as a dog breeder lies elsewhere. What we want to talk about is the breeders who are breeding because they love it. And, again as with all things, you will see a massive overlap between breeders who love what they do and breeders who make money doing what they do. The fact is, many breeders are not actually making any money, but rather lose a lot of money on breeding. These are usually the people who have one or two litters a year and spend the rest of their time at dog shows because that is what they enjoy doing. Between show fees, genetic tests, supplies, time spent and taken off work raising puppies, and the myriad other costs (food, vet care, toys, etc) that comes with dog breeding, you would be hard pressed to find anyone rolling in funds even if they do have several litters a year. Not to mention the amount of time and energy that goes into raising puppies, cleaning crates/kennels, bringing the adults to shows or competitions, screening prospective owners…So “only in it for the money”? This is not a career you sign up for if you hate it. Dog breeding is difficult. Which brings us to our next point: 2) Dog breeding is easy Nope. Not even a little bit. I’ve heard so many people say “you just sit around and let your dogs breed, why don’t you get a real job”, and it completely blows my mind that somebody thinks it is really that simple. There is a lot more to breeding than sitting around and watching dogs have sex. The very first step to being a dog breeder is learning how to read pedigrees and interpret the data. That means you have to learn genetics, especially if you are aiming to produce some very specific traits in your dogs. That alone is a skill that takes years to perfect. Case in point: I’ve been “into” dogs going on eight years now, I can explain basic genetics to just about anyone, and I still need my hand held when it comes to understanding pedigrees. In most other fields, eight years of hard boots-on-the-ground experience equates to some level of expertise. In dog breeding, you’re lucky if you can explain the basics. And it doesn’t stop there! Once you know pedigrees, you need to have the know-how to pair dogs to produce what you want. And then you need to make the acquaintances with other breeders to have access to the dogs you need. This means spending hours at shows and on the sidelines at canine sporting events where you will meet other breeders. It also means carrying your own weight and proving that you know enough to be trusted with a litter of puppies. 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle/AP So you’re done, right? You have friends in the community, you understand genetics…now you are ready to breed! Nope. You still have to do the necessary genetic tests on your breeding stock, and in many circles you have to prove that breeding stock before anyone is going to give you free reign to their stud. That means going to those shows and campaigning for your dogs. That means, if you are producing working dogs, training your dogs to the level required to prove that said dog is worthy of being bred. Even if a person only wishes to produce pets, they will still need to find the right sire to match their bitch to, and that could take months of networking. All of this and you haven’t even bred your dogs. But what if you have two intact dogs already and plan to just let them breed? Dog breeding is easy then, right? Again, nope. First you have to track your bitch’s cycle, then carefully tend to your dogs while they breed so they don’t hurt each other (you know, the ever popular “rape stand” you see floating around on the hate pages- while not actually nearly as popular as people like to think, some breeders are more comfortable using these stands because they prevent the bitch from running off and seriously injuring the male). After that you have to set up the whelping box, attend vet appointments for x-rays to make sure you have a good idea of how many puppies to expect (if you don’t do this, you could unknowingly end up with a puppy getting stuck, and that will kill the bitch if it is not tended to). Then there is the whelping process, which is basically a science in and of itself because of everything that can go wrong. I have personally sat through two births and BOTH times something went seriously wrong and the breeder’s expertise was needed. Unfortunately one of them resulted in the death of a puppy (born with underdeveloped lungs). Fortunately the other one, which was a puppy that got stuck in the birth canal, turned out okay. So- just sitting around and watching dogs breed? Now, that has to be it. The mother has the litter and then she does all the work while you sit around and count your money, right? NOPE! Now you have to raise the litter. First there is socialization in the form of Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) if you are going with that method, or other early stim methods that are more recently growing in popularity. You have to Dremel puppy nails to get puppies used to the sensation of having their nails clipped. And mom is going to clean up after the puppies for you as much as she can, but you still need to change whatever bedding you are using under the puppies at least twice a day. Plus there are the times mom needs a break, and rotating puppies if you have particularly large or small litters. You need to make sure all of mom’s teats are being evenly nursed so she doesn’t develop mastitis, and you have to make sure that the puppies are all getting their share of each meal. In the interest of making this post shorter, I’m going to move on to the next point. But don’t think it stops there. Breeding is a long and arduous endeavor. It is absolutely insulting to think the process of whelping puppies is anything but hard labor intensive work that deserves nothing but respect and praise from all manner of dog owners. 3) Bitches are “bred repeatedly” and abused until they waste away Photocredit: Goldnote Golden Retrievers This one is just silly and anyone with any manner of critical thinking skills can see how nonsensical it is. If the goal is to produce puppies, a sickly or abused bitch is not going to produce a damn thing. The rule is that healthy dogs produce healthy puppies. Anyone wanting to produce healthy puppies needs to start with healthy breeding stock. Even for a breeder that puts a greater emphasis on profit, there is absolutely no benefit in cutting corners when it comes to the dog’s health. While some irresponsible and ignorant people might do this, a breeder who knows what they are doing would never even consider it. 4) Breeders dump old studs and brood bitches at animal shelters when they can no longer breed Like abusing bitches, this one might happen with some particularly cruel people, but they are the exception, not the rule. The fate of old studs and brood bitches varies from breeder to breeder- some prefer to keep their retired dogs, others prefer to rehome them so the dog gets individual attention that they wouldn’t have at a breeder’s house. The lack of individual attention is not because the breeder doesn’t care about the dog- but because the breeder has several other dogs to attend to and might believe that the dog they are retiring will be better off in a home where the owners don’t have to split their time between so many dogs. There is nothing wrong with either decision. This is a highly personal choice and a good breeder should have the wherewithal to make that choice in the interest of the dog they are retiring. It is absolutely never easy to rehome a dog that you have lived with for such a long period of time. The fact that anyone is able to make this decision so objectively speaks volumes about the strength it takes to be a dog breeder. 5) Breeders kill or dump imperfect puppies Pound puppies, probably not from a breeder. Here’s another one that doesn’t make any sense. And, unfortunately, it is a myth based on practices that used to occur years ago for a very specific reason. Back in the beginning of dog breeding, “culling” was a practice that meant killing any puppy that did not meet certain standards of quality. A breeder might have made this decision because a puppy was born with a disability and technology had not allowed for caring for such an ill puppy. These days breeders have a lot more options in veterinary care for injured or sickly puppies, and humanely euthanizing ill or injured puppies happens a lot less often, though is still occurs when necessary. This is not cruelty- it is kindness. Like the puppy born with underdeveloped lungs in the birth that I witnessed, sometimes nature never intended for a puppy to make it past the first few breaths of air outside the womb. This is entirely unavoidable and, in situations like this, euthanasia is the often the best option. Puppies born with physical faults that disqualify them from showing or competing (wrong color or markings, structure not conducive to work, working instinct lacking) were killed because there was nowhere else to put those dogs. This might have happened in the days before networking and advertising to rehome puppies, but today it is extremely rare- to the point that “culling” now means “rehoming”. When a breeder decides to cull puppies from their litter today, they are making a decision on which puppies will be sold to new families. “Culling” simply means that a breeder will not be keeping that puppy. So what about the part that doesn’t make sense? Well, a lot of people who don’t understand dog breeding like to think that breeders dump entire litters of puppies in shelters. Because, for some reason, breeders only breed to make money, but then they dump the litter that will make them money at a shelter, which probably actually cost them money to do. No. This is not a thing. Litters of puppies in shelters come from owners whose dogs accidentally bred and the owner had no idea what to do with the puppies. Unless a breeder’s dogs were confiscated, you won’t find litters of puppies from a breeder in a shelter. 6) All dogs from breeders are inbred Inbreeding is an extremely controversial topic that I won’t get further into than I need to, partially because it would take too long and partially because, as I mentioned before, I only have a rudimentary understanding of genetics. Suffice to say that some breeders do indeed perform some level of inbreeding. But the ones who do are usually very experienced and know exactly what they are doing. Inbreeding is a tool used to produce a higher rate of predictability in certain physical and temperamental characteristics of puppies. There are multiple benefits to inbreeding, but there are also a lot of downsides. This is why a lot of breeders, if not most, stay away from inbreeding and won’t even consider it. They don’t want to deal with the potential damage that can result from a single error in calculation. So no, not all dogs from a breeder are inbred and you can pretty easily determine whether the litter you are purchasing a dog from is inbred by looking at the dog’s pedigree. If you see the same name multiple times in the dog’s lineage, it’s time to start asking the breeder questions about how inbred the litter will be. In general, this is not something most puppy buyers need to be concerned about, but it is definitely good to at least learn what to look for. Also, do not assume that just because a line is inbred that the line is unhealthy. As I mentioned before- a breeder who knows what they are doing will have a better understanding of the potential drawbacks to inbreeding and will inform their puppy buyers of these drawbacks. Breeders who practice inbreeding are few and far between. At most, you’ll probably come across line breeding, which is a completely different concept and does not pose the same risk as inbreeding. 7) Breeders hate mixed breeds We’re actually kind of jumping back to the inbreeding conversation a bit here, because this is another extremely controversial issue in the dog world. Do breeders hate mixed breeds? Generally, no. The problem is that there is some amount of bias towards mixed breeds because breeders of purebreds might view mixed breeds as the result of irresponsible breeding practices. The assumption is that anyone producing mixed breeds is not keeping track of their lines and therefore has a greater chance of producing unhealthy offspring. On the other hand, breeders who are producing mixed breeds might have a bias against purebreds because they believe the rate of inbreeding and line breeding in a closed gene pool (when breeders stick to only breeding dogs registered with a specific kennel club, that breed’s gene pool is most likely closed) will create a genetic bottleneck. Genetic bottlenecks cause a loss of genetic variation in smaller populations. Loss of variation equals a greater incidence in recessive genes, which equals dogs that end up with heritable diseases more frequently. This issue is so extremely controversial that anytime we mention it on I Love Responsible Dog Breeders, we end up losing a few members. So please understand that, if you hear a breeder say they hate mixed breeds, they are probably talking about the methods with which they believe people use to arrive at producing mixes and not the actual dogs themselves. In the grand scheme of things, the controversy over mixed breeds versus purebreds is basically a misunderstanding between people who believe that dogs should be produced in one way versus another. Nobody actually hates your dogs, regardless of what combination of breeds they are made up of. 8) Rescue dogs and breeder dogs are interchangeable This is a point that is frequently ignored by activists who believe that “adoption is the only option”. There are a lot of pros and cons to going to a rescue, and just as many pros and cons to going to a breeder. The decision to choose one over the other is extremely personal and should not be made lightly. Rescue dogs, while wonderful, might not be the best decision for inexperienced dog owners because of the myriad number of behavior or health issues that might come with a dog whose background is entirely unknown. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of people successfully get a rescue dog as their first dog every year. My first dog as an adult was a rescue, and I came from a life of minimal experience with dogs. Those considering a rescue as their first dog would be best off going to a private rescue where somebody will be able to assist them one on one in finding a dog for them. This kind of situation offers prospective owners with the same benefit of experience and guidance that one might get from a breeder. But what about experienced dog owners looking for another dog? Well, it depends entirely on what you are looking for. If you want a pet and are comfortable with not knowing the history of the dog you are getting, a dog from a rescue or shelter is a fine choice. My personal experience with rescue dogs is all over the place- I have three, and two cost me an ungodly amount of money due to health issues from their former life. But one of those expensive dogs is my heart dog and I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. I spent four times what I would have on a dog from a breeder when I got him, but I don’t care because I love him. So, once again, this choice is extremely personal. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a dog to do a particular type of work, especially if that work depends on a particular instinct, you are better off going to a breeder. This is for the owners of dogs actively involved in hunting, herding, search and rescue, service dogs, guardian dogs, etc. A breeder would be able to offer these people the benefit of knowing the working history, ability, and style of the litter’s parents, and provide information for the potential for health issues down the line. Breeders might also offer more support than a high capacity animal control facility might. Once again, this is a decision that depends entirely on the personal preferences of the individual getting the dog. Buy the dog that is right for you. 9) Breeders are responsible for overpopulation There is no overpopulation in the United States. Other countries may vary. Say what? But we euthanize thousands of dogs a day in the US! How could there be no overpopulation? The word “overpopulation” is used to indicate that the population of a species has exceeded the carrying capacity of the environment that it depends on. That is to say, speaking strictly in dog terms, there are too many dogs and not enough homes. This isn’t the case. With 23 million people adding a dog to their household every year, 6-8 million dogs ending up in a shelter, and only 1.5 million dogs being euthanized, the science overwhelmingly points to the fact that the problem is not overpopulation. 23 million people can house THREE TIMES the amount of dogs that are actually ending up in shelters. Think about that. Not only are there enough homes for shelter dogs, there are three times as many homes as we actually need to rehome ALL shelter dogs. So why are we still euthanizing them? The problem is not as black and white as people want it to be. The first point it is important to mention is that the dogs recorded in these shelter statistics are not always healthy. The numbers include dogs that were ill, injured, or aggressive upon arrival and are euthanized by their respective animal control facilities when their owners did not turn up to reclaim them. This means that some percentage of these numbers also probably accounts for stray dogs that simply had no home because they were born on the street. This isn’t because the environment wasn’t sustaining them, but because the dogs were caught in an effort to clean up the streets and avoid situations like countries that are truly overpopulated with dogs. Because of these numbers, shelters will never be obsolete. So aside from the aggressive, ill, and injured dogs, are we euthanizing healthy dogs? If we are, it isn’t because of breeders. It’s because a lot of the shelters with high euthanasia rates have regional overpopulation, where these particular shelters experience a higher population than the environment can sustain. These are often rural shelters where incidences of unaltered stray dogs are higher and therefore incidences of stray litters of puppies are higher. The rural shelters also suffer from a lack of funding, which directly translates to a lack of hours for animal control officers to spend networking and a lack of adoption hours for the general public to view and choose the dog that they want to bring home. And then there is the point that if overpopulation really was such an issue, rescues wouldn’t have the ability to be so picky about rehoming their dogs. While it is admirable to want the best for the dog you spent a lot of time and energy on rehabilitating, there is validity in the point that a truly overpopulated environment would not be so concerned about finding the perfect home. If the lives of dogs are really hanging in the balance and depending on those dogs already in a rescue to find a home, it stands to reason that these groups would be much more lenient on the homes they approve to get a dog. 10) Dogs don’t need breeders A depiction of domesticated dogs by ancient Egyptians. Last, and probably the most important, is the idea that dogs will breed without the assistance of breeders. Believe me when I say that even if that were true, you do not want that. Dogs are special because they developed to live around humans over a very long period of time. The history of the domestication of dogs is anyone’s guess, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the herding behavior we see in today’s modern stockdogs originated in the time when tribes used wolves and wild dogs to hunt. This practice turned into a mutually beneficial relationship where the dogs were able to track and corner the prey for the humans, and the humans were able to kill the prey and feed what they did not eat to the dogs. Selective breeding has come a long way since then, to develop all varieties of breeds and crossbreeds with particular talents. Sled dogs pull sleds, stockdogs herd livestock, hunting dogs hunt, and in turn their owners provide them with food, shelter, and medical care. We have continued an ancient symbiotic relationship and facing the prospect of giving that up now because a few misinformed people believe that dogs don’t need dog breeders is tragic. I will go so far as to say that dog breeders are the unsung heroes of the dog community. We know that rescuers are recognized for their hard, seemingly thankless work because they are often inundated with ill and injured dogs, and we give those people credit for making the sacrifices that they do. This post is about doing something a little differently- this time, the credit belongs to the breeders. The ones who spend countless sleepless nights watching a whelping bitch, who wake up at two to four hour intervals to feed and rotate puppies, who spend all of their free time researching pedigrees, screening puppy applications, learning socialization methods, and working to improve their breeding program. Dog breeders are the reason we have dogs, and we should never ever forget that ever again.


Don’t Feed This to Your Puppy – Could Lead to Painful Hip Dysplasia

If your once active dog seems reluctant to run or play, is having difficulty getting up, or is limping or showing signs of pain, she may be suffering from osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease (DJD). Other signs of a developing mobility problem can include hesitance when jumping or climbing stairs, loss of appetite, and irritability.

Many pet guardians, especially those with middle-aged or older dogs, tend to dismiss such symptoms as just a natural part of the aging process. But a pet who is having difficulty getting around should be examined by a veterinarian. It could be arthritis, or some other problem, but in any case, a dog’s declining mobility needs attention.

One in Five Dogs Will Develop Arthritis

Sadly, 20 percent of dogs over a year of age, or 1 in 5 canine companions, will develop degenerative joint disease.1 And certain large breeds — including Golden and Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands and St. Bernards — have a 70 to 80 percent chance of developing the disease.2 That’s 4 out of every 5 dogs of those breeds.

Chronic diseases that affect a dog’s mobility, including arthritis, result in a 20 percent reduction in lifespan.3 For example, if the average Lab’s lifespan is 11 years, the presence of arthritis means he may only live to be 9.

The majority of canine osteoarthritis cases are the result of development conditions (e.g., hip or elbow dysplasia, shoulder osteochondrosis) and acquired conditions (e.g., cranial cruciate rupture, articular fractures).4

In my experience, arthritis in dogs is also often caused by high-calorie, carbohydrate-dense diets that cause large breed puppies to grow too big, too fast, as well as obesity coupled with lack of exercise in adult dogs.

If your dog is genetically predisposed to arthritis or has been diagnosed with hip or elbow dysplasia, there’s not much you can do in the way of preventing joint degeneration. However, there are lots of things you can do to effectively slow down and manage the disease so that your pet remains mobile and pain-free for as long as possible.

Preventing Injury or Trauma That Can Lead to Arthritis

Many cases of degenerative joint disease in middle-aged or older dogs develop as the result of an earlier (sometimes years earlier), often seemingly minor injury or trauma. For example, most puppies are clumsy, prone to falling down stairs and jumping from high surfaces, which can set the stage for future arthritis.

That’s why I recommend trying your best to get your dog through the awkward puppy stage with minimal stumbles, tumbles, and falls. Cover slick floors with runners or area rugs. In my experience, puppies who slip, trip, and fall regularly are much more inclined to develop bone growth problems, which lead to joint problems.

Another type of injury I see frequently in dogs is cervical damage from leaping or jerking against a leash attached to a collar. A pet owner or dog trainer who jerks a dog’s neck when he’s leashed can also cause this type of injury. Yanking a dog by a leash attached to a collar is absolutely the wrong thing to do, because it very often results in cervical trauma, which then results in joint damage. I recommend harnesses rather than collars for leash attachment for this very reason.


The Turmoil of Leaving Your Dog When You Travel

If you’re a pet owner who travels, arranging for care for your animals while you’re away can feel like an overwhelming decision. More than nine in 10 pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family,1 which means you’re probably looking for caregivers who will not only provide for basic needs like food and water, but also companionship, reassurance and playtime while you’re away.

I’ve lost count of the number of clients I know who haven’t left their home in years because they don’t have a person or facility they trust to care for their beloved pets. There are many options for pet care in the US, of course, but the key is finding the right option for you (and your pet).

You can take your pet to a boarding facility, leave him with a friend or family member, or even set him up in a doggy vacation home. Each choice has pros … and pitfalls. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a kennel like this one nearby, typical boarding facilities are stressful for pets accustomed to living in the comfort of your home. The chance of your pet contracting a contagious disease is something you must consider, and in addition, most traditional boarding kennels require vaccinations you may object to, or with a frequency you object to.

If you have a trusted family member who is already familiar with your pet, that can be a good option – but many people do not, or may feel uncomfortable asking for such a large ‘favor.’

Thinking of Hiring a Pet Sitter? Here’s What to Consider

A remaining option, and one I strongly encourage, is hiring a pet sitter to come to your home an agreed upon number of times each day, or in some situations, to move into your home while you’re gone. Your pet gets to stay in his familiar surroundings, which is significantly less stressful than taking him to a new location. He also won’t be exposed to diseases unnecessarily, but you still have to put your trust in someone you may have met only briefly.

Choosing the right pet sitter is therefore crucial to your pet’s well-being and safety (as well as the safety of your home). If hiring a pet sitter is on your radar in the near (or distant) future, here are the top factors to consider.2

Find the Right Sitter

Referrals from friends, neighbors, family, your veterinarian or your dog trainer are often the best sources of pet sitters. You can also check for ‘pet sitting services’ in your area by searching online or contact the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International.

Qualifications and Training

During your interview with your potential pet sitter, ask about past experience, what types of pets she’s cared for, and whether she’s completed any special training. Additionally, if your pet has any special needs or behavior issues, the sitter must feel comfortable managing them while you’re gone.

Insurance and Bonding

Your pet sitter should be able to provide written proof of commercial liability insurance (in case of accidents) and should be bonded (to protect against theft).

Communication

How will the pet sitter communicate with you while you’re away? Many pet sitters will record daily notes about your pet’s activities, eating habits or mood. Others will send you digital photos or daily text messages to put your mind at ease.

Services and Fees

It’s important that you’re both on the same page about what’s expected, and the fees involved. How many visits will occur each day? At what times and for what duration (some pet sitters will even stay overnight in your home)? Will the sitter provide grooming or walking services? Will she clean up accidents, water plants or do any other vacation care responsibilities (like bringing out your garbage)? Will she bring your pet to a veterinarian in an emergency? Also, if you’re delayed can the sitter care for your pet until you’re able to get home?

References and Interactions

Your sitter should provide you with references of past clients (and you should contact each of them). In addition, the sitter should interact with your pet in your home environment prior to your trip.

Tips to Ensure a Positive Pet-Sitting Experience

Once you’ve chosen the right sitter, you may want to start out slow. Try having her care for your pet while you’re away on a day trip or weekend getaway. If all goes well, you’ll feel more comfortable leaving her in charge for a longer trip, and will be able to resolve any problems ahead of time. You can help to make the experience a positive one by:3

  • Making reservations early
  • Leaving clear and detailed instructions regarding feeding, medications, emergency contact information (including your veterinarian’s contact information and the closest 24-hour emergency vet), and other important information
  • Leaving pet supplies in one easy-to-access location, and purchasing more than enough to last for the duration of your trip (in addition to food and treats, other supplies you should leave handy include extra litter if your pet is a cat, brushes, toys, a leash, and a carrier)
  • Leaving an extra key with a neighbor or family member, and giving them your pet sitter’s contact information (and vice versa) in case of emergency
  • Showing your pet sitter how to use your home’s security system, circuit breaker and any other important features

One of the best things about using a pet sitter is once you find one you trust and establish a working relationship, your pets should feel comfortable in her care and you’ll be able to leave home without worry.

Should You Take Your Pet With You on the Road?

Perhaps you’ve considered taking your pet along with you on your travels. The success of this strategy depends largely on where you’ll be going and your pet’s personality. There are always exceptions, but most cats find travel stressful and prefer to be on their own turf.

Some dogs love to travel, and will certainly enjoy being with you, but if you’ll be travelling by air it’s probably best to leave your pet at home. Unless your dog or cat is a seasoned air traveler (which is very rare), I think putting your pet on a plane, especially in the cargo hold, should be an option of last resort.

If you’re traveling by car to a pet-friendly destination, and your dog is the type that loves an adventure (and whose health is up for it), then by all means go and have fun! Keep in mind that if you’ll be leaving your pet alone in a hotel room while you vacation (or tend to business), he’s probably better off left at home with a pet sitter.

But if you want to involve your pet in your vacation and are looking for some ideas, check out National Geographic’s The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel, which bills itself as the “ultimate resource for traveling with your furry friend” and features hundreds of dog-friendly locations – even canine cruises. There are some safety factors to consider when travelling by car, including the following from the ASPCA.4

  • Put your dog in a crate or carrier every time you hit the road. You can choose a wire mesh, hard plastic or soft-sided carrier. Just make sure it’s a good size — big enough for your dog to stand up in, turn around, and lie down. Get your pup used to his carrier at home before you attempt to use it for travel.
  • Keep your dog restrained in the backseat or rear of the vehicle whenever it is moving. If you don’t use a crate or want to give him time out of the crate, make sure he’s secured with a harness attached to a seatbelt buckle.
  • If your dog isn’t used to riding in the car, take her for short rides at first, then gradually increase the length of time she’s in the car. Make sure her carrier is secure so it doesn’t slide around or become a missile if you need to brake suddenly. If you decide to train your pup to a seatbelt harness, do so as soon as possible (8 weeks old, if you can), and take short, frequent car rides several times a week to condition your pup to this lifestyle.
  • It’s best not to feed your dog while you’re on the road, unless he’s a real road warrior who doesn’t ever suffer from motion sickness. Most dogs do better with a light meal a few hours before traveling, and then a second meal when you’re back home or have reached your destination for the day.
  • Never leave your precious pup alone in a parked vehicle. On hot days, your car can become an incinerator in minutes, and your pet can suffer heatstroke. Cold weather can turn your vehicle into a freezer.
  • If you’re planning a long trip, put together a travel kit for your dog. Include food, special treats, food and water bowls, water from home (either bottled or filtered and stored in a travel container) leash, poop bags, brush or comb, medication and/or supplements, a pet first-aid kit, and a favorite toy.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with a current ID tag. It’s also a good idea to carry a recent picture of your dog with you for identification purposes.

 


Animal Assisted Therapy

                                     veteran-dog

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) programs help humans overcome, or at least cope with, health problems (both physical and emotional). Dr. Boris Levinson, a US child psychologist, is credited with discovering AAT in the 1960s.

At that time, he brought his dog Jingles with him to visit a withdrawn child and found he was able to gain the boy’s trust, thanks to Jingles’ presence. As Dr. Levinson stated:1

“A pet is an island of sanity in what appears to be an insane world. Friendship retains its traditional values and securities in one’s relationship with one’s pet. Whether a dog, cat, bird, fish, turtle, or what have you, one can rely upon the fact that one’s pet will always remain a faithful, intimate, non-competitive friend, regardless of the good or ill fortune life brings us.”

While AAT was met with criticism in the ‘60s, it slowly gained a following and today is commonly used in health care settings. For instance, 60 percent of hospice-care providers that offer complementary and alternative treatments offer animal-assisted therapy to their patients.2

The Many Talents of Therapy Animals

AAT can take many forms. It may involve patients caring for an animal, as is often the case in equine therapy, or it can involve animals brought into health care settings to interact with patients individually or in groups. For instance, encouraging research to date has shown that equine therapy (interaction with horses) improves symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients.3

Other research has found adults recovering from joint-replacement therapy who used AAT (canine therapy, in this case) used 50 percent less pain medication.4 It’s truly remarkable how many different health complaints seem to benefit from animal assisted therapy.

According to Pet Partners, a non-profit organization that provides animal-assisted interactions, “AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.”5 For example, AAT programs may include any of the following goals:

Improve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Improve standing balance Increase exercise
Improve wheelchair skills Increase attention skills Improve fine motor skills
Increase verbal interactions Aid in long- or short-term memory Increase vocabulary
Increase self-esteem Reduce anxiety Reduce loneliness
Improve knowledge of concepts such as size, color, etc. Develop leisure and recreation skills Improve willingness to be involved in group activities

8 Amazing Therapy Animals

While dogs and cats are the most commonly involved animals, AAT can also include horses, rabbits, hedgehogs, llamas, pigs, skunks, snakes, and even spiders (including tarantulas, which have been used for therapy in people with autism).6

Below are eight examples of therapy animals and the lives they’ve touched.7 If you’d like to volunteer with your own pet, Pet Partners has the details on how to become a registered animal therapy team.8

1. Rojo the Therapy Llama and Napoleon the Therapy Alpaca

Rojo and Napoleon have made more than 800 therapy visits to hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and schools near their home in Vancouver, Washington. Only 14 llamas are registered as therapy animals in the US.

2. Oscar the Therapy Cat

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported the story of Oscar, a cat that resided at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island and could predict when residents were about to die. Oscar would curl up next to patients within hours of their deaths, not budging until they had passed. According to NEJM:9

His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families. Oscar has also provided companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone.

For his work, he is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves.”

3. Spartacus, Akita Therapy Dog

Spartacus was among the first on scene after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut, and he remained there for months afterward offering support to students, responders, and staff.

Spartacus was so helpful in the wake of tragedy that Connecticut government officials passed a law mandating that crisis victims have access to therapy dogs within 24 hours.

4. Hector, Pit Bull Therapy Dog

Hector is one of the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation in 2007. He is now a trained therapy dog who visits schools to help children learn about compassion toward animals.

5. Lexy, German Shepard Therapy Dog

Lexy supports members of the military at Fort Bragg, including those with post-war stress and trauma. She’s earned the rank of lieutenant colonel.

6. Buttercup, Therapy Pig

Buttercup is a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig who visits special-needs kids in San Francisco schools, alongside speech pathologist Lois Brady. Together, the team helps children with autism to improve social skills, and one severely autistic boy is said to have spoken to his classmates for the first time after a visit with Buttercup.

7. Elsa, Pit Bull Therapy Dog

Elsa was abused and neglected before she was rescued by a new owner who registered her for a pet visitation program. Elsa, whose own back legs are barely functional, is fitted with a special cart that allows her to make visits with patients in long-term care along with those suffering from spinal cord injuries.

8. Xander, Pug Therapy Dog

Xander had an accident that required both of his eyes to be removed, but that doesn’t stop him from bringing joy and love to others, including victims of child abuse


Concerns about The Havanese Breed

CKC Announces Most Popular Purebred Dogs in Canada
CKC is pleased to announce the top ten most popular CKC-registered breeds in Canada for 2014. Top 10 Canadian purebred dog lovers have spoken and this year, we are delighted to announce a newcomer to the top ten list: the French Bulldog! This is the first time that this affectionate, lap-warming breed has muscled its way into our top ten list, unseating the Schnauzer (miniature) – a staple on the list for many years.


For the 20th consecutive year, Canadian Breed and CKC Living Legend, the Labrador Retriever sits and stays in the top spot
– proving yet again that this family-friendly, versatile breed is a fan-favourite and familiar contenders, the German Shepherd and the Golden Retriever assume second and third spot on the list.

The rest of the top ten list remains much of the same as last year, with the exception of the Yorkshire Terrier making its way to number six, moving the Bernese Mountain Dog up to the number seven spot on the list.

For further details, please watch for the list of dog and litter registrations for 2012 – 2014 in your February Bulletin and February Kennel and Bench.

TOP CKC BREEDS FOR 2014
TOP CKC BREEDS FOR 2013
1. Retriever (Labrador) 1. Retriever (Labrador)
2. German Shepherd Dog 2. German Shepherd Dog
3. Retriever (Golden) 3. Retriever (Golden)
4. Poodle 4. Poodle
5. Shetland Sheepdog 5. Shetland Sheepdog
6. Yorkshire Terrier 6. Bernese Mountain Dog
7. Bernese Mountain Dog 7. Yorkshire Terrier
8. Havanese 8. Havanese
9. Bulldog 9. Schnauzer (miniature)
10. French Bulldog 10. Bulldog

 

 

 

 

 

The CKC  has announced the top 10 dogs for 2014 and The Havanese is number 8 Just a few years ago, people would ask, “What is a Havanese”?

Their  lively, humour and intelligent ways  have won over millions and they do great with all ages. That is why I originally got the breed  would to be to work with patients of all ages. Well I have learned a havanese is not a havanese, is not a havanese! What I mean by this is, do you remember those shows, “Lassie, Littlest Hobo, and the movie 101 Dalmations”? Well after those programs became famous, everyone wanted that particular breed and then EVERYONE was breeding them to make money. What happened then was horrible,  health issues were introduced into those breeds that were not an issue before and  peopel who had no business to breed  were doing it for the quick buck.

Let me tell you something, a good breeder puts his or her money back into the breed and makes nothing , might break even, or comes out a bit ahead. Before I breed my dogs, they  most likely have  their Championship which  means I have incurred huge costs to handers to  get those points and one show can cost me anywhere from 450.00 to  over 650 a weekend. All dogs should be maintained in excellant health before  breading and  also have  the clearances for eyes called a CERF, patellas, etc…. and then registered with the Orthopaedic Foundation.

I cannot tell you the calls I get from heartbroken  people who have loved and lost a dog to horrible health issues and many die well before they should. They thought,” I’ll get a dog”, and buy from anyone and then  go through a heartbreaking loss. This doesnt happen all the time, but it is happening more and more. Please check out the breeder, check for health certifications and that the dog is  healthy and ask to see proof and that the dog is socialized as are the puppies, and well taken care of. Havanese are members of the family and should live  and be socialized by the breeding family. You dont have to buy from me, there are other good  folks out there, I meet them at shows all the time, but please, buyer beware!

 

 


How To Support A Dying Animal

By Dr. Becker

A Heart for Older and Special Needs Pets

Dr. Bittel has a very special place in her heart for older animals and those who are dying. As a veterinary acupuncturist, she treats mostly senior animals with mobility issues and other age-related conditions. Acupuncture is extremely beneficial for those patients. Special needs animals, who require a different level of care to treat issues like incontinence that are unresponsive to conventional treatments, are also amongst her very favorite patients.

During her veterinary studies in Germany, Dr. Bittel worked in a residential facility for disabled people for six years. The work she did there taught her not to be reactive to what her eyes saw or how someone looked. Instead, she learned to tune into a person’s spirit, their interests in life, and all the things about them that were completely independent of their physical abilities. She believes her experience with disabled people set the stage for her career as a holistic practitioner for animals.

Spirits in Transition

Dr. Bittel has a website called Spirits in Transition, which is focused on hospice care for animals. She became interested in hospice when her heart dog, Momo, died at the age of 17. Momo was a large dog, so Dr. Bittel feels fortunate that her beloved companion lived such a long and high-quality life. With the support of acupuncture, Momo enjoyed full mobility right up to the end.

During the last few weeks of Momo’s life, like so many of us with dying pets, Dr. Bittel tried to anticipate the best time to euthanize her – simply because she had always assumed she would need to euthanize. She tried to check in with both the dog’s spirit and her own – “When is the right time? When should I do it? Is this something she wants now?”

But Momo never gave the signal that, “Yes, this is the time”. When she entered the active dying process, Dr. Bittel didn’t recognize the signs because no one had prepared her for what to expect. She thought to herself, “This is the time that I have to euthanize.” So with the help of a friend, she loaded her into the car. After about five minutes in the car, Momo died in Dr. Bittel’s arms.

Besides wishing she had not loaded her into the car during the last minutes of life, Dr. Bittel felt generally okay with the way in which Momo died, but she was left with some questions. A year later, it finally hit her. She realized the only question she asked Momo was, “Do you want to be helped to overcome this situation (be euthanized)?” She never asked Momo if she just wanted her to be there with her during the normal dying process. It never occurred to her to ask her dog that question.

The realization was a bit shocking to Dr. Bittel. She never considered the idea of letting an animal die a natural death, and she realized the same was true for most in the veterinary profession. It was a real wakeup call for her, and prompted her to support clients with interest in hospice care for their animals. Some years later, she created educational resources for people who want to provide the same level of care to dying animals that humans receive at the end of life, and also began sharing her experience in presentations at veterinary conferences.

Spirits in Transition was created in 2006, and it provides an animal hospice helpline for people who aren’t sure what to do in a given situation. Often callers have lots of questions even when their pet is still in a good situation, and unfortunately, most veterinarians aren’t prepared or trained to respond to end-of-life concerns.

Hospice Can Help Create Good Memories of Your Pet’s Final Days

Veterinary students in Germany and the U.S. generally don’t receive training on hospice care. They don’t learn how to help an animal die in it’s own good time or how to respond in a helpful manner to the needs of the pet’s owner or caregiver. It’s such an important aspect of veterinary care, and it’s not part of the curriculum. Death is as natural as birth, but vet students don’t learn about end-of-life care.

The result is that often, veterinarians don’t know what to do for animals at the end of their lives, or their human families. Pet owners, often overwhelmed with emotion, look to their vet for guidance. Many people have deep regrets after agreeing to euthanize a pet. They wish there was another way and the associated feelings stay with them forever unless they’re able to work through them.

The final moments we have with our pets stay with us forever. There’s no going back; there’s no do-over. Dr. Bittel believes that’s why it’s so important to create a good memory, and hospice care can help with that. Clients have told her that hospice allowed their grieving process to begin while their pet was still alive. For some reason, it is easier for family members to process grief while still in the presence of the pet. And when the animal is gone, there is of course more grieving, but caregivers are often surprised to realize they feel less heartache than they anticipated, or than they’ve experienced at the passing of other pets.

Dr. Bittel’s clients also often tell her, after a pet has received hospice care and passed, that they feel much more prepared for the dying process of a human loved one – and even their own death. Hospice helps many people, including children, process extremely deep-seated feelings and needs around the subject of death.

Preparing for Your Pet’s Death – Why It’s So Important

A child’s first exposure to death is often the passing of a pet. Dr. Bittel knows that how the parents handle the situation is extremely significant. Many parents feel the need to shield their children from what they view as a potentially damaging or scary experience. But the reality is that children are quite capable of dealing with death if they have appropriate support. In fact, kids are often so much more connected to the natural rhythms of life that they provide support for the parent.

Several of the first hosts of the Spirits in Transition weekend seminars Dr. Bittel conducted, were people who, as children, were prevented by their parents from experiencing the end of a pet’s life. There was a feeling of incompleteness that remained a major influence in their lives.

At the seminar, they watched a video capturing the last 48 hours of a dog dying in its own time while receiving hospice care at home. Seeing it brought completion and a sense of peace to those who had not been allowed to witness the death of their own pet.

Just the thought of a beloved pet dying is overwhelming for many people. As they watch their pet get older, or develop an age-related illness, or begin the dying process, they are overcome with fear. I asked Dr. Bittel to offer some guidance on learning to cope with our feelings of fear, so that we can remain good guardians and do our jobs serving our animals until they’ve made a complete transition.

Dr. Bittel actually developed most of her educational resources to do exactly that – to help animal caregivers address their fears around their impending loss. Her goal was to offer practical advice in how to support the animal, and when we know how to deal with a particular situation, the knowledge alone reduces our fear. Dr. Bittel puts it this way:

“We are served well when we spend some time contemplating our own mortality and our animal’s mortality, and deal with the emotions around that.”

In her seminars and online classes she also includes body techniques that can help with fear. Her strongest recommendation for anyone with an animal family member is to prepare while the pet is still well.

Dr. Bittel feels that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to lovingly choosing what to do at the end of a pet’s life. No one can guarantee a pet owner who wants to avoid making a euthanasia decision, that by doing everything possible in terms of hospice care it will be possible to maintain the animal’s comfort sufficiently for the pet to die naturally (though it is possible to achieve in the majority of the cases). There also is no way to predict exactly how the dying process will proceed, because it’s different for each animal.

At-Home Euthanasia Should Be Part of the Planning Process

As Dr. Bittel does with her clients, the Spirits in Transition helpline also emphasizes the significance of the ability to have an at-home euthanasia performed in case it becomes obvious that disturbing symptoms can no longer be adequately controlled. The veterinary profession has some catching up to do in this area, as there’s a lot we can do similar to what is done in human hospice to successfully manage end-of-life symptoms.

But without that knowledge, or in situations where the level of care required can’t be given for some reason, the 24/7 in-home euthanasia option should be in place so that the animal’s caregiver isn’t forced to schedule it ahead of time. It’s not a matter of saying, “On Friday at 3:00 pm is the right time.” It’s more a matter of deciding whether a changing situation can be managed in the best interests of the animal.

There are also pet parents for whom hospice care simply isn’t an option. It isn’t right for everyone. Dr. Bittel’s goal is to make it available for those who want it so they don’t feel abandoned at a time when they most need support.

Sitting Quietly by as Your Pet Transitions

In my practice, most of the pets who are transitioning are very much at peace with the process. To them, exiting the world is just as natural as coming into it. So the animal is dying, and is fine with it. The guardian, however, is not. Often, my job is to help the caregiver recognize that her pet is fine. In response, I hear things like, “What do you mean he’s fine? He’s dying!” And I reply, “Yes, he’s dying beautifully and perfectly and doing a great job. Your pet is doing a great job of dying.”

But it can be very confusing to pet owners. We often don’t keep in mind that the only creature we’re in control of is ourselves, and sometimes the best gift we can give ourselves and our pet is to let go of the need to control every possible outcome. While the pet is doing a great job of transitioning from life to death, sadly, the guardian is often experiencing feelings of failure, frustration, inadequacy, and guilt.

There are times in life when there’s nothing we can or should be doing, despite our sense that we should be doing something. It could be that what we should do is simply sit quietly with a pet who is dying. It’s a uniquely human trait that we feel we must be hovering and doing, hovering and doing.

Animals have the innate ability to beautifully manage their own energy. Given the opportunity, animals are grounded out all the time. They’re in balance. But it’s so hard for pet owners to be at peace with the notion that their animal will be okay as he transitions, and that their job in supporting and helping their pet may not be an active one. It may be entirely passive – just sitting quietly with their pet.

Dr. Bittel’s experience is that pet caregivers are comfortable as long as they know what to do. But when the time comes to do nothing – when there’s nothing left to do and the dying process is unfolding in its own way and smoothly, being present with the animal is what’s important. It’s about just being with your pet without bringing anything but love into the space. Allow the process to unfold without clinging to the moment, and without feeling torn up by grief at the moment your pet is ready to transition.

If You Let It, Your Pet’s Death Can Be a Gift of Peace and Solace

One of the great benefits of hospice care is that people often come to a place where they realize it’s okay. It’s okay that this life ends now. Sometimes there’s even relief, because the burden is considerable for those who have cared for an animal with a complicated illness. It’s really not the dying process that’s the problem — it’s the terminal illness. Inevitably, there comes a point when the illness no longer plays a role. The dying process unfolds, and there’s really very little to do.

What helps as the process unfolds is to minimize influences in the environment, including noise. Often in human hospice, a TV will be on loudly in a dying patient’s room. If the TV is on for the patient, because he or she is calmed by it, that’s one thing. But if the TV is on to distract the other people in the room from their fear of what’s happening, it’s not a good thing.

Preparing in the best way we can for the end helps us with our perception of death. The passing of a pet can help us gather peace around us. It’s the final gift your dying pet can give you when you allow yourself to be fully present.

Dr. Bittel has heard stories of animals that have not been able to transition until the human caregiver is able to at least temporarily resolve emotional distress. One reason for such distress could be that the dying process often takes longer than people anticipate. Many people haven’t experienced a real-life dying process, and don’t realize that a TV show or movie portrayal of death is not typical of a normal dying process.

Dr. Bittel would like us to step beyond the idea that death should go faster – it should be over quickly. “If we can just be with it, it is a really great opportunity for us,” she says.

 


Mistakes When Bringing Home A Younger Pet When You have an older one

Many parents of a dog or cat who is getting up in years decide to add a younger pet to the family. Often, they are hoping the newcomer will invigorate the older animal, while also softening the blow when the current beloved pet passes.

Introducing a new pet to a home with a senior animal can be hugely successful, or it can be a decision everyone in the family ends up regretting. When an existing pet and a newbie don’t get along, it can create lots of behavior problems and stress all around.

Before you make up your mind to add a new furry family member to the household, here are some things to keep in mind.

8 Tips for Helping Your Senior Dog or Cat Accept a New Family Pet

  1. Keep your focus on the needs of your senior pet rather than the appeal of a new pet. Your current pet has been your loyal companion for a long time, and she deserves to spend her golden years in peace and comfort. Some younger animals will be better for your current pet than others, so decisions about choosing a new pet should revolve around what’s best for your old timer.
    1. Choose a second pet that has the best chance of getting along well with your older dog or cat. For example, if you currently have a dog and want to adopt another, it’s often best if dog #2 isn’t or won’t grow bigger than dog #1. You don’t want a young, energetic dog intimidating your existing pet because of a size disparity.

    It’s also recommended that you get a dog of the opposite sex, as males and females tend to get along better than dogs of the same sex.

    Also look at personality. Pairing a quiet older dog with a more subdued, shy or type “B” dog is more honoring to your senior pet than the overbearing extroverted alternative.

    1. If your current pet is an older cat, consider getting a dog. Adult and especially senior kitties are often entirely unaccepting of a new feline in the household. Cats get along best if they’re adopted together as siblings, or are introduced at a young age. After that, things get dicey. Even kitties that have lived together for years can develop relationship problems as they age. Make sure you choose a dog with a temperament that is honoring to your senior feline.
    2. To successfully introduce a new dog to a senior cat, proceed with caution. The first several meetings between a new dog and an existing cat should happen on the cat’s terms — not the dog’s. Make sure kitty has escape routes from every room and safe places to climb to and hide under that the dog can’t access. Use baby gates or other barriers to keep the dog from entering certain rooms or areas in your home to establish safe spots for kitty.
    3. Keep the dog on a leash and restrained so he’s unable to lunge at or get close to your cat. Once your cat understands she’s not in imminent danger, you can lead the dog a distance away and take off the leash. At the same time, distract the dog with a toy, some treats, or a short walk so he doesn’t become intensely focused on the cat. At no time should your dog be allowed to corner or unintentionally intimidate your cat, and reward the dog whenever he focuses on you rather than kitty.
      1. Introducing a new kitten or cat to your senior dog. Dogs tend to be more sociable than cats, so much of what I discussed in #4 applies here as well, regardless of whether the dog or cat is the newcomer to the household. The goal is to insure kitty feels safe despite your dog’s eagerness for a meet-and-greet.

      I recommend preparing a room for your cat before you bring her home – a room where she can be alone until she settles into her new life with you. It should be equipped with a litter box, bedding, a few cat toys, and hiding places. Feed her and water her in the room. Don’t close the door, but limit access with a baby gate so she feels safe, but not isolated.

      When you bring her home in her carrier, take it directly to her room. Put it near the litter box, unlatch and open the door, and spend a few minutes speaking softly to her. Let her venture out of the carrier on her own schedule, and likewise, let her get acquainted with your dog on her own terms and timetable.

      1. Make sure both pets have their own stuff. Your dogs and/or cats should have plenty of their own toys and their own beds and sleeping spots. They may share or even make trades, but don’t just assume they will – let it be their idea.

      If you have 2 cats, each should have a litter box, plus one to spare.

      1. Feed pets in separate areas. This approach eliminates resource guarding and food fights. It also allows you to insure that each pet is getting the appropriate type and amount of food.

      Also place a few water stations around the house so everyone has access to clean, fresh drinking water at all times.

      1. Give your senior pet lots of time and attention. Getting a new pet acclimated to your home takes considerable time and energy – especially if the new furry family member is a puppy or kitten. While you’re busy falling in love with your new pet, make sure not to ignore your senior companion. You never want him to feel abandoned or second best, so make sure the newcomer isn’t sucking up every bit of your time and attention. Your first focus must be on your long-time companion, which also sets the stage for a healthy pack order.

      It’s a good idea to get other family members involved so that both your pets get plenty of attention, affection, exercise, and playtime.

      Now, all this may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll thank me down the road when your pets are getting along and your household is peaceful. Remember to plan ahead in both selecting and preparing for a new pet, take things slowly, and make adjustments as necessary along the way

The good news is that many new pet housemates get along right from the beginning. Others grow to be friends over time. And some learn to co-exist by simply ignoring each other.


Play These games with Your dog, great fun and entertaining!

Variety is the spice of life, not just for us humans, but for our four-legged family members as well. Neighborhood walks and dog park visits are fine, but for his overall well being and quality of life, your canine companion should be offered a wide range of games and activities that challenge his mental and physical abilities. Rather than the same old boring daily walk with your dog, why not incorporate a few of these simple, fun activities into your routine? You can do several of them indoors, so winter weather is no excuse! 9 Games and Activities You Can Do with Your Dog 1.Hide and seek. A game of hide and seek doesn’t have to be limited to the two-legged kids in your family, as many dogs enjoy playing, too. Hide and seek challenges your pet’s obedience skills and provides both mental and scent stimulation. ‘Here’s how to do it: grab a few treats, and give your pet a sit-stay command. Go into another room to hide, and once you’ve tucked yourself out of sight, call your dog. When he finds you, reward him with praise and treats.

If you’ve taught your dog a find-it command that sends him in search of something, you can also play hide and seek with objects or food treats. To play, show your dog what you’re about to hide, and then do a sit-stay or put him behind a closed door so he can’t see you. Hide the object or treat, then go to your dog and tell him to find it.

Unless your pup is whip smart or has played the game awhile, you’ll probably need to give him verbal cues as he gets close to, or farther away from the object. You can also give physical hints by pointing or moving toward the hiding place until your dog catches on to the game. When he finds the hidden object or treat, be sure to make a huge deal out of it with lots of praise and a few additional treats.

  1. Word recognition. With time, patience, and plenty of practice, most dogs can learn to associate certain words with certain objects. Here’s how to start. Give two of your dog’s favorite toys a name – something simple, like “ball,” “bear,” or “baby.” Remove all other toys from sight to help your pet focus. Say the name of one toy and throw it so she can retrieve it. Do this a few times, repeating the name of the toy as you toss it. Then do the same with the other toy.

Now put both toys on the ground, and say the name of the first toy. Each time she goes to it, reward her with praise and treats. If you want to add a level of difficulty, have her bring the toy to you for her reward. Repeat this with the other toy. When you’re sure your dog is consistently identifying the right toy by name, you can try expanding her vocabulary using additional toys or other objects.

Play find-it on walks. On your daily walks with your dog, after he’s done his business and checked his pee-mail and the two of you are just strolling along, you can use the time to stimulate his mind. Give him a sit-stay, show him a treat, and then place it on the ground out of his reach. Return to your dog and give him a treat for holding his sit-stay, then give him the find-it command to get the other treat.

Repeat this a few times, and then make the challenge a bit more difficult. Place the treat under some leaves, behind a tree, or on a rock. Stop at several spots as though you’re hiding the treat there, but hide only one treat. If you’re playing the game off-leash, make sure you’re in a safe area, and don’t hide treats beyond your line of vision. Keep your dog in sight at all times.

Frisbee fetch. Agile, athletic dogs can be taught to catch flying discs. It’s a good idea to start small, by rolling the Frisbee on the ground toward your dog. Once she’s picking up the disc as it’s rolled to her, try tossing it to her at a very low level. If she’s able to catch or at least stop it in mid-air, you can gradually increase the height and distance you throw it. If the Frisbee seems to hold your dog’s interest and focus, you’ll obviously want to teach her to bring the disc back to you so you can continue throwing it for her.

  1. Step aerobics. If your dog is fully-grown (her joints are fully developed) and you have stairs in your home, this game is a good way to get her heart pumping. Go to the bottom of the stairs and put your dog in a sit-stay. Throw a toy up to the landing, then give your dog the nod to go after it, ascending the steps as fast as her legs will carry her. Allow her to come back down the stairs at a slower pace, to reduce the risk of injury. Ten or so repetitions of this will get your dog’s heart rate up and tire her out. I use stair exercise, in conjunction with Dr. Sophia Yin’s awesome Treat&Train system all winter at my house.
  2. Flirt stick. Also called a flirt pole, it’s a simple pole or handle with a length of rope tied to one end, and a toy attached to the far end of the rope. You can buy one or make your own homemade version, just be sure to use regular rope and not flexible or bungee cord.

Flirt sticks appeal to the prey drive in dogs, and they’re a fun way to exercise your pet in your backyard (or in the house if you have the space or your dog is small) without overly exerting yourself. The game is simple — you drag the toy on the ground in a circle, and your dog chases and tugs at it.

The flirt stick can be a fun way to help your dog with basic commands like sit, down, look, wait, take it, leave it, and drop it. It’s also useful for helping him practice listening while in a state of high arousal, and cooling down immediately on command.

  1. Water hose fun. If your dog isn’t afraid of spraying water or getting wet, on warm days you can turn your backyard hose into a fun chasing toy for your dog. It’s best to have a nozzle on the hose that shoots out a jet of water.

Make sure the force of the jet isn’t too much for your dog, and take care not to spray her in the face. This can be accomplished by standing a good distance away from your pet. Move the jet around for your dog to chase.

  1. Obstacle course. If you’re up for it, setting up an obstacle course for your dog and teaching him how to navigate the course can be very mentally stimulating for your pet, and fun for you.

Items to consider include a sturdy crate or stool, a chair to jump on or run under, a box with open ends to crawl through, a pole attached to two stools or boxes to jump over, a hula hoop to jump through, and a disc or ball to catch.

Tailor the course to your dog’s physical ability, focus, and attention span. Teach him to handle one obstacle at a time, and make sure to offer lots of praise, treats, and other high-value rewards each time he conquers an obstacle. This should be all about fun, not work.

  1. Nose work with treats. Your dog, like all dogs, has an incredible sense of smell, so teaching her to find treats using only her nose is wonderful stimulation for her. Place four or five boxes or opaque containers on the ground upside down and next to each other. Place a treat under one of the containers while your dog isn’t looking, then bring her to the boxes and encourage her to smell them. When she (hopefully) stops at the one containing the treat, lift up the box, praise her enthusiastically, and let her eat the treat. Keep adding more boxes and place them farther apart to increase the challenge as your dog’s nose work abilities improve.web site 40