Busting Pit Bull Myths
Pitties are not the dangerous breed many think they are.
By Audrey Pavia
Pit Bulls get a very bad rap. How many times have you heard Pit Bull attack stories on the news? If you only obtain your information from the media, you might think Pit Bulls were the only dogs that ever bite anyone.
The truth is that any breed of dog is capable of aggression. Pit Bulls are in the news more than any other breed because they have the misfortune of being the favorite breed of gangbangers, drug dealers and irresponsible individuals looking for an intimidating, macho dog.
As a result, plenty of myths exist about Pit Bulls. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular untruths plaguing the breed.
1) All Pit Bulls are vicious. All you have to do is meet a few pet Pit Bulls in person to do discover the falseness of this myth. Pit Bulls are among some of the sweetest, gentlest dogs around. Although they were originally bred in England for fighting other dogs and taking on bulls, the original lines were never bred to be aggressive towards humans. Well-bred modern Pit Bulls are not inherently vicious.
2) Pit Bulls have the ability to lock their jaws. Veterinary examination at the University of Georgia has proven that Pit Bulls have the same type of jaw mechanism as all other breeds. They do not have a special mechanism that allows them to lock their jaws once they take hold of something in their mouths.
3) Pit Bulls are able to inflict more bite pressure per square inch than other breeds. Dr. Brady Barr, of National Geographic’s Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr, measured the pressure per square inch (PSI) of the bites of German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bull Terriers. The Pit Bull had the least amount of bite pressure of the three breeds tested.
4) Pit Bulls attack more people than any other breed. Pit Bulls are among the most popular dog breeds in America, so their bite numbers will be high relative to the number of Pit Bulls in existence. (Rottweilers and German Shepherds also have higher bite statistics than many other breeds.) Pit Bulls are also the favorite breed of certain types of people who deliberately train them to be aggressive toward human beings. For instance, drug dealers often keep Pit Bulls as protection dogs, and maintain these guard dogs in residential communities where innocent people sometimes get bitten.
5) If a Pit Bull is aggressive toward dogs, he will aggressive toward humans. Aggression toward other dogs is common in many breeds, and is a separate issue from aggression toward humans. Any breed of dog can be aggressive toward another dog for reasons of protecting territory or resources, or because of fear. That same dog can be submissive and loving toward humans.
The best philosophy to take with Pit Bulls is to judge each dog as an individual. Responsible Pit Bull owners treat their dogs with love and gentleness, provide them with training and veterinary care and teach them to be canine good citizens.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.
Feral Cat Care
You can help homeless, gone-wild felines.
By Sandy Robins
October 16th marks the 14th annual national Feral Cat Day with the goal of bringing awareness to the sad plight of feral cats who are forced to live on the streets of cities and towns across America as well as in rural areas.
Feral or community cats are a “man-made problem” that comes about when people carelessly and ruthlessly abandon cats, leaving them to fend for themselves. Moreover, if they have not been spayed or neutered, their numbers quickly escalate.
The official definition of a feral is a cat who is living in a wild state after domestication. Fortunately, cats quickly revert to their natural instincts in order to survive. However, this doesn’t mean they do well on their own. It’s tough to find food, water and shelter in order to survive, let alone thrive.
Here are some useful tips on how to aid feral cats living in your area.
TNR—Trap, Neuter and Return
If you find community cats in your neighborhood, the very best way to help them is to get them spay and neutered. The process of having them spayed and neutered and returned to the area where they were found is called TNR: trap, neuter and return. Not only will this stop the cat population from growing, it also makes the cats healthier and happier because they are not continually bearing litters of kittens. It also stops nuisance behavior such as yowling, fighting, which, of course, can make your neighbors more tolerant of them, too.
Just about every community has low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics to help, and they often offer free rental of trapping equipment. To find one near you, contact your local feline rescue group, Humane Society or SPCA.
Establish a Feeding Routine
Be sure to provide the cats with fresh food and water every day. Since they don’t have “owners,” they rely on the kindness of people to help them survive. If possible, find other concerned cat people in your neighborhood and set up a feeding roster to share the responsibilities.
This is particularly important if you live in a colder climate. You can make a very simple and inexpensive shelter using a plastic storage bin and straw, or you can build something more sturdy and insulated. Here are several great plans for easy-to-make shelters: www.neighborhoodcats.org/HOW_TO_FERAL_CAT_WINTER_SHELTER
Rescue, Foster and Find Homes
Many feral cats are friendly and will come close to humans. Where possible, try to remove them from their colony. Very young kittens who are removed early will be easier to socialize in a foster care program. Work in conjunction with a rescue group in your area. Their volunteers will be very willing to teach you the ropes.
Encourage Neighbors to Participate—and Spay/Neuter Their Pets
Chances are the feral cats you’re seeing in your neighborhood are the descendants of unfixed domestic cats. By encouraging your neighbors to spay/neuter their pets and educating them about low-cost or free options, it will help prevent the introduction of more homeless cats in your neighborhood.
Cimeron Morrissey, who was named Animal Planet’s person of the Year in 2007 for her tireless work with feral cats, notes the best way to humanely trap cats is to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours and then set the humane traps with tempting treats, such as tuna or wet food.
“Once caught, cover the traps entirely with old sheets or towels, which will calm the cats,” she said, adding that many spay/neuter clinics operate by appointment only, so be sure to plan ahead.
For recovery post-surgery, Morrissey suggests keeping the cats in their covered traps for 24 to 72 hours, taking guidance from the veterinarian clinic and watching for signs of illness or surgical complications (which are rare). Finally, after the cats have recovered, they must be returned to the exact location where they were originally caught.
You can find out more about the National Feral Cat Day along with an interactive listing of events going on around the country at www.alleycat.org/NFCD
Other useful links:
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats
How to keep an eye on your pets no matter where you—and they—are.
By Stacy Mantle
Most pet owners agree that the most stressful part of having pets is leaving them when they have to go to work or decide to take a vacation. Whether you decide on having a pet sitter come in to your home, putting your faith into a close friend or relative, or selecting a boarding facility; there are new ways to ensure your pets are safe and secure.
Technology has come a long way in the past few years. Lightweight GPS locators, individual activity trackers, hi-def cameras, and motion-activated technology are just a few ways you can make sure your pets are in good hands. Here are a few things you can try to make sure your pets are safe while you’re away.
If you’re wondering whether or not your dog walker is taking your pets out for the full hour walk they promised, this is now a way you can do that. GPS monitors, such as the Tagg unit, will notify you when your dog leaves a previously assigned “virtual” area (like your backyard or home). You will receive a text message when your dog leaves the area and you’ll be able to track the route your dog is travelling. This works for dogs who are being walked as well as it works for those who escape yards.
Your pets should all be wearing GPS trackers even while they are home with pet sitters. Pets tend to become more stressed when they are away from us, so it’s good to have a secondary method of finding your pets should they escape the yard while you’re on vacation. With GPS trackers, you’ll be able to give your pet-sitter access to the program, or you can just contact your pet sitter after you receive a notification. You can also put other important contacts, such as neighbors or relatives, into your contact list in the event your dog escapes the yard.
Activity monitoring is another offered feature through Tagg and other companies, such as Whistle, Starwalk, the Spotlight and dozens of others. Each tracker offers individual benefits, so you’ll need to do some research to find the one that best fits your situation.
Activity trackers are remarkably advanced and are now capable of monitoring everything from your pet’s internal temperature and heart rate to the type of activity she is engaged in. For instance, you’ll be able to identify whether your dog is running a fence line, walking calmly through the house in search of treats or sleeping.
If you are the type of owner who always worries about their pets while you’re away from the home, a wireless camera can be an excellent way of checking in on them without being invasive. There are a number of cameras that are not only high-def, but also offer infrared technology, which enables you to check on your pets in the middle of the night.
These cameras are affordable (ranging between $80 to $200) and very easy to install. Each camera brand has a free, downloadable app that can access the camera from any device. Before you purchase, be sure to check the following:
- Does the camera have two-way talk? (This can come in handy if you check in and see your dog ransacking the garbage.)
- Is the app compatible with Apple and Android? If you have an Android phone and iPad, you’ll want a camera that can handle both systems.
- Does the camera offer infrared/nighttime vision?
- Does the camera offer additional functions, such as temperature inclusion? If you live in an extreme climate, knowing what the temperature of your home is may be of value to you.
- Does the camera offer you control over location? For example, can you maneuver the lens to easily survey a room or do you need to purchase more than one camera to have them strategically placed around the home?
- Can the camera be used indoors and outdoors?
When selecting a boarding facility, be sure the facility has remote cameras installed that give you access via secured servers. In this day and age, there really is no reason for a facility to not have cameras installed. If they do not—ask them why and decide for yourself if it’s acceptable.
In this day and age, we never need to be far from our pets. While technology offers a lot of advantages, it will never take the place of good old-fashioned TLC and will never be a substitute (or excuse) for leaving pets at home alone. What technology can do is alleviate some of the anxiety we feel when we have to leave town and it might just help decrease your stress a bit while you’re at work, too.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
Walk the Dog!
Treat your canine—and yourself—to daily excursions.
By Lisa King
No matter what type of purebred or mixed breed dog you own, chances are he’s not performing the duties he was bred for: herding sheep, chasing vermin into their burrows, tracking large game across open plains. Modern life offers few chances for dogs to do their intended work, so how can owners provide the exercise and stimulation their dogs need?
The answer is simple: Take your dog for a walk. A good long walk outside won’t do you any harm. Since October began with Walk Your Dog Week, now is a good time to resolve to walk your dog more regularly.
The frequency and duration of these walks depends on many things, such as your dog’s size, breed, health and age. A young Lab or Shepherd mix can handle much longer and more vigorous walks than an elderly Pug. Ask your veterinarian for guidance and pay attention to how tired your dog is getting. In general, a young athletic dog should be walked for 30 minutes to an hour once or twice a day, while a small lapdog can get plenty of exercise from a 20-minute walk. A dog who gets enough exercise is much less likely to exhibit nervous barking and destructive behavior around the house. Walk him at roughly the same time every day if possible.
Choose a secure collar and, if desired, a harness, plus a study nylon or leather leash. Walking in an urban area requires a shorter leash so you can prevent your dog from entangling other pedestrians, while walking in an open area allows you to use a longer leash. A retractable leash can work well for both these scenarios.
Before leaving the house, provide your dog with proper identification. A tag with the dog’s name and your phone number on it plus microchipping in case his collar is lost are the ideal combination.
To make the walk more pleasant for both of you, teach your dog to heal rather than drag you along behind. If your dog persists at pulling on the leash, try using a head halter, which redirects his efforts so he can’t pull you.
Find interesting places for the two of you to walk. Your dog will find plenty of interesting smells and sights in your neighborhood, but once in a while he should get to walk someplace new, such as a park, nature trail, lake or beach. Check first to make sure dogs are allowed at the location you plan to visit. If your destination is a dog park or dog beach, make sure your dog is comfortable around other dogs before venturing out.
Walks are when many dogs relieve themselves, especially if they’re apartment dwellers. Besides marking new and old territories with urine, they’re bound to defecate while on walks. Whether you’re on a mountain trail, on a city street or in your own front yard, pick up your dog’s solid waste and discard it appropriately. Carry some type of baggies with you on every walk.
If the walk will be a long one, bring water for both you and your dog, especially in hot weather. Collapsible bowls, soft foldable bowls, receptacles that clip onto human water bottles and many other types of drinking containers are available at pet supply stores. Bring along a pocket full of your dog’s favorite treats, too, to reward good behavior.
Having a dog and walking him regularly not only gives you both much-needed exercise, it facilitates bonding. Dogs look forward with great anticipation to their walks and to spending time exploring the world with their favorite human.
About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”
Accessories for Your Dog(s) and Cat(s)
Help ensure your pet maintains good posture while eating with the New Age Pet Habitat ‘n Home HiLo Diner. It elevates two stainless-steel bowls several inches off the floor so dogs (and cats) don’t have to arch their necks as much. It’s made from ecoFLEX, a patented blend of recycled polymers and wood byproducts, which offers a long lifecycle and weather-resistance. Available in three sizes and two colors, the stainless-steel dog bowls are included. www.newagepet.net
Snuggle Beds from P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You) feature plush, luxurious velvet on one side and smooth and sturdy canvas on the other. Perfect for all seasons; the cotton-mix canvas is breathable and light for summer, and the velvet keeps pets warm and snug in winter. The beds can be molded into multiple different styles (flat, “cup” or “cave-like”) for ultimate versatility. Snuggle Beds come in two sizes, small and large, and three styles: Truffle Brown, Husky Gray and Charcoal Gray. www.petplay.com
The Bark Genie™ Handheld Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent from First Alert is designed to minimize excessive barking. The device releases a pet-friendly ultrasonic sound (one that humans can’t hear) with the press of a button to curb barking and other unwanted behavior. It’s a small device akin to a remote control that’s effective from up to 15-feet away, making it convenient for at-home and on-the-go training. www.firstalertforpets.com
earthbath’s Hypo-Allergenic Cat Shampoo is formulated for cats who may have sensitive skin or allergies. The ultra-mild shampoo is pH-balanced to be especially gentle for even the most sensitive cats and contains natural conditioners and aloe vera to soften the coat, remoisturize the skin and provide brilliance and shine, the company reports. Its fragrance- free nature can also be of special importance in multi-cat households where scent can sometimes lead to feline confrontations. www.earthbath.com
Now you can make feeding fun and healthy for smaller dogs with the Slo-Bowl Mini from Kyjen. The unique nature-inspired designs allow dogs to eat at a natural pace while lengthening mealtimes and preventing canine bloat. The bowl exceeds food-safety standards with BPA, PVC and phthalate-free construction, the company reports. Designed to stay in place via a non-skid rubber base; the Slo-Bowl Mini holds up to 2 cups of dry dog food. www.kyjen.com
OurPets Corknip cat toys feature a proprietary material made from North-American-grown premium catnip and natural cork. The toys are specially designed for pet owners who enjoy giving loose catnip to their cats, but dislike cleaning up the scattered mess. The tempting, soft texture of the cork mixed with the catnip gives cats an intoxicating surface they’ll love sinking their teeth and claws into. Corknip toys come in a variety of forms, including wands (with and without feathers and bat-able balls and wobblers. www.ourpets.com
Stewart® by MiracleCorp’s Raw Naturals™ Freeze Dried Dog Food is made in the USA with human-grade, wholesome ingredients, including single or limited source protein, fruits, vegetables and other natural ingredients, according to the company. The food is grain and gluten-free, cold process pasteurized using HPP, a non-thermal process that destroys harmful bacterial and pathogens for added safety. It is available in a variety of all-natural “fresh-to-home” recipes including beef, chicken, turkey, bison, lamb and chicken & salmon. www.stewartpet.com.
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog/Adopt a Dog Month
Many would agree that there is nothing like the love of a dog or puppy. With so many canines available, adoption has become a preferred choice for some families. Adopting a shelter dog is one of the most important decisions a family can make. Unfortunately, many base this lifestyle-changing decision on emotions having little to no knowledge about the dog’s breed, temperament, potential behavioral challenges and the financial responsibilities that come along with pet ownership.
When these factors are not considered, many of these furry friends end up either abandoned or dropped off at local shelters. Sadly, there are more dogs than homes to care for them. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters every year. One of the major reasons these four-legged friends wind up in shelters is due to untreated behavioral problems, according to organizations such as Pet Finders and the National Council on Pet Population Study Policy (NCPPSP).
October is Adopt a Dog and Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Animal Behavior College (ABC) encourages responsible pet ownership. Before you adopt, research and understand specific dog breed characteristics and cost factors beforehand, and commit upfront to providing dog obedience training, as it will create a harmonious bond and will decrease the chances of Fido ending up a shelter statistic.
“Unfortunately, many dogs that wind up in shelters have never received training or guidance when in reality their behavioral problems are correctable,” said Steven Appelbaum, president and CEO of Animal Behavior College. “Taking time to provide professional training will ensure many long and happy years together.”
Since dog breeds have different characteristics, it is important to choose a breed that is compatible with the individual or family’s activity level. For example, Airedale Terriers are independent, energetic dogs that have a propensity for digging, chasing and barking. Individuals who enjoy quiet evenings at home and little to no outdoor activity or exercise may find Airedales annoying and too energetic.
ABC offers the following 10 tips on choosing a shelter dog:
- Decide what kind of dog you want to adopt by visiting your local shelter. With 25 to 30 percent of dogs in shelters being purebreds, there is a high chance that the breed you are seeking is available.
- To help with your decision, research breeds characteristics. Determine if a particular breed is compatible with your lifestyle and personality.
- After finding a potential adoptee, inquire about his previous living conditions.
- Spend time interacting with the dog in an isolated area or room.
- Observe and note his demeanor around other dogs. Is he aloof? Does he display fear and aggression?
- Assess the dog’s health condition by examining his eyes, teeth, hips, legs, etc. and request access to medical information.
- Learn about ongoing medical concerns. Find out if he is taking medication or undergoing treatment.
- Find out how long the dog has been in the shelter and the circumstances for his being there. Was he dropped off or abandoned?
- Determine necessary follow-up services that may be needed.
- Once you adopt the dog, make arrangements for professional training as soon as possible.
With dog obedience training playing an important role in a harmonious relationship with its owner, some shelters have volunteers from programs such as ABC’s Student Saving Lives (SSL) program to provide training to homeless dogs before they are adopted. SSL volunteers enlist more than 10 hours of training to local shelters, humane societies, or rescue organizations for the purpose of addressing behavioral and socialization concerns, giving canine companions a better opportunity of finding a loving home.
To become a certified dog trainer, obtain dog training certification, enroll in the Dog Obedience Program (DOP) or to learn more about the college or the Student Saving Lives program, visit our website http://www.AnimalBehaviorCollege.com/info.
ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
Elizabeth Alonso, who lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, is a very motivated student who has dedicated herself completely to the program and her studies. Elizabeth did her externship at St. Bethlehem Animal Clinic and, shortly thereafter, she applied and got hired to work full-time at Murphy Road Animal Hospital. From there, Elizabeth plans to continue her education and become a Registered Veterinary Technician.
What prompted you to become a veterinary assistant? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
My husband, who is in the military, and I were moving from Georgia to Tennessee, and I decided it was time for a career change. I went from human medicine, working at a neurology clinic for almost 10 years, to a Patient Services Coordinator to veterinary medicine. My husband and I are huge animal lovers, and I’ve always said if there were circumstances where I could change careers, I would take it. Fortunately, I’ve had the support of my husband during this transition.
What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was dealing with my emotions during a euthanasia process. Regardless, the veterinarians were all very supportive. They allowed me to show my emotions, which was actually very helpful for the owners during their last moments with their pets.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
My most rewarding moment was having my first parvovirus patient make a full recovery. She came in very sick and was hospitalized for about eight days. I had to hand-feed her for five of those days. I found out she was released the day after I completed my externship.
Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.
A humorous moment occurred when dealing with a very unhappy feline. She just did not want to go in the kennel for boarding. The technician I was assisting finally got her in the kennel and the feline gave her a nice love tap to let her know she was not happy. Luckily, no one was injured with her paw taps because she was de-clawed.
How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?
I found ABC by researching online for a Certified Veterinary Assistant program. I wanted the certification because my husband is in the military. We have a tendency to move around frequently. Since we will be moving to another state again at some point, I wanted a foundation to build on. This is a career I can take with me to any state I move to.
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
Animal Behavior College’s soon-to-be graduate Tracy Hamilton lives in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada, on Vancouver Island. She trains part-time at Cedar Ridge Canine while working at Little Rascals Pets and Supplies in Ladysmith, British Columbia. Tracy said her plate is pretty full, but that doesn’t stop her from hiking. “Don’t worry. I still manage to get in a good hike each week with a few fellow dog lovers,” she said. Tracy has wanted to work with animals her whole life. As a youngster, she wanted to be a marine biologist, but when she realized she wasn’t that good at science, Tracy went back to the drawing board. After researching on the Internet, she came across Animal Behavior College and the rest “is history.”
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
I think one of my most rewarding moments was when I finally realized how confident I was when it came to instructing classes. I always knew how good I was with dogs, but didn’t fully realize until I worked the kennels in the SPCA for a while.
Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.
During my volunteer hours, I had the joy of working with a Cane Corso that didn’t do well around strangers. She was a very large dog and quick to react. My most memorable moment was when I came in to work with her. We had been working a lot on no jumping up, as she was a big girl. She would run at me then do a sliding stop on her back so I could rub her belly. Nothing but dust, jowls and slobber; she was so thrilled to see me. I plan on continuing to volunteer in the future.
What are your plans for dog training? Do you want to specialize in a particular type of training?
I feel like I have a good connection with dogs that tend to have a more difficult time in life. My largest goal in life is to run a rescue/rehab center. I would love to continue my career working with the more difficult breeds and can really see myself doing well with aggressive dogs.
What has your experience been like in the ABC Dog Obedience Program?
I have really enjoyed my whole experience with Animal Behavior College from the knowledge in the book material to the staff that has really helped to keep me on track as much as possible, understanding life tends to get in the way, to the great Mentor Trainer they found for me. I would fully recommend ABC to anyone considering getting their dog training certification.
Which dog breed best describes you and why?
I am like a Border Collie. I will work myself crazy to be sure everyone is happy. I don’t think I could have done this program without any of the people I have worked with in the past year. They have really made this much easier on me than it could have been.
ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – October 2014
Recent ABC graduate, Chelsi Woolwine currently lives in Ojai, California. As a child, Chelsi always knew she wanted to work with animals. In her neighborhood one day, there was a little dog running around that no one else could catch. Her neighbors came and asked for her help. As soon as she got down on the ground with a leash and treats, the little dog came running over to her—no one could believe his eyes. Chelsi said that was her “this is what I need to do with my life” moment. She heard about Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Program from the Educational Director at a shelter in Colorado who also attended ABC’s program and told Chelsi to go for it, as it was a great starting point for her career.
Are you currently employed in another field? If yes, what do you do?
I’m currently employed at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation working as a Program Assistant. I do get to train with the dogs, but I mostly work with bringing new dogs into our program and getting to follow them throughout their lives.
Was dog training your first career choice? If not, what was it?
Dog training was not my first choice as a career. I was set on being a veterinary technician until we had to put my corgi/chow down and it absolutely broke my heart. Becoming a vet tech is still something I would love to do so I can further my career.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
My most rewarding moment was when it clicked for one of the students in our class. They finally understood how to get their dog to do the specific behavior that my amazing Mentor Trainer, Genie Tuttle, had been working on with them. It’s easier to tell someone else how to teach a behavior since you are seeing it firsthand and can correct it right away.
Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours.
During my volunteer hours, there was a dog that stole my heart, Rusty, a six- to seven-year-old Shar Pei that had been at the shelter for more than a year. He was often passed up because he always sat in the back of the kennel and didn’t visit with the people walking by. After working on his walking skills and socializing him, he finally got an amazing home and I see him often around Ojai.
What will be the secret to your success in the pet industry as a dog trainer?
The secret of the dog training pet industry is to be a sponge. Take in every opportunity you can and learn as much as possible. You can never have too much knowledge because no two situations are the same.
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Krysta Ringler lives at the Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. She works at Prometric where her full-time title is that of a Test Center Administrator. Her job is to proctor exams, such as the GRE, MCAT and the USA MLE. Although she is currently not working as a groomer, she loves animals and plans on beginning her own mobile business in the next year or two.
What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
Prior to being introduced to pet grooming, I was a bather. I enjoyed the grooming aspect of the position and got asked, one day, if I wanted to learn how to groom. I fell in love. Grooming sort of fell into my lap and I have loved it ever since. Not long after being offered to be taught how to groom, I got married to a guy in the military and found out they were going to cover my education.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
The most rewarding moment was when I got the opportunity to groom a very matted Shih Tzu. He was very sweet and needed to be shaved down. Since this dog was so lovable and the owner had intentions on taking it to a shelter, I ended up taking him home and naming him Ollie.
What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?
I sincerely loved my experience in the Grooming Instruction Program. I liked that the first part of the course work is all background information. This way, I could find out the “why.” I am the kind of learner who needs to know the method and reasoning behind the rules that apply in order to remember and understand what I am doing. I also appreciated the hands-on experience even though I already had previous hands-on knowledge.
What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?
Scissoring is a skill I would like to master during the next 12 months. This is something that I enjoy but would like to perfect with more practice.
If you could style a dog or cat after a celebrity, who would it be and why?
While working with a co-worker at my previous place of employment, this very thin, tall and well-dressed woman walked by the shop. Her hair was very long and seemed to be freshly straightened. A male co-worker noticed her and mentioned to me that she resembled an Afghan hound. I found this to be very funny but, in the midst of my laughter, realized that this woman did resemble that particular dog breed. Since this woman was so put together, I would, indeed, style my dog with the intent of it being as neat as she was.