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Can Your Dog Herd?

Can Your Dog Herd?

By Audrey Pavia

AKC Herding Dog Breeds

If your dog has what it takes, you could train him to compete in herding trials.

 

Ever notice your dog trying to round up the kids while they are playing in the backyard, or move the cats around the kitchen in an orderly manner? If so, your dog is exhibiting more than just weird behavior. Depending on his ancestry, he might be letting you know that he has a good dose of herding instinct in his blood.

Thanks to two organizations devoted to preserving dogs’ natural working instincts, you might be able to find out if your dog has what it takes to herd more than just kids and cats: he might be able to learn to herd livestock.
In the days when the majority of dog breeds were being developed, agriculture was the way most dog-owning families earned a living. Farmers and ranchers needed the help of their dogs to manage an assortment of livestock, from ducks to horses. As a result of this early breeding, a vast number of dogs still possess the herding instinct that was bred into them generations ago.

To see if your dog has the inborn ability to herd and has the potential for advanced training, have his herding instinct tested. Not only it is fun to watch your dog’s instincts really kick in the first time he’s asked to work sheep or ducks, but you might decide to train him for competition, which can be loads of fun.

Herding Dog Breeds

The American Kennel Club, which registers purebred dogs, has designated 51 breeds as having herding instincts. Any AKC-registered dog from one of these breeds is eligible to be AKC herding-instinct tested. These breeds include the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collie, Belgian Tervuren, Bernese Mountain dog, Border Collie, Boxer, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Collie, German Shepherd, Giant Schnauzer, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Shetland Sheep dog and Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, among many others.

AKC Herding Test for Dog Breeds

At an AKC-sanctioned herding test, your dog will enter a pen with a tester and some livestock, usually sheep or ducks. The judge will let your dog interact with the livestock, gauging how he handles them. For a dog to pass a herding instinct test, he must show an interest in the livestock without being aggressive, and must show a propensity for driving and fetching the animals.

After your dog is tested, you’ll be given a card with the judge’s comments on your dog’s natural instincts. The card will indicate whether your dog passed or failed.

If your dog passes the test, you’ll receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club in the mail. You can then take your dog’s herding abilities even further by training him to work.

Registering A Herding Dog with the AKC

If your dog is not registered with the AKC, is not a breed considered eligible for herding testing with AKC or is a mixed breed, you can still have his herding instinct tested. The American Herding Breeds Association (AHBA) provides herding capability tests to all dogs, designed to determine whether a dog has the instinct to herd livestock. Dogs who have shown to have the needed instinct can go on to be trained for competitive AHBA events.

For more information on herding instinct testing and herding competitions, visit the AKC at www.akc.org or the AHBA at ahba-herding.org.


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.

 

Pet Safety During the Holidays – Keep Your Dog Safe on Thanksgiving

Keep Your Dog Safe at Thanksgiving

By following a few rules, you can prevent an emergency trip to the vet for your animals.

By Lisa King

Keep Your Dog Safe on Thanksgiving

Pet Safety During the Holidays

During the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving, which is food-focused, keep in mind that although canines and humans area both omnivores, their digestions and dietary requirements are very different. Those roasted pearl onions you love can make your dog anemic. Your favorite chocolate cream pie will make her very sick. And cooked poultry bones can splinter and cause abdominal perforations.

Canines do have something in common with sharks, however. Most dogs will eat pretty much anything. My sister has found everything from wine corks to rubber bands to Legos in her Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s poop. When the dog ate a bunch of grapes and half an onion left on the counter, the vet had to induce vomiting. If your dog is a land shark like this, you must be extra vigilant at Thanksgiving if you want to avoid spending the day at the emergency vet clinic. Here are some tips to keep her safe:

  • Make sure your kitchen garbage container has a tight-filling lid. There are plenty of tempting morsels being thrown away this time of year—yummy stuff like turkey bones and skin that your dog would love to get at.
  • Carefully dispose of all the plastic bags, clips,and ties that the turkey came in; they smell of meat and are very appealing to dogs.
  • Don’t put appetizers on low coffee tables. A dining table, counter or something of similar height should be safe, unless you own a large dog. In any case, don’t leave food unattended.
  • Exercise and feed your dog on her normal schedule. Take a long walk before guests arrive so she’s tired out and not too active.
  • Buy her a new and interesting toy—perhaps one you can fill with treats—to keep her happy while you eat your Thanksgiving feast.
  • When guests are coming and going, be sure your dog can’t run out the door.
  • Put her bed in a quiet room where she can retreat if the party gets to be too much for her.
  • Ask your guests not to feed your dog human food, no matter how adorable she is when she begs. Provide safe treats that guests can give her.
  • Put leftovers away in the fridge promptly. If you’re in a postprandial stupor, you might not pay attention to what your dog is scavenging off the table.
  • Keep decorations out of your dog’s reach. Wreaths, bunting, scented candles, decorative gourds and small pumpkins are all tempting to a curious dog.
  • Many types of flowers are poisonous to dogs. Keep arrangements well out of reach.

Here are some holiday no-nos that are either toxic, too fatty or otherwise dangerous to your dog:

  • Xylitol or other artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Onions, garlic, shallots, or other members of the allium family
  • Butter, turkey skin, or other fats
  • Raw turkey
  • Cooked poultry bones
  • Uncooked bread dough
  • Raw fish
  • Raw eggs
  • Foods with lots of herbs
  • Gravy
  • Corn on the cob
  • Marshmallows
  • Grapes and raisins
  • All alcoholic beverages
  • Coffee, tea or anything else with caffeine in it

Your dog can have a few treats on the big day. It’s OK for her to have small amounts of these foods:

  • Turkey meat
  • Plain mashed white potatoes
  • Plain sweet potatoes
  • Plain green beans
  • Plain carrots
  • Plain loose corn
  • Cranberry sauce (if it’s not too sweet)
  • Pumpkin pie (hold the whipped cream)

If you want to give her a bit of turkey, put a few pieces of well-cooked skinless, boneless white meat on top of her regular food.Do the same with small amounts of the other allowed foods. Whatever you do, don’t feed her from the table. That will encourage her to beg at dinner every night.


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.”

Wintertime Indoor Fun for Dogs

Wintertime Indoor Fun

Entertainment options abound for dogs—and their owners.

By Stacy Mantle

Indoor fun for dogs - Dog Treadmill

Winter is nearly upon us and for many that means making adjustments in order to keep our pets safe and warm during the colder winter months. Here are several indoor activities that can help keep cabin fever at bay.

Teach Dogs New Tricks

Winter is a great time to hone your training skills. Not only does training provide mental stimulation for your pets, it helps cement the bond with your dog and gives you both something to focus on besides going outside. If you’ve thought about implementing clicker training, this is a great time to start.

Puzzle Toys for Pups

Puzzle toys are a fantastic way to keep a dog’s mind engaged, which tires them out more quickly. These types of toys also encourage sedentary dogs to become more active, even when left alone. Interactive toys range from squirrel trees to puzzle boxes, and the rewards can vary from plush toys to pet treats (be sure to use a low-cal treat). There is really a toy for every activity level, so do a search—you might be surprised by what you find.

Make Feeding Time Fun

Make feeding time more interesting with an interactive pet feeder. These feeders engage pets’ primal instincts by allowing them to “hunt” for their food. Interactive feeders, such as those available from Nina Ottoson or Aikiou, keep dogs interested during mealtime while decreasing their eating rate—something that is physically and emotional important.

Treadmills for Pets

You may not think of your dog as the “running” type, but she may just surprise you. Winter provides a great opportunity for implementing interval training into your dog’s workout. Dog Tread carries a wide selection of treadmills designed especially for pets. If you’re in an area where rain and snow prevail, this is probably the system for you. To step up the power level, try adding a K9 FIT Vest™, which comes with various sized weights that you add or decrease as your dog gets in shape. 

Building up Balance for the Pet’s Body & Mind

The best way to tire out your dog is to engage her mentally and physically. Balance balls can do the trick.Sometimes referred to thera-balls, exercise balls, fitness balls, gymnastics balls or Swiss balls;these are a great tool for working on balance, core strengthening and endurance. If you have an agility dog, this is going to be an especially valuable activity for your pet. Best of all; it can all be done indoors (under proper supervision, of course). Dog Tread carries a wonderful line of balance toys for pets, as does Fit Paws USA, and there are other companies that offer innovative balance equipment for pets. 

Experiment in the Kitchen

If you’re as bored as your dog during the cold and dark winter months, consider experimenting with some new recipes. There are many great ways to integrate leftover holiday food (such as pumpkin puree or turkey) into recipes that are healthy and easy to make.

Scavenger Hunts for Dogs

Scavenger hunts can be entertaining for you and your human kids, as well as your pets. This is very easy game to set up. Simply put your dog outside or in another room while you “hide” the treats around the house. Start out with easy hides (such as in the corner of a room), then move into the “high value” hides (under a box or the couch). Be careful you don’t inadvertently enforce bad habits while playing. Hide treats and toys only in areas where your dog is allowed.

Doga (Dog Yoga)

There is nothing more relaxing in winter than a morning yoga session. You can integrate your dog into this healthy routine by simply encouraging her to participate. Practice simple stretches together and when your pet lies down for a rest, use the time to interact with her—it will help make your own morning yoga that much more valuable as petting animals has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease stress.

Grooming the Pet

A grooming session can do wonders for your pet when the cold, dry air of winter is taking its toll on her skin. Consider purchasing some pet-friendly Bath Salts from DERMagic for a gentle exfoliating scrub that will remove dandruff and help loosen dry skin, preparing it for an invigorating shampoo. This is not only great for your pets, but will help keep you warm and relaxed during the cold winter days.


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

Providing Quality Care for Your Senior Dog

Happy, Healthy and Old

Providing quality care for your senior dog is easier than you think.

By Audrey Pavia

Caring for Senior Dogs - Old Dogs need extra love

Nothing illustrates the quick passage of time more than watching your dog grow old. One day he’s a tiny puppy and before you know it, he’s a senior dog.

You want to keep your canine companion around for as long as possible, and the best way to do that is to give him the special care senior dogs need. Giving him special consideration can help him stay with you as long as nature will allow.

Vet Care for Senior Dogs

Start by taking your senior dog to the vet for a wellness exam. Small- to medium-sized dogs over the age of 6 years should make yearly visits to the vet for a physical. Larger dogs should start at age 4.

The veterinarian will give your dog a thorough exam, looking into his mouth and eyes, checking his skin and coat, and palpating his abdomen, kidney and other organs. The vet will also perform a blood test that will show whether your dog’s body is functioning properly. This entire exam is important because it might provide early clues to any illness that could be developing. Early detection is the key when it comes to treating older dogs.

In between regular exams, pay close attention to your dog’s behavior. If he stops eating, develops diarrhea that doesn’t pass in a day, is breathing rapidly, acts lethargic or behaves in anyway out of the ordinary, take him to the vet immediately. A host of ailments, ranging from parasites to kidney failure, can take a serious toll on an older dog if you don’t act quickly. Fast intervention is essential with senior dogs, who can succumb quickly to an illness they might have been able to fight off when they were younger.

Quality Food For Dogs

Older dogs sometimes need special diets to help them get the most out of their meals. Consult with your veterinarian to find out what you should be feeding your dog. Also consider giving him a joint supplement containing glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM, since older dogs are prone to arthritis. Other nutriceuticals, such as fish oil and kidney or liver support supplements, might also be in order, depending on the results of your dog’s veterinary exam.

Provide the Pet Good Shelter

Most dogs spend a lot of time outside, sometimes in bad weather. Because of his advancing age, your older dog may have trouble staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer while he’s outdoors. In uncomfortable weather, bring your dog inside to spare him extreme cold or heat.

Physical Help for Older Dogs

Older dogs often have stiff, aching joints and weaker muscles. Give your dog a thick, soft bed to sleep in. Consider raising his food and water dishes up off the ground so he doesn’t have to bend his neck as far to reach them. If your dog is having trouble jumping up into your car or on your bed, lift him, or buy or make him a ramp.

Extra Attention

Just because your dog is old doesn’t mean he doesn’t need stimulation. Take him for walks, or give him a light job to do around the yard (like fetching sticks for you or finding slugs in the garden). If he’s a playful dog, throw a tennis ball to him for a few minutes each day. Not only will the activity help him stay physically fit, it will do wonders for his attitude. It will also help foster the bond between you, which is crucially important to his state of mind as he ages. A happy dog will want to stick around longer.


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.

Save a Life: Adopt a Shelter Dog

Save a Life: Adopt a Shelter Dog

Nothing says love like giving a pet a forever home.

By Lisa King

Tips for Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. Save a life, adopt a shelter dog.

Adopting a dog from a shelter is one of the best things you can do to save pets from euthanasia and enrich your life. Dogs usually end up in shelters through no fault of their own. Foreclosure or other financial hardship, a death in the family, a divorce, a move or any sort of life change can cause perfectly wonderful pets to be put in shelters.

Before you visit your local shelter, decide on the type of dog your family wants. Do you live in an apartment or do you have a big yard? Are you athletic or sedentary? Do you have children? How old are they? Do you already have other pets?

Adopting a puppy is problematic. They are unquestionably very cute and appealing, but it requires a tremendous amount of work to train them correctly and keep them out of trouble. It’s a lot like dealing with a toddler. In addition, you only have a vague idea of how big the puppy will get or what his adult temperament will be, especially if he is a mutt. Adopting an adult dog means most of the tough training has already been done; they are usually housebroken and know how to walk on a leash, they won’t get any bigger and their temperament is readily apparent.

Once you’ve decided on the type of dog you are looking for—large or small, docile or frisky, cuddly or independent—stick with your decision. If need be, take a hard-nosed friend with you to prevent your choosing that affectionate, adorable Saint Bernard mix instead of the lapdog you planned to adopt.

If this is your first dog and you’re not sure how to evaluate dog behavior, ask a knowledgeable dog person to come with you. If you don’t have any dog-savvy friends, hire a qualified animal behavior expert to accompany you to the shelter.

Keep in mind that behavioral problems are magnified in shelters. The dogs are frightened, they don’t get enough sleep and they are often unnerved by overwhelming smells and noises. Spend time alone with your potential dog. Most shelters let you visit with a dog in an area away from the kennels. Often, you can walk the dog around the shelter to see how he reacts to the leash. Look for a dog who is eager for your attention and responds positively to you.

The shelter staff is a great resource for learning about the temperament and energy level of each dog. Also ask about the dog’s history, how he interacts with people and other dogs and if he has any health issues. At a good shelter, the staff will ask you as many questions as you ask them to ensure you are a good match for the dog you want.

Bring all family members to meet the dog you are thinking of adopting. That includes dogs you already own. If you have cats, ask the shelter staff how the dog gets along with them. Most shelters test dogs for compatibility with cats before adopting them out.

If you don’t find Mr. Right on your first visit to the shelter, don’t worry. Sadly, new dogs arrive every day. Check the Internet for new arrivals in your area (Petfinder.com is a good resource, as is BestFriends.org) or return to the shelter periodically.

Don’t buy supplies until you have chosen your dog. Size matters when it comes to food and water bowls, collars and leashes, toys and beds. Also, purchase the same food the dog has been eating in the shelter; you can transition him to a higher-quality food once he gets used to his new home.

Choose a veterinarian before you bring your dog home. Take him in as soon as possible for a checkup. Your dog will most likely be neutered or spayed and be up to date on his shots.

If you’re still unsure of what type of dog you want, volunteer to walk dogs at your local shelter. You can even foster a dog to see if he is compatible with your family before making the commitment to adopt him. Chances are, once you bring a dog into your home, you and your family will fall in love with him—forever.


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.”

Safe Halloween for Your Dog

A Safe and Sound Halloween

Tips for a Safe Halloween for your dog

With these precautions, your dog can have a howling good time.

By Audrey Pavia

Halloween is a fun time for kids and grown-ups alike, but it can be scary and even dangerous for pets. You can keep your dog safe this year—and even enjoy his participation—by following some precautions.

Trick-or-treaters can be a real hoot, but all that door-knocking and bell ringing can drive your dog crazy. To prevent your dog from barking all night and stressing out over the strangely clad visitors, consider keeping him in a back room of your house or apartment. Leave a radio or TV on to help block out the noise, and give him something to chew on to divert his attention. If your dog is particularly high-strung, consider administering a dose of a natural calming product to help ease his anxiety. (Rescue Remedy is one such product, available in health food  and pet stores.)

If you won’t be home on Halloween, keep your dog inside the house or locked in a garage while you are away. Dogs can become frightened by all the activity on the street and can escape from a yard. They also need to be protected from pranksters, who might gain access to them from a gate. Turn the lights off in your house so trick-or-treaters will avoid your home in your absence.

If you plan to take your dog trick-or-treating with the family (a good idea only if your pooch is friendly to strangers, well-behaved and not easily stressed), be sure to fit him with a secure collar and ID tag. Keep him on leash at all times for his safety and the safety of others. If he will be wearing a costume, make sure he’s not upset about wearing it and that it’s comfortable. Watch out for strings, straps and any other part of the costume that might restrict your dog’s movement or sight, or wrap tightly around his neck. Keep an eye on your dog while he’s wearing his costume to make sure it doesn’t affect his ability to move. Some dogs will even chew on their costumes and swallow it in pieces, so watch for this dangerous activity as well.

Halloween decorations can also pose a safety hazard for your dog. Keep an eye on your pet to make sure he doesn’t chew on decorations (especially strings of lights) or knock over lit candles. Some dogs have a hankering for pumpkin, so make sure your jack-o-lantern is out of reach. While it won’t seriously hurt your dog to eat an entire pumpkin, it will mostly likely give him digestive upset.

Candy gathered during Halloween can be dangerous to your dog, too, if he gets into it. In large amounts, chocolate can even be fatal. Theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate, can cause serious damage to a dog’s heart. The fat and sugar also present in chocolate can cause pancreatitis if consumed in large quantities. Xylitol, a natural sweetener that is becoming popular in candy, is also highly toxic to dogs. It is often found in gum and some hard candies. For this reason, it’s wise to keep all Halloween candy well out of your dog’s reach. Be sure to remind your children to keep candy up high up in their rooms where your dog can’t reach it.

With the right amount of precautions, your dog will stay safe and sound on Halloween.


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.

Best Pet-Friendly Flooring

Best Flooring Choices for Fido and Fluffy

Utility, style and value are not mutually exclusive when it comes to what goes under your and your pets’ feet.

By Stacy Mantle

Pet friendly flooring, what to know about purchasing flooring with pets in mind

These days, we have more flooring choices than ever. More than 60 percent of families in the U.S. share their homes with pets, so it’s no surprise the flooring industry is getting creative with options that are durable, inexpensive and stylish. Here is a look at some of the best pet-friendly flooring options on the market today. 

 

Cool, Natural and Affordable Solutions

Those in warm southern climates can benefit from the cool, natural flooring options that are so often associated with showcase homes.

Stone: Naturally beautiful, scratch-resistant and easy to clean, stone is probably one of the best options for a pet-friendly household. Since it’s not as slick as tile, you won’t have pets falling throughout the house or causing injury to their hips, and if you’re in the Southwest, it can keep you cool all summer long. The drawback is stone can be uncomfortable for pets to sleep on throughout the day, so it’s very important you provide them with plenty of options for bedding, particularly senior pets.

Tip: Look for stone that doesn’t need to be sealed.

Tile: Easily one of the most popular flooring options for pet owners with allergies, tile is cool, easy to maintain, inexpensive to install and very pet-friendly. Be sure to incorporate some stylish, nonslip rugs into the design. Rugs help ensure young animals don’t slide into walls while playing and create a soft area for senior animals to rest their arthritic bones.

Tip: Stock up on extra tiles at time of purchase to keep color consistent during repairs.

Concrete: Decorative concrete is the new “in” design across the country. Whether you choose to stain, stamp or paint, there is a look you can mimic using the highly versatile concrete. There are an unlimited number of ways you can make concrete look as expensive as marble. Rated as the best alternative for people with pets, concrete can make a beautiful and inexpensive option for your pet-friendly floor.

Tip: Incorporate radiant heating into design to lower winter heating costs.

 

Warm, Inviting and Durable Solutions

If you live in an “all-weather” region, you might likely be on the hunt for warm, durable solutions. These include vinyl, laminate and carpet-tile options. While wood is beautiful flooring, it’s one of the least durable options for homes with pets—sharp claws can make short work of the floor. Instead, look for chic, aesthetically pleasing options that are easy to maintain.

Vinyl: Vinyl flooring is very durable and resistant to moisture, which makes it a favorite in the rainy areas. Simple to maintain, it has the added bonus of muffling the sounds your pets nails make as they click across the floor. Vinyl flooring comes in a large variety of colors and designs so you never have to sacrifice style for comfort.

Tip: Inlaid vinyl is thicker and has richer colors.

Laminate: If you’re looking for the aristocratic feel of wood floors without all the maintenance; laminate flooring is a durable solution that can hold up to the hard nails of your pet without scratching. While it’s not quite as durable as vinyl, laminate is affordable, easy to maintain and lasts much longer than wood.

Tip: Check the warranty—they range from 10 years to a lifetime.

Carpet Tiles: This is an excellent alternative to heavy floor rugs or to cover up and preserve wood floors. Simple to assemble, these can be used as an entire floor or as a way to preserve a high-use area. Cleaning is as simple as removing the carpet tile that is soiled by running it under water or tossing it in the washer. A vacuum can clean up any larger areas. Use as a runner for areas your pets like to charge through and eliminate any problems of getting toenails caught in shag. The pattern variety enables custom design and you can also make it the perfect option for concrete floors.

Tip: Visit Flor.com for clever ideas to create unique, affordable designs.

 

Green, Natural and Renewable Solutions

Flooring made from long-lasting, renewable resources is in vogue, which makes cork and bamboo two of my favorite flooring options.

Cork is a natural antimicrobial that reduce smold and other allergens—making it a perfect flooring solution for homes with pets. It also absorbs sound nicely (an excellent selling point if you dogs bark a lot). However, cork floors can fade and discolor if they see too much sunlight, making it a bad option for sunny regions. Consider coating it with a high-quality urethane to reduce wear and tear.

Tip: Avoid cork-vinyl composites. If using sealer, select a low-VOC product.

Bamboo is also an excellent option as it’s the hardest of hardwood—making it very durable and long-lasting. Cleaning is a breeze but remember, while cork and bamboo floors are naturally water-resistant, you need to get stains cleaned up quickly as they will eventually cause discoloration.

Tip: Look for FSC-certified products that have had no formaldehyde added.

Whatever new flooring you select, focus on easily maintained, durable and mildew-resistant designs. Any of the above options can last a long time and add value to your home. Pet-friendly (and pet-resistant) flooring also ensures you won’t grow frustrated with damage caused by your four-legged family members. These days, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort and durability for style.


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

Forever Warriors Founder – Training Service Dogs While Changing the World for Vets

Jason Young puts Animals & Soldiers First in His Quest to Change the World for Veterans.

Training Service Dogs in Los Angeles

Jason Young Founder of Forever Warriors. Now training service dogs with Big Paws Canine in Los Angeles, CA.

Young, a graduate of Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Program is now Training Service Dogs While Changing Veteran Lives.

ABC Graduate Dog Trainer Jason Young

Jason Young served in the Navy Seabees Construction Battalion.  After coming home from his tour, Jason Young was in school to complete his education in Computer Networking. During his program training he was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  His doctor recommended that he consider a new career while going through the rehabilitation recommended to heal his TBI.

“Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities,” according to http://www.traumaticbraininjury.com.

“One moment the person diagnosed can be seen as normal and the next moment life has abruptly changed. Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries. Recovery is a functional recovery, based on mechanisms that remain uncertain. No two brain injuries are a like and the consequence of two similar injuries may be very different. Symptoms may appear right away or may not be present for days or weeks after the injury.  Most often, these body structures heal and regain their previous function.” says  traumaticbraininjury.com.

After considering his options Jason again consulted with his doctor. He mentioned that he may want to pursue a vocational career that involved peer counseling. Young’s doctor recommended considering a career in training service dogs. Jason liked the idea of rehabilitation training that could benefit the lives of soldiers and veterans using Dog Training as the tool to heal himself and others.  He loves working with service dogs and highly recommends Animal Behavior College to other veterans as a great place to learn Dog Obedience Training.

Jason graduated from Animal Behavior College in September 2013. Before completing his final exam and externship he was offered a position as a Dog Trainer at Big Paws Canine Academy and Foundation, Inc.

We had the chance to ask Jason Young why he chose Animal Behavior College and specifically the dog training program? Here is what he had to say:

“The course was great! I loved the externship and working at the shelter. My main goal before I started the course was to learn to train Service Dogs for Veterans. Myself being a veteran wanting to help other vets I had thought about becoming a peer counselor, but I didn’t want to bring that home with me every day. After one of the VA doctors asked me if I had ever thought about training service animals. It was the perfect idea, considering all the service dog providers there are popping up all over the country very few people are looking at becoming a dog trainer. I have been communicating with numerous providers in the last year like: Pets for Vets, TADSAW, Battle Buddy and many others. I would refer veterans to whichever one that was closest or fit the Veterans needs best. About a week before I received my certificate in September, Big Paws Canine Academy offered me a training job training Veterans and their dogs at the VA hospitals. It is the perfect fit for me. I can help other veterans alleviate anxieties caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) naturally and possibly lower the doses of mood altering medications that some veterans are becoming dependent upon for every day life. It’s a win, win{situation}, for me. I get to work with animals and help heroes.”

Jason’s passion truly shows that it is not about the money. He actually turned down a paid position at Big Paws Canine Academy and opted for working as an intern so that Big Paws CA could afford to hire more trainers. Together Jason and Big Paws CA are on a mission to make rehabilitation available to more vets returning from war.  They are not the only ones. Jason is also participating in the Battle Buddy Run, a 5K fundraiser to assist the placement of service dogs with soldiers who have PTSD. This event is taking place in Fresno Calif. on October 26th.  https://www.facebook.com/battlebuddyrun

Service Dog Obedience Training by Jason at Big Paws Academy

Jason teaching Service Dog Obedience class at local Lowe’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his spare time Jason enjoys speaking with other soldiers and vets.  He assists injured soldiers and vets by pairing them with an organization that would best suit their needs. He also posts content about service dogs, service dog news, and information needed on his Forever Warriors page. https://www.facebook.com/WeAreForeverWarriors?ref=stream

 

October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

October is
National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
Adopt A Shelter Dog Month

Shelter dogs and cats deserve a forever home. By adopting or fostering a shelter pet, you are saving an animal’s life. Even if you can’t adopt a new pet, there are several great ways you can help save a dog or cat who is currently living in a shelter.

Use Social Media to Raise Awareness
Share with your friends and followers that October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. By doing so you become a part of the saving lives formula. Help raise awareness by using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, 4square, Tumblr, and Instagram. Consider using #hastags such as #welovedogs, #savedogs, #fosterdogs, #traindogs, and #dogs in your posts. This helps them be found by people searching for industry-related articles on social networking trend walls and blogs, as well as RSS feeds.

Volunteer to Train Shelter Dogs

At Animal Behavior College (ABC), our students and employees have been training shelter dogs since 1998.  It is a fact that a trained dog in a shelter is far more likely to be adopted then one who has not had behavioral training. Since 2004, ABC’s dog training students have collectively donated more than 93,000 hours to animal shelters. This program is called Students Saving Lives. The success has been revolutionary in the fight to save animal lives.
Read more about Students Saving Lives.

Animal Behavior College also offers a Continuing Education Program called Training Shelter Dogs. This program is a great way to help certified dog trainers establish themselves in the dog training industry while doing their part in assisting shelter dogs by providing the behavioral training they need.

Foster Pets from Shelters like, Best Friends or Unwanted NYC Pets

If you love pets but aren’t ready to adopt, opening your home as a foster parent is a great way to help out. Many foster programs make it as easy as possible, giving you the support you need. Here’s how it works:

You provide a temporary place to crash, water, exercise and love.
You receive food and supplies, veterinary care, any support and guidance you need, endless love from your foster pet, and the satisfaction of helping an animal in need.

Best Friends will work with you to find the best match possible for your home and lifestyle. If at any point the foster situation is not working out, Best Friends will take the animal back into its care and find another that will work for you.

Take the Pledge
Join the more than 100,000 people who have already taken the “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge to help fight puppy mill cruelty by refusing to buy anything—including food, supplies or toys—at pet stores and from websites that sell puppies.

Animal Shelters & Rescues in the U.S.

Best FriendsBestFriends.org

Best Friends Animal Society is the only national nonprofit animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. An authority and leader in the no-kill movement for more than 30 years, Best Friends runs the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals (at its headquarters), regional centers in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and New York, as well as life-saving programs in partnership with rescue groups and shelters across the country.

Did you know that more than 9,000 dogs and cats are killed each day in America’s shelters? More than 4 million lives are lost each year simply because they don’t have a safe place to call home. These pets deserve to be saved. At Best Friends Animal Society, they believe no animals should have to die in shelters when solutions exist to save them—solutions like adopting, fostering, spaying/neutering and Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR).

Unwanted NYC Pets - UnwantedNYCpets.org
Unwanted New York City Pets or Unwanted NYC Pets is spearheaded by Betina Wasserman and her team of close knit animal confidants. Together they rescue pets from the kill list and save dogs and cats from all across New York City’s Tri-borough area. Betina is also the founder of Unwanted NYC Pets, a 501-C3 non-profit organization. The Unwanted NYC Pets team is determined to help make the world a better place by saving the lives of dogs, who would otherwise be put down if not rescued. Betina’s message: Don’t buy dogs, please adopt them! Read More

Animal Shelters & Rescues in Canada

Animal Rescue and Outreach Society (AROS) is a charitable, non-profit organization serving the Alberta Capital Region. Their mission is to rescue and rehabilitate displaced pets, and to provide education and support to pet owners.
Learn more about Animal Rescue and Outreach Society

How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

By Lisa King

Responsible owners make sure their dogs get enough exercise and play time.

Responsible owners make sure their dogs get enough exercise and play time.

Dog Ownership 101

Being a responsible dog owner starts before you even get a dog. Before visiting a shelter or calling a rescue, be certain that you have the time, energy and finances to properly care for a new pet. Here are a few rules to follow before the fact:

1. Don’t get a dog for your children unless you are prepared to do 100 percent of his care, if not right away then when they move out of the house. This is the voice of experience speaking.

2. Do your research and choose a breed or mix whose activity level matches your own. If you’re a couch potato, don’t get a Border Collie. If you want to go running or biking with your dog, forget the Pug.

3. How much space do you have? A large dog will be miserable in a studio apartment, while a small lap dog will be quite comfortable.

4. Do you want to deal with all the training required for a puppy? Adopting an adult dog who’s already housetrained puts you ahead of the game.

Now that you have an idea of the type of dog you’d like, go online and search local shelters for a dog who fits your requirements. If your heart is set on a purebred, these can sometimes be found at shelters. Breed-specific rescues are also good sources for purebred dogs. If you go to a breeder, do some research to ensure she’s reputable. DO NOT buy a dog from a pet shop—these adorable puppies usually come from puppy mills, which keep breeding animals in deplorable conditions.

Dog Health Tips

Once you get your dog home, follow these 10 tips to ensure he has a long, happy and healthy life.

1. Take him in for regular vet checkups. Spay or neuter your dog if it hasn’t already been done. Keep him current on shots, dewormer and flea and tick protection.

2. Give your dog plenty of exercise according to the needs of his breed or breeds.

3. Train your dog. Take him to a training class or train him yourself by consulting books, magazines and online resources. He should know basic commands such as “Come,” “Leave It,” “Sit” and “Lie Down.” Keep him on a leash when not in a secure, fenced yard. Even a well-trained dog with a strong prey drive can be distracted by squirrels or other small animals and run into traffic.

4. Brush your dog regularly to prevent mats. The frequency of brushing depends on his coat type. Take him to a reliable groomer if he is a breed that needs more complicated grooming, such as a Poodle or a Maltese. Keep his nails clipped. If you’re nervous about clipping them yourself, have your groomer or vet do the job.

5. Wash your dog regularly. Depending on the dog’s coat and environment that can mean once a month, once every couple of weeks or even more often if he gets into something nasty. Use a high-quality natural shampoo. Don’t wash him too often, though; too-frequent baths can cause dry, itchy skin.

6. Secure your dog in the car, either in a crate or with a harness that hooks onto the seatbelt. A dog who’s loose in the car becomes a dangerous projectile in a crash. If he’s in the front seat, or God forbid on the driver’s lap, he can be killed if the airbags deploy.

7. Provide proper ID for your dog so he can be returned to you if lost. Attach a tag bearing his name and your phone number to his collar. For added safety, consider having your vet microchip him.

8. Feed him the best diet you can afford. Your options are many: kibble, canned, frozen raw and freshly made cooked. Find a food that makes you both happy. Keep dishes clean and always provide plenty of fresh water.

9. Be a good neighbor and pick up your dog’s poop. Cleaning up after him even in your own yard is important to keep harmful bacteria out of groundwater.

10. Provide plenty of love and affection; it will be returned tenfold.


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.”