Animal Behavior College Blog

Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

November 2014 – ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA

ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – November 2014

Claudia Brooks

Dog Obedience Program Student of the Month

Claudia Brooks knew a long time before enrolling at Animal Behavior College that she wanted to work with animals. She grew up in a household that raised all sorts of animals, including dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, birds, cattle and fish. Growing up in such a manner provided her with some unique experiences. Claudia helped her father maintain 35 tropical aquariums, in which they raised fish for the local shop. She raised countless kittens and puppies, and even helped birth a breached calf. While Claudia loves working with animals of all kinds, dogs are her favorite. As she explained, “They have been the best teachers I have ever had. They have taught me patience, kindness, forgiveness, perseverance, tolerance, how to handle stress, and unconditional love. Though I have had a number of jobs in my life, working with dogs is my passion.” Claudia’s passion for working with dogs eventually led her to enroll with Animal Behavior College where she graduated with honors and was hired by her Mentor Trainer, Kelly Legaretta of Healing Pawsabilities.

  • What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?

There are several. Working with the shelter dogs at Gulf Coast Humane Society, and seeing them adopted is definitely near the top. Watching shy and fearful dogs become much more confident would be another. However, the most rewarding moments are when you see the relationship between the owner and her dog change from one of frustration to one of mutual respect.

  • Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work? If yes, how/where?

The one pet story that touched me the most would be Rosie. She was a purebred Rottweiler who came in with some other dogs, and was afraid of everyone. She was difficult to get close to and almost impossible to touch. One day when I got to the shelter, I went into her kennel, which was divided down the middle with partial concrete wall and cutout door. When I opened the door, she dashed to the other side and wouldn’t come out. It took me nearly 20 minutes of just sitting on the floor, tossing her treats and kibble, letting her get closer and closer, until she finally came up to me. She was still scared, but every time I went back I did the same thing and she gradually got better. I found out one of the other volunteers was also working with her and she was adopted in just a couple of months.

I plan to start back with my volunteer work at the shelter in January once I am no longer working at my current job. I found out recently that Gulf Coast Humane Society is building a new shelter very close to my house and I plan to volunteer again with them. At one of the GCHS fundraisers, I met two members of the Lee County Sheriff’s Department who work at the Cell Dogs program, a joint program with their department and GCHS. I have been asked to work with the Cell Dog program starting in January and I can’t wait for that.

  • How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

Once when I was taking classes with Kelly Legaretta, she had three ABC students doing their externship. I spoke with them and really liked what they told me about the program. Kelly was (and still is) a great mentor/teacher so I couldn’t have asked for a better program.

  • Which dog breed best describes you and why?

I am a cross between a Labrador and a Border Collie. I have the energy of a Border Collie but the temperament of a Lab.

November – Veterinary Assistant Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
November 2014

Jessica Boychuck

Veterinary Assistant Program Student of the Month

Jessica Boychuck lives in South River, New Jersey, and has three dogs, a cat and a fish. At first, she wanted to major in criminal justice. However, after rescuing a couple of stray kittens from the street, Jessica realized her true calling was to work with and help animals. Caring for the stray kittens is what helped her decide to enroll at Animal Behavior College.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was when I was working in the treatment area. It was a normal morning, prepping up everything for the day, which included a mass removal surgery. The dog was a 9-year-old golden retriever-lab mix. When she came in, we saw that her mass was bigger than we thought. We had to bandage it because it was hitting the floor and it was bleeding a little bit. We gave her pre-surgery meds and put her in a big cage in a room to calm her down and for her to sleep. [A bit later,] we walked passed by the room to check on the dog and there was blood everywhere. We rushed her to the table, put her under anesthesia and cleaned up the mass (she had bitten the mass while she was in her cage). The dog kept waking up because she was holding her breath so the anesthesia wasn’t going through. They told me to squeeze the bag every 10 to 15 seconds while the tech was monitoring her vital signs. Finally, after half an hour later, she was breathing on her own. She pulled through the surgery and was good to go home. I overcame it by staying calm and listening to [the veterinarian and vet tech’s] directions.

  • Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.

A funny moment was when I was in boarding. When we take the dogs out for a walk to go to the bathroom, we take families out at the same time. There were these two dogs, one dog was doing its business and the other one came and peed on his head. When I saw that, I started to laugh and it made my day.

I heard about the ABC program on television.

  • If you could work with any exotic animal, what would it be and why?

I don’t have a favorite exotic animal. I would like to work with every type of animal.

November – Grooming Instruction Program Student Of The Month – 2014

ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
November 2014

Amanda Loren

Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month

Amanda Loren, who lives in Clyde, New York, has always been an animal lover. At first, she wanted to be a veterinarian, but Amanda quickly learned she didn’t have the stomach for it. Instead, Amanda chose ABC’s Grooming Instruction Program to help her achieve her goal of working with animals. Amanda is currently working nights at Wal-Mart in order to pursue her animal career during the day.

  • What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was scissoring around the face, especially the eyes, because I was so nervous that I would injure an animal. Practicing with my mentor helped me build the confidence I needed. I still practice often to help me overcome my fears.

  • Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.

My mentor loved to sing to and dance with the dogs as she was grooming them. I was able to learn a lot about reading the dogs. It was a lot of fun to watch her interact with the animals.

  • How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?

I Googled pet grooming schools and Animal Behavior College was the first one on the list. When I was browsing through the website, it seemed perfect. When I called, the woman I spoke with really helped me and convinced me to try the program.

  • What has your experience been like in the ABC Grooming Instruction Program?

My experience with ABC had been great. I was sent emails regularly to check [on my progress] and whenever I had questions, I knew that help was just a phone call or email away. I would definitely recommend the program.

  • If you could style a dog or cat after any celebrity, who would it be and why?

If I had to choose a famous person to style my cat after, I would say King Henry [VIII] because my cat is very fat and royal looking. That is actually where my cat, Henry, got his name from.

Charlee Bear’s Bear Crunch Facebook Contest

Charlee Bear’s Bear Crunch Facebook Contest

Submit photos of your dog(s) outdoors, win dog treats!

Charlee Bear Photo Contest

Animal Behavior College presents the Charlee Bear Photo Contest to celebrate the company’s newest dog treats, Bear Crunch. As the name implies, the new dog treats have a light crunch that dogs love. Bear Crunch treats are grain-free, made with healthful, wholesome ingredients and are great for training. With more than 350 treats in each bag, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on these treats. The prizes for the contest are:

  • First Prize: 1 case of Bear Crunch
  • Second Prize: 6 bags of Bear Crunch
  • Third Prize: 3 bags of Bear Crunch
  • Several randomly selected entrants will receive 1 bag 
Charlee Bear - Bear CrunchHow to Enter:
  1. Follow Charlee Bear on Facebook here.
  2. Follow Animal Behavior College on Facebook here.
  3. Submit a photo of your dog enjoying nature–e.g., hiking, playing in the water, romping in the snow, diving into leaves, chasing squirrels at the park, etc. (People may be included in the photo.) These photos may submitted through our Facebook.
Rules:
  1. One entry per person
  2. Contest ends November 30th. No submissions will be accepted after this time.

 

Five Pit Bull Myths

Busting Pit Bull Myths

Pitties are not the dangerous breed many think they are.

By Audrey Pavia

PitBullPit 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.

PitBullwChild4)      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.

 

How to Help the Feral Cats in Your Neighborhood

Feral Cat Care

You can help homeless, gone-wild felines.

By Sandy Robins

FeralCatDay-1October 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.

 

Provide Shelter

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

FeralCatTrap

Many low-cost spay/neuter clinics will loan volunteers humane traps to catch feral cats.

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:

www.alleycat.org

www.feralcatproject.org/aboutthecats_whatis.aspx

www.homelesscatnetwork.com 


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

Keep Track of Your Pets’ Activities While You’re Away

Home Alone

How to keep an eye on your pets no matter where you—and they—are.

By Stacy Mantle

HomeAloneMost 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.

 

Wearable Technology

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.

 

GPS Trackers

TaggPetTracker

A GPS pet tracker, such as the Tagg unit the yellow Lab is wearing, helps ensure you’ll be able to find your pet if he goes roaming on his own. Image courtesy of SnapTracs Inc.

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 Monitors

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.

 

Wireless Cameras

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?
PetSafeSocialPet

Wireless cameras with treat stations, such as SocialPet from PetSafe, lets you monitor and treat your dog while at work or traveling. Image courtesy of PetSafe.

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

 

Go Walk Your Dog; It’s Good for You and Your Pet

Walk the Dog!

Treat your canine—and yourself—to daily excursions.

By Lisa King

WalkDogCityNo 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.

DogWalkCountryFind 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.”

Must-Have Pet Products

Accessories for Your Dog(s) and Cat(s)

 

HiLo-FeederHelp 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

 

PLAYsnugglebedSnuggle 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

 

barkgenie

 

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

 

EarthbathCatShampoo

 

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

 

 

 

KyjenSloBowlMiniNow 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

 

OurPetsCorknip

 

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

 

 

StewartFreezeDriedFoodStewart® 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.

ABC’s 10 Tips on Choosing a Shelter Dog That’s Right for You

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog/Adopt a Dog Month

Shelter Dog

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.