Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
Before Andrew Richards decided he wanted to be a dog trainer, he worked in the construction industry. After being laid off, he had some time on his hands and decided to really think about what he truly wanted to do as a career. While contemplating what he would do next in life, he looked down at his dogs and decided then and there that he wanted to work with dogs. In Andrew’s own words, “It’s all about what will make a happy life and, for me, that’s dogs.” After deciding to do something in the animal industry, he began researching online and found Animal Behavior College. He enrolled in the Dog Obedience Program shortly thereafter and is now on track to graduate in the next few months. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Erica Rajski lives with her family in La Porte, Ind. She is currently completing her externship with Sue’s Small Stuff Dog Grooming in Mishawaka, Ind. where she has been grooming with Sue and her staff since April 2014. Despite the 45-mile drive and her busy full-time job and schedule, Erica is putting in hard work every Saturday at Sue’s and loves every minute of it. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– September 2014
Carolyn Chabot, or Carrie as she likes to go by, lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She just completed her externship for the Animal Behavior College Grooming Program at Hollywoof Grooming Parlor. The owner of Hollywoof Grooming Parlor, Mavis, loved having Carrie in the salon and even offered her a part-time grooming position there, which Carrie eagerly accepted. Continue reading
Products for Your Canine Companions
Unwanted barking can be stressful to owners and bothersome for neighbors. One solution to this dilemma is the First Alert Bark Genie Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent. When barking occurs, the device emits a high-pitched sound, stopping the barking within seconds. Effective up to 50-feet away, the device can be used both indoors and outdoors and can be mounted to a wall, fence, post or tree. It can be used with most breeds, and the level of sound sensitivity is adjustable to three levels based on the distance between the dog and the deterrent. www.firstalertforpets.com
The Orbee-Tuff® Diamond Plate Double-Tuff® with Treat Spot® from Planet Dog is made from doggie-durable, bouncy, buoyant and mint-scented Orbee-Tuff® material. Its asymmetrical “doubled” design makes for unpredictable bounces, which can add to a dog’s mental stimulation. The “diamond-plate” design is extra durable for even most aggressive chewers. And, the toy’s innovative design includes a uniquely reinforced Treat Spot that allows for interactive fun. The toy is available in three sizes and three colors, and like all toys made with the Orbee-Tuff compound, it is made in the USA, non-toxic, recyclable and 100 percent guaranteed. www.planetdog.com
ecoFlex InnPlace End Table Pet Crates from New Age Pet feature stainless-steel bars to prevent dogs from chewing and a removable table top for easy cleaning. The crates are made of moisture-resistant ecoFLEX material, making spills and accidents easy to wipe clean, and are backed by a 10-year manufacturer warranty. They are easy to assemble—no tools required—and are available in Chestnut and Espresso colors to match any home’s décor. www.newagepet.net
Do you get home too late for an evening’s game of fetch? Then you need to check out Petmate’s new Lightplay line of toys. The durable, high-visibility, glow-in-the-dark toys feature 3D print fabric and fast-charging Max Glow™ rubber that charges under a bright light in less than 10 minutes for up to 30 minutes of early morning or nighttime play. Available beginning Fall 2014, the line offers a glowing twist on nine of Chuckit!’s most popular dog play products including the Chuckit! Glow-in-the-Dark Launcher, which pairs with the durable Chuckit! Max Glow Ball; the Chuckit! Max Glow Kick Fetch available in two sizes; and the Chuckit! Max Glow Roller. www.petmate.com
P.L.A.Y.—Pet Lifestyle and You’s new Outdoor Bed Collection provides stylish comfort for your dog(s), while introducing an extra pop of color to your outdoor living area—e.g., deck, garden, gazebo or poolside. The collection’s TUV-certified, waterproof and UV-resistant fabric Is designed to prevent any water seepage and discoloration. The removable covers and inserts are machine washable and dryable. The beds are filled with P.L.A.Y.’s signature soft PlanetFill™ and are available in three colors. www.petplay.com
Your dog’s favorite plush toy just got cuter. Heggies are soft and cuddly hedgehogs dressed in classic character costumes. Featuring a grunting sound that drives dogs wild the toys are available in Farmer, Fisherman, Army, Chef, Winter and Super Heggie™ characters. And coming this October, Holiday Heggies will be available in Vampire, Frankenstein and Mummy costumes for Halloween, and Santa, Reindeer and Snowman for Christmas. www.petmate.com
Cat Products Galore
By Sandy Robins
If you are looking to spoil your kitty with fun new toys, beds and pet accessories, you’re in luck. I recently attended SuperZoo 2014, a pet industry tradeshow held annually in Las Vegas where manufacturers of everything pet show-off their wares to retailers from across the country and around the world. Below are just a few out of hundreds of the cat products that I found interesting. Most are available now for your favorite feline—and all will be available for gifting during the holidays.
Sleepypod has launched its self-titled carriers in a new limited-edition that features the fabulous Robin Egg blue (aka Tiffany blue). This stylish carrier has been crashed tested both in the United States and Australia and is made from ballistic nylon. The carrier converts into a bed when the dome is removed. Ideal for trips to the vet as scaredy-cats can be examined in the carrier if necessary, and perfect for cats who travel, as it can become a home away from home. www.sleepypod.com
Stylish new toys designed by celebrity Kathy Ireland include this patented Stretch and Chase© Mouse that will hone your kitty’s prey and pounce skills in the safe confines of the living room. Ireland’s new Loved Ones collection offers innovative and solution-based toys that will meet a variety of pet needs. The feline toys are filled with organic catnip to rev up the fun and ensure your cat gets plenty of exercise. www.worldwise.com
Motorola’s new Scout 66 camera means you can check in on what your cat is doing when you are in at work or traveling anywhere in the world. The camera operates via a free app that works with both Apple and Android phones and various tablets. It allows pet owners to talk to their cats through the camera and also play a selection of soothing music if their kitty is feeling anxious being home alone. The Scout 66 is available at PetSmart. www.motorola.com
While many cats are water phobic, it may be necessary to bathe them if they suffer from a sensitive, itchy skin. Earthbath’s new 2-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo is pH-balanced for feline skins and contains ultra-mild coconut-based cleaners, supple conditioners,and aloe vera to soften the coat and re-moisturize the skin. This new formulation also includes vitamins A, B, D and E and glycerin for added moisture retention in the skin. www.earthbath.com
No cat can ever have too much catnip. Yeowww! Catnip Cigars are stuffed with Yeowww! organic catnip, and are perfect for cats who like to grip and kick; they can be tossed in the air, too. The cigars are available individually and in a new special three-pack tin. The ideal gift for the cat who has everything. www.duckyworld.com
If you cat is obsessed with kneading your throw or getting herself super comfortable in your freshly washed laundry then she will appreciate the patent-pending Blanketed Pet Bed from The Plush Pet Company. This very clever design has a comfy throw sewn into the bed for kitty to nest and nestle and purr off to sleep. www.plushpecompany.com
People Foods for Dogs
By Audrey Pavia
Before the days of commercial dog food, dogs ate whatever they could catch, and whatever their humans were willing to share. With the development of the pet food industry, dogs now have their own special diets designed to provide them with all the nutrition they need to stay healthy. But that doesn’t mean your dog can’t enjoy—and even benefit from—certain types of people food.
Prior to even considering giving your dog foods typically enjoyed by humans, consider his weight and health. If your dog is overweight, it’s not a good idea to supplement his regular diet with anything that might contribute to his overall calorie intake. If your dog suffers from allergies and is on a special allergy diet, giving him human foods might aggravate his condition.
That said, the following foods are safe to give dogs as an occasional treat:
- Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, green beans and squash, either raw or cooked
- Cooked lean meats, such as chicken or turkey (without the skin or bones), beef or pork
- Fruit such as bananas, blueberries and apples
- Plain yogurt
It’s best not to give dogs simple carbohydrates such as bread or crackers because their systems are not designed to digest this type of food.
As long as your dog is not overweight, you can give him an occasional treat of eggs or cheese. Cook the eggs (scrambled is best) and serve in moderation. Avoid using oils or butter since these fats might upset his stomach. When giving cheese as a treat, select cheeses that are low in fat. String cheese is a particular favorite of dogs and can be easily broken up into small pieces as a training reward.
Some people-foods can be harmful to dogs because of chemical compounds they contain. Do not give the following to your dog:
Remember when giving your dog treats of people food to always use moderation. A few bites here and there are enough. Too much people food given all at once can make your dog sick and upset his nutritional balance.
Keep in mind that if you feed your dog while you are sitting at the table eating your own meal, you will create a beggar. If you’d rather not have your dog staring at you whenever you eat, place people food in his own dish when you are serving him his regular meal.
If you plan to use people food as a training treat, keep it in a plastic bag in your pocket, and offer it in moderation when your dog performs a behavior you’ve asked for. Cut the food in small pieces about the size of a dime so you don’t give him too much. This will help keep him from gaining weight or getting an upset stomach.
Remember when giving your dog people food, the choice of food item and the amount you give is most important. Always use moderation.
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.
Take Your Cat to the Vet Day
By Lisa King
August 22 is National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. There is no comparable day for dogs, so why is this annual reminder necessary? The answer is simple: Even though there are more pet cats than dogs in America, owners take their cats to the veterinarian about half as often as they take their dogs.
There are many reasons people are reluctant to take their cats to the vet regularly. Cats are seen as low-maintenance compared to dogs, and while this might be true overall, when it comes to medical care it is simply not the case. A cat should see his veterinarian once a year whether he has any symptoms or not. This applies even if yours is a young, sprightly, indoor-only cat.
Another problem for many cat owners is cost. Veterinarian visits aren’t cheap, but spending the money for a checkup annually can catch problems early, when they are easier to treat, thus saving you money in the long run.
Many owners resist taking their cats to the vet because it is so stressful for the cat. Cats are notoriously nervous about vet visits. Since most cats only get in their carriers and take car rides on vet day, no wonder they run and hide at the first sight of the carrier. The solution is to create positive associations with the carrier. Leave it out on the floor with the door open in a room your cat frequents. Line it with a comfy blanket and occasionally put a few treats, toys or a sprinkling of catnip inside. Your cat will come to see it as just another piece of furniture, and might even take naps inside. You can also put him in the carrier and take him on short drives that don’t end up at the vet’s office.
Another good reason for yearly exams is so your vet can get to know your cat, which will make it easier for her to diagnose what’s wrong with him if he develops symptoms. Establishing a good relationship with a vet also makes it easier for you to trust her judgment in matters of treatment.
Once you’ve gotten your cat to the vet, a vet tech will first weigh him. Then comes the indignity of having his temperature taken with a rectal thermometer. The veterinarian will do a thorough check of your cat’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth and teeth, looking for inflammation, discharge and other problems. She will listen to your cat’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope. She will also examine his paws, genitals and anus, and comb through his fur looking for evidence of fleas. Next, she will gently examine your cat’s body, looking for bumps, swelling or other abnormalities. If this is your cat’s first visit to a particular vet, she might want to do blood work to establish baseline values to compare against later tests.
Talk to your vet about flea control, deworming and dental care. The handling of these issues will depend on your individual cat’s circumstances. Vaccinations are another topic to discuss with your vet. While rabies shots area regulated by law, most other vaccinations are given at the owner’s discretion. Some vaccinations are recommended to be given annually, but increasingly vets are waiting three years between shots. Work out a plan that both you and your vet can live with. Don’t hesitate to ask questions; your vet can also offer advice and guidance regarding diet, behavior problems or any other concerns you have.
As your cat ages into his senior years, he should visit the vet more often and be checked for arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems, thyroid issues, heart disease and other conditions common in older cats. If you’ve been assiduous about regular checkups with a trusted vet when your cat was young, you’ll be in good hands if you have to face a serious illness.
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.”
Reasons for Aggression in Dogs
By Stacy Mantle
The stories show up in the news nearly every day—someone was attacked by her dog, another dog was attacked by a dog or a child was bitten by a dog. The public begins to think that all dogs are vicious, trainers look at the ways they could have been avoided and animal lovers rise to the defense of the animal.
More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, according to the American Veterinary Association of America (AVMA). Considering there are 70 million dogs in the USA, these stats show we need to do more on all levels; from educating the public on how to work with animals to teaching children how to recognize dogs’ body language and signals.
Under most circumstances, bite cases can be summarized into three categories:
- A lack of veterinary care for dogs suffering from a medical condition
- Children who have not been taught to read animal behavior
- Multi-dog households with owners who are not trained in working with multiple pets
Pet aggression can stem from a variety of causes. These are the more common reasons for aggression in dogs. Once you understand the causes, you can start learning the solutions.
One of the most common causes of aggression in pets is a result of the dog being in pain. Since associative learning is a dog’s most important way of learning, it can result in long-term damage to the dog and the owners. The most obvious solution is to have the dog medically evaluated.
If you have more than one dog in your home, you are five times more likely to be bitten than a home with only one dog. This is largely due to owners reaching in to break up fights between dogs. This is a problem that can only be solved by educating owners on how to live within a multi-pet household. Fortunately, there are many good sites that focus solely on this problem, and plenty of material that you can share with family members.
Side Effects from Medication
There are hundreds of medical conditions that can stimulate biting behavior in pets. In many cases, pets have sustained damage before they were even brought them into a home. But more commonly, aggression can be caused by side effects from prescription medications. Check with your veterinarian and pharmacy to learn which types of medications are most likely to encourage aggressive behavior.
Just as screaming or striking out at someone who surprised you would be considered a perfectly normal response, dogs react with the same instinctual response. Since children are fond of “sneaking up” on a pet, this is one more reason why most bites occur in kids. Threatening a dog, negative training methods or lack of socialization can cause a pet to react in fear.
From 2010 to 2012, there were 359,223 reported bites in children. 57 percent of these children were between the ages of 5 to 9. Sixty-six percent of these injuries were to children 4 years and younger. This is just one more reason it’s so important to teach children how to understand dogs at a very young age or keep them separated from dogs until they can learn how to read them. There are many child-friendly books, diagrams and infographics that are free to download and available from a variety of sources. Simply search on “Body language of dogs” and print one out. It’s free and it could save a child or a pet’s life.
Behavioral aggression can include everything from resource guarding to frustration aggression. Dogs are naturally territorial and if your pet perceives you as the cause of a resource being withheld, you could be at risk for a bite. This is one more reason it’s so important to socialize and train pets. Dogs learn by association and once they have successfully used a negative reaction (biting) to obtain results they want (food or a toy), they will begin to do it more often. Dogs learn by association, which is why it’s so important to integrate positive training approaches.
There is a lot of controversy about breeds that bite. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is rampant on a global level, particularly in regards to the “bully breeds.” While it’s true that many bites occur from bully breeds, the facts are rather skewed. Often, a smaller dog’s bite is not reported because of the minor damage smaller dogs inflict. However, a large-breed bite is nearly always reported due to a larger bite radius and therefore increased damage. Bully breeds tend to get most of the blame due to selective breeding in the world of dog-fighting. It’s important to remember that there is no “inherently vicious” breed of dog. There are only dogs who have been bred, trained or taught to become vicious.
Education is the key to preventing dog bites. By training yourself, your children and your friends who have pets on how to interact with animals, you will be helping to decrease the number of bites and the number of animals who enter the system and are destroyed.
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
ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – August 2014
Stephanie “Sarah” Trujillo, ABCDT
Recent ABC Graduate Sarah Trujillo, lives in Kingsburg, Calif.. She is now the Director of Second Chance Animal Shelter of Selma and also owns her own dog training company called K9 Solutions. While at the shelter, Sarah oversees the operations of the shelter, evaluates dogs and educates the public on animal behavior. Dog training was not her first career choice. Before she became a student at Animal Behavior College, Tania was studying Computer Science and Math, as well as working in the accounting office at the college she was attending. While in the Dog Obedience Program, Sarah said one of the biggest challenges she had to face was overcoming self-doubt. The way she overcame it was to think about why she chose training dogs, and to remember the joy that working with dogs gives her.
What prompted you to become a dog trainer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
In 2012, I started feeling complacent in my daily routine and felt I needed to do something to change it up. I have always loved working with animals, so I chose to look for a local animal shelter in my area; little did I know there was a shelter in a nearby city that was 15 minutes from me. I was very excited to help at this small shelter in Selma, Calif. After only a few months, I was helping manage the volunteers, coordinate events and assisting with adoptions. I started working closely with the city police department that oversaw the operations of the shelter. Sometimes I would be asked if dogs were adoptable or not. In having to make these tough decisions, I felt I needed to expand my knowledge in this area—not only to help understand dogs better, but to be able to educate others about their pets so they can avoid having to resort to an animal shelter.
Describe one pet story that touched you the most during your volunteer hours. Do you plan on continuing your volunteer work?
While working on my Students Saving Lives volunteer hours, I worked with a German Shepard mix named Rocky. He was brought into the shelter due to inadequate housing. He was found in a yard tied to a tree with no shelter, food, or water. He had no manners around people and would jump to greet. My goal was to teach him how to greet people and walk in a mannerly fashion.
Rocky was successful with these new concepts and they proved helpful to his overall adoption-appeal. His adopters said his well-mannered behavior was one of the most significant reasons why they chose him as a new family member.
Because I’ve witnessed how effective basic training is, I continue to volunteer at Second Chance Animal Shelter of Selma and with other rescue groups in need. The feeling of helping others and cultivating adoptability is one of the greatest.
How did you hear about the ABC program and what convinced you to become certified?
Knowing that working with animals is a great passion of mine, my husband informed me of the ABC program after seeing an advertisement on TV. When I called, I was given more information about the Dog Obedience Program as well as the Continuing Education Programs. The one that caught my attention was “Training Shelter Dogs.” They also told me about the Students Saving Lives Program, where we donate a minimum of 10 hours at a local shelter prior to graduating. My whole reason for becoming a trainer was to help shelter animals. I knew this was the school for me, a school that promoted saving lives.
What are your plans for dog training? Do you want specialize in particular type of training (e.g., aggression, PTSD, therapy or guide dogs) or in training a particular breed of dog? Please describe.
I plan to continue to grow my business here in Kingsburg, Calif., and show owners the joy that comes along with being a pet parent and how smart their dog really is. I want to do therapy and service dog training with a focus on former shelter dogs.
What will be the secret to your success in the pet industry as a dog trainer?
The secret to my success is working with the intention of giving back to others. Dogs can give so much to their owners, and being able to bridge the communication between dog and owner is the key to creating a successful relationship between the two.
ABC Veterinary Assistant Program
Student of the Month
Sinead McMahon Stuessy
Sinead lives in Oceanside, Calif., where she enjoys being a full-time mom. She was watching TV when she heard about Animal Behavior College and its Veterinary Assistant Program, and decided to visit the website. Since childhood, Sinead has had a deep love for animals and credits her mom for it. She chose to become certified because she knew it would give her a competitive edge when looking for a position as a veterinary assistant.
What was/is the biggest challenge you faced during your externship and how did you overcome it?
So far, my biggest challenge has been working with military working dogs. They are mostly German Shepherds and I had an extremely bad experience with one a few years ago. I overcome my fear by showing up everyday to work with those dogs, by practicing safe handling and remembering to breathe.
Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.
Everyday has been fun and filled with smiles. Two of the Camp Pendleton Veterinary Treatment Facility’s office staff, who are from the East Coast, were getting really excited about a store that is similar to a 7-11, only better, they said. I’ve never seen someone get so excited about something like that.
What has been your most rewarding moment during your externship?
My most rewarding moment involved working with the Army veterinarians. They do things a little different but they included me in just about everything.
What has your experience been like in the ABC Veterinary Assistant Program?
My experience with ABC has been very rewarding. Everyone, including those at my externship location, has been very kind.
What skills do you want to master during the next 12 months?
I would like to be able to improve on reading chemistries such as blood work and urinalysis. I would also love to master the anatomy of common animals, especially horses.
What are your future career plans?
I want to work with large animals, especially horses. I would also like to continue my education and pursue becoming an RVT.
If you could work with any exotic animal, what would it be and why?
Wolves; I want to learn more about them. I’ve always loved wolves, I’m fascinated by them.