Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thank Your Dog for Growling by Leah Roberts

Dobie's story

Dobie started growling at children while on walks. On a recommendation by his vet, his concerned owner brought him to see a trainer who followed traditional training methods. Here
she was taught to correct Dobie's growling by giving a short, quick yank on a choke collar and saying "No!" After a week or so of following this advice, she was very happy to see that
Dobie had stopped growling at children.

And then a while later, a child ran up to the dog while on a walk and reached out her hand to pet him. Because Dobie didn't growl, the child was not hesitant and the owner was not
concerned. Suddenly Dobie turned and bit the child's hand. His owner described this incident later as "It happened out of nowhere!"

Growling is a valuable warning signal

Did it really come out of nowhere? Not at all. Dobie's growling was a way of telling his owner, "I am afraid of these children who come by while we are on a walk." It was also his way of telling the children, "Please get away from me." For whatever reason, Dobie had begun to perceive children as a threat. Correcting his growling forced him to inhibit his warnings, but his feelings about children did not change. Therefore it was only a matter of time that some child would step over his fear threshhold, and without the warning growl Dobie's only way to cope was to escalate to a bite.

Correcting a growl, snarl, or even a lunge/snap is like putting a bandage on an infected wound. It will disguise the problem for a period of time, but not solve it - in fact, it will fester and get worse. Aggressive acts are simply reactions to a fearful stimulus. Like humans, when dogs become fearful they have the choice of fight or flight. Some dogs hide behind their owner's legs. Others act out in an aggressive manner.

When a warning display is inhibited and escape is not an option, the dog (or human) who feels helpless will shut down. Though Dobie appeared to be in no distress, one experienced in reading dog body language would have seen his signals. His head was down, his ears were tensely held close to his head, the whites were showing in his eyes, and his tail was held clamped down. Feeling cornered and with no way to express it, he panicked and bit the hand that he perceived as attacking him.

Not only does correction inhibit the dog's way of communicating his discomfort, the owner's tone and body language exacerbate it. To the dog, the child's approach not only makes him nervous, it causes his owner to tense up and yell. This is powerful confirmation to the dog whose owner is his whole world that his fears are well-founded.

Heal the cause, not the symptom

Fortunately, due to modern research in behavioral science, more humane and effective ways of dealing with aggressive acts have been developed. These methods are grounded in the use of
desensitization and counter conditioning. On the Clicker Train USA website, it states: "We want to counter condition our fearful dog to accept other dogs. By combining counter conditioning and desensitization we can accomplish that. We will start exposing our dog to other dogs at a very low level - in this case a far enough distance (that's the densensitization part). In addition, we will give the dog very tasty treats when he sees the other dogs (that's the counter conditioning part). Gradually, we can convince the dog that other dogs mean good treats."

Leslie McDevitt, MLA, CDBC, CPDT took this concept one step further when she developed the Look At That (LAT) game detailed in her book, "Control Unleashed." Previously counter
conditioning protocols required the dog to look away from the aversive stimuli (person or dog that frightened him). With this method, the dog is actually rewarded for looking AT the object
of fear. The result is that the dog starts to seek opportunities to look at, and even eventually approach, the object that used to cause him to growl, lunge, or snap. Instead of thinking, "uh oh, here comes something scary," his response changes to "oh yay, here comes something that makes GOOD things happen!"

Kellie Snider, MS, the Manager of Animal Behavior Programs at the SPCA of Texas, developed Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT) as her graduate thesis under the direction of behavior analyst Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, PhD. In this revolutionary treatment, the dog is rewarded for calm behavior by allowing him to increase his distance from the feared object. Since it's
very important that the dog be kept below his fear threshhold at all times, the procedure requires that the initial distance be easy for the dog to handle, therefore helping to increase his
feeling of safety when in the vicinity of the person or dog that frightens him.

On her website Kellie states, "In the CAT procedure we use the reinforcer the dog is already working for. It is usually distance from the aversive stimuli. In our treatment we provide
the outcome he wants only when he behaves in safe, friendly ways." As with the LAT method, there is an additional benefit that is not a result of procedures using corrections. "But a
funny thing happens in the treatment," she continues. "He learns to like other people and dogs."

Local Orlando area help

If your dog is displaying aggressive behavior, you need to see a trainer/behaviorist who is both a practitioner of dog-friendly methods based in modern behavioral science and also experienced with aggression issues.

If these issues aren't addressed, it could result in a human or other dog receiving a serious bite. One of our local behaviorists is Belinda DeLaby, CBC, CPDT, the owner of Canine Action, Inc. in Oviedo. Belinda has been training dogs for 15 years and has extensive experience dealing with aggression.

Other resources for finding a good trainer who has the necessary experience and education in modern methods for aggression issues can be found at the bottom of the page of the Helpful Links page of the Dog Willing website. These listings include Orlando area trainers and behaviorists, but also list international resources.

What can you do?

Meanwhile there are several important things that you, the owner, should do if your dog is displaying aggressive behaviors towards a human or other dog:

  1. If you suddenly come upon an aversive stimuli (something that makes your dog react aggressively), STAY CALM. He will be taking his cues from you. Keep breathing, keep your voice calm and cheerful, and take him out of the situation as quickly and nonchalantly as you can. If possible, don't put any tension on his leash - that tension travels right through him.
  2. Call your local experienced positive behaviorist as soon as possible and make an appointment for evaluation.
  3. Lastly, don't assume that just because your dog is displaying aggressive behaviors, you have an aggressive dog. He is not a bad dog, he is a dog with a problem that can very often be resolved with the right behavioral modification therapy.
By Leah Roberts
Orlando Dog Training and Behavior Examiner

Leah Roberts has been training pet dogs in the Central Florida area for the last eight years. She specializes in clicker training, socialization...

Prim - so Properly in a Loving Family - now Ruby

It's been over 6 months since we brought Ruby home, and things are going great. 

We just LOVE her. She's such a sweetheart. In the past month she has learned how to play with her toys - and sometimes she wants to play all day. 

She has such a fun personality and we're so happy she's a part of our family.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tucker: Loving the Best Life!

It's been a while since we've sent an update on our Tucker-man, so we thought we'd let Col. Potter know Tucker's doing just swell. He's been here in his furever home now for over 2.5 years, and we just don't know what we'd do without him. He and his Westie sister Zoe keep us entertained and busy!

Tucker has come a long way since that fall day we picked him up from his foster mom, Stacey. He still has some fears - we suppose he will always have, but he's a sweet, friendly little guy who loves his walks, trips to the pet store and most of all - Mommy's homemade treats. This boy LOVES to eat! Tucker's going to experience his first vacation in September when we take him and Zoe to the Smoky Mtns. We can't wait!

We'd like to thank Col. Potter once again for inspiring us to get involved in rescue. We are volunteers with Westie Rescue of TN and often have a foster Westie in our home, as we do right now. Tucker's been very accepting of the fosters, and he and Zoe have been a great help in showing the little rescues the ropes.

Were it not for Col. Potter we wouldn't have our precious Tucker and we wouldn't have found the joy we've found in rescue. There is nothing like seeing the gratitude in the eyes of a little rescue when you clean him up, give him a soft bed, good food, plenty of fresh, clean water and love. As you all know, rescue is hard work but it is SO rewarding.

Thank you to all the volunteers who give SO much of themselves so that little Cairns just like Tucker can live the good life just like Tucker is.

Patte & Family in TN

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Princess Leia is All Stars!

Dear wonderful Cairn folks,

This is my first post. I haven't written or had much time to read (thank you, economy!) so please forgive my lurkiness.

I'm posting because we celebrated a really big anniversary last Monday - the one year adoption of our Cairn delight, Princess Leia (was Bangles). I wish you could see me sitting here, all beaming and smiling, because this frightened little PM mommy has transformed into the most dearest, darlingest doggie, an absolute joy, such a snuggly bundle of affection and love that we can't imagine how we lived without her.

Bangles came into our lives on July 18, 2010 from the excellent foster home of Kitty K. She joined a Cairn brother, Wookie named for Chewbacca, so she became Princess Leia. Leia spent her first week hiding in my closet. She didn't have the strength to jump six inches, was terrified of that big wide green expanse we called a lawn, recoiled from our college-age children, and promptly lost her house training.
Leia rug.JPG
Fast forward one year. Leia not only jumps three feet high (four if we have treats), she and Wookie run around the house wrestling all over the place, especially the bed. She adores laps and asks all of the family members for a turn, including the young adults. Leia is a nighttime snugglepuss, in contrast to Wookie, who won't stay on the bed because we disturb his beauty sleep. We fenced in the yard, and it is her big playground and fortress - all potential invaders are soundly warned not to come further! Wookie, Leia and I go for daily walks, and she has plenty of energy and strength for our once-a-week 5 miler. She is very trainable because (no surprise) she LOVES treats. Our current training project is "not freaking out when people are at the front door" (a tough one!). And she blisses out riding around with Dad in the car.

I've (hopefully) attached pictures I took yesterday. Isn't Leia a doll? :)

Thank you for all of the work you do on behalf of Cairns everywhere. Thanks to you, all of our lives, Leia's especially, are immeasurably better than they were one year ago.

Back to lurkerdom,
Marcia McC

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today is Gilly's 11th birthday

Today is Gilly's 11th birthday.  I can't believe that I've had him for 11 years!  So far today he's not a happy boy......who gets groomed on their birthday he wants to know??  He still looks like a yak but a much neater one!  So then he got a Wagatha's treat (had to share with Chloe)--again not happy about the sharing part!  The poor little guy is under the dining room table safe from that grooming madwoman!  So I guess we'll have to have a special treat at dinner (salmon ought to do the trick!)  He's the one that helped me find that AOL cairn list 11 years ago...what to do with a cairn terrier puppy??!!  And I'm still learning!  Happy Birthday to my little guy!
Maureen A in NY
Gilly, I lubs my mommy
Chloe, I'm still a Princess but I can come up the steps now all by myself

Wacky Wednesday!

Wacky Wednesday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Loving Tribute to Edy da Sweetie

The entire Col. Potter family was saddened to learned that cairn imp "Edy da Sweetie what likes to bite tweeties" left for the Rainbow Bridge this weekend.

Here is what her grieving mother wrote:

The vets could not get her blood pressure up, and last night, she passed in her sleep.  Thank you all for your prayers. I know she's in heaven with Rest, Frankie and Old Ben. I'm sure Delli came to greet her  - she's not alone, but she's putting them all in order.

She met every male foster we ever had with a bite on his tweetie and a smack of her butt in his face. They knew who was in charge from minute one.  She's the one who scaled the 5 ft high brick wall to be with her mom. She and Miss Maggie ze Bichon were like salt and pepper - two mischievous girlys hard at play. I know Miss Mags will miss her.  Flynn will be lonely - Edy was the only one who could keep up - even run faster than he runs.

The reason she was president of the NGA was NOT because of tweetie biting - although that helped.
Long ago, one very snowy winter, a squirrel dared be on our deck. I opened the slider, she bolted out - after the squirrel, ducked UNDER THE DECK RAIL and went full speed off the end of my deck - it's like 5 ft in the air.... she landed about 3 ft out - thank goodness she landed on a huge snow pile.I could have killed her right then and there....

John woke up early and prayed that Edy could have peace. That's really all we wanted - life if possible, but peace as well.  She was only 10. It was in finding her, I found Col Potter - and more than 30 fosters made their way to new homes - with her 'training'.

Just last month, when we adopted Darby, we laughed at how Edy was the perfect cairn. Only she would back away from a groundhog cause her daddy told her to.  And she was perfect - an imp and scallywag - in every way but longevity.

Dont take your pets for granted - give them a hug. Edy was our second youngest and this came out of the blue.

Thanks for all your prayers, I know I have to accept this, its just very hard.
Corinne, John and Jack
Duncan Punkin (I miss my girly)
Miss Maggie (who will play with me now?)
Flynn (I lost my running pal)
& Darby (I want to be just like Edy)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No Jumping: A Positive Training Article by Victoria Stilwell

A great article and advice from Victoria Stillwell (It's Me or The Dog) on jumping when greeting visitors, etc.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Abbie and Gem Wish All a Happy Fourth of July!

Well, we weren't born free, but we sure are free now!
Happy and safe 4th of July to everyone at Col. Potter.
We are wondering if we'll get our teeth into a hamburger today!
Be careful with the fireworks!

Love, Abbie & Gem (Susan's girls)
Long Island, N.Y.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rook's Happy Ever After

Col Potter is an awesome organization and I wanted to share our happy ever after story with you. A year ago, we adopted Rook when she was 10 months old rom Col Potter. 

She is a wonderful, loving, playful, intelligent, sweet, beautiful dog. She is a joy and we love her dearly. You could not ask for a better little girl. She loves to play with stuffed or unstuffed soft toys and always has one in her mouth or near by and runs around the yard with a toy in her mouth. 

She also loves to go for walks and will happily step into her harness one paw at a time for the pleasure of going on an outing. She has excellent walking manners except when a squirrel races by or a bunny hops across the way or a bird dares to land nearby.

Rook became fast friends with Bilbo, our male Cairn who is over 13 years old. Bilbo tires easily and Rook's energy was unstoppable so we decided Rook would flourish with another playmate closer to her age. We adopted another female Cairn who was 6 months old and her Mom and Dad did not want her because she was a handful with boundless energy. Rook looks out for her fursibs and they play for hours on end. The girls wrestle with Bilbo like little pups with their Mom. They do play bows and jump over him and sit on their haunches and bat him in the face and he plays back. He is almost twice their size, but he is very gentle with them and lays on the floor and lets them climb all over him and gently mouths them pulling at their ears. The girls look out for Bilbo and let him nap when he is tired, but when it is dinner time, they wake him up. When it is time for a walk, they call him to get his leash on. It is so sweet.

Because Cairns are such wonderful dogs and bring such much joy into our home we went back to Col Potter and adopted Jaden (aka Spinach) an 8 month old female. Jaden has fit perfectly into our family. She is sweet and loving, beautiful, inquisitive and full of energy and gets into everything. She loves to explore. The dogs all get along fantastically. They play and wrestle together and chase each other around the yard. They also dig holes together. We are not sure what they are looking for, but the 4 dogs dig together so they must be smelling something in the dirt or they are trying to dig their way to China(LoL!!) Jaden loves nylabones and balls. She loves to throw the ball in the air and runs and chases it. The other furkids now play with the balls that had been laying dormant in the yard. I guess Jaden was taught what to do with a ball. When we go for our daily walk, Jaden walks side by side with Rook. At first Jaden was afraid of vehicles and noises, but with Rook at her side, Jaden is now enjoying the adventures we go on each day. Ron walks in front with the Rook and jaden and I wlak in back with Bilbo and Georgie and both Jaden and Rook look back to be sure we do not get lost.

Col Potter is a wonderful oganization that has helped so many Cairns. We want to thank the organization for bringing these wonderful dogs into our homes and enriching our lives. Each and every volunteer makes a huge difference in the life of a dog. God bless you all.

- DeAnne and Ron E

Zeus and Zoe: Cairn Playtime

Dr. Jon's 4 Tips to Keep Your Dog Calm During the Fireworks

From Dr. Jon's newsletter

It's 4th of July weekend and many cities and municipalities are having their fireworks displays.  The weekend will be filled with picnics and parties too.  All that excitement adds up to a lot of fun - but it also represents a lot of potential dangers for your dog.

The most common dog owner complaint during the 4th of July weekend is their dog's reaction to fireworks. The combination of loud noises and bright lights can scare dogs that don't normally have a history of noise phobias.
Some dogs will exhibit signs of fear that can include pacing, panting, trembling, salivating, trying to escape and/or barking. Many dogs will actually injure themselves when trying to escape. (I've even seen dogs that had been hit by a car trying to flee from noises.)

What can you do to help keep your dog calm during the fireworks? Here are some tips.
1. Don't take your dog to the fireworks. Make sure he or she is calm at home. Or stay home with your dog during the fireworks.  Keep your dog confined in a comfortable location if possible.
2. Don't try too hard to reassure your dog during a fearful event with petting, soothing words, or extra attention as this can sometimes exacerbate the problem by reinforcing your dog's fearful response.
3. Some dogs are very sensitive to peoples' moods, so they may be influenced by the way that you react to the noise. It is best to act happy and upbeat or to redirect your dog's attention to some absorbing activity.
4. If you must leave your dog alone, consider what would make your dog most comfortable. Bring your dog indoors.  Would your dog feel safest in a crate? Turn on the radio/television/fan/air conditioner as ("white noise"). Make sure you provide a comfortable hiding place or "safe place" in case your dog is scared during the fireworks.

Kiara Ann will be wearing her thundershirt and bandanna from the CP Mall. It's going to be a GREAT weekend!

Gabby's Summer Sprinkler Fun

Jaden's Wonderful Life

Here's a great update from Jaden's (fka Spinach) furever family:

Good morning - just wanted to share  with all that Jaden's  left ear is now standing straight up and she is looking gorgeous with her thick fur growing out. She looks very different, but still very striking with her  brindle  coloring sprinkled across her  wheaten colored face.

She is such a sweetheart and so smart and so good natured.   She learns tricks very quickly, in fact,  just by watching the others do it.  When I first wanted to teach her to 'sit pretty' (on the haunches with the front paws  bent  in a begging type position) , I had Bilbo do 'pretty' then  the other 2 girls did 'pretty' and  when I got to Jaden, she did 'pretty' without any coaching.  It was amazing!

The same with with teaching her how to  lay down and wait and all the other commands.  The others did the tricks first and she  copied and remembered.   When I get her alone she knows how to do all the tricks and loves to do them.

Of course. I give them treats for tricks and she is definitely a little piglet and will do anything for a treat or some love’n.   She loves to eat and loves to be patted and have her belly rubbed and ears scratched.   Jaden's favorite thing now is going for a walk.   When we ask the furkids if they want to go for a walk, Jaden is the first one to the mud room.  She  gets to the mud room where the leashes are kept and sits and waits for us to put her harness and leash on her.  We have all the dogs wait while we put the harnesses and leashed on each one in turn.  They wear their collars  all the time, but when we walk we put the harnesses on them. She and all the dogs  sit patiently waiting for us to open the exterior door and give the command to go through the open door.

We  are amazed by how quickly she has picked up all the commands and because she has such a strong desire to please, she obeys faster then anyone else.  She is a joy as is all the furkids.  The other furkids love Jaden and they play and play and play.  It is comical to see everyone zoomin’ across the yard with a stuffed toy in their mouths as if to say chase me, chase me, chase me and of course they chase each other up and down the yard and back and forth and wrestle.

Jaden and Ron now have a game.  He  squirts the hose and Jaden and Georgi try to catch the water in mid air.  They jump and snap at the flowing water.  We also put a little wash tub in the yard and all the dogs play in that.  Jaden splashes the water with her paw and then tries t catch the moving water.  She ends up drenched.  In the summer heat I am sure this keeps her cool.    Anyway, just wanted to share the fact that her ear is standing up straight and she looks  impressive.
Thanks again Col Potter for Jaden and Rook - two very special Cairns that have enriched our lives beyond words.

- DeAnne and Ron

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Very Real and Threatening Danger of Fire Ants!

I first saw this post on the Scratchings n Sniffings Blog.  The original posting is from an Alachua County resident and pet owner.  Alachua County is in Central Florida, near Gainesville, and less than two hours from Jacksonville/St. Augustine where I live. I know fire ants and I exterminate them as soon as I notice them. But they crop up pretty quickly and can be missed in grassier areas. I know that I hate them, but I did not know all that is described below. But as the Blogger writes thru her own tragedy, better to post in the hopes that it will prevent another.
We bring our pets to the vet and we listen and learn about ways to protect them from the outdoor and indoor dangers to pets. What to make sure to keep them from, plants that could make them sick or potentially kill them. The dangers of Fleas and Ticks and Worms…. Has your vet ever warned you about the dangers of FIRE ANTS? 
Until very recently I had no idea how vicious and dangerous FIRE ANTS were to our pets. I knew that they would bite and cause the pets to be very itchy and enough bites could make them feel sick however, I had no clue they KILL. Yes, I said KILL your PETS. I am writing to warn EVERYONE to keep a close eye on your dogs and cats that roam free outside. Even if only for a few minutes. 
Last night my daughter called me all upset because Fire Ants consumed her puppy. I rushed over and we brushed off what we thought was all of the ants. I sprayed the entire dogs area and around the house. When I went back inside Chaos looked very sick. I told my daughter he didn’t look good something was wrong. Chaos was just laying there in the corner of the couch. We assumed the bites made him sick to his stomach. Later after he became violently ill we knew there was more to the story. We called and found a pet rescue friend that met us half way and we worked on Chaos for an hour… I am going to tell you what we learned. TOO LATE for Chaos however, perhaps OUR story will save another. 
Fire Ants are vicious little creatures. They not only bite they sting and leave stingers. These stingers are full of poison (I didn’t know they were poison). Even though we got the ants off, they left these stingers and the poison inside the stingers kept injecting into Chaos little body. The lady showed us what we thought were dirt specks as he enjoyed rolling in the dirt after a bath were in fact Ant stingers. We rushed to get them all out. However, with all our efforts Chaos passed away. 
PLEASE watch your pets closely, if you see fire ant mounds in your yard destroy them right away. Fire Ants emit a chemical signal when they are in danger that alerts the other ants to attack. If your dog is attached IMMEDIATELY REMOVE him from the dangerous area and follow the instructions below:
1. Brush all the ants off the dog, remember to check his eyes, ears and mouth DO NOT USE A WATER HOSE this will make the ants bite down harder, be SURE to get the stingers out. 
2. Apply after-bite liquid or moisten a cotton ball with pure ammonia and dab onto the ant   bites to relieve itch
3. Mix baking soda and water into a paste and apply to the affected area(s) for 20 minutes;
4. Wash the ant bites with antibacterial soap for two minutes
5. Apply anti-itch cream or spray like Benadryl. 
6. Apply cold compresses to reduce itching and swelling

If your dog seems lethargic do not assume it is because he had just been through a lot… GET HIM TO A VET. Watch his gums… are they pink or are they turning white… Chaos gums where white as paper by the time we found a vet to see him.  The bites could have been too much for his body to handle. 
If you have done all the above and everything looks good just make sure to wash the bite areas with antibacterial soap a couple times a day, apply betadine to the bites, then anti itch spray  or cream. Then apply cool compresses to the area during these treatment times. Watch for infection. Staff is a common infection with these types of bites. If it is red, swelling and there is discharge… Visit your vet. 
Be sure to have all the above materials available at all times if you are a pet owner. Your immediate fire aid care is what will save your pets life. Always be cautious of ant mounds, especially after rain. Always have an emergency stash of at least $100-$150 for an emergency vet as they will refuse to see you without full payment.