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N2Paws Newsletter -- September/October 2008
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Back to School

I hope everyone had a good summer with Labor Day weekend being the passage into autumn. And speaking of labor, our animal companions are our labor of love ?. One of the best things we can do for them is to provide an ample amount of exercise or activity. Now that the 2-legged kids are back to school, it would be a great time to sign our animals up for a class. If your dog already knows several cues, like sit, down or stay, then you might want to consider trying something new. If you want an aerobic workout, try agility (if you and your dog are physically fit – it can be hard on joints and ligaments, so it is recommended if there are no previous injuries). If you want a light workout, try tracking. That is something fun for your dog and uses her natural abilities and allows you to both enjoy nature. If you want a low impact activity, try Rally-O. It is a “light” form of obedience, starting out on leash and following signs to perform tasks. If you want to attend a class where you can just hang out with your dog (or cat) and learn to relax and deepen your bond, try a TTouch™ workshop or Animal Yoga class (Doga for dogs & Meowoga for cats). There are many ways to have fun as the autumn leaves begin to turn and before the snow falls.

Toy Safety for our Animal Companions

It is very important that our animal companions have a rich environment; one of entertaining stimulus and variety. If they have a boring or meager environment, you will inevitably see problem behaviors occur. That is why it is highly recommended to avoid crating animals for long periods and it is also why a multitude of behavior issues arise with birds (because they are caged continuously – a very unnatural setting for their species). When selecting toys - bright, colorful, different textures and sounds, can provide variety. Use caution with all toys (and chews), and monitor your animal with them. You will get to know your animal and learn which type of toys they prefer and at what rate they wear them down or destroy them.

Some toys are vulnerable to small pieces being bitten off causing gastrointestinal obstruction. Cotton stuffing and tennis balls are often surgically removed from dogs’ stomachs and yarn or tinsel has been removed from cats’ intestines. There are many tragic stories where toys have caused serious damage or fatalities: bells being caught on beaks, or balls (with a hole in one end) being suctioned around a tongue. A recent story is being circulated on the internet (with video), where a dog got a Four Paws Pimple Ball stuck on his tongue; by the time he got to emergency care the ball had cut off enough circulation that the tongue had to be amputated and he now has to be hand fed and hand watered.

Bully sticks are a fabulous treat for your voracious chewer, a great behavior modification tool, and a healthy alternative to rawhides; however, they must be monitored and taken away when they get chewed down to a small size, to avoid your dog choking on them.

The moral of this story is to provide a plentiful environment for your animal companion, but always, always, always, provide supervision with toys and chew treats. For periods where you cannot be with them, make sure they have a comfortable spot for napping, water available, a radio or TV if desired, and a couple of safe toys – something that is too large to swallow or won’t come apart. There are several toys available that dispense treats to keep your dog, cat, or bird entertained. When you say Ciao, they can chow too.

In honor of those who recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge:

Sammy – a Golden with a heart of gold
Ralphie – a feeble but feisty terrier
Gracie – a Bagel (beagle/basset mix), with her own grace & style
Caution – a Chihuahua mix with spunk & spark
Corwin – a strong & resilient soul

Just for Fun (Tip & Quote of the Month):

Training Tip:
If your dog has mastered, “sit”, “down” and “stay”, that’s great. Two other very important cues to teach your canine companion are “come” and “leave it”. Those two cues could save your dog’s life. If you are ever faced with your dog running toward something dangerous or something dangerous running toward your dog, it is imperative that he respond to “come”. If you are on a walk and your dog is about to put his mouth on some unknown substance or a dead animal, then it is important to his health that he responds to “leave it”. It is easy to teach these two cues. The best way is to start at home, inside, where there are few distractions and work on the cue until your dog has mastered it, then move on to some place with moderate distractions until he masters it, and so on. You always want to use positive reinforcement. If he is not responding, then pause for a moment and wait until you can get his attention and ask for the cue again. You want to set him up for success. You never want to punish or use a harsh voice, or you will reinforce him not wanting to come to you. With “leave it”; be sure to use a very special treat because you want to offer something that is far more rewarding than the object you want him to ignore.

Quote
"I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.” - Abraham Lincoln

"I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” - Will Rogers

Astrological Signs for September/October:

Virgo: I’m innocent like the virgin. How else could I be? I’ve been spayed/neutered. I would make a good service dog or cat. Take me to local nursing homes.
Libra: Play with the ball, play with the squeaky toy? Go in the litter box upstairs or the litter box downstairs? Decisions, decisions!!!

Feature Companion for this issue: Wolfie

You really don’t need to know yoga to participate in Doga (yoga for dogs), and neither does your dog. It is a venture into relaxation and balance, allowing you and your dog to experience new postures. Your dog can be young or old, rowdy or shy, or big or small. All sizes, shapes and personalities have participated. A good example of exploring the possibilities was with Wolfie, a 17 year old Chihuahua, with good mobility but limited flexibility. Each week he tried different postures and learned a bit more about his ability to balance. And no matter how small or what limitations, there are ways to get your dog engaged. Check out Wolfie doing an upward paw pose using a Kleenex box.

Feature Adoptable Companion for this issue: Fenris

Fenris is a one-year-old playful, smart and loyal silver male weighing 65 lbs. Fenris has been to obedience school and will obey many hand commands. He is housetrained and rings a bell when he needs to go outside and barks to be let back in. He loves to be around the family and will sleep on the floor next to his people. Still having a lot of puppy in him, he is high energy and loves to run and loves his toys. He walks well on a lead. He is great with other dogs, children of all ages and cats. He does not like to be crated and can get out of any type of crate. You may check out Fenris or any of his peers at Heartland Weimaraner Rescue www.heartlandweimrescue.org, whose mission is to find forever homes for these blue/grey beauties. N2paws offers discounted services to transition Fenris to his new home. Heartland Weim Rescue will be at the Wag & Wash on September 27th at Zona Rosa.

Upcoming Events for N2paws & other fun stuff

September 13 - Oct 4 - Doga, Mission, KS
September 20 - Paws in the Park, English Landing, Parkville, MO (9am - 1:30pm)
September 27 - Strutt w/your Mutt, Brookside, MO (10-2pm)
September 27 - Wag & Wash, Zona Rosa Shopping Center (12-4pm)
October 12 - TTouch for Dogs workshop, Belton, MO
October 19 - Dogtoberfest, Lake Jacomo/Fleming Park, MO

Announcements

There are many ways to reward your dog for good behavior or as part of a training exercise. You may use treats, a special toy, or praise. If you are training something new and using treats, it is important to use a “high value” treat (something you only give when training that is especially yummy). It is best to use a high quality “high value” treat as well, one that is a great protein source and preferable grain-free. N2paws has used and recommended non-refrigerated, freeze-dried liver and jerky treats for their ease of use and palatability. There are also several other highly nutritious and easy to use treat varieties available.


  • To learn more about high quality treat varieties and sizes, contact pat@n2paws.com or 816-522-7005. Many organic choices are also available. N2paws offers fun training tips and exercises as well. Contact pat@n2paws.com or 816-522-7005 to find out about classes.

  • If you find yourself facing the loss of a furry or feathered companion, N2paws offers techniques that help ease the transition for you and your companion.

    If you would like to learn more about TTouch, you may contact N2paws by email: pat@n2paws.com or 816-522-7005, for a private session, group workshop or a public speaking engagement for your club or organization. Also, visit our website www.n2paws.com, for interesting links and current workshop schedule.

    You may contact Pat for any questions:

    Email: pat@n2paws.com
    Phone: 816-522-7005