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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Slobber Stopper prototype one and two

The card  that came with the original Slobber Stopper
  

Slobber Stoppers


I have to admit that this is not a product I would have sought out and may never even have heard of if it were not for all the controversy surrounding it on face book, particularly on the Newfoundland page.

  Ah face book, the who’s who of praise, petty, witty, joyous, angered, and jokester people of the new social world!   Everyone’s opinion is heard and counts on Face Book! Upon Face Book is a new democracy! 


 This product had so much controversy that it was the cause for the start of a Change.org  petition which you can see here:  Link



Upon my first glance at the slobber stopper that was posted on Face Book I thought it was part of a costume, after all, Halloween had just recently loomed around us and the picture I saw of this gadget made  it look like a cow costume which covered the Newfoundland’s face.  As I read further down the posts I realized that all those posting were appalled that such a contraption be placed over a Newfie’s face as it looked like a muzzle. Of course we all hear the horror stories of large breed dangerous dogs and the laws against them and many thought that putting this on their Newfoundland Dog and taking them out in public would stir up the public’s fear of the dog or the breed. I would agree that something like this particular design might frighten people but I wondered what people would have thought if the material rather than the drab color shown on the picture were bright and cheerful or if the material made the dog look like it was smiling. Would the same reaction come from the general public or would they too think it was part of a costume design?  I have to say that my Newfoundlands, having been mascots and therapy dogs, no matter what I put on them, no one could resist stopping to pet them. In fact my black Newfs with the huge jowls and dreamy eyes seem to go against the public opinion poll that dogs with black faces are more frightening than those with tan or white faces.  Even people who are normally afraid of dogs were not afraid of my big slobbery Newfs. Was it only because they were cute or because they were well trained? Who knows, they got attention and loved it and that is all that mattered!    

As someone who is on a team that aids animals in a disaster my thought was that if this was a muzzle it looked to be a better fitting one  than one I have ever seen in a Vet office.  All of my Newfs can get the vet office muzzle off if they wanted too, so as a responder aiding a possible injured animal this looked like mighty  nice muzzle for my protection and all the better if the dog could still eat and drink as it claimed.   We all know that even the gentlest of dogs when wounded will bite if it hurts enough.      

So, I found myself on the product maker’s Face Book page which you can see at this Link.  to learn what all the hoopla was about and still found many angered Dog owners as well as the product maker, also a Newf owner, trying to defend himself.   I posted some of my honest thoughts on uses for this product because I don’t want to go by a picture alone basing my end all opinion. The maker of the product in turn stated he would send me a few to examine.   I was sent three different products as I suspect there were either size difference which to me did not appear to be or   I was sent three so that if I liked them then I would be able to change them throughout the day.   Through the Thanksgiving holiday I really did not have the time to experiment, but afterward I had and was about to  go to post on the topic when the maker  contacted me and asked that I hold off as through the holiday he had been redesigning them and would send me a new prototype. So I complied to see what the new product would look like.   
Thus is why you are all here I am sure! J        

When it comes to my Newf’s drool, especially with them out in the public as therapy dogs or mascots for long periods of time I would go through at least 5 to 6 thick terry hand towels and as each became wet I would hang it somewhere to dry to reuse if needed. It was not unusual for me to take a small suitcase of towels for a four or five hour outing in public.  Of course these towels were also used to dry their faces after a drink of water. I do have the terry cloth bibs which are cute but they did not last long for what I was doing in public.  


Examining the Original product:  

Here’s what I found

When I got the original package in the mail there were three slobber stoppers
The material is indeed extremely lightweight. In fact it is more of a forgiving material than that of the thunder shirt which I have tried it the past.  The stretchy material reminded me of what parents put on their children when they take them to the beach or pool area so that the kids do not get sunburned, possibly even lighter since it is only made to cover a small area.


The inside material (Hemp-Bamboo) the “diaper” that goes under the mouth near the jowls was a very soft material that I have seen in soft lightweight blankets made for children during  my years as an early education.

The seams of the product were sewn together well also.

The Second improved product:

As stated a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving I was sent a new prototype. This Slobber Stopper had material that was not as forgiving. The band that went around the nose while not as wide as the original seemed to be made of covered elastic about a ½ inch wide. The part that went around the head /ear part was not material but a snap/hitch similar to a snap collar.

The diaper part seemed a bit thicker but it was hard to tell because of the elastic that went around the nose.   

The Human Testing:

Yes, yes I know that human muscles and dog muscles are somewhat different as are their breathing habits and cooling habits However sparing you the gory details, please know that I tested this product on myself first in a variety of places on my body. Places where I would hold in heat, where I would breathe and where there would be folds of skin!  I also kept this product on myself for as long as the maker of the product says he keeps it on his dog  which if I remember correctly might have been about 3 hours at a time. 


First let me state that I DO NOT test anything on my dogs before testing it on myself as it pertains to being on their body for any length of time. 



TESTING THE DOGS

After the satisfaction that I suffered no bodily damage when I placed this product on myself for a couple of hours, such as no cuts, bruising, or other distresses, I next tested it on the dogs. I had no intention of leaving it on them for hours at a time though; this was just a test of function. The testing was to see if they could indeed eat, drink, and breath fine without restrictions as the product claims. I also wanted to see how easy it was to get on and off as well as the dog’s reaction to wearing it. Of course like any new product where covering the nose is concerned, and I am thinking of the Halti or gentle leader,  many dogs don't care for things being placed over their face so you would want to pick a dog who does not mind such stuff or you would need to train the dog to adjust to its use. I did not see any such training instructions in the package sent to me with this product, but it is still in the patent stage.  However the card that came in the packages stated that the dog can do everything it would normally do if it were not wearing the slobber stopper.


    Two Newfs

The two Newfs tested were father and son. The father being a happy go lucky fella but one whom if bothered by something would let you know. The son being a retired therapy dog who is used too many things being placed on him and whose demeanor is more calm and forgiving.

  There was no problem putting it on the son, he did not squirm and did not try to take it off or paw at it as I was placing it on him. Getting the ears through the ear holes of the product was a bit difficult due to the size of the product and the dog’s head.  The father on the other hand protested greatly, though his head was smaller so it was easier to get on.  Granted, there was a brief time when the father finally chilled out with this on him, but it did not last very long and I could not see him keeping him in this for hours at a time. In fact, I could see if he were not properly trained and supervised to wear it he could easily have gotten the nose or mouthpiece stuck over his bottom jaw while trying to paw it off  causing him to get hurt. I also worried about the material having such elasticity to it, if a dog was struggling to get this off,  could it become twisted enough to cut off circulation around the snout? He struggled so that I do believe that if left to his own devices it would have been possible for him  to get into trouble.

The Fit

Product One

I placed at least three fingers in every part of this item to see how much space was allotted such as in the head area, the snout, the mouth, and the ears. There were parts that were very constricting. For example the part that goes around the head, where the company slogan is, was very tight. The places around the ears were also very tight especially on the son who has a very large head. How this would feel if he were suffering an ear ache I can only imagine.  

Product two
The same two dogs were tested.
The second improved  Slobber Stopper I was sent did not fit at all. The band around the nose was extremely tight and I could not get the collar type part around either of dog's head/neck area.  As well the snap came off of its holder/collar part.

   

Eating and Drinking :

Product one
Yes, they could both eat and drink, however eating a biscuit seemed to give them difficulty. It seemed that they could not maneuver their mouths correctly to properly chew the pieces of a large biscuit which is something they would always get in this house so that was concerning. The restriction of mouth movement can be seen in the video and in the pictures.

Although they each got biscuits I also gave the son a small bit of dog kibble in his dish. I did not want to give the normal amount of kibble because getting food from a pile is much easier then when the dog gets to the bottom of the dish and food is lying flat and sticking to the bowl.  The son ate the food without incident. What I could see happening though is that the more he ate the more the muzzle strap started to fold over and I wondered if over time would it completely roll causing that one area to have more of a constricting force, much like when one wears socks that are too tight and they leave behind that red indent around the leg eventually cutting off some circulation.

Product two
was never tested for eating or drinking as it did not fit so a fair comparison could be made.


Drinking: 

Product One
Yes they could drink but it was not the normal way they would lap something up, but they could get water. So again it came back to the concerns of restriction of mouth’s ability to move freely.  Also after a drink, the son’s “diaper” area of the mouth was soaked. The father with the smaller jowls did not have this same wetness.

 Product two
again not tested because of fitting


The product Pros and Cons

Pros: product one and two:

I could not find any pros for this product for its intended use.


Cons:

Product one:
The chewing of food was a big concern as was the food that was left behind on the mouth part of the diaper itself. Because Newfs drool when they eat or chew, it is only fitting that everything else on their face will also be wet.  A dog’s mouth carries with it much bacteria so I had to ask myself would this wetness and food cause skin irritation or ulceration? I think it might. 
    If you notice in the video (below) where the father only ate the biscuits, the chunk left behind on the mouthpiece could have very well caused some minor irritation if the dog’s owner was not diligent in taking this off after the dog ate anything. If this biscuit had been something harder such as a bone fragment or piece of a Greenie teeth cleaning product and the dog rested its face on it  over time I could see a small cut or wound developing and becoming a bacterial infection.

Product Two

 Product two was too much like a regular muzzle, It was constricting over both dog’s faces even though the father has a significantly smaller face.  The collar part did not go around either dog’s neck to snap together.  

Sizing Issues:

Dogs that drool are a special breed among themselves and come in such a variety of sizes from the head, to the muzzle, to the ears that getting a proper fit did not seem to be considered here with either product one or two.
   

Concerns:

1)  This product if worn enough on a daily basis I fear could mask a health problem that Newfoundland dogs are prone to called megaesophagus. As you can see by my video after my dogs ate anything there was constant mouth movement as if something were caught in the jowls. Megaesophagus  is where there is decrease in mobility of the esophagus. These are the muscular movements or contractions of the esophagus which sends food down to the stomach. With this disease the dog has difficulty sending the food to the stomach which then results in regurgitation. If this happens and the dog is ill fitted with a slobber stopper then you have to worry that the dog will try to swallow its regurgitation or end up aspirating on some of the food that was regurgitated.
      After watching my video and the way my dog’s mouth movements were during and after eating, over time would an uneducated owner of the breed then just become used to seeing the dog’s mouth move in such a way because of the product and not notice that there might be an actual disease in the making?

This also leads me to ask what about the dog who just has an occasional stomach virus and regurgitates. Would this product prevent everything from coming out as it should? I don’t think at this point I want to find out.
  

2) I also had to wonder about dogs with white or tan fur such as Saint Bernard’s or Landseer Newfs. When a dog has  allergies it licks its paws constantly, the dog’s saliva then turns the fur a rust color. Will this then happen around the mouth area of a dog wearing this product if its saliva is in constant contact with the fur?  I have black dogs so I will never know.    

3) Neck pain from cervical disc may also be a contributing factor of pain when this product is worn because of the tightness around the back of the ears down to the jaw. A dog that suffers IVDD of the cervical area would have a hard time moving the head normally, but with either Slobber Stopper (product 1 or 2) in my opinion it could be even more painful.  Both of my dogs do have neck issues so I was very aware of that through the trial but again would a owner not knowledgeable of the breed  know this?  

There are further areas of concern that I am sure can be added by people who show dogs so feel free to leave your post below, but please keep it clean and to the point you are making (in other words minus any vulgar langue or cheap shots ) or it will not be approved by me for posting. I believe we can all make a point in a dignified manner so that others can understand.

Additionally:

 I have to be honest and tell you that it was only after I tested this product, wrote this article, and uploaded my video did I see the other 6 movies that the maker of this product put on youtube. Up until this time I had only seen one video that were all stills which you can view here. Link          

Also when I finally did view the 6 videos from the product maker I did not see any of his dog eating or drinking nor was there any playing with toys so I am not sure how a claim that a dog can do anything it normally would do if they were not wearing the Slobber Stopper can be made.   This latest acknowledgement makes the product even more disturbing as to how well it was tested.

 The product needs much work in my opinion and it is suggested that if the maker is going to continue, that he work with several Vets on the design. I would want to see Vets that deal in specific neurological conditions, as well as long time breeders, and people in a show ring setting. 
It is also suggested that even with some assistance from all of the above the product will get the same reaction as it is getting now.

In conclusion after much testing on not only myself, but on my dogs, this is not a product I would stand behind. This is not a product I would use or suggest be used for the reasons stated above.  

I consider myself a fair person when I rate dog products, I put all the uproar from others behind me and look at the product as it was made and for its intended use, but I have to give the Slobber Stopper four paws down.


After the product maker read my blog he blasted me for not showing video of the second prototype he sent me which is indeed very different than the first, possibly a worse production. This creator does not take criticism very well and will delete any post on his page he does not like.  however I was lucky enough to see on his face book page how unhappy he was because I showed the older version of his creation. To be fair I made a shorter video of his newer version which you can see at this  link   

More input and a super idea!

Input from a Newf owner on how to train your dog not to slobber. Training a dog properly with a cue is always better in my mind.  The more I read this post by Lana the more it made sense to me because when we try to teach young Special Needs children who have no control over knowing when to swallow, we teach them pretty much the way Lana taught her Newf and then give a verbal cue that they should try to swallow.   I have taught my dogs human sign language so this idea of a cue is not so far fetched, you just need patience! Thanks Lana!


By Lana Tauben from Newfs on Face book
 Carol, it's very simple & I think I've shared it before, if not here then maybe on NN. Kodi is my third Newf I've taught to stay dry & I do know the "duck cover and weave" method too, LOL. The simplest way to teach it is for you to try it on your self. Take your index finger & touch the under side of your chin. Now slide finger back to where your neck starts & push in gently. You will get the urge to swallow & that is exactly what you do with your dog. As soon as he swallows say swallow so he learns it as a command & praise highly when he swallows & treat. As he learns the verbal command add a sign such as touching under your chin each time you give the command. Again highly praise & reward each time they swallow. I do keep towels around for wiping right after a drink or the occasional slips. Kodi will be two in Feb. & he very seldom drools & then its outside playing or wrestling with my friends three Newfs. It took 3 days to teach a rescue Newf I had 30 yrs ago but he was 3 yrs old & very neglected & no training to speak of





The newer Slobber Stopper
I was never able to test this as there
was no give to the snap collar


Steeler, the son with the larger head

Steeler eating some biscuit, notice the pucker
of mouth as he tries to chew

In this pick Steeler is trying to get his biscuit
leftovers

The diaper part of  Slobber Stopper after eating biscuits

The Father with the smaller head and jowls




Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bag -o- recalls! So far for October 2012

October 14, 2012

Nature's Recipe Biscuits : information and lot dates on the FDA site below


Contact:
Consumer:
800-237-3856

Media:
Chrissy Trampedach
Del Monte Foods
Chrissy.trampedach@delmonte.com
415-247-3268

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm323823.htm?source=govdelivery

And in case you missed this one..

October 5 2012 


Natures Deli Chicken Jerky treats


And this one....

03050
Dogsbutter RUC with Flax PB
16 oz  






Friday, October 5, 2012

~ Lickety Stick ~ Crack Cocaine for Dogs




I was recently working at a donation booth at a local fair and in return for one’s donation there was some cool stuff to choose from. One new item I found for donation this year was the Lickety Stik by Petsafe.  This product is packaged like human roll on deodorant but is filled with different gravy type mixtures. It comes in the flavors, smoky bacon, braised liver, and savory chicken. I chose the chicken.

When I returned home I did a search online for the going price per package and found that it can run from $4.99 (on sale) to $7.00 normal cost, or you can buy a three pack for around $17.00. The net volume is 1.69 or 50 ML fluid ounces. It claims to have at least 500 licks per bottle but I doubted I’d be standing around counting the licks!
 I tried a bottle with my four Newfoundland’s  which at times  can be a tough crowd.  One day they like something and the next not so much or one likes it but the other three turn their nose up at it.   I always put my dogs through the testing of most dog products I take interest in, partially because I am crazy enough to do so and write about it!  


  A week after the taste test on my dogs   I also brought a bottle of Likety Stik to the Susquehanna Trail Dog Training Club.   Of course when you think about sharing a product like this you do have to worry about passing viruses so it is always a good idea to get the owner’s permission before you try shoving it into their dog’s face. I happened to have brought a new bottle with me to test on another victim dog in the club.


On this night it was my pleasure to work with a lovely Golden Retriever named Cagney.  I thought it would be nice to take Cagney off his owner’s hands so she could run her dog groups.  Cagney it seems only has eyes for mom so it was a daunting task to for the first 20 minutes to have him pay full attention to me and while he obeyed his commands; his sight remained on his mom. This is typical Golden Retriever behavior but with a twist of OCD! However, I can understand this since Cagney is always with his owner and like every young Golden, Cagney still feels he is a puppy.  That should change when he reaches the ripe old age of five!  Maybe!  At this point of working with Cagney I had not yet introduced the Lickety Stik to him.


 With Cagney somewhat reluctant to take his mind off of his mom, I took him to a back hallway and worked him out of mom’s sight which helped a little, but when he thought we were heading back toward the doorway to mom he was ready to bolt.  I was hopeful that if I sat on the bench in the hallway and relaxed it would settle him a bit. But like any dog that misses his mom there was some whining and the famous move, “if I roll over onto my back then fully around to my stomach again so that the leash is wrapped around me maybe she’ll let me go!”  He tried the rollover twice but it did not work for him so he tried the ‘let me grab and pull at the leash’ move.  About this time I am thinking of the kids I work with who throw a little tantrum to get what they want and I imagine Cagney is looking at me as some of the children do, like that mean old teacher who does not move and does not give in!
           Finally when nothing worked for him he sat next to me and though not totally relaxed the tantrums were over, the trying to bolt was over and on occasion he lay down for a brief few seconds!  This folks, is indeed success!


      My objective was to get him back into the gym in a calmer state where he could watch his mom without whining, pulling, or jumping.  We did a few step, step, heels, and step, step, sits as we slowly approached the open gym door where mom and his other dogie playmates were.

Through the door I saw Marjean, a fellow trainer, standing right near the Likety Stik.

“Psst.” I said. “Psst, Marjean?”  I said again. But Marjean was engaged in conversation with another dog owner and not really looking my way.
 “MARJEAN!”  Okay that worked. Can you grab the Lickety Stik for me?”
Marjean promptly brought it over. “Thanks M!”

Step, step, heel. Step, step, sit. We are getting closer to the gym door now and Cagney knows it! I did a couple of about turns and more step, step, sits.  Then a quick step, step, heel, and as we were just about to go through the gym door enter the Lickey stik!  Step, step, heel, step, step, heel, step, step, sit and lick!

Whoa! Suddenly not all of Cagney’s attention was on his mom! Finally! After 45 minutes to an hour of working, panting, and drinking from the sink, Cagney had met his other desire!  And so we entered the gym together, slowly at first and in a heel near the wall. For the remaining hour Cagney, although still keeping one eye on his mom, was alright sitting next to me and then eventually went into a down stay command and kept one eye on me and one on mom. Each time his mom got close to us while she worked with other dogs Cagney’s ears perked but he stayed in place and that deserved a lick of the Lickety Stik!   


When you watch the video of the  Lickety Stik introduction to my Newfoundland’s  you will see why I titled this blog ‘crack cocaine for dogs’. They loved it so much they dared to follow me in places they ordinarily would not! They were hooked!
The video of their taste test is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmBUCXkxk-0




My view on this product:

Pros:

 I like the fact that I did not have to carry and struggle with a bunch of treats spilling out of a treat bag which can take the dog’s attention off of me.

I like the fact that my hands don’t smell like hot dogs which is what I frequently use as a reward.

I like the fact that this can easily go into my front pocket and be at the ready to reward the dog after the marker.

I like the fact that it is only 1 calorie per ten licks.

I like the fact that so far five out of five dogs like it.

Cons:

The cap:  I would like to see a smaller cap that fits into your back pocket easily or maybe a flip top cap.

The pricing: Looking online at the pricing I think it is over priced.  I personally have a hard time spending 3.59 for roll on deodorant (which explains that mid life hot flash body odor) and I am sure the Lickety Stik gravy mixture is not that costly to produce. Maybe the company’s message is that since it does contain 500 licks it balances out to what you would spend on a few bags of treats. To me, it is gravy in a stick and probably cheap to make so I suspect the actual packaging is the real cost for the company. I don’t see it being steadily purchased at near 7 dollars a bottle on a regular basis.  

The Ball: When you first use the Lickety Stik the gravy does a good job of flowing to the ball top, but after a few licks from a dog and when it is not in use for a day it seems the ball gets stuck for the next time you want to use it, so at times you might have to get it started. Have a napkin handy.   

What I would like to see with this product:

A lower price
A smaller cap or flip cap
A Lickety Stik ~Stick (attachment stick). An extended arm if you will for training small dogs as these low grounded dogs can do a number on a bad back! Many times for smaller dogs as reward I might use a long wooden spoon with peanut butter on it so the reward can be given instantly and without bending!  

Overall I would give the product four paws up. Like anything that is good a few tweaks can make it even better!
Until next time, Happy Training!



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Avoderm Pet food recall

Yes folks here we are again. I guess this will be the way it is for  life as it pertains to pet foods and human foods that are not grown, processed and made in your own home!

Here are the details

product /code sku  1000065074     UPC code 0 5290702043 8

size 26 pound   Product  AvoDerm Nautral Lamb and Meal and Brown rice Adult dog formula

Best if used by Aug 28, 2013 ~ Aug 29,2013 Aug 30 2013

Keep your eyes open for illness due to Salmonella. Wash your hands after touching any dog food because hey, ya never know!

For full details you can go to the site below picture


Friday, August 24, 2012

Bill Jac Dog Food Recall

Bill Jack is doing a voluntary recall of food due to  possible contamination to mold.  Voluntary recall at this point pertains to  a Adult Select Formula in a  six pound package.
Lot code 1792-02 with a best sold by date of  Dec  27 2012
 

Currently they are testing for mold toxins.  

If you use this food don't throw away the bag, seal it and save it for possible testing. you can call their CS as well to find out more on the food you use. 
Bil-Jac Foods
3337 Medina Road
Medina, Ohio 44256
Phone: (800) 321-1002
Fax: (330) 722-7999
 official site for contact  http://www.bil-jac.com/contact.php
 

You can visit this site to report any pet food complaints http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Are you a sucker giving to the Animal Humane Societies?

 Note: Though they look pretty pathetic, no animals were harmed in the making of this blog article! 


Back in the year 1997 my father started  his many battles with different illnesses which proved too much for his body to take.   The song playing on the radio during this time of my life was “In the Arms of an Angel” by Sarah McLachlan. Granted I could only hear the chorus but that was all I needed to hear! Though I know who the song was originally for, to me like millions of others, this song always carried a special meaning with it.

You don’t hear this song being played as much on the radio  anymore, but a couple of years ago while as I was drifting off into slumber with the TV playing softly in the background I heard that unmistakable tune again.  My eyes popped open and I glanced at the TV.  There she was, Sarah McLachlan singing my heartfelt song! There must be some special meaning behind this, I thought. Wait, she’s singing to a commercial about abused animals!   I continued to watch the commercial as it tugged at my heart strings with each adorable sad faced animal that was shown.  I watched a deformed dog try to make its way across a floor, crying as he fell down, then a cat with an eye missing flashed across the screen and I saw numerous other puppies and kittens sad faced behind cold metal caged doors.  I believe I even shed a tear or two!

Then Sarah started to speak, telling me and millions of others to please help the abused animals as a toll free number flashed across the screen. Sarah went on, “For just $18.00 a month, or 60 cents a day, you’ll help rescue an animal from its abuser and you will provide medical care, food, shelter, and love. Call or join online in the next thirty minutes and you will receive this welcome kit with a photo of an animal in a shelter right now. One who has been given a second chance thanks to you.”
  Then the Angel song continued as I watched more sad faces of dogs and cats pleading to me with helpless expressions. Occasionally a shelter worker gave a gentle pat or a kiss to these poor animals that needed my help.

Sarah came back on screen and as she stroked a Labrador Retriever sitting on the couch beside her she said, “Right now there’s an animal here that needs you, your call says I’m here to help. Please call right now.” And again the toll free number flashed across the screen.

 Whaaaaa! I cried! As if the song’s reminder of my father’s death was not enough to upset me!   Now I have to associate it with animals being abused by humans that only I and a billion others in the world can help by giving a mere $18.00 a month!



    
Well as sad as it is to hear and as sad as it is to watch, many of these “Help the abused Animals” organizations really do very little to help the animals in your shelters.  Of the money you and billions of others are sucked into donating through these heart wrenching commercials only about one to three percent of that money goes to animal shelters and these shelters may not even be in your town or your state!  Most of the money goes to grants and lobbying and much goes to employee pension funds. Organizations like the Humane Society of the US are 501c3, meaning non profit, and while I don’t mind non profit organizations making money, I just want them to be upfront and honest with what they are using it for. After all, it is our hard earned dollars they are taking. Don’t put up pathetic commercials and posters making me and the rest of the general public think all of the money we give is going to help these abused animals. 

I’m all for passing laws to protect animals and I am sure most would agree, however what I don’t want is someone taking my money to lobby for their ideals and not be honest about it. If I’m giving dollars I want a piece of my own ideals in those lobby laws. Not all that is represented in these laws is what the general public who are donating  might be concerned about.

 So if you are such an organization and you are doing the right thing then represent what you are doing honestly. Don’t mislead the public. Put what you are lobbying for in the commercial and let us make a decision based on that. Don’t put a dog with three legs or a dog missing an eye in a commercial to play on our sympathy, but if you are going to do that, then state: only 1 % of what you donate will go to help these animals!  

 Hey, my Cocker Spaniel Cody had his eye removed but not because I abused him, because he had glaucoma!  I suppose you could have used his picture for an animal abuse commercial! See the problem here? If you are not openly stating what the bigger part of your mission is, how are we to trust that those animals in the commercials were actually abused?

    Also, no offense but I don’t even have a pension plan, why do I want to contribute my money to the CEO of the HSUS for his pension? What was it that Wayne Pacelle’s total compensation was in the year 2010, something like 287,000? Did you know you were donating your money to him? I didn't.  I’d just assume give my money to Betty White, at least she entertains me!

So it’s time to stop being suckered in for a free tee shirt, a wrist band, or some free address labels and demand that  your money go to what you believe you are putting it toward. 

There was nothing in this * commercial   which told me that only 1 % to 3% of my money was actually going to help abused animals,  what percentage was going toward lobbying, what was going for specific research and what was going toward the CEO’s pension plan!

Go ahead and sound off, no profanity please, but before you do, enjoy the little video below!

 Thank you Nancy for sending this to me! 
Spoof video on HSUS here: Fantastic laugh! The only thing missing is a one eyed lawyer! 



My Cocker Spaniel, missing
one eye from glaucoma.
 Though not normally
in a crate he was helping with a
drill for our LOCAL County
Animal Response Team. Where
the money you donate stays in
your county!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

“Leave It” What Does It Really Mean?


"Hello, my name is Steeler and I am
 a food~aholic."
"I first got addicted to food  as a pup" 


"I will watch the food for now, as told to.
But watch the video to see what happens" .


video





As a Therapy Dog Evaluator and a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator part of the testing requires that your dog obey a “Leave It” command.  For this portion of the test a yummy treat, usually human food, is dropped to the ground in plain sight of the dog. The dog is then walked over the food with a leave it command in place. If the dog struggles to get the food, or seemingly can’t take an eye off of the food, like he is fixated on it, the dog may fail the test.  Previous to 2012 the dog would only have to walk around the food in a close proximity but the rules have changed and the dog must now walk over the food.  (for therapy dog testing) Many owners will practice training the dog to leave the food alone in order to pass the test, but is that enough? And is training the dog to walk over the food really teaching him what leave it means?

  Recently I  had some questions asked of me regarding a problem dog.The owner wanted to know how they could stop one of their dogs from tormenting another family dog and how could they stop the dog from barking at other dogs while on a walk.

My suggestion was to teach and use the leave it command so trouble could be averted before it even started.  This means the dog must know what this command means and that it has more of a meaning than to only ‘step over that piece of food so you can pass the test' and here's why; 
What if the dog has no interest in food? Surely he will walk right over it and not bother it, does that mean he has learned what leave it means or is he just not interested in it? What if the dog is toy motivated would he be able to leave a toy alone when told to do so? There are so many variations and it is important when you teach this command that you teach it for everything the dog may love or encounter which includes chasing birds, squirrels, horses, cars, and kids on bikes.

I have to admit that when I was training my Newfoundlands who are food hounds to leave the food on the ground alone so they would pass the therapy test, I had not really given much thought to teaching them to leave everything alone that I asked them too. Somewhere along the line in my anticipation to have them be Therapy dogs I thought that leave it would mean to not delight in that muffin on a patient's hospital tray because let's face it their mouths could easily grasp a muffin off  even the highest of trays in a hospital setting with one swipe of a tongue!   I did not take into account the full magical and various uses of what the leave it command had!  I did indeed have to learn this the hard way.


The 'leave it'  command does not just mean to leave that treat on the ground alone, it means "leave everything you have your mind on at this time alone and put your focus on  me"  

As stated above, it could be that the treat on the ground you are asking the dog to leave alone is what he desires at the time, but if he does not desire the treat you will have a dog that pays no attention to it. This confuses many who believe because their dog did not look at the treat that the dog has a good solid leave it command, but really the dog simply does not desire it at that time.   The dogs that are real food hounds and desire the treat will be the ones that pull to get it or keep their eye on it until you've walked around the treat three or four times and gotten the message through to them that they cannot have it.  If you have a dog that is extremely toy motivated then you would put the toy in front of the dog and ask the dog to leave it which might be a better test for a non food motivated dog.   

Below are examples of me learning the hard way of what the leave it command really should mean and why it is important to teach this in many different situations.

Steeler, my third Newfoundland to be tested for Therapy dog work had learned very well to leave the treat on the floor alone even though he is a food hound. This means that he knew what the command leave it meant right?

Wrong! Really, really, really, wrong!

 One fresh spring day I thought it would be nice to take Steeler for a walk through town for continued socialization. I had no idea that he was suddenly going to turn into Cujo on a stick when a motorcycle turned the corner and Steeler stood staunchly at the end of the lead as the motorcycle came up the street.  So at that instant what Steeler truly desired was to go after the motorcycle and clearly leave it to him did not mean anything other than to leave that piece of food on the ground alone!

I could see a great amount of work still needed to be done! Granted I should have known better than to feel comfortable  exposing  Steeler in such a manner because he  did not grow up in my home rather he was brought back to me at the age of 3 years, so I did not have any idea what his triggers might be.  This may be a lesson learned for future shelter dog adoptions, tread slowly when exposing the dog to new things.

To get Steeler to understand that leave it means "leave everything you have your mind on at this time alone and focus on me " I had to work a little harder, first at home so he was in a non distracting place and with different items. Then gradually I had to build up to more distracting places. When I thought we were ready I then had to put him in that circumstance of the busy street again only this time  I had to up the reward ante from hot dog to chicken pieces, so that hopefully his reward was a greater than the reward of chasing the motorcycle or other loud vehicle. Since he is food motivated I purposely did not feed him beforehand as I wanted him to be really, really, hungry. After all, if a 175 pound dog wants to chase a motorcycle there is very little one can do to stop it short of tethering him to a steel pole!


 Once a dog truly learns what the leave it command means you do not need to lug a fully cooked chicken around in your pocket, however, I always suggest that when you are going into new situations of which you are not sure of, that you have a special backup treat handy! This I learned after the next experience I had with Steeler which was at one of Pennsylvania’s largest fairs. We were working at our County Animal Response Team’s booth, which is stationed in front of the horse barn and right near the road that leads to the grandstand where the hot rods and horses race around a track.  As our volunteers stood there giving the patrons information on our organization and with Steeler greeting people as our mascot, there suddenly came a line of horse and buggies trotting up the street next to us to go to the track.  I had no idea that a horse would be something Steeler would take great interest in!  Hubby had Steeler on lead greeting patrons while I talked to potential volunteers and customers and suddenly Steeler broke lose from hubby and came nose to nose with one of the horses! I am told since I missed the whole dramatic scene play out, that both Steeler and the horse stood nose to nose for a brief few seconds before hubby finally grabbed a hold of Steeler's lead and brought him back to the CART trailer. I don’t know what would have happened had more time passed before Steeler’s leash was grabbed, but I did not want to find out at such a public event!

  Knowing the horses would have to make their way past us again to return to the barn, I sent hubby off to buy a few hot dogs from one of the food vendors. As the horses came by I had Steeler on lead and I held that hot dog in my hand so that he could continuously nibble on it as the horses trotted by all the while repeating the command leave it until they passed.  

Days later when the horses came by again along with the loud hot rod cars to follow later in the day, we all knew better, and anyone that had Steeler’s lead used the ‘Leave it’ command as soon as they saw the horses or cars coming up the road and continued to say the command until they passed our booth just to be sure Steeler understood what we wanted. Over the week’s time we were successful with Steeler understanding the leave it command and in the end his reward was nothing more than an ordinary peanut butter biscuit.  Success!


It is up to us as the owner to scour the situation as to what our dogs may desire at a specific time and use the command before that situation is right upon us.  If we wait too long to use the command the dog's mind might already have  moved too far forward  and it may not be possible to get the attention  back.  I say this because we are ordinary people and we train our dogs as ordinary people would. We are not training our dogs for something like police work or guide dogs where every command is vital to the team. However for those of you who do go above and beyond I salute you for a job well done!

 So if you know that a squirrel, a bird, a bike, or another dog  is going to get your dog moving and pulling try these few steps in training before putting the dog in the situation.

1) Make sure the dog is hungry.

2) Take your chicken & go out to the yard and hold the food in front of the dog letting him nibble it all the while saying ‘leave it’ as he eyes the squirrel. (I would make this a treat  that the dog only gets when he obeys this command so it has more meaning to him) 

3) Keep it brief to start, seconds to minutes then take the dog back in the house. Gradually you will build up the time you spend outside.
By doing it slowly you are setting the dog up for success not failure. If the dog fails at something too many times, eventually it means nothing to them. There is no praise, no reward, so why forgo the fun of chasing that squirrel because if they can catch it, then they have succeeded in rewarding themselves!    

4) Always give a release when you think the object is okay to get. So if you put the food or a toy on the ground, and the dog obeys the command of leaving it, then give a release command that tells the dog it is now okay to have it.
 If you don't give a release, such as in the instance where Steeler wanted that motorcycle, the dog should understand to stay in place, leave the object alone and wait for the next command. 
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself picking the item up and putting it in the dog’s mouth with a release as sometimes they learn so well not to touch it they forget about the item they wanted as Steeler demonstrated in the above video!

Until next time happy training!   







Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dog Food Recall 7 -12 -2012

Nature's variety has issued a nation wide recall for the below products due to what they say is an "off Odor"    What that means is anyone's guess! Though they claim there is no contamination but that some of the foods are not staying fresh for it's shelf life.  

The products impacted are listed below:
• UPC# 7 69949 60420 4 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 5 lb
• UPC# 7 69949 60425 9 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 15 lb
• UPC# 7 69949 60430 3 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 30 lb• UPC# 7 69949 60432 7 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 3 oz sample
No other Nature's Variety products are affected.

any questions you can call them at 888 519-7397

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ba~~~ Boom~~**! Celebrating July 4th





One does not have to be a connoisseur of dogs to know the havoc brought upon a dog by the July 4th celebrations of a town’s display of pride or the back yard fire cracker celebrations where little Johnny blows off his finger because playing with matches is just not good enough for him!  Heck, you only have to be a friend of a dog owner to hear the horror stories that are brought about during this celebratory day for millions of dog owners. 

Sad to say that the questions will be coming in fast and furious when Fido’s mom has just realized that her peaceful neighborhood of 20 years has been invaded by new youth and her Fido is shaking severely in the bathtub because her street is suddenly lit up like the pomp and circumstance of a graduation march with sparkers, screams, claps, and the boom of the back yard, illegal fireworks festivities! (quite the mouthful huh?)
    

How do you get your dog through this?

Many would tell you to get the dog prepared beforehand by playing videos or recordings before the dreaded day and gradually make them louder and louder as you go about your normal business in the home. This is great if you did not procrastinate trying this or you were not caught in its direct path like the lady in the above scenario.  

First and foremost keep the dog safe! And I do not consider leaving the dog in a locked car during festivities safe, just sayin’.  If you are not sure how your dog will react to a firecracker never let them out alone, grab a leash and walk ‘em, even if it’s your own back yard!  I had a neighbor whose dog ran off when a firecracker was shot off two doors down from her. The dog was lost for several days and it was an old dog that needed daily care. Thankfully someone found the dog and the dog was returned home safe and sound.

If your dog is like my Steeler boy, he knows how to open the windows and jump out. Be sure all your windows and doors are locked and secure, then call me to remind me to do the same! (I’m so forgetful these days!) 


Medications:

 1) Don’t wait until 5 PM the day of the celebrations  to seek out a prescription from your vet for tranquilizers.  When you give a dog a new drug you want to make sure you know how the dog will react to it. Will there be an allergic reaction that will send you and Fido to the Emergency room?  Also In many cases meds need to be given an hour before you are expecting the mental trauma of noise to begin.

2) Okay so you didn’t give the above recommendation the forethought needed, no fear, you can pick up something at your local drug store. Benadryl allergy  will for the most part make Fido drowsy so that can help. (WARNING! DO NOT use the Benadryl allergy/ sinus!)  You can find information on dosing and precautions here.  http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/diphenhydramine-benadryl/page1.aspx

3) The second over the counter medication you can try is melatonin and this can be given up to three times a day, but of course you want to read dosing, and precautions from the site below.   I have had great success with this during thunderstorms, so with my brood and size of dogs I order this by the bucket full!  Puritans Pride usually has great sales on this!

4) Another option that works for some (but it never did for me) is Rescue Remedy which can be found at health stores. I tried this product years ago at my sister’s suggestion and found that I had a hard time getting enough of the spray into the dog’s mouth so there was  no affect and the product was expensive. Not to mention most of the spray seemed to end up in my eyes as I looked closely at the dog’s mouth to insure it got in there!  Ugh, Dork! You can by drops to put in the dog’s water but if your dog doesn’t drink, well then it is useless as well.  As per the site below it has not been tested for safety and side effects. However I will give you this information so you can make your own informed decision. Every dog is different.

Let us remember that what works on humans does not always work or is not always safe for dogs.
**Never give any over the counter meds without first consulting your Vet please!**

Thunder Shirt/Anxiety Wrap
I certainly can’t dismiss this one as many have had great success with it and as I said every dog is different so why not give it a try. If it does not work the company will take it back and you get a refund, but order it now so it comes in time for the big day!   You can read my recent post on this product here. http://2ndchance-caninecapers.blogspot.com/2011/09/thundershirts-for-dogs-do-they-work.html

DAP (dog appeasing pheromones ) diffuser  or collar

A lot of people swear that this also works though I have not tried it myself. This is a scent that mimics the scent of a mother dog when nursing her pups. I guess depending on how old the dog is will determine how well it works. If your dog has dementia and cannot remember the nursing stage it may do nothing to calm it!  Of course anything is worth a try. You can find these at your Vet office.
NOTE: I did take a Face Book poll with some of my dog owner friends, (and we all know how very reliable a Face Book poll is!)  1 out of 11 people thought it worked, 2 said it did not work for them, and 8 had never tried it. That’s it! The poll is now closed due to time constraints! More on DAP products here:  http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/dog-appeasing-pheromone-dap-canine-appeasing-pheromone-apaisine/page1.aspx

Turn up the volume!
 If you can stand it, turn up the volume to the TV to lessen the outside noise, the dog will likely still hear the boom but it may not be as intimidating.  Turn on the loudest fans you have as a white noise as well. Thank you Annette B for reminding me of this! Generally I tell people to use a floor fan when dealing with crying puppies, but I did not think about this other use!

Cotton in the ears, the dog’s ears of course!
Putting a wad of cotton in the ears may also help lessen the noise factor.


Make a Den
Some dogs only find solace in a darkened corner or closet, there’s nothing wrong with this to get them through the night. However, you do not want to coddle the dog who is scared as this reinforces that scared behavior and each time it will get worse, sometimes to the point where all loud noises become a problem.  Tossing a mind stimulating toy into the den may be helpful as the dog might concentrate on that. Something like a kong stuffed with cream cheese.


Work/play with the dog during the noise

If the dog is only slightly bothered by the noise start building up the confidence now through training and this can come in the form of fun such as  hide and seek or identifying objects. By doing this the dog has to use its mind, keep focused, and is rewarded through play. This will also help the dog to associate the noise with something fun happening. 

Last but not least  

And last but not least, if all else fails, remind your significant other  that if he/she really loved you, they would take the dog out for a long, long, fun car ride for a couple of hours until it is all over!

 What? No good?

Okay, okay, forget the significant other idea, best to punish the kids the day before the festivities for some reason only known to you, and then tell them in order for them to be un-grounded they must take Fido out for the night!   


Until next time, snap, crackle, pop and happy training!