Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I hope y'all are doin' well. I had to pop up and tell yous about sumthin' pretty nifty that Ms. Lynn just told me about.
She tells me that today is the last day of the old year and tomorrow starts a brand new one. Now, that didn't seem like nuthin' special really until she taught me dis song I gets to sing.
Sees, I guess there is some kind of traydition that says I gets to sing dis here song and forgets all those folks that done me wrong and ended me up in Doggie Jail! Who ever it was that chained me to that tree that left those callouses on my neck, whoever it was that didn't give me that penny candy that would have kept dem dere worms out of my heart and even the fella that loaded me up with buckshot - they all gets forgotten tonight and I gets to start fresh tomorrow.
So to all the doggies here and throughout the world that found demselves in dire straits but now found 'em a new friend or two or even a Yankee to look after them, please grabs up your banjo or your saw or just yer purty singin voice and join in:
May Old Bad Conscience Be Fergot
And Never Come to Mind
May Old Bad Conscience Be Fergot
And Chew Da Old Dang Sign!
Good bye and good riddance all you bad people - I's home now!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
We are looking to follow potential adopters through the adoption process of one of these dogs as a way of educating viewers of everything that goes into a person's commitment to this breed. Ideally you are seriously considering and willing to adopt a pitbull, however we will also accept those who are simply exploring the possibilities of adopting.
Must be in Southern California or willing to travel to Los Angeles. Filming will take place January through March. Please forward to any dog-loving friends!
If interested, please email email@example.com
Sunday, November 16, 2008
There are many benefits to spaying a female dog. First, semi-annual heat cycles or "seasons" are non-existent. A spayed female does not discharge blood or mucous. With hormones regulated, a spayed female is not prone to"wanderlust" or the desire to seek out a mate. Spayed females cannot get ovarian or uterine cancers since their ovaries and uterus are removed. Uterine cancer and pyometra (pus-filled uterus) are life-threatening conditions. Sterilizing a female dog prior to her first heat cycle virtually eliminates the possibility of mammary cancer later in life.
Neutering a male dog is a simple procedure wherein the testicles are removed through a small incision. While neutering a dog results in an obvious physical change, the procedure is less invasive than spaying a female. Neutered dogs don't have reproduction on their minds which results in a less-aggressive, more devoted family companion. Neutered males aren't excited by a female in heat and are less prone to "wanderlust." An intact male that cannot get to a female in heat leads a frustrating existence. Neutered dogs can't get testicular cancer. Finally, perianal tumors (lumps on and around the anus) are more commonly seen with intact males.
Myths abound on the topic of sterilization. Many believe spay/neutering will render a dog fat and lazy. The reality is, too much food and too little exercise result in an overweight dog, and people, too. Some folks have a litter because their friends want a dog "just like Princess." The reality is, when it's time to take the Princess replica home, most friends aren't committed. Witnessing the birth seems to top some lists for having a litter. The reality is, most dogs will hide and don't want to be bothered during the birthing process. And finally, some say, "it's just one litter." The reality is, unless every puppy in the litter is sterilized, there will be future litters at a compounding rate.
The single most important benefit of sterilizing our pets is that they will not contribute to the supply of companion animals. If we choose to add to the supply, we must take responsibility for the pets we create and their offspring and all future generations. Responsibility doesn't end when the cute puppy or kitten is adopted or sold. When we create a life, we have a responsibility to it until it ceases to exist. If we don't accept this, we are adding to the death toll of companion animals. If we choose to spay and neuter our pets, our responsibility ends with our pets.
PBRC has financial assistance available for pit bull owners and rescuers. Please fill out an application:
Low cost and/or free spay and neuter programs:
Thursday, November 6, 2008
BUY ONE POSTER, GET A SECOND POSTER 1/2 OFF!
Total cost for 2 posters - $147.50
(includes shipping)Makes a wonderful gift for
Lab, Boxer, Golden, Pit Bull or dog lovers!
Proceeds benefit PBRC.
Must order 2 posters. Offer ends midnight November 9!
Click here to ORDER NOW!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I love watching dogs play. The dogs of MNDDC are varied in breed, but the ones at the playdate today were predominantly herding breeds. It is fascinating to me to watch how dogs learn, how each handler works his or her dog, and to see the relationship between dogs and people in action. Dogs think differently, they move differently, and the subtle nuances that their owners must watch for, cue from, and train with, are sometimes barely perceptible but ever present. The experienced handlers see these things. The very experienced handlers can see these things, and teach others to see them. Building motivation and enthusiasm for the game are key to the sport as much as the physical aspect of it.
Among the non-herding dogs playing today was Wallace. If you haven't met or seen Wallace in action, I encourage you to go to his website. His story is truly amazing, and he is lucky to have been taken in by Clara and Roo. This dog loves to work, and you can see the smile spread from ear to ear when he is playing disc. A very high drive dog, Wallace was deteriorating in a shelter environment. I don't know that there are too many dogs with as intense of a working drive as Wallace, but certainly there are some dogs with this intensity that find themselves in a shelter. They are simply too much dog for the average pet owner. Give the dog a job or two, and he is a different dog. In my experience in dog sports, I see many dogs with high energy and high drive that turn out to be fantastic performance dogs in the right hands. Wallace and his owner/handler Roo have competed and earned some high awards in the sport, but they have also done a significant amount of positive education about the American Pit Bull Terrier. There is no title for that, it reaches far beyond the scope of tangible awards. Many pit bulls in this country never have a chance...a dog like Wallace would also not have had a chance, had the Yoris not opened their home to him.
Driving through Iowa is a somewhat scary thing to me as a pit bull owner. As I pass the various signs indicating which town or county I am entering, I am keenly aware that my dogs are banned in over 90 communities in Iowa. How many dogs, I wonder, never have had a chance in this state? Euthanized simply due to breed alone. How many of them languish in shelters across this state, their caretakers unable to find them homes because though some are wanted, the places they live in will not allow the breed. I often think of all the unwanted dogs - being shuffled from home to home, home to shelter, abandoned, dumped, tied to posts, left in a box, the list goes on of what people do to 'get rid of' a dog. I personally hate that phrase, when people call or email me saying they have to 'get rid of a dog.' To me, the way they word it is indicative of the dog's relative value to them. One doesn't get 'rid of' things he or she loves or has had a meaningful relationship with. We 'get rid of'' trash, pests, things that annoy or bother us. Working in an animal shelter, I have noticed a distinct difference between the way people word this process. Those who love their animals and who truly have a legitimate reason to give up their pets say things like ..."I need to find a new home for my dog..." or "I need some help rehoming my pet." The two pups I am temporarily fostering are about 4 weeks old and were found outside of an apartment building. How does one LOSE two puppies? More than likely, they were left outside to fend for themselves.
One county I drove through, in particular, is very disturbing to me. I recall years ago being called by a shelter worker, begging me to take a pit bull from the shelter. Despite having her own family with a husband, several young children, and several pets, this woman had taken the dog home to prevent her from being euthanized. While visiting the dog to conduct a temperament evaluation, the woman told me 'things are bad here.' And proceeded to tell me about the state of things for pit bulls in that shelter, in that town. She also relayed that up until a few years ago, the way the shelter disposed of dogs that were not reclaimed, was a bullet to the head. The local mayor, when pressed by volunteers and other pet advocates in the community for a more humane method of killing the unwanted, apparently said, "A bullet is only 10 cents." This type of mentality is frankly disgusting, however, it still exists in many parts of the country. In some areas, shelter animals are euthanized by gas, en masse. What century are we in? What country are we living in?
One of the disheartening parts of my job as a city shelter worker has been euthanasia. I would like to think that the animals I have had to euthanize went humanely, safely, and with ease. Many came into the room thinking they were just getting a vaccine, or a cookie. I can't tell you how many pit bulls I have had to euthanize, who died, tails wagging, licking our faces. It is painful to think about the dogs (and cats) who never found homes, but the reality is there simply aren't enough homes for them all. Thankfully, as part of my job, I've also been able to assist many owners in getting their pit bulls spayed or neutered so they will not add to this already overwhelming problem. PBRC has a fund specifically for this purpose and it has been beneficial to many dogs and owners.
I'll be leaving Iowa soon, and there is a sadness about that. As I see familiar faces and places, I keep thinking... that's the last time I will see the corn fields glistening in the sun - the backdrop to the black dog who runs down the gravel road and chases me, the last time I'll play flyball with these friends, the last time I will touch that cat at the shelter and wonder if someone will love her... but I also know that in a new place, there are four-leggeds who will be inexplicably intertwined in my life.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
What kind of mites cause mange in dogs? Demodex canis, Demodex gatoi, Demodex injai and Sarcoptes scabei. All dogs have Demodex mites on their skin but a normal, healthy immune system provides resistance to infection or disease. Dogs with genetically and/or environmentally compromised immune systems offer less resistance to active mite populations which can create ideal conditions for infection and disease to thrive.
Is mange contagious? Mange caused by Demodex mites IS NOT contagious to other dogs or humans. Mange caused by Sarcoptes mites IS contagious to other dogs and humans, though the mites don't survive long on human skin.
How do I know if my dog has mange? Loss of hair, itchiness, skin lesions and secondary infection are all symptoms of mange. A skin scraping by a licensed veterinarian is the best way to determine if a dog has mange. Note, however, that mites may or may not always show up in skin scrapings so several scrapings several weeks apart may be necessary.
What's the best treatment for mange? Treatment for mange should be overseen by a licensed veterinarian. The veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to fight off secondary infection caused by excessive scratching. To boost the dog's immune system, the dog should be fed a premium diet with human-grade ingredients. Stress to the dog should be minimized.
Antiparasitics commonly used to treat Sarcoptic mange include Ivermectin and Selamectin (Revolution®).* Ivermectin may be injected or given orally. Selamectin is applied topically and is absorbed into the body and circulates through the blood stream.
Weekly Amitraz (Mitaban) dips preceded by a benzoyl peroxide baths to open the hair follicles are still commonly prescribed as a treatment for Demodex. Oral or injected Ivermectin, however, is the latest treatment of choice for generalized Demodex.
Why do some people use motor oil? Misinformation abounds and some folks are willing to try untested 'home remedies' that result in making the dog miserable and can kill the dog. Motor oil adds to the dogs discomfort by causing rashes on the skin and increases the dog's susceptibility to infection. Dogs absorb hydrocarbons from the oil through the skin and may lick the motor oil; injestion can result in kidney and/or liver damage.
Please don't dip your dog in motor oil.
*Ivermectin is known to be harmful to herding breeds including, but not limited to, Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs and mixes of these breeds.
References: Mar Vista Animal Medical Center - marvistavet.comPet Place - petplace.com
Friday, October 24, 2008
It's encouraging to hear, then, that a twenty-year-old breed-specific ordinance will be repealed in Canton, Illinois, where a little bit of knowledge, a whole lot of legwork, and old-fashioned gutsiness are winning out.
Back on September 25th, Canton resident Joy Ashwood e-mailed us with a request:
I am looking for information on ordinances that state that "pit bulls" have to be muzzled if they are off the owners property. Canton is enforcing this ordinance by issuing tickets to owners. The City Attorney said she is unsure if it is enforceable, however, she is looking forward to proscuting the first case.Apparently, for a long time, Canton has had an ordinance requiring pit bulls to wear a muzzle in public. Such laws do nothing but stigmatize and shame owners who are responsible enough to exercise their dogs on a leash, making it less likely that pit bull owners will socialize and exercise their dogs. Public health studies show that dog bites rarely occur when dogs are on leash in public. In fact, you are most likely to be bitten on private property by a dog that you know (say, your neighbor’s dog or your friend’s dog). Attacks that cause serious injuries overwhelmingly involve dogs that are chained, penned, or roaming around.
My son has a pit bull that is a big baby and I would hate to see him labled as a "vicious dog," which is what the ticket is for. Are there any websites that you know of that deal with this type of thing, or any insight you can give me?
For this very reason, Illinois has one of the country’s better state-level dangerous dog laws. HB184, more commonly know as “Ryan’s Law,” prohibits breed-specific legislation while laying down strict guidelines as to how dangerous dogs should be classified and handled. (Incidentally, Senator Barack Obama supported this bill as an Illinois State Senator. He is the first presidential candidate to have signed off on legislation prohibiting BSL.)
We wrote back with the following:
Hi Joy,Some Illinois municipalities have gotten around Ryan’s Law by claiming “home rule,” so we weren’t sure how it would work out. But a few weeks later, we heard back from Joy:
As far as I know, Illinois has a law, "Ryan's Law," that prohibits breed specific legislation. I'm not sure of the specific language of the law, but you can read it here:
This would supersede any local ordinances. I believe it also sets the criteria for which dogs should be labeled vicious (being a "pit bull" isn't one of them).
Good luck, and please keep us updated.
Josh, PBRC Volunteer
Hi Josh,So Canton’s breed-specific legislation was unconstitutional, but the law was severely out-of-date, and nobody had bothered to challenge it. According to The Canton Daily Ledger, at the urging of about two-dozen concerned dog owners, the city council immediately repealed the section of the ordinance defining pit bulls as vicious: “Citations for violating that section of the ordinance will not be enforced, and anyone who has received such a citation will not have to appear in court.”
Thank you so much for your information. My son contacted the humane society of Illinois and through his local chapter a law suit was filed against the City of Canton. I have attached the article out of the local paper. Once again, without you bringing this law to our attention we would not have known about it. So, on behalf of all pit bull owners in Canton (several received tickets) thank you!
Joy Ashwood on behalf of Jonsey, my Son’s beloved Pit Bull
This is great news for the dog owners of Canton, and it’s one hearting example of how courage and the right information actually works sometimes. PBRC thanks Joy Ashwood, her son Bill, and the other diligent pit bull owners in Canton, as well as the Human Society of Central Illinois, for taking action against an unfair and ineffective law. Pit bull owners everywhere should take a second to thank Alderman Jason Strandberg for lending a sympathetic ear to his constituents and for taking action to remove the unconstitutional section.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
My puppyhood and young adult years are prior to my "new life" and what my old life was, I don't like to revisit. I will say that I have physical scars from dog bites and my ears were poorly cropped in home crop job. I also have had puppies.
I entered my new family's life dog reactive and dog aggressive. I lived at a veterinary hospital for over 2 years, I was not allowed to be with the other dogs, but seeing and hearing them on a daily basis slowly helped to reduce my reactivity towards them.
A change in my family's career meant I had to leave the veterinary hospital and come home to live. My house is a nice house, but it is small and has a very open floor plan, and there are TWO other dogs that live there. We worked out a separate room and rotate plan that works for us. When my family is at work, the other two dogs have run of the house. I spend work days in my room.
Don't feel sorry for me, I have many beds, toys, a nice sunny window, a fish tank to watch and TV or radio to keep me company. When my people are home I come out of my room and the other dogs stay in the master bedroom. We rotate back and forth during our family's awake time at home, and at night I sleep in my room (door closed for my privacy!) and the other 2 dogs have run of the house (although I KNOW they get to sleep with the people in the master bedroom).
I also get to go on a couple of walks a day to the people park, where sometimes I see other dogs and some of them aren't on leashes and sometimes we have to leave the park because of them! My family and I have worked out some words that they say to me to keep me calm and safe in these situations.
My dog aggression doesn't keep me housebound. I am able to travel to places with my family, we go hill climb racing, to the mountains, I go to work and to visit family. I am lucky that our people friends and family are aware of my issue and understand that dog aggression doesn't have anything to do with people aggression.
In fact I LOVE people, especially kids. On our trips, our friends come to see me before they come to see my people and they always bring their kids by just to see ME! I even am able to volunteer with our auto hill climbing club (OK, I sit in the timing vehicle and eat snacks, but that counts!). Just as my family always is, our people friends are always on "other dog" watch and help me to avoid these situations. In fact at times they are more reactive to dogs than I am! I wish I wasn't dog aggressive, but I understand it's not my fault and I am happy with me and with my life.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
In May, Ft. Bragg put word out to their residents in military housing that several breeds would be banned. There was a grandfather clause for existing dogs, but new residents would not be allowed to move into housing with their dogs of the listed breeds, even if they were moving from other bases. Upon learning of this from a close friend (it was not published anywhere but a flyer to residents), I immediately contacted a few folks and we began recruiting the "best of the best" of the BSL fighters around the country. I contacted the Garrison Command office at Ft. Bragg and they started their bureaucratic run around. They initially indicated that their decision was based on the input of the base veterinarian and the AKC 20 year bite report. Only problem, there is no such report??? They initially stated that they were open to information and would examine anything that was sent to them as long as it was 1. A published report (nothing just cited from the internet) and 2. The authors/authorities would be available to verify the findings.
We began contacting authors and experts in the dog world and much appreciation goes out to them, as not one person declined to get involved. The list was long and impressive and first up to bat was our personal hero, Ms. Karen Delise. Imagine my dismay when the CSM would not even take her call. Karen was able to reach the base veterinarian and learned that no report was used, in fact, her only input was that she was asked which breeds were most commonly banned and she replied "pit bulls and rottweilers".
It started to become clear very quickly that the officials at Ft. Bragg were not open to discussion. Even worse, when speaking to CSM Sheehan I learned that the military was planning to implement BSL military wide - this means every base in the world! I was utterly dumbfounded that one woman would make this decision that would hurt so many of our brave men and women in uniform. I prepared a letter citing all of the states that prohibit BSL as well as the Supreme Court (state and federal) decisions that had struck it down. We maintained that these soldiers are only residing on military bases to defend this country, and at the very least, they should be afforded the same protections given to them by their home states of residence. When asked if she had read and reviewed the letter, CSM Sheehan's reply was, "The Military does not have to abide by The Constitution"!
What ensued at Ft. Bragg following the ban can only be described as chaos and any one with one iota of common sense would think that they would not even attempt to pass this at other bases. Neighbors began calling the MPs and the Housing Office to report other residents hiding banned dogs. What was quickly learned is that the dogs were either properly registered before the ban or that, in some cases, the people did not even own dogs but that disgruntled neighbors or other soldiers were just trying to cause them trouble. People walking their dogs were told that their dogs were banned, even though they were not even the breeds on the list. People began calling with annoyance reports right and left and rather than investigate fairly, the base just started adding dog breeds to the banned list. An official list is hard to come by (as it's changing so quickly) but at this point these breeds are banned or are being discussed being banned:
Pit bulls (Amstaff, Bull terriers and APBT)
All dogs over 50 lbs must have their CGC certification (this is already in effect)
The flawed thinking of CSM Sheehan was that if they banned these dogs on Ft. Bragg first then people would not acquire the dogs and then they would not be impacted when they moved. WRONG! Most military families move every 2-3 years so the number of dogs already owned and loved that will have to be surrendered is astonishing. Hard estimates are hard to come by, but to say that the numbers will reach the hundreds of thousands is not an exaggeration based on the registration numbers of these breeds on bases that released the info.
Last month, Ft. Hood, TX passed the bans, followed by Ft. Riley. The ban was already in place at a handful of bases but now the Marine Corp is considering encompassing their bases in one fail swoop as are the Air Force and Navy.
Now, the initial thinking might be that unless you live on a military base this doesn't affect you - think again. This hits every state and country in the world and the ramifications are wide reaching. The most detrimental effect will be on the morale of our fighting men and women at a time when we need them most. In so many cases, the dog of a soldier may be all that they have left. The wars have caused divorces and separations to skyrocket. Even for couples that have managed to stick together, the family dog is often the greatest source of stress relief and therapy they have. To thank these men and women for serving their country by taking away their loved family pets is despicable!
Additionally, this can be interpreted as the Federal Government putting their stamp of approval that some breeds are inherently dangerous. Cities surrounding these bases may start to pass BSL on this notion. Once those cities fall, the ones next to them might pass it and then the next and so on and so on.
None of these reasons even addresses the thousands of dogs that will now be surrendered to an already drowning rescue system. Cities around military bases are utterly inundated with surrendered dogs as it is. This does not bode well for the adoption chances of these family pets. There is absolute NO chance for the pit bulls in this area as the shelters do not adopt them out due to the horrible blight of dog fighting in the area. This holds true in many areas ,especially in the South where some of the largest bases are located.
This leads to the obvious question of "What can we do?" It has become clear that the military has no interest in democracy when it comes to this issue. This is going to have to be taken out of their hands and put to our elected officials if we hope to make any headway. Now is the opportune time to contact those officials up for re-election as well as those opposing them (all Senate seats are up this year). Call them, write them, stop them while they are out stumping and tell them what is happening. Let them know that to allow this to happen to our soldiers is unacceptable to you as an American and as a voter! Recruit your friends and family to do the same. This is no longer about dogs - this is about protecting those that protect us!
Keep in mind that our soldiers can't fight this alone and in some cases not at all. There is no free speech on a military base. When soldiers here were attempting to organize an off-base, out of uniform protest, they were told that they would be facing an Article 32 (the military jargon for free speech equates to causing trouble). Simply moving off-base is not an option for some. Many of those in base housing here have come with their families to go through selection for Special Forces or to attend special schools. They are not in a position to sign a lease, as their time here is unpredictable (the same holds true for Ft. Hood where soldiers go for medical schools). There are many people who prefer base housing for the security it provides when their spouses are deployed as well. They should not be forced to choose between that security and keeping their dogs.
I know this post is extremely long but I actually have given you a very abbreviated version of what has transpired and been exchanged.
Please tell your Congressional Reps and Senator how you feel - tell them today!
Find your legislators by clicking here!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Here are my Top Three Rules for a Harmonious Household: 1) Training, training, training: Not for me...I'm a cat, remember? I do my part when foster dogs arrive to teach them proper dog-cat relations, but most of the dog training responsiblity falls to our resident human. The Human makes sure that each dog is trained on its own, so that they can bond and so the dog knows how to listen to her. (Dogs may have great hearing, but let me tell you, hearing and listening are two different things!) She doesn't stand around giving them commands all day, but she does reinforce good manners and doesn't allow bad manners like pushy behavior, destroying the house, or (most importantly, if you ask me) chasing the cats.
2) Personal Space: Ever try to share one bedroom, 24-7, with your whole extended family? Even if you like them, enough is enough. Most of us (kitties and pitties alike) are cuddlers, but that doesn't mean we should live on top of each other. Our house is set up with baby gates so that there are rooms that the canines can't get to, where we cats can go to get a break from dog breath when we need it. This is especially handy for those new dogs that come in who haven't quite read through the Dog-Cat Peace Treaty. There are also crates in the house where some of the dogs go when The Human is not home and at night, or if someone is need of a time-out. Some of my siblings - dogs and cats - like to put themselves in the crates for a bit of cozy peace and quiet. If a dog comes in who is a bit of rabblerouser, The Human has him stay in his own room, at least for awhile, so he doesn't try starting a coup. A little one-on-one time goes a long way, too.
3) Personalities: Even under the best Human-Cat administration, not all multiple pet households can get along as well as we do. So it's a good idea to know the likes and dislikes of everyone in the house (human, feline, and canine) before adding another pet. We're a laid back bunch, so a neurotic little terrier or a hyperactive hunting dog would upset everyone. If you, the human, have fallen in love with a new dog that your other animals have, well, not, then you need to be realistic about how you'll keep the peace in your new household. It may require a crate and rotate system and lots of extra training time. Also remember that some dogs need more attention and training than others and that's okay. Everyone should get what they need, and you have to spend lots of time with your pack to get to know those specific needs and meet them. Lots of pets = lots of commitment.
Time for me to go - I've got a puppy that needs training and catnip that needs sniffing. Good Luck, Jeb
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
So how do I manage three pit bulls at once? Supervision, separation and training, that's how!
Basic obedience training is a must for all dogs, and we practice our obedience training on a daily basis. This doesn't mean I set aside an hour of practice for each dog every day, I certainly don't have an extra three hours a day to spend drilling obedience exercises. What it does mean is that I make the most of the many training opportunities we have throughout the day. When my dogs get fed, when I give them treats, let them outside, take them for a walk or ride in the car, play games with them, all these are opportunities to ask for a sit or a down or some other command they know.
Supervision! My dogs are supervised 100% of the time they are together. When they are playing together, I watch them. When they eat their meals, I'm standing amongst them, when they are chewing on bones or playing with toys, I'm watching them. Supervision is not just being in the same room, supervision is actively watching their interactions, reading their body language and tone of voice, observing the reactions of the each dog to the actions of the other dogs. If someone gets too excited during play time I can quickly call them to me and make them take a break to cool off. This prevents fights from happening before they happen! Preventing a fight between dogs of any breed is a whole lot better than trying to break one up after the fact.
Separation! I have the benefit of having a house big enough to give each boy their own bedroom. They have extra tall metal gates that are permanently and securely attached to the door frames of their rooms. Whenever I am unable to supervise my dogs, whether I am leaving the house or just taking a shower, the boys go into their rooms with their gates closed and Sydney gets the rest of the house to herself. This has multiple benefits. Not only are my dogs not going to get into a fight with each other, they cannot harass the cat, they can't get into the trash and they can't destroy things out of boredom. They each have plenty of chew toys to keep them occupied and can watch the squirrels out the windows without the danger of a redirected fight happening. When I lived in a much smaller house, each of the boys had their own crates that they stayed in quite willingly. This separation takes only an extra 60 seconds during my morning routine, but the peace of mind I get knowing my dogs are safe in their rooms is priceless while I'm at work.
I don't allow rude behaviors such as mounting during play time, intimidation or pushy tactics to take toys/bones away from each other. All of my rules are designed to give my dogs the most freedom I can while still preventing any altercations between them. I own a set of breaksticks and know how to use them, my dogs wear sturdy collars at all times and I know immediately where leashes are located so if there ever is a fight, I hope that I'm prepared to break it up quickly and as safely as possible for all involved. I know that the potential for dog aggression is there in my chosen breed and will do everything I can to keep them safe.
Not all dogs will get along together and I consider myself very lucky that my dogs do. The strategies I use will not work for every dog since every dog is an individual.
If there comes a day when they no longer get along, I will crate and rotate them and not rely on abusive tactics to try to force them into being something they are not.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
For those who missed the episode, I'll summarize it...
Monica and Justin have two female pit bulls, Trinity and Sandi, both 2-2.5 yrs of age. The girls used to get along, until one day, they did not. After a number of blood-drawing fights, the owners separate the dogs full-time. They buy a new home that enables them to separate the dogs more easily. The dogs sleep in separate crates and have separate yards. The routine they establish is working and there isn't a fight for months.
They contact Cesar because they want the dogs to get along and play together like they used to. Cesar meets the dogs and determines Trinity is the one in need of reform which can only be accomplished at the center. After 2 months at the compound, Cesar is ready to reintroduce Monica and Justin to a reformed Trinity. They meet in the hills at the site of Cesar's future dog psychology center. Cesar has a pack of his dogs running loose along with Trinity when Monica and Justin arrive. As soon as they exit their car and Trinity realizes her people are there, she grabs onto another pit bull. This starts a chain reaction among the other pit bulls in the pack and several other fights ensue. Cesar and crew manage to get everyone separated.
The incident prompts Cesar to offer Monica and Justin a trade -- he suggests they leave Trinity with him for life and take one of the other dogs in his pack. While Cesar, Monica and Justin are discussing the offer in a cramped trailer, Trinity latches onto Daddy. Cesar manages to separate the dogs and expresses his concern about Monica and Justin's ability to own a dog like her. Monica and Justin decide to think about Cesar's offer. They do some fitness and stop smoking in an effort to be stronger pack leaders. Final footage shows Trinity and Sandi hiking off-leash and drinking out of the same hose together.
There are several scenes of dogs fighting in this episode that are replayed, ad nauseum, with warnings attached. Do we need this visual repeated over and over to know how awful it is? And, where were the breaksticks? The quickest way to end a pit bull fight with the least amount of damage to the dogs is to use breaksticks.
Cesar attributes the fights to Monica and Justin's 'energy.' Then he suggests they aren't fit to own such a powerful dog and, with no apparent concern for their feelings or attachment to their pet, offers to trade them one of his for one of theirs. People appeal to him for help in the first place because they want to keep their pets, not trade them in.
Cesar infers that all dogs can live peacefully in packs with a human pack leader in charge. He suggests that dogs will follow their natural canine instincts to be part of a pack over their breed hard-wiring. This may work at the dog-psychology center when Cesar's there to administer corrections with military precision, but what about when he's out of the office?
Suggesting that two dogs who've previously fought can snuggle and play together is not possible without constant, expert supervision and, even then, it may not be possible. And, to think Trinity's dog-aggression was 'erased' by hanging out in Cesar's garage with a non-threatening puppy and several tiny, terrified dogs is ludicrous. Hard-wiring can not be loved, trained or socialized out of a dog. Just as the instinct to herd is strong in Collies and the drive to fetch is high in Retrievers, the instinct to scrap with other dogs is ever-present in terriers. To ignore or downplay this fact does a disservice to the dogs and sets them up to fail.
Cesar does promote daily exercise as well as setting rules, boundaries and limitations. And, while Cesar doesn't claim to be a dog-trainer, much of what he does relies on the dogs' responding to basic obedience commands, so he is indirectly promoting good obedience. And, he's begun promoting spay/neuter! These practices are truly the core of developing a healthy bond between dog and owner.
In the end, Justin and Monica remain committed to their dog and refuse Cesar's offer to trade in Trinity for a less-powerful model. This couple is a great example of what responsible dog-ownership is all about. I hope they realize they were fine before they met Cesar and will continue to be capable owners and leaders for Trinity and Sandi.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
September 15, 2008
Even though they've been out there for awhile, I've largely let dogsbite.org do their own thing. However, at this point, their rallying of misinformation and misleading information is becoming even more biased, misleading, and dangerous, so I want to respond.
Yesterday, Dogsbite.org created a post entitled 'pit bull bans work". They cited four different cities where BSL "worked". The post below that also mentions a fifth city. And I want to respond.
First of all, I want to define what I would call a law that "works". "Working" is improving public safety. "Working" acknowledges that in almost no cities do one breed of dog account for even a majority of the attacks in a city. There are many different types of dogs that can, do and have "attacked". So "working" improves public safety by lowering the total number of dog bites in a community.
Dogsbite.org only wants to track 'pit bull' bites in determining success. But let's face it, if you eliminate the majority of one type of dog from a community, you can eliminate the majority of bites by that type of dog. Duh. However, bites have never been about the breed of dog involved. It's always been about the owners of the dogs and their perpetually negligent treatment of the animal. Take away one type of dog, and they will be negligent with the next. Until you deal with THE OWNER problem, you will never solve the dog bite/attack problem. So of course in these cities that passed BSL, "pit bull" bites went down. However, let's look at whether or not public safety was really improved. (Click here to continue...)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Please visit our sponsor page to support our generous donors.PoppyMart would not be possible without the many retail vendors,volunteers, and friends who donated to PBRC's auction.
Starting at 12:00am PST, on September 11th, 2008, Pit Bull Rescue Central, Inc. (PBRC), a 501(c)3 organization, will be holding itsfifth annual on-line auction. We are once again using eBay as ourvenue. All proceeds from Poppy Mart will go directly to PBRC's Fund -which finances Pit Bull Spay/Neuter; assists with medical proceduresbeyond the financial reach of rescuers, caretakers, owners andshelters; and supports the website that enables us to list dogs foradoption andprovide educational resources. PBRC is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers.
Before you bid, we ask that you review our Auction Guidelines page.
To register for the auction and for instructions – Register Here! (Note: Everyonebidding needs to register with eBay.) If you are already registeredwith eBay, all you need to do is start bidding!
Click the link to go directly to PoppyMart!
Please note that the auction ends at 12am, September 18 – Pacific Standard Time.
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
~The Volunteers of PBRC
P.S. Feel free to crosspost this message!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
As a volunteer, the process started months ago. I love soliciting for items, because before I know it the packages start rolling in. The UPS and Fed-X people must wonder what’s going on as I open the door all smiles and accept box after box. I bring them in and open them with the excitement of a young child at Christmas, oohing and aahing over collars and dog beds, trying to find places to hide toys from my own dogs, and having my husband hold up the artwork so I can see what it looks like from a distance. We have some really great stuff this year! It’s difficult to say which items are my favorites, since there are so many different types of things, but there are a few that come to mind.
First, we are fortunate to have some amazing artists donate their work this year. One of them is Nancy Schutt, who is local to me (Seattle), but whose work can be found in collections across the U.S. and internationally. She has donated a beautiful framed giclee on canvas of a gorgeous pit bull whose eyes will pierce your soul. Another is Christine Head, who found a way to combine her incredible artistic talent with her rescue endeavors. She has a brand new Vintage Style Poster coming out, and she was kind enough to donate the artist’s proof to our auction. It’s called Mopito, with a beautiful black and white pit bull and a subtle message about BSL.
Next, anyone who knows me and my dogs knows I have a little bit of a collar fetish. So of course I eagerly look forward to seeing our collar selection. We were lucky enough to get a few gift certificates from Paco Collars http://pacocollars.com/ so you can pick out exactly what you like. If you haven’t checked this company out yet, their collars and leashes are incredibly high quality as well as being gorgeous. You will see lots of pit bulls modeling them too since the entire company is named after the owner’s gorgeous pit bull named Paco. Other collar donations include many quick release type clip collars. Comfortable and washable, these collars are great for everyday wear. There is one with ballerinas on it that really caught my eye. Ballerinas are graceful, agile, and strong, which definitely describes a lot of pit bulls.
I am also admittedly a book-a-holic, and there are two books that would be great additions to your bookshelves this year. The first is a signed first edition of “Dog Years” by award winning poet and memoirist Mark Doty. It looks like it might be a tearjerker (not sure), but I have a feeling it will be one you won’t be able to put down. The other is more of a coffee table book, a signed copy of “Street Dogs” by Traer Scott, who is the same photographer that did “Shelter Dogs” (which will also be available in the auction), which I own and also really love.
The last item that really piqued my interest has nothing to do with dogs or animals whatsoever. Strangely enough, it’s a pair of pajamas that caught my attention. I am the volunteer that will be shipping this item out once the auction comes to a close so I got to see them in person. All I can say is that they are “oh so cute”!
I hope that you all take part in the auction as there really is something for everyone, and at every price level, all for a fantastic cause! There are dog treats, beds, jewelry, toys, clothing, music, DVD’s; the list goes on and on. It would be impossible to talk about all of my favorites. Good luck and Happy Bidding! ~ Arlene
Register for the auction here.
Poppy Mart 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
It all started on Saturday night when my mom gave me a bath. She said it was because I had to look good for my test the next day. I really didn't know what she meant by that since I'd already had lots of tests at the vets a few days ago, so I figured it was just an excuse to get me into that evil bathtub. But I was a good boy and took my bath and then went to bed to rest up for my test on Sunday.
Sunday morning I got real excited when I found out that I was going for a ride in the car with Mom and Sydney and Foster had to stay home. They weren't very happy about that, but it was ok 'cause grandma was there to play with them.
I could tell Mom was a little nervous about something, and that always makes me a little nervous too so I kept giving her kisses while she was driving…that always makes her laugh and relax. As soon as we got out of the car though it was my turn to get nervous! We were at a Kennel! I was so scared Mom was going to leave me here by myself, but she told me I didn't have to stay so that helped and she put my therapy bandana on so I knew I was there to work. I was really excited to do some therapy; we haven't done that for a while. There were some people in the parking lot that looked like they needed some therapy and the poor boxer they were jerking around by the neck really needed some therapy, but Mom wouldn't let me go over there.
Boy it was loud here! I could barely even hear mom and it was really hard to concentrate on her since there were dogs barking from two different buildings and there were even dogs in the cars. I'd never done my job in such a chaotic place! Even the pet expos I've gone to weren't this loud and crazy! Mom was starting to get upset with me 'cause I was having such a hard time listening to her, and I tried really hard, but I just couldn't shut out all the noise. We went into one of the buildings and it was even worse! There were a lot of dogs in the next room and they were all yelling at each other wanting to get out of their kennels and it echoed really badly. One lady came to talk to Mom and I was so excited to give her some therapy, I jumped up. Mom told me 'no' and I was really embarrassed. I know I'm not supposed to jump on therapy people, but I was just so excited.
All this was so stressful to me and my mom that I was really happy when we went outside to take a walk and calm down a bit. It was still pretty exciting with all the new smells and stuff, but Mom wanted me to do some training stuff to help me focus on her better. I was really trying hard, but it was tough. We did take a nice walk and that helped.
But then we had to go into that building with all the yelling dogs again and wait for our 'test'. I over heard the lady telling Mom we could wait outside, but Mom said that if we had to take our test in there, we might as well get used to the noise. Sitting there listening to all the dogs yelling made me really upset, I was panting and hiding my head in Mom's lap. She kept petting me and telling me it was ok, but I could tell she was getting more and more stressed too. We kept trying to do some obedience in the tiny hallway next to the yelling dogs and we tried really hard to pay attention to each other. Then there was a big fight in the next room. Two dogs were fighting about something and the people were yelling and slamming gates and stuff. Mom asked me if we should just leave, but we decided to stick it out.
After a few minutes things started to quiet down and the lady came back and said it was time for our test. We went into a big room with agility stuff in it and then into a little area with fences around it. We were both still really on edge even though most of the noise had stopped. Mom kept giving me mixed signals and I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been so things weren't very fun for a while. During our obedience tests, Mom had to give me a couple of commands more than once. It was really embarrassing, but I was still really upset and Mom didn't get mad at me but I knew she was getting upset again too. While the lady was writing something on her clipboard, Mom talked gently to me which made me very happy, but then she had to pay attention to the lady again and I got scared so I leaned against her and hid my head between her knees until she could pay attention to me again.
Even though we hadn't calmed down yet, we were still a pretty good therapy team. One of the tests requires the lady to give me a big hug. I don't know why they think this is a test, 'cause everyone loves big hugs don't they? The lady seemed surprised that I wagged my tail while she was hugging me. I tried to kiss her too, but Mom told me not to. After a while we started to calm down a little more, but it took almost half the test before we really got into the groove again. But that's when the fun stuff starts. All the boring obedience part was over and we got to the part where all the people were petting me and I was giving lots of therapy.
At one point though, I was giving therapy to a loud, silly guy with a walker and all of a sudden two other people behind us started yelling at each other. Now normally this wouldn't have bothered me, but with all the previous yelling from all the dogs, it kind of put me on edge again. Mom was there to let me know it was ok though and after they stopped yelling we got to go over to them and give them some therapy so they wouldn't yell and be mad anymore. The last part of the test was my favorite. The loud guy with the walker was petting me and then two more people started petting me at the same time and my mom was there petting me too. They were the same people that were yelling at each other before, but they weren't mad at each other anymore. This is why I got into therapy in the first place, there is nothing better than letting a whole lot of people pet you all at once and they were all so happy again.
We finally got to go home again and get away from all the noise and stress. Mom was happy and said that we had passed our re-certification test whatever that is, but it still took her a long time before she wasn't stressed anymore. Me too! I was so tired from all the noise and having to concentrate so hard to try to do all the things mom wanted me to do and still do all my therapy stuff that I just crashed on the way home. When we got home, grandma had put all the dog beds out on the new deck in the sun so it was nice and warm when I got there.
Mom said she was really glad that Sydney had decided to retire because she wouldn't have been able to concentrate at that Kennel for her test. I can't imagine ever retiring from giving therapy, but I hope I don't ever have to do anymore therapy at a place like that again!