Pets

Old Trainer

How to derail your dog’s train of thought

DEAR OLD TRAINER: We wrote you last spring about Yip, our 18-month old Lab. He was impossible on the leash until I followed your advice about making him sit and look at me every time he went wild. Now, when he acts up, I make him sit and he behaves perfectly. What I don’t understand is why. Would you please explain why the training process works so well?

Pets

Overcoming addiction one dog biscuit at a time

FRESNO, Calif. - Wearing white floppy chef hats and sunny yellow aprons, a group of women chat happily as they mix and roll dough on its journey to becoming all-natural dog biscuits last month. Morning light pours through large wide windows, brightening an already optimistic mood.

Pets

What’s the deal with C-sections?

Well, I’m not sure who delivered the first baby of the New Year, but I got to deliver the first puppies! Three little girls, all delivered by cesarean section. Happy New Year! And preceding them was yet another C-section, safely delivering 10 – yes, 10 – puppies to a young mother dog, Zoey, who weighed only 26 pounds before she got pregnant. Wowzers!

Old Trainer

Dog’s submissive urination issues can be fixed

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Sadie, a 1-year-old mixed breed – the vet says golden and Aussie probably – showed up at our door last fall. She is so sweet we adopted her and we love her. The problem is she urinates when any human approaches her. If I leave for any reason she does it when I return. What causes this problem and how do we deal with it?

Pets

The Lost Turkey

Sooner or later a turkey is bound to fall off the truck. I don’t know how it happens nor why it seems to occur only at this time of year (turkey production is no longer seasonal), but there you have it.

Old Trainer

Will my dog sink in the snow?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: We are going to Tahoe for Christmas. My dog is Mitzi and is short. I can’t remember what kind she is, but she is short. I am afraid Mitzi will sink in the snow and I can’t find her. My dad said to ask you if Mitzi will be OK. I don’t want to go if Mitzi will sink. I am 10 and might not be able to find her.

Pets

Pets of the Week

Merced County Animal Shelter: 2150 Shuttle Drive, Atwater. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open 10 a.m. through 3p.m. Saturdays. Adoption fees for pet of the week are $35 for dogs and $15 for cats. If an animal is adopted before the newspaper comes out Saturday, another animal can be chosen in its place. For more information, call 209-385-7436.

Old Trainer

Keeping your dogs in shape

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Rebar is a year-old border collie/blue heeler mix. I just started him on Frisbee. I’ve been told Frisbee is hard on them because of the high jumping and landing. Is Rebar too young for Frisbee? My last dog was the same mix and he caught a Frisbee and lived to be 19?

Pets

Mac the mountain lion presents a mystery at Applegate Zoo

You would think that making a hotel reservation in San Francisco 10 months in advance might guarantee you would show up on the appointed day. You would think that by talking about this proposed trip to your fellow staff members, every day, all day, starting a week in advance, would promote your cause and that you would, indeed (for once), be on time. San Francisco isn’t that far away.

Old Trainer

Trust your dog’s instincts

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I work late, so I walk Layla, my Belgian shepherd, at midnight in a nearby park. We don’t usually see anyone and, if we do, Layla ignores them, but the other night a guy was walking toward us and Layla got between me and the guy and gave a long, mean growl with the hair on her back standing up and her fangs showing. I apologized, then scolded Layla, but she just kept snarling at the guy until he left. How do I train her not to growl?

Pets

Pets of the Week (10/28/16)

Merced County Animal Shelter: 2150 Shuttle Drive, Atwater. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open 10 a.m. through 3p.m. Saturdays. Adoption fees for pet of the week are $35 for dogs and $15 for cats. If an animal is adopted before the newspaper comes out Saturday, another animal can be chosen in its place. For more information, call 209-385-7436.

Pets

Pets of the Week (10/22/2016)

Merced County Animal Shelter: 2150 Shuttle Drive, Atwater. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open 10 a.m. through 3p.m. Saturdays. Adoption fees for pet of the week are $35 for dogs and $15 for cats. If an animal is adopted before the newspaper comes out Saturday, another animal can be chosen in its place. For more information, call 209-385-7436.

Old Trainer

Dogs know what they want, and that’s OK

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I was glad to see your advice it is natural for a dog to growl at the vet when being examined. Maggie, my 2-year old Heeler/English Sheep dog mix, is a loving dog, but she refuses to make up with anyone but me. She is the smartest and best trained dog I have ever had, but she growls and raises her hackles when visitors try to pet her. Should I try to train her to be friendly to people?

Pets

Pets of the Week (10/08/2016)

Merced County Animal Shelter: 2150 Shuttle Drive, Atwater. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open 10 a.m. through 3p.m. Saturdays. Adoption fees for pet of the week are $35 for dogs and $15 for cats. If an animal is adopted before the newspaper comes out Saturday, another animal can be chosen in its place. For more information, call 209-385-7436.

Old Trainer

Training smart dogs likely won’t be too hard

DEAR OLD TRAINER: A Blue Heeler mix showed up at my flower farm one day and adopted me. She stays with me in the fields when customers come by to pick up orders and feels she has to protect me. She nipped at one man’s heel. She also herds the cats up each morning. I am 68 and have never been a dog lover, but this dog has stolen my heart. What can I do to stop her from herding the cats and nipping the customers?

Pets

Pets of the Week (10/01/16)

Merced County Animal Shelter: 2150 Shuttle Drive, Atwater. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open 10 a.m. through 3p.m. Saturdays. Adoption fees for pet of the week are $35 for dogs and $15 for cats. If an animal is adopted before the newspaper comes out Saturday, another animal can be chosen in its place. For more information, call 209-385-7436.

Old Trainer

Trust a dog’s instincts in rating people

DEAR OLD TRAINER: We have a 9-month old German Shepherd mix named Willie. Last week I took him to the vet and he growled and showed his teeth when the vet started to examine him. I put a muzzle on him, but after the exam the vet said, “That dog has a mean streak. I advise putting him down.” We’ve only had Willie three months, but I have really bonded with him and hate the idea of putting him down. What is your advice?

Videos

Make-A-Wish Foundation grants Merced teen's wish to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic

Merced Union High School student Mina Lopez, 14, has her wish granted by The Make-A-Wish Foundation to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic, during a ceremony at Yosemite High School in Merced, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. Lopez, who is battling leukemia, will travel to San Francisco to meet Yankovic.
Andrew Kuhn Merced Sun-Star
Make-A-Wish Foundation grants Merced teen's wish to meet 1:50

Make-A-Wish Foundation grants Merced teen's wish to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic

Atwater High's Valencia Twins 2:48

Atwater High's Valencia Twins

Merced Symphony performs for 3,000 children 1:26

Merced Symphony performs for 3,000 children

Naked woman steals sheriff deputy's truck, leads police on 70-mile chase 2:51

Naked woman steals sheriff deputy's truck, leads police on 70-mile chase