Pets

Old Trainer

Here are the three things you need to be a good dog trainer

DEAR OLD TRAINER: My dad just got me a dog named Miko. She is a Belgian and is 6 years old. She is big and tough but is nice and loves me and I love her. My dad said I have to take care of her and I feed her and walk her and she is my dog. I want to train her but I am not a grownup. Can girls be trainers?

Old Trainer

Which words are best for obedience training?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I taught our Afghan, Rico, the hold command and he learned it right away, but it seems more natural to me if I say “freeze” instead of hold. I switched and Rico responds just as fast. Is there some training reason I have to use hold?

Old Trainer

Can dogs smell rattlesnakes?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: We have a 2-year old Bernese Mountain Dog named Henry. We just moved to San Pedro and there are some beautiful parks near us where dogs can go off-leash, but there are signs warning to beware of rattlesnakes. What can I do to keep Henry safe? Can dogs smell snakes and do they automatically know they are dangerous and try to avoid them?

Pets

Sharing the world with our pets and other animals

Whenever I clean out the cat’s litter box, I also employ the bathroom wastebasket. It gives me a clean, pure feeling. Everything in its place, the world is sorted out. And to my stunned surprise, sometimes only moments later, I will walk into that same bathroom and there will be TRASH in the wastebasket. What?! Can’t my family see that it was just cleaned?

Old Trainer

What command should I work on next for my dog?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: After months of work I finally made progress with Devo, my 2-year old (approx.) Black Lab on sit-stay-come. I thought it was impossible, but he’s actually starting to mind. At least most of the time. What command should I work on next?

Pets

Today is World Rabies Day. Here’s what you should know about the disease

Several years ago I wrote an article on Rabies (Merced Sun Star, June 2014), a viral disease carried from animal to animal and sometimes from animal to human. For both animals and humans the disease is considered a death sentence. I recently came upon a series of articles in a veterinary journal and was sad to learn that the disease is still a serious threat in much of the world and that approximately 60,000 people die from this disease every year.

Old Trainer

Have dog, will travel — without the crate

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I have not had a dog the last 20 years or so, but I just adopted a mixed breed named Laker. You advise taking dogs to the dog park, but I’ve never been to one and I’m not sure how to proceed. What training does Laker need before I take him?

Pets

Goat experts and other large animal veterinarians

Perhaps the title sounds misleading. A “large-animal vet” develops a veterinary practice caring for the needs of livestock such as cattle (dairy or beef), sheep, goats and pigs. A “small animal” veterinarian like me is usually slotted into the care of companion pets such as dogs and cats. So when I examine a 200 pound dog, it is still a small animal and likewise there is often confusion about whom to call when the patient is a pot-belly/miniature pig. Not me.

Old Trainer

You can teach your dogs almost anything

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Your advice on how to teach “left” and “right” really worked. I was skeptical if Keely, my Springer, and Spec, my Brittany, could figure it out, but they learned it in two days and it was easy. What else can I teach them?

Pets

Personal calls during pet surgery

I looked across the room, towards the little squawk box that was relaying this information to me. I knew my receptionist was somewhere up front, trying to triage this phone call while handling the needs of several clients in the waiting room.

Old Trainer

Helping scratch your dog’s itch

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Rufus, a Golden mix, and Sam, a Poodle/Schnauzer mix, are scratching worse than ever this year. We just put flea liquid on them a week ago and it seems like it makes them scratch even more. Any idea on what could be causing that and is there a way to stop it?

Old Trainer

Dogs aren’t as simple to figure out as you might think

DEAR OLD TRAINER: Max, my 10-month old English Sheep Dog, loves to play at the dog park and has a favorite dog he plays with. They roll over and over, take off in a wild run, then come back and start rolling again. A lady said, “Max is a submissive dog.” She said if a dog rolls over on its back that shows it’s submissive. What does that mean?

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