Pets

Pets

When looking for a new home, consider pet's needs

All homebuyers have their must-have lists when looking for their perfect home, such as an open floor plan or a spacious master bathroom. But pet owners also need to consider their creatures' needs when looking for a house. Luckily, more and more builders are taking four-legged companions into account in new construction and neighborhoods.

Pets

When poorly chosen phrases backfire

George Carlin, a comedian I’m not much familiar with, found fault with the phrase “Have a nice day,” saying it was “probably unrealistic to expect someone to have a nice day all day long.”

Old Trainer

Should I get my girlfriend a dog for Valentine’s Day?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I want to give my girlfriend Lisa a dog for Valentine’s Day. I work as a firefighter so I’m gone for a week at a time and a dog could keep her company. She hasn’t talked about dogs so I don’t know whether to get her a big one or a little one. What do you think?

Old Trainer

Avoiding web scams and teaching your dogs not to beg for food

DEAR OLD TRAINER: I have three dogs, two Lab mixes and a Doberman, all males. They follow orders and behave like angels except for one thing—they beg and beg while I am eating. I feed them first, then when I sit down to eat they stare at me like they are starved and sometimes add a pitiful whine. Is there any way to stop it?

Old Trainer

Keeping Huskies warm in the winter

DEAR OLD TRAINER: We rented a house at Park City, Utah for the winter. Maddy, our 4-year old Husky/German Shepherd mix has never been in cold weather, but she begs to stay out at night. We put her out just before bedtime at home and she comes in after five minutes, but when we make her come in up here she stands at the door wanting right back out. The other night she howled outside, but when I opened the door she just wagged her tail and pawed at the snow. Can Maddy handle the weather here?

Old Trainer

Teaching your dog to jump through hoops

DEAR OLD TRAINER: My sister Madison and I saw a guy at the park and he held out his arm and his dog jumped over it and then he held his arms in a circle and his dog jumped through it. We have Lucy a Jack Russell dog and want to teach her to jump like that except we don’t know if little dogs can do it and we don’t know how to teach it.

Pets

Snow Globes and Other Dangers of Christmas

I suppose there might be a deeper meaning to snow globes than just pure enjoyment. But me, I don’t really care to go deeper. I am entranced by the swirling snow and glitter that light so many pretty scenes. Scenes of trees and mountain tops, families, Nutcracker stories, elf and Santa stories, Nativity scenes. I am open to all of them at this time of year. I give ‘em a swirl whether they play music or not. The snow never drifts long enough.

Old Trainer

Do dog owners live longer?

DEAR OLD TRAINER: My husband and I saw a story that said people who own dogs live longer. At first, we thought it had to be a joke, but we have had dogs all our lives and we are 79 and 75 and both healthy. Do you know if this story is true?

Pets

Thanksgiving Comes and Goes Again

Anybody ever hear of Martha Stewart? It’s been many a year since I received my first genuine M.S. cookbook. Having subscribed to “Gourmet” magazine for years I felt reasonably accomplished in the kitchen, my yardstick for comparison being fellow vet students who lived on Top Ramen and cheap hamburgers. Spaghetti and big salads were also popular.

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.

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