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Not Just Police Dogs, Arson Dogs!

As we all know from television shows, movies, maybe even real life, there are plenty of K9 police units out there who use trained pups as their method of locating missing people or crime scene evidence. Firefighting dogs work actively alongside their firefighter partners to help rescue people from smoky situations. But what’s little known is that these two units came together to form a squad of arson dogs. These dogs use their sniffers to detect the tiniest drops of flammable liquid that their human counterparts can’t necessarily find. These dogs not only help to determine whether or not a fire was an accident or purposeful, but they can also help find the perpetrators by sniffing liquid evidence from the scene on their perpetrators themselves.

These dogs are remarkable, ready to go out to work in the field after only one month of training! And as a reward for their hard work, they get praise and treats, all they really need to get their tails wagging!

It’s just a little reminder of how remarkable (and crime-solving) dogs can be.

 

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, crime-solving, Dog safety, Dog Training, dogs, K9, police dog

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Open Your Heart to Deaf Dogs

I will admit that as a 21-year-old adult, I still watch some pretty cheesy ABC Family channel shows, one of those being Switched at Birth. It’s addicting! By having a deaf main character, watching it has actually made me more aware of Deaf culture, and it got me thinking about deaf dogs.

Finding out your dog is deaf can seem like an impossible challenge to tackle, but it really isn’t. Deaf dogs can be trained just as well as hearing dogs, and truthfully, just as easily! You just have to remember not to use your voice or other sounds as commands. Try sign language to communicate with them. It doesn’t have to be ASL, but you can invent your own simple signs meaning different things like “walk”, “sit”, “stay”, etc. Just like voice commands, they will catch on!

So what can you do? Deaf dogs still have their other five senses, so you can rely on those to get their attention. What you don’t necessarily want to do is touch them to get their attention because this can startle them and might have bad consequences. Try flickering the lights or stomping on the floor.

Give deaf dogs a chance, the only thing that makes them different from the pooch next to them at the humane society is they have one less sense. But that doesn’t make their heart any smaller!

 

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, Deaf, Dog Training, dogs, hearing impaired, House Training

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How to Give Your Dog a Better Reward

Recently, there was a study done in Sweden that analyzed just how excited dogs got about rewards given certain circumstances. The furry test subjects were put in two groups: test and control. The test dogs were trained to complete a task, like playing a key on the piano or pressing a lever. A week later, if they completed those tasks successfully, they would be given one of three rewards: food, human contact, or doggy contact. The control dog was given a reward just for walking into the test room.

All in all, it was observed that the dogs who completed the task before getting a reward were more excited to receive the award, showing more energy and tail wagging than the dogs who received the reward despite not doing anything. (Not surprisingly, all dogs were most excited by the reward of food.)

Next time you want to give your dog a treat, have them complete a little task first, whether it just be rolling over or maybe even playing a little piano! They’ll love the reward even more.

 

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, Crate Training, Dog Training, dogs, House Training, Pee Pads, Puppy Training

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How to Curb Your Dog’s Weight Gain

Most dog owners have encountered the problem of their dog packing on a few extra pounds. Sometimes, though, a few extra pounds can turn into a lot, and to control your dog’s weight suddenly seems impossible.

It’s not! Dogs lose weight the exact way humans do, by burning more calories per day than they consume. If you are serious about starting this doggy weight-loss journey, you will need to weigh them to find out how much they weigh, and just how much they should lose. Look up the ideal weight for your dog’s breed, and if they are a mutt, go by their size/dominant breed.

Dogfoodadvisor.com has a handy calculator to help you figure out how much food your dog should be consuming daily to get to their ideal weight. You can find it here: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-feeding-tips/dog-food-calculator/

The key to not overfeeding your dog is using an exact measurement every time you feed them. And never feed them by free choice – meaning you keep the food bowl full until it’s empty. Two to four small measured portions a day will restrict how much your dog eats and assure they don’t get too hungry. Don’t overdo treats either – this can sometimes be the snack that pushes them past that ideal weight.

Make sure your dogs get exercise! One walk a day will do all the difference, or letting them run around the yard.

Take your dog’s weight seriously; it can lead to a host of health problems that have them living a shorter and less enjoyable life.

For a list of recommended dog foods for weight loss, go here: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/weight-loss-dog-foods/

 

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, Dog Health, dogs, Ideal weight

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Hero Spotlight Sunday – Belle

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This week’s spotlight shines on Belle, a beagle from Ocoee, Florida whose quick thinking and grand application of her training saved her owner’s life.

Belle’s owner is Kevin Weaver, a diabetic man who knew that someday, Belle might need to help him out of a bad situation. Not only was Belle trained to use her keen doggy nose to alert her owner when his blood sugar was low, but she was even trained to dial the number “9” on his phone that would call 911. So when Weaver collapsed into a diabetic seizure one day, Belle came to the rescue. She bit down on his phone to call the police. All the dispatchers said they heard was barking, and they send help right away. Weaver recovered, admitting he wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the brave beagle.

Belle even received the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award (an award given out to those who use wireless phones to help others in emergencies), and is the first ever animal to receive it.

Well, done Belle!

- Jenna Gomes

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Dog Health, dogs, House Training

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Facebook Helps Find Missing Dogs

For all the bad talk social media gets these days, this is a nice little reminder of just how much good it can do!

On June 29th, Seth and Olivia Hatfield got in a bad car accident on their way home. Their dogs, Molly and Claire, fled from the scene. Olivia’s good friend, Elliot Thomas, decided to make a Facebook page called “Help Find Molly and Claire!” in an effort to get search teams together to find the dogs.

Well, it worked. The group quickly gained about 4000 members and there were vans of people around the accident scene searching for them. Claire was spotted occasionally, but was unable to be caught.

Molly had not been seen until a search team member at a shelter received a phone call from a woman saying that her elderly neighbor has found the dog about three days before and, thinking it was his neighbor’s dog, kept her safe.

With Claire still not found, members of the Facebook group sent in many donations, totaling about $2500, which Elliot was able to use to hire a professional dog tracker for about four hours.

Claire is still missing, but donations can still be made to help the trackers get more equipment and buy them more time to find her.

If you’re interested in helping out yourself, go to the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1438140796451197/

 

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, dogs, Facebook

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The Shelter With a “Power Hour”

 

Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia has developed a new program for the dogs at the shelter.  Trained volunteers can now take dogs from the shelter out for a “Power Hour” which can be even more than an hour.  During this hour, they are taken on an outing that they wouldn’t get to do trapped behind their cage doors in the shelter.  Some dogs get to go hiking, jump through an equestrian cross country horse, even eat ice cream or McDonald’s hamburgers as a treat.

This practice helps the dogs socialize with other dogs, people on the outside, and gets them used to being in a more open environment than their small space in the shelter.

And the whole time these dogs are out having fun, they are wearing bright vests that say, “Adopt Me”.  It not only shows the public what an awesome dog they are and that they need a home, but makes the public more aware of other dogs that need homes too, that could thrive in public just as well if given the chance.

This “Power Hour” is something that should happen in every shelter.  Not only does it make the public more aware of dogs that need homes, but it has these pups in a much better mood when they return to the shelter after their hour of freedom.  

 

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: dogs, shelter

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Be Safe, Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car!

Nearly every region of the U.S. experiences those sizzling summer days where your car feels like an oven when you step inside.  The important thing to remember is that your car can really act like an oven, too.

We all know our dogs love those car rides, but it’s best to keep it to a ride, a trip to the dog park, or to a friend’s air-conditioned home.  Your grocery shopping is not an opportunity for Fido to tag along, no matter how droopy his face gets when he sees you leave.

An animal can die in a hot car in as little as 15 to 30 minutes.  Even if they do survive exposure to such heat, they can suffer heatstroke, brain damage and lung damage.

Even if you leave the windows open or air conditioning on, you never know what can happen.  Dogs’ bodies react differently to heat than our bodies do. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog in the summertime.

So save those car rides for cooler days, and if you see a dog in a parked car on a hot day, let someone know by calling the police, who take these situations seriously.

 

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, Dog Health, Dogs, Pet Travel

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Dog Beaches

If you live near the shore or near any kind of waterfront, a beach day is the perfect way to cool off and have fun. But it’s sad to leave your dog at home all day alone if the beach you always go to doesn’t allow dogs.
Luckily, there is a website dedicated to pet-friendly travelling. They have a comprehensive list of all the beaches and swimming areas that are dog-friendly! Check out the state-by-state list here and remember to bring plenty of freshwater along for your dog when you go.  http://petfriendlytravel.com/dog_beaches

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, dog beaches, Dogs, Pet Travel, Upcoming Events

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Dog Racism?

A new, very intriguing discovery was made recently that observed the way humans perceived a dog by the color of its fur. The Humane Society of Washington, D.C. kept track of which animals were at the shelter the longest since March 2013. They found most dogs that stayed there longest had ebony-colored fur.
Similar discoveries were made by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, even adorable puppies with black fur taking much longer to adopt out than their light-colored siblings.
So, why?
Well, it has a lot to do with how we view dogs with dark fur. If you were a scary-movie lover or Harry Potter lover growing up, you know that all the bad dogs, werewolves, or wolves had dark fur. Subconsciously, that can come to mind when interacting with dark-furred dogs. Also, big, beautiful doggy eyes can get lost in dark fur and sometimes make them look a little more threatening to little kids or protective parents.
I guess everyone just needs the good old reminder not to judge a book by its cover. Or a pooch by its fur color!

-Jenna Gomes

Posted in: Blog, Dogs, dogs

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