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rec.pets.dogs: Assorted Topics [Part 1/2] FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/misc/part1
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Last-modified: 20 Nov 1997

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                           Assorted Topics (Part I)
                                       
Author

   Cindy Tittle Moore, Cindy Tittle Moore, rpd-info@netcom.com
   
Table of Contents

     * A New Baby
     * Docking and Cropping
     * Dog Parks
     * Dog Vision
     * Early Neutering
     * Example of a Spay/Neuter Contract
     * Facts and Opinions about Neutering
          + Practical reasons for keeping your dog inta ct
          + Practical reasons for neutering your dog
          + Definite myths about neutering
          + Ethical considerations over neutering
          + References
     * Finding a Home for a Dog
     * Guard or Protection Dogs
     * Hiking and Backpacking with your Dog
     * Holidays with your Dog
     * Housetraining Topics
          + Getting the dog to go consistently in one a rea
          + Housetraining an older dog
          + Sudden onset of marking
          + Peeing in one spot
     * Invisible and Electric Containment Fences
          + Invisible containment
          + Electric containment
     * Commercial Kennels
       
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
A New Baby

   Introduce the dog to all the new things you get for a new baby: let it
   investigate the crib, baby clothes and that sort of thing. Dogs
   generally seem to know that something is up, especially as the woman
   gets closer to her time.
   
   After the baby is born, but before you bring it home, see if you can
   take something home for the dog to smell, like a blanket or an
   undershirt the baby had on. Let the dog smell it thoroughly.
   
   When the baby comes home, try to hold everything else normal, feeding
   time, any morning walks, the like. When you bring the baby in, put the
   dog on a down-stay and introduce the dog to the baby. Have one of the
   parents hold the baby in their lap and let the dog sniff the baby. Let
   it lick the baby if you're up to that, but do NOT let the dog nuzzle
   (push with its nose) or paw at the baby. It is important to introduce
   the dog to the baby. This makes it clear to the dog that the baby is a
   new member of the pack. If you exclude the dog from the baby, it may
   try to attack this "non-member" to protect its pack.
   
   Include the dog in the daily routine with the baby. Give it the same,
   if not a little more, amount of attention it always got. You do not
   want it to feel like it has been displaced or ignored in favor of the
   baby.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Docking and Cropping

   Docking is the practice of removing all or part of a dog's tail.
   Cropping is the removal of a portion of its ears so that they stand
   up. Tails are docked within the first three days of a puppy's life;
   cropping may occur at different ages but is typically about 4 months
   of age. Some people claim that docked puppies are slower to develop
   coordination for walking and running -- the shorter the dock the
   greater the effect. Docked puppies do catch up in their development.
   Most docked breeds are left with at least part of the tail and many
   are left with enough to be fully functional for communication. Breeds
   with short crops which don't need help to stand upright are done quite
   early. Breeds with tall crops that may need taping and bracing are
   done a bit later.
   
   The practices have their origin hundreds of years ago when dogs were
   cropped and docked to prevent injury to those extremities. Ears can be
   vulnerable in fights, tails can be vulnerable to underbrush when
   hunting. Docked terrier tails provide a secure "handle" by which to
   pull a dog safely out of a holes and tunnels For certain breeds,
   docking and cropping is required by the breed standard. The exception
   is in countries that outlaw the practices, such as the United Kingdom,
   much of Europe, and Australia.
   
   Today, there is little practical use for docking and cropping a dog.
   There are movements to change breed standards to reflect this,
   although some people and organizations feel very strongly the other
   way.
   
   There is at least one practical reason to have some hunting dogs'
   tails docked. A hunter once described his experiences with a hunting
   dog he decided not to dock -- and was horrified several years later
   with the sores that the dog would pick up on hunting trips. He then
   had the tail docked, but of course the procedure is more painful to an
   adult dog. If your dog does not hunt, this is moot. Many terrier
   people who have their dogs go to ground feel that tail docking is a
   practical and useful procedure in their sport.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Dog Parks

   This is a summary of information about dog parks that has been gleaned
   from the helpful responses of several netters. Compiled by Susan
   Kennedy.
   
   It seems that most of the responses came from people who are on the
   West coast, so maybe the concept of a dog park will drift across the
   country, as so many California things do.
   
   Several kinds of dog parks were described. The first is a wilderness
   area or beach that allows dogs to be off leash. This kind probably
   allows your dog to exercise, but is no guarantee that he will find
   other dogs to romp with or that his safety is assured. The second kind
   is a smaller area, probably with a fence, where the grass is probably
   mowed. This area is typically in a city park, and is set aside
   specifically for dogs. A third kind is an area that does not
   officially allow dogs, but that police chose not to enforce the leash
   laws. One dog park was described as a part-time one; hours and days
   were limited. Still another park is one set aside specifically to
   train hunting dogs. This one is funded by hunting license fees. But no
   one complains if non-hunting dogs are exercised there.
   
   It was mentioned that typically more upscale cities were likely to
   have official dog parks.
   
   In most cases, the expenses associated with the dog park are paid from
   the coffers that pay for all other park expenses. One case required a
   permit, and a fee of $25 per year.
   
   One officially sanctioned park was described as a 200' by 600' area,
   enclosed by a 4 ft. chain link fence.
   
   Dog owners are asked to clean up after their pets; in some cases,
   plastic bags and trash cans are provided for this. It is unclear how
   careful dog owners actually are about this, or how important it is. It
   would seem difficult to observe your dog (especially if you had
   multiple ones) at all times, especially if the landscape prevented a
   clear view. On the other hand, 20 dogs in one day can generate a lot
   of output! If it's a concern, you can always make sure your pet has
   eliminated before going into the park.
   
   The dog parks are not policed in any way, other than peer pressure
   from other dog owners. No attempts are made to screen dogs before
   using the parks for shots, diseases, fleas, etc. Fighting did not seem
   to be a problem. It was mentioned that if a new dog arrives and there
   appears to be the possibility of a fight, courtesy suggests that the
   new dog wait outside until the other dog has left. Another courtesy
   rule is that the owner of the agressive dog should take him out if
   play gets too rough. Verbal control is the most important tool for a
   dog owner. As might be expected, most dogs at dog parks are medium or
   larger dogs.
   
   Surprisingly, liability did not seem to be a concern for owners who
   frequent dog parks. But the presence of children (particularly if not
   accompanied by a parent) should be a concern for everyone, since an
   injury to the child could happen even in play.
   
   Several people suggested that a petition would be a good method to get
   a sanctioned dog park. One mentioned using as one of the reasons the
   importance of socializing dogs with other dogs so that they have
   better manners (towards people), but proving this is a bit difficult.
   A fee tacked on to the pet license was suggested, or an admission fee.
   
   Several people have mentioned a situation that involved taking their
   friendly, well-behaved dogs to unofficial dog parks, but having a
   problem when the dog approaches another dog who is fearful of him. The
   friendly dog chases the fearful dog, and the owner of the fearful dog
   is upset. The owner of the fearful dog then calls the police. And
   because dogs are not officially allowed off leash, there may be a
   penalty for this.
   
   For reference:
   
   York and Goodavage, _The Dog Lover's Companion - The Inside Scoop on
   Where to Take Your Dog in the Bay Area and Beyond_. Foghorn press
   (415) 241-9550
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Dog Vision

   Excerpted from: Vaughan, Dana (Ph.D.), "Canine:Color Vision,"
   _Gazette_, May 1991:
   
   The article explained the following about "color vision" in
   dogs/people:
   
   Normal Human Color range includes VIBGYOR (each letter is a color
   Violet->Red). The normal ability to see this wide range of color is
   due to the presence of three cone cell types: blue, green and red
   cones.
   
   The range of colors seen by deuteranopic (green-blind) humans and dogs
   are probably the same. Color Vision in the VIB portion of the spectrum
   is normal. However, both deuteranopes and dogs lack the green cones
   and thus have a color vision deficit in GYO portion of the spectrum.
   This means that blue-green appears white. Colors more toward the Red
   (R) portion of the spectrum appears more and more yellowish. Red
   itself thus appears yellow. Hunters take advantage of this by using
   bright orange bumpers while training: it's difficult for the dog to
   actually see the bumper while the trainer has no trouble spotting
   them.
   
   Note that it is difficult for a dog to distinguish between objects
   which are green, yellow and orange. Note also that the colors red and
   orange are hard for a dog to tell apart, but that "red" is easily
   distinguished from blue. Thus dogs are colorblind, but not to the
   extent of seeing only black and white.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Early Neutering

   Many animal shelters have instituted mandatory neutering policies in
   an attempt to reduce the staggering number of unwanted dogs in the US.
   However, compliance is difficult to ensure, even with financial
   incentives and inexpensive neutering clinics. Paired with the current
   practice among US veterinarians to neuter at about 5-8 months, it is
   very difficult to ensure that animals that should not be bred do in
   fact not breed.
   
   Some animal shelters, in responding to these problems, are looking
   into early neuter programs. Under these programs, puppies and kittens
   are neutered before they leave the shelter. Widespread adoption of
   early neuter programs by shelters should have a positive impact on the
   pet overpopulation problem. The advantages for responsible breeders
   are also obvious: pet-quality puppies can be neutered before they are
   sold, assuring the breeder that there will be no further puppies out
   of those puppies.
   
   Obviously a number of questions have been raised over the appropriate
   age for nuetering animals, and the safety of anesthetizing young
   puppies. Some new data is now available that shows
     * Early neutering did not affect food intake or weight gain.
     * Early neutering did not result in inactivity or lethargy, in fact
       the neutered dogs were slightly more active than their sexually
       intact counterparts.
     * Early neutering contributed to a slightly higher growth rate
     * Seven-week old puppies tolerated anesthesia well.
     * Spaying younger puppies was easier than spaying at the traditional
       age since there was less fat and less vasculature (resulting in
       less blood loss), reducing surgery time.
       
   Since there are important differences between neutering 7-week-old
   puppies and 7-month-old puppies, not every veterinarian can perform
   the early neutering surgery. The more extensive experience many vets
   have in neutering at the traditional age generally means they will not
   opt to change, thus for now it may be difficult to find vets
   experienced with early neutering.
   
   Summarized from Marrion, Ruth, DMV. "New Views on Neutering," in
   _Purebred Dogs/American Kennel Gazette_, April 1992 (pp50-54).
   
   Other online pages:
     * http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/3960/early.htm
     * http://www.primenet.com/~joell/altering.htm
     * http://www.he.net/~virginia/00000024.html
     * http://www.king.igs.net/~brica/esp.htm
       
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Example of a Spay/Neuter Contract

 ____(Your name and address)___________________agrees to sell the
 following animal to ___________(Buyer's name and address)___ for
 the sum of __________________.

 BREED:                           SEX:
 SIRE:                            DAM:
 DATE OF BIRTH:                   LITTER NUMBER:
 MARKINGS:

   Registration papers will be held by the seller until proof of
   spaying/neutering has be received from a licensed, reputable
   veterinarian. When proof has been received via a receipt and/or
   written statement for the vet, the registration papers and the sum of
   __($50 or whatever seems appropriate)___ will be forwarded to the
   buyer's address. Spaying/neutering of this animal is _required_ to
   receive the registration papers. It is understood at the time of sale
   that this dog is not considered to be of show or breeding quality, but
   is a representative of its breed and is structurally and
   temperamentally suited as a companion and/or obedience dog. This dog
   is guaranteed for two weeks against any general health irregularities,
   and it is recommended that the buyer have the puppy examined by a
   reputable veterinarian during this period. A refund of purchase price,
   upon return of the puppy, will be given for any puppy found
   unsatisfactory during this time limit. No other guarantee is given
   except in the case of a genetic or temperamental defect which
   develops, at any time during the dog's life, to the extent that it
   renders the dog unsuitable as a pet. In the case of temperamental
   defect the buyer agrees to return the dog to the seller for a full
   refund of purchase price. In the case of genetic or hereditary defect,
   the buyer will have the option of a replacement under the same
   conditions stated in this contract when one becomes becomes available,
   _or_ a refund of the purchase price. If at any time, the above dog
   must leave permanent ownership of the buyer, the seller must be
   notified. This dog is not to be placed in a shelter or humane society
   without prior notification to the seller. Failure to follow this
   contract will entitle the seller to the amount of $400 as a result of
   breach of contract and any legal fees associated with legal actions.
   
   The buyer understands that this is a legally binding contract and that
   a copy of this contract will be forwarded to the American Kennel Club
   to prevent fraudulent registration of the described dog.
   
   Seller:_____________________________________ Date:______________
   Buyer:______________________________________ Date:______________
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
   If you read the contract for its legal content, you'll find that if
   the owner is your average "joe-pet-owner" he'll benefit by getting a
   very sound puppy and a small bit of money back from this deal after
   the neutering is done. That's it, nothing tricky. If, however, the new
   pet owner does just get the puppy with no intention to keep it later
   or no intention to follow the contract they will be subjected to quite
   a stiff fine and legal fees.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Facts and Opinions about Neutering

   Remember, "neutering" can refer both to spaying bitches or castrating
   dogs. An "intact" bitch or dog is one that has not been neutered.
   
  Practical reasons for keeping your dog intact
  
     * Conformation showing requires dogs and bitches to be intact.
     * Breeding stock (obviously) must remain intact
       
  Practical reasons for neutering your dog
  
     * Not a show-quality or breeding-quality dog.
     * It is a working dog (such as Seeing Eye or Guide dog) and must not
       be distracted by the opposite sex.
     * Medical and health benefits.
     * Its breeding days are over.
       
  Definite myths about neutering
  
   "My bitch will become fat and lazy if I spay her." Not true. If you
   hold to the same exercise and feeding schedule after surgery that you
   did before surgery, her weight and activity will not change except as
   a normal function of aging. Bitches that become lazy after spaying do
   so because of YOUR expectations: you take her out less because you
   think she's lazier, and so around and around it goes. Remember, too,
   that the age at which many bitches are spayed (6-8 months) is also the
   age at which they begin to settle down from puppyhood into adulthood.
   Studies done on early neutering (at 8-10 weeks) show that such puppies
   remain on par behaviorally with their unneutered counterparts. If
   anything, they are often _more_ active than their unneutered
   counterparts.
   
   "I want her to have one litter before spaying because that will
   improve her personality." This is not true. Clinical studies show no
   permanent changes occur as a result of pregnancy. Behavioral changes
   that do occur are an effect of hormonal levels and lactation and are
   strictly temporary. If your behavior toward her does not change from
   before her pregnancy, her behavior will not change, either.
   
  Ethical considerations over neutering
  
    What is your goal with neutering your dog or leaving it intact?
    
   Unless you know what you want to do with your dog, it may be difficult
   to make the decision to neuter. You must take into account how you
   will prevent unwanted breeding so long as your animal is intact. For
   example, you must not let it roam. You must have it under control at
   all times.
   
   Neutering your dog will not solve behavioral problems. Solving
   behavioral problems is a matter of training. Both intact and neutered
   animals, properly trained, make fine housepets.
   
   Neutering your dog does guarantee that you will have no unwanted
   puppies. It does guarantee that _certain behaviors_ related to
   reproduction will be eliminated. This includes dog interest in the
   heat-scent, and bitch agitation during heat. It eliminates certain
   physical manifestations in the bitch, such as discharge from the
   vulva.
   
   It _may_ reduce the incidence of urine marking, mounting, and
   intermale aggression in male dogs. Interestingly enough, the _age_ at
   which an animal is neutered does not affect the likelihood that
   neutering will have an impact on a particular behaviors. _Experience_
   seems to play more of a role in determining which behaviors are
   retained. That is, if habits have been established, neutering is not
   likely to alter them.
   
   Behavior patterns common to both males and females, such as protective
   barking, playfulness, and attention-seeking are not affected by
   neutering. No basic personality or behavior changes occur as a result
   of neutering, except that undesirable male behaviors may be reduced or
   eliminated.
   
   It is possible to sterilize dogs without neutering. This means
   severing the vas deferens in the dog and the fallopian tubes in the
   bitch. You eliminate the possiblity of puppies, and there is _no_
   change in behavior because the hormones have not been altered: the
   dogs are still interested in bitches and the bitches will still go
   through heat. However, they will be sterile. You may have to look hard
   to find a vet that will do this, as it is uncommon.
   
   If you intend to breed, the decision is easy. If you are putting your
   dog to other work, you may be worried about negative or positive
   behavioral changes from neutering in your dog affecting its work. If
   you simply have a pet you do not wish to breed, neutering is entirely
   appropriate.
   
    What are the medical advantages of spaying? The medical advantages of
    neutering? How about the disadvantages?
    
   Medical advantages:
   
   Your bitch is no longer subject to reproductive cancers, such as
   mammary cancer (the most common tumor of the sexually intact bitch).
   Bitches spayed prior to their first estrus have about 0.5 percent risk
   of developing mammary cancer. If spaying is delayed after the second
   heat period, the chance of developing a tumor jumps 8-26 percent.
   Bitches spayed later than this remain at the same level of risk, 8-26
   percent. The incidence of pyometra is eliminated in spayed bitches.
   Pyometra is a common disease of intact bitches, particularly in
   bitches over 6 years of age, although it can occur at any age. It is a
   potentially fatal disease.
   
   Your dog is less at risk from prostate disease and testicular cancer,
   both of which can be life-threatening. Even non-malignant growths are
   a threat because the growth can cause infection that can eventually
   kill your dog.
   
   Medical disadvantages:
   
   General anesthesia is a risk to any dog. A small percentage of spayed
   bitches may develop estrogen imbalances in later life that causes
   incontinence (or rather, "leaking"), which is easily controlled with
   dosages of estrogen. There are no medical disadvantages (other than
   anesthetic risk) to male dogs. However in most cases, neutering a dog
   does not involve anesthesia. The exception is when an undescended
   testicle must be removed.
   
    What are the psychological effects on your dog?
    
   There is wide disagreement over this, but there are various relevant
   facts to note.
   
   First, neutered dogs are no longer concerned with reproduction. This
   is a psychological effect, but the extent of it is confined to its
   behavior with respect to heat.
   
   The argument is often over whether or not neutered dogs remain
   "aggressive." In particular, guard dogs and working dogs are often
   thought to lose something by neutering. This is counterable with
   specific examples: e.g., Seeing Eye dogs are always neutered and they
   are fine, working dogs. There are many neutered animals that are
   dominant over intact animals. For each claim made about the effect of
   neutering an animal, a counter-example can be cited. This means that
   the effect of neutering is largely dependent on the individual dog.
   And, most likely, because dogs are so attuned to their owners,
   dependent on the owner. Dogs are very good at picking up expectations:
   if you _expect_ your dog to mellow after neutering, it probably will,
   whether or not the neutering was actually responsible for it. The
   question also arises over whether dogs "miss" sex or not. Insofar as
   neutered animals never display interest in sex afterwards, the
   argument is fairly strong that dogs do not miss their sexual
   capability. "Mounting" or "humping" is a dominance related behavior
   that any alpha dog, of either sex, intact or neutered, will engage in.
   
    What are the ethical issues?
    
   There is a good deal of controversy over the practice of neutering
   animals. Please note that some viewpoints are culturally determined:
   for example, many countries in Europe, especially Scandinavian ones,
   do not have any sort of pet population problem; whereas in the US,
   millions of dogs are put to sleep annually because of uncontrolled and
   thoughtless reproduction. Thus, any debate over the relative ethics of
   neutering dogs must be careful to keep the background of the debate
   participants in mind. Your personal decision should also take this
   factor, as well as others, in making that decisions. In brief, here is
   a summary, pro and con, of the various opinions and points that
   proponents of either side make.

     PRO                               CON

Neutering prevents unwanted         You can control your own dog's
puppies.                            reproduction.

It prevents certain behaviors       You can control your dog; again,
such as roaming, being in heat      why should we take something away
going after bitches in heat.        from the dog?

There are medical benefits to       There are valid moral objections
neutering.                          to "tampering" with your dog.

Neutered dogs are content with      Who wants to have neutering possibly
established pack orders.            affect your dog's abilities.

Dominance is unrelated to intact-   But there are also cases where the
ness; many neutered animals are     dog lost some edge.
just as, if not more so, energetic
determined and aggressive as their
intact counterparts.

Many bitches perform the same       But why take the chance on an
duties as well as dogs;             individual dog's temperament
testosterone is not the magic       changing?
ingredient, training and
individual temperament is.

  References
  
   Hart BL. "Effects of neutering and spaying on the behavior of dogs and
   cats: Questions and answers about practical concerns," in JAVMA
   1991;198:1204-1205.
   
   Houpt KA, Coren B, Hintz et al. "Effects of sex and reproductive
   status on sucrose preference, food intake, and body weight of dogs,"
   in JAVMA 1979; 174:1083-1085.
   
   Johnson SD. "Questions and answers on the effects of surgically
   neutering dogs and cats," in JAVMA 1991;198:1206-1213.
   
   LeRoux PH. "Thyroid status, oestradiol level, work performance and
   body mass of ovariectomised bitches and bitches bearing ovarian
   autotransplants in the stomach wall," in J S Afr Vet Assoc
   1977;48:115-117.
   
   Marrion, Ruth, DMV. "New Views on Neutering," in _Purebred
   Dogs/American Kennel Gazette_, April 1992 (pp50-54).
   
   Salmeri KR, Bloomberg MS, Scruggs SL, Shille V. "Gonadectomy in
   immature dogs: Effects on skeletal, physical, and behavioral
   development," in JAVMA 1991;198:1193-1203.
   
   Salmeri KR, Olson PN, Bloomberg MS. "Elective gonadectomy in dogs: A
   review," in JAVMA 1991;198:1183-1191.
   
   Thrusfield MV. "Association between urinary incontinence and spaying
   bitches," in Vet Rec. 1985;116:695.
   
   Weiss, Seymour N. "Dog Breeding: It's Not for Everyone," in DogsUSA,
   1992 Annual, p 121. Vol 7, no 1.
   
   Wilcox, Bonnie, DVM, "Tell Me Why" in Dog Fancy, March 1992 (v23n3),
   discusses neutering of the male dog.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Finding a Home for a Dog

   For whatever reason, you may need to find a home for a dog. List
   everywhere: newspaper, bulletin boards, computer bulletin boards,
   newsletters, anywhere you like. But limit sharply: don't adopt out if
   they don't meet standards. Minimal standards: will neuter as soon as
   the dog's old enough, committed to a 20 year responsibility, they have
   a home or apartment that permits pets, knowledgeable about dog health
   and behavior or committed to become so. Do charge a nominal fee unless
   you know the adopter well; this keeps away those collecting animals
   for research. (You can donate all or part of the money to animal
   causes if you like.)
   
   There are many rescue organizations for both purebred and mixed-breed
   dogs. You should be able to look them up in a local directory listing.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Guard or Protection Dogs

   Many people consider getting a dog for protection or guarding
   property. Toward this end, "ferocious dogs," such as Doberman
   Pinschers, Rottweilers, and other large dogs are procured. In many
   cases, the dogs will be encouraged to bark, bite, etc.
   
   This is an _extremely poor_ approach.
   
   In the first place, many burglers are primarily deterred by
   *attention*. If your dog barks, that may be all that is needed. And
   virtually any grown dog that is attached to its family will bark when
   stranger approaches. There is no need to get a "vicious" dog.
   
   A _properly_ trained protection and attack dog is a considerable
   investment of time and money. In addition _you_ must understand how to
   keep it trained. You will throw money down the drain if you buy such a
   dog with no idea of how it is trained or how to reinforce the
   training.
   
   In addition, many dogs that are advertised as "trained attack dogs"
   are in fact poorly trained, and may cause you serious trouble when it
   goes for your neighbor's child.
   
   Basically, if you want protection, put in a burglar alarm and start a
   Neighborhood Watch program. Neither of these security assets will sell
   you down the river for chuck steak and neither will be a potential
   liability. Choose your dog as a companion -- choose it well, for it
   will be your companion for quite a few years -- and accept its
   contributions to your security profile as a bonus.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Hiking and Backpacking with your Dog

   Summarized from a post by Cathrine Reck:
   
   Any dog can carry 1/3 of his body weight. There is also a book
   available: _A Guide to Backpacking with your Dog_, by Charlene LaBelle
   that is very good. The book is put out by Alpine Publications (or
   Press). Charlene (a backpacking friend of ours) put the first Pack Dog
   titles on her Malamutes. She has good advice on packs, what to carry
   and how to pack.
   
   Summarized from a compilation by Sue Barnes who solicited advice on
   hiking with dogs in July 1993:
     * Get your dog checked out by the vet first. Dogs with dysplasia or
       other joint problems should not pack. She should also be at least
       a year old to carry a pack. Younger dogs will enjoy the hike but
       should not carry anything while their joints are still growing.
       Puppies under six months old probably should not go on hikes
       except maybe short day trips (and be prepared to carry the dog
       back if you mis-estimate!)
     * When choosing a pack look for : 1) easy to put on and take off -
       look at the positioning and types of the buckles; mine has one
       that snaps in front of the shoulders and another that wraps under
       the chest and snaps on the dog's side; 2) stays in position -
       without a good strapping system the packs can tend to shift from
       side to side; take the dog to the store with you, put one on, load
       it up, and take her for a short walk/jog; 3) drain holes in the
       bottom: dog + backpack + water = heavy pack if it doesn't drain
       quickly; double-bag the food in zip-locks to keep it dry; 4) cool
       - preferably with an open back.
     * A well-conditioned dog can carry up to 1/3 of its weight in a
       pack. But start out with about a third of that weight and work
       your way up as your dog becomes more accustomed to carrying the
       pack. You will find that with this extra size the dog will have a
       hard time doing their business. Hence the importance to train your
       dog to the pack before trying it out "for real." When you do get
       the pack, make sure you allow some time for your dog to get used
       to the idea. Put the pack on the dog when you take her for walks.
       Start off with nothing in the pack and gradually add more and more
       weight on subsequent outings.
     * Always pack weight evenly. For example, if your dog is carrying
       water, put it in small containers that you can distribute evenly.
     * Make sure everything you put in the pack is waterproof (ie. don't
       put your jacket in the pack only to have the dog go lie down in a
       stream).
     * One tip from a pack-user: "I added a large zipper pocket right on
       top of the pack, over the dog's back. I kept small items that I
       frequently needed there, and could access them without having to
       take my own pack off. Like having a caddy!
     * When using the pack, stay close to your dog. The added weight and
       size will require you to give some help to get over that fallen-
       tree etc. If your dog rolls over on his back, he may be stuck
       until you can help him out!
     * Each night and when you get back, check your dog over thoroughly
       for ticks, burrs, foxtails and other things in his coat. Check the
       pads of his feet thoroughly -- if your dog gets sore feet, you'll
       have to carry his pack, or even him! So make sure he's in good
       condition and that he doesn't pick anything up while camping.
     * Suggested things to take:
          + Current shots & heartworm up to date
          + Leash and collar with name/address on tag
          + Something to collect & bury or pack out waste
          + Extra water, food
          + Brush if dog is long-coated
          + 1st aid stuff
          + flea/tick powder plus tweezers for removal of ticks, thorns,
            or foxtails
          + Ball
          + dish (a frisbee is often good for food/water/play!)
          + Rope or cord as a tie-out at night, with a large screw-in
            tie-out stake
          + an extra pad to protect tent bottom if dog will be in tent
            with you
     * Expect your dog to eat about the same amount of food, maybe just a
       little more, but to consume much more water than normal, and
       possibly more than you will (they're not as good heat-shedders as
       humans are). Be sure you know how far apart your water sources are
       going to be when you're hiking. If you're hiking in areas prone to
       giardia, try not to let your dog drink the water -- they can get
       it and it's just as bad in dogs as it is in humans.
     * If there is poison ivy where you are going and you are sensitive
       to it, be very careful about where your dog goes and how you touch
       her after. Dogs can pick up the oils from these plants on their
       fur and you can be exposed to it just by petting, brushing or even
       touching the dog.
     * You need to worry about the types of animals you'll see. Deer are
       perhaps the biggest worry. Your dog will chase them--leash or not.
       If there are bears, don't take the dog. Raccoons, skunks, and
       porcupines present their own set of problems--some of which are a
       real pain in the you-know-what. Be sure and check with rangers
       etc. before going. Some areas do not allow dogs at all. Best to
       know in advance. You'll minimize problems by keeping your dog on
       leash at all times.
     * Don't underestimate other campers' disapproval of even friendly,
       well-behaved dogs... Keeping the dog on the leash when on the
       trail and near your tent when in camp is a must. You should
       probably have them leashed at all times to minimize problems with
       wildlife (in many areas, dogs can be legally shot for chasing a
       variety of animals, from sheep to deer).
     * If your dog is prone to barking a lot, you may want to leave him
       at home if you can't stop him from doing so. Continued and
       frequent barking will bother the wildlife and irritate other
       campers and hikers.
       
   The January 1993 issue of Dog World has a useful article by Ray Rogers
   about backpacking with a dog.
   
   One last note. Dogs and backpacking are a great combination - but
   remember that not all people feel this way. Keep the dog under control
   and clean up after him (ie. bury it!), and both you and others on the
   trail will have a great time. If you don't -- you may find that park
   closed to dogs the next time you go! So BE CONSIDERATE! Many hikers
   hate seeing dogs on the trails -- this is your opportunity to show
   them that it doesn't have to be a problem.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Holidays with your Dog

   A little thought and preparation can make holiday decoration possible
   with as little danger to your dogs and your decorations. Tips:
     * No tinsel. Dogs (and cats) that eat tinsel can easily cut up their
       intestines with this stuff. Paper-based tinsel is not as bad, but
       the plastic or metallic based tinsels should not be used.
     * Protect the Christmas tree: if your dog likes to knock it over,
       it's relatively easy to put an eye-bolt through a stud in the
       ceiling and tie the tree to it. If your dog tends to play with the
       ornaments or knock them off, put the sturdy ones on bottom and the
       fragile ones up out of reach. If your dog will eat the ornaments
       or tree, then you can put an x-pen around the tree. You can
       decorate the x-pen itself with large red ribbons for a festive
       flair. It's also possible to set the tree up (in an isolated room
       or up on a table, etc.) so that the dog can't physically reach it.
     * Be aware that many plants used in Christmas decoration are harmful
       or toxic to dogs. Most of them will cause dogs to vomit if they
       are ingested, so put them out of reach. Contrary to popular
       knowledge, poinsettias are _not_ poisonous. They are simply very
       bitter and will be immediately vomitted back up.
     * Do not put tree preservative in to the water at the base of your
       tree.
     * If your pet likes to chew on powercords, coat the wires with
       Tabasco sauce or bitter apple extract (available from pet stores).
     * Do not leave pets and lit candles unattended in the same room.
     * Before placing a present under the tree, ask if it contains food.
       Dogs especially will make short work of such presents. Pets are at
       a high risk of chocolate poisoning during the holiday season
       because there is usually much more laying around than normally.
     * Keep your pets confined to a particular room or crate them during
       parties. They may get stressed or upset with many strangers around
       and accidents may happen in all the excitement, when no one is
       keeping an eye on them.
       
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Housetraining Topics

  Getting the dog to go consistently in one area
  
   Every time you take the dog out, take it to the same spot and,
   preferably, give it a command like "potty" or whatever.
   
   If the dog is already in the yard and decides to go to the bathroom,
   distract the dog by yelling NO (or clapping or whistling) and take it
   to the spot it's supposed to go (even if it's finished already) and
   give the command to go to the bathroom. Don't yell or correct harshly,
   just distract it enough to stop the behavior and give you an
   opportunity to move it to the right spot.
   
   It helps if the spot is marked out. A common way to do this is to dig
   out a square at least several inches deep, line up 4x4's along the
   edge and fill with gravel.
   
  Housetraining an older dog
  
   With regards to housetraining an older dog, it can actually be easier
   to do this. Puppies do not have the physical capacity for "holding" it
   until they are 4 months old or so. Before that you are just doing
   damage control and trying to get the concept across to them. Older
   dogs, especially ones that have been kept outdoors in a kennel, will
   not want to go indoors because it doesn't feel right. Follow the same
   rules that you would with any other dog during housetraining: out
   after every meal, out after every nap, and out every two hours
   otherwise. And don't just put them out in the yard and expect them to
   do their business. Take them to a specified spot and wait with them
   until they do their stuff. Take that opportunity to teach them a word
   to "go" too, if they don't already know one.
   
   And, when they go, outdoors: PRAISE THEM! If they have an accident and
   you catch IN THE ACT, then tell them NO and take them to their spot to
   finish, praise them when they do it there. If you don't actually catch
   them in the act, then quietly, clean it up, control your temper, and
   pretend it didn't happen. They will learn rather quickly but you _must_
   watch them at all times when they are in the house until you learn to
   read their signs and anticipate problems.
   
  Sudden onset of marking
  
   There are several possible causes for a dog that suddenly starts
   marking (urinating) in the house. First, rule out medical problems
   with your vet.
   
   If you've just moved into a new house and your dog starts marking,
   it's probably to claim the house. Try leaving your dirty laundry all
   over the house for a few days so that YOU mark it as yours. Take it up
   after a few days.
   
  Peeing in one spot
  
   For a dog that pees in a particular place in the house, leaving
   laundry in that spot can also work to discourage it. Dogs may consider
   little-used parts of your house sufficiently "distant" from the den
   that it's OK to pee there. Your laundry there marks it as "den". Also,
   you can take them to these distant or used spots and do some obedience
   or other dominance work with them there.
   
   It also helps to actually catch the dog in the act. You can then yell
   "NO" to distract it, and then take it outside. This works well for
   dogs that simply think its OK there because its "distant" and you
   haven't specifically said not to. You MUST catch it in the act,
   though, yelling at it _after_ all's said and done will accomplish
   absolutely nothing.
   
   Be sure to clean up that spot thoroughly with enzyme based cleaners.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Invisible and Electric Containment Fences

   A great article on fencing in general can be found at CanisMajor.
   There are a variety of fences that do not use a physical fence. These
   are detailed below.
   
  Invisible containment
  
   Brand names include Invisible Enclosure, Pet-Alert, DogWatch, Pet
   Guardian, DogMaster, Radio Fence, and Freedom Fence. Suppliers include
   Innotek and others.
   
   This is an arrangement where wire is buried around the property and
   the dog wears a collar that shocks it if it gets too close to the
   boundary. There is often a warning tone emitted by the collar if the
   dog gets near the boundary; if the dog continues closer, then the
   shock is administered. Some newer brands use only a "sonic" (sound)
   warning. This kind of a "fence" does not depend on the presence of a
   physical fence, although it could certainly augment one. Points to
   consider:
     * You must _train_ the dog to understand what is going on, you can't
       just expect to put it on and have it work. If the fence does not
       come with extensive and detailed instructions for training the
       dog, be wary. The training typically takes from one to three
       weeks.
     * _This does not prevent other dogs (or people) from coming in and
       bothering your dog, unless it is supplemented by a physical fence._
       For example, dog thiefs have been known to come in, remove the
       collar, and take the dog with them!
     * If your dog somehow gets outside the perimeter of the fence with
       its collar on, it will be shocked when attempting to _re-enter_!
       (The collar will not shock the dog beyond a given distance
       regardless of which side the dog is on.)
     * If you experience a power failure, you must check the boundaries
       -- take the collar off the dog and walk along the perimeter and
       listen for the warning tone. Several brands have lifetime
       warranties and will fix these problems.
       
   In my opinion, these "fences" work very well to augment inadequate
   fences, divide a fenced yard (for example, to keep the dog out of the
   vegetable garden), or even block off parts of the house inside. Under
   no circumstances would I recommend it for use in unfenced properties
   without supervision. However, many individuals have reported success
   with their use; you will have to evaluate your particular situation.
   
  Electric containment
  
   Most electic fencing systems are "do it yourself" or done by
   contractors. Some kits are available.
   
   Many owners, when faced with a dog that persistently digs out or
   scales the backyard fence, will run a "hot" wire along the bottom of
   the fence or along the top of the fence. This often works quite well,
   to the point where the presence of the wire, whether hot or not, will
   deter escape. Points to consider:
     * You should _not_ shock puppies. Wait until the dog is fully grown.
     * For digging, bury the wire under the fence. The depth will depend
       on how deep your dog is willing to dig. WARNING: Not all wire can
       be buried for this purpose. To avoid shorts, blown fuses and high
       electric bills, not to mention risk of fire, be sure the wire you
       use CAN in fact be buried. When in doubt, check with a
       professional.
     * For dogs that scale the fence, run it along the top of the fence.
       If the dog is jumping the fence, you will either need to make the
       fence taller, or try an invisible containment method.
     * This is not foolproof, dogs have been known to get around these,
       too.
     * Do not make electric fences solely of electrified wires. They
       should be put up on wooden fences. WARNING: The hot wires should
       also pass through insulators so they do not come in contact with
       their supports unless those supports are totally non-conductive:
       e.g., fiberglass. Even a wooden post can become conductive when it
       rains and the wood gets wet. Again, read all instructions
       completely or consult with a professional to avoid problems.
       
   Fences in general:
     * A three to four foot fence is in general not adequate for most
       dogs. Toy breeds and specific individual dogs may be alright with
       this height, but it is not a general assumption that you can make.
     * Some inexpensive ways to fortify a fence before resorting to the
       more expensive solutions of a higher fence, electrified fence, or
       installing invisible containment systems:
          + String up aluminum cans on six foot string lengths, and hang
            on the inside of your fence. The racket discourages some dogs
            from climbing over.
          + In a similar vein, putting PVC pipe up on a string so that
            they spin freely will make the fence more difficult to climb.
          + Installing 9" eyebolts along the inside of the fence and then
            threading heavy guage wire through the eyes makes another
            barrier.
          + Lining the inside of your fence with corrugated fiberglass
            can prevent both climbing and chewing on the fence. The
            fiberglass comes in several colors and you can choose a
            non-obtrusive brown shade.
          + For a digger, try putting down paving stones as a border
            around your fence.
          + Some dogs hate digging in gravel; a gravel border along the
            fence can work to keep dogs from digging.
          + A concrete border (more expensive) can also be put down.
       
   Note that none of these suggestions will work on a dog that can sail
   over the fence. A taller fence may be needed, or a non visible fencing
   system to augment the existing fence will work.
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
Commercial Kennels

   Comments summarized from Leisa Diel's posting in May 1993:
     * If your dog is under 30lbs, it's quite likely it will be caged
       rather than put in a run. Instead of asking if your dog will be
       caged, ask if the kennel cages at all and ask to see the area. You
       want to see clean, neat cages, with clearly labelled information
       for each dog (medications, feeding & exercise schedule.
     * Look for places that require proof of vaccinations, especially for
       parvo and kennel cough.
     * If you know that your dog is going to be caged mark everything
       you're giving him with the loudest colors imaginable - ESPECIALLY
       MEDICINES and explain to the handlers if he has any special needs
       like a lower cage or a cage out of the draft etc. If you are told
       that NO dog is EVER caged, suspect you're being lied to especially
       if you have a small dog. If you're told that your dog WILL go in a
       run, check up on that a few hours after you leave for the first
       time. Say that you want to see where Fido is staying and INSIST
       (if you can't see your dog out front on the runs) on going with
       the attendant to get him out.
     * If you feel uncomfortable doing this remind yourself that you've
       given the kennel every opportunity to prove itself and that under
       no circumstances should you be lied to regarding your pets care.
       The kennel people - if they're any good at all - are used to
       dealing with people who love animals and will be patient with your
       needs.
     * Dogs got switched. There were so many schnauzers and boxers and
       they all looked ALIKE! for the most part. I was in the room when
       one of the trainees mixed up two sets of identical schnauzers, AND
       sent the wrong dog home with the wrong owner. The owner (thank
       GOD!) realized that her dog had been switched and brought the
       other dog back before his owner took HER other dog away.
     * SUGGESTION: Put your own dog's bow on him or her. The usual
       procedure at the kennel was to take off the dog's collars (because
       of the strangulation danger from chain link runs)and put the dogs
       in a cage or run with a card bearing their name and weight etc. I
       paint one or more of Basil's toenails - in a distinctive pattern
       that I'll recognize. A week long stay won't be enough for the
       cement to wear the paint off and I rest easier. It wouldn't hurt
       to have your dog tattooed, either. Also be wary if your dog has
       been groomed or bathed without your consent. Sometimes this is
       necessary as dogs will roll in poop or something but sometimes
       this is because it wasn't your dog who was groomed it was someone
       elses who had given permission for the grooming. If you ask why
       the grooming was done without your consent the kennel people have
       a greater opportunity to see a mistake if they've made one.
     * Also along these lines if your dog (and you're sure it's your
       dog)HAS been groomed and /or bathed without your consent it means
       that somewhere along the route your dog did get switched with
       someone elses. This is a GOOD thing to find out because it's
       shoddy record-keeping and you don't want to board your dog there.
       It may not sound like a big deal if the kennel's switched your dog
       accidentally for a couple of days until you realize that some dogs
       get big-bad medicines like pheno-barbital and if they think your
       pup is one of the dogs who needs the medication - your dog just
       got a dose. Also if your dog is on heartworm preventative - or
       worse yet isn't on heartworm preventative and is given one -
       mistakes could get fatal.
     * A GOOD kennel will admit up-front any mistakes that did occur when
       you check your dog out, not later when he goes into seizures or
       something.
     * If you want your dog groomed or bathed while they're in the kennel
       ( I would recommend letting the groomer bathe them before you take
       them home - its easier and generally the effect it has on the
       homecoming is positive for you both), check the groomer and the
       grooming procedure out as carefully as the kennel. Good kennels
       sometimes have BAD groomers with BAD procedures.
     * My advice to anyone boarding a dog is to choose carefully, follow
       up thouroughly, cooperate with the staff as much as possible and
       in a friendly manner (I saw a lot of abuse of dogs that stemmed
       from the owners being mean or bitchy and the kennel workers took
       that out on the dog). Keep your copy of the shot records - give
       the kennel a copy if you have to but you keep a copy too. Above
       all though - know your dog. Know what makes him or her unique,
       moniter his or her state on entry and again on exit. Be wary of
       glib, rehearsed answers or a brusque, businesslike attitude
       towards your animal. Good animal people LIKE their work and LIKE
       animals and you can't fake this.
       
   Ever vigilant right? Good kennels have nothing to hide!!!!
   
   From: tims@bvc.edu (TiM SEYDEL)
   
   First off, thanks to everyone who replied to my post about boarding my
   dog. A brief summary of the reponses is as follows:
    1. Leave your pet with something of theirs/yours. A favorite blanket,
       toys and other "personal" items will help the animal feel more
       comfortable and won't forget you. When you leave them with
       something of yours, leave it "dirty" (i.e. don't wash it-like a
       dirty t-shirt, etc.). Toys can be better because they won't get
       washed and hence lose the scent.
    2. Make sure to feed your pet the same food-you can usually leave
       behind your brand of food for your pet.
    3. Leave information/itinerary and phone #s with the kennel so they
       can reach you, should anything happen.
    4. Check with your kennel in advance to ensure your pet has all of
       their shots, as many kennels require they have up-to-date
       vaccinations.
    5. Check with the kennel about where the dogs stay, if they get to go
       outside for exercise, etc. And ask other dog owners and/or your
       vet if they have a recommendation.
    6. When you get back, try to spend some extra time with your pet and
       don't get mad if they forget some of their training. They've been
       out of the daily regimen, but will remember shortly after you get
       them home. If you have a favorite park to take them to where they
       can run around, go there shortly after getting home.
       
   And have fun on your trip! (Miscellaneous topics continued in Assorted
   Topics, Part II.)
     _________________________________________________________________
                                      
   
    Assorted Topics (Part I) FAQ
    Cindy Tittle Moore, rpd-info@netcom.com
    
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