Category Archives: dog ownership

The truth about pets and dating

PetSmart Charities, Inc. a nonprofit animal welfare organization teamed up with Match.com, the online dating agency, to survey single people about pets and dating.  The results are revealing.  Here’s the synopsis:

Pet Smart Charities dating survey poster

Bark For Your Park!

Bark for your Park

There are 15 finalists for this year’s Bark for your Park contest, sponsored by PetSafe.

PetSafe evaluated the availability of land, civic leader support, population size, and the total number of votes in the first round of the contest to come up with the finalists.

The contest supports dog parks because they provide a venue and opportunity for dogs to get vital exercise and socialization they need, which are two major factors in reducing behavior issues.  People tend to meet other dog owners, trainers and pet professionals at dog parks and are able to exchange information and resources that can further encourage responsible dog ownership.

You have until July 31 to vote.  Popular vote will determine the winner, who will receive $100,000. Additionally, the runner-up city in each small, medium and large category will win $25,000. The Bark from Your Heart award winner, which will be the city with the highest vote to opportunity to vote, will win $25,000.

Winners will be announced on August 7.

The finalists are:

  • Auburn, NY
  • Beckley, WV
  • Carrollton, TX
  • East Hartford, CT
  • Enfield, NH
  • Hattiesburg, MS
  • Manassas Park, VA
  • Port Chester, NY
  • Potsdam, NY
  • Sanford, NC
  • Springfield, IL
  • Sulphur Springs, TX
  • Taylor, MI
  • Tehachapi, CA
  • Waverly, IA

Pope Francis, with respect, you’ve got it wrong

I was warming up to Pope Francis and his papacy until last week.  Vatican Radio reported that fifteen couples, with between 25 and 60 years’ experience in marriage, were in attendance to hear the Pope decree that part of their duties were to abide by fruitfulness – that is to have children.  He said:

“These marriages, in which the spouses do not want children, in which the spouses want to remain without fertility. This culture of well-being from ten years ago convinced us: ‘It’s better not to have children! It’s better! You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be care-free…it might be better – more comfortable – to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or is this not? Have you seen it? Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness. It is not fruitful, it does not do what Jesus does with his Church: He makes His Church fruitful.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis seemed to be warming to the role of dogs in our lives with the blessing last year of a guide dog owned by a visually-impaired radio journalist…

Photo by:  ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

…and he welcomed the dog of a homeless man into his birthday celebrations.

But this latest directive is a step backwards.  I think in a world that is overpopulated by humans, this attitude is misguided.  There are many people (some with, and some without, children) who devote their lives to the care of God’s creatures.  We should not pass judgment on their life choices.

 

Does your dog disturb your sleep?

Daisy bed photo

While countless pet owners peacefully sleep with a warm pet nearby, a new Mayo Clinic study, presented this week at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, finds an increase in the number of people experiencing sleep disturbances because of their pets.

A previous Mayo Clinic study published in 2002 reported that of patients who visited the clinic’s sleep center and owned pets, only one percent reported any inconvenience from their pets at night. The new study shows a larger number of patients — 10 percent in 2013 — reported annoyance that their pets sometimes disturbed their sleep.

“The study determined that while the majority of patients did not view their pets intolerably disturbing their sleep, a higher percentage of patients experienced irritation — this may be related to the larger number of households with multiple pets,” says Lois Krahn, M.D., Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and author of the study. “When people have these kinds of sleep problems, sleep specialists should ask about companion animals and help patients think about ways to optimize their sleep.”

Between August and December 2013, 110 consecutive patients at the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Arizona provided information about pets at night as part of a comprehensive sleep questionnaire. Questions covered the type and number of pets, where the animals slept, any notable behaviors and whether the patient was disturbed. The survey showed that 46 percent of the patients had pets and 42 percent of those had more than one pet. The most popular pets were dogs, cats and birds.

The disturbances by pets that patients reported included snoring, whimpering, wandering, the need to “go outside” and medical needs.

Source:  Newswise press release

Tie a yellow ribbon…

It’s Dog Bite Prevention Week in the USA.  What a better time to consider the role of The Yellow Dog Project?

The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for owners of dogs that need personal space. It aims to educate the public and dog owners so they can identify dogs needing their space and so they understand how to appropriately interact or approach these dogs.

The Project promotes the use of a yellow ribbon, tied to the dog’s leash or collar, to show others that the dog is special and needs space.  Variations of the yellow ribbon include yellow bandanas or yellow leashes.

Photo courtesy of The Yellow Dog Project via Facebook

Photo courtesy of The Yellow Dog Project via Facebook

I personally like the use of leashes which not only are yellow, but have words to indicate the dog’s status:

Photo courtesy of The Yellow Dog Project via Facebook

Photo courtesy of The Yellow Dog Project via Facebook

Dogs wearing a yellow ribbon are not necessarily aggressive.  Many have fear issues which could be caused by pain from injuries, advancing arthritis, or surgery.  Others may be a rescue dog who has behavioral problems associated with a traumatic history.  Some dogs will be undergoing training for their behaviors, but haven’t passed their tests yet.

In my practice, I am working with some dogs who are reactive in public and would benefit from space.  I’m very happy to recommend to their owners that they tie a yellow ribbon to their dog’s leash to help indicate that their dog is special.

The Yellow Dog Project website contains links to country-specific websites that provide resources such as contact details for trainers who use positive reinforcement techniques.  The Yellow Dog Project is also on Facebook.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

Picking up is important

It’s National Scoop the Poop week in the USA.

DoodyFreeWater-poster-24x36-691x1024

In 1991, the EPA declared dog poo a non-point source pollutant.  Other non-point sources include herbicides, oil and chemicals (including those used for production agriculture, or in your own back yard).

(Is it any wonder why people are so concerned in New Zealand about cow urine and dung’s impacts on the environment?  A single cow excretes lots more waste than a single dog!)

To get into the spirit of things, the DoodyFree Water Project is giving away 250,000 pet waste bags to dog parks and other green spaces.  You can apply through their website by explaining how a bag donation will impact on your community.  You can also read about DoodyFree projects in your state.

The DoodyFree Water Project is sponsored by waste management company DoodyCalls.

Read my other posts about responsible dog ownership and scooping the poop:

The scoop on poop

The public relations nightmare of unscooped poop

The 5 types of dog walker

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

Dogs benefit children with autism

A University of Missouri researcher has studied dog ownership decisions in families of children with autism and found that parents report a range of benefits of dog ownership including companionship, stress relief and opportunities for their children to learn responsibility.

Photo credit: Noël Zia Lee, Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Noël Zia Lee, Wikimedia Commons

‘Children with autism spectrum disorders often struggle with interacting with others, which can make it difficult for them to form friendships,’ said Gretchen Carlisle, the study’s author. ‘Children with autism may especially benefit from interacting with dogs, which can provide unconditional, nonjudgmental love and companionship to the children.’

Carlisle interviewed 70 parents of children with autism.  Nearly two-thirds of the parents in the study owned dogs, and of those parents, 94 percent reported their children with autism were bonded to their dogs. Even in families without dogs, 70 percent of parents said their children with autism liked dogs.

‘Bringing a dog into any family is a big step, but for families of children with autism, getting a dog should be a decision that’s taken very seriously.  If a child with autism is sensitive to loud noises, choosing a dog that is likely to bark will not provide the best match for the child and the family. If the child has touch sensitivities, perhaps a dog with a softer coat, such as a poodle, would be better than a dog with a wiry or rough coat, such as a terrier.’

The study, “Pet Dog Ownership Decisions for Parents of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder,” was published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing earlier this year.

Source:  University of Missouri media release

For more about the benefits of dogs for people with autism, read my post Dogs are a ‘social lubricant’ in helping people with autism

The 5 types of dog walker

A new study in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management discusses the environmental, health and safety issues of dog walking and, in particular, scooping the poop.

Please Clean UpChristopher Lowe of the University of Central Lancashire in Preston (UK) and colleagues hoped to determine what factors influence dog walker behaviour and how those who do not do the right thing might be persuaded to take charge of their dog mess.

The team suggests that there are five types of dog walker from the most to the least socially and environmentally responsible:

  • Proud to pick up – happy to be seen carrying dog waste, will pick up in all locations and take it home if no bins are available
  • It is the right thing to do – will pick up in public places but will seek to dispose of the waste as soon as it is practical; often embarrassed to be seen carrying bagged waste
  • I have done my job – if there is no bin available will leave the bagged waste to be dealt with by someone else
  • Only if I have to – will only pick up in the presence of other people – likely to discard when no one is looking
  • Disengaged – will not pick up in any situation even if they are aware of the environmental consequences of their actions

Dog faeces are not only as unpleasant as any animal waste, they can also carry parasitic diseases that have health impacts on people and animals that come into contact with them. For instance, they might transmit toxocariasis, via the larvae (immature worms) of the dog roundworm (Toxocara canis), which can cause blindness, asthma and neurological problems in those affected. Dog faeces from animals that eat raw meat and bones are also suspected of causing neosporosis in cattle. The researchers also point out that the presence of dog faeces in country parks, walks and other recreational areas can deter visitors and so have a local economic impact in those areas.

The team’s final thoughts:  The issue of getting dog walkers to do the right thing is both complex and emotive….more research is needed.

Source:  AlphaGalileo media statement

Grounds for dismissal?

Royston Grimstead, owner of an Aston Martin and a Border Collie cross named Luce, came home last week to find that she had chewed the wheel arch of the £80,000 car.

photo by SWNS

photo by SWNS

Some people found this story funny, with Grimstead saying that he felt the dog acted out of spite when she heard that he wanted to re-home her.  He then reported that the had re-homed Luce without telling her new owners about the destructive chewing incident (although with the coverage this story had in worldwide media, they probably have heard by now).

In my opinion, dogs don’t act out of spite.  They do act out of boredom and Border Collies are particularly known for their high intelligence and need of a job (plus other enrichment activities).  Luce was likely bored and found the texture and shine of the fibreglass appealing.

photo by SWNS

Luce, photo by SWNS

I don’t agree with the media coverage of this story for two reasons:

  • It reinforces the myth that dogs act from spite
  • It spreads the idea that is okay to give away a dog when you don’t want to work with them on behavioural issues

What do you think?

Who’s a good girl..and other things we’d like to hear

Have you ever considered that the things you say to your dog are a reflection of what you would like to hear?  Food for thought…