Sunday, August 31, 2014

How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need?


Donna Hill, Donna Hill B.Sc. B.Ed., has a degree in zoology and a teaching degree. She has 20 years experience in adult and child education and enjoyed teaching people how to observe animals in nature as a nature interpreter, field biologist and train-the-trainer for presentation skills and now applies her knowledge and skills to help people and their dogs. She helps people with disabilities to train their own service dogs and has experience working with autistic and developmentally delayed teens. She uses plain English to explain what you are doing and why and also provides analogies you can relate to. She was also a Girl Guide and earned the highest honor as well as worked in the Tourism industry as a information counselor. She loves to share key information with people!

Visit her blog at Online Clicker Training Tutorials & Coaching.

Check out her two Youtube channels supernaturalbc2009 and supernatural 2008 for more awesome videos. Her motto is "Yard by Yard, Life is hard. Inch by Inch, It's a Cinch!" Break everything down into it's simplest parts and it's achievable!

Don't forget to visit Donna's FB group Observation Skills for Training Dogs or connect with Donna on Twitter.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

About Freedom, Trust And Responsibility: A "Pilot Study"

"If you love something set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was."

This is by no means a recipe of what you should do with your dog(s). It is by no means advice either. It is what we decided for our dogs. It's been working for us (and them) so far, even though there is an inherent risk with it.

Freedom, trust and responsibility. To what degree can these apply to life with dogs?

The safest place for a dog is right by their owner's hip. That is a fact.

If it was up to me, I would, indeed, have Cookie glued to my hip at all times, or have her safely tucked away in some kind of protective bubble.

What kind of life would that be for her?

With Jasmine we never had to worry. She had an invisible leash in her mind and would never go past a certain distance from us, no matter what the situation. JD likes to stick close as well, though he would go chase after something quite a ways.

And then there is Cookie. Sweet and loving, but let's face it, half wild in her heart. She grew up on her own. She's used to being on her own. And she's used to roam every time she managed to get free from her lead line.

Her prey drive is strong.

We now live on land that is large and there are no fences anywhere. If would cost a fortune to fence the entire property. There were no fences at the horse farm either, other than those for the horses.

The last thing we want for Cookie is to end up on a lead line once again.

We had a decision to make. Either keep her tied up or let her be free taking on the risks that brings.

We've been working hard on establishing a strong bond. We've been training her. And we decided to give her the freedom she never had.

The rest is up to her.

She'd have to learn that with freedom comes responsibility. Can a dog wrap their mind around that concept? Many people can't.

Not counting the weekends spent at the farm, Cookie's had her freedom for three weeks now.

And we still have two dogs!

Cookie chooses to be with us. Risks aside, it feels good to know that it is her choice to be here. Because if it wasn't, she could have been long gone. We have an answer to the question, "would she be with us if she had the choice not to be?"

She's also making some good decisions and listening quite well.

Yes, every now and then she'll take off into the bush after something. Her prey drive IS very strong. But, clearly, she always comes back and you can see she is happy to do so.

The place where we live is relatively safe.

There is one gravel road going through here. There is the odd car or motorcycle; you could probably count them if you wanted it, that's how few there are.

The dogs are not allowed on the road.

We reinforce that rule the best we can. The road isn't all that interesting anyway.

The rest is bush in all directions. Yes, bad things can happen in the bush also. But it's either that or being tied up. We decided that Cookie spent enough of her life being tied up. And we hope we won't live to regret our decision.

But Cookie is showing good sense.

We have a proof. We still have two dogs.

She loves our daily routines. In the morning we get up and go for a walk, followed by breakfast. Then we have some coffee, play a bit of training games and go to work in the bush. Cookie can either help or run around, chasing after whatever catches her fancy. She usually manages both.

When we return I have to get on the computer to get some paying work done. Whenever possible, I leave the office door open so the dogs can come in and out as they please. Cookie does really well hanging around until the next walk or whatever we might be doing.

The rest of the day is a variety of things depending on what needs to be done and the weather. Cookie likes to hunt after mice either around the trailer or in the near by field.

The day is concluded with more walks and dinner. Oh, yeah, and there is lunch somewhere in between.

Choice has been taken away from the dogs.

The choice of when and where to go, the choice where and with whom to be, the choice of what and how long to sniff, the choice of what and when to eat ...

What happens when they get some of it back? 

This is how farm dogs used to live in the past. Our circumstance aren't all that different from those back then.

So far so good. 

More importantly, we believe that this is the best choice we could have made for Cookie. Hopefully we're right.

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Observation Skills Of Dogs  
If You Want Your Dog To Do Something, Teach It  
Tricks? It's Not Just About The Tricks 
What Constitutes The Perfect Dog?
Are Dog Training Classes Really For The Dogs?  
Look Where You Want To Go: Finding My Reactive Dog Training Zen Zone? 
Dog Training And Emotions 
Dog Training And Emotions: Postscript
Dogs Love Sentences In Question Form?
Not All Dog Trainers Were Created Equal Either 
A Thought On Separation Anxiety
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Veterinary Highlights: Vaccinating Small Dogs Study

Should a Great Dane receive the same vaccine dose as a Yorkie?

That seems highly counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Either it's not going to be enough for one or too much for the other, right?

And yet, all dogs have been receiving the same dose of vaccine, regardless of their size.

Could that explain why toy breeds are more likely to suffer adverse reactions to their vaccines?

The fact is, anybody can speculate but nobody knows.

Dr. Jean Dodds has agreed to conduct a small pilot a study which should help determine efficacy of body-mass based vaccinations, specifically, giving reduced vaccine strengths to toy breed dogs.

The estimated cost of the pilot study is $5500 and is the first step in determining whether we can lessen the severity and frequency of adverse reactions to vaccinations in our tiny pups by reducing the actual vaccine itself.

To download a donation form and pay by check or money order (or by credit card offline, including Discover and American Express), click here.

Source article:
Tiny dog vaccine study

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Primer On Leukemia

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD
and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS

Leukemia is a cancer of blood cells.

It can show up within the circulatory system as well as in the bone marrow, where blood cells develop. Leukemia can affect dogs of any age, but as with most cancers, it is more common in middle-aged to older dogs.

Leukemia can affect any of the cells in the blood.

Red blood cells (which provide oxygen), the white cells (which fight inflammation and infection), and the platelets (which help with clotting). 

However, the vast majority of cases arise directly from white blood cells.  

Leukemias are generally divided into two classes based on the type of white cell involvement. The predominant cells involved with lymphocytic leukemia are the lymphocytes, whereas granulocytic leukemias involve granular white cells such as neutrophils.

In leukemia, cancerous blood cells in the bone marrow multiply out of control.

In some cases, these cells remain confined to the bone marrow, but in many cases they can escape into the circulating blood and other tissues, such as the liver and spleen. This massive multiplication of one type of cell disrupts the normal immune system, and can crowd other blood cells out of the bone marrow, leading to anemia and/or bleeding problems.

The level of illness produced by leukemia depends largely on how rapidly the cancerous blood cells are multiplying. 

Acute cases (sometimes referred to as "blastic" forms) are associated with rapid cell production and serious illness. Dogss with acute leukemia usually have a rapid onset of vague signs of illness, including loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, breathing difficulty, and (possibly) lameness or gastrointestinal disturbances.

The gums of affected pets are often pale because of anemia, and the liver, spleen, and/or lymph nodes may be enlarged. In the chronic form of leukemia, the cancerous blood cells multiply slowly and affected pets often go for long periods with few signs or symptoms. However, this can change rapidly if the chronic form shifts to a more acute form of the disease.

Leukemia is usually diagnosed by blood tests, but bone marrow samples may also be needed.  

White blood cell counts can be many times higher than normal, with malignant cells sometimes visible within the circulating blood, although in some cases, the white blood cell count can be normal or even low.

Your veterinarian may also want to perform other tests, such as x-rays, to look for signs of involvement in the abdomen or chest. 

Dogs with the chronic form of leukemia may need little immediate treatment aside from vitamins and other medications to promote bone marrow and immune function. Repeated blood tests are usually performed to monitor the status of chronic leukemias, and chemotherapy may be useful if symptoms develop.

Chronic cases often survive for months to a year (or more) after diagnosis. 

Acute leukemias may respond initially to chemotherapy, but long-term control is difficult. Most acute cases have a guarded to poor long-term prognosis. 


Visit WebVet for a wealth of information about the health and well-being of pets. All medical-related content on WebVet has been veterinarian approved to ensure its timeliness and accuracy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gretel's Brush With Scary Bloat

Should one rush their dog to the vet at the slightest sign of not feeling well?

There are times when things are best left to resolve on their own and there are times where not treating is the better strategy. Particularly when treatment equals drugs, such as antibiotics, steroids and the like.

The body does have the tools to heal itself in many cases.

So when does one ought to do something and when does one ought to wait it out?

I admit that I do take our guys to the vet even with things I feel they should be able to overcome. I want to make sure I am not missing something. And our vet was always happy to examine, evaluate and when he felt that we best not treat, he'd say that.

Find out for sure has always been my policy.

Particularly when it happened just before the weekend. Last thing I wanted was a situation blowing up on me during the weekend.

The important thing is to know your dog and to be able to assess how serious the problem might be.

But no matter how much experience we think we have, things can take unexpected turn.

Picture your dog playing with a rubber squeaky toy. Long lost toy gets its time in the spotlight. Sooner or later it becomes too much and you go to take the toy away to get some quiet.

You notice your dog's belly looks distended and when you touch it it feels like a drum.

Panic might come over you. Distended abdomen is a sign of bloat!

But your dog is a Dachshund, they are not prone to this stuff, are they?

You call your vet and they ask you if your dog's stomach is still gurgling away (when the stomach rotates on itself, it wouldn't).

Your dog is not trying to throw up and doesn't look to be in major distress.

The vet asks you to measure and monitor circumference of the abdomen. The belly doesn't get any bigger and by next morning it's a normal size. That's a big relief.

Things go back to normal until a few months later.

As if out of the blue, you find your dog's stomach distended yet again. Nothing unusual happened prior.

Because this is the second time, you go through the same steps as before. You measure the belly and monitor. And yet again, things return to normal on their own.

All remains well until it happens again.

Having it happen once, fine. Twice? But three times? This is neither normal or an odd fluke any more. Something isn't right. This time you decide to take your dog to the emergency clinic after all.

After a long exam and x-rays it turns out that your dog indeed does have bloat!

Not the really scary one with the stomach twist (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus), but bloat nonetheless. From a bloated stomach to a twisted one isn't far to go, though.

How the heck did your dog get bloat?

The vets induce vomiting to see what they can find in the stomach. Some food stuffs that match what your dog had for dinner. Some lettuce and grass, yes you dropped some and your dog does like to graze on fresh grass.

Rubbery white chunks ... where did those come from?

The vet insists they look like chunks of rawhide. But you never give your dog any! Ever! The vet is also certain your dog has gotten into something you didn't know about.

You have to leave your dog at the hospital for the night and return home with lot's to think about.

Fortunately, the next day your dog is released to go home and doing well.

However, the cause of her bloating remains unknown.

After a discussion with your family vet you determine that she might have bloated because she got her paws on a loaf of moldy bread. It was in the garbage, behind a fence, but the landscapers didn't close it properly and it did look like "something" got into the garbage.

If that's what it was, your dog should be fine in the future.

But it is scary and dangerous stuff and thank goodness it's over and all is well. Bad things can happen to good dogs and sometimes one just cannot have eyes everywhere and prevent everything.

Original story:
I Am NOT A Bad Dog Mom! (Gretel’s First Visit to the Doggie ER)
Gretel Comes Home and Emerald City Emergency Clinic Sucks

Related articles:
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat): RIP Barbie
Gastric Dilatation And Volvulus (GDV): What Did The Latest Study Reveal?

Further reading:
Dog Stomach Swelling: Causes and Treatment
Bloat - The Mother of All Emergencies

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adoption Monday: Serenity, Irish Wolfhound & Giant Schnauzer Mix, Deerfield, NH

Check out this lovely girl at Mary's Dogs Rescue and Adoption!

Serenity isn't quite sure why she ended up in the shelter....and we can't figure it out either. 

She is a sweet girl who is unsure of what the future holds but as long as she feels love, she is happy. She was difficult to photograph because as soon as the photographer got down to her level, she rushed over for a kiss... :)

Serenity is spayed, house trained and current on routine shots. Want more info on Serenity? Call Mary's Dogs: or send along an email:

Ready to bring Serenity home? Tell us about yourself and your interest in Serenity in the adoption questionnaire. Check out all the wonderful dogs on Mary's Dogs Facebook Fan Page.


Mary’s Dogs rescues and re-homes dogs and puppies from Aiken County Animal Shelter, a high-kill shelter in South Carolina, USA. They also serve as a resource to communities in Southern New Hampshire and pet owners nationwide by providing education and information on responsible pet ownership, including the importance of spay/neuter, positive behavior training, and good nutrition.

Don't forget to check out Mary's Dogs Shop where you can shop dog and support their work!

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