The Company of Animals’ Anxiety Wrap® for Dogs Calms, Corrects Problem Behavior

Posted on July 1st, 2015 in Canine Corner, Dogs, Pet Care, Pet Supplies

Panting, barking, licking, jumping….These are all relatively normal dog behaviors, right? But when they’re displayed in excess or accompanied by whining, pacing, destructive chewing/scratching or aggressive outbursts, they are generally indicative of a larger problem: dog anxiety. Super sensitive or ‘reactive’ pets may demonstrate similar anxiety-related behavior during times of separation, travel, fireworks or thunderstorms.Anxiety Wrap logo

For example, Jiminy Cricket, my almost 2-year-old Golden Retriever has issues from his (horrid) humble past with anxiety, jumping up, and whining. He also
greatly fears any type of yelling, or angered, raised voices – particularly if cursing is involved. (We experienced his reaction to this when a neighbor’s lawncare team got into a wicked fight one day recently…).  We tried the Anxiety Wrap® on Cricky for about a two-week period each time we left the house to go out (Crick also prefers to not be alone…Ever.)

I gotta’ tell ya’ – the Anxiety Wrap® worked like a charm!

We simply put the coat-like wrap on him about a half-hour before we left* and he was totally fine. He didn’t whine and linger at the door and follow us around from room to room (he knows the ‘you’re leaving’ routine); he didn’t give us a sad face; and his bottom jaw didn’t start chattering like it often does when he’s nervous, over-anxiAnxiety-Wrap-Dog-4-249x300ous or too excited. The difference the Anxiety Wrap® made, in just a two-week period, is simply amazing.

The Anxiety Wrap® uses acupressure and gentle, constant, maintained pressure to relieve stress and end fear in dogs. It activates key pressure points where dogs harbor stress, including in the neck, chest area, shoulders, midsection and hind quarters. The wrap offers an acupressure-like experience that’s continuous and helps relieve or even resolve the pooch’s stress. Hence, it also curbs the resulting behaviors that stem from that fear/stress, like anxiety, hyperactivity, insecurity and shyness.

Designed to be lightweight and breathable, the Wrap’s custom made fabric features a four-way stretch that provides a snug fit that’s as unique as the dog wearing it. It was easy for Cricket to flex around and move though he was getting a hugging sensation from it. (Personally, I know he loved it!)

The Anxiety Wrap® has a proven track record of success and helps increase a dog’s self-confidence, focus, animal-to-animal and animal-to-human socialization, bonding ability, relaxation and balance. It’s also used to treat: firework/thunderstorm fear, separation anxiety, constant barking, unwanted jumping, whining, nervousness, fear biting and destructive chewing.

*In most cases, it’s recommended that while the pet is wearing the Wrap, the parent should refrain from interacting since over-stimulating the pet can decrease the effectiveness of the wrap or override the acupressure.

About The Company of Animals

Founded by pet behaviorist Dr. Roger Mugford, The Company of Animals is celebrating 35 years as a leading provider of innovative training products designed to achieve a positive relationship between pets and their parents. The Company of Animals designs and manufactures a wide range of acclaimed products, including the original HALTI®, the Pet Corrector™ and the CLIX™ training range. The latest additions to the famed family of enrichment products are the GREEN feeders for dogs and cats, the Anxiety Wrap®, and the new HALTI OPTIFIT.

 

*All opinions herein are those of the Administrator, JL Smith. This post was written in conjunction with The Company of Animals and the Administrator, and the Administrator received a trial product. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

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Friskies™ Launches First-of-its-Kind Cat Treat Toy, the Pull ‘n Play

Pull ‘n Play Premieres at Friskies Playhouse in NYC with Pro Football Player Steve Weatherford

Join the Fun! Enter the Charitable #MostPlayfulCat Contest, Play Games Online, Get Coupons & More!

Friskies™, known fpull n play full imageor decades as an authority in cat care and nutrition, has just launched the latest innovation in cat treats… and toys…at the same time! Announcing the Friskies Pull ‘n Play, a revolutionary cat treat/cat toy that actually allows your cat to eat string-like treats!

Maxwell’s first question when faced with the intriguing proposition of extra kitty treat time, naturally, was, “Can I have what Tater Tot and Sasha don’t finish?” Hee-hee.  And of course, once he discovered what the Pull ‘n Play was, Tater Tot’s first question was, “Can I pretty please have my very own Pull ‘n Play, Mom?” (Tate is obsessed with strings and things…)

Soon to be the fancy feline fetish of fluffballs across the US, the Friskies™ Pull ‘n Play is the first-ever cat toy that incorporates tender, edible strings for felines to first play with, and then devour however they please. The mouse shaped toy has a reservoir for regular treats too – called the Wobbert toy. The edible strings come out the top of the toy while, if it’s being rolled around, regular treats will spill out of Wobbert. So actually, this new fandangled cat toy is pretty fancy-pants. I’m quite impressed and all the kitties I tested it on are equally in love.

Personally I think the concept (and the actual toy) is ingenious. How clever. I mean, how many of us have cats (or have had them) that have swallowed (or well attempted to swallow) strings and stringy things? Seriously! In my house we have a rule that mice toys can’t even have tails (we cut them off) because Tater Tot will eat them. In like a day. When I was growing up my old ginger tabby Weiner ate a shoestring once and it cost my Mom the mortgage payment to save his life, MOL!

Sooo, the fact that Friskies invented an edible string toy is absolutely fabulous. It’s pet-acular. And it may just save some of us from some vet bills, too, lol! (Totally kidding on that last point.)

Anyhoo- we tested this mega-crafty seemingly-super-powered cat toy on two of the cutest kitties nature has ever made, the Bengal babies (my niece and

Simba shows that carn-sarn straw who's boss...

Simba shows that carn-sarn straw who’s boss…

nephew), Simba and Nala. They went bat-shit crazy. They lost their minds running around it, then swatting it, whapping it and slapping it – with impressive force I might add. Albeit they are only 4.5 months old, these two took on Gobbert and the Pull ‘n Play like 2-pound seasoned linebackers!

The Heathens (nickname, total joke, calm down) took turns pulling at the straws immediately when I put the toy on the floor. And they just as quickly noticed the odor emanating from the flavor-packed straws. (BTW, they come in three flavors: Chicken and Cheese, Salmon and Shrimp and Tuna and Crab.) Gobbert took quite a beating at this

Nala gets a straw!

Nala gets a straw!

time – he was flung around being held by the straws only!

Although first completely focused on the straws only (there must be something super tasty in those things), they soon discovered the treat reservoir that is Gobbert. Once Nala found this out, it was on! (See picture) In the end, Nala pretty much took on the straws and Simba finished Gobbert off by beating the crap out of him ‘til all the Party Mix came out!

Friskies Playhouse

In the meantime, the folks at Friskies are partying kitty-style; they’re not only having a “Friskies Playhouse” at NYC’s Gansevoort Plaza (partnering with Petfinder), they’re bringing in prized punter Steve Weatherford as the spokesperson to play games with folks that afternoon and to encourage adoptions.

Yep, Friday, June 26 from 11am to 3pm, Weatherford and Waffles, one of America’s most delightful, playful celebrity cats, will be on hand to help Petfinder find some homes for adoptable cats, and to play games with guests in the Playhouse. Friskies is donating a package of Party Mix to shelter cats each time a guest wins a game at the Friskies Playhouse.

Most Playful Cat in America Sweepstakes = #MostPlayfulCat

Consumers and cat addicts are encouraged to upload a picture of their funny furry feline to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MostPlayfulCat. You’ll be entered into a major sweepstakes which will find the Most Playful Cat in America. Enter today and you could enjoy a grand prize of $1,500, a Wobbert toy and one year’s supply of Friskies Pull ‘n Play strings and treats. Fifty additional first place winners will receive a one year supply of Friskies Pull ‘n Play and a Wobbert toy.

Maxwell's #MostPlayfulCat entry! MOL!

Maxwell’s #MostPlayfulCat entry! MOL!

The coolest part of the Most Playful Cat in America Sweepstakes? The brand will make a donation of one Pull ‘n Play package (up to 2,500) for every hashtag #MostPlayfulCat that is used from June 25 through July 2. If the goal is met, Friskies will then make an additional donation of 2,500 Pull ‘n Play string pouches and 5,000 packages of Party Mix!

To join the fun, make sure you’re sharing your most precious playful cat photos with Friskies on Twitter and Instagram using #MostPlayfulCat. And don’t forget to visit www.friskies.com/pullnplay to enter the #MostPlayfulCat sweepstakes by uploading your silly cat photos. You can also spend some silly time playing games online! Plus, you can get more information about the most inventive cat treat toy I’ve ever seen – the Pull ‘n Play – if you’d like.

Remember the Pull ‘n Play is available at retailers nationwide starting this month!

 

*All opinions herein are those of the Administrator, JL Smith. This post was written in conjunction with Nestle Purina Pet Care (Friskies brand), and the Administrator, and the Administrator received a trial product and was compensated. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

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Max, the Tale of a Heroic Military Working Dog, Will Warm Hearts, Touch Souls

Canine. Best Friend. Hero. Marine.

 

“Max” the movie is not just a movie.

It’s a touching story offering life lessons about hope, love, faith, courage, trust, togetherness and more all in the face of tragedy. It’s about that omnipresent human animal bond and the astonishingly powerful strength of it.

Max Movie PosterMax the MWD (military working dog) is not simply a Belgian Malinois trained to sniff bombs. He is a confidante. A best friend. A champion of bravery and leadership for America’s marines…

“When people connect with an animal there’s a primal bond that often goes beyond what we experience with other people,” says Boaz Yakin, the co-writer/director/executive producer of “Max.” That was the initial inspiration for the movie, which follows the journey of an MWD whose U.S. Marine handler loses his life in Afghanistan. Traumatized by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (yes, our dogs can get that, too), the dog is adopted by the family the Marine, Kyle Wincott, left behind.

Yakin, a self-proclaimed dog-lover attests, “I wanted to tell a story that was emotional and heightened, while still keeping it rooted in reality.” He turned to longtime friend Sheldon Lettich, who co-wrote the screenplay. “Sheldon is a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran and brought in the idea of using MWD’s. These dogs risk their lives, or have their lives put at risk, going far ahead of their units in order to literally smell out danger,” he adds.

That instinct was reinforced when Yakin and Lettich watched one of the many viral videos of MWDs lying mournfully beside their handler’s casket at their funerals, loyal to the end and beyond. Such videos have touched a deep chord in millions of viewers around the world. Lettich shares, “When we saw the video of the MWD grieving over his partner, we knew that was the core of our canine hero.”

The decision to make Max a Belgian Malinois, instead of a more familiar breed such as a German Shepherd, was informed by the fact that the Malinois has

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros.

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros.

become the breed of choice to serve as MWDs for military forces and law enforcement agencies across the US and throughout the world. Leaner than a Shepherd, the highly focused dogs, when trained, can smell drugs and bombs and find bodies. They can be deadly and are also trusted to guard the White House and the President. Driven to hunt and capture prey, the Malinois has a 270-degree field of vision and the force of its bite equals 1,400 pounds per square inch. It can run 30 miles per hour and withstand the heat of the desert.

But what happens when a MWD is unable to work anymore due to injuries, stress or trauma, which can cause Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Thanks to Robby’s Law, which went into effect in 2000, MWDs are no longer simply euthanized. They can be adopted by their handlers or other former handlers.

The pair also found that some MWDs have been adopted by the civilian families of dog handlers who had been killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. That interested Lettich, who has owned several Belgian Malinois, and knows from personal experience that the breed is highly energetic, intelligent, and extremely task-oriented. “It’s like a human coming back, it’s an adjustment. We wanted to follow a fictional dog home stateside after his handler’s death and see where that took the dog—and the family,” he explains.

Producers Karen Rosenfelt and Ken Blancato were intrigued by the idea of a retired military search dog and the family who takes him in, and how the unlikely strangers interact to get past their loss. Rosenfelt comments, “After reading the screenplay, we knew it was a film that we wanted to produce. It’s an adventure story with a strong familial underpinning that is very moving.”

MaxLife after the U.S. Marine Corps is an adjustment for the elite, trained canine, but in Max’s case, it is particularly difficult. The trauma he faced in Afghanistan has not only left Max with PTSD, but the mystery of what happened to Max and Kyle the day Kyle died inadvertently entangles Justin and his friends in a dangerous situation that escalates quickly, and tests Max and Justin’s fragile new relationship.

Here’s an in-depth look at Max. Even better, here’s a featurette about hero military dogs!

“The military aside, people connect with dogs so strongly,” says Yakin. “We often are able to relate to animals, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with animals, in a way that we don’t with people.”

He continues, “Max became a metaphor for loss and for getting this family to understand and deal with that loss. And to discover what they need to do in order to reconnect with each other.”

For more information, check out #MaxtheHero on Twitter and Facebook or head over to www.Max-themovie.com.

*All opinions herein are those of the Administrator, JL Smith. This post was written in conjunction with Warner Brothers Entertainment, and the Administrator was compensated with trial product/movie tickets. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

 

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Bengal Babies Break in Temptations Snacky Mouse™ Cat Treat Toy

No Holds Barred as Bengal Buddies Beat the Treats out of Their New Fave Cat Toy

It’s round. It rolls. It has holes. It has treats. Hmmmnn.Temptations-SnackyMouse

So it’s ‘rollable,’ things fall out of those holes, and those things happen to be Temptations® cat treats???

As they say in the LEGO® movie, “Everything is awesome!”

This is kitten heaven – are you kidding me?

What the heck am I talking about? Well Mars Petcare’s Temptations® brand, known for the treats that cats simply cannot resist (and those hilarious cat commercials), recently introduced a new, first-of-its-kind cat toy, the Temptations® Snacky Mouse™.

Snacky Mouse™ gives kitties an interactive, bottom-weighted, mouse-shaped wobble toy designed to dispense tantalizing Temptations cat treats. The kitties I tested this awesome new cat toy on went crazy batting, bobbling, jumping, pouncing, hiding, preying upon/spying, and playing with the Snacky Mouse™.

Nala Knocks Around the Snacky Mouse cat treat toy.

Nala Knocks Around the Snacky Mouse cat treat toy.

I tried out my gratis* Temptations® Snacky Mouse™ on Simba and Nala, the 4-month old Bengal kittens that I cat-sit (they’re my best friends’ kid-cats so I am Aunt Jaime). These guys had a blast for over an hour straight batting at the thing like a heavy bag trying to get the treats out, biting it to see if that would work, rolling it, which did work, and just frolicking in general with the enjoyable bottom-weighted toy. At one point, Simba (the bigger Bengal of the two) grabbed the whimsical Snacky Mouse™ by the nose and walked right out of the room with it as if to say, “This is mine now!” HA!

The only fault we found in the mouse toy is that it just might have been a bit too easy for the kittens to get the treats out, so you might want to consider that before you load it up depending on how many cats are partaking! (Then again, these are extremely intelligent and intuitive purebred Bengal kittens so that might be sayin’ somethin’ too!)

Further bringing to life the classic cat and mouse tale, the Temptations® brand released a video online of live action cat-boxing, MOL! You should really check this out if you have a minute…No really, it’s cats boxing against animated opponents, and it’s absolutely hilarious.

Simba, Nala and older brother Apollo play with the Temptations cat toy.

Simba, Nala and older brother Apollo play with the Temptations cat toy.

For more deets or product information on the Temptations® Snacky Mouse™ Toy, or if you’re thinking of getting one for those fuzzy felines in your household, head on over to www.TemptationsTreats.com.

The Temptations Snacky Mouse™ Toy comes with a 0.42 oz. pack of irresistible TEMPTATIONS® cat treats in Tasty Chicken Flavor. The Snacky Mouse™ Toy is available nationwide at mass retail, grocery and pet stores for an MSRP of $6.

Simba and Nala give the Snacky Mouse four paws up (Simba still has a penchant for carrying it around in his mouth, MOL!); and I give it an A+ all around!

 

*All opinions herein are those of the Administrator, JL Smith, and her best friends’ Bengal cats, Simba and Nala. This post was written in conjunction with Temptations®, and the Administrator was compensated with trial product. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the spread of misinformation. Please email the Administrator with questions or concerns.

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Why First-Time Dog Owners Shouldn’t Use the “Whatever Works” Dog Training Method

Posted on June 9th, 2015 in Canine Corner, Dogs, Pet Care, Pet Information

How many times have you seen new pet owners buying or adopting a new four-legged family member, and never dedicating time to train the poor pooch, thinking that the dog will learn things on her own? Likewise, other types of dog owners will opt for training a dog in their own way, using the “whatever works” method of dog training. But is this approach that much better?

Put five dog trainers in a room and ask them how to deal with a dog’s behavioral problem and you’ll likely get five different answers. But this does not mean that four are wrong and one is right. Like most things, there are a variety of ways to approach dog training, and different methods work for different people — and different dogs.

As a professional trainer, my job is to figure out what will work for you and your dog. The difference between making this decision yourself versus having a professional make it is that the professional dog trainer is actually reading your dog’s behavior, hence determining the best course of action, and he/she is doing so basing it on that specific canine. If you’re training your dog (or any dog) on your own, it’s imperative that you understand some dog training basics in order to choose the most appropriate and most effective training method for your dog.

“Whatever works” dog training approach does not work for a puppy

Beth with a puppy, training.

Beth with a puppy, training.

Despite varying opinions in the industry, almost every dog trainer will tell you that positive reinforcement is the only way to train a young canine. That being said, many dog owners are not aware of positive reinforcement training, and there are two popular “whatever works” approaches used among many first-time pet parents.

First and most popular option – fear. It’s very likely that a new owner can indeed scare their puppy into doing what they want her to do at first, but the owner will end up creating a world of anxiety and distrust which never works long-term. Negative reinforcement has been proven as something that rarely works. In addition, a dog owner who uses scare tactics on his pet risks decreasing the dog’s ability to learn new things and increasing the dog’s anxiety. This tactic also can cause confusion, induce aggressive responses, and perhaps cause physical injuries.

On the flip side, a dog owner can simply shower their puppy with love and affection, and never set rules or boundaries. This, too, comes with its own set of problems; dogs that live without structure and routine develop all sorts of other behavioral issues down the road. All too often I work with clients who let their sweet little puppy get away with anything and everything. The puppy then becomes an 80 lb. dog so out of control that the owners have no idea what to do.

How you begin training your dog matters a lot. When training your puppy, you need to use tried and proven techniques. Reward your puppy for doing the right thing to build good behavior, confidence and trust. Dogs want to please their owners, and your praise means the world to them. If you want to have a confident, well-adjusted, trusting dog, you must begin your relationship on the right foot.

“Whatever works” approach will not fix an adolescent dog, either

When puppies get to around seven to nine months old, they begin to test their owners, much like teenagers do with parents. You can use a variety of methods to get results, but you must understand the long-term impact each of those methods will have on your dog, and on your relationship with him.

It’s true, you can probably put a shock collar on your dog and scare him into submission, but what works in the short term does not necessarily yield the desired long-term results. I worked with a client recently who had put a shock collar on her dog to stop him from pulling her toward other dogs. Just two months later, I observed that the dog had developed a fear of other dogs and displayed this in the form of aggression.

This is a classic example of how you can use an approach and achieve short-term results, only to discover that you have caused long-term damage to your Fido’s mental state, and now you’ll have to spend a lot more time and money to fix any behavioral problems that come out of this. You can still choose a strictly positive reinforcement technique, or you can introduce some collar corrections for bad behavior. The effectiveness of each of these depends on the temperament and mental state of your dog.

Beth rewards good puppy training behavior.

Beth rewards good puppy training behavior.

Fully mature dogs definitely do not respond well to “whatever works” dog training methods

This “whatever works” approach will not do any good if a pet owner has a fully mature dog either. Let’s take the example of a dog that is showing aggression. You could put a shock collar on the dog and stop the issue. You could also muzzle the dog so they are unable to do anything. Or, you could simply avoid other dogs altogether.

While all those things might work in the short term, they do not address or solve the issue, and ultimately they may cause more severe behavioral problems. If you are experiencing a serious issue such as aggression, you must start educating yourself on proper dog training methods and start applying them as soon as possible before the problem becomes a disaster. Alternatively, a skilled and experienced trainer can help you find the correct way to handle your pooch, or at least set you off on the right food.

In the end, know that if you are an inexperienced dog handler, or if you are new to this type of problem of dogs misbehaving, just picking a method that works for the wrong reasons will only lead to bigger issues.

Dog training is about reading and understanding your canines and the behaviors they display. There are lots of different ways to train your dog, many of which will work (at least short-term), but not every method is suited to every dog.

Think carefully before deciding to use harsh training methods. Immediate results may lead to bigger long-term issues if you take the “whatever works” approach. Scaring a dog into submission may yield short-term results, but in the long term will cause fear and anxiety in your dog. Continual repetition of poorly chosen techniques will cause psychological damage. Finally, ignoring the problem is also not an option, and will leave you with a constantly misbehaving dog.

When you take on a pet, you’re taking on more responsibility to care for and train the animal for your own benefit, and for the benefit of the society you live within. Motivating your dog through positive reinforcement and praise helps build a strong bond, and yields long-term results.

The information in this article appears thanks to Beth Jeffery of Top Dog Tips. Beth is a dedicated dog trainer and amazing animal behaviorist with 15 years of experience.

 

References (please request specific article links by emailing thoughtsfurpaws@gmail.com):

Polsky RH (1994). Electronic shock collars–are they worth the risks? Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 30 (5), 463-468.

Brammeier et al. (2006) Good trainers: How to identify one and why this is important to your practice of veterinary medicine. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 1, 47-52.

Mendl, M., (1999). Performing under pressure: stress and cognitive function. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 65, 221-244.

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