Archive for the ‘Pet Care’ Category

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

Posted on July 1st, 2015

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.

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

Posted on June 24th, 2015

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.

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

Posted on June 9th, 2015

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.

Pet Supplies Plus® Honors Cats This June with “Great Cat Takeover!”

Posted on May 30th, 2015

National Pet Retailer Holds Adoptions & Cat-Centric Promotions through June to Promote National Adopt-a-Cat Month

And people think I’m the one that’s cat-mad. They say my friend Ellen, who runs a rescue by the hair of her chinny chin chin is a crazy cat lady…They even say superstars like Katy Perry and Hilary Swank are self-described “crazy-cat-ladies.” Pfft.

PSP logoWell we aren’t out there dedicating entire months to those oh so precocious, yet oh so lovable, huggable, furry little four-leggers.  Okay, so maybe we do… The point is – YES! Pet Supplies Plus® is doing so! They’re celebrating National Adopt-a-Cat Month by putting kitty in the King’s chair for the entire month of June! Hooray! A perfect sync up with kitten season! National Adopt-a-Cat Month is a nationally recognized week focusing on finding forever homes for our beloved kitties. From cat adoption events and feline-frenzy-inducing social media contests to cat-centric in-store promotions and sales, Pet Supplies Plus® will have it all!

ADOPTION EVENTS

With spring serving as prime kitten season, thousands of newborn kittens will join the millions of cats already in shelters across the country. To help provide these animals forever homes, participating Pet Supplies Plus® locations will partner with local rescue organizations to host an in-store Adopt-a-Pet Weekend event. Times for the events will vary by location, so interested pet peeps are encouraged to contact their local Pet Supplies Plus® for additional details.

All new pet parents will be given an informative New Cat Checklist with a $10 off $50 purchase coupon. (One Pet Supplies Plus® location in Westchester, Pennsylvania is going completely cat crazy and hosting a 24-hour adoption event as part of the Great Cat Takeover!)

“Here at Pet Supplies Plus® we understand our cat-loving neighbors and their passion for providing forever homes to deserving pets, because our team members are dedicated to this very same effort,” said Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus®. “We are dedicating the entire month of June to our cat-fanatic neighbors who will have the opportunity to not only adopt a cat but provide their pets with a month long celebration that’s just for them!”

SOCIAL MEDIA CONTESTGreat cat takeover

Along with Pet Supplies Plus’ adoption events, the pet retailer is on a national search to find the craziest of all cat-crazy people. To embrace this cultural phenomenon, the pet company is launching a ‘Cat Crazy’ social media contest that will shine a light on the great lengths people go to express their love and devotion to their feline friends. Neighbors can enter the national contest from June 1-21 with a voting period to follow on June 23-30. Prizes for the winning ‘Cat Crazy’ social media contestants are as follows:

-1st Place: $250 gift card to their nearest Pet Supplies Plus location

-2nd and 3rd Places: $100 gift cards to their nearest Pet Supplies Plus location

-4th & 5th Places: $50 gift cards to their nearest Pet Supplies Plus location

CAT-CENTRIC PROMOTIONS

-In select Pet Supplies Plus locations, neighbors will also receive sample giveaways of cat food.

-On June 5, 12 and 19, stores are hosting Feline Friday flash sales on all cat necessities. You can find more information about your local store’s offerings from in-store flyers, Preferred Pet Club emails or by visiting your local store’s website at www.petsuppliesplus.com.

*Also be sure to look for a gift card giveaway on the ThoughtsFurPaws.com Facebook page and Twitter account! We’re giving away a $25 PSP gift card!

How Dogs Express Affection; Your Dog’s Love Languages

Posted on May 28th, 2015

Show your dog you love him by learning how he shows affection and the best ways to show yours.

We love our dogs, and when we gaze into their eyes we could swear the feeling is mutual. But is a dog really capable of such emotions?

The truth is dogs express and interpret affection differently than us humans (lick much?). So, it’s important to understand these differences and how to demonstrate love in a language your dog will comprehend.

Dr. Gary Chapman identifies five very specific love languages for humans in his book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.” These are as follows: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. Here, the goal is to discover your significant other’s or even your child’s love language (how he/she most understands/receives love from other people) so you can show them you love them in the best way possible.

This same concept can be applied to your relationship with your dog. Here’s how:

Words of Affirmation: You’ve seen little FiFi perk up and wag her tail when you say, “Good girl!” Dogs may not actually understand the words you’re saying, but they understand your tone when you’re saying them. Words of affirmation (i.e. I love you. You’re so smart. You’re such a good doggy!) can have a profound effect on your dog. Harsh words and tones can also have a profound impact – a deeply negative one – on your relationship with your dog. So be mindful of using

Image Courtesy www.123rf.com.

Image Courtesy www.123rf.com.

your words for good and not evil.

Acts of Service: Every time you wash your dog, clean out her kennel or feed her, you are performing an act of service. Doing these things confirms that you are the Alpha (or pack leader) and therefore the main caretaker. This essentially puts your dog at ease because he/she doesn’t have to take on the Alpha role and trusts your companionship.

Receiving Gifts: Buying a chew toy or treats for your dog certainly shows affection. Some dogs love this more than others! Just remember to offer these things at the right time.  Choose a time when you’ve got his undivided attention and when he’s not “misbehaving.”  After all, we wouldn’t want to send a mixed message by offering such gifts at a time when your dog is acting up. This may inadvertently reinforce undesirable behaviors.

Quality Time: Spending time with your dog says love in a way nothing else can. When you’re gone, Rover misses you and CAN’T WAIT for you to get home! Watching a movie with him on your lap or at your feet counts as QT, but there are better ways to spend quality time together: long walks, a romp at the park with a ball or a Frisbee, or better yet, some old fashion one-on-one time in your living room.  One-on-one time does not have to be long, it can be brief. This is a great time to tune out the rest of the world and simply be there with your dog; attentive and present, for however long you have.

Physical Touch: Most dogs love physical touch. A belly rub, a scratch behind the ears, a simple loving touch – do these things and your dog will be wagging his tail in appreciation. Keep in mind, some dogs can become anxious or defensive if you approach them too quickly, while others may actually become uncomfortable and stressed if you gaze directly into their eyes. Pay attention to your dog’s body language, learn his or her cues so that your message of love can be received loud and clear!

How Dogs Express Affection To You!

Dogs love their masters and are excited to show it. There are many ways dogs reveal their affection for you. Here are five ways your dog might be speaking to you in his language of love:

Wagging tails – This is a sure-fire sign that your dog is excited and ready to welcome you.

Soft whining, whimpering or barking – This should sound sweet, and if combined with a wagging tail, means your dog really wants your attention. It’s as close as dogs can get to expressing themselves with words. It’s their version of words of affirmation!

Licking – Pet owners take a strong stand on this one usually, some love it and others think it’s disgusting. If you’re one who allows your dog to lick you on the face or elsewhere, then you’re allowing your dog to reveal affection in one of the best ways he/she knows how. Licking is a way of grooming and is instinctive for them. Think of it as an act of service.

Bringing you things – If a dog brings you a toy or something, it means he/she is wanting to spend some quality time playing and sharing with you!

Being by your side – Simply being there, enjoying your company. Patiently waiting for your attention, your direction, or perhaps dinner. Dogs have this one mastered. Yep, man’s best friend!

So what can you do to show your beloved canine just how special he/she is to you? Express love and affection in a language your pup can understand. There’s nothing greater than reciprocated unconditional love!

dr boyd

Dr. Boyd

About the Author: Dr. John Boyd, DVM, CEO and Founder of Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resorts and Veterinary Centers. Dr. John Boyd is considered a leader in the emerging veterinary hospitality industry and intends to take his successful model of “whole-istic” pet care nationwide. Dr. Boyd attended the University of Southern California as an undergraduate before earning his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of California-Davis in 1986. Dr. Boyd has been an active member within numerous veterinary associations at the local, state and national levels.

About Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort: Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort & Veterinary Center is a one-of-a-kind, all-inclusive veterinary, grooming, daycare, training and boarding facility with locations in Irvine and San Diego. Enthusiastically referred to as the “Mayo Clinic of animal care,” “the Super Nanny of dog sitters,” “the Emily Post of animal etiquette,” and “the Biltmore of pet boarding,” Dr. Boyd’s is dramatically shifting the paradigm of traditional stereotypes from bare-bones clinics and fenced kennels to state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor spaces infused with sounds, scents and scenes of the natural world. For more information about Dr. Boyd’s Pet Resort, visit www.drboyds.com.