The World According to Cooper: Humans Can be Hard to Train!

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By Stacie Greene, Supply Chain Cost Manager

CooperHello everyone, I need to get some stuff off my chest, so this month I’m going to use my blog to clear my mind. I think that I have made it perfectly clear over the years how much I love my mom. She really is great. She knows me like the back of her hand. She knows when I want cookies, or to play or to go outside or when I just need a good belly rub and a nap. With respect to those things I have trained her well. I’ve also trained my human co-workers well too when it comes to scratching my ears or giving me cookies. So with respect to things like cookies and love, humans can be really easy to train.

As much as I love humans, this is where you all fall short. We dogs live in the moment. We are generally happy-go-lucky individuals that take every experience of every day as a gift. Lately, it feels like all my mom does is work. She’s always on the go, always thinking about what is next on the to-do list, where we need to be, what needs to get done, how long it will take, what comes after that, and after that and, and, and…. I’m exhausted just telling you about it, much less having to live with it and keep up with it. If that is not bad enough, if she thinks that she has neglected me and I’ve not gotten enough play time then she starts to worry and we start a whole new frenzy of activity. I am trying everything that I know how to do to get my mom to live in the moment, to find joy in the small things. I am not making the kind of progress that I did in training her to rub my belly. Humans seem to be good with routine tasks, but letting go of your worries is not something that you excel at.

So here are my words of wisdom for all of my human readers out there, your furry children already know this. Life is short, none of us will ever know how short. Dogs know this from the beginning, which is why we treasure every moment and every experience. We see things for what they are and appreciate every moment that we spend with the people that we love. So slow down and live in the moment with your furry child. Watch and learn, we have things to teach you that will make your life fuller.

Wow, I feel much better after getting that off my chest. Thanks for reading!

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Find Your Lost Pet with a Microchip

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By Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD

IF_Boy with Leash 5Lost pets show up at vets and shelters every day. If your pet goes missing, how will you be reunited? Properly identifying pets is an issue I’m very passionate about as a clinical practice veterinarian. I’ve helped lost pets reunite with their owners on innumerable occasions after good Samaritans brought in misplaced cats or dogs. In nearly every circumstance, these stray pets lacked tags and a collar. Fortunately this doesn’t mean the pet will be lost forever. An implanted microchip makes it more likely that your pet will be safely returned to you.

How do microchips work?

A microchip is about 12 mm long, approximately the size of a grain of rice. A thin layer of biocompatible glass coats the microchip, which significantly reduces the likelihood that your pet’s body will react with an inflammatory response such as swelling, pain, or itchiness.

The microchip does not let off a detectable signal, but instead uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The microchip stores data that is interpreted by a microchip reader when placed within a few centimeters of the chip.

If your pet gets lost and is found by a good Samaritan, he will likely be taken to a vet or animal shelter where the microchip will be scanned and a code is revealed. Once the code is known, the vet or shelter will contact the microchip. The manufacturer keeps a database with the pet owner’s personal information.

How are microchips implanted?

Microchip_rfid_riceA microchip is implanted in the subcutaneous (fat) space between the shoulder blades for both cats and dogs. The process of administering a microchip is similar to giving a vaccination, but a larger 12-gauge needle is used. This causes some discomfort for the pet, which is why some veterinarians prefer to implant the microchip while the pet is under anesthesia for a surgical procedure like a spay or neuter.

If your pet has already been fixed, plan for a microchipping procedure as soon as possible. With my clients, I suggest microchip implantation during the initial veterinary wellness exam. I recommend asking your vet to complete the registration process so the chip is appropriately registered. Tell your vet if you need to update your contact info with the microchip manufacturer.

Many chips are equipped with anti-migration technology that helps prevent them from moving around the subcutaneous space to another part of the body. Although microchips are not supposed to migrate, sometimes they still do. The person scanning for a chip first checks between the shoulder blades. If there’s no chip detected between the shoulder, they’ll keep scanning other body parts including the front limbs, flanks, neck, and back of the skull.

Which microchip should my pet have?

mary_drinkwell_dogIt’s important to discuss your pet’s lifestyle with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate chip for implantation.

Do you plan to keep your pet in the US or travel internationally with your pet? The International Standards Institute (ISO) chip would be better for globe-trotting pets. Common manufacturers of microchips include AVID and Home Again. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association gives helpful information about the specifics of ISO chips in their Microchip FAQs page.

Pets should always be thoroughly scanned for a microchip before one is implanted. There’s no need for a pet to have more than one microchip unless less there is an issue with international travel requiring an ISO chip in the face of the previous chip being a non-ISO format.

Do microchips really help reunite pets with their owners?

Yes, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) article
Characterization of animals with microchips entering animal shelters (July 15, 2009, Vol. 235, No. 2, Pages 160-167):

The high rate for return of microchipped dogs and cats to their owners supported microchipping as a valuable permanent pet identification modality; however, issues related to registration undermined its overall potential. Bundling of microchip implantation and registration, point-of-implantation data registration, use of annual compliance and update reminders, and providing access to all registries are potential solutions.

Provided your information has been kept up to date, you can be contacted and reunited with your lost pet. Sometimes the microchip manufacturer doesn’t have the most current contact information for each pet, so the pet’s owner can’t be contacted. The pet’s owner will have to use the traditional means of finding the pet, including checking lost posters and calling local shelters and vets. A microchip is only helpful as long as your contact info is current.

Should I microchip my pet?

The best way for your lost pet to be returned to you is to give your pet as many forms of ID as you can. Make sure your pet has a microchip and wears a collar and tags with at all times. You can even embroider your pet’s name and phone number on the collar in case the tags fall off. Your pet’s tags and microchip should both have current contact info.

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Unexpected Fountain Tips

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By Jessie McDowell, Content Marketing Specialist

Jessie with her German Shepherd, Moose.

Jessie with her German Shepherd, Moose.

Our pets are 80% water. That fact really struck me as I looked out at my 100 lb. dog gulping water out of his dish outside. I looked a little closer at his bowl and saw ants on the edge and pieces of leaves and dirt floating at the top and started to feel bad. I drink bottled water, strongly brewed coffee and the occasional soda each day, and I can’t even remember to clean his bowl and fill it up. The worst is when I’m not home all day and come back to see an empty bowl, licked dry by my two large dogs.

I decided to make a change. I purchased two fountains, the Drinkwell® Outdoor Dog Fountain for during the day outside and the Drinkwell® Zen Fountain for inside at night. I filled it up with fresh water and vowed to commit to cleaning them each week. Getting fountains for Trigger and Moose ending up being the perfect move, but I learned a few odd things along the way.

1. It may take a second for your dogs to get used to it.

I expected them to immediately be taken with the fountain and give me a look of “thank you, mom, you’re the best,” but really, they were suspicious at first. For two dogs that (I am ashamed to say) drink out of the toilet more than they do their bowl, this was a big step. After calling to them to drink out of the bowl and treating them after they do, they were hooked.

2. Find a protected area for the fountains.

If you have a nervous chewer like me, you might want to place your fountain in a secure environment. Moose ate one of the reservoirs to the Outdoor fountain the first day. I remedied this by creating a small ledge out of wood to slide the fountain under. Now I can slide the fountain out for refills and he can’t grab the reservoirs for a snack. Also find an area where less leaves and flowers can blow into the water. You don’t want to clean that all the time.

3. You will need power for these fountains.

I know this should go without saying, but I just assumed I had power where the fountains needed to be. I didn’t. So scope out the place you would like the fountain and make sure there is a power supply near. Outside at the back of my house I had to run an extension cord, so be aware.

4. Don’t forget to clean them.

Just because you can clean these fountains less often, doesn’t mean you don’t have to at all. Luckily, the parts are top shelf dishwasher safe, so I just take them apart and run a cycle. It is awesome!

5. Keep track of your pet’s hydration.

Now that I am more aware of what and how much my dogs should be drinking. I try to keep it in mind no matter where I go. It is shaping up to be a hot summer, so whether we are at the dog park or visiting family for a cookout, I always bring extra water for the pups. The fountains are great for home, but pet hydration should be important no matter where you travel.

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ScoopFree® Ultra Litter Box Review

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By Roslyn McKenna, PetSafe Web Content Specialist

“I have too many cats,” I think to myself as I’m digging through clay to scoop my cats’ litter box. I swear their pee becomes glue the second it hits the litter. The kitties have 5 litter boxes to choose from, 3 of which are automatic. The weekly scooping of the 2 regular boxes reminds me of why I love my automatic litter boxes. The ScoopFree Ultra Litter Box is the newest addition to the cats’ bathrooms in the hallways closets. It’s great for keeping the cats happy without having to scoop their boxes as often.

ScoopFree Litter Box Highlights

Ultra fullsize-          Super quiet & fast cleaning cycle 5 minutes after each use

-          Crystal litter tray lasts 1 month

-          See-through hood stops litter box bullying

-          Health counter tells you how many times cats use the box

 

Quiet All Night

The tricky part about automatic litter boxes is finding a place to put them in your home. You need a big enough spot with access to a plug. My bedroom closet is the last closet without an automatic box. At first I was worried the noise and smell would be a problem. One week later and I had forgotten it was even there. I thought maybe the box was broken until I heard it go off one night before bed. It was so quiet I could barely hear it working!

Instantly Clean & Fresh

scoopfree with catThe dirty litter and waste is raked into a covered area of the tray. The Ultra litter box has a “delayed flush” setting so it will sweep the box 5, 10, or 20 minutes after your cat uses it. The timer plus the hood are the ultimate anti-dog features. My dog Doc can’t enjoy the “buffet” after the cats have used it. The crystal litter still looks pristine after over a month, though the cats have definitely been using it. The old traditional litter box that had been in the closet started to stink after a few days of not cleaning it.

My cats like to pee outside the box if it’s not clean enough for them, especially if there’s a pile of scooped-out litter next to the box. The closet has been pee-free since we got the ScoopFree box because it’s always clean and the hood and high sides make it harder for the cats to scoop litter outside the box.

Swap Out the Litter

scoopfree litter tray

ScoopFree litter boxes use a special crystal litter tray. When the litter’s done, it’s time to trade out the tray for a new one. I signed up for the litter auto-ship subscription program. With the subscription, you get to pick how many trays you need and how often you need them. You also get free shipping and a 10% discount as an added perk. The first tray has lasted over a month, which is pretty impressive with 4 cats. I’ll probably need a new tray about once a month, so I’d get 6 trays shipped to my house every 6 months. I just stack the extra trays on top of the litter box since the hood is nice and wide.

Less Bullying

Hi, my name is Ichigo, and I’m a litter box bully.

Hi, my name is Ichigo, and I’m a litter box bully.

With multi-cat homes, litter box bullying is very common. Lily and Ichigo stalk the other cats when they head for the litter box closet. The semi-transparent hood lets the cats see if the bullies are coming, so they’re not surprised by the attack. The closed sides also help the cats feel safer, since there’s only one place the bullies can come from.

 

 

Training & Health Counter

The ScoopFree Ultra comes with a health counter that tells you how many times your cats enter the box. You can reset it every day or however often you’d like. I love the usage counter for 2 reasons.

1)      It’s an easy way to tell if your cats are used to the new box. The cats became comfortable with the box in a few days. The 1st day I set up the box, the counter said the cats had been in the box 3 times, though they didn’t do any business. I reset the timer and checked it again on the 2nd day. The cats used it 7 times that day without leaving any presents. The 3rd day I finally saw some results in the box plus 10 entrances that day. The cats continued to enter and use the box more frequently over the following days.

2)      You can gauge how often your cats use the bathroom to monitor for health issues. Renji eats a special urinary food to prevent urinary crystals. Let’s say my cats enter the box 20 times a day normally. If that number increases to 30 or 40 times a day, I’d start to watch Renji closely to make sure he’s not showing any symptoms of a urinary blockage. If the cats are only using the box 10 times a day, it might be time for a cleaning.

The ScoopFree Ultra is the easiest automatic litter box I’ve used. I highly recommend it for multi-cat homes.

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Bark for Your Park PSAs

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

We just wanted to make sure you all got to see the PAWsome PSAs that were submitted by Bark for Your Park finalist communities. Which one is your favorite?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM1NeV3pWww

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a-1o2iKtDE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOIibLN8HGw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xRPnhbH33E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoONcS5OslU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4wOVv7FGMg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMAcnSUpjhM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diX4ReMNgHQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1sPErezlS4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdss64gye-Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFbh1gdBiIU

 

Share your favorite city’s Bark For Your Park public service announcement to remind everyone to vote  2x per day, now – July 31st on petsafe.net & Facebook. Reminder: Video views DO NOT count as votes for your city.

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Behind the Scenes: PetSafe® Fountains

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July is Pet Hydration Month presented by the the PetSafe® Brand. We wanted to make sure all pets are properly hydrated, since so many dogs and cats out there really aren’t getting enough water. As part of this campaign, the team started to make sure our customers knew about our freshly-filtered water options from our great line of pet fountains. Early this year, a commercial was shot starring some wonderful dogs and cats, and we wanted to share the fun and informational behind the scenes footage.

PetSafe fountains have a great variety of health benefits for pets, and we did a video to feature some of these:

They also bring a stylish accent to any home, and one interior designer gave us her opinion in another great behind the scenes moment:

Some members of the team also wanted to talk about why PetSafe fountains are so great for pets, and this footage can be seen here!

Do you have a PetSafe fountain? What does your pet think about it? Comment below to let us know!

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How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated!

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By Toni Gibson-Mark, KPA-CTP

pic1

Hi there, puppy! You’re looking parched!

We’re in the middle of the summer and there is no better time to be concerned with our pet’s hydration than now. It’s hot and humid in many places around the country and our pups are wishing that they could shed layers as easily as we can take off our winter clothes. Not to mention many of them are spending more and more time at the water bowl!
It goes without saying that water intake is extremely important for our pets. Just like us, their bodies consist mostly of water and when they aren’t drinking water, they get dehydrated. Dehydration in our pets can be very dangerous.
Although it’s important for people to drink water, we get a lot of water from the food we consume. This is not necessarily the case for our pets. Kibble and other dry foods have very little moisture levels. If your pet doesn’t drink a lot from the water bowl, consider adding a wet food or a food that gets re-hydrated by adding water to his diet. You can also just add water to the kibble too—sometimes that makes the food even more appealing to the pet!

 

Definitely have fresh water available during pool days!  Don’t count on the pool water—it’s chlorinated and not good for your pet.  Have fresh water available instead.

Definitely have fresh water available during pool days! Don’t count on the pool water—it’s chlorinated and not good for your pet. Have fresh water available instead.

Our pets need a constant supply of fresh water. That means even when “on-the-go”! If you’re taking a long road trip, pull over a few times and offer water to your pet. You should definitely bring water for your pet if you’re engaging in any outdoor activities (i.e. hiking) together. Our pets need water during indoor activities too—if you’re taking training classes or visiting a friend, make sure your pet has access to a fresh bowl of water.
Some pets are finicky about their water. For example, my dog won’t drink water if there is anything in it—even a little piece of grass! This means she needs a refreshed bowl of water several times a day. Some pets only prefer moving water (i.e. the cats that drink from the faucet). Consider purchasing a fountain that will keep the water moving. Our Drinkwell® line contains many different types of fountains in all sorts of colors and styles!

 

The new Ceramic Porcelain Avalon Fountain continuously recirculates and filters your pet’s water, keeping it cleaner and fresher than a normal water bowl.

The new Ceramic Porcelain Avalon Fountain continuously recirculates and filters your pet’s water, keeping it cleaner and fresher than a normal water bowl.

Although it might seem silly to cater to your pet’s water-drinking preferences, it’s important to do it. After all, we prefer certain types of drinks over others—it’s only fair that our pets can have preferences too!

One tip that is not discussed enough is washing your pet’s water bowls daily. Just like any pool of moisture, bacteria can grow. Leaving your dog’s bowl unwashed for several days or weeks can contribute to bacteria growth, which can make your pet more finicky about their water and/or could make them sick! Make it a habit to wash their water bowl every time you feed them their breakfast and/or dinner. You’re already touching the bowls anyway!

 

Sadie says, “Will you please get me some fresh water? No, I mean fresher than this.”

Sadie says, “Will you please get me some fresh water? No, I mean fresher than this.”

You shouldn’t ever remove your pet’s access to water. Many people think that you should only provide little bits of water to your puppy at a time while you’re house-training. However, to the contrary, very active puppies need lots of water to stay healthy and to grow! Instead of restricting access, make sure you are very quick to take your puppy out after drinking the water and reward the puppy for going potty outside.
Hydration is so important for our pets and it’s often a health concern that is not addressed enough. Try to spend a few days monitoring your pet’s water intake, and if you feel he’s not getting enough water, add some to his food or provide a wet food as well. He’ll be sure to thank you with a wet slobbery kiss!

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Let’s Celebrate Independence!

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By Michelle Mullins, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

“Oh say can you see….me?” Hello? Helloooo! Ever have a dog that seems aloof, selective in their hearing, just not so into you? An independent type of dog who doesn’t follow you from room to room gazing at you with adoration? I have that dog. His name is Jinks and he is the only dog I’ve ever had that never piles up in my bed to snuggle.

pic 1According to Dictionary.com, independent is defined as not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc. What does it mean when we say a dog is independent? Every pet is dependent on us for food, water, and care so they aren’t truly independent. I don’t like to label pets, as that can lead to interactions with them being based on the label instead of the behavior.

When I adopted Jinks I thought maybe we just hadn’t bonded yet. To say he was aloof was an understatement. As a trainer I was puzzled, as a dog lover I was heartbroken. How could this fabulous hound not think I was the best thing since sliced bread? I rescued him, I love him, I work for a company that makes dog toys, what more could he desire? He would play or train with me if I initiated it, but never searched me out for interaction. He was smart and learned quickly when he wanted to train, which was rare.

Pic2So I started observing Jinks to understand what behaviors pushed me to label him Mr. Independent and rethink how I felt about these behaviors. He was not an attention seeker like I was used to having. He enjoyed being head down, sniffing EVERYTHING! He took time to consider situations before reacting. He didn’t automatically look to me for direction. He preferred to control his interactions with others. What manner of dog was this? A happy, confident, independent dog! That’s when I realized what I had. I just needed to figure out what motivated him.

When I am training dogs, I tend to keep my training sessions short and very focused. The dogs have fun but I don’t let them get overly excited. Jinks seemed to thrive on fast paced fun, lots of crazy running around and general silliness. So I switched up my game. I had to remind myself that the rewards have to be rewarding to the dog.

Soon he was approaching me excited and then offering a down to “ask” for some training time! He loved to sniff out a trail on walks, so a block of loose leash walking earned him free time to sniff every blade of grass for the next 30 feet! Jinks loves shaping games, he gets to make choices that can earn him rewards and having that little bit of control works for dogs.

I love having a dog with an independent nature. I had to work a little harder to figure him out but I love that he is a confident boy. He excels at having some alone time and rarely shows anxiety about anything. He even snuggles on the bed for a few minutes each night then heads for his crate which means I don’t have to worry about him stealing the blanket! These are the perks of a more independent dog.

My tips for working with independent dogs:

  • Find what motivates them. Try different treats, play, life rewards like sniffing, etc.
  • Don’t force affection. Your pet may not like snuggling and hugs.
  • Keep training sessions short and playful.
  • Use clicker training to shape behaviors. Dogs love to choose and this training allows them to do just that. www.clickertraining.com

While some breeds, like hounds and huskies, tend toward an independent nature, any dog may have this personality. It doesn’t mean they are stubborn or less trainable. They just need us to be patient and figure out what motivates them. Your independent pup make never be your constant snuggle bunny. Just appreciate him for what he is! You don’t have to be their everything, to be their best friend.

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Bark for Your Park Tips

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

There is just over a month of voting time left in the 2014 Bark for Your Park contest, and we are continuing to be amazed at the PAWsome efforts from the different finalist communities. The 15 finalist communities have proven to include a lot of incredible participants who have worked day and night to help the community to win a dog park. Wherever your community ranks on the Bark for Your Park leader runboard, know that the contest can shift at any moment. Here are some ways to help your community become Top Dog in the contest:

7-Vote Sniff Outs

We will post a clue every Friday through July 25th that will give each voter a change to win SEVEN extra votes in the competition that week. Yes, you read that right. SEVEN extra votes! You will simply go to the Bark for Your Park website and make sure you are logged-in on the Friday of the sniff out. Once you are logged-in you will then go to PetSafe.net for the clue that will pop-up. Follow the clue to the page with your answers, and then we’ll give you a little quiz. Once you answer correctly, BAM! 7 extra votes are all yours. You’ll even have the option to sign-up for a chance to win one of 15 of that week’s products. How easy is that?!

Rally the Troops!

Have you spread the word about Bark for Your Park? Don’t assume that everyone in your community knows about the contest. Find neighbors, family members and friends and let them know how to sign-up and start voting. Voters do not have to live in your community, either. Does your mom bring her dog to your house when she comes for a visit? Tell her to help your community win and dog park and have her sign-up! Getting more people to vote can be as easy as just asking a simple question: Have you barked for our park?

B4YP1Share, Share, Share!

Are you on Facebook and/or Twitter? What is stopping you from sharing our Bark for Your Park status updates, or from creating your own reminders? A simple one you can always share is, “Bark for Our Park!” with a link to the contest included. Getting the word out can be as simple as a few words and the click of a button. Show pictures of your dogs to others and ask for the support in getting your park. People love pictures of dogs… we would know! We share them all the time.

Host an Event

Now who wouldn’t want to throw a party? Get to know your neighbors and host a block party. Get your neighbors to sign-up and vote while you’re enjoying some BBQ and not-so dog-friendly concoctions. Talking about the contest is a great ice-breaker. You can also check with your local pet supply retailers to see if you can hand out fliers, host voting stations or hand out your nifty tear sheets that were included in your city’s finalist kits.

We are so excited to see the enthusiasm and participation in this year’s contest. What has your community done to get more participation? Share your stories in the comment section below!

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