Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spay/Neuter? Or no? Spay Day USA is coming!

Spay Day USA is February 24, 2009 and it is a day set aside to advocate the positives and benefits of spaying or neutering your pets as well as where you can go to spay or neuter your pets. My theory is if you don't plan to breed your pet responsibily, or have a pet where spaying and neutering may complication a health condition and in an informed and justified manner, it's much better spay and neuter your pets. They will be healthier, behave much better and easier for you and you will also help with preventing overpopulation of animals worldwide which leads to animals being euthanized, overcrowding issues and other issues assocaited with animal welfare. Animal welfare starts with the people who share their existences and lives with other animals. Spay Day USA is an annual campaign of The Humane Society of the United States to inspire people to save animal lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats. Officially the last Tuesday of February, with events and activities taking place throughout the month of February. The 15th annual Spay Day USA is Feb. 24, 2009. On this day you can enter the Spay Day Online Pet Photo Contest! Visit between Jan. 19 and Feb. 27 to enter.

Why: Four million cats and dogs—about one every eight seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year. Often these animals are the offspring of cherished family pets, even purebreds. Maybe someone's cat or dog got out just that one time or maybe the litter was intentional, but efforts to find enough good homes failed. Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats and a proven way to reduce the vast numbers of animals who are born only to die prematurely and without a family who loves them. Learn more about why you should spay or neuter your pet.

Wondering if spaying or neutering pet is a good choice for you? Check out these resources and decide for yourself:

Here's other benefits and disadvantages and other information on spaying and neutering:
Humane Society of the US:

Some resources of where you can go for spaying, neutering and animal welfare are:
Animal Control Facility - 700 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA, 92118 (619) 522-7371
Animal Planet's Petfinder –
Animal Emergency Clinic -
Animal ER of San Diego - (858) 569-0600, 5610 Kearny Mesa Road San Diego, CA 92111
Animal Hospitals USA -
Animal Urgent Care of Escondido -
California Veterinary Specialists -
Classic Green Light Insurance – Pet Insurance packages –
County Animal Services -
DNA Testing Company to Determine Dog Breed -
Escondido Humane Society -
Feral Cat Coalition -
FOCAS--Friends of County Animal Shelters--San Diego –
FREE Animal Avenue VIP Card (for those who adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue) -
Friends of Cats -
Harmony Animal Hospital -
Helen Woodward Animal Center -
Holistic Veterinary Care –
National Cat Protection Society -
Nonprofit Veterinary Organization - nonprofit org that provides free veterinary aid -
North County Humane Society -
Paws of Coronado -
PEAC (Parrot Education & Adoption Center) –
Pet Assistance Foundation -
Pet Emergency & Specialty -
Pets Are Wonderful Support, North County San Diego (PAWS) -
Rancho Coastal Humane Society -
S.D. Turtle & Tortoise Society -
San Diego County Animal Control -
San Diego Herpetological Society -
San Diego County Animal Shelters Foundation -
San Diego House Rabbit Society -
San Diego Humane Society SPCA -
SNAP – Spay Neuter Action -
Swim Therapy -
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals -
The Animal Rescue Site -
The S. Ford Foundation for Animals -
United Animal nations is a non-profit animal advocacy organization -
VCA Emergency Animal Hospital & Referral Center -
VCA North Coast Veterinary & Emergency -
Veterinary Specialty Hospital -

Trainer recommendations

Found some great information about dog training and resources for finding a dog trainer and thought to pass it on.

According to the Humane Society at they give you some good tips on why and how to choose a trainer. To sum up:

Too many dogs are abandoned or given up to shelters due to extremely easy to modify behaviors that are allowed to become into larger problems. To prevent your dog from becoming a sad statistic, consider finding a dog trainer or utilizing the myriad of advice and suggestions provided online. You’d be surprised how many free classes there are through shelters and agencies if you just around. You’d also be surprised how establishing a simple exercise and feeding schedule or routine and some basic house rules (like staying out of the kitchen or sitting when you put a leash on him to take him outside, or whatever works) would drastically improve things.

Whether you are intentionally teaching him or not, your canine friend is always learning. If you do not teach your pet your rules, he will invent his own. Training allows caregivers to safely and humanely control their dog's behavior. Positive training enhances the bond between dog and owner, and helps ensure that your dog will respond happily to your instructions.

It's essential that the dog trainer you select uses humane training techniques that encourage appropriate behavior through such positive reinforcement as food, attention, play, or praise. Look for a trainer who ignores undesirable responses or withholds rewards until the dog behaves appropriately. Training techniques should never involve yelling, choking, shaking the scruff, tugging on the leash, alpha rolling (forcing the dog onto his back), or other actions that frighten or inflict pain. Another thing to consider is your dog’s breed. Not all breeds are the same. Some dogs take well to “pack” training, others may respond better to reward training. Your Chihuahua may require different methods than say a Husky or a Chow.

So where do you find a trainer? A recommendation from a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, humane society, boarding kennel, pet sitter or groomer is a good place to start. Don't assume that a trainer's membership in a dog trainer association qualifies him as a suitable instructor: Not all associations' membership criteria will meet your expectations. Also, because no government agency regulates or licenses trainers, it's that much more important to investigate their qualifications before enrolling in a class. Find out how many years of experience they have, how they were educated, and what training methods they use. Ask prospective trainers for several references from clients who completed the classes. And of course try them out and see how comfortable you feel. There are also different types of training sessions from group classes to individual classes. From board n’ training to private sessions. There is also a great deal of resources that are self-help online. Do what works best for you and your pet. Just remember training is not solvable overnight and the dog isn’t the only one training (you are learning too) so be involved in the process and don’t expect results with the first training session.

When possible, all family members should participate in the dog's training. By learning to communicate humanely and effectively with their canine friend, they will develop bonds that will form the basis of the entire relationship.

More suggestions as to what to look for in trainers also listed on the Humane Society’s website as well such as: Is class size limited to allow for individual attention? Are there separate classes for puppies and adult dogs? Are training equipment and methods humane? Is proof of vaccination required? Are the students, both human and canine, enjoying themselves? Is praise given frequently? Are voice commands given in upbeat tones? Are lesson handouts available? And so on.

Training costs may vary from free to very expensive, depending on where you live and the type of instruction you want. Don’t be discouraged by cost, who knows….a barter may be a possibility. Good dog trainers will work with you as it is in the best interest of the animals as well as the humans. The best time to train is when dogs are puppies, but that is not to say that adult dogs will not respond to training. Older dogs can learn new tricks. It just may take a little longer and require more consistency and perseverance on part of the human.

Another thing the Humane Society suggests is once you have selected the right training program to have your dog examined by your vet to make sure the pet is healthy and free from parasites, etc. They also suggest not to feed the dog a large meal, as they will be given tons of treats during training. After all you wouldn’t eat a huge meal and then go to the gym would you? Also make sure to bring what the trainer has recommended and practice between classes with brief training sessions.

Since there are no certification standards required to become a dog trainer, Layla Dean of also suggests what to look for on dog trainer qualifications:

Certifications: How a trainer obtained their certification should be taken into consideration. A trainer should be certified through a specialized organization which trains dogs for services work or a dog training school which gives a credit equivalent to a college degree. Be aware that there are many companies which offer certifications on-line or through the mail; this involves a short written course which, for a fee, they will send you a certification. There are no standards to theses tests, allowing each company to determine what qualifies an individual to pass the “course”. Ask what type of certifications an instructor has.

Verify: how many years the trainer has been teaching professionally and not as a sports trainer or hobbyist. While years alone are not enough to determine the quality of a trainer’s experience, it will tell you something if they have had the ability to continue in their profession.

Licensed: Is the trainer licensed as a business and meets all city, county, state and federal regulations?

Here are some more resources as where to go next, both locally and online that I have found to be extremely helpful:

All Breed Obedience Club Inc, San Diego, CGC -
Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources -
Behavior Issues using Dog Psychology -
National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors - NADOI -
ProTrain, Mark Castillero, North County -
SMRTDOG, San Diego –
Dog Breed Info (great for brief tips on temperament, exercise, training and more) –
Victoria Stilwell’s Forum (great for advice on positive and effective communication with your pets with regards to training) –

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lost and Found Information and Tips

Losing a pet is a horrible situation for everyone involved, human and furry alike. The pets miss their homes and are scared, frightened, suffering, hurt, worried or having anxiety. The families miss their loved ones and worry about what has happened to their beloved furkids, if they are in a good place waiting for mom and dad to find them, still alive, hurt or stolen by mean spirited people. The people who find the animals are worried about what to do that is in the best interest of the animal, where to take the animal, might not be in the position to house the animal very long, or may be stressing about another being to care for. Here are some tips and resources, in hopes to help families reunite with their lost ones.

Whether you find a pet or loose a pet make sure your ad postings are easy to respond to and include as much contact information as you can. The person who has found the animal or lost the animal may or may not have access to the Internet, email, phone or other types of contact.

If you lost your pet, we wish you all the luck in finding your furkid(s). A few tips to reuniting quickly are:

1. Make yourself available to all forms of contact, checking with the all shelters and agencies that take in found pets as often as possible and advertising wherever you can with pictures, a simple description (let those special marks allow only you to identify the pet, but include things like breed mixes if applicable, weight, size, etc), if the animal had tags, collar or micro-chipping, etc. Make it easy for the found party to get a hold of you and identify the dog they have is in fact yours.
2. Report your missing pet to all local shelters, animal welfare agencies and animal control facilities. Some shelters may not take your information, you may have to keep on checking their lists, but Animal Control will keep your lost pets information in their database so that when patrol is out they can be on the look out for your pet.
3. Report your missing pet to the company that supplies the microchip in your pet, any nearby veterinarians and the city that licensed your pet. Microchipping your pet can be the determining factor in whether or not your pet can return to you safely and quickly. Sometimes collars or Identification tags break off when an animal loose. Microchip information can be scanned by anyone with a scanning device and one your pet is lost calling the microchip company to notify them that your pet is lost will also notify those persons who scan the missing pets microchip to find out not only where the pet lives but that it is reported missing. There are plenty of cheap places to get micro-chipping done, and if this is the only medical procedure you do on your pet, it’s the one (not to say that regular check ups and vaccinations aren’t just as important or anything as they are, but a microchip keeps all the data both for medical and identification purposes and is like the pet’s bio in a little chip kept securely in their shoulder so that if something should happen during the lifetime of the animal the owners will have a complete record of activity). If someone calls in to check on a dog license that agency will have a record the pet is a missing pet and is able to reconnect you with the found party much faster.
4. Advertise everywhere you can and include all the details. Whether it is online, flyers, newspapers, pet finder, pet harbor…everywhere.
5. And lastly if it has been a long time since you first reported your pet missing, say 30 days or more, it wouldn’t hurt to check all available adoptions out there for your pet. Your pet’s identity may have been totally lost and the people who have the pet may have them ready for re-homing.

If you have found a pet:

1. Please take the animal to a safe professional place where they can get any medical, microchip scanning help or lost/found help they need and look for clues as to where the pet owner may be and advertised in ay way you can where the animal was taken to. Often times the first places pet owners look, besides flyering their neighborhood or posting ads, is going straight to their local shelters or animal control. If you find a pet, please make sure that you check the most common places where pet owners may be looking. Also you can take any animal to the vet, some facilities are 24-hours, to check to see if the pet is micro-chipped and you can also check in with pet licensing agencies as well status updates. But taking the animal to a professional safe house is the best bet.
2. Please don’t keep the pet or try to re-home the pet if no one claims the pet after a certain amount of time. Remember the animal may have traveled farther than the pet owner has looked or the animal may have been gone longer or stolen and escaped or any number of circumstances. That animal is a beloved member of someone’s family and is missed very much.

Below is a list of resources here locally in San Diego in order to help you out. Feel free to pass these on to anyone that needs them.

Escondido Humane Society -
Find Fido -
Friends of County Animal Services (FOCAS) -
HSUS – SD Humane Society -
Lost Pet SOS -
Missing Pet Network -
North County Humane Society -
Pet Assistance Foundation list of Found Injured Pet Facilities -
Pet Harbor –
Petfinder Lost and Found Classifieds -
Pets 911 Lost/Found -
Project Wildlife -
Rancho Coastal Humane Society -
San Diego County Animal Control -
San Diego County Animal Control (Patrol): (619) 767-2675 (metro), (760) 438-2312 (North County coastal), (760) 746-7307 (North County inland)

Dog Friendly Places Tips and Resources

I have compiled a resource list of fun places to go and things to do with your Dog here in San Diego, including parks and some tips. Here they are:

Action K9 Sports -
All Breed Obedience Club Inc. -
Animal Magazine of San Diego Event Calendar -
Aztec Doberman Pinscher Club of San Diego -
Ballistic Racers Flyball Team -
Catchers on the Fly -
Dogster Dog Park Ratings -
Irish Setter Club of San Diego -
Luratics Lure Coursing & Earthdog -
Rancho Bernardo Dog Park -
San Diego County Meet-Up –
San Diego Pet –
San Diego Whippet Association -
San Diego Dog Event Calendar -
San Diego House Rabbit Society Events -
San Diego Pets Magazine -
San Diego Co. Park and Recreation Dept -
San Diego Dog Park Listing -
San Diego Pet -
San Diego Dog -
San Diego Dogs -
Torrey Highlands Dog Park -
Unleashed! San Diego -- Calendar of Pet Events –

Some tips when in public with other pets or visiting dog parks:

1. Use common sense and exercise best judgment no matter what…if a situation isn’t right….change the situation to best benefit you and your dog.
2. Follow park rules and always obey leash laws!
3. Make sure your dog is a friendly one and doesn’t display any aggression. (How can you tell you ask? Go to If unsure keep dog leashed and exercise your best judgment and common sense.
4. If another dog approaches your and behaves in appropriately, tell the owner to control their dog and leave.
5. If your dog is approached by an unleashed dog and the dog is supposed to be leashed and you see where the owner is, tell the owner to leash and control their dog.
6. Use commands in conjunction will an action if need be: “No”, “Stop” and simply walking away with your leashed dog (or putting up your hand or calling your dog back to you, or whatever the situation is) will reinforce that those behaviors are unwanted even if directed at a dog that is not yours.
7. If need be get yourself “Stop Spray” and use it.
8. Be a respectful and responsible pet owner and a good patron of where you are and to others around you. People want to feel safe bring their pets or having others bring their pets to their place or to the park and shouldn’t have to worry about the actions or inactions of others. Remember not all dogs are meant for the dog park or to be in public. Make it safe and fun for all us to enjoy. Thank you.
9. And remember to be safe and have fun! Your dogs will love it!