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Operation Baghdad Pups

November 11th, 2009 2 comments

Helping Returning Military Personnel Reunite With Their Dogs and Cats

SPCA International has set up a program called Operation Baghdad Pups to help U.S. military personnel who have befriended stray animals in the war zones bring their best friends back home with them.

Operation Baghdad Pups Reunites Our Heros With Their Best Friends

Operation Baghdad Pups Reunites Our Heros With Their Best Friends

Their motto is “no buddy gets left behind.”  The program “provides veterinary care and coordinates complicated logistics and transportation requirements in order to reunite these beloved pets with their service men and women back in the U.S.”

Supporting this wonderful effort is a great way to say “THANK YOU” to our veterans on Veterans Day.  These people have risked their lives at war, we should all be grateful for our service personnel who do the jobs they are called upon to do on our behalf.

Please visit the website and read some of the stories of dogs and cats who have made life in the war zones more bearable for our fighting men and women, and how Operation Baghdad Pups can help bring more of them home to give comfort and support to our returning troops.

The website has information about how one can donate to these laudable efforts.  There is also information about how one can request assistance in bringing a dog or cat home from the war.

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Categories: Uncategorized

My Dog Growls When I Go Near Her Food Bowl

October 30th, 2009 4 comments

Training Your Dog Not to be Aggressive at Feeding Time

Lucy is a sweet-natured, playful dog who has never had any hesitation to share toys and beds with her adoptive brother Frankie, another Labrador retriever mix of about the same age.

But My Dog Doesn’t Want to Share Her Food Bowl

Growling at People is Unacceptable

Growling at People is Unacceptable

In fact, she doesn’t even want Frankie anywhere near her food while she’s eating.  She growls in a threatening manner if he gets too close, and he usually backs away.  (He is the type of dog who likes to pick at his food anyway, so there typically is not much conflict.  He never really tries to take any of her food away from her.)

Growling at Other Dogs

Most dog trainers feel that it is not a cause for alarm when a dog tries to protect his food from another dog.  After all, dogs have an instinctive tendency to protect their food when another animal gets too close.  Among dogs, protecting one’s food is a way to ensure one gets enough to eat.  It is also part of the competitive process of establishing one’s place in the pack.

In Lucy’s case, add in the fact that she was rescued from near-starvation, and it seems only natural that she would want to keep every kibble in her food bowl for herself.

The simple solution is to feed the dogs in separate bowls and to perhaps place the bowls a distance away from each other.  Each dog will feel he has his own space for eating.

Training Your Dog Not to Growl at People

The real problem arises, according to dog trainers, when the dog growls at people.  In the book The Well-Mannered Dog, the authors explain that dogs who show aggression when their humans get too close to the food bowl are forgetting their rightful place in the pack.  That is, they are trying to assume the lead position in the pack over their humans.  As the authors state, “Food aggression can be a problem because it invariably leads to other kinds of aggression.”

Dog Training Techniques to Stop Food Aggression

There are several dog training tools that owners can use to modify their dog’s aggressive behavior at feeding time.

  • The dog should never be fed first.  In a pack, the leader eats first.  The leaders are the humans in the family and the dog should not be fed until after having watched the humans eat.
  • The dog should be given a training task or two to perform prior to receiving her food bowl.  It could be something as simple as a sit or a down command.  But a training task will focus the dog’s mind and emphasize the idea that the human is the pack leader.
  • Reward the dog with the food only after she has performed the training tasks.
  • Stay with the dog while she eats.  The authors of The Well-Mannered Dog note that leaving the room while the dog eats can give her the idea that she is entitled to be left alone with her food.  Staying with her reinforces the human’s status as the pack leader.

Train Your Dog to Understand that You are the Leader of the Dog Pack

Make the Dog Sit and Wait for her Food

Make the Dog Sit and Wait for her Food

These training tips for aggressive growling behavior around feeding time seem to be working with Lucy.  In the past few days, I have done the following, without hearing any growling:

  • Gave her sit commands and made her earn a couple of hand-fed kibbles before putting down her food bowl.
  • Held the food bowl in my hands for the first minute or so after she started eating.
  • Moved the food bowl a few inches after putting it down.
  • Stood over her while she ate.
  • Promptly removed the food bowl after she finished eating.

I think Lucy is catching on to the fact that I am the leader of this dog pack, and she is a well-loved but subordinate member of it.

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Boycotting the Philadelphia Eagles Over Signing Michael Vick

August 14th, 2009 5 comments

Boycotting the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles Over Michael Vick’s two-year deal to play for the team.

Here is an informative blog called sackvick.net.  They have information about how to voice your concerns to the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles over Michael Vick’s multi-million dollar deal to play for the Eagles.

The site also has information about Eagles’ sponsors for those interested in boycotting the products of those sponsors.  If you scroll down into the comments section, a helpful reader posted contact information for the sponsors.

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Categories: Uncategorized