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Training Tips

Exercise, discipline and affection in that order are the three most important things every dog owner should give their dog. Seriously, IN THAT ORDER is paramount.

But folks, right now it is HOT outside. The air is sticky and the heat index makes it feel hotter than thermometers say it is.

DO NOT exercise your dog in the heat of the day, unless you are playing hide-and-seek-the-toy inside or the dog is swimming.

Your dog can overheat much quicker than you. And, even worse, dogs go from overheated to heat stroke quickly. Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated immediately by a veterinarian.

Save the exercise time of day for early morning before it gets hot, or evening after it cools down.

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Best Friend's Blog

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Lines from the Doghouse

This was  my column in The Evening Sun on Tuesday, August 4, 2015. Look for part two next week!

The Issue With Many Sides, part one

Q.        We have two rescued dogs. One of them is old, so we decided to adopt another dog. The application process seemed extreme and even after going through all of the requirements we still did not get approval. Why is it so hard to adopt dogs?

A.        In the realm of loaded questions, this one is a doozy. I believe this will take a series of columns to answer. Certainly, the commercials on TV about all of the abandoned, abused, deserted, and stray dogs pull at your heart strings. I bet most of my readers have wanted to grab those poor dogs and bring them home.


From working with Seeing Eye puppies in college, to seven years as veterinary technician, to thirty years as a professional dog trainer and an owner of purebreds and mixed breed rescues, I’d say I can look at this issue from many sides.


The ASPCA website has some pretty amazing nationwide statistics about ASPCA shelter dogs. Here are a few: approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters annually; each year close to 1.2 million dogs are euthanized; approximately 1.4 million shelter dogs are adopted each year. Of those dogs that enter shelters each year, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized, and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner. And, it is estimated 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. (stats taken from: https://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics)


Now, that being said, every AKC breed has its own rescue society which would increase the number of purebreds needing adopting to closer the number of mixed breeds.


I have to tell you, researching for this column breaks my dog lover’s heart.


Why are there so many dog rescue organizations?

Why are there so many strays?

Why do so many dogs lose their lives much too young?

Why do trainers such as myself work with so many rescued dog with behavior issues?

Why are dog foster homes overflowing?

Why is it so hard to be approved to adopt a dog?


The answer to each of these questions is the same. Humans are to blame. Period. I drop my head in shame at the way ‘man’s best friend’ is often treated. And, as disheartening as this is, we could put almost every rescue or humane society out of business within one generation IF:

every dog owner researched before purchasing or adopting…

every dog owner chose the right dog for him or her…

every pet dog was spayed/neutered at six months old…

every person who purchased or adopted a dog committed to keep the dog…

every dog was microchipped…

every dog was obedience and boundary trained…

every dog was respected and NOT A SINGLE dog was abused…

every dog owner took ownership seriously and loved dogs for being dogs…

It really is that simple. Imagine that, within one generation our best friends would finally really get to be out best friends! It’s something to ponder. Come back next week for part two.