Puppy Mill?

By Marion C. O'Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI

Are you thinking about buying a purebred puppy? Choosing the right breed for you and your family is an important decision, but where you buy your puppy needs to be the most important decision of all.  The SPCA website says “A puppy mill is a breeding facility. To maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. When they are physically depleted to the point that they no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed. The parents of the puppy in the pet store window are unlikely to make it out of the mill alive.

Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise, or basic grooming. Breeding dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to feel the sun or breathe fresh air.”

According to the Humane Society website, “Consumers who purchase puppies from pet stores or over the Internet without seeing a breeder's home firsthand are often unknowingly supporting this cruel industry.”

I have a friend who said she “felt bad for the puppy at the pet store,” so she purchased him.  I had to tell her, “If you think you’re saving a puppy from a pet store you are in fact making room for another puppy mill puppy to take its place.” Unfortunately she ended up spending thousands of dollars for veterinarian bills because of major behavioral and medical problems.

 The SPCA website says “Fearful behavior and lack of socialization with humans and other animals are typical of puppy mill dogs. Puppies born in puppy mills are typically removed from their littermates and mothers at just six weeks of age. The first months of a puppy's life are a critical socialization period for puppies. Spending that time with their mother and littermates helps prevent puppies from developing problems like extreme shyness, aggression, fear and anxiety.”

The highest concentration of puppy mills is in the Midwest, specifically in Missouri, but there are also high concentrations in other areas, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and upstate New York. Commercial dog breeding is very prevalent among Amish and Mennonite farmers. There are typically between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders (commonly referred to as puppy mills) operating in the United States. This number does not take into consideration the number of breeders not required to be licensed by the USDA or the number of breeders operating illegally without a license. Because so many of these breeders are operating without oversight, it's impossible to accurately track them or to know how many there truly are. The ASPCA estimates that there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills across the nation.

I went online to see how they prey on the consumer who is looking to purchase a puppy. “Wow” would be an understatement. The websites really look like you are buying from a caring reputable family business. The Brokers even have photos of themselves with their families posing with their dogs. They have videos of cute puppies playing together. The Broker’s site says “We make it easy for you to find the perfect puppy for your family. We work with breeders that meet our high levels of care for your future pet.” They go on to say they make sure your puppy is guaranteed to be healthy. They can ship to anywhere in the country. 99% of the puppies shown were from the Lancaster area where there is the largest concentration of puppy mills in Pennsylvania. Having your puppy shipped? Unless you are buying a top quality show dog for thousands of dollars, you are actually buying a puppy mill puppy.

Do your research when looking for a reputable breeder. Look for puppies raised indoors around humans, specifically around people who have devoted lots of time to the puppies. Avoid puppies raised in an outdoor kennel, seller’s backyard, basement or barn. These are not pet-quality dogs. They are livestock. Look for litters that were born and raised in a kitchen or living room. Always ask to meet the puppy’s parents, at the very least the mother. If the breeder is asking you a lot of questions about you, your family and seems a little hesitant about selling you her puppy she might be the best choice because she cares what happens to her puppy.

Stop the cycle of cruelty by opting to adopt from a shelter or rescue, or by purchasing from a reputable breeder. You can do even more by refusing to shop for pet supplies from any store or website that sells puppies. Where you spend your money can make a difference.

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 By Marion O’Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI

When I say that it's a nightmare when your dog gets skunked, that's the stinking truth. Now, multiply that by two, two Labs, that is. It happened when I let my two dogs out for their final pee that night; I had no inkling that there was imminent danger lurking in my back yard. I have learned a lot from my mistakes, my dogs… not so much. My silly Lab Sally got skunked twice. After Shadow gave her quick “woof” to let me know that her and Sally were all done with their business is when all hell broke loose. I opened the front door, but before I could say “good girls”, Sally barreled her way through the front door, almost knocking me over in the process. As fast as lightning she bee-lined it up the stairs. “Oh no, I didn’t” ran right through my brain as I got a whiff of that stench. I’m not exactly sure why, but Shadow didn’t seemed too fazed by the stinking attack from the pretty little kitty with the white stripes. Before that night the only skunk I had ever smelled was a dead skunk. Did you know fresh skunk smells very differently than aged skunk? Fresh skunk emissions smell more on the oniony side mixed with a pungent blast of burnt plastic or rubber. The more it ages it changes to that stagnant, but familiar, smell of roadkill. The Skunk is also known as a Pole Cat or the Latin word “mephitis” which means “obnoxious vapor.” The French Canadians called them enfant du diable or “child of the devil.” The Striped Skunk belongs to the mustelid family (weasels, ferrets and otters). These waddling varmints can top out at 10 miles mph. A kit’s (baby skunk) scent glands are fully functioning one week before their eyes begin to open. A skunk is armed with two nozzle-like scent glands just under the rectum. If threatened, the skunk will drum his front feet on the ground like a two-year old having a temper tantrum. He purrs (similar to a growl) while arching his back and can shoot an accurate 12-foot sulfuric oil based stream in any direction toward his predator. If that isn’t enough to thwart off a predator, he has enough reserved ammunition for five to six more sprays. If you find your pooch has been sprayed, these things won’t help you: plain water is impotent, soap is useless on its own, mouthwash, or the biggest old wives’ tale – tomato juice. The fact is that tomato juice doesn’t work. It leaves your dog stinking, but with a beautiful pink hue. If the remaining juice is not fully rinsed off, it could attract unwanted insects. There’s also a good chance your dog could shake the juice all over the bathroom. Yikes! I’m having visions of blood-stained walls from the scene in the horror movie “Psycho.” There are a couple of commercial skunk odor removers available at most pet supply stores: Nature’s Miracle or Skunk Off. We all know that skunks are nocturnal, so in your hour of need remember most stores will be closed. The best thing to do is be prepared ahead of time. Have a plan of attack by making a skunk kit now. You might want to save this article for future reference. Always talk to your veterinarian about your dog being sprayed. Skunks are known to carry different diseases, including rabies. By far the best remedy for skunk odor was created in the 90’s by Paul Krebaum, a chemist from Illinois. 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide. It must be a fresh unopened bottle. ¼ cup baking powder 1-2 teaspoon of liquid soap, preferably Dawn for its grease-cutting properties. 1 pair of latex or plastic gloves. Combine the ingredients in an open container. Warning! Do not store in a sealed bottle or container, this mixture will explode. Keep the mixture away from your dog’s face and eyes (it’s a harsh solution). If your dog has been sprayed in the face, try a tricotine liquid douche concentrate or any over the counter douche. Also the eyes can be flushed with saline solution and mineral oil applied to the eyes to avoid stinging or redness from the bath. The mineral oil can be removed afterward by flushing with saline solution. The nostrils and mouth can be wiped with a paper towel or cotton balls soaked in the saline solution. Milk is reportedly an effective way to treat the eyes and face that were affected by the spray. Pet Advisor (www.petadvisor.com) offers a nine step Plan of Attack. The Plan of Attack 1. Do not wait to clean your pet. The longer the skunk spray stays on your dog or cat, the more time it has to dry and seep in further. 2. Contain the stink! If your dog is outdoors and you are able to wash him outside, keep him there. If the pet is indoors, get him into a bathroom immediately. Use a leash and do not allow him to touch any furnishings. 3. Change your clothes into something you don’t mind ruining, and get the supplies and latex gloves ready. 4. Using paper towels, try to soak up as much of the spray as possible (cloth or cotton towels may retain the smell). Wipe only the affected area so the oil does not spread. 5. Mix the solution in an open container. You didn’t forget, did you? Never use a closed container. 6. If your pet’s collar is fabric or cloth and also affected by the skunk spray, leave it on for the bath. 7. Apply the mixture directly to the area most affected while avoiding the eyes, nose and mouth. Allow it to sit for at least five minutes. If your pet has long fur and it is possible to completely remove the affected area by cutting or trimming the fur, this is another option. 8. Rinse off the solution thoroughly with warm water and wash the animal with its regular pet shampoo. Rinse and dry. 9. Pour any remaining solution down the drain. Remember, do not store any leftover solution. If more treatments are needed, mix another batch of the solution for each treatment. Back to my skunk story. My night of havoc didn't end with a simple dog bath. I finally found my scared and shaking Sally in my bedroom under my bed. #$^%@)*! Not only did I have two stinky dogs I now had a stinky house, too! These suggestions may help to remove skunk odor from your house. If you can, open up the windows and turn on the fans. You can sprinkle baking soda on carpets and allow to sit overnight before vacuuming. Using several ceramic or glass bowls, fill with cotton balls saturated with real vanilla extract, bleach, apple cider vinegar (organic is best) or fresh coffee grounds and place the bowls around the house (out of reach of pets or children) to soak up the odor. Unfortunately, the lingering scent of skunk will resurface when your dog gets wet for several months up to a year after being sprayed. Skunks live everywhere, not only in a country setting. Even people who live in town might want to look under their decks or porches with caution. Try not to give a skunk a reason to come visit your backyard, or worse, take up residency. Remember to bring in outdoor animal or cat food at night. Skunks like to eat fresh fallen fruit or vegetables. Cutting back your overgrown shrubs or stacking firewood tightly will help fend off these critters. Garbage cans should have tight fitting lids. The next time you smell that skunk perfume in the air remind yourself it’s time to make a skunk odor kit. Submitted by Marion C. O’Neil CPDT-KA owner and trainer of Molasses Creek Dog Training.

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  Digging the Whole Truth

By Marion C. O'Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI

 My dog loves to dig. I think sometimes my dog is digging to China because there is free steak and endless belly rubs at the other end.  I’m a dog trainer but what is more important is I’m human.  I’ll admit it I know it’s my fault.  My husband has a major problem with my (not our) dog making the yard look like a bomb riddled mine field. The most common reason why a dog will dig is because they are plain old “bored.” Doesn’t my dog know I’ve things to do? I’m too busy to entertain & play with her every waking hour. I’ll admit it it’s been too cold and icy to take her out for our daily walks lately. I can’t even play fetch because the ball gets buried in the snow then she has to dig into the snow to retrieve the ball. It’s an endless circle.  Digging in the snow is almost as fun as unearthing the ground. I have to omit It gave her something to do while I was chopping the never ending ice off of my driveway. Face it digging is a great fun for a dog who needs exercise & mental stimulation. As I write this article my husband is wagging his finger at me saying “spring is coming so you better teach that dog not to dig any holes in the yard.” Yes the much anticipated spring season is coming soon. The melting snow combined with the ground defrosting equals fun loving mud for my dog. The temptation is far too great for my dog. Right after a good spring or summer rain is her all-time favorite time to dig. The ground is more pliable and desirable for digging.

  Why is it my job to teach the dog not to dig? I say “let the dog dig!” She should be allowed to dig but not wherever she wants. It’s so much easier to teach a dog what to do then it is to teach a dog what not to do. Here’s my plan - I’m giving her very own personal Puppy Pit to dig in this spring. She can dig to her hearts content or to China whichever comes first. I found a nice spot in the backyard under some big pine trees. It’ll be great shady spot for her in the summer. Last year she was caught excavating in that same area. I was lucky enough to have inherited an unwanted resin raised garden box about an 8’ x 8’ x 2’ square. When the ground thaws I’m going to till the soil while adding in some sand (sand box quality not construction-grade for mixing into concrete) then top it off with the garden box. In the Puppy Pit I’ll hide a couple of old toys maybe a bone or two and some biscuits. I know this will increase the reward for digging in her Puppy Pit. If I see her digging somewhere other than where she is allowed to dig I’ll mark the incorrect behavior with a marker word ”wrong” then take her over to her Puppy Pit to encourage her to dig there. I’ll add goodies from time to time so the Puppy Pit will remain an attractive place to visit. It’ll be very important to remember to praise and reward her when she heads there on her own. I’m making a promise to myself and my dog to keep her exercised, entertained and most importantly to be outside when she is outside as much as humanly possible.  I’ll know there might be a couple mistakes so wish me luck!

Marion C. O’Neil CPDT-KA

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At Molasses Creek Dog Training, we teach a lot of families with children. We really like to include the children in the training process because we want them to feel like they are a very important part of the process. Training games are perfect for encouraging controlled fun between dogs and children.

Paw Note: It is very important that an adult always teach games to the dog before including the children.

GAMES

  •  Hide-and-seek

This game is a blast for both the dog and the children. One child or parent distracts the dog while the child hides and calls for him. The child hiding calls “Sparky, Come!" This also reinforces the “come when called” command, plus this cue can be an important lifesaver. When the child who is hiding is found, she gives the dog lots of praise and a treat. Once the dog gets the hang of the game, the hider can make it more challenging by hiding behind a door or under a bed while another child or an adult encourages the dog to "go find Aislen!" This game provides physical exercise and mental enrichment for your dog. This is a great game for that active dog or puppy that needs to blow off some steam and needs exercise when the weather is not cooperating or you are under the weather!

Paw Note: Remember that adult (active- not playing or talking on your smart phone, PC or folding the laundry) supervision is essential during play sessions since excitement can lead to over-arousal in either the dog or the children.

  • Fetch

The age-old game of fetch never gets old for your canine friend. The dog fetches a ball, a Frisbee, or a toy, brings it back and drops the fetched toy by your feet, and waits for you to throw it again. Start by getting the dog interested and excited about the toy that is in your hand. Now throw the toy a short distance away from you. Say “go fetch” or use any other cue you like. Encourage the dog back to you in a happy, upbeat voice with inviting body language (human squatted down with arms opened as to invite). If the dog brings the toy to you, cue him with “Drop it.” If your dog needs more encouragement to bring back the toy, you can increase your odds by having an identical toy appear in your hands as he returns. Most times the dog will drop what is in his mouth because he sees the toy in your hand. If the dog has the toy in his mouth and will not release it, offer a treat really close to his nose as you say ”Drop it.” The dog usually can’t have the toy in his mouth and eat the treat at the same time. The dog will eventually drop the toy if the treat is especially good. Always praise your dog when he drops the toy. You can eliminate the treats as soon as possible because continuing the game will be the reward for returning the toy to you.

Paw Note: You always start the game, and you end the game.

Do not allow your dog to play to the point of exhaustion. Always finish the game before the dog does; try keeping the dog always wanting more. You do not want the dog to teach you how to play the game! If the dog tries to engage in a game of tug of war or refuses to give up the toy, end the game by ignoring or walking away from the dog. Never chase the dog to get the toy! Count to 10 (one good dog, two good dog, three good dog etc.) before starting again. When the dog has the game down to a science, you can incorporate cues like sit or down before throwing the toy. Now you’re turning work into fun for you and your dog.

Paw Note: Any game that puts the strength or speed of the dog against that of the child could lead to over-excitement and even a biting accident. Adult supervision and proper training are essential.

 

  • Stay inside hula hoop (clicker game)

 

This is an advanced game for the family and dog. Place a large hula hoop on the floor and give each child a clicker and some small dog treats. (If you do not have a hula hoop substitute a rope or anything that will make a circle.) The child should toss a treat into the center of the hula hoop to get started. When the dog has eaten the first treat, the child should click before he steps outside the hula hoop and toss in another treat. The goal is to click and reward as often as possible while the dog has all four paws inside the hula hoop. Once the dog has the idea that the place to be is inside the hula hoop, the child can start moving around the room slowly, still clicking and tossing treats into the hula hoop. If the dog stays in the hula hoop, the child can get creative with movements like jumping or waving hands in the air.

Paw Note: Humans need to be patient while teaching their dog any game.

Do not be too distractive too soon. The idea is to keep the dog in the hula hoop. Play this game in different rooms of the house and then eventually outside. The dog will learn to go and lie down within the hula hoop. When that happens, you can take the hula hoop into any situation where you need to establish a boundary for the dog. A hula hoop game is easier and safer than using a rope to tie up your dog! Paw Note: A family that plays together stays together!

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New Classes Starting:

Puppy I Manners                  8/17 Thu. 6:00 p.m.                  Sorry this class is full.

Puppy II Manners                 8//19 Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners  8/26 Sat. 1:30 p.m.

Puppy I Manners                 8/31 Thu. 7:30 p.m.

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