2) With the possibility that some of you might be getting a puppy for the holidays, consider this advice for your children on how to behave around a dog
If you're a parent, you've probably heard pleas from your kids to get a family pet. And while bringing a new animal into the family can be rewarding, fun and exciting, there can be a steep learning curve when the pet first arrives.
What To Teach Your Children
1. Be gentle and calm. Before the pet arrives, practice greeting the pet gently and calmly with your children. So many kids shriek and scream with excitement as they run up to dogs or cats, but children should be taught not to run up to any animal, either their own pet or one in public.
2. Understand that the dog or cat isn't a toy. Although they may be soft and furry like a favorite stuffed animal, it's important that your child understand that the pet needs to be treated like a real member of the family. Consider sitting down with your child and practicing how to best pet and interact with the new addition on a stuffed animal, reminding them that the real pet will be much different than a toy. Children should always softly pet the puppy or kitten with no pulling or tugging allowed.
3. Make sure there's an adult is around when they play with the pet. This can be a tough one to enforce in a busy household. Things can go wrong pretty quickly between an inquisitive young child and an animal.
4. Respect the pet's basic needs and moods. Your children should learn that just as with a human baby, young animals need lots of rest. Tell them to not bother a puppy or kitten when it's sleeping or resting, and if the pet walks away from play, assure them that the pet just needs a break.
5. Do pet chores. A great way to give your children a sense of responsibility is to have the entire family help with the pet. Consider holding a family meeting where each family member has a specific task for the week. Each week, mix up the duties (always make sure the child can reasonably complete the task, even if it's just for a couple times a week), so that everyone is engaged and no one's chore gets "forgotten."
6. Treat animals the way they themselves would like to be treated. Sometimes children lash out with a kick or a shove against their parents or siblings and there is the risk that kid might do the same thing to express anger against a pet. Explain that all animals want to feel safe and loved, just like humans. Pets don't like being teased with words, toys or food, and you should teach your child to never hit, kick or strike your pet.
7. Realize the new pet will be annoying at times. Help your child understand that bringing an animal home isn't just fun, it's also a bit life-changing, almost like adding a new child to the family. Set up the expectation that this new family member will require extra attention from mommy and daddy.
8. Understand the dog or cat might play favorites. Sometimes a new puppy or kitty may seem to prefer one person in the family over another, and this can lead to hurt feelings by the other family members. Ask your little ones to be patient as the pet may take awhile to come around.
9. Help keep the pet safe. Teach your child that they need to keep their eyes open to make sure the pet stays safe from everyday household dangers like foods they shouldn't be eating or gates in the yard that don't close all the way. It is the entire family's responsibility to take care of the new pet and to give it a loving and happy home.
10. Empathize with the animal. It's not enough to pet the cat gently or keep from yelling at the dog, (although those are good habits to master), children should be taught to try and look at things through the pet's eyes, especially when it first comes home. The more they think about things from the dog or cat's perspective, the better a pet sibling they will be.
This advice will hopefully prepare your children for encounters with dogs throughout their lives. Perhaps, this might also help minimize the chances for a dog bite.
BREED OF THE WEEK
Just 2 weeks ago, an Australian Shepherd won the American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship. Animated, adaptable and agile, the Australian Shepherd lives for his job, which still involves herding livestock and working as an all-purpose farm and ranch dog. He needs a lot of activity and a sense of purpose to be truly content. Today, due to the breed’s intelligence and versatility, “Aussies” also excel in AKC events such as agility, obedience and herding. Their coats can be black, blue merle, red merle and red with or without white markings.
A Look Back
There are many theories about the origin of the Australian Shepherd. Despite its misleading name, the breed as we know it today probably developed in the Pyrenees Mountains somewhere between Spain and France. It was called the Australian Shepherd because of its association with Basque shepherds who came to America from Australia in the 1800s. The Australian Shepherd was initially called by many names, including Spanish Shepherd, Pastor Dog, Bob-Tail, Blue Heeler, New Mexican Shepherd, and California Shepherd.
Right Breed for You?
An energetic breed with strong herding and guarding instincts, the Aussie requires daily vigorous exercise. Although sometimes reserved with strangers, they are “people” dogs that want to always be near their families. Their thick coats require weekly brushing.
• Herding Group; AKC recognized in 1991.
• Ranging in size from 18 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder.
• Sheep herder; farm dog.
PRODUCTS OF THE WEEK
1) Whether your cat's breath is just slightly aromatic or capable of wilting flowers and peeling paint off walls, many products can help control the smell. The folks at ZooToo have 5 suggestions for the best cat breath fresheners: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/12/08/zootoo-review-5-best-cat-breath-fresheners/
2) Some of these might be used as "gag" gifts but they do have a pet theme: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/12/07/doggie-office-supplies/
1) Here is the final part of the story about Billy Ma and his acquisition of his new service dog, Polar: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/12/07/11-year-old-billy-ma-and-his-service-dog-polar-go-home-a-paw/
2) Since we've already discussed dog bites in this issue, it's only appropriate to carry this story. A US Airways flight attendant and a passenger were bitten by a small dog that escaped from its carrier during an actual flight: http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/dog-bites-us-airways-flight-attendant-forcing-plane-to-divert-to-pittsburgh/19748008?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl1%7Csec3_lnk1%7C188426
With all the other issues affecting the comfort of flight, this problem is not welcome, I'm sure!
3) Even though Helpful Buckeye and just about every other pet advisor are encouraging folks to NOT get someone a new pet for the holidays, there will always be someone who insists on doing so anyway. For you, here is some important advice: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/pets/pawprintpost/post/2010/11/giving-pets-as-gifts-tips-on-being-smart/132633/1
4) Shelter dogs often fall victim to the old stereotype: If it's been returned, there must be something wrong with it. Mixed breeds can have a tough time finding a home because potential owners are unsure of exactly what they're getting, but when the rescue pup has bull terrier in its bloodline, the stigma can be even worse. Read about Lily, a Pit Bull Terrier, that not only was rescued from starvation, but went on to help Alzheimer's patients: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/12/02/meet-lily-rescued-from-starvation-she-now-helps-alzheimer-pat/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-w%7Cdl5%7Csec1_lnk3%7C187573
5) According to a recent Associated Press poll, 56% of dog owners and 48% of cat owners buy a Holiday gift for their pet. Women are more likely than men to buy a gift for their pet...56% vs. 49%.
Where do you fit???
The Pittsburgh Steelers easily defeated the Cincinnati Bengals today, following their impressive win over the Ravens last week, and ahead of an important match with the NY Jets next Sunday.
The Pitt Panthers men's basketball team was ranked #3 this week but was soundly beaten yesterday by Tennessee.
The Ohio State football team will play Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl on January 4th. Since the year 2000, OSU has lost our last 4 games against Southeast Conference teams.
The Christmas movie marathon of Desperado and Helpful Buckeye continued this weekend with Elf, one of Desperado's picks. She's partial to Will Ferrell, while I like James Caan. At any rate, it did help to inspire some Christmas "spirit"....
~~The goal of this blog is to provide general information and advice to help you be a better pet owner and to have a more rewarding relationship with your pet. This blog does not intend to replace the professional one-on-one care your pet receives from a practicing veterinarian. When in doubt about your pet's health, always visit a veterinarian.~~