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By Urban Bent Studio
 Have a question, query or quandary? Write to us at info@pawsh-magazinel.com and we’ll track down some expert answers and advice for you! How cool is that?
Q: I have an 11-month-old Terrier-Poodle mix called Sebastian. He is very lovable, very friendly, very smart and usually quite obedient. Being part poodle he needs a lot of brushing, but he simply will not sit still long enough for me to brush him properly. He wriggles away and runs around the house trying to escape the brush. I then have to chase him, bring him back, and start over until it happens all over again and again. In the end, I give up, exhausted. How can I get Sebastian to sit still while I brush him?  (Linda, from Toronto)
A: Hi Linda,
This doesn’t sound very productive. Energetic, yes. Productive, no. Depending on the size of your house, this could classify as marathon training. And I don’t think this is what is meant by “exercising your dog.”
No doubt Sebastian is lovable, friendly, and smart — poodle traits for sure. The part that has me concerned is the “usually quite obedient.” The poodles are notorious for being able to train their owners and most poodle parents don’t even recognize the subtle manipulations in which these little fluff balls are so adept. Kudos to you for understanding the needs of Sebastian’s blended coat type. This is where the “usually obedient dog” needs to be more reliable. If he’s been taught the “stay” command, then it’s just a matter of reinforcing the command to keep him still for a groom. If he hasn’t been taught that, now would be a good time to start.
Let me offer few additional suggestions. If you have a raised platform of some sort, such as a coffee table, kitchen table, or washer/dryer, placing Sebastian on that while grooming may help initially. You can put a non-slip covering on the raised surface (ie; bath mat, rubber mat) to ensure he doesn’t slip around or fall off. Placing Sebastian on a raised surface limits his free movement area due to the restrictive edges and gives you (the groomer) better access to his coat, rather than rolling around on the floor. Also, putting him on a leash and securing him to a pole, leg, faucet, or anything that may be nearby the grooming area will also aid in limiting his movement. This will allow you to keep him with you long enough to prove to him that the grooming process will not be fatal to him and more importantly, that the process is completed when YOU say it is, not him. Of course, a grooming table is ideal for this situation, but you can get by with a makeshift one.
Keep the grooming sessions short and simple at first, as these will yield you faster progress than a few long sessions. When Sebastian complies, reward him. When he protests or wriggles, and he will, because you’re preventing him from his freedom of movement, stay calm and let him have his fight. Puppies, being the dramatic little souls they can be, will try to convince you that being brushed is a fate worse than death. Know that it is not. Don’t get in the fight with him. Be firm. Be fair. Be determined. And most importantly, be consistent.
Best wishes,
Lisa
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 ABOUT LISA
Lisa Day has over 30 years experience in grooming and regularly conducts grooming seminars and workshops. She is a certified IPG Master Groomer as well as an IPG certified grooming evaluator and is currently the coordinator of the Professional Grooming Program at Algonquin College in Ottawa.
Lisa has worked with poodles in the sport of competitive obedience for over 20 years in both the US and in Canada. Her current canine partner, GMOTCh Tudorose Smooth Operator RE AM.CDX Am., better known as Shaver, is the first Standard Poodle in the history of Canadian competitive obedience to have achieved the highest title offered in obedience — Grand Master Obedience Trial Champion (GMOTCh).
Some of Lisa’s additional accomplishments in the field of obedience with poodles include:
  • #1 Poodle in Canada 2010
  • #1 Non-Sporting in Canada 2010
  • #3 nationally ranked dog in Canada 2010
  • Winner of the Poodle Club of America’s High in Trial 2010

Black Cats, Black Magic?

By Cindy Orti
If you’ve ever looked a cat in the eyes, then you’ve probably felt that they know something you don’t. Indeed, it is their slightly superior enigmatic gaze that has earned them their sordid reputation and surrounded their species with various superstitions. Time and time again our feline friends continue to be regarded as mystical, powerful and even magical creatures, even though we are still reserved the lovely task of cleaning out their litter boxes.

Cat superstitions aren’t really a new phenomenon. Famous rumours of black cats being bad luck and trouble have been swirling around for generations. However, history reveals that not all cat superstitions come from menacing origins. In Ancient Egypt, cats were revered. The Egyptians believed that a cat’s eyes glowed in the dark because they stored and protected the sun’s rays. This made them very special creatures, companions to the gods, and earned them a lot of respect within everyday society. They became figures that were worshiped and even prayed to. Favourable cat superstitions can be found in other religions too. Some claim that a cat curled up in the manager with baby Jesus to keep him warm , while protecting him from snakes and rodents. According to another biblical story, a cat once saved the Prophet Mohammad’s life from an vicious attacking snake. Mohammad then blessed the cat with multiple lives, nine lives to be exact.
Despite these pleasant associations, however, things eventually did take a turn for the worse for the universal cat. Part of their so-called ‘evil’ reputation developed from the unfortunate fact that they are nocturnal. Cats are most active during the night, a time traditionally reserved for ‘all God fearing creatures’ to sleep. Forgoing sleep in lieu of a lively mouse hunt, the cat became a victim of wild speculation. Skeptics in the old days became convinced that cats who prowled around the nighttime scene were cavorting with the Devil. Then when all the witchcraft rumours and fears began to emerge, the ball really got rolling against poor Mittens. Elderly people who were lonely would keep cats as company, but also became the perfect target for witchcraft charges. People believed that witches could transform themselves into cats, thus the feline reputation was persecuted almost as much as the unfortunate souls accused of being involved in witchcraft.
By Cindy Orti
Eventually, much to everyone’s relief, history calmed down and the witch-hunting phase passed. However, cat superstitions still managed to creep into other areas of life. The sailing profession and cats, for example, go way back. Sailor’s wives would keep their cats inside, because they believed it would help keep their husbands safe while they were away at sea. Having a cat on board is considered good luck, but if a sailor throws a cat overboard, then a storm will supposedly come. Why sailors would be throwing cats overboard is beyond me, because logically it makes sense to keep felines around since they would help get rid of any rat stowaways.
Generally, these superstitions aren’t as powerful as they once were, but probably the most common belief that has carried over into modern day society involves a black cat crossing your path. Internationally, however, it does not always mean the same thing. In North America a black cat crossing your path is considered a bad thing, yet in England, it’s considered good because the bad luck is passing you by. In Germany, however, it gets a bit trickier. If a cat crosses your path from right to left, it’s bad news. But left to right, means good things are heading for you!
There are funnier feline superstitions still. Take note. If you can find a single white hair on an all black cat and are able to remove it without getting scratched, then you will have great luck and a wonderful marriage. Now I have never tried to remove a single hair from a cat, but I imagine that if you can accomplish that without getting scratched, you have quite a bit of luck indeed!
Superstitions, although often amusing, can damage the truth of a matter and result in misinformation. All this business about black cats for instance is believed to be the cause of so many black cats remaining in shelters. According to Black Cat Rescue, a Boston rescue agency that specifically works to overcome these superstitions, black cats are half as likely to be adopted as cats of other colours. Now how is that fair?
Maybe we should all learn to disregard the unflattering superstitions and instead focus purely on the positive. Did you know that in some countries petting a black cat is actually believed to bring luck? So take a moment to appreciate all the cats in your life. If you do, you will be the luckiest person of all!
By Allison Vorstenbosch

September 2010 Pet of the Month!

They say good things come in small packages and Snuggles, an adorable pint-sized teacup chihuahua, couldn’t agree more. Small but sassy, this tiny bundle of fur is a regular little fashion diva, working as a professional doggie model for latest doggie couture fashions. With several publications (and trophies) already under her glittering sequined belt, Snuggles has been featured in books like Diva Dog and Dogjoy, Chihuahua Connections Magazine, Pet Style News and Palm Beach Post.
There’s no doubt that Snuggles is a pro in every sense of the word. She struts her stuff on runways unleashed and wins almost every fashion show she enters. When she’s not busy charming the cameras, Snuggles and her doting human parent, Brygida Trzaska, are busy volunteering at charity events for various animal rescue organizations. Already in possession of a bursting wardrobe of her own, Snuggles is busy selecting her favourite fall styles and getting ready for Halloween – the ultimate occasion to dress up!
Congratulations Snuggles! September 2010’s Pet of the Month!

NAME:
Snuggles

AGE:
3 years

BREED:
Teacup Chihuahua

PET PARENT:
Brygida Trzaska

FAVOURITE GAME:
Spin Around! It’s fabulous and I’m a pro! I can spin and spin without getting dizzy!

FAVOURITE TOY:
Squeaky frog! I keep hoping he’ll turn into a handsome prince.

FAVOURITE TREAT:
Nothing beats a buttery mouthful of popcorn! It’s my comfort food really.

MISCHIEVOUS MOMENT:
Well…I’m not exactly allowed to have a whole bag of popcorn to myself, so I’m always trying to steal Mom’s when she’s not looking…

BEST TRICK:
“Spin Around on a Dime”

MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT:
Once I lost a hat out on the runway at an important fashion show. But I’m a pro, so kept on walking!

FAVOURITE FASHION ACCESSORY:
Diamond necklaces. What? Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, right?

CATCH PHRASE: I’m a diva for life!

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If you would like to nominate your pet friend for next month’s “Pet of the Month Contest,” please email submissions to info@pawsh-magazine.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

When Big Ears Aren’t Enough

By Urban Bent Studio
Meet Copper. Once a shy young Shetland Sheepdog living on the streets, Copper was fostered by the Hansen family and is now a sociable well adjusted dog living life with his forever family. But it is not just Copper’s past that makes him different from other dogs. This little fellow is deaf and is presumed to have been born that way. Sadly, even in this day and age, a great many misconceptions surround deaf canines, the foremost stigma being that they are aggressive and impossible to train. However, as Copper will attest, such accusations simply are not true.
Linda Hansen, who shows Shetland Sheepdogs and has titles in Rally, Agility, Obedience and Herding categories, contradicts the unflattering myths surrounding canines who are hard of hearing. “It wasn’t about whether or not we could train Copper,” she says. “He was a bright, intelligent, active, high energy, young dog that was quick to learn. It was more about finding the most effective techniques to help him learn what we wanted from him.”

Communication

So how do you begin to communicate with a dog that cannot hear your voice? “You have to think silently,” says Lynn Hyndman, a member of the Canadian Association for Professional Pet Dog Trainers and founder of Dogs in Harmony in Nepean. Hyndman, who offers a variety of private classes, from puppy manners to advanced obedience, says she would incorporate only a few modifications when working with a deaf pupil.
When training a hearing dog basic obedience, you use cue words as commands, such as “sit.” To train a deaf dog, you need to change your cue from an auditory signal to a visual one. Hyndman suggests using standard signals for basic commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” and then adding signs from the American Sign Language repertoire for more complex tricks. For example, you can pick out signs you like for “shake” and “shake other paw,” but it is important to implement signals with consistent meanings.
There are many ways to teach your dog obedience, but at the end of the day it all comes down to a matter of consistency. Hyndman uses the popular clicker method in her classes, which is used as a tool to mark a specific behaviour that is happening in the moment. “For example, when teaching a dog to sit, you would click when the dog’s tush touches the floor,” explains Hyndman. The pup would then receive a treat and once the behaviour is performed consistently you can phase out the marker and the treat.
Of course, a clicker would not work as a marker when training a deaf dog, so instead Hyndman suggests using a laser light (being extremely careful not to point the light anywhere near the dog’s face.) If laser lights make you a bit antsy, flashlights are also suitable. At the very least you want to be able to communicate to your dog when he has done something good and when he has done something bad. The universal “thumbs up” and “finger wag” are often used for this, but one must not forget body language. All dogs are strong body language communicators and those like Copper are even more attentive to what is expressed through the body, so avoid sending mixed signals when reinforcing or halting a behaviour. Make sure all your attention is focused on the pooch in question. 

By Urban Bent Studio

The Biggest Challenge

According to Hyndman, the biggest challenge when training a deaf dog is not gaining their attention or even keeping their focus, but rather working at a distance from them. In these situations you cannot vocally call or whistle your dog to you, so you want to reinforce a good recall (“come”) from a visual cue. When Hansen wanted Copper’s attention, she would turn the lights in the room on and off. Alternatively, if Copper was not in the room, she would use vibrations to call him by stomping on the floor or tapping walls. It is important to remember that stimulation means nothing to a dog without the proper associations. However, deaf dogs can be trained just as easily as their hearing counterparts.

Keeping Your Pup Safe

Just as hearing dogs startle to loud sudden noises, a deaf dog who is not paying attention to his surroundings may be startled when touched. It is a myth that deaf dogs become aggressive when startled. Just like people, a dog’s reaction depends upon his personality and whether or not he has been conditioned to certain behaviours.
Praise and an abundance of happy things (like treats and belly rubs) can go a long way toward desensitizing your deaf dog to such stimulus. All the same, some owners prefer to give their dog a “heads up” before they touch them, such as stomping on the floor, flicking a light, or tapping a wall to warn them of approaching contact.
The “heads up” cue is also good to establish for social situations. Deaf dogs around their own species are labeled as being socially inappropriate because they fail to respond to verbal cues from other dogs. They are also slow to learn the acceptable “play bite” force, because they can’t hear the yelps of their litter mates. Giving your dogs a “heads up” in this situation can all them to use the appropriate body language when faced with others of their kind and avoid awkward social interactions.
Another great way you can protect your dog is by training them to “check in” with you every so often, by being aware of your constant presence. This is especially important when out of the house. Deaf dogs cannot hear things we take for granted, such as the Doppler effect of a passing car. Keeping your dog on a lead when outside is important to keeping him safe and the sign of a responsible owner (not to mention, it’s the law in many places). You must be their ears and having them know you’re around and “check in” with you gives you an opportunity to warn them of the dangers they cannot hear.

Going to School

If all this training feels a little overwhelming, enrolling in an obedience class is not out of the question. Hyndman believes that should the dog have no behavioural problems, they could do well in either a group or a private class. In addition to strengthening the communication between canine and human and learning amidst plenty of distractions, the class environment is a social environment. It is the perfect place for your dog to learn social cues and “fit in” with hearing dogs.
Over the several months Copper was in foster care with the Hansens, he learned basic obedience and agility. With a little bit of patience, Hansen says, “Copper turned around from a shy dog into an outgoing social guy, who wasn’t ever phased by anything, pretty quickly.”
By Krystine McKinnon

Rover’s Relaxation

By Cindy Orti
A massage can be one of the most relaxing things many people can experience. After a stressful day, a nice rhythmic rubbing of the sub-dermal tissues can just melt that tension away. But why should humans be the only ones to get delightfully deep massages? After all, we’re not the only ones with stressful lives. A full day of stick-catching and best-friend-being is just as exhausting to Rover as a jam-packed day of chores is to us, if significantly more pleasant.

But what does massaging really do? A quick search through the ‘intertubes’ reveals a myriad of results, everything from the sane and logical to the slightly less so. At its most basic, a massage is the poking and rubbing of the skin and muscles. This (when done properly) is good for relaxing any tightness or tension, which in turn can relieve soreness and weakness. Also, tense muscles have a tendency to restrict the flow of bodily fluids, so relieving the pressure can bump up circulations. Lastly, a loose muscle is a injury-free muscle! A supple muscle won’t strain or tear, but a tight one is much more prone to such injuries. Think of the difference between a brand new elastic band, and a dry and crusty elastic band.
By Cindy Orti
Doggie massages are very similar to those of a more human nature, especially in that there are two major veins of it: casual and professional. Casual is something that anyone can do in their homes and is moderately pleasant and relaxing. In essence, the casual pet massage is very much like a long, focused form of petting; not too much force, but just enough to lightly rub the muscles under the skin. For a deeper massage it is necessary to go to a pet masseuse. There are lots of them out there, all accessible with a little bit of local research. Professional massages are much more effective than any preformed by untrained hands, and have boosted benefits over the casual pooch rub-down. Want to learn the intricacies of canine massaging? There are many accredited courses on the subject and most of them can be completed online. Be warned however: these aren’t flakey programs, they are long and intense. For those interested, check out TreeTops Animal Massage Education.
All this said, don’t forget that pets are like people – every one has a different personality and different likes and dislikes. While many pets and people enjoy messages, there are those that quite decidedly do not. If a pooch, at any point, expresses discomfort it’s important to stop immediately. If they were enjoying the massage before that point, just repeat what the doggie liked. Remember, wrestling shouldn’t be a part of the dog massage! But if everything goes right, a nice massage could be just what Rover needs after a hard day of being the best dog he can be.
By Alexander Bentley