Category Archives: Cats & Dogs

Trap-Neuter-Return Program

Summary: I read an article on the Trap-Neuter-Return program possibly coming to our county. I vaguely know about this program though. It will be interesting to see what the final vote will be.
I have heard about this program. I have seen some YouTube videos on this program. This program is now being closely considered by our county in Florida. I saw an article in the Commercial Press (Wed, May 13,2015), stating that the Sheriff is “exploring whether it is feasible to implement”. I have not done any research of my own about this program.
What little I do know, Trap-Neuter-Return involves the humane capture of feral cats, having them neuter/spayed, then returned to their colonies location.
This article states that the University of Florida has been doing an 11-year study, finding the felines on the campus has declined by 66%. This program is being implemented in Jacksonville, Baltimore, San Francisco and Los Angeles. If this program becomes implemented, it could be run by volunteers.
The article goes on to state the groups that are against this program including the Wildlife Conservation group and other organizations. Reasons for their opposition include danger of cats transmitting Feline Leukemia to the Florida panthers, toxoplasmosis to other animals and humans and the killing of birds by outdoor cats.
It will be interesting to see what the final vote by the commission board says.

    The following are my own comments:

Beyond stating the cities in which this program is implemented, the article doesn’t dwell much into the success or lack of in these locations. Furthermore, this article doesn’t state how much the projected program would cost to run. As I have stated in the first paragraph, I have not done my own research so I cannot vouch for the percentage of numbers that are being reported. For example, this article writes, The American Bird Conservancy reports every year “approximately 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals are killed by outdoor cats in the U.S. alone “. Although these numbers are great, I would question what are the percentages or numbers in the local area? An example would be, the University of Florida states a 66% decline in feral cats around the campus, has any research been done to the see if there is any change in the number of birds and other mammals in the area? I would not have a clue on how to begin such a project, however, if numbers are going to be given, lets compare apples to apples. Don’t give an approximate number of birds killed by outdoor cats throughout the U.S. and not have any numbers or research for the local area in which the TNR programs are being implemented. This should be possible since the TNR program has been in effect in some areas for over 20 years. These would be some of the questions that I would like to investigate. Have any of you experienced the TNR program in your area? If so, what are your thoughts about how effective or ineffective the program is in your area.

Cat Courageous – Adopting A Cat

Summary: Being cat courageous is recognizing the beauty of a cat and then courageously giving them a second chance by adoption. There are many pros and cons to owning a cat. These responsibilities, as with any animal, requires realistic decision-making, then choosing a kitten or an adult feline. No matter which one is chosen, there isn’t a high enough praise for being cat courageous.

Cats have a beauty that defines sleekness, stealth and grace. Cats have the ability of a ninja, playfulness of a baby and an independence only they can show. Accepting these qualities which makes up the feline is a joy all cat owners can attest to. Having multiple felines in the house only adds to the joy and fascination of these qualities and personalities. There is an added satisfaction when the owner has the courage to adopt an older cat.

Cats, with all their attitude and personalities, have basic needs that need to be met. Examples of these needs include brushing, claw trimming, feeding and litter box changing. When giving a feline a second chance from an adoption agency, bring a feline brush with you. Brushing a cat can be relaxing for them. You will be able to spend one on one time with your choice of cat and relax them as well. By brushing a cat daily you will help maintain a healthy coat of fur and cut down on hairballs. The second thing to evaluate is whether or not they like their paws being touched. Although this not the act of claw trimming, the touching of paws is half the battle. Another item to evaluate in the basic needs category is whether or not the cat uses a litter box. This can be evaluated by either direct observation or asking the caretakers. The last item in basic needs being met is the diet. This must be asked, as older cats may or may not have special dietary needs because of allergies, or other medical conditions. Of course all these basic needs leads to monetary responsibility.

Even though cats are independent creatures they are by no means a cheap animal to care for. The phrase “cheaper by the dozen” does not apply to cats. Is a kitten or an older cat less expensive? My answer, they are about the same. Either, the kitten or the older cat, have the same basic needs that need to be met. Along with these needs comes the vet bills for the shots that are needed. Should you adopt a cat, not from an agency, the feline will need to be neutered or spayed, ask your vet on how to get a voucher to help off set this cost. Many years of great health can be enjoyed when preventative checkups are given.

Cats can give many years of love, laughter and heartaches. Cats are also a popular animal in people’s households. This means there are a lot of articles out there about cats. Think about a question you may have, an there is bound to be an article out in the Internet world or book displays that can give you an answer.

Be cat courageous and look at adopting an older cat as you will be rewarded with personality that only a cat can bring into any household.

Our senior cat, Biskers was adopted when she was 3 years old. Being once an outside cat, she now lives a spoiled lifestyle of being “master” of the house. She doesn’t show the slightest hint of wanting to go outside. She owns the couch and demands her brushing daily. She has her “spot” when its dinner time and her after dinner lounging tunnel. Biskers adds royalty to the household by her mannerism and demands.

Are dogs motivated by treats?

Many dog owners believe the only way to reward dogs is by using treats or assume that dogs only respond to treats.

The reality is that we don’t give dogs enough credit. Dogs don’t need to be rewarded by food or treats only to learn something. They are smarter than you think and obviously you are a smart individual as well.

The problem with treat training is that dog owners assume that dogs are motivated by treats only. That is not true. There are two types of dogs; one who love treats and those who don’t care about treats. If a piece of treat is in front of a dog, he may end up doing anything depending how hungry he is which is a normal and natural response from a dog.

If we assume that a dog is motivated by treat, that is because he loves treats. That‘s all. That does not mean that he is responding to treats or understands the exercise. He is responding to the temptation. If a dog is treat lover and you tease him with treats constantly, you are actually stressing and agitating him. Plus he is not focused on the task but the food. That is cruel to the dog.

Treats can be used for rewarding the dog for being a balanced, well behaved individual but I do not recommend using treats for training dogs. When treats are used to implement a behaviour to a dog, the dog tends to connect it with survival and hunger related situation which has nothing to do with teaching a behaviour.

A behaviour needs to be taught to a dog when the dog has developed a deep connection with the human using other systems than food or treats. When treats are used with a dog that is not balanced and well behaved, the dog misreads the idea and the techniques as being rewarded for being unbalanced.

There are also dogs that are not interested in treats. Yes, I have come across so many dogs that are not interested in treats at all and dog owners are forcing the dogs to love the treats, eat it and respond to the command.

These kinds of dogs are obviously not responding to the treats but are looking for some other form of motivation that could be found and build by connection between the dog and the owners.

Dog owners need to work on building relationship with their dog rather than spending money on the treats and tools. You can use your praise just for the sake of praise for your dog. That is hundred times more effective and rewarding to a dog than the most expensive treat in the world.

Many dog trainers use treat training system because most dog trainers have been taught the same system. But the reality is that there are other systems of dog training in these day and age.

Anybody can put a treat in front of a dog and ask it to sit and of course the dog will sit. You don’t need to be a dog trainer to train dog owners that.

I use play, praise reward system to train dogs. Not many dog trainers use this system because either they are not aware of it or it is hard for them to learn it. It is easy to use the system to teach the public and dog owners. Dogs respond to play and praise more than treats and it is more reliable.

I have been training my own dogs and hundreds of dogs without treats for years and I can assure you, it is more effective and reliable than anything else.

In a nutshell, if you are depending on treats to get results from your dog, it means you don’t have a solid, healthy relationship with your dog.

Work on building a better communication and relationship with your dog, which takes a long time and don’t use temptations to lure in your dog to you.

Things You Should Keep In Mind While Choosing A Professional Dog Trainer

For dog owners, one of the most important decisions to make is choosing the right dog trainer, regarding the nature and behavior of pet, which makes it one of the most difficult decisions to get right as well.
We assume that you are already determined to get the help of a professional dog trainer, so you are very likely to deal with a virtual armada of people, who would claim that they are the only ones to hold the keys of dog obedience and happiness. They offer guarantees and charge more per hour than the professional human psychologists.
So how can you emerge with an actually qualified dog trainer among this minefield of options as that trainer is required to use force free and science based techniques and modern tools?
Although there are many dog training organizations, this profession still seems unregulated as any person can claim to be a trainer, not matter what kind or level of education and experience he/she has in the field. That’s why, if you don’t want to face a glut of under qualified self proclaimed “professionals”, then you should back up to the first step of decision making, which is what do you want your dog to learn?

1. Decide what you want your dog to learn:
If you want your pet to go for “sit, “stay”, “come” or “heel” at beginning lessons and the dog doesn’t do the obedience work, then you should take professional help for the dog obedience. Similarly, you can hire the services for the dog agility training, which is a tough task to do for a normal dog owner. Just decide if you want the trainer or not, you have to choose the right tool for the job you require done.

2. Check out a trainer’s certification:
Certainly there are plenty of good dog trainers who are professionally gifted without any kind of formal certification; still you should ask them if they have been certified. This is because a person having the certifications has passed the minimum requirements and has already put in his hands with dogs.

3. Get Referrals:
Before hiring any dog trainer, you should ask to talk to a couple of his/her previous clients. In this way, you’ll get the proper idea of the trainer’s mode of training, reliability and most importantly, willingness to follow through.

4. Make sure the trainer includes you in the process:
A professional dog trainer may have a great expertise and a successful track record, but if you are not comfortable working with them, then you should drop them for sure. A good trainer has to be able to treat you respectfully and discuss things in an easy way for you to understand. Along with that, a good dog trainer keeps up with the modern training methods and adapts them to an individual dog’s needs.
One more thing, if you’ve already chosen someone, but then later you feel like the hired trainer isn’t the right decision for your dog, do not hesitate to seek dog training elsewhere. Drop the person right there and move on with the correct one.