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Monday, April 23, 2012

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Promotes Animal Disaster Preparedness Day Tips for Helping Your Pets Stay Calm and Safe


Fort Lauderdale April 23, 2012--The summer months bring an increase in natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and floods. In recognition of May 12, Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, Home Dog Training of South Florida wants to help prepare pet owners with information about what to do in the event of a natural disaster.
"Natural disasters create immense stress for pets and pet owners alike," said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist and trainer"People can easily get caught up in the chaos of the storm and forget to help their pets. It is important to include your pets in your emergency safety plans. By being prepared, you can help ensure the safety and well-being of your pets should a disaster occur."

These general guidelines can help you prepare for a natural disaster.

Research a safe place to take your pets. Most emergency shelters do not allow pets.
  • Ask friends or relatives if they can shelter you and your pets.
  • Look for pet-friendly facilities and lodging near you. Find listings at sites such as www.petswelcome.com and www.pets-allowed-hotels.com.
  • Call your local pet boarding facilities, humane societies and animal shelters to learn about their restrictions and policies. Keep a list of these facilities in your pet emergency kit.
  • If you evacuate your home, do everything you can to take your pets with you. Animals left behind can be injured, lost or killed.
  • If you must leave pets behind, secure them in a bathroom (with drinking water in the tub), leave out plenty of food, and alert local officials that your pets are in your home.

Assemble an emergency kit for pets
"Whether you stay home or evacuate, keep a pet emergency kit with your family's emergency kit," said Edwards. Use plastic zipper bags to protect the items. Items should include:
  • Collar with tags and sturdy leash
  • Two-week supply (or more) of each pet's medications
  • Two-week supply of pet food and bottled water, and bowls for each
  • Photocopies of health records and a recent photo taken of you with your pets
  • First-aid supplies, including bandages, tape, tweezers and antibacterial ointment (ask your vet for recommendations)
  • Secure, covered carrier/crate (large enough for your pet to completely turn around)
  • Flashlight and radio, with fresh batteries for each
  • Favorite toy or bedding (to help reduce the stress of unfamiliar surroundings)
  • Cleaning supplies and disposable trash bags or newspaper for cleanup

Before the emergency
  • Be sure pets are wearing current identification, and have pets microchipped. This permanent form of ID helps ensure your pets are returned to you if they are lost.
  • Keep pets current on all vaccinations and de-wormer.
  • Have a photograph taken of you with your pets to show proof of ownership should you become separated. Send copies of the photo to family and friends who live out of state for safekeeping.
  • Get a window decal so that rescue workers know there are pets in your home. These can be obtained from the ASPCA or your local fire department.

During the emergency
  • If you stay at home during the emergency, take your pets with you to a safe room such as a basement.
  • Put your pet on a leash or in a covered carrier. This ensures you know where he is, provides a naturally safe environment for him, and allows you to move him to safe areas as needed.
  • Always remain calm. "If you act anxious, your pet will sense and feed off your mood," said Edwards.
  • If your dog shows signs of anxiety, do NOT "comfort" him. This will sound like praise and may increase his nervousness and confusion. Just act as naturally as possible and/or ignore his anxious behavior.

After the emergency has passed
  • If emergency officials advise you to remain in your home, keep your pets in your home, too.
  • Once emergency officials say your environment is safe, walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to the area and your home.
  • If you have lost your pet, contact local animal control officers to find out where lost animals can be recovered. "Bring along that photo of you with your pets to help shelter workers identify your missing pals," said Edwards.
  • Depending on the extent of the emergency, have your pets checked by your veterinarian to ensure their continued health.
For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Observes National Pet Week with Top 10 Tips for Dog Owners

Fort Lauderdale, Florida April 16, 2012 - In celebration of National Pet Week (May 6-12), Home Dog Training of South Florida has issued a list of the "Top 10 Things Every Dog Owner Should Know."
"As part of our commitment to encourage a balanced, positive relationship between owners and dogs, we have compiled a top 10 list to help dog owners better understand their canine pets," said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist. "What better way to celebrate National Pet Week than by promoting a better understanding of man's best friend?"
1. A dog is a dog. "The greatest misconception many dog owners have is to assume their dogs communicate the way people do," Edwards said. Dogs intuitively follow the same rules and exhibit many of the same behavioral patterns as their wild ancestors. To effectively train your dog, you must first understand his instinctual behavior.
2. All dogs think in terms of survival. Dogs naturally know that living with others, especially with an assertive leader, increases their chances for survival. As a dog owner, one of your responsibilities is to model a leader's strong and consistent characteristics so that your dog will learn to respect and trust you. Your leadership will help your dog feel safe and eliminate many behavior problems.
3. Dogs don't understand English. In addition to barking, growling and other guttural sounds, dogs rely heavily on body language. And yet, your body language can easily be misinterpreted. "By understanding how dogs communicate, you will avoid the mistake of telling your dog one thing while your body language and voice tone tell him something completely different," said Edwards.
4. Dogs are neither spiteful nor deliberately naughty. There are three reasons why a dog misbehaves or disobeys: 1) He does not understand what you want; 2) He does not consider you his leader; or 3) He is suffering from some kind of stress or fear. Understanding this will help you address your dog's problems and behaviors.
5. Aggression is instinctive in every breed. Whether Chihuahua or German shepherd, a dog's breed has nothing to do with aggression. Instead, aggression is natural and caused most often by fear of the unknown-that is, whatever the dog cannot understand or does not recognize as normal. When a dog becomes frightened, he will do one of two things: fight or take flight. By reinforcing leadership with your dog, you can avoid uncontrollable aggression.
6. You can teach an old dog new tricks. "Dogs are continuous learners and have good memories," said Edwards. The three things that primarily influence a dog's behavior are association, experience and instinct. By conditioning your dog and effectively showing him what you consider good and bad behavior, you can help him change his behavior.
7. Bad behaviors may be natural, but they do not have to be acceptable. Most people consider digging, chewing and jumping as unacceptable dog behavior-but to dogs, these actions are natural. As our dog's primary educator and leader, it is our job to teach him that what he considers natural behaviors are not necessarily acceptable in our households.
8. It's illogical to get angry with your dog. Dogs do only what comes naturally or what they've learned through association, so getting angry-or using physical force-is both inappropriate and counterproductive. Moreover, never use your hands for disciplining, because dogs find this provocative and threatening. "Make sure your dog always associates your hands with gentleness and pleasure," said Edwards.
9. Correct your dog on the spot. Because dogs learn from association, they will comprehend your message only if it is delivered in a timely manner. A correction must be issued at the precise moment the dog is either contemplating or actually doing something wrong. Because it can be difficult to catch your dog in the act, find ways to simulate situations in which your dog would normally misbehave so you can then correct him immediately and guide him to the appropriate behavior, while praising his correct decisions.
10. Dogs experience the world differently from humans. With 25 times more olfactory receptors than humans, dogs can sense odors at concentrations millions of times lower than we can. In addition, a dog's eyesight can be likened to that of a person who is color-blind. Dogs use other cues (such as smell, texture, brightness, and position) rather than relying on color. With acutely developed hearing, dogs can hear sounds four times farther away than humans. "But dogs also hear selectively," said Edwards. "They can sleep beside a blaring television, but wake up as soon as they hear something unrelated to that."


For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.