I am still waiting for the reactionary borough council to make a move regarding the recent attack by 3 dogs in Pottstown (read it here). But truth be told, you are at greater risk of being killed by a lawn mower than a dog. Infant deaths are more likely to happen from plastic buckets than from dogs. And, sadly, children are more likely to be hurt or killed by a parent or guardian than by a dog. This is not to say there aren't dangerous dogs out there. But let's use our heads and not make knee-jerk reactions.
In observance of National Pet ID Week please make sure your dog has proper ID tags on her collar (including license and vaccination tags). If your address or phone number has changed now is the time to update her tags. Also, make sure her microchip data is up-to-date and registered with a reliable organization such as AKC Companion Animal Recovery. If your dog is not microchipped please strongly consider doing so. Microchips are inexpensive, painless and, most of all, effective. Collars and tags can come off, but microchips are always there and can be scanned by most vets and humane societies.
Last's night storm was an early reminder that thunderstorm and fireworks season is fast approaching. If your dog is noise phobic remember to not comfort them during their anxiety attacks. Telling them "it's okay" or petting them just reinforces their stressed behavior. It is best to just let them handle it the best they know how, whether it be hiding under the bed, in the basement, or seeking refuge in their crate.
While there is no hard and true "cure", there are some treatments that can help your dog cope during her times of stress: medications, dog-appeasing pheromones, and products such as Rescue Remedy and the Thundershirt. Counter-conditioning and desensitization have also shown to work in some dogs. I am currently working on a research paper about noise phobia in dogs and I will provide detailed updates to all these treatments after my paper is completed.
From ScienceDaily: "Like us, our canine friends are able to form abstract concepts. Friederike Range and colleagues from the University of Vienna in Austria have shown for the first time that dogs can classify complex color photographs and place them into categories in the same way that humans do. And the dogs successfully demonstrate their learning through the use of computer automated touch-screens, eliminating potential human influence.
In order to test whether dogs can visually categorize pictures, and transfer their knowledge to new situations, four dogs were shown landscape and dog photographs, and expected to make a selection on a computer touch-screen.
In the training phase, the dogs were shown both the landscape and dog photographs simultaneously and were rewarded with a food pellet if they selected the dog picture (positive stimulus). The dogs then took part in two tests.
In the first test, the dogs were shown completely different dog and landscape pictures. They continued to reliably select the dog photographs, demonstrating that they could transfer their knowledge gained in the training phase to a new set of visual stimuli, even though they had never seen those particular pictures before.
In the second test, the dogs were shown new dog pictures pasted onto the landscape pictures used in the training phase, facing them with contradictory information: on the one hand, a new positive stimulus as the pictures contained dogs even though they were new dogs; on the other hand, a familiar negative stimulus in the form of the landscape.
When the dogs were faced with a choice between the new dog on the familiar landscape and a completely new landscape with no dog, they reliably selected the option with the dog. These results show that the dogs were able to form a concept i.e. ‘dog’, although the experiment cannot tell us whether they recognized the dog pictures as actual dogs."
Amazing! So don't ever call your four-legged friend a "dumb dog"!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI