Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Good-bye Basil

Basil the bunny was purchased from a pet store in Newmarket when he was three months old, in 2001. He lived with my family for many years, and was the responsibility of myself, and when I left for school, my sister. He was a good bunny, always very affectionate and curious in his surroundings. He ruled the animal kingdom in the house, Toby the dog would move to the side to allow Basil to pass him in the hallway.

When my sister left for school, my Mom looked after Basil for a little while, however she did not really want to. We started looking around to see if we could find him another place to live. Basil was given to my friend Laura, who was looking for a low maintenance pet. With Laura and her roommates, Basil really shone. He hopped around their apartment, keeping them company on late nights and stressful days. They gave him the attention he had been lacking over the last several years.

On June 23rd, Basil died peacefully in Laura's arms. He was 10 years old.  I am so glad that she gave him the love he deserved, and that she was there with him at the end.

Rest in peace Basil, you will be missed.  

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

new collars

A few weeks ago I bought a new collar for Ace. I like his martingale, and he behaves better with it on, however he hates it when I pull it over his head to take it off. I very much dislike making Ace do things he doesn't want to do, so I began looking for an alternative. I decided to forgoe the cute, patterned collars in favour of a more mature option. I bought him a black rolled leather collar, as pictured below.

This collar is great because it doesn't leave a ring around his neck, where his fur normally rubs on the collar. What does this mean? I have a nice, sleek looking dog all the time! When I find/buy a camera, I will post pictures.

Willow also has a new collar, more out of necessity than choice though. Willow and her brother Wizard have very narrow heads, which means they can easily back out of regular flat collars. Willow is also very sensitive to corrections, which could cause problems when she is recalled. I was worried a chain martingale would upset her, so set out to find a soft martingale. Let me tell you, it's no easy feat. After searching a few stores and websites, I finally found a simple red one that ADS was willing to purchase for her.

Appropriate collars are important when training a dog - the wrong collar can invite disaster! Flat collars are preferable, however often dogs will require a collar with more correction, such as soft martingales, chain martingales, chokers, and even prong collars. Personally, I dislike using any collar harsher than a chain martingale (Ace's old collar), however depending on the circumstances more severe collars may be required.

Monday, 13 June 2011

mirror image

                                              Willow and Archie hanging out in my bedroom.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

the best and worst of dog owners

Working in a pet store, I see dog breeds of all shapes and sizes. The same applies to owners. There are those who just purchase their food and refuse assistance of any kind, and those who want to spend half an hour talking about their pet and which toy or treat is going to be the best one.

Many people come to the store to purchase training devices such as haltis, martingales and harnesses. Often they are looking for a quick fix for a dog that pulls. They would rather purchase a $25 halti than spend the time teaching their dog to heel properly. I really hate fitting haltis or no-pull harnesses on puppies that are 14 weeks old... I often wonder how committed the owner is if they feel they cannot deal with regular puppy behaviour.

Once I sold a no-pull harness to a family with a lab/husky cross and showed them how to use it properly (how to give the correction so it was effective). The next time they came into the store, the dog was wearing the no-pull harness - and on a flexi-lead. Clearly not teaching the dog anything.

The worst equipment contradiction I've seen was a lab wearing a prong collar and a flexi-lead. To me, that is cruel. The strange thing is that the owners were very nice. They just clearly did not understand how to use a prong collar properly, and were not educated on how a flexi-lead actually works.

Don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful people who bring their dogs in. One of my favourites brings her golden retriever in every week, we chat about training methods and dogs with disabilities (one of her dogs is going blind, the other only has three legs). There are others as well who are looking to make good decisions for their dogs, and I am more than happy to help them.

I really strive to help people become more educated about their pets, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to make a difference in a pet's life, however small.