Monday, August 27, 2012

Update on the Traps

I posted my last blog post before ANY information was available on the leg traps. Luckily the media was quick to investigate and quite a bit has happened as a result.

Here's what has happened:

1. The traps have been removed while the City and University discuss their study methods.
2. The traps were only set between 8pm and dusk; however the park is open until midnight.
3. The traps were located in an on leash area (however in Nose Hill this can be difficult to discern)
4. The study is trying to determine the links between parasites in Coyotes and Dogs which is a very worth while endeavour.

My concerns:

I would like the public to be educated about what the study is doing and the areas in the park where they are conducting the study to be CLOSED to the public for the duration of the study or the traps to be removed during the day.

Signage in the parking lot as well as restricitng the pathways in would be wonderful. Many people use this park in difficult capacities so it's important to acknowledge people might get confused about where they can and can not do certain activities. They already post signs to alert the public when coyotes have been spotted in an area so I'm sure they can accomodate this.

I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to working with wildlife and that they are actively trying to track the coyotes and minimize the risk to them when being caught in a trap.

As an aside in reponse to some of the comments: these were not my dogs but a person's story that was sent to me. I don't have any updates on whether her dog was injured from the trap or not. However I can definitely understand how she ended up in that situation and let's not jump to the conclusion that she was irresponsible.

When traps are being placed in a public park the public should be aware that these are there. We know to look out for risks such as wild life, uneven terrain and other park users but leg traps were not expected.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Traps & Nose Hill Park Calgary

One of my clients forwarded me an email that I thought I should share with as many people as possible. Please note that I have not confirmed any of the details below but just in case it's better to get the word out.

Please note this can be just as dangerous for children as pets. Use caution when walking in the area or avoid it altogether.

Here's the email:

I was walking my dogs up at Nose hill tonight enjoying the evening when I saw a sign about 20 feet to the left off of the pathway. (Shaganappi Entrance - heading east on the pathway).

I begin reading off the sandwich board style sign - printing isn't very big so I approach the sign. The University of Calgary is conducting a "predator study - all dogs must be on leash and remain on the designated pathways". Two of my dogs had run into the trees to find the birds while I was reading. Before I could finish reading one of them is yelping! I run into the trees and realize they are caught in a leg trap!!! (the only good thing about this story is the trap doesn't have teeth - it just has bars that snap closed on the leg)!! A smaller framed dog may end up with a broken leg - or worse - be left as bait for hungry coyotes because the owner cannot find them.There are several (rusty) old traps set up in the same vicinity. A board with spikes or nails is also in there along with two cameras/videos. The boards are likely bait boards with food under them to entice the animal into the right spot for the leg trap to release.

The sign never once indicated any potential harm. The message only states you will face a fine should you not comply with the on-leash rule. Again by the time you read the sign, it may be too late - as I experienced. This is extremely irresponsible with far too many implications considering the amount of people and dogs that frequent the hill. I haven't even touched on the harm and trauma that the various wildlife will face.

I am outraged and shocked that The City and the University have moved forward with this study without warning or providing any details to the public.

I have provided photographs of the leg trap, the board with spikes and two signs.

Please forward this message to those you feel may be affected (people who take their dogs out to Nose hill who's dogs may run into the trees)!


Sign #1

Sign #2

Board with Spikes

Leg Trap

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trouble Shooting: House Training

Whether you have a young puppy or an adult dog that uses the indoors as a bathroom it’s generally the same training techniques to solve this problem. Yet sometimes house training isn’t straight forward at all.
Please keep in mind that sudden onset of house soiling in a previously trained dog means a visit to the vet. It can also be a good idea to get an untrained dog/puppy checked out if house training isn’t progressing smoothly.
Now here are a few scenarios that I come across with my foster dogs and my clients.
#1 Fido is urinating or defecating in his kennel overnight.
This is a common occurrence in puppies in particular (especially those small breeds). There are a few reasons for this including adopting from a kennel environment where your dog learned to soil him/herself, inability to hold his/her bladder for long periods of time, etc.
Now what to do about it? Obviously we don’t want our dogs to learn to be dirty so here’s a few solutions that have worked over the years:
-          Remove bedding from the kennel (if your dog soils when there is not bedding then try another option and give him/her the bedding back).
-          Put your pup in a large kennel and create a separate bed and bathroom area (pee pads or house training pad can be used). I usually set up an Extra Large Kennel with a small kennel inside for sleeping area.
-          Set your alarm and give your pup bathroom breaks overnight. Start with every 4 hours. Make these business trips so to speak. No playing or long cuddle sessions. Just take him/her outside, give a cue to indicate it’s time to eliminate. Tell him/her they are good dog and then back to bed. Gradually increase the time between overnight bathroom breaks.

#2 Fido sneaks off to eliminate in the house unseen (even after being walked!)
This is another common problem. Sometimes when a dog is exercised it will stimulate his/her digestive system and they need to go to the bathroom. Dogs can be nervous (or over excited) to go to the bathroom while on a walk so take a short detour into the backyard where it is quiet after walking.
In the house you may need to settle up an exercise pen or blocked off section where you can supervise your dog. Barricade any spots where your dog routinely goes to the bathroom.
Set your dog up on a bathroom schedule where he/she goes out regularly and praise for going outside. Gradually increase the time in between bathroom breaks. If your dog isn’t timid then you can tell interrupt them if they start to go inside and head out (don’t be angry or intimidating as it can make the problem worse).
Another option would be to tether your dog to you. This can be difficult to live and you’ll need a long leash (over 6 feet). It will allow you to keep your eyes on Fido.
Looking for more house training help? Check out Way to Go by Patricia McConnell.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Every Puppy is Different

So as some of you know I brought home a new German Shorthair Pointer pup on July 1 from Peregrine German Shorthair Pointers in Grande Prairie. His name is “Ari” and more information will be coming up about him for the blog and website. Ari is now 15 weeks old and has been living with me and my family (human and canine) for the past month and a half.

Having a new pup around has been fun and also challenging. It’s easy to forget the obstacles I faced when I’ve brought home previous fur babies. Marco is now 2.5 years old and by all accounts one of the easier puppies I’ve had.
What is becoming the most obvious is that you can NOT compare one puppy to another. I’ve had puppies of various breeds and from every background imaginable. This little guy has come from an excellent breeder and luckily has an amazing little temperament. However he is distinctly different from the other furballs that have joined the family.
It would be so easy to get caught up in well Russ was house trained by now or Marco wasn’t vocalizing in his kennel anymore at this age. But really that wouldn’t be fair. All of these puppies are so intrinsically different. Russ came from a breeder who started the whole litter on house training at 5 weeks old. Thanks Sandy & Denise for that! Russ is still the only puppy I know who house trained in 3 days and he also came home to us at 10 weeks of age not 8 weeks. In the case of Marco well the little guy was from a more independent environment and preferred dogs to people. So of course being kenneled next to Tank his Uncle was no problem. Comparing Ari the extremely people focused pup to Marco would not be fair.
I often have clients who compare their new arrival to a dog that they had for years and years. It’s easy to forget just how challenging puppies can be especially after living with a well-adjusted adult dog for so many years. All new puppy parents need to give their puppy a chance to develop at his/her own speed. There are no hard and fast rules about when a puppy will be house trained as it depends on so many factors. The same goes for training a puppy or an adult dog anything. Just like people they all learn at their own rate.
So my new baby is a great reminder for what my guys are experiencing and also not to compare. By the way did I mention Ari is already the most focused puppy I’ve ever had! He’s a smart kid and he’s bound to pick up the rest in no time.