Campaign to end puppy mills…

British author and puppy mill campaigner, Janetta Harvey tells us about her dogs— Susie-Belle, Twinkle and Renae and how they have inspired her in a global campaign to end puppy mills.

 

We’ve had Renae since she was eight weeks old and she’s now almost five. We don’t know how old Susie-Belle and Twinkle are, as they lived for many years in Janetta Harveypuppy mills as breeding dogs before they were rescued from that horrible life. Susie-Belle arrived in our lives four years ago and Twinkle two and a half years. It’s estimated that they’re somewhere between eight and twelve years old, Susie-Belle is definitely the oldest. She’s a bit like a wise and gentle elderly grandma dog! She’s experienced much suffering in her life, but now makes sure that she gets the most out of her senior years; she loves her walks, her food, her soft and comfortable bed, all things that she never experienced in the puppy mill.

 

Big puppy mill menace
Yes, puppy mills are certainly problems in Britain, and it’s a growing menace for the dogs. The puppy breeding and selling industry is poorly regulated which means that money can easily be made from dogs being forced to produce puppies for years on end. In many of the places such as where Susie-Belle and Twinkle were imprisoned, dogs are kept on an industrial scale, with hundreds confined to cages or small concrete boxes in large agricultural breeding sheds. They receive little care and no attention or love at all. They never see daylight and most will die before they are rescued. It’s a business based on cruelty and is all about the money that can be made by the breeders selling the puppies to dealers, who then sell them on to the puppy buying public. Susie-Belle and Twinkle are two of the lucky few who survive long enough to be rescued, and get to live as dogs, not as breeding machines.

 

Life with dogsUntitled-13 Untitled-14
My dogs, Susie-Belle and Twinkle, have changed my life. Once I adopted Susie-Belle, and saw the full horrors of puppy mills and what damage the industry inflicts on dogs, I knew that I had to do everything possible to make a difference to other dogs that are caught up in it. I knew that giving a home to one puppy mill survivor isn’t enough, so I went on and wrote my first book about puppy mills which became a bestseller. This allowed me to reach many people and educate them, but it still didn’t feel like I was doing enough, so in 2013 I adopted Twinkle, knowing that the problems caused to her by the puppy industry were more psychologically severe than Susie-Belle’s. Having her and Susie-Belle in my life means I spend my days writing, blogging and campaigning to end the industry that harmed them. I network with others around the world with similar problems to stop the cruel business that condemns dogs to live of utter misery.

 

Book on puppy mill
Yes, there is so much I need to write about puppy mills and the dogs who survive, as well as those who die before knowing that life can be kind, not cruel. I’m currently writing a children’s book, working with illustrator Annabel Wilson. The book will talk to children about puppy mills and how as the future generation of puppy buyers they can make the world better for the dogs. Her published books are Saving Susie-Belle and the newly released sequel Saving One More, which share her life with her dogs rescued from the puppy mill industry.

 

(Janetta Harvey is Huffington Post UK blogger and an active international campaigner against puppy mills. To learn more about her, visit: www.janettaharvey.com)

Find Out the Right Way to pet a dog

You will surprise to know that there is a right technique of petting a dog. The morning hug, which makes up your day, might not be welcome by your pooch. Here’s how
to pet your dog.

 

Don’t generalise the dog’s behaviour and attributes, understand the need of your pet – before petting.  Here are few ways to pet a pooch:

 

1Understand the dog:
Don’t pet a dog who doesn’t initiate contact with you. Even the slightest hint of contact like tail wagging or eye contact should be considered a sign for petting. Understand the dog’s mood by the wag of the tail. Let the dog sniff you and become familiar with you. If he stays back or acts a little grumpy, you should not pet him.

 

2 Caution:
Be extra cautious around a sleeping, fearful, sick or reserved dog. You don’t want to alarm them with sudden greetings and pats.

 

3 Perfect approach:
Whether it is your own dog or an unknown dog, you have to always approach the dog slowly and preferably bend down to their height.

4 Stop when the dog feels uncomfortable:
When you approach the dog, if he moves away or shows any signs of discomfort, then you need to stop.

 

5 Hugging blues:
Hugging your dog can be a routine for you. But do you know that some dogs get frightened and threatened when you hug them? Cuddling your furry companion for a pampering session is nothing less than rejuvenation, but you need to be cautious. It can also be the case where your pet may like the hug of one family member over the others. If you notice the dog exhibiting any such signs then it is better to mould yourself as per the liking of the pet.

 

6 Petting your friend’s dog:
If you want to pet someone else’s dog you must ask the pet parent about the dog’s temperament and behaviour. If the dog is friendly with strangers then you can slowly approach the dog and give an encouraging pat on the back.

 

7 Petting a stray:
If it is a stray that you want to pet, be very carefull as they are not vaccinated. You can foster the friendship with warm food, clean water and companionship. In no time, the stray will let you pet him.

 

8 Make petting a play session:
Bring in your pet’s favourite toys – ball, tug of war or a soft toy and elevate the excitement.

 

9 Don’t force your pet to interact with other dogs/humans.
Just like we humans, dogs have friends and foes. So if your pet isn’t friendly with your neighbour’s dog it is perfectly okay. Also don’t allow strangers to pet your dog when he is showing signs of wanting to be left alone.

 

10 Positive encouragement:
Positive encouragement works wonders with fearful and shy dogs. Give them treats when they stay calm and show socially amicable behaviour.

 

11 Pet slowly:
Don’t make any sudden movements like scratching, slapping or moving your hand very fast on his body. Pet him slowly and if you feel, he is liking it, you can continue it.

 

Where to pet and where not to pet?
Understand that each dog has individual choices, likes and dislikes. All dogs are different and have different preferences. When you understand how physical contact is affecting your pet it helps you develop a positive relation.

 

Generally most dogs like to be patted on the chest, back and behind the ears. In fact, it is rightly said that ‘Give a dog a belly rub and you’ll have both a friend and a permanent job.’Many people think that dogs like being patted on the head. On the contrary most dogs don’t like being patted on the head. It is quite common for dogs to lean away when you try to pat them on the head.
Avoid petting on the muzzle, paws, top of the head and tail. Whatever you do, do it with love and affection. Happy Petting!

KPS monsoon care tips for your pooch

Though monsoons are a huge respite from scorching summers, they bring with them many water-borne diseases or skin infections. Here are a few tips to take care of your pooch in monsoons:

 

  • De-worm your pet periodically.
  • Keep your pet tick-free.
  • Do not feed him cold food and water.
  • Do not take him for a walk in water-logged areas as it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and pests.
  • Clean his paws and furs when back from a walk.
  • Whenever you find your pooch dirty, give him a bath with antiseptic shampoo but do remember to dry him thoroughly.
  • Groom your dog regularly, taking extra care of his ears and paws.
  • If you notice any foul smell or hair fall, take him to your vet immediately.
  • Feed him fewer calories as he might not be able to go outdoors for long walks.
  • Make his diet more fibre-rich. Feed him a balanced diet.
  • Clean his feeding and water bowls every time you serve him.
  • Give him warm and dry bedding.

When pets are family!

The pet care industry is increasingly influenced by ‘lifestyle’ with trends in human life frequently crossing over into the world of pets. There is also increased focus on nutritional intervention to improve health and quality of life of pets. From OP Singh, Chairman-Vivaldis Health and Foods Pvt Ltd, let us understand what ‘lifestyle’ means when translated to the companion animal segment.

What motivates pet care?
To people pets are family and that is the theme in pet care. Our pets are becoming more important to us than ever before.Untitled-5
The recent increase in single-person households and less time for socialising have increased our need for social support, which we find in our faithful pets. This is in line with the reasons most people cite for having a pet, with the need for companionship being the main reason reported by 70 percent of pet parents. 

This trend will not cease anytime soon – pet parents want their pets to mirror their affluent lifestyle.
Pets get birthday presents, cakes, special meals, shopping at specialty boutiques, spa treatments etc. So it should come as no surprise that they are willing to go to great length to make sure their furry friends are comfortable inside and out. With disposable income on the rise, they are willing to spend more on the pets they have, investing in premium products and services for them.
This luxurious lifestyle of pets has also started resulting in lifestyle problems in pets like ‘obesity’ which is the root cause of all the lifestyle diseases in pets.

About the new age pet parents
Almost 60-70 percent of pet parents treat their pet as a family member and their welfare is a priority for them. They prefer brands that feel safe, reliable and credible. Their indulgence can include but is not limited to providing their pet quality foods/treats, toys, grooming services.

While, 20-30 percent pet parents treat their pet as a well cared for animal, prioritising the pet’s health, but reject overt humanisation. This group embraces the animal nature of their pets. They are willing to spend heavily on their pets. They typically research all available products thoroughly and prefer small ethically positioned brands. This group treats their pets very well, and trends in their pet’s food echo those in their own food, looking to organic and sustainable ingredients, for example.

While, the rest five percent of pet parents treat their pet as a substitute child and are likely to buy clothing and accessories for him. Although small, this group is often willing to spend large amounts of money on their pets. For them, exclusivity tends to be paramount.

Reason behind specialised pet care
Pet parents want to do everything possible to keep their dog or cat healthy. So gone are the days of generic kibble. They can now choose from a range of natural therapeutic products that is scientifically geared for particular conditions. Just like in humans, the trend in pet parenting is now shifting towards the natural products, for nutrition as well as treatment.
So product development is hinged on this central idea of providing nutrition not just for wellness but also for treating many of the conditions in a natural way, without worrying about the side effects.

The industry is investing in R&D initiatives to continue to develop new products, especially natural alternative treatment options with advanced formulations to promote longer, healthier lives in pets.

KPS way to help your dog lose weight

Sometimes, pet parents go overboard in pampering their pets, which makes the pets obese and attracts to ill health and can become life-threatening too. Here’s how to help your dog lose weight.

  • Feed at fixed intervals: Do not let food available to your pooch at all times. Only feed him at fix intervals, in consultation with your vet.
  • Right quantity: Give your dog breed-and age-specific diet, on advice of your vet.
  • Choose a quality dog food: Always choose a dog food with higher protein content so that the dog feels full.
  • Exercise: Exercise him and do not let him live a sedentary life.
  • Minimise treats: Do not over indulge with treats. A pat on the back will also be good for your dog.
  • Monitor his progress: Always monitor his weight loss regime. If he is not losing enough, you need to ascertain the cause and make necessary changes in his diet and exercise.
  • Maintain it: Once you reach his goal weight, maintain the diet and exercise schedule.

Essential training techniques for the Smart Puppy

Dogs are fast learners. You can begin teaching simple commands for everyday use by employing vocal instruction, treats or other methods like Clicker Training. These essential training techniques will ensure the overall well being of your pup .

Nitin and Snoopy

Nitin and Snoopy

Bringing home a puppy is such a joy. But most pet parents give up training their dogs or some don’t start at all because the task of training seems so daunting. You don’t need to teach your puppy a bag full of tricks and commands for competitions or shows. Some simple commands, early housebreaking training and teaching your dog to leash walk are the only things for your everyday needs. Rest all is a bonus.
The following basic commands can be easily taught using verbal instructions and using healthy treats as rewards.
Sit: This is one command puppies learn the fastest. It requires hardly any effort on your part. To begin, just put your hands gently on his haunches as you command him to sit. And he will know what you mean by the word ‘Sit’. Else, stand up straight in front of your dog and hold a treat in front of his nose. As he will try to grab the treat with his mouth, his rear would go down and he will ‘Sit.’ Once he sits, give him the treat.
Stay: Sometimes, you want your dog to stay where he is. Here, ‘Stay’ command comes into play. When your dog is in the ‘Sit’ position, stand on his left, facing the same direction he is looking. Hold his collar and give the ‘Stay’ command, with your plam over his head. Let him stay in the position for some time. Then, give him a pat or a treat. Important point to remember is that when you walk away from your dog, use the right foot so that he does not get confused and starts walking with you.
Down: This is another but stronger form of ‘Stay.’ When your dog is in the ‘Sit’ position, give the ‘Down’ command, with a treat in your hand. Lower the treat enough that the dog’s elbows touch the ground. Release the treat. Repeat until he learns to go on a ‘Down’ position on a command.
Come: Your puppy should come to you when called. Place a treat near your feet and give the ‘Come’ command followed by the name of the puppy. When your pooch reaches you, praise him and let him have the treat. Repeat this command several times in a day.
Heel: This helps you and your dog have a pleasant walk when your puppy knows that to heel means to walk to your left without pulling on his leash. To teach the ‘Heel’ command, make your dog ‘Sit’ beside you on your left, with his leash in your hand. Give the ‘Heel’ command while putting your left foot forward. If he walks past you, tug his leash gently and repeat the ‘Heel’ command.
Once he learns these commands, you can also teach him the following:
No: Teaching your puppy the meaning of ‘No’ can be a life-saver. It can substitute for ‘Drop’ or ‘Away’ commands. If your pooch is about to put somethingUntitled-2 in his mouth that can be toxic or jump on a guest, a simple ‘No’ from you should make your puppy to stop doing whatever it is that you want him to stop doing. This command is worth a thousand tricks.
Wait: This comes in useful when you need your dog to ‘Wait’ while you need your pet to pause or delay any activity, or for any other reason. The fastest way to teach your puppy to ‘Wait’ is his feeding time. Simply ask him to wait while you put food in his feeding bowl, and once done, say okay to signal him to know that it’s now okay to start eating the food he is salivating for. This leads us to the ‘Okay’ command.
Okay: This lets your dogs know that it’s ‘Okay’ to start doing whatever you asked him not to. It’s fairly simple but quite useful and easily taught to a puppy if used every day in various situations.
Stand: This one comes in handy if your playful puppy becomes a lazy adult.
Out: Useful for house-breaking training.
Off: A substitute for ‘No’ command when your dog tries to jump or goes into areas of the house forbidden to him.
You can teach him any command that you feel your puppy needs to learn. Remember to reward your dog with praise words like ‘good boy’ (or ‘good girl’) followed by the puppy’s name or with healthy treats. This teaches them positive reinforcement. It is also imperative that you use each command word in various situations for your puppy to learn it effectively.

Housebreaking… not to worry!
Puppies are adorable and cuddly and it’s important to teach them where to go about their business. With some efforts on your part, your puppy can be housebroken within weeks and even days. Yes, it is possible if you follow certain steps, and follow them regularly.

  • Schedule a fixed time for feeding and walking your puppy so that he knows his routine.
  • Take your puppy outside immediately upon waking up or just after you feed him. 
  • If you have a garden or a backyard that can be used by your puppy for his daily breaks, then fix a spot for him by putting some wood shavings or newspapers on the designated area and take your puppy to that spot after his feeding or first thing in the morning. After a few days, your puppy will know his potty area. 
  • Keep your calm if your puppy has accidents! if accidents happen at least a few times, immediately take your pooch outside to his potty area so that he understands not to mess indoors.
  • In the cases of messy indoors, immediately clean the affected area as puppies associate the smells of their urine or faeces to mark their own areas, and will mostly use the very same space to mess with the next time! 
  • The time your puppy will take to be housebroken totally depends on your efforts. But always be patient. They really do learn fast.

Teaching safe leash-walking…

  • The first step here involves getting your puppy familiar with his collar. Put a collar on him as soon as you bring your puppy home. A light weight and soft collar is ideal to begin with.
  • Distract him or use the ‘No’ command when your puppy tries to dislodge or bite the collar.
  • When your puppy is comfortable wearing the collar, then it is time to introduce the leash. The puppy will no doubt will try to bite the leash too, so make sure it’s made of material that is not harmful to him. It is better not to buy too expensive ones or leather ones as your puppy’s first leash.
  • Once your puppy is familiar with the leash, walk him around the house in regular intervals.
  • Praise your puppy when he walks alongside you on a loose leash. Stop walking when he yanks or pulls.
  • If your puppy sits while walking, just stop and use the ‘Come’ or ‘Stand’ or ‘Walk’ commands to help him resume the walk.
  • Once the puppy is comfortable with leash walking, introduce the ‘Heel’ command. ‘Heel’ means your dog walks alongside you and not ahead of you pulling and yanking. This not only ensures stress-free walks, this is also a nice practice for the safety of your dog. Ask your puppy to heel when he tries to walk ahead of you. If he doesn’t pay heed, stop walking immediately. This will help your dog understand what not to do if he wishes to continue on his walks.

Training a puppy is not a difficult job. The early you start, the faster your dog learns. Dogs actually enjoy training sessions. For them it’s more quality time they are spending with you. And puppies have amazing learning capabilities. So, use this to your advantage and introduce fun ways to teach your pup what you need him to learn. Get creative. There are no hard and fast rules. Teach him the way it best works for you and your darling pup.
(Rakhee Maloo works as freelance writer and is extremely passionate about animal welfare.)

Getting the right breed

You’ve decided to get a dog, great! But have you decided on a breed yet? Before you decide to get a breed of dog based on the look or image, you need to think about what the breed was originally bred for. For instance, can you handle a Terrier digging in your garden, or an Australian Cattle Dog chasing other animals? Here’s how to choose an appropriate breed.

 

Megan, a purebred Australian Cattle Dog, was taken to an animal shelter at 12 years of age because her behaviour was completely unacceptable. She was on ‘death row’ for the ‘crime’ of chasing livestock – a task that she was genetically designed to do. In the world of canines, this scenario is common. Many dogs are unfairly classified as behavioural ‘misfits’ when they reveal the qualities they were designed to carry out. Terriers who dig holes, Beagles who howl at the moon, and Retrievers who catch birds are all good examples of dogs who are condemned for displaying perfectly normal, but often unacceptable behaviour.

 

Prized and despised
Ironically, most of these behaviours are prized and despised by humans. A Terrier, living on a farm, who kills small animals, is highly valued while the same breed of dog, living in the city, embracing the same actions, may be branded as ‘vicious’.

 

Fantasy
The real culprit in this dilemma is probably not ignorance, but fantasy. A common reason for choosing a particular breed is not the reality of the animal’s behavioural traits, but the image it will project to others.
Most often, basing the selection of a dog based on reputation leads to problems. The regal looking Mastiff may eventually weigh in the region of 170 pounds, and splatter long tendrils of drool on the walls and sofas while casually eyeing the neighbour’s cat as his next meal. The Border Collie, without daily opportunities to chase sheep, may keep himself amused with irregular activities such as chasing shadows or nipping the heels of small children. Each animal will offer perfectly normal behaviour that represents the reality behind his image. The unprepared pet parent will be frustrated and disappointed that the dog does not live up to unrealistic expectations.

 

Factors to consider
Selecting a dog based on real, rather than imagined, qualities is the first step toward building a successful relationship. There are factors that every pet parent should consider, such as matching the breed of dog to your lifestyle. Think about your lifestyle objectively, considering physical aspects such as space, and emotional aspects such as how you will keep your dog mentally stimulated.

 

Research the type of pet you want before you buy or adopt. Speak to other pet parents and breeders. Go back to the history books and study the purpose of the breed to understand the genetic traits you may have to put up with in the future. If there is a local club or organisation for the breed you want, see if you can attend a meeting or get to know some of the members.

 

It’s all about awareness
Parenting a pet is all about awareness, so as a future pet parent, it is your duty to find out about the dog you are going to own. This does not mean you should put up with dangerous behaviour from your dog, but it does mean that by being aware of their breeding and personality traits, you can keep them on the straight and narrow. So next time you find your Terrier digging a hole in your garden, don’t punish him, find something else to occupy his mind, and remember it’s in his genes!