June 28, 2011 Issue #9 Published by Sue Skiff
A NOTE FROM SUE
I am not sure why you didn’t get your e-zines until Wed, last week. I had them ready on Tues. My only guess is that I gave the e-zine host the wrong date to send them out on. Oops! I do know why you did not get it on Tues, this week, however, it is due to me not budgeting enough time for it. I apologize.
This week, I offer you a review of dog collars. I also talk about cat foods that I consider to be the best to feed cats, if you don’t want to go the raw foods route. I hope that you enjoy it. As always, I welcome your feedback. If you have any comments, questions, or article submissions,
please contact me.
See you next week!
A Review of 6 Types of Collars – Pros and Cons
Last week, I wrote an article on my feelings about people thinking that they need particular types of equipment to train their dogs with. I promised you, in that article, that I would write about the different types of collars available. So, here is my review of dog collars (and harnesses).
1. Electronic (Shock) collars
There are three types of shock collars. The first type is a collar that gives a shock to a dog when the handler presses a button on a remote control. These collars are put on to dogs to correct misbehavior. They are most often used for dogs that do not come back when called, but have also been used for other behaviors such as barking, chewing, and digging. The second type is a collar that responds to a dog’s barking by giving the dog a shock. The third type of electronic collar is used with “invisible fences.” These give a dog a shock when the dog walks near a sensor placed in the yard. Shock collars are pain-inducing. Before you think about using one on your dog, try one on yourself, and feel the shock. Then, remember that it is more painful for a dog, because a dog’s blood has a higher salt content than a human’s, and therefore dog’s conduct electricity better than we do. There are ways to deal with all dog behaviors that do not involve pain, so please do your best to avoid these inhumane collars.
2. Prong collars
These collars are made of metal. They have spikes that point towards a dog’s neck, and are made so that if the collar is pulled on, the spikes will put pressure on the dog’s neck. The spikes are not sharp, and curve slightly away from the dog’s neck at their ends. These are popular with people that have large dogs, such as rottweilers, who don’t want their dogs pulling. Proponents will argue that they are not cruel, because they put an even pressure on the dog’s neck. Still, I wouldn’t put one on my neck, so I won’t put one on my dog’s neck. I see plenty of dogs, with prong collars on, that are still pulling. It is far better to teach your dog how to walk on a leash without pulling, than to use a collar to punish your dog when it pulls.
3. Choke chains
These collars are designed so that most of the collar can slip through a ring at one end, causing the collar to tighten around a dog’s neck when it is pulled on. My original dog training mentor taught me to use these with dogs. He did not use them to strongly jerk against a dog’s neck, as is advised when using these collars, and I therefore know that they can be used without causing pain to a dog. Still, they are called “choke chains” for a reason; they are designed to choke. I urge you not to use them, because I now consider them to be unnecessary. Still, if you do decide to use one, choose one that is lightweight, then please remove it when you are not walking your dog. Dogs have died when their choke chains got caught on something, and they hung themselves.
4. Head collars
There are two popular brands of head collar; Halti and Gentle Leader. Designed like horse halters, these are placed around a dog’s snout and neck, and attached to a leash below the dog’s chin. People who are not familiar with them often think that they are muzzles to keep dogs from biting. This is not true. A dog can still bite with one of these collars on. Instead, they are designed to keep a dog from pulling against their leashes. It is impossible for a dog to pull with a head collar on, because the collar pulls the dogs head around when the dog pulls against it. They are therefore effective for teaching dogs to walk nicely on a leash. I have used these collars on dogs, and do not object to my clients using them. However, if you do choose to use one, you still want to teach your dog how to obey when it doesn’t have one on. True dog obedience is when the dog obeys, because it wants to serve and please its human. Also, many dogs do not like them, even when they are introduced gradually, and with lots of positive reinforcement. If your dog is one of those dogs, please don’t make it wear one! Also, note that some dogs, like bulldogs, can’t wear these collars, because they have flat faces.
5. Regular, flat collars
These are the collars that most dogs wear to hold their ID tags. Most are made out of nylon; but they can also be made out of cotton, metal chain, leather, or hemp. I use them all of the time in dog training, and find them quite adequate for the task, since I do not rely on them as a training tool. This type of collar is the only type that I use on my own dogs, although I have tried head collars on a couple of my dogs in the past. I like to get lightweight collars for my dogs, because I think that they would be the most comfortable, and I prefer natural materials over nylon, personally.
These are not really collars. They go around a dog’s body at the neck and chest, and around the tops of each of the dog’s front legs. I find them difficult to use in training, because of the placement of the attachment for the leash. Still, there are times when it is better to use one of these than a collar. This is because certain toy breeds of dogs, and young puppies, are susceptible to trachea collapse, if there is pressure on the dog’s neck. If you do need to use a halter on your dog, do some shopping around to find one that is comfortable to your dog, allows you to have control of your dog when you walk it, and is easy to put on your dog. That last point is really important. Some halters are pretty complicated to put on. I prefer the ones that are easy enough to put on that you don’t even need to look at the directions. They are out there, believe me. I also like the ones that come with a loop that allows you to attach a seat belt to them.
Well, there you have it, my opinions on dog collars. I hope that you found it helpful.
Are There Cat Foods That Are Good For Cats
I am not an expert on nutrition, so I don’t know if I can answer the above question. I don’t always feed my cats raw food, mainly for financial reasons, even though I feel that raw foods are the best foods for cats. However, I do try to give them the best foods that I can. If you don’t want to go the raw food route, then here are some ideas on what you could feed your cat(s) that would be healthier than the more common cat foods out there.
When I am unable to feed my cats raw food, my second choice is canned food, because I want my cats to get plenty of water in their food. I look for canned foods that are grain-free, and have only natural ingredients. There are a few brands of cat food that make grain-free canned foods. These include Evo, Wellness, and Felidae. Since Wellness and Felidae also make foods with grains, you need to look for the words “grain-free” on the labels.
If you really want to feed your cat(s) dry food, then I would definitely go for the grain-free options, which are made by the same companies mentioned above. If you are going to only feed your cat(s) dry food, then I would suggest soaking the food in plenty of water, so that your cat(s) can still get water from their food. I suggest that you mix in some wet food with your dry food, though. You can either mix in canned food, or mix in fresh foods from your kitchen, or both. My landlady, who has several cats in their 20’s makes sure that her cats get “people” tuna and raw chicken livers, in addition to cat food. I would have to say that that contributes a great deal to her cats’ relative longevity.
My cats have always received a variety of foods. Therefore, I do not have an issue with them being overly finicky. I also don’t worry too much if I switch foods on them, because their systems are used to it. However, many cats, who are accustomed to being fed the same foods all of the time, will turn their noses up at new foods. So, if you decide to take my advice, and want to change what you feed your cat(s), you will need to be prepared for the possibility that your cat(s) won’t readily accept the new food, so start out by mixing some new food in with the old food. Also, if you have been feeding your cat(s) the same food for an extended period of time, you should gradually introduce any new foods to them by slowly increasing the amount of new food, while simultaneously slowly decreasing the amount of old food that you feed them. This is so that your cat(s) digestive systems can adjust to the new foods.
It’s part of life in the 21st century. You get the kids off to school, work all day, pick the kids up at daycare, make dinner, and collapse. But, what about the dog? How do you find the time to train it to be a good citizen? Maybe, you managed to get your dog into a puppy kindergarten class, and then a basic obedience class. But, you really didn’t have time to practice the way the instructor wanted you to, and now, well now, it’s all kind of fallen by the wayside.
You know that your dog can do better. Perhaps, your dog has some behavior issues. Whether or not they’re serious issues, they make your life harder, don’t they?
So, what do you do when you’re already stretched, and you know your dog needs more? The answer is “day training.” Day training starts with a meeting with me where you describe your dog training needs, and your dog’s behavior issues. I then come to your house for an hour or so, on agreed upon days, to train your dog. You get to get on with your life, while your dog gets training and attention from a professional. And, that training and attention is customized to your and your dog’s exact needs.
Maintaining what your dog learned is also built into the day training program. At the end of each week of training, I meet with you to go over what your dog has learned, as well as what you need to do to maintain the learning. After the agreed upon number of weeks has elapsed, I return for a follow-up or two, to make sure that you and your dog are on the same page, and everyone’s happy. For more information on day training, visit
my dog training website
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Silver Linings is a publication of Silver Linings Pet Services, and is published for the purpose of marketing services. The current address of Silver Linings Pet Services is:
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