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 This Week From The Redbarn Studios

Animal Radio for July 27, 2019  

Bret Michaels - Pets Rock Collection

Bret Michaels with DogWhat does a big rock star do after his reality television series? Well, he designs a line of pet toys and clothing, of course. That's exactly what pet-loving rocker Bret Michaels has done. He shares with us what led up to this moment and how dogs helped him recover from a brain hemorrhage.

Bret Michaels first rose to fame playing in the band of Poison and then became a reality star, spokesperson, businessman and philanthropist. He currently has two dogs, Diesel and Phoenix, a male and female German Shepherd who he loves dearly. Then there are also Marley and Harley the rats. As far back as Bret can remember, perhaps when he was 5 or 6 years old wearing his flood plaid pants, he remembers a picture with his first German Shepherd dog named Tarkus Arlicicus, and states, "I don't know why I named him that!"

Bret states that, "People that like animals and love animals, and I say this in general, really love music too, and it's a great combination!" When asked if he ever wrote a song about his animals, he states he has written songs about his daughters, but hasn't' written any songs about his pets, just yet!

However, he states that his animals "Have helped me in my recovery when I was real sick a couple of years ago with the brain hemorrhage and all of that stuff." He states that, "It is truly one of those things where they bring a certain amount of not only unconditional love, but a certain amount of patience and security that come with having an animal that you love and they will lie there with you and hang out, and they're your friend through thick and thin!"

Bret has created his own line of pet toys and accessories called Pets Rock Collection. When he was doing the accessories for his Pets Rock Collection, he thought how fun it was, because over the years he states, "Just being creative, I've just made stuff that I thought was fun to play with my dogs." "I've had Malamutes and Huskies, but for the most part, I've always had German Shepherds, but always multiple dogs, cats and horses.

Bret Michaels Dog AccessoriesWhen asked if he created the dog dresses for his line, he admits that he had a little bit of help from his daughters in doing so! He actually had a Chihuahua, who belong to one of his daughter's friend, model some of the clothes. He states it is, "Funny, because when you dress an animal up, being very realistic, some of them love it and they're like okay - and others look at you like, What are you doing!"

Bret says his Pet Rock Collection is very Rock N' Roll. He actually calls it, "Rock and my country, because I'm sort of a combination of both, rock and I've also had cross-over country singles as well."

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No More Scaredy Cats or Dogs!
Phil Blizzard, ThunderShirt

Dog Wearing ThunderShirtThunderShirt's founder, Phil Blizzard, has a 12-year-old, 50-pound mutt named Dosi who will make friends with anyone. But Dosi was extremely frightened by loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks. Even when the skies were clear, Dosi's behavior would let her family know if a thunderstorm was coming. Her tail would go between the legs and the shakes and panting began. If it were during the night, she would plant herself on Phil's chest and keep her family awake for hours.

They visited three different veterinarians over the years to find a remedy. The only suggestion was to sedate Dosi, but even the veterinarians didn't think drugs were an effective solution. You have to anticipate the storm by 1-2 hours for the sedatives to take effect, not an easy task for storms that arrive in the night. And worse, while sedated, dogs can be very unstable on their legs and become a danger to themselves. Dosi would try to jump off the bed and risked breaking a leg, and she would remain groggy and unstable for many hours after the storms had past. So after a couple of uses, the sedatives were set aside.

Finally, someone suggested using gentle pressure around the torso of the dog, and that Phil could do this by putting on a snug fitting shirt. Even though Phil is an engineer, it sounded ridiculous to him and he couldn't understand how it could possibly work. But, he tried it one night (wrapping it tightly with duct tape!) and it was like flipping a switch! Dosi's shaking went away, she laid down, which is something she normally would never do during a storm, and she pretty much rested through the duration of the storm. Phil tried the shirt few more times during subsequent storms, and since it worked so well, ThunderShirt was evolved from there.

Cat Wearing ThunderShirtBefore putting ThunderShirt on your dog for the first time, they recommend offering a small amount of food to your dog using the ThunderShirt as a "plate." Dogs typically become more comfortable and trusting of something that "brings" them food or anything that they associate with food. So this is an easy little trick to quickly create a positive association with ThunderShirt for your dog.

ThunderShirt has helped so many dogs around the world, so the next natural step was to create a ThunderShirt for cats. Cats can also get stressed out from things like going to the vet's and car travel as well. ThunderShirt for cats works jut like it does for dogs, by applying gentle, constant pressure t the torso, which has a dramatic calming effect for cats.

The ThunderShirt for both dogs and cats is sort of like swaddling a newborn infant. Experts believe that an endorphin or oxytocin is released while wearing the ThunderShirt, which has a calming effect.

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Pheromones In Puppy Training - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteSo you just got a new puppy and you have all your training tools at the ready, the collar, leash and dog crate. But beyond that, do you have the one thing that can make your training tasks easier all around? Tap into your puppy's own sense of smell using canine pheromones, and ease your new pup's training and transition into the home.

Pheromones are scent signals emitted by all animal species, including humans. Various pheromones work under the radar to influence the perceptions and behaviors of others within a species.

Shortly after whelping, a pheromone is emitted from the bitch's sebaceous (oil) glands located between the mammary glands. The pheromone, dubbed the canine appeasing pheromone, reassures the puppies, calms them and facilitates nursing. The bitch stops emitting this pheromone as the pups mature, but all dogs retain the ability to "read" this pheromone. Not only do older dogs recognize this pheromone, but it continues to have a natural calming effect on canines of all ages.

In veterinary behavior cases, the dog appeasing pheromone is used for dogs with noise phobias, car travel anxiety, separation anxiety, and other fearful situations. Various forms are available including pheromone collars, plug in diffusers and sprays. The canine appeasing pheromone doesn't sedate the dog; rather it decreases fear and excitability.

The dog appeasing pheromone is also helpful for newly adopted puppies. Those first few days to weeks in a new home are full of changes for the pup faced with novel environments far from the comfort of mother and siblings. The dog appeasing pheromone has been shown to ease the transition of the pup into new home and improve sociability and training during a pup's critical socialization period.

Pheromone Research
For skeptics that need to see the proof in the studies, veterinary behavior studies have examined the positive influence of the dog appeasing pheromone. When comparing treatment responses for dogs with separation anxiety, the use of the dog appeasing pheromone equaled the benefit of the anti-anxiety medication, amitriptyline.

One study looked at 66 puppies as they settled into new homes after adoption. Approximately half of the puppies wore a pheromone collar and half wore a placebo. The study found that puppies wearing a pheromone collar displayed significantly fewer nuisance behaviors like vocalizations or scratching within 3 days of adoption. Pups wearing the pheromone collar woke their owner's less during the night and displayed fewer signs of distress and vocalizations throughout the course of the study.

The researchers concluded that pheromone collars helped both the pup and family. Pups were less stressed and adapted easier. By decreasing the pup's stress and fearful behaviors, the pet owners found a more enjoyable bonding experience with the new pup and faced less frustration through the training process.

NikkiIn another study, puppies 8 to 15 weeks were enrolled in an eight-week long puppy socialization and training class. Half wore a pheromone collar and the other half wore a placebo collar. The pups wearing the collar were calmer in the face of novel experiences and displayed less fear, anxiety, and aggression. In the end, the pups with pheromone collar not only were less nervous, but had fewer behavioral problems and learned better. And a long-term effect on sociability was recognized in dogs up to one year after the class and study was completed.

Pheromones and My Pup
As the new owner of a nine-week old Bouvier puppy named Nikki, I used both the pheromone collar and diffuser upon welcoming my new pup home. One day before bringing Nikki home, I placed a pheromone diffuser close to the puppy crate, where it would have maximum benefit during her first nights in the kennel away from mother and siblings. Immediately upon leaving the breeder's home, Nikki was fitted with a pheromone collar to serve as a source of reassuring pheromones that went everywhere she did. The pheromone collar has become a tool in Nikki's socialization. It's on her when she meets new people or animals, when she explores new environments, and during puppy kindergarten class.

Did pheromones help in my pup's transition and training? The four hour drive home from the breeders was a dream, no crying or whining the entire trip. Now three weeks later from acquiring my pup, and Nikki never soiled in her kennel during the day or night. I'll admit I had my share of interrupted sleep in the first two weeks, but most of Nikki's night time wakes were for genuine elimination needs. Overall her transition into the home was smooth and lacked the wailing, inconsolable cries of a stressed pup.

The canine appeasing pheromone isn't a magic bullet though. Nothing matches a quality pup obtained from a reputable breeder who focuses on health, genetics, and early socialization. Likewise pheromones do not replace the hard work and consistent training efforts that any new pet owner must provide. However, by adding the the canine appeasing pheromone to your new puppy training, you can help your pup become the best he or she possibly can.

For more information on the DAP products, visit CEVA.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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The Dogfather's (BirdFather!) Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Joey VillaniHow To Properly Brush Your Dog
Joey recently received an email from a woman who has a Maltese. She is a regular listener to Animal Radio and hears Joey frequently talking about brushing your dog. However, she gets overwhelmed when she brushes her dog, as he has a lot of hair. She doesn't want to cut it, but it is driving her crazy because she can't remove the knots and tangles. She likes the look of long hair, but is having trouble maintaining it.

This is a question that Joey frequently gets. When people bring dogs into Joey's grooming salon all knotted, they insist that they brush their dogs on a regular basis. Joey believes there two things they are doing wrong. First, they may be only brushing the surface and not reaching down to the skin. Or, they are taking on too much hair at a time.

Most brushes are about 3 and 1/2 to 4 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. This means you are really taking on a large area, especially on a small dog. These days you don't see too many large dogs with long flowing coats, as most of the long coats are on smaller dogs. But for whatever reason, the brushes were never downsized to fit these smaller dogs.

To make it easier, start with a spray bottle of water. This will help keep the "fly away" hair down and will keep it from breaking. Just mist your dog's coat lightly. Then, brush a 2-inch section of your dog's hair at a time, going all the way to the skin. Start at the top of your dog and work your way straight down below. This means you start at the shoulders and brush downwards to the floor.

MalteseRe-mist your dog as needed. You will continue this until you have worked your way down their backside and have completed everything from the head to the tail. If you follow this pattern, you shouldn't have problems that will overwhelm you.

It may take a little more time to do a proper brushing, but if you want that beautiful coat, you have to take the time!

Animal Radio® News with Stacey Cohen

Tori with CocoTori Spelling Has A Passion For Fashion - And So Does Her Pet Chicken!
Expecting her fourth child with husband Dean McDermott, the actress and reality star, 39, is no stranger to donning chic vintage looks, and Spelling tells Lucky magazine she's dressing one of her family members the same way. No, not 4-year-old daughter, Stella - her pet chicken, Coco! "I call her a pocket chicken because she loves to be held and go places with me. A silkie bantam chicken, Coco has quite the wardrobe thanks to Spelling and her crafting skills. "I make her outfits to mimic my vintage dresses. She also has little caplets!" says Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Spelling. Coco isn't the only animal roaming around Spelling's home along with McDermott and kids Stella, Liam, 5, and Hattie, 8 months. The family also has a goat - aptly named Totes McGoat and a pet pig named Hank, who Spelling told E! News sleeps in bed with her and McDermott.

Bret Michaels Shares Challenges Of Designing Pet Products
Bret Michaels admits some of the ideas he had for his line of pet accessories didn't pan out. The Poison frontman tells "People" that he came up with a dog bed adorned with metal studs. The singer says he really wanted to include it in his "Pets Rock Collection," but he "realized very quickly" that it had safety issues. Michaels explains that while his goal is to create unique and original products, he also understands that they also have to be practical. The rocker adds that he did his own product testing, trying out the merchandise on his own dogs. The first installment of the "Bret Michaels Pets Rock Collection" is available at PetSmart locations now. The line of dog products features collars, clothing, food and water dishes, bandanas and doo-rags, and toys - including a vinyl boot, a guitar and a tour bus complete with a security guard and fans. Bret says he's now working on his next slate of products, which will include a cowboy hat. But Michaels admits he's having some trouble with the design, explaining that he's still trying to figure out how to "get it around the ears."

ShantiPainting Elephant Supports Elephant Sanctuary
One elephant in the Czech Republic is earning her keep, and helping other elephants at the same time. "The Prague Post" says Shanti, a 36-year-old Indian elephant, is developing a reputation as a painter. Her caretaker at the Prague Zoo says it took Shanti two weeks to figure out how to hold a paintbrush and a couple of months to learn how to paint. But now she'll complete a work of art in 15-to-20-minutes. And there's interest in her artwork. Originals sell for more than $1,700, while reproductions go for just over $90. Monies raised through Shanti's paintings are going to an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Shanti is getting some new digs as well. The Prague Zoo is also currently constructing a new elephant pavilion.

MuglyMugly The Ugly!
An eight-year-old Chinese crested named Mugly is receiving the dubious honor of being the world's ugliest dog. Mugly took first place in the 24th World's Ugliest Dog Contest. The competition is held annually at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California. Mugly is described as a rescue dog who does therapy work with children. Owner Bev Nicholson brought the pooch from their home in Britain for the contest. Mugly beat out 29 other competitors. The first-place winner receives a trophy and a thousand dollar prize.

MillieA Security "Cat!"
While it's not uncommon for a business to have security dogs on hand for protection, one toy warehouse in Britain is using a cat to safeguard the inventory. The UK's "Orange News" says Millie, a Bengal cat, was picked for the job in part for her climbing abilities and her loud purr. A spokesman for the warehouse says Millie has an important job, as retailers are starting to place their holiday orders. But he believes that with Millie on the job, the toys "are now very well protected." Milie's owner isn't surprised that the cat has been chosen to be a security guard, explaining that Millie "has always had a very vigilant personality." Millie is being compensated with cat food and fish.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1025)

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