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 This Week From The Redbarn Studios

Animal Radio for July 31, 2021  

Managing Leash Aggression
Dr. Wailani Sung, Fear Free

Wailing Sung with DogBoard Certified Veterinary Behaviorist Dr. Wailani Sung studies and treats 'leash aggression.' She'll help you control your lunging dog. This feature is part of the Fear Free Pets Expert Series, helping your pet live a happier and healthier life.

Dr. Wailani Sung is one of 80 Board certified veterinary behaviorists in the United States and is currently the only veterinarian certified in clinical veterinary behavior in the state of Washington.

According to Dr. Sung, leash aggression specifically refers to a dog being really reactive when the leash is on them. When she says reactive, she's talking about barking and lunging and potentially even escalating to more aggression towards other dogs or other people.

Since this reaction is classified as leash aggression, we know one of the triggers is being leashed, which only occurs when the dog is on leash. When the leash is off, this behavior should not occur.

Leash aggression can happen in all breeds of dogs. Dr. Sung has seen leash aggression in every type of dog from a 5-pound Chihuahua up to a 150-pound St Bernard. Any breed can have leash aggression; it just depends on the underlying motivator for that dog to be reactive.

There are some things you can do to manage leash aggression depending on the size of your dog. When a dog is 20 to 30 pounds or under, it's much easier to restrain them on leash. However, if your dog is much bigger, you might want to think about using a head collar, which gives you control over their head. This makes it really hard for them to pull and pull you down, which happens frequently to people walking their dogs and can end up in injury to the person. So with a head collar, they can't get the momentum to pull you forward. When they lunge forward, the pressure of the head collar pulls their head to the side. It's the same concept we use on large animals, such as horses and cattle. So if you have a really big dog, maybe 50 pounds and over, you should consider using a head collar, a harness and a double ended leash. You can then attach one end to the head collar and the other end to the harness. This will allow you to have two points on them, which gives you 50-percent control over their upper part of their body.

Dog Exhibiting Leash AggressionIf you have a dog with a leash aggression, you might want to avoid other dogs while walking. However, if you feel like your dog can be friendly and can meet other dogs, then you should be in an environment where you can take the leash off or have enough slack in the leash. Sometimes if the dog has a leash on but there's enough slack in the leash and they're not feeling the pressure from the collar, they are much calmer and they can successfully meet other dogs. Just be sure to choose an area where they can have a lot of slack on the leash. If you do choose to remove the leash, make sure it's in a safe area where you can do this. However, you should only take the leash off if you have good verbal control over your dog and are able to recall your dog back to you.

Even if your dog doesn't have leash aggression, you should be careful when meeting up with strange dogs. Dr. Sung suggests to slow down when you get within two or three feet of another dog. She says it is a good practice to call out to the dog's owner and ask, "Hey, is your dog friendly," to make sure that their dog is comfortable. Even if they say yes, you should always evaluate the other dog's body language. Look at the other dog and see if it looks nervous or if it's eager to meet your dog. Is their head forward and is their tail medium height or elevated? If you do agree to let them meet, let them start out by sniffing each other, maybe two seconds maximum, and then call them off. If they are not naturally moving on their own, call your dog and take a step back and give both dogs a break. Make sure they can check each other out at a distance. If they seem like they want to sniff again, go ahead and approach the other dog and let them sniff a second time.

If you are dealing with leash aggression, there are many solutions available. You can try to work with your dog on doing a massive amount of counterconditioning by using a lot of treats or by using something else your dog is really willing to work for. Then every time they see another dog and you can get their attention focused on you, you can reward your dog for not being reactive.

If you do need more help beyond that, you can certainly engage the services of a certified trainer that has experience dealing with this problem.

There are also certified applied animal behaviorists. These are people that have advanced degrees in animal behavior. They either have a Master or a PhD in animal behavior. Or, you can contact a board certified veterinary behaviorist. These are veterinarians that have advanced training and have been through residency and completed certification that enables them to help you and your dog with your specific problem.

You want to deal with this problem in a positive manner. Visit the Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB) to find a board certified veterinary behaviorist.

Visit Fear Free Happy Homes for tips on making your home fear free and to locate a Fear Free Veterinarian near you. Go to Fear Free Pets to become certified.

Listen and Explore the Fear Free Expert Series

Animal Radio Flashback


Petting a Million Dogs
Gideon Kidd, I've Pet That Dog

Gideon Kidd with ChihuahuaGideon Kidd has a goal to pet a million dogs for his pet project. So far, the 9-year-old boy has pet more than 360 dogs in his Cedar Falls, Iowa hometown. He's chronicled his journey on Twitter, garnering over 90,000 followers. He'll tell us why he's doing this.

Gideon Kidd loves animals and has been petting every dog he comes across. He tells us he is doing this because he loves dogs and wants to show the public that dogs are these amazing creatures. At home, Gideon has one dog, three cats, two gerbils and one Venus flytrap.

Rachel, Gideon's mother, has created a twitter feed as well as a website for Gideon. Every time he pets a dog, she takes a picture and posts it on his website.

There is a method to Gideon's petting. He just doesn't walk up to any dog and start petting it. First, he asks caregiver if he can pet their dog. If they say yes, he goes up to the dog and puts his hand straight out under their nose and then they sniff it. If the dog growls or backs away, then dog does not want to be pet. But if the dog comes up to him and sniffs him, then he starts petting the dog.

Over the course of petting 361 dogs, Gideon tells us there have only been a couple that did not want to be pet. While he has been nipped at a couple of times, he has never been bitten.

So how does Gideon meet all of these people and their dogs? He tells us he drives around with his mother and then they park when they see a dog and he gets out. At first people think its kind of like weird and are like, "What is this kid doing?" But after he explains himself, they are willing to participate.

Gideon Kidd with BeagleAfter petting so many dogs, it's hard to know which ones Gideon has already met before. So its no surprise that there have been dogs that Gideon has petted twice. Two that he can remember was a pug named Louie and another dog named Mo. Gideon explains that he didn't recognize Mo the second time, because he had been to the groomers and had a new haircut.

In order to complete his goal, Gideon's mother's friends will be bringing their dogs to him and he will be traveling to other places to meet more dogs. However, he will probably have to travel the country to meet a million dogs and maybe even do a tour!

Gideon tells us his dog Walter could care less about all of the dogs that he has been petting. In fact, he just pretty much sleeps all the time.

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The Dangers of Doggie Dragon Breath - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteDoes your dog's breath cause you to gag and turn away? Are your pet's kisses unwelcome due to fetid breath? Many dog owners recognize that distinctive smell which is often accepted as a condition of dog ownership. But stinky dog breath, while common, is actually a symptom of illness and should not be ignored. Doggie dragon breath, just like a blinking traffic light, is a sign of danger ahead. Don't ignore dog breath for what it is - an indicator of oral infection that if left unchecked will impact your dog's health and shorten his lifespan.

What's the big deal about bad breath? It's more than just the smell. Bad breath, also referred to as halitosis, arises from plaque and oral bacteria. Periodontal disease progresses as plaque accumulates, mineralizes into tartar, and inflammation causes destruction of the supportive tissues around the teeth. Dogs don't simply get cavities, rather they will lose their teeth as connective attachments deteriorate. Untreated dental infections jeopardize the health of nearby teeth and may lead to osteomyelitis - infection in the bone. And with time, untreated periodontal disease showers the bloodstream with bacterial products leading to other diseases such as liver, kidney and heart disease.

Fight Halitosis
The best way to control periodontal disease is to assume an offensive attack. Monitor your pet's oral health by flipping up your dog's lip to discover what is lurking underneath. Look for red inflamed gums, yellow or brown accumulation on the teeth, tooth discoloration, or bad breath. Any symptoms of periodontal disease should be addressed with your veterinarian. Have your pet's teeth cleaned regularly at the veterinary office and follow up with home dental care including daily brushing.

These professional veterinary cleanings are important to safely remove mineralized tartar, clean under the gum line, permit a thorough oral exam and take x-rays. Veterinary dental x-rays are an essential tool in detecting problems and have been shown to identify oral disease in 28-percent of dogs and 42-percent of cats that have an outwardly normal mouth.

Tartar on dog's teethDon't fall into the hype about herbal spray-on products or 'awake' dental procedures - these only offer a cosmetic improvement in visible tartar, which only covers a small part of the tooth. These methods, often incorrectly touted as a safe alternative to professional cleanings, can't address the 60-percent of a dog's tooth which lies under the gum line - exactly where periodontal disease brews and does its damage.

Once you identify that nasty doggie breath, you can be certain some degree of periodontal disease is present and dental intervention is needed. Statistics show that by 3 years of age 80-percent of dogs and cats already have periodontal disease. Don't forget that small and toy breeds of dog have accelerated dental problems diagnosed as young as 1 to 2 years of age.

Think prevention - have your dog's teeth cleaned and embrace home dental care steps. And the next time you find yourself in a cloud of canine halitosis, you won't turn the other way - you'll grab that toothbrush.

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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Joey VillaniThe Dogfather's Grooming Tip with Joey Villani

Win The Fight Against Burrs & Foxtails

At this tine of year, depending upon where you live, burrs and foxtails are out. Unfortunately if you have a dog that has a long coat, it can pick up burrs and foxtails, which are very damaging. Foxtails are especially dangerous, because they can keep burrowing their way into a pet's skin. So grooming at this time of year is extremely important.

A lot of people ask Joey what they can do to prevent foxtails. He says there are a couple really easy things to do. Besides doing the normal brushing, after you've done that you should follow up with a combing. This will get the ones off that are still loose on the coat.

Surprisingly, a clean dog actually gets less burrs and foxtails. This is mainly because they don't have anything to stick to except the coat itself. When the coat is combined with dirt and oil, it allows these things to hold to the coat a little bit longer. Naturally, people think its crazy to wash their pet before going out on a hike in the woods.

You don't have to do a full shampoo wash before going on a hike. You can use dry shampoo. You can even use something easy like cornstarch. Just comb the cornstarch through your pet's coat, which will get rid of the dirt and oils, because it acts as a cleaning agent. Just be sure to do it outside, because it'll make a mess, but it works really well.

FoxtailsAnother alternative is a silicone based coat spray. It might not be listed as silicone based, so just spray a small amount on your hand. When it dries, it should be slick. It should almost leave like a residue. You don't want to use this too often, but once a week is fine. Just spray and comb it through your pet's coat. What it will do is to make the coat slick allowing the burrs and foxtails to come out a lot easier when you comb your dog or maybe they won't stick it all. These products are safe, as they are pharmaceutical grade for pets.

Lastly, and this is Joey's favorite product in the world and a big secret, is ShowSheen. Joeys says it make the coat slick and is basically Armor All for pets. Joeys says it is the greatest product known to mankind for coats.

Just remember it's important that you groom your pet after you take a good hike out outdoors.

Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearDog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act
For years, animal lovers and animal welfare organizations have been working to end dog and cat meat sales that keep the dog meat farms in South Korea and China's Yulin Dog Meat Festival operational. There was a big step toward that goal, as the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation named the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act. The Act makes it "illegal to knowingly slaughter, ship, transport, move, deliver, receive, possess, purchase, sell or donate a dog or cat or his or her parts for human consumption, and authorizes a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation" in the United States.

Dogs vs. Cats
Do dogs or cats make you happy? The dog vs. cat argument will probably go on forever. But there's a new survey that says dog owners are officially happier than cat owners, but not by much. Dog owners are only happier by a mere 4-percent. Pets were just a small component of the survey, as it was actually conducted by Life is Good and was more about optimism and positivity.

Whale Hits BoatWhale Hits Boat
A passenger on a small boat took a captivating and scary viral video during a whale-watching trip. While the boat was still, a gigantic humpback whale's tail broke the water's surface directly in front of the boat, as if the whale was doing an underwater handstand. The tail actually came down and hit the boat. A humpback whale is more than 50 feet long and they generally weigh around 40 tons. Their tails grow to about 18 feet wide.

Many More Animals Being Used For Therapeutic Purposes
Dogs, miniature horses, cats, rabbits and even llamas are increasingly being used to help heal and cheer the sick in hospitals, cancer clinics and other settings. However, research to support the efficacy of animal-assisted therapy is largely in its early stages and there is much more scientific work that needs to be done to know all of the benefits of animal therapy. The National Institute of Health started funding research on human-animal interaction in 2008, but far more research is done on dogs than on cats and other animals. However, there are signs of change. A team led by scientists at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis published a study in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science about interactions between family house cats and children with autism. While the study had a number of caveats, it pointed out, for example, that people who had "positive relationships with their cats" were probably more likely to participate. It found that cats in families with a child with autism-spectrum disorder "often provided valuable bonding, attention and calming affect to the child." It has been well proven that human relationships and social interactions are extremely good for someone's health, boosting the immune system and cardiovascular functions.

Feather Making JumpTurning "Throwaway" Animals Into Something Great
A Maryland woman's rescue dogs have both made their way into the Guinness Book of World Records for jumping. Guinness honored the woman's Greyhound, Feather, after a 75.5-inch high jump was recognized as the highest jump by a dog. Her other dog, a Border Collie named Geronimo, earned records for most skips by a dog in one minute, 91, as well as most Double Dutch skips by a dog in one minute, 128 of them. Both rescue dogs obviously found a dream owner, who says, "I feel like people have a lot of misconceptions about rescue dogs. Like 'oh someone threw it away, there must be something wrong with it, but I really enjoy taking people's throwaway animals and making them into something great."

EarListen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1130)

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