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 This Week From The Redbarn Studios

Animal Radio for October 16, 2021  

Lucky Dog Lessons
Brandon McMillan, Lucky Dog

Brandon McMillan with DogHe was the Emmy Award winning host of CBS's Lucky Dog and he is back to teach us the basics: Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Off, Heel and No. Brandon McMillan will also clear up the confusion between the techniques taught by Cesar Millan and Victoria Stillwell.

The celebrity dog trainer shares his training system to transform any dog - from spoiled purebred puppy to shelter-shocked rescue - into a model companion in just seven days.

Brandon states that he is a firm believer in the saying, "Less is More," when it comes to dog training. In other words, he likes to enforce the basic commands that are very important for all dogs to learn. Tricks are fun, according to Brandon, but he also states that, "Tricks are for Kids!"

When Brandon was originally approached to write his book, Lucky Dog Lessons, he wanted to make sure he wasn't repeating the same information that you can find in hundreds of dog training books already on the market. To do this, he went out and bought every top selling dog-training book from the last 15 years. This allowed him to do his research and know exactly what he wanted in his own book.

Lucky Dog Lessons begins with the basics - building trust, establishing focus and control, and mastering training techniques. From there, McMillan explains his playful, careful, and kind approach to training the 7 Common Commands he teaches every dog: Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Off, Heel and No. Next, McMillan provides solutions to common canine behavior problems, including house training issues, door dashing, chewing, barking and common mealtime misbehaviors. Lucky Dog Lessons includes easy-to-follow steps, illustrative examples, tried-and-true tips and tricks and photographs to demonstrate each technique.

Every command that Brandon teaches a dog can be done in 10 different ways, a sort of one size doesn't fit all. As a result, he knew you wouldn't find this information anywhere else. He also knew that the person buying his book wasn't going to be an advanced trainer. He wrote his book so even the most novice dog trainer, or even 12-year-old, could follow along and train their own dog.

Lucky Dog Lessons Book CoverLucky Dog Lessons is broken down into breeds, breed personalities and even the dog's own personal history of where they came from. For example, if you have a Beagle, it might be difficult to teach this dog to come. This dog is not like a German Shepherd or Border Collie, this is a dog that has a nose more powerful than most other dog breeds, which will make him want to follow scents and not pay attention. Brandon states that you need to take your dog's breed into consideration, and when you know all the fundamentals of that breed; go to the Chapter for "Coming" to find all the different ways to train the different dogs to come. He says one of them will work!

One big mistake that Brandon states most people make, and are not even aware of it until it is pointed out, is that they reward bad behavior. They might give treats to a dog to keep them quiet and to stop their barking. Think of it - treats to dogs are like currency to us. A dog needs to earn their treats. When you give a treat to them to stop their barking, they learn that if they keep barking, they will get even more treats.

There are many different dog-training techniques, from Cesar Millan's alpha dog training to Victoria Stilwell's positive rewards methods. Brandon states that technically these both work, but he choses to take the middle of the road between these two. He said it all depends on your dog and also the issues. For example, if a dog is fighting, you don't keep rewarding him for fighting. This dog will need a little more of a firm discipline type of training, but be careful not to go too far or you could make the situation worse. However, Brandon has never seen a purely positive approach with a highly aggressive type of dog ever work in the history of dog training.

In most cases, Brandon states, you need to find the middle ground and that is what his training is all about. Brandon states he is always fair when training a dog and makes sure he never pushes past the limit of what he feels the dog is comfortable with. He has his own style!

Brandon believes that no dog is beyond saving, and the loving, positive, successful methods he offers will work wonders with even the most challenging dog. Create the happy pet family you want with Lucky Dog Lessons.

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Yes, You Can Train A Cat!
Pam Johnson-Bennett, CatWise

Pam Johnson-Bennett with CatCat Psychologist Pam Johnson-Bennett is back with tips on training the feline persuasion. She'll also explain why cats gravitate toward cat-haters and those that are allergic to them. Pam will also enlighten us to why cats must sit on your homework or computer keypad.

Pam Johnson-Bennett is the foremost expert on cat psychology and returns to Animal Radio to discuss her book, CatWise, the answers to your cat's seemingly inexplicable habits and sudden shifts of mood. Pam states she still keeps trying to get people to get a littler smarter about their cats.

When asked if you really can train a cat, Pam states that, "I think they're easier than dogs to train." This is because cats are food motivated. They are hunters. By using food, it is a built-in tool for you to use. This makes them easy to train and they are smart.

However, the thing with cats is that you have to give them a choice. Most of the time we force animals to do things and you can't win by forcing and by using fear. You have to give cats a choice and give them a roadmap to success.

So why do cats always seem to go to people who don't like cats or are allergic? Pam sates it is common sense when you think about it. Cats are territorial and our house is their territory. When someone enters their territory, they need time to figure out if it is friend or foe. A lot of times cat lovers don't give them a chance. They just charge right over to the cat and try to pet them and the cat hasn't had time to go, "Hey wait a minute, you don't smell like anyone else that I know in this house." However, the person who doesn't like cats and tries to avoid them doesn't make eye contact and doesn't make any overtures to the cat. This gives the cat the opportunity to go up to them and do a scent investigation. Cats are all about scent.

You should always let a cat come up to you in these situations. It is all about choice, and that applies to anything when it comes to cats. The more choices you give a cat, the less behavior problems you will have.

Pam answers the question as why your cat who wouldn't give you the time of day earlier, all of a sudden sits on your keyboard when you are working. Pam states that they are smart and they know what they're doing! They do this because that is where your focus is and that's where they want to be. You are a captive audience, whether you are working on a computer or reading a newspaper. Other times you may be talking on the phone and your cat doesn't see anyone else in the room, so they think you are talking to them.

CatWise Book CoverSo if cats are so smart, why do they go outside their litter boxes? Pam states that it is 90-percent elimination problems and only about 10-percent behavioral problems. This missed box episodes could because a new cat was introduced into the family improperly, there was a move to a new house, or the cat was punished. It could also be because the litter box was dirty or they may have underlying medial issues. Many times it is because there is something else going on. You need to look beyond the box to figure out what is going on with your cat.

Pam tells us there are three step you need to do if your cat stops using the box. First, you should take them to the veterinarian to rule out any medical issues. Even if you are sure it's behavioral (and no - cats don't do this to get back at us!), do not skip this step. Next, look at he litter box itself. Is it clean? If your cat is now an adult, is it big enough for them? Did you move the box in a less desirable location? And lastly, what is happening with the dynamics in the household? Have you added another cat? Has your house become chaotic? Did you move? Did something traumatic happen to the cat? You need to look at these three things in this order.

Other things you will find in her book are:

What should we do the first night we bring our new cat home?
Why does my cat lick my hair?
How do I train a cat to use their litter box?
How do I prepare a cat for the arrival of a new baby?
What's the best way to introduce dogs and cats?

Pam's thirty years of observing and advising are finally recorded in one volume that spans litter boxes to cat trees, declawing to sock-chewing.

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Hottest Pet Costumes
MaDonna Sheehy,

Lion Mane Dog CostumeMadonna Sheehy has the list of top pet costumes for your furry-companion. She even has matching human/pet costumes. As you can imagine, between human and pet costumes, they are pretty busy at this time of year.

Will you dress up your pet up for Halloween this year? Statistics state that only 16-percent of Americans dress up their pets for Halloween. MaDonna is surprised by that figure and believes it is because some people dress their pets up year round, which might skew the numbers. She doesn't think it takes into account the people like her, who torture their pets with clothing in the non-October months as well.

MaDonna states they have noticed that people are buying other animal costumes for their dogs. One of the most popular is the lion mane and also a spider costume. Some of her favorites are food items, with the taco still being a top seller.

Yoda Dog CostumeWhat about gender specific costumes? Some costume makers label their costumes for either male dogs, like constructions workers or firefighters and for the female dog, French maid or nurse, which sends a message that there are certain jobs for men and women. MaDonna states that their costumes are not labeled for either the male or female dog.

MaDonna feels that if you want to dress up your female dog as Superman it is not a problem!

Because they sell costumes for both humans and people, they are also seeing a lot of people buying matching outfits with their pet or whole families dressing up with a theme. One example is Star Wars, where dad is Han Solo and mom is Prince Leia, with the dog being Yoda.

What costumes will you and your dog be wearing this year?

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Dr. Debbie WhitePet Halloween Costumes: Spook-tastic or Just Crazy? -Dr. Debbie

Will Fluffy or Benji be dressed up for Halloween this year? Pets are increasingly recognized as family members and often included in the holiday costume craze. But are pet costumes just for human folly, or do pets actually LIKE sporting the costumes, hats and accessories?

Admittedly, I fall among those that do indulge in this practice, but my pets enjoy wearing Halloween costumes.

Years of positive reinforcement with treat rewards, and my dogs will happily wear anything in the off chance of a tasty morsel. The mere sight of a costume starts my Labrador prancing and bouncing as if on a trampoline.

In my home, Halloween pet fun has evolved a step further than most, as I proudly maintain a sizable collection of pet costumes. After 13 years, the collection of doggie costumes includes firemen, doctors, princesses, cowboys, police officers, pumpkins, caterpillars, pirates and skeletons spilling from the overstuffed confines of the cabinet.

My pet costume collection is akin to Katherine Heigl's character in the movie "27 Dresses," in which her mass of bridesmaid dresses fills a closet and generates smirks from others.

Dog in CostumeCall me crazy, but I adore seeing my critters ham it up for Halloween. And clearly I am not alone. According to consumer surveys by the National Retail Federation, 170 million Americans will be celebrating Halloween.

Among those individuals 16-percent will be dressing the family pet in costume too. That's a lot of consumer spending on pet wear when budgets are tight, but the smiles and giggles arising from seeing your pet dressed in a spooky or silly costume, is well worth the expenditure.

Some might argue that pet costumes are frivolous or humiliating, but I disagree. Dogs enjoy costumes when introduced in a positive manner, just as they do with gradual acclimation to car travel or swimming. Plus, a dog is devoted companion and wishes to please its owner.

My own dog family adores the celebration and attention they receive. Cats on the other hand, may not enjoy any part of dress up and are often indifferent to the idea of pleasing or serving us, as it is often the other way around.

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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5 Reasons Every Day Is Halloween In The Pet World
Robert Semrow, Animal Radio Listomania

Giraffe Dog CostumesSo you may think Halloween is one day a year and I will agree that's true on the calendar. However, I have been pondering this notion for a while. So, as I explored it more, I have now concluded and am ready to declare this here on Animal Radio - Everyday is Halloween for the Pet World.

Think about it. What is Halloween known for? Treats, dressing up, walking the neighborhood and seeing friends and greeting them with a huge smile of internal warmth. On top of that, the kids in our lives can't wait to get out and walk the neighborhood instead of sitting in front of a TV or computer and Zombiefying themselves.

Well, that's how most days go for those with pets. Our furkids are dressed up each day, ready to get out of the house on a walk and they can't wait to see the neighbors.

Follow me on this.

Each morning, regardless of whether you have a dog, cat, bird or other pet you wake up to an energized being ready to get moving. They have more enthusiasm than you and can't wait to get started. Dogs in particular are at the front door asking, begging and even demanding that we get going on a walk around the neighborhood. Dogs stop at most of the houses to sniff the scented treats have been left behind by other dogs. They let each other know where the good houses are and which houses to skip. That's the kind of teamwork and camaraderie that all kids have on Halloween. Which house is giving out the good candy and which house is giving out boxed of raisins. Yuck, I'm still haunted by boxes of raisins from my children.

Stroller with Baby and Dogs in Costumes Next, is the dressing up. That's right, for many it's a chance to be something different, whimsical, scary or just simply fun. The same holds true in the pet world. Yes, there are outfits, costumes, blingy collars, pet paints and much more that are more common than ever. And just like children, some pets love this activity of getting dressed up to see their adoring public and shine like the stars they are. One more similarity is that while many children are pushed around the neighborhood in strollers to trick or treat, so too are many dogs and cats. It's not a rarity anymore and I predict that pets being pushed around in strollers may become an epidemic within the next 100 years.

Halloween is all about the treats and so too are the pets in our lives. Each day is filled with a quick stop off at my desk, at the table, on the sofa - it's like Halloween. We know exactly what our pets are saying "Licks for treats," which is best translated as, "I'm going to give you kisses and loves because I know that ends with a tasty treat or two. If not now, the next time you go in to that kitchen area."

All kidding aside, Halloween really is every day for anyone with pets and we receive treats galore without the cavities. Share your everyday is Halloween thoughts on our Animal Radio Facebook Page.

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Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearDog Aging Project
As pet owners, we have all dealt with the depression and sadness of watching our furry companion age and slow down then had to say goodbye much sooner than we would like. For one certain biologist, the dog aging process doesn't make sense because in the animal world, larger animals live longer than smaller ones. Tigers outlive domesticated house cats. Orcas outlive dolphins. Humans outlive chimpanzees. However, within the dog species, the opposite is true. A tiny Chihuahua can live up to 18 years while a huge Newfoundland lives about 10 years. Biologist Daniel Promislow started the Dog Aging Project at the University of Washington. Dogs are the most phenotypically variable species in the world according to Promislow. Just go to the dog park, and you see that variability in terms of size, shape, color, coat and behavior. They are interested in dogs from geographically diverse parts of the country and from households of different socioeconomic backgrounds. There are several easy metrics for measuring aging in humans. For example, you can measure human frailty, by seeing how quickly a person can get out of a chair in a standardized test. But there's no such chair test for dogs, which makes it hard to evaluate how well or poorly a dog is aging.

Boy and Girl Dog CostumesIs Your Dog's Halloween Costume Sexist?
Young girls may be discarding their princess wands for superhero capes this Halloween, but not so in the canine world. Some career costumes labeled "male" include firefighter and police officer, while "female" dogs can choose between a pink cowgirl costume or ballerina. To be fair, a number of other costumes ranging from lobsters to pumpkins and dinosaurs bear the "male or female" label. Scott Lawrie hosted a pod cast on gender issues and said, "It seems silly on the surface, but this is part of a larger message we're sending, that there are certain jobs for men and certain jobs for women." Lawrie says he noticed a pattern: career-related costumes were often explicitly marked "male" and "female," and they were constructed exactly the same. And of course, there's another sexist angle to this. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that items marketed to girls and women are routinely marked up an average 7-percent compared to items for boys and men. And, it turns out those mark ups aren't limited to humans, either. Supergirl and Wonder Woman doggie costumes were priced 30-percent higher than Superman costumes. Batgirl costumes, meanwhile, were selling for a 33-percent premium on Batman's price tag. Pet costumes have been gaining popularity in recent years, with 16-percent of Americans saying they'll dress up their dogs, cats and bunnies for Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Turkey on a PlaneWhat Types of Support Animals Should Be Allowed on Planes?
Turkeys, pigs and even roosters have flown the friendly skies, carried onto commercial planes by passengers who identified their furry and feathered friends as emotional support animals. But a committee of airline representatives and disabled rights advocates continues meetings in Washington, D.C. to come up with new rules on what type of animals should be permitted on planes and what documents should be required to prove the animals are legitimately needed. Airlines recognize two types of animals that can accompany passengers free of charge: service animals, such as seeing-eye dogs and emotional support animals, which help comfort travelers with psychological or emotional conditions. The debate among members of the Accessible Air Transportation Advisory Committee focuses on what type of animals can be recognized as emotional support animals. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, among others, suggests limiting emotional support animals to dogs, cats and rabbits, while other organizations, including the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, would like to add birds to that list (but not chickens, ducks or turkeys). Airlines say too many passengers falsely claim that their pets are emotional support animals. The carriers want to recognize only dogs and miniature horses as service animals and require that all animals be kept in pet carriers during the flight.

Puppy Removed from Car After Breaking WindowYou Can Now Break A Window If You See A Dog In A Hot Car
Californians who see an animal trapped in a hot car can, without fear of being sued, break a window to set them free without fear of prosecution under a bill that was been signed into law. Rescuers can break into the car as long as there is no other way to free the animal and it appears to be in danger, the car is locked and law enforcement is not arriving quickly enough. However, the rescuer must stay at the scene until law enforcement arrives.

We Take Better Care of Our Pets When We Know How Good They Are For Us
HABRI, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative, announced that they have data to show that when we know how good pets are for us, we are more likely to take better care of them. In their survey, when pet owners were asked how knowledge of scientific research on the human-animal bond affected their actions, the responses were:

89-percent of pet owners said they were more likely to take better care of their pets
75-percent said they were more likely to microchip a pet
62-percent said they were less likely to skip vet visits
74-percent said they were less likely to give up a pet for any reason
88-percent said they were more likely to provide their pets with high-quality nutrition

The survey also asked pet owners about increased support for pet ownership in society:
84-percent agree health and life insurance companies should give discounts for owing a pet
87-percent would be more likely to buy products from pet-friendly businesses
88-percent agree doctors and specialists should recommend pets to patients for healthier living

EarListen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1141)

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