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Resource Library

Helpful information for pet adopters, owners, educators & supporters.

A Feel for Feet

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Many of us at some point have experienced horses that don’t respect us very much, or we experience trouble on the ground or in the saddle. These problems can be frustrating and intimidating, leaving us not knowing what to do.

Canine Rivalry

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Canine rivalry refers to conflicts between dogs living in the same household. Animals that live in social groups establish a social structure within that group.

Cat Toys and How to Use Them

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There are many factors that contribute to the safety or danger of a toy. Among them are your cat’s size, activity level and personal preference. Another is the environment in which your cat spends his time. Although we can’t guarantee your cat’s enthusiasm or his safety with any specific toy, we can offer the following guidelines.

Choosing a Boarding Kennel

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Need to go out of town? A boarding kennel can give your pet quality care while you’re away, giving you peace of mind. However, before you load Fido and Fluffy into the car and drive them to the nearest kennel, it's important to do your homework and find the right kennel for your pets, then you’ll need to prepare your pets for boarding.

Cold Weather Tips

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Your cats and dogs will be happiest and healthiest, regardless of the season, if you keep them inside with you. Here are some guidelines for protecting your pets when the temperature drops.

Destructive Chewing

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It is normal for dogs to explore the world with their mouths. However, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog is not destroying items you value.

Discouraging Roaming Cats

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Many people have a problem with roaming cats that attack wild birds as they feed or nest in their yards, that use their garden as a litter box, or that upset their pets by invading their territory.

Dominance and Dog Training

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This article by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers addresses the ramifications of a reliance on dominance theory as it relates to understanding dogs, interpreting their behavior, and living harmoniously with our canine companions.

Enriching Your Dog’s Life

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Your dog is a living, breathing animal that relies on you for almost literally everything (food, water, shelter, play time, potty breaks…). Taking care of your dog’s physical and mental enrichment is part of being a dog owner.

Getting Started with the Clicker

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The easiest way to start clicker training is to teach your dog to hand target. During this process your dog will learn that the click sound ALWAYS means a treat is coming, and he’ll learn that offering a specific behavior earns a click/treat. This will become the foundation for teaching all sorts of new behaviors.

Guinea Pigs

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Guinea pigs are hardy and affectionate and make great companions. However, people often think of them as "low-maintenance" pets, when in reality, they require a lot of care and attention.

Happy Feet

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If you own an equine—whether it’s a horse, donkey, pony or mini—chances are good that you’ll need to have its feet maintained on a regular schedule.

Hedgehog Care

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A hedgehog is a small, insectivorous (insect-eating) mammal. There are 17 species found throughout the world. The species most commonly kept as pets is the four-toed, or African pygmy hedgehog. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and can be quite shy. They come in several colors and patterns. Hedgehogs are generally considered solitary and may be kept by themselves.

Helpful Information for Rabbit Adopters

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One of the single most frequent questions about rabbits as companions is: Are rabbits more like cats or dogs? The answer: neither. Dogs and cats have been bred for centuries to not be afraid of humans. Rabbits have been bred primarily for meat, fur and physical characteristics, which means that when you adopt a bunny, you adopt a lovely, domestic animal with the heart and spirit of a wild animal. It is much more challenging to win the trust of this sensitive, intelligent creature than it is to win the heart of a puppy or kitten, which has been bred to trust you from birth.

History of Litter Box Issues

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The cat has a history of urinating or defecating outside the litter box. This behavior could be inconsistent meaning it happens once in a while or it could be consistent where it happens regularly.

House Rabbit Dietary Recommendations

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A rabbit's diet should be made up of high-quality pellets, fresh hay (alfalfa, timothy or oat), fresh water and fresh vegetables. Anything beyond that is a "treat" and should be given in limited quantities. Any food that is picked fresh must be thoroughly rinsed and cannot be fed if sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.

House Rabbit Habitats

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Rabbits are very social creatures and require as much attention and stimulation as a cat or dog. Because of this requirement, rabbits tend to be happier, healthier, better adjusted, and more affectionate if housed indoors. Rabbits also tend to live longer, happier and healthier lives in pairs or groups. Companionship is very important to bunnies.

House Rabbit Health

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Rabbits may act as if they're hardy creatures, but they are, in fact, extremely delicate - from their skin to their spines to their external systems. Care must be taken to maintain their good health, but a well- cared-for rabbit can live 12 to 15 years. The following basics are necessary to know in order to groom rabbits safely and to help keep them healthy.

House Rabbit Toys

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Toys are important because they provide mental stimulation. Without challenging activities to occupy your rabbit when you're not home, your rabbit, especially a solitary rabbit, will get bored. This could lead to depression and/or excessive destruction. The creative use of toys can extend your rabbit's life by keeping him interested in his surroundings, giving him the freedom to interact with those surroundings and allowing him to constantly learn and grow.

How to Build a Bunny Box

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A bunny box is basically a large cardboard box with door holes and extras. Start with a large cardboard box about two feet by three feet and eighteen inches high. Then, add layers of flattened cardboard boxes to the bottom until the pile is about three inches thick. You can also put a smaller box inside the larger box.

How to Interact Safely with Dogs

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Dogs are complex animals that may display a variety of different behaviors in any given situation. The Dumb Friends League has this advise to make sure you stay safe when you encounter an unknown dog.

How to Use a Head Halter

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This handout explains how to properly use a head halter, a special kind of collar with a strap that goes around your dog’s nose and another strap that goes around his neck, just behind his ears.

Marking Behavior in Cats

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Urine-marking is not a house soiling problem, but rather a territorial behavior. Therefore, to resolve the problem, you need to address the underlying reason for your cat’s need to mark his territory in this way.

Marking Behavior in Dogs

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Urine-marking occurs when there is either instability in a dog’s relationships or when a dog is feeling anxious. It is not a house soiling problem. To resolve the problem, you need to address the underlying reason for your dog’s need to mark.

Mice

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Mice are small, social animals. They're quiet, but very active and entertaining to watch. Because of their high activity level and quick movements, they're more suitable for adults to handle than for children.

Play With Your Cat

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While pet owners would never consider withholding food or water from their cats, many forget to provide adequate exercise and stimulation. Yes, cats do sleep a lot, but play is an important component of any pet’s health and well-being. The release of energy triggered by regular daily interactive play sessions can help alleviate stress and prevent behavior problems.

Positive Reinforcement

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Positive reinforcement is the presentation of something pleasant or rewarding immediately following a behavior. It makes that behavior more likely to occur in the future, and it is a powerful tool for shaping or changing your cat’s behavior.

Puppy Nipping

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When puppies play with each other, they use their mouths. Therefore, puppies usually want to bite or “mouth” hands during play or when being petted. Learn how to redirect their behavior!

Rats

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Rats make great pets because they're intelligent, sociable and affectionate. They're also quiet, clean and fairly easy to care for.

Re-housetraining Your Dog

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Even if your dog has been housetrained in the past, he or she may need retraining. This is common for dogs that are recently adopted from a shelter, as they need to adjust to a new home and new routines. Learn how to ensure your dog understands the new house rules!

Remember the Release Point

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As a trainer, I often get the question, “How do I get my horse to do this?” or the statement, “My horse won’t do that.” Many times, as I’m offering advice about what I would do in a given situation, people tell me, “I tried that, and it didn’t work.”

Resource Aggression

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There is no guarantee that your dog will never guard again, but there are ways you can reduce the chances of it occurring. Clicker training, for instance, is a good way to reduce any stress your new dog may be feeling.

Separation Anxiety

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Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit behavior problems when they’re left alone. Typically, they’ll have a dramatic anxiety response within a short time (20-45 minutes) after their owners leave them.

Solving Litter Box Problems

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Learn the common reasons why cats don't use their litter box, how to analyze your cat's environment and habits, and how to solve the problem so that you and your cat live a happy, healthy life together.

Teaching your Dog to “Come”

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Coming when called is one of the most important and useful commands you can teach your dog. In an emergency, a reliable “come” or recall can save your dog’s life, but most of the time it’s just convenient to be able to get your dog to come when called.

Teaching your Dog to “Down”

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Down is the best, most comfortable position for your dog to stay in for any length of time. Down (and especially down-stay) is a wonderful calming maneuver and can also help teach your dog to be more independent.

Teaching your Dog to “Drop It”

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“Drop it” is useful when your dog picks up something in his mouth that he shouldn’t have – your shoe, your child’s favorite toy, or a chicken bone, for example. It’s also useful for those dogs that grab the leash in their mouths when being walked and for those mouthy dogs that want to grab at your hands, arms and clothing in play.

Teaching your Dog to “Leave It”

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“Leave it” is useful when you want your dog to stop doing something, whether that is sniffing at someone or something, barking or licking. The dog should immediately stop whatever she is doing and look to you for a reward.

Teaching your Dog to “Settle”

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“Settle” should be more relaxed than a “Down-stay” or “Sit-stay”; the dog need not maintain a specific position. You can use it in the waiting room at the veterinarian, or when you are out on a walk and stop to chat with a neighbor.

Teaching your Dog to Not Jump Up

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Use when your dog is jumping up on you or on someone else. Rather than teach the dog to “not” do something, we will ask him to do something he knows how to do that is incompatible with jumping up on you or someone else.

The Barking Dog

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Some canine behavior problems, such as housesoiling, affect only a dog’s owners. However, problems such as escaping and excessive barking can result in neighborhood disputes and violations of animal control ordinances.

The Fearful Dog

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Dogs may display a variety of behaviors when they are afraid. A frightened dog may try to escape, may show submissive behaviors, or he may freeze and remain immobile.

Trainer’s Tip: Shape Up

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As we are being teased with warmer weather, many of us are anxious to get out and enjoy our horses with some trail-ride therapy. Maybe we haven’t had time to ride during the winter because it’s too dark by the time we get home or it’s just plain cold. But as we approach trail-riding season, we should consider our horse’s fitness level before we jump on and start going for long rides.

Trainer’s Tip: Standing tied

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It’s not uncommon for horses to pull back while standing tied, whether at a trailer, a hitching rail or even a tree while taking a break on a trail ride. This can be a dangerous and scary situation, as horses and people can get hurt if a horse doesn’t stand tied well.

Understanding Aggressive Behavior in Dogs

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The word aggression can refer to a range of behaviors from barking and growling, snarling and snapping, to biting and attacking. Threats of aggression are one way dogs have of communicating and are often displayed as a means of avoiding outright aggression.

Understanding Reactivity in Dogs

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Reactivity can look and feel like aggression when your dog is barking or lunging at the leash. However, there is no intention to harm. Learn about the triggers for reactivity and how to manage a reactive dog.

Whoa, baby

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Over the years, I’ve had numerous conversations with folks telling me they have trouble stopping their horses. I often hear, “I’ve tried this bit, I’ve tried that bridle, and nothing seems to get my horse to stop.”

Your New Dog

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Begin a positive relationship so that you and your new dog can live happily together for a long time. This handout contains tips for starting off on the “right paw.”

Your Talkative Cat

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Vocalizing is one way for your cat to communicate with you and with other animals. Some cats “talk” more than others, but most cats do make noise some of the time.

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