Kongs and Crates!

Enrichment, play and problem solving… these are VERY important parts of a dog’s life, especially for those who are still waiting for their forever home! More and more shelters and rescues are realizing that a dog who’s bored and has pent up energy has a harder time “putting their best paw forward” when meeting potential adopters. Dogs who exercise their brains through enrichment opportunities, like puzzle toys, are calmer and happier which can REALLY make a difference when it comes time to meet a potential forever family!

santa daisy

Two of our favorite puzzle toys are the Kong Classic and the Kong Wobbler. Both can be stuffed with treats and food which the dog then has to work to remove. When dogs engage with these interactive toys, they benefit by exercising their brains and then by experiencing success, both of which are critical for canine happiness!

Another very important piece of equipment for shelter and rescue dogs is a secure crate! Crates give dogs a place to rest and retreat and are crucial for a foster who will need downtime as he or she gets adjusted to a foster home. Fido is also doing a “cash for crates” drive – any amount you donate will be put toward much needed new crates for foster and rescue dogs!

Because she knows that access to puzzle toys really enhances the quality of a dog’s life, Daisy’s one wish this season is to bring Kongs and crates to as many shelter and rescue pups as her little paws can carry!

Stop by Fido before Dec 31st and purchase a Kong voucher for a shelter dog – a $16 dollar donation gets a brand new Kong AND a Kong Wobbler for a lucky homeless pup! You’ll be able to write a Holiday message or wish for a homeless dog which will be delivered with their Kongs! You can also donate toward our “cash for crates” fund! Kongs and crate funds will be split between two awesome organizations – P.O.E.T. Animal Rescue and I Heart Dogs!  

Canine Massage

Dogs of all ages and conditions benefit greatly from the soothing touch of canine massage. And their people benefit, too! It’s a relaxing way to bond with your dog and studies show that stroking a dog can lower blood pressure and reduce stress in humans. Becoming familiar with what is normal for your dog’s skin and coat so that you can identify changes is important, and if your dog already has lumps and bumps, regular massage sessions will help you monitor them.

Young dogs will learn to accept handling more readily if they are massaged, which is valuable for all dogs but especially so for those that have lengthy grooming needs. Active pups are at a lower risk of injury if they are given a warm up massage before vigorous play, and an after-play rub down is a good way to soothe sore muscles and prevent stiffness the next day.

Our older dogs will appreciate the relief that massage brings to their aging joints. A gentle but thorough caress can alleviate pain from arthritis or dysplasia and help your dog’s mobility.

Massage also reduces stress in anxious dogs and will help with transitions like a new baby or moving. Therapeutic touch can also help dogs that are nervous about storms or fireworks, being put in a calm state of mind makes those events less scary.

Incorporating massage into your dog’s daily routine is a wonderful way to spend time with him, and anyone can do it! To learn more, join us for a canine massage seminar with Holly Schutlz, Certified Massage Therapist. She will be demonstrating different types of touch and teaching us when and how to use massage to help our dogs. You can sign up online at FidoDogTraining.com
or by calling us at 313-204-6154.

The Truth About Pit Bulls

The Truth About Pit Bulls 

by: Laura Witkowski

 As more people adopt pit bull-type dogs, more people are realizing the truth: that they’re… wait for it… just normal dogs. And just like any dogs, they should be assessed individually, not judged based on preconceived notions.

 Despite growing awareness and successful positive media campaigns, the words “pit bull” still hold a lot of negative charge. Though there is no real evidence to justify it, many people still believe pit bulls are vicious, unstable and “not like other dogs.” Most of these beliefs are not based on facts or even personal experience, but rather a result of fear fueled by media hysteria, bad data and misinformation. This stigma has led to a lot of needless abuse, discrimination, unnecessary fear and reactionary breed bans in the name of “public safety.” Whether the words “pit bull” fills you with joy or apprehension, here are some important things to consider and know:

Banning pit bulls has never brought down dog bite statistics

There are municipalities all across the country that currently ban pit bulls, including several cities here in Michigan (Hazel Park, Melvindale, Center Line, Sylvan Lake, Waterford and Grosse Pointe Woods, just to name a few). According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “breed-specific legislation is an ineffective way to reduce the number of dog bites in a community, unfairly targeting dogs that have done nothing wrong and providing a false sense of security.” These laws are usually passed by local lawmakers in reaction to an emotional, tragic dog-related incident rather than after careful review of the best ways to lower dog bite rates in that community. The evidence strongly suggests it is properly constructed, actively enforced animal control ordinances that make a community safer, not breed bans. Bans also have the added negative effect of associating pit bulls with lawlessness and danger further cementing in the public’s mind that they’re something to fear while increasing their desirability with the criminal element. It’s a terrible cycle.

Bully breeds don’t need a “heavy hand” for training.

Strength, drive and athleticism are all part of a pit bull’s DNA. Unfortunately, it is a misperception that big, high energy dogs need heavy-handed, aversive training techniques like prong collars, leash corrections and a “show ‘em who’s boss” leader. This is not true or necessary. Pit bulls are dogs, and all dogs learn the same. They do what works! It’s hardly a surprise how many positive reinforcement trainers love working with (and have) pit bulls — that strength, drive and athleticism makes them SUPER fun to train! Additionally, force-free training is the best way to build trust with shelter and rescue dogs so you can set them up for a successful second chance!

Want to learn more about (and meet some) pit bulls? Come to our seminar, Facts Over Fear: Breaking the Cycle of the Pit Bull Stigma here at Fido on Saturday April 11 from 1-3:30pm. We’ll talk more about the topics in this article as well as touch on the history of the breed, things to consider when adopting a pit bull, what you can do about breed specific legislation and more! Whether you’re familiar with pit bulls or cautiously curious, there’s something for everybody. $20 per person. Space is limited. Call (313) 204-6154 or email fidofetch@sbcglobal.net to sign up today.

Bonus blog material! 

 The definition of a pit bull is… complicated.

What is a pit bull? This seems like a fairly simple question, but the reality is the definition of a pit bull changes depending on who you ask! To some it is an informal term that groups specific breeds such as American Pit Bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers and American Bulldogs. To others, any muscular, medium-to-large dog with short fur and a blocky head is pit bull. Most of the time a dog’s designation as a “pit bull” or “pit bull mix” is based on appearance alone. But a dog’s breed and physical appearance are not accurate predictors of behavior or temperament. Even if you could tell if a dog was more prone to biting by breed, it’s nearly impossible to determine a mixed breed dog’s make-up based on appearance. So is labeling a dog a “pit bull” really a fair or accurate way to determine whether a dog is dangerous? More importantly, is targeting “dogs that look like pit bulls” an effective way to make communities safer? No on both counts!