Wanted: Pet Friendly Housing

For most of us, moving without furry family members is unthinkable. Pet-friendly housing can be difficult to find, so we have some great tips for your housing search!

Write Your Pet’s Resume

One of the most effective tools in finding a home that will allow your dog can be a resume for your pooch! Here are some tips on what to include in your pet’s resume:

  • Training information, including obedience classes, crate and house training status and any special accomplishments;

  • Photo and description of your dog;

  • Copies of veterinary records to show you keep a healthy animal;

  • References from previous landlords, neighbours and your vet.

Contact Smaller Rental Companies

Smaller rental companies may be more flexible with their pet policies and willing to discuss your situation. Make sure that you are respectful, aware of the problems they may face renting to irresponsible pet owners, and willing to prove that you are different. Stress the pride you take in caring for your dog, and explain that the same trait carries over into your pride in taking care of your home.

Consider a Rental Home

Some homeowners may be willing to rent to dog owners, and you may be able to share the space with another responsible pet owner. Try posting a detailed wanted ad, including your pet resume and photos of your current lodgings (clean and tidy!)

Be Willing to Put a Little Extra on the Line

Being a pet owner, you can understand how a dog might damage a home. Be willing to pay extra for a damage deposit! Stating that you are willing to do so up front may help you find a place to stay.

Honesty is the Best Policy

It’s easy to lose faith and feel desperate while looking for housing. Do NOT lie to a landlord and try to hide your dog. It can result in legal action being taken against you, or even eviction for you and your dog, leaving you with fewer options than the last time you searched.

Once you succeed in finding housing for you and your furry friend, make sure that you have it in writing that your pet is welcome. Neglecting this key step can lead to eviction as quickly as trying to hide your buddy.

Here are further reading and resources about pet-friendly housing:

Dog-Friendly Summer Events

Summer is finally here and you’ll probably be spending a lot more time outside and away from home. But that doesn’t mean the dogs need to be left at home!

The Winnipeg Fringe Festival – July 17 to 28

Dogs aren’t welcome to indoor venues (yet!) but no one’s telling you your pooch can’t march around Old Market Square. Street performers and musicians put on free shows all day and into the evening. With food vendors surrounding the grassy seating area and port-a-potties in behind your dog won’t have to be left alone at all.

http://www.winnipegfringe.com

Assiniboine Park – June 1 to August 26

A lot goes on at Assiniboine Park and the pups are free to join!  The 2013 Red River Co-op Summer Entertainment Series at Assiniboine Park is already underway with music and ballet performances at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden and Lyric Theatre. On Friday evening cuddle up with your dog and take in a movie at the Lyric Theatre. Pack yourself some popcorn and her a few treats and chew toys to keep everyone happy.

http://www.assiniboinepark.ca/news-events/summer-entertainment-series.php

Manyfest – September 6 to 8

Manyfest takes place on Broadway and is Winnipeg’s largest downtown festival. This year’s events haven’t been announced, but last year there was a movie night, farmer’s and artisan’s market and a parade down the street where people held candles, glow sticks and other bright items called Lights on Broadway. Your pup is welcome to join in this outdoor festival and would look spectacular with a glow stick collar!

http://www.manyfest.ca

There are many dog-friendly events and spaces in summer. Where will you be heading with your dogs?

Fireworks and your Dog

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Heading to a fireworks show for Canada Day? As beautiful as they are for you to look at, the sound might have your pooch cowering and trembling. This year it may be best to leave your furry buddies at home, but there are some things you can do to prepare for next time.

 

Getting dog used to fireworks

Find  a video of fireworks and play it on a low volume while your dog is doing something she enjoys, such as playing, eating a meal, or cuddling with you. Play the video several times a day, raising the volume slightly each time. When your dog starts acting frightened lower the volume a bit.

If you live close to a place where fireworks will be set off talk to your doctor about getting anti-anxiety medications just for the occasion. You can continue working on getting your dog comfortable with the noise using videos or get the assistance of a trainer, so that next time you won’t need meds.

Heading out to the show

If you do decide to take your pooch, there are a few things you can do to make the experience a little less stressful. Take your dog on a long walk–much longer than you normally would. A pooped pup might just sleep right through the festivities. Bring along a kennel stuffed with comfy blankets in case she wants a cozy place to hide. Having a radio or something else to drown out the sound of the fireworks can be helpful. Some people think comforting a frightened dog will encourage the fear, but imagine if you were scared and your family just ignored you. Would you feel better or worse? Probably worse. Comfort your dog. This may mean holding, cuddling or speaking soothingly to her. Figure out what works best for your dog. You could also distract your dog by getting him to do obedience tricks.

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This same advice can be used for other loud noises your pup might be afraid of, such as thunderstorms and vacuums.

Living with a 4-Pack

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We have four dogs of our own now … not entirely sure how that happened, but we love ‘em all! Mia, our 8 year old from Pembina Valley Humane Society, Shodan, 4 years, Funds for Furry Friends, Lexxie, 3 years, Winnipeg Animals Services and Paisley, 7 months, Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue.

Living with multiple dogs can be rewarding and a lot of fun. It does come with it’s fair share of training and cooperation amongst the family. Three tips to live harmoniously with multiple dogs:

  1. Be sure to spend individual time with each dog to maintain a strong bond with them. It is important to give each dog the opportunity to connect individually with you and your family to improve their listening skills and overall behaviour while with the full pack.

  2. Provide plenty of resources for your dogs – bones, food bowls, beds, etc – to avoid the need to take turns or fight over things.

  3. Teach your dogs respect and manners for one another. Do not give your dogs attention for barking at, jumping on or nudging you. While giving attention to one dog, if another dog intrudes, ignore it by turning your back, looking away and standing up with your arms crossed. Once the dog realizes its behaviour did not work or loses interest, return to the dog who you were giving your attention to.

If you’re looking to add a second (or third or fourth!) dog to your family, be patient, choose wisely and put in the time training each of your dogs. Your dogs reap the benefits of extra socialization and mental stimulation!

DREAM in the City: Dr. Bhupinder Singh, Henderson Group Vet Clinics

Dr. Bhupinder (Tony) Singh of Henderson Group Vet Clinics will be joining DREAM in the City both as a vendor and as a keynote speaker. Dr. Singh will be taking questions from the audience to make the most of your time! Are you curious why your pet requires heartworm prevention every year? Or what tick borne diseases your pet might be susceptible to? Bring your questions on Saturday for a free opportunity for vetting advice!

Since April 2000, Dr. Singh has worked mostly out of Henderson Animal Hospital. He is a part of six veterinary clinics called “Henderson Group” who offer top of the line veterinary services to pet owners across Winnipeg. Henderson, Alpine, Sage Creek, Southglen, Fort Garry and Stonewall Animal Hospitals provide professional and loving health care to all their clients. With six clinics across Winnipeg and one in Stonewall MB, Henderson Group has a clinic you can trust and count on.

ImageDr. Singh grew up on a farm in a village in Northern India, where he was exposed to a variety of animals such as cows, buffaloes, sheep goats, dogs, cats and more. He worked for three years in a mixed animal practice doing preventative and therapeutic medicine.

Dr. Singh’s love for animals also includes his 13 year old cat, Annie. Outside veterinary medicine, he enjoys traveling, meeting people around the globe and is keen on religious studies.

We are thrilled to offer this Q&A session with Dr. Tony SIngh. What a great opportunity to ask your pet’s health care questions and learn more about the importance of basic pet care!

Visit DREAM in the City: Manitoba Canine Expo on Saturday, June 22nd from 11:00am to 4:00pm, located at Four Points Sheraton South (2935 Pembina Hwy), where Dr. Singh will be among five keynote speakers, including Neil Sedlacek and Asmara Polcyn! More information at www.dreamrescue.ca.

Trainer Tuesday: Socialization & Household Fears

Every Tuesday we will be working with certified dog trainer Lisa from The Noble Hound, Dog Training and Obedience to answer your dog training questions. If you have a question about your pooch, whether it be leash manners, house training, getting along with other animals or anything in between, email us at info@dreamrescue.ca and we will pick a few questions each week to answer.

Maria McMurray asks, “Greetings Lisa, Have almost one year old Theo, pibble. He grew up with our two other ten yr old Lhasa Shitzu mixes. They’re ok together. Took Theo to training which did not focus on socializing (the idea was to focus on the trainer) and he did fine. We live out in the country so he doesn’t get to see many other dogs, except… Our neighbor has three schnauzers who immediately begin barking as soon as they come outside, or see us in our yard through their window. Neighbors actually say the dogs bark less since we moved in, I think it’s because the owners take them in more often since we moved in because they know they really do bark a lot. Regardless, the three barkers seem to get Theo quite worked up, sometimes even to the point of him attacking our other two dogs, then our three go back to normal. But…over time it appears that now Theo has come to dislike any other dog (other than ours). He used to be fine going for walks and coming across other dogs, very interested but not really aggressive. Now, since the barkers, he seems to want to attack any dog we pass by. We’re nervous about trying to socialize him because we don’t know how to start. We had taken him to play dates with other dogs prior to the barkers and things were very normal. But he seems to hit the “red zone” around others. Help!”

Hi Maria,

Unfortunately, obedience class doesn’t prepare dogs for all real life situations. Obedience class is wonderful for helping dogs gain some impulse control around other dogs, it can help with things like confidence and socialization to an extent and it can help the handler gain better control of their dog; however, it doesn’t always prevent things like aggression or reactivity on walks. For dogs, obedience class is more predictable than real life and therefore your dog will probably feel a bit more comfortable in a class, since it’s the same place each week with the same dogs over and over again. On walks, life gets a bit less predictable and you will probably encounter other dogs who might cause your dog to feel uncomfortable or defensive. As a defense mechanism your dog is going to demonstrate behaviours such as barking, pulling hard on leash, lunging and so on to make the threat (other dog) go away. It is important to understand that when your  dog barks, lunges or growls at other dogs, that  he is doing so to make the other dog go away. Barking, lunging, growling and even biting are all “distance increasing” signals that dogs send out to other dogs, animals and people when they need space. These are desperate attempts for the dog to control his or her environment – kind of like a last resort.

When dogs meet each other, they do so in a very ritualistic manner. They greet each other at very specific distances and angles and they do a whole lot of talking with their body language. Sometimes that body language is so subtle that we don’t even notice it. Anyways, the problem is when dogs are on leash, we tend to mess up their ritual. We tug on leashes, we get too close to other dogs, we approach other dogs the wrong way (sometimes even in a threatening manner), we walk right towards other dogs or people when our dogs are suggesting they’d rather go the other way. As a result, our dogs display aggressive or defensive behaviours in attempt to control the situation. Little do we know that our dogs were stressed far before the aggressive reaction – we just didn’t notice.   

So, to help with leash aggression or frustration, we want to allow our dogs to see other dogs on walks, but at a distance that doesn’t cause them stress. Watch your dog’s body language and keep an eye out for things like:  your dog getting stiff or still, excessive pulling, ears back or really forward, tail high or low, lip licking, yawning, avoidance (sniffing, turning away, head turn), raised fur and so on. These things indicate that your dog is stressed and will likely react if the threat doesn’t go away. You want to avoid allowing your dog to get to a stressful state by letting your dog see the other dog from a distance and then turning around and going the other way (you can even cross the street or move in another direction). You can also give your dog a piece of food as soon as they see the other dog (counter conditioning). Going the opposite way is actually a reward for your dog. He or she will feel great relief and won’t be so agitated over time when he sees another dog on a walk. You’re essentially setting him up with good experiences which in effect are teaching him that nothing bad happens when you see another dog on the street. You’re also teaching him to cut off his behaviour at curiosity, rather than aggression (lunging and barking). You might think “isn’t this just avoiding the problem” and that is a very good question. What you want to do is get closer and closer to dogs over time, but do so at a pace where your dog is comfortable. Only get closer to other dogs once your dog is showing progress. So, you’re not avoiding, you’re just teaching your dog to cope more effectively and you’re building your dog’s tolerance to other dogs.

If you get too close and your dog reacts, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. That’s kinda like pulling a guy back at a bar fight. It’s too late. Your best bet is prevention and not putting your dog in stressful situations that give them no choice but to react.

I suggest contacting a professional dog trainer who is force-free (positive reinforcement) who can help guide you a bit in this area. Reactivity usually gets worse over time and it’s best to deal with it properly and effectively. Forcing a nervous or anxious dog towards another dog, person or thing, using things like pinch collars, choke chains, punishment and so on will definitely create more of a mess, so I always recommend taking the more gentle route when training dogs, especially aggressive ones.   

Maria Vokey asks, “Hi Lisa…our GSD Britta is just over 1 yr and she is scared of almost everything…from ceiling fans, vacuums, papers blowing in the wind, plants that move and of many friends/family that come to our home. She will bark and run away from what is making her nervous. With people, she does slowly approach them but as soon as they make a move she is startled and she runs away or starts barking at them. We did socialize her when she was young…brought her to many places and people but maybe we did not do it enough? Just wondering what we can do to help her overcome these fears? Thank you!”

Hi Maria, Good question. This is a very common issues that I see in dogs. The worst thing you can do is force her towards the things she is scared of. She’s going to need some systematic desensitization and counterconditioning. Systematic desensitization is getting closer and closer to the scary things over time (but only when the dog is ready to get closer) and the counterconditioning is paring something good (like really stinky and yummy treats) with the item that is causing stress (the fan, vacuum, human, etc). Here are a few steps to help your dog out:

1. Be at a safe distance from the item (scary thing).This means your dog is relaxed and not stressed. Just imagine if you’re scared of spiders. You will be more scared if the spider is right in front of you and you’ll feel relief as more distance is placed between you and the spider. So, with your dog, start at that distance where she isn’t scared of the item and slowly get closer over time. This is where the counterconditioning comes in. In order for your dog to get closer to the item without a reaction, we will countercondition (see step 2).

2. Have your dog look at the item and then reward her for doing so! I highly recommend using the same treat just for training (something your dog doesn’t get at any other time and something that your dog ABSOLUTELY LOVES). We are now pairing something good (the food reward) with the bad (the item) at a safe distance. This is teaching the dog that the item isn’t so bad afterall!

3. Each day get a little closer to the item and repeat (get the dog to look at the item and reward your dog for being so brave).

The key is to reward with the food a second after your dog looks at the item and to use the same tasty food reward each time. This will slowly build a positive association between the food and the scary item. In fact, your dog will want to start seeing these dreaded items over time because they equal such wonderful treats!

I highly recommend booking a session with a force free trainer to practice these techniques. They can be tricky and it’s best to do it right and to have someone there to answer any questions that might arise!

DREAM in the City: Manitoba Canine Expo

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Our big kickoff event is almost here! On Saturday, June 22nd, D.R.E.A.M. will be hosting DREAM in the City: Manitoba Canine Expo at the Four Points Sheraton South located at 2935 Pembina Hwy. The event features 15 vendors and four keynote speakers from 11:00am to 4:00pm.

Featuring the following keynote speakers:

11:45am: Asmara Polcyn, The Winnipeg Woof Pack
12:30pm: Dr. Tony Singh, Henderson Group Vet Clinics
1:00pm: DREAM Presentation
1:30pm: Ainsley McSorley, Revive Fitness
2:15pm: Neil Sedlacek, Pawstruck Pet Nutrition
2:45pm: Kilcona, Maple Grove & Little Mountain Dog Parks
3:30pm: Silent auction winners will be announced!

And the following vendors:
Planet Pup
– Sprockett’s Doggy Day Camp
– The Noble Hound, Dog Training and Obedience
– Happy Tails Pet Photography
Pawstruck Pet Nutrition
Kilcona & Maple Grove Dog Park Clubs
Winnipeg Pet Sitting
Blueberry Hill Books
Waldenway Kennels
– Manitoba Underdogs Rescue
– Sagkeeng Spay/Neuter Initiative Program (SSNIP)
– Earthdog Terrier Rescue of Manitoba
– Henderson Group Vet Clinics

We are planning an action packed day including an amazing assortment of silent auction prizes, education on dog care and products and some great presentations from our vendors.  Our goal is to create awareness around D.R.E.A.M, promote our education and advocacy programs, promote adoptable dogs and raise money for our spay and neuter program.

Visit our event on Facebook for up to date information on this great event!

Trainer Tuesday: Stress from Moving

 

Every Tuesday we will be working with certified dog trainer Lisa from The Noble Hound, Dog Training and Obedience to answer your dog training questions. If you have a question about your pooch, whether it be leash manners, house training, getting along with other animals or anything in between, email us at info@dreamrescue.ca and we will pick a few questions each week to answer.

Erin Dyck: Hi Lisa! We are moving soon, and so our house is in a bit of chaos (more so than usual). There are boxes everywhere, and the dogs obviously know something is up.

They are a bit touchy; the little guys are growling at everyone as they do when they feel stressed out, and Spencer, our only male, has started marking around the house (just little dribbles; he’s still using the great outdoors for “real” bathroom breaks).

What can I do to minimize the stress on them, other than sticking to their regular routine?

Hi Erin,

Congratulations on buying a new house! Moving can be an exciting adventure, but also very stressful for both humans and animals involved. You are absolutely right in keeping up with the dogs’ daily routine. Right now the moving boxes are stressing your dogs out, so switch their brains and make the boxes and chaos fun and beneficial to them! Boxes can be fun right?! Hide some treats and favorite toys among the moving boxes, making the boxes a bit more exciting and valuable for the dogs. Get the dogs to jump over and/or weave around the boxes and play games around the boxes and chaos, but make sure to reward your dogs with their favorite things (food, treats, toys, affection) for being so brave and happy. The key is to make the boxes fun and rewarding!

Another thing you can do is try to exercise the dogs a little extra. Poop them out so that they don’t have the extra energy to convert into anxiety. A tired dog is a dog that isn’t going to think too much!

As for your dog that is marking, try to re-direct just before you see that leg going up. Make sure he’s never around the moving items and boxes unsupervised. The more he gets to practice this behaviour unsupervised, the more he’s going to do it. You want to catch him before he pees and interrupt him before anything comes out. You can say something like “aaaak” to re-direct his silly ideas.

If your dogs need to go somewhere else (a familiar place like another family member’s home) while the move is taking place that is okay too. I suggest doing this on the actual moving day.

Also, if you have access to the new house already, I would take the dogs there to explore a few times before the final move. This will allow them to develop positive associations to the new house. Let them have fun at the new place – interact and play with the dogs, let them do things they love to do, give them some tasty bones or Kongs stuffed with cheese, meat or peanut butter. Make the new place a great place to be!

In general, it’s natural for your dogs to be a little upset about change. That is normal, but you can help them out by making the situation a bit more enjoyable and fun!

Car Safety

It may be convenient to just toss your dog in the car and go, but is it safe?

Unrestrained pets in cars can cause accidents and, like people, are more susceptible to serious injury than those safely restrained.

A small kennel with blankets can make a comfy and safe place for your dog to cozy up while on the road. This might not be a realistic option for some people with small cars and large dogs, but special harnesses are available for dogs of all sizes.

Unrestrained dogs can also distract drivers, causing accidents. The driver of the van that hit Stephen King in 1999, causing him serious injury and hospitalization, was caused when the driver was distracted by his dog. Our canine friends can be particularly distracting from the front seat. The front seat is never an appropriate place for a dog, not only because she can better pester you from there but also because, like children, the force of a deploying airbag can be fatal.

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Unrestrained dogs can also stick their heads out the window, which poses threats to your animals health. Humans aren’t even allowed to stick their arm out of moving buses, so why would you let your furry friend stick out their head? Debris could fly in their ear or a branch could poke their eye. They may have fun, but your kid would probably also have fun hanging unbelted out the window. Would you allow that?

If you’re going on a longer road trip, feed your dog a smaller meal before heading out then give them snacks along the way, although don’t feed them in a moving vehicle. Bring water from home or buy bottled water so your little guy’s tummy doesn’t get upset. Bring bedding and toys from home to help comfort them. A comfortable dog will be quiet and more pleasant to drive with.

A dog’s life isn’t only in danger when the car is moving–leaving a dog alone in a car can be risky too.

On a hot summer day would you leave your child unattended in the car? No? Then why would you leave your furry buddy? That lovely fur coat makes staying cool in a stuffy car impossible and many dogs die when their family leaves them alone. Even if the weather was cool, you probably wouldn’t leave a child alone in a car–what if someone stole the car with that child inside? If you’re going in somewhere your pooch isn’t allowed, drop him or her off at home first.

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Car safety may not be convenient when it comes to dogs, but it’s important in keeping your pet, yourself, and other drivers on the road safe.

Preventing Dogs Bites

When a dog bites, there are two victims–the person bit and the dog. Dogs who bite may be taken away from their family or put down, even though it is rare that the bite was unprovoked. Any dog may bite for a number of reasons, and it is important to understand these reasons and see the signs in order to prevent injury.

Why do dogs bite?

Dogs don’t always like to share, so it is best not to approach them when they have a toy, food, bone, or something else they really enjoy. If you had a yummy snack and someone sn

atched it away you’d be pretty upset, wouldn’t you? Dogs don’t always know that it’s not OK to say, “No!” with a nip. Caretakers can teach dogs not to be aggressive when people take their belongings away, but if you don’t know the dog very well it is best to be cautious by asking permission to pet the dog, and waiting for him or her to approach you first.

Another reason for a dog to bite is because they are afraid. Not all dogs are comfortable with humans; we are much larger and can be threatening to them. Never approach a dog that you do not know without the owner’s permission. In fact, letting a dog decide when it’s ready to visit with you by allowing them to approach you is the best way to make friends! Do not put out your hand for it to sniff or just start petting it–wait until the animal shows interest in you. A dog may become afraid if it feels crowded or cornered, so stand back and allow them to come to you when they are comfortable. Here is a great example of the right (and wrong) ways to greet a dog.

aggressive dog

Sometimes, a strange large creature (you!) moving quickly may trigger a dog’s prey instinct and it could begin to chase. Instead of trying to get away from the animal just stop and stand still looking towards the dog but avoiding eye contact. It will probably quickly lose interest. If the dog does knock you over curl up in a ball and protect your face and ears while staying quiet and still.

Dogs with health concerns are more likely to bite than others. If a dog is sore and you touch that spot it is liable to snap in pain. Sudden aggression in a dog can be a sign that it has a health problem. Mothers can become very protective of their puppies, so make sure they have a safe place to be and be very careful when handling puppies in front of their mother. Never let children handle puppies around the mother dog!

How to prevent a dog bite

Dogs demonstrate signs before a bite that you should be aware of:

  1. Ears pinned back  and raised hair on their backs;
  2. “Frozen” stance or “whale eyes” (showing the whites of their eyes);
  3. Excessive yawning, licking of the lips and shaking to get rid of the stress.

If a dog is showing these signs, they are warning you to back off. If pushed further, they may resort to biting. Dogs will never bite without showing these signs first, but they can go from 1 to 10 in a matter of seconds, so it is important to be educated on what to look for and how to react. Here is a great depiction of these warning signs.

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It is important for people to raise their dogs in such a way as to reduce the chance of their family pet biting someone. Dogs should visit  with new animals and people frequently in different situations. They should also be taught basic commands and have a good, trusting relationship with their human family.

Older dogs who show aggression or other signs that they may bite someone do not need to be removed from the home and family. A dog trainer can help with behavioural issues in dogs. There are also many great online resources for people who can’t afford a trainer.

YellowRibbon_1If your dog is timid, anxious, unsure of other people/dogs, or if there’s any other reason a person or dog shouldn’t approach your dog (perhaps they’re in training or recovering from surgery), place something yellow on them. The Yellow Dog Project was created to help identify to the general public dogs who need space. This can prevent unwanted incidents from someone accidentally approaching your dog when they shouldn’t.

For more information on preventing dog bites, visit:

If you’re concerned about your dog’s behaviour, contact Lisa at The Noble Hound Dog Training & Obedience. Lisa is a certified dog trainer who offers both group obedience and private training classes.