Dog Training 101: Top Tips for Best Behavior

When you adopt a dog or add a new pet to the family, training is a critical part of establishing a routine and ensuring success. Here are some tips for training your dog as well as insight into different forms of training.

Beginner Basics: Establishing a Potty Plan

The most important first step with puppies (or even older dogs that a new to your household) is establishing a bathroom schedule.

Creating a consistent, routine is critical. Bathroom schedules must be routine to establish proper habits and teach dogs to understand that they go to the bathroom outside and not in the house.

Age is a good marker for a time frame of how long dogs can hold their bladder. The general rule of thumb is that dogs can hold their bladder one hour for every month of their age, so, if your dog is three months old, they can hold it for three hours. Please note that this is only a general calculation and that accidents happen during potty training.

Since they cannot hold their bladder as long, puppies need to go out often while they are house-training.

For dogs less than six months old potty breaks will be more frequent and happen at regular intervals, such as 30 minutes after each meal and after they drink water. Dogs 6 months to 1-year-old can hold their urine and bowel movements for longer, but still, require frequent trips outside on a regular basis.

Often dogs will give you cues that they need to go out. Pay attention to signs, especially as you and your new family member are getting to know one another. As your dog grows and learns, you will become more familiar with their cues, such as going to the door or trying to get your attention another way, making it easier.

Remember, your dog is learning — it is up to you to provide proper structure and rewards for good behavior. Read more tips about house-training here.

When house-training your new pup, be sure to take them out often and establish a regular bathroom schedule

Hiring a Trainer: When is the Right Time

One of the most common questions that dog owners have is when to enlist the help of a training. The answer is — the sooner, the better. Most trainers offer classes starting at 4-6 months of age. By then, your puppy should know some basic commands, such as sit, down, come, and possibly, stay.

Don’t worry if your dog does not have full command of these cues. Trainers are professionals and they want to help you as much as possible. Establishing an early relationship with a trainer will be beneficial to both you and your dog, especially if you a training refresher in the future.

Never Too Old: Teaching Older Dogs

We are all familiar with the classic adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” However, that is not true. Older dogs can and should still be learning as they continue to develop and mature. This is especially true when adopting an adult or senior pet — these animals often come from unstructured environments and need routine and training to settle into a new home. The good news is that more mature dogs often have a basic understanding of commands and house-training; they may just require a fresher as they are learning their new home and family.

Steps to Success: Types of Training

There are several different training methods for dogs and cats. Here is a look at some of the most popular:

Positive Reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is probably the most popular type of training. It is particularly helpful with potty training, as mentioned above. With this type of training, a reward (treat, praise) is given for good behavior, and bad behavior is ignored.

Clicker Training: This method is fairly popular as well. The premise is similar to positive reinforcement. The clicker is used to reinforce good behavior. When you give your dog a command, you click the clicker as they perform that command, so that they associate the click sound with getting a reward, such as a treat.

Relationship-Based Training: This method helps to build the relationship between dog and owner. This effective method is designed to let the owner and dog bond together while training. Read more about relationship-based training.

Positive reinforcement is a great training tool for dogs.

Training Resources

Trainers:

Training Books:

The ASPCA also offers lots of tips and resources to help with many common dog behavior issues.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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Disaster Preparedness for Pets

While it’s not something we ever imagine happening to our beloved pets, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and having things on hand or knowing what to do can prevent things from escalating.

Here are some suggestions on how to be prepared in case disaster strikes.

Have a Pet First Aid Kit Ready

Whether you’re out hiking in the woods or just letting your furry friend in the back yard, first aid kits are crucial. There are plenty of places where you can buy them pre-assembled, such as Chewy, World Market or Amazon.

You can also choose to assemble one for yourself. The ASPCA recommends including the following items in your first aid kit:

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting (always check with veterinarian or animal poison control expert before giving to your pet)
  • Ice pack
  • Disposable gloves
  • Scissors with a blunt end
  • Tweezers
  • OTC antibiotic ointment
  • Oral syringe or turkey baster
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent (for bathing)
  • Towels
  • Small flashlight
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Styptic powder
  • Saline eye solution
  • Artificial tear gel

Be sure to check your first aid kit regularly to make sure nothing has expired or needs to be replaced.

Create an Emergency Kit and Plan for Your Pets

If you live in an area where earthquakes, hurricanes, or other natural disasters are a possibility, it’s important to know what to do before these happen. Make sure you know where you can take your pet, items that they need if they are separated from you, and ensure that all members of your household are aware of this plan.

Although sad and difficult to witness, recently natural disasters have brought into focus the need for better planning and emergency services and facilities that include companion animals. Many hotels and emergency shelters do not allow pets, so be sure to research and plan ahead so you know where you can – or cannot – bring your animals.

If you plan to have a friend or relative care for your pet during an emergency, be sure they are aware of any medical conditions your pet may have, their feeding and potty schedule, and contact information for your vet.

Have supplies and essential ready ahead of time.

Separate from medical items, it’s important to have a bag packed with day-to-day things, such as a leash, harness, food, and comforting items from home such as a favorite toy or water bowl.

It is also a great idea to pack pictures or your pets as well as pix of you with your pets so that can be identified more easily in case you are separated from them. Some organizations even recommend creating a “lost” flyer beforehand so they are ready to go if you need them. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on their vaccinations, and that the information on their microchip is correct. Don’t forget – this applies to cats as well as dogs.

Prep and Train Your Pets

Apart from making sure that your family members know what to do in case of an emergency, it’s essential your four-legged family members know what to do as well. This can include to getting them more comfortable and trusting you with things like scissors and tweezers or creams and gels as well as practicing commands, such as recall, come, crate, and even speak (bark).

Speak/bark is especially useful when you can’t locate your pet and there is a possibility he or she might be stuck somewhere or lost. It is also good to familiarize your pet with the planned safe haven and the people who might be watching over him in case you can’t take him with you.

Stay Calm

Your pets feed off your energy. If you are behaving nervous and erratic, so will your furry friend. As long as you are prepared and have a plan, there is nothing to worry about.

Your pet can be a great source of comfort when a disaster occurs and can help calm down nervous family members. There are a lot of helpful tools and websites you can consult to help you prepare for a disaster. RedRover and the CDC have great checklists you can print and the US Government has a Pet Preparedness website with more resources. Just be aware that during a disaster, internet and phone lines might not be available, which can make communication very difficult.  

Please note: While those “In Case of Emergency” stickers for doors and windows can be helpful, many first responders don’t rely on them since they can be inaccurate or outdated. The general rule of thumb is people first, pets second, and property third.

World Spay Day 2019: Why Spay/Neuter Matters

February 26: World Spay Day 2019

Today is World Spay Day, an international day devoted to calling attention to the need for spaying and neutering animals across the world.

Originally founded by Doris Day and her animal organization in 1995, this day has grown into a global event.

Why spay?

The reality is that there are more animals than there are homes for. Back in the mid-90s, 14-17 million animals were euthanized in shelters each year due to overpopulation and overcrowding.

Fortunately, due to spay/neuter efforts, including educational campaigns, awareness initiatives, and low-cost clinics, those numbers have come down.
But, there is still work to be done as 2-3 million animals — healthy, loving animals who want homes — are still euthanized annually in the US alone,
due to overpopulation and lack of homes.

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

In honor of World Spay Day and Spay/Neuter Awareness, here are some facts and stats to emphasize the importance of spaying and neutering, particularly in cats since roaming cats produce lots of kittens!

  • Stray and feral cats are the number one source of cat overpopulation and produce up to 80 percent of the kittens born every year!
  • Female cats are “seasonally polyestrous,” which means that they have multiple estrus (heat) cycles during the breeding season, typically going into heat in mid-to-late January. A female cat will keep coming back into heat every 1-2 weeks until she is bred. Plus, unspayed females can still get pregnant while nursing.
  • Kitten Season is just around the corner! Spring is kitten season (feline gestation period is approximately 65 days), usually beginning in late March and running through the Summer. We get it, kittens are cute, but in the spring and summer, shelters are overflowing with them and they tend to get adopted first, meaning older cats are less likely to get adopted and more likely to be euthanized due to overpopulation issues.
  • Spaying refers to removing the ovaries and uterus of female cats; neutering means removing a male cats’ testicles. Although neutering typically refers to males, it is often used interchangeably for males and females, such as in TNR.
  • Statistically, unneutered male cats are by far the most likely to be involved in accidents since hormones and the desire to roam means they are less cautious around roads or busy areas.
  • A male cat can travel for miles when they pick up the scent of a female in heat. Hormones drive them to seek a mate to breed with (not for pleasure), often leading to aggressive behavior.
  • Neutering a male cat has many benefits, including stopping or reducing spraying, less aggression and fighting with other male cats, and lower risks of testicular cancer or prostate problems. Overall neutered toms are quieter, gentler, and more affectionate.
  • Spaying or neutering cats and dogs is not cruel. They do not have an emotional or psychological attachment to their genitalia. In fact, neutering animals is compassionate since it protects their health and helps them live happier safer lives.
  • Neutered dogs have lower rates of cancer and are less aggressive. Neutering dogs often eliminates aggression or other behaviorial issues. Unneutered males have a higher risk of injuries since they are more likey to stray and get into fights.
  • In female dogs, spaying greatly reduces the risks of mammary cancer and uterine infections (called pyometra).
Unneutered animals roam looking to mate, which increases their chances of getting injured or lost.

Ways to Help

Always Spay or Neuter

Always spay and neuter your pets, especially if you have outdoor or free-roaming cats. Even if you have indoor-only cats, it is better for their health and overall temperament. Plus, in the awful event your indoor cat gets out, spaying eliminates the chance of unwanted pregnancy and increases the chances of her returning home.

Be a Friend to Ferals

If you know of stray or feral cats in your community, contact a local shelter or rescue group for help. Many run TNR programs, where feral cats are trapped, neutered, and returned to their colonies. Also, be nice to ferals — they might not want to be touched, but they always appreciate food, water, shelter, and kindness. Remember, they did not choose to be homeless.

Become a foster!

We always need foster homes for cats as well as dogs. Sometimes the dogs get more attention, but all of us at STAR love cats just as much and want to help as many as possible, but we need your help! Apply to foster. 

Spread the Word

Help get the word out by sharing this post. Talk to friends and family about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. Volunteer with an animal organization. Donate money or supplies.

Resources:

ASPCA: Spay/Neuter Your Pet

Best Friends: FAQ on Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

Humane Society: Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Pet

Doris Day Animal Foundation: World Spay Day

Kitten season is right around the corner! Apply now to be a foster!

Pet Adoption & Children: 4 Tips to Pick the Perfect Match for Your Family

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of bringing a new friend home to your family. Whether you’re looking for a new exercise buddy, a companion for cuddling, or anything in between, choosing a new pet is a big deal.

For families with children, however, choosing the right pet can be especially hard. You want the best for your kids, and want to make sure your pet and children are the best possible fit for each other.

To help make sure your newest family member is the perfect match for you and your children, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips to help you find the ideal rescue companion.

1. Understand the Kind of Characteristics You’re Looking for in a Pet

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When it comes to pets and children, having a clear idea of what characteristics you want in your pet can go a long way. For example, dogs with high energy can make great backyard playmates and adventure buddies, but if the pet is too physical, it may not be an ideal match, especially if you have young children.

Even if you do not have young children, consider if you have other companion animals; many dogs love having a buddy, while others do best as an only pet. The same goes for cats and mixed-species households.

Plenty of dogs are great around kids (and other animals), so it is essential to understand your needs and do thorough research before adopting. Take the time to understand what kind of traits you would like your pet to have — attributes that compliment your family and your lifestyle — and look for a dog or cat that matches them best!

2. Consider Personality and Temperament Over Breed

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Too often, families will choose a pet based on the overall reputation or look of a breed. While a pet’s breed can certainly play a role in its behavior and temperament, their individual personality and overall behavior are far more critical.

Just like people, every pet has unique qualities that make him or her special. When it comes time to find the perfect match for your children, understanding these special quirks and personality traits can give you a much clearer and dependable idea of how well a potential pet will fit in with your kids.

3. Keep Your Living Space in Mind

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The type of pet you choose for your kids greatly depends on your family and your family’s living space. Large dog breeds are often better suited for households with room to accommodate their energy, such as a large fenced-in yard or close access to a park.

For those that live in apartments or smaller sized homes, it may be appropriate to consider pets more tolerant to small-space, indoor living. Cats make great household companions and don’t require a daily walk or romp around the yard. 

By keeping your living space in mind, you’ll be able to provide the ideal home for your pet, while creating an atmosphere that your pets and children can both enjoy.

4. Consider Where You’re Getting Your Pet

If you’re reading this, we’ll assume that you’re considering adopting your newest family member, which is excellent!

Good Boy

Unfortunately, breed stereotypes and misinformation can sway people to thinking they should buy a dog from a breeder or pet store. Bred animals live sad lives, often in deplorable conditions, and nearly all pet-store animals come from puppy mills. With 7.6 million companion animals in shelters across the U.S., you can rest assured that there’s a perfect pet for your children patiently waiting for a new forever home. So please, adopt, don’t shop!

When it comes to finding the perfect pet for your kids, it’s crucial to understand your new buddy as an individual, rather than a “type” —  which goes far beyond breed. Another benefit of adopting is that shelters and rescue groups know much more about the overall temperament of an animal and can help you gauge their characteristics, personality, and temperament, and get a sense of whether or not a specific pet would be a good fit within your home.

Interested in looking at local pets up for adoption? Visit our website or check us out on Facebook for a list of adoptable dogs.

Winter Activities for Dogs to Keep Them Happy and Healthy

During wintertime, it is not always easy coming up with activities to keep your dog happy and active. Temperatures drop below freezing, you have to deal with rain, snow, and sleet as well as concerns about the chemicals used on the sidewalks to melt the snow hurting your furry friend’s paws. Keep reading for some tips on entertaining your dog and helping them release some energy during the winter.


Practice or Teach your Dog Some New Tricks

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? For dogs or puppies that don’t know a lot of commands, you can practice very useful ones, such as “sit”, “stay” or “come.” Once you have the basics down, you can move on to more advanced commands, such as “roll over” “speak” or “play dead.”

Although these tricks are not very demanding physically, they require a lot of mental energy from your dog so they are a great winter activity that can be practiced indoors. Remember to limit your training sessions to about 15 minutes so that it stays fun for you and your dog. Practice these tricks daily and your dog will be fully trained by spring time!

Schedule Playtime with Other Dogs

If your dog is good with other dogs, it’s always good to put a playdate in the calendar. Just as with kids most dogs like to socialize and will even correct each other while playing, making it easier for you to supervise. If playing indoors, make sure that they have enough space to play safely. If outdoors, make sure it is not too cold and that they have an appropriate place outside where they can run and play, such as a fenced in yard or park. Bring some toys and let the fun begin! Remember, all dogs play differently so be sure to use your best judgment for your pet.


Take Your Dog for a Walk

Unless the temperatures drop below zero, it’s okay to take your dog outside for short periods of time. Most medium and large dogs can walk outside for about 30 minutes as long as the temperature is above 20 degrees F and they are in good health. If your dog is on the smaller side, limit their outdoor exposure to 20 minutes and consider buying them a coat and protection for their paws.  For pups who don’t like wearing little booties, try a dog-safe gel that can be applied to paws to help prevent cracks and bleeding. Hurtta has an amazing collection of coats for dogs for all types of weather!

Sign Your Dog Up for a Class

Winter is the perfect time for an indoor agility or swimming class. There are plenty of classes for dogs who have never swum before as well as  advanced swimmers. Just as with humans, swimming is easy on their joints, so it is perfect  for senior dogs or those with arthritis.

 A new class such as agility will also provide a mental and physical stimulation for your dog, making it the perfect activity for dogs with plenty of energy! There are many great resources in the Boston area, but a quick online search for your area will yield other options for swim classes, doggy daycare, agility classes, and more.

Make Mealtime Fun

There are so many ways to make mealtime fun for your dog. You can grab a treat dispenser or a food puzzle that your dog has to solve in order to get his reward. Make sure you purchase high-quality toys that your dog cannot tear apart — you want to keep them safe and entertained when they’re home alone. And remember, all dogs have different chew strength and habits, so always buy the size and durability appropriate for your dog.

Kongs are very popular and have proven themselves with dogs of all sizes! As an added bonus, food toys and puzzles slow down your dog’s eating pace, keeping him or her safe from gastrointestinal conditions.  

Ordering from Amazon? Make sure you put Survivor Tails as your AmazonSmile charity!


We know the weather can make it tough, but keeping your dogs happy and active in the winter is very important. Do you have any winter activities that you like to do with your dog? Let us know in the comments!

Adopt, Don’t Shop: Why Adoption and Rescue Matter

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What Shelter Life Looks Like

Envision an animal shelter full of anxious dogs, crying out for attention. Some howling at all hours of the night, just patiently waiting for their next walk or meal. Imagine the dogs (and cats) at extra-crowded “high kill” shelters, most of whom face the horrible fate of being put down due to lack of space, resources, and homes. These dogs are waiting for someone with a big enough heart like you to come and adopt/rescue them!

The Numbers Don’t Lie

According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year (including 3.3 million dogs, and 3.2 million cats). Conservative numbers state that of those animals, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.

That means that 670,000 dogs — or 20% of dogs that enter animal shelters — and 860,000 cats — or 27% of cats that enter animal shelters — are euthanized annually. The good news is that adoption numbers are encouraging —approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).

 

orange tabby cat beside fawn short coated puppy

Millions of dogs and cats are euthanized at shelters every year due to lack of homes.

 

The High Cost of Breeding

So, with pet overpopulation an ongoing issue, why would anyone still purchase a dog through a breeder or pet store? Sadly, breeders’ primary interest is making a profit from breeding animals; in contrast, animal shelters and rescue organizations are dedicated to finding homes for dogs and cats rather than making money.

In fact, adoption fees are minimal particularly in comparison to the high costs charged by breeders and pet stores. Plus, nearly all pet store dogs come from horribly cruel puppy mills, which are rampant with abuse and neglect. Furthermore, just in terms of logistics, why drive many miles to an out-of-state breeder or even ship a dog on an airplane (which is not only dangerous but traumatic for animals), when you can drive just down the street and adopt an amazing pet?

Breaking Down Stereotypes

Despite common misconception, most shelter and/or rescue dogs are perfectly “normal” —happy, healthy dogs. Sadly, dogs and cats end up in shelters for many reasons. Often, their owners can no longer take care of them or are unable to keep them, so they surrender them to an animal shelter.

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Sadie, a Hurrican Harvey survivor, is just one of the many dogs adoptable through STAR.

In the case of rescue groups, the aim is to get animals, particularly dogs, out of “high kill” shelters as soon as possible, giving them a chance at life. Once out of that stressful environment, many dogs thrive in foster homes before getting adopted out to their forever homes. The importance of rescue cannot be underestimated, and the statistics only paint a partial picture of the larger issue.

In terms of placing animals in homes, shelters and rescues do their due diligence to ensure that dogs (and cats) are placed in good, appropriate homes, whereas most breeders and pet stores don’t and will sell a dog to just about anyone for a profit. Not only is this lack of oversight irresponsible, but is also a major safety issue and often ends up leading to MORE dogs in shelters as are owners find they cannot handle a particular type/size/breed of dog.

My Adoption Story

Furthermore, I can tell you from my own experience that it is SO worth it to adopt/rescue a dog. Ten years ago, my husband and I rescued our own dog from a shelter! My own dog came from a shelter ten years ago, when my husband adopted him. Our now 12-year-old pitbull/terrier mix has the same personality and spunk as he did when we first got him and he still has lots of love to give! Plus, he came to us trained with basic commands and a file full of paperwork that included basic health info, vaccination dates, microchip information, etc. Adoption made it easier to make him part of our family.

So, please — adopt, don’t shop. Visit your local animal shelter or rescue organization, in person or online. If you cannot take on the responsibility of adopting/rescuing a dog, you can always help by volunteering. Most non-profits could not function without volunteers, and many (like us!) are actually are 100% volunteer run. Other ways to help include sharing posts on social media or attending a local fundraising event to raise money for a good cause. Together we can help these animals find loving homes!

For a listing of pets available for adoption, visit our Survivor Tails website or Facebook page.

This post was written by STAR volunteer Kerry Richards. If you are interested in helping with the STAR blog, please contact marketing@survivortails.org.

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Urgent: Hurricane Relief Help Needed

Donations Needed for Generator

Our Southern rescue partners are bracing as Florence makes landfall. Many of our partners are in the path of imminent danger and will likely be without power for days or weeks after the rain and high winds.

 

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Dogs4U — in the path of Hurrican Florence — needs help for animals! 

 

 

Dog4You is a Southern rescue farm with cows, horse, and a ton of dogs. Since they cannot evacuate they are in desperate need of a generator to help them get through the aftermath of Florence. Water to care for all of these animals requires electricity and temps will be in the 90s even after the storm. Please consider donating any amount to help these animals. Two ways to help: https://fundrazr.com/11Oth1?ref=ab_5YSge_ab_2lXEABsuIe32lXEABsuIe3 or Paypal – Kristina@dog4u.org please note “for relief generators.”

Foster Homes Needed ASAP

Survivor Tails is also looking for foster homes to help take in dogs after the storm. After natural disasters, shelters are overrun with displaced dogs, strays, and surrenders. Foster homes help save lives by providing a safe outlet for dogs and cats. Please fill out an application here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSem_gZXY5rYhQRFCdagSM_kZBYRx3BWEQuxbx1t-ud6ceSNBg/viewform

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Get Your Pets Ready for Back to School

As summer ends and the kids head back to school, it is important to think about the 4-legged children in your life too!Boy heading back to school.

Dogs and cats need routines just like human children, and transitioning back to a different schedule — one that includes more alone time for them — can be tough.

The best way to avoid anxiety and possible behavioral issues is to have a plan in place to help your dogs and cats ease back into the fall and coming winter seasons.

Be Prepared

By now you know when your kids will head back to school (if they haven’t already). With that in mind begin preparing about a week (or two) before departure date to help everyone adjust. Get up earlier as you do during the school year to help your pup adjust to the new schedule.

Try to keep the rest of your pet’s routine as normal as possible with regular walks and feeding times. If feeding times change during the school year, start adjusting to the new times a week or two before so they don’t feel too many changes all at once.

Days can feel long and lonely, especially for dogs, when they have been used to human companionship. A morning walk or playtime in the yard is good bonding time and will help your pup get out some energy.

Keep Moving!

During the summer the days are longer and more people are around, which means more play time, walk time, and fun time. Once the school year starts, dogs and cats spend more time alone and get less exercise. Make sure you are keeping up with your dog’s exercise needs.

Bored dogs can gain weight and develop behavioral issues; it is not uncommon for dogs to “act out” once the kids are gone all day. Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation, so be sure to keep them active even when schedules change. While cats have a reputation for laziness, they do need exercise and stimulation as well, so don’t overlook their need for playtime.

Dog running with ball

Make sure your pup gets plenty of exercise before and after school!

A morning and afternoon walk or appropriate play time in the yard or park are often enough to keep man’s best friend happy. If you have a very active dog who needs lots of exercise and attention, consider a mid-day dog walker or doggy daycare to keep your pup busy and healthy.

Be Patient

Animals are sensitive, sentient creatures. They can sense changes and feel stress just like us, so remember to factor your faithful feline and canine companions into your changing routines.

Stressed, scared, or anxious animals can exhibit less than desirable behaviors — not because they are trying to be difficult, but because they are trying to express themselves. Stressed animals can bark, cry, pace, house soil, or becomes destructive.

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Cats need playtime and stimulation too!

While it would be easier If they could verbalize, if we pay attention, we can understand that they are communicating with us in different ways. Think about how you can minimize stress for your pet while you are away. Puzzle toys or food puzzle can provide great mental stimulation for bored dogs.

Soft music or quiet TV in the background can also help animals feel less alone; remember they are used to hearing noise and voices most of the stay. Stick with softer music choices and quiet television programs (think HGTV, not Cops) to help comfort. Remember, don’t select sounds that are overstimulating, which can agitate your pet.

Give Lots of Love

While it is harder for us humans, it is easier on our pets if we minimize the drama involved in our departures and arrivals.

When you leave in the am, make sure your pets are set up for the day, say goodbye, and go. Remind your kids that over-the-top farewells can actually upset your dog or cat who will anticipate that you are leaving. When you arrive home, greet your dogs and cats with love and affection without going over the top.

When you are home, make sure Fluffy and Fido get plenty of attention and tons of treats! Try to keep the rest of their routine as regular as possible so that they don’t feel overwhelmed. Ensure they are happy and safe by petting them, snuggling with them, playing with them, walking them, and talking to them. 

Small child playing with dog.

Reduce back-to-school stress with proper transitions, regular routines, and appropriate playtime.

Remember, slowly transitioning back to the school routine, rather than lots of changes happening all at once, can help reduce anxiety in dogs and cats who have gotten used to having their pals around all summer. 

Fostering 101

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Fostering 101

A quick scroll through social media and you will likely see tons of pets in need of foster homes. Fostering animals is critically important to saving lives. And while many people want to help, we understand there is a lot of information to digest. Here we answer some fostering FAQs and highlight ways you can help.

What Fostering Means

Fostering a pet means taking them into your home for a limited period of time before they find their forever home. Survivor Tails is a foster-based rescue which means that we do not have a shelter location. All of our animals are in foster homes before they are adopted out. That means we could not survive without appropriate foster parents for our pups — you literally help us save lives!

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Fostering an animal can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the situation and the dog’s age, breed, temperament, and other criteria. Some pups take longer to adjust to their new surroundings, so patience is essential when fostering an animal. We currently foster in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and we adopt out to both of those states as well as New Hampshire.

Why Fostering is Important

Without foster homes, we would not be able to rescue dogs (and cats) from high-kill areas, particularly in the south. By providing a safe home to dogs and cats, you are the first stop on the path to a new life. Many of the animals we rescue have been through some tough times are unsure of what love and happiness feel like. By welcoming them into your home and family, you are offering them hope and kindness. Plus, most dogs do not thrive in a shelter environment; many animals open up much better in a home.

Fosters are the much-needed bridge to a forever family for our animals — and sometimes the first kind word and soft touch they ever experience.

What Is Expected of Me?

Once you welcome a foster pet into your home, you are expected to love, care for, and be patient with the new (temporary) addition to your family. You will need to walk and play with your dog, help them establish a routine for potty breaks, and help teach them the basics. Since many dogs come from uncertain situations, the specific needs are determined by the individual dog; for example, some dogs need more help learning commands while other might need a refresher in housebreaking. As mentioned above, being patient and caring are critical to helping your furry pal adjust.

You will also provide updates, feedback, and photos of your foster friend. The more information we have on a dog, the better job we can do finding him or her the best possible forever home. We want all of our dogs and their people to be happy, so keeping us up-to-date on behavior, training, and temperament is essential to our cause. We LOVE pictures and videos — and so do potential adopters!

Shelter dog fosters needed

Is Fostering Expensive?

Not at all. In fact, it is pretty much free! Survivor Tails covers all expenses except for food and toys. All animals arrive fully vetted and spayed/neutered if of age. If anything happens and your foster becomes ill or injured, we cover all veterinary costs. We also provide the foster pup’s ID tag, leash, martingale collar, harness, and a carabiner clip. We can also supply a crate if needed. Plus, we offer plenty of instructions and support to help your new buddy adjust to your home.

Why Should I Foster?

It’s no secret that dogs are the best! And, science has proven that people with pets are happier and live longer. Perhaps you can’t commit to adopting right now; fostering is an excellent way to get some furry love and help an animal in need. Plus, there is no better feeling than helping an animal in need!

Foster_Save_A_Life

Ready to Save a Life?

Great, here are some ways to proceed:

Questions? Feel free to reach out to foster@survivortails.org for more information. We have lots of info to share with potential fosters and adopters.

Ready to fill out a foster application? You can find one here!

Want to see some of the dogs (and cats) in need of a foster home? Visit our Facebook album! More of a cat person? Fear not! While we tend to need more homes for dogs, we love to help our feline friends as well!

Can’t foster, but still want to help? Please start by sharing this post and consider making a much-appreciated financial donation.

Also, check out our website check out our website and social media pages for more information!

Cat Fosters 4.12.18

 

Keep Your Furry Friends Safe During Fourth Festivities

 

July 4th safety

Independence Day is known for sun and fun — barbeques, pool parties, and fireworks. But did you know that the 4th of July is a really scary holiday for pets? In fact, more pets go missing on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year! That is because the loud, overwhelming noises and unfamiliar surrounding can be terrifying for dogs and cats.

Here are some safety tips to help you and furry friends to have a happy and safe holiday.

Preparation and Prevention

The best first step to a happy holiday is to be prepared. Fireworks might be fun for you, but the loud noises are terrifying for many animals, especially dogs. While you are celebrating, chances are your dog is panicking.

Be sure that your pets are microchipped and that your contact information is up to date. Make sure your dog is wearing identification information. It is also a good idea to have a current picture of your dog with you. (This should be easy since we know that just like us you all have 500 pix of your pets on your phone!)

If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, make sure that they are chipped and are wearing a break-away collar with identification. Better, yet, keep cats inside on and around Independence Day for their own safety.

 

Hund mit Kätzchen

For their own safety, keep dogs and cats indoors during cookouts and fireworks. Allow them time to enjoy the great outdoors before the festivities begin.

 

When letting your dogs out, be sure that your yard is fenced securely and/or that your animal has on a proper harness and leash. When frightened, the “fight or flight” instinct takes over, and many dogs take off, attempting to run to safety. Never leave dogs outside unattended, even in a fenced area.

If your pet does go missing, don’t panic. Follow some simple steps to help get him or her home safe. Lost Dogs of America has multiple resources devoted specifically to Fourth of July.

Party Smarts

If you plan to attend some cookouts or parties on the Fourth, it might be a good idea to leave Fido or Fluffy at home. As mentioned above, unfamiliar surroundings, lots of new people, and loud noises can be super scary even for otherwise calm dogs.

Plus, there will be plenty of food and snacks around. While we all want to spoil our pups, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Too many treats and table scraps (often from well-meaning friends and family) can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. And, many common foods are actually toxic to animals. And, many common foods are actually toxic to animals.].

With so much going on, it can be tough to keep a constant eye on your pooch, which is why sometimes dogs simply wander off. If you have a chill dog who does well at parties, be sure to keep a close eye on them at all times, ensure they have access to fresh water and shade, keep them securely leashed, and make sure they don’t get too many treats!

Home Alone

If you do leave your dog(s) at home, make sure that they are safe and comfortable. Be sure they have plenty of fresh water and AC or fans to keep them cool. Nervous dogs pant and pace so they need be kept well hydrated.

5.14.18 Keep Cool

Be sure your pets have plenty of fresh water and access to shady areas when they are outside. When indoors, fresh water and fans are a must!

Consider leaving the TV or music on to help drown out the scary noises outside. Many people find success with crating their dogs or confining them to a safe, escape-proof room. Be sure your pup has access to their favorite bed or cozy spot. For example, one of my dogs finds solace under our bed, so we let him “hide” there where he is most comfortable when he gets nervous.

There are plenty of herbal calming treats available with natural ingredients such as chamomile and lavender that can help dogs relax during scary times. In extreme cases, talk to your veterinarian about medication or holistic treatment options to help keep your dog or cat calm over the holiday season.

Compression vests, such as the Thundershirt or similar, can also be very helpful for calming anxious or fearful dogs.

Make Your Own Fun

If you have an animal who is especially terrified of firework festivities, consider staying home with your furry friend.

As the saying goes, a tired dog is a good dog, so plan ahead. During the day, take your dog for a nice long walk, go to the park, or have a playdate. Letting your dog(s) run around, play, and romp during the day is a great way to ensure they will be tired later on.

 

Dog running with ball.jpg

To help your dog relax during fireworks, be sure to exercise them earlier in the day so they can run around and get out some energy. This will ensure they are tired later on in the evening.

 

As the evening approaches, make sure your dog eats dinner and uses the bathroom before the fireworks and festivities begin. If you plan to administer calming medication or treats to your pets, always follow instructions and allow time for them to kick in.

Be sure to keep windows closed (especially if you leave your pooch home alone) since open windows let in more noise and insect screens will NOT contain your pet. Dogs and cats can easily escape from open windows. Turn up the TV or soothing music and snuggle on the couch with your favorite buddy and let them know they are safe.

Although Independence Day is technically only one day a year, people tend to celebrate for a week or so before and after. So be sure that you are adequately prepared to keep your dogs and cats happy and safe during this holiday season.