Monday, November 28, 2011

Slinky's Separating Sojourn: Expenses, Housetraining, Breed Profiles - Day 18 of Slinky with Misha May Foundation

Slinky was returned to me this morning when Gina and I met in Cherry Creek. We made a
very easy transition again, with Slinky and I pulling away leaving Gina. Slinky
did great - almost no whining. I took her to the post office, bank and library,
all quick stops that strengthened her belief that being left was no big deal
and that I would return each time. I also took her to a pet supply store where
she received lots of attention and became engrossed in new smells.

Slinky is still being treated by her veterinarian and the bills are adding up. This is
often an aspect of being responsible for an animal that folks don’t think
about. It’s important to work with a vet you trust and that your dog likes.
Annually there are exams, preventative care and vaccinations. There may be
spontaneous visits for illness and once in a while there are emergencies. I am
so grateful that 24 hour emergency veterinary hosptials exist, but I know that
my credit card is going to take a hit.

I live near a terrific emergency clinic and have been there more than I like to
think about with my own dogs and Misha May fosters. We have weathered bloat,
distemper and leptospirosis scares. We have received treatment for toxicity,
failure to thrive puppies, and seizures. These medical expenses add up but it
is our responsibility to keep them safe and healthy.

I use a veterinarian who now recommends the distemper parvovirus vaccine every 5
years after the initial series of immunization, based upon research that claims
annual vaccines may very well be more harmful than helpful. I’ve done titers
with my dogs to be sure that they are protected.

As a preventative against medical problems, I buy very high quality grain free
kibble and also feed high quality canned. I have cooked for my dogs and also
have fed the raw diets, but because I am catering to many mouths most of the
time it became a struggle to keep up. Feeding the best can carry an expensive
price tag, but is totally worth it. Misha May offers a class addressing feeding
your dog called, Dogs Are What They Eat taught
by Stacey Klene. More information is at this link

The high quality food is not only supportive of good health but often resolves
allergy issues. Many foods have ingredients that are not necessary and that are
known to be common allergens. Denver has many independently owned pet supply
stores where the owners and employees educate themselves in order to serve
their customers well. Even behavioral problems can sometimes be less severe
when the dog is feeling healthy and not agitated.

Other expenses often overlooked are those for training. At times a dog simply needs
to feel safe and loved in order to adjust to his new home. But if problems
arise, it’s best to consult a professional trainer or behaviorist who can
assess whether help is needed or not. As a rescue, we often receive the call
for surrendering the pet instead of the call for behavior help. It always makes
me so sad because many problems can be prevented, modified or eliminated fairly
easily. Our slogan has become Call us FIRST for training so you won’t need us later for rescue.

We offer training and behavior classes as well as in-home behavior sessions. We
offer classes to help humans appreciate and bond more with animals. Many of our
classes can be attended with discounted fees and some scholarships are
available. We also have a Dog Trainer / Behaviorist Apprenticeship Program to
meet our goal of having more positive learning theory professionals available
to the public. More training information can be found at
Gift Certificates are available through December 25 with a very special deal
for the purchaser at
Email your questions to
or call 303-239-0382.

Grooming, boarding, daycare and mid-day walkers can also add to the budget deficit. It’s
so important to plan ahead when getting a dog.
As with many dogs coming from a shelter situation, Slinky had a few accidents on
her way to becoming housetrained. On several occasions it was because she was
ill and couldn’t help it. Other incidents happened because she did not yet know
how to communicate that she needed to go outside, or we were unable to read her

I am astounded at the dog’s strong natural inclination to keep their living space
clean and to soil elsewhere. Even after being in a shelter, on a chain or
confined, they go to foster homes and don’t have one accident! Most of the dogs
I have fostered over the years never had one accident!

It can be a very annoying problem when dogs have housetraining accidents, which by
the way, we are usually the cause of. Housetraining is not gained through
corrections of mistakes. It happens through teaching. Just like if you or I
visited a foreign country and didn't know where the bathroom was - hopefully someone
would help us until we found it.

Basic housetraining for dogs has 3 components:
He is outside going, where he will be rewarded with praise and a treat
He is contained or crated inside so that he can't wander around choosing where
he wants to go
He is leashed to the owner's belt for the same reason as number 2, plus it can
be a bonding experience or a training opportunity.

Unless the dog has medical issues or is very damaged psychologically (a puppy mill dog
for example) this system works.

Correcting a frightened (or any dog) dog can even cause him to urinate. He may even
associate going to the bathroom in front of you with being punished. The
likelihood of him sneaking off to go becomes even greater!

Slinky’s adopters were told that she may be a mix of Border Collie and some type of
terrier. These breeds are profiled below. I also see Italian Greyhound and
Basenji at times. We will never know unless her adopters decide to do a DNA
test. It can be helpful to know the breeds involved as there can be strengths,
weaknesses and conditions more prevalent in certain breeds.

I definitely see the energy and intelligence of the Border Collie in Slinky.
Perhaps the need to be working is what keeps her a bit on edge and anxious when
she is not certain what her job is.

I see Fox Terrier in Slinky, not Manchester Terrier, but definitely a terrier.
Most terriers will share many of the characteristics listed with slight
differences. I do see the loyalty and
the capacity to form a strong bond in her. She needs exercise and is not a good
candidate for successful off leash training as stated in the breed profile.

Border Collie

Group Herding
Family Livestock, Herding
Area of Origin Great Britain
Date of Origin 1800’s
Original Function Sheep herder
Today’s Function Sheep herder, herding trials, obedience

Temperament A bundle of mental and physical energy awaiting its chance to be unleashed on the world. Dependable, loyal, focused, tends to stare, likes to chase other animals, reserved or
protective toward strangers, work oriented

Potential one of the most intelligent an obedient breeds or a disastrous housedog if not
given a challenging job every day

Care sufficient daily exercise, a JOB, easy frequent access to a yard

Additional The result of over a century of breeding for function above all other criteria. The standard was written for working ability, with no regard to physical
appearance. The ‘father’ of the Border Collie, Hemp, distinguished himself in
trials because instead of barking and nipping, he stared at the sheep (‘giving
the eye’).

Manchester Terrier
Group: Terrier
Family: Originates from Black and Tan Terrier
Area of Origin: England
Date of Origin: 1500s
Original Function: Vermin hunter
Today’s Function: A cuddly house pet that can be an efficient worker when in
the field hunting.
Temperament: This breed is loyal and forms strong bonds early
on. It is neither aggressive nor shy. The Manchester terrier is
observant, devoted but discerning and generally friendly to other dogs.
Potential: Tendency to test boundaries, making consistency
in training very important. A lack of human leadership can
result in them becoming demanding, headstrong, protective, snappish, and/or
They are sharp-witted and eager to learn.
Care: The Manchester terrier is a good dog for apartment
living. They are very active indoors and will do okay without a yard; however
they demand plenty of outdoor exercise. These dogs can run very fast and keep
the speed up for a long time. This dog greatly enjoys exercising by running
alongside a bicycle, provided the amount of exercise is built up
gradually. Do not allow this breed off the leash except in a secure area
unless it has been trained, as he likes to chase.
Additional: Not considered a “barky” dog, but makes a good

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