How Do Dogs Use Their Senses Every Day
dogs' senses are generally much more heightened than ours they have
been able to help us for centuries.
Dogs see far better than humans can. Their heightened peripheral
vision and excellent night vision are far better than ours.
1. Dogs see in much dimmer light than humans.
2. Dogs can detect motion better than humans can.
3. Dogs can see flickering light better than humans. The do may
see t.v. as a series
of moving frames rather than as a continuous scene.
4. Dogs do not have the ability to focus as well on the shape of
objects (their visual
Ability is lower). What we may see clearly may appear to be blurred
to a dog
Looking at it at the same distance. A rough estimate is that dogs
have about 20/75 vision. They can see at 20 feet what a normal human
could see clearly at
At 75 feet.
How Dogs See Color
Dogs see color in a more limited way than we do. We see the rainbow
of colors. They; see Violet, Indigo, Blue, Yellow, Yellow, Yellow
and Red. The colors green, yellow and orange are alike to dogs.
This conclusion comes from the Dept of Biology At the University
of Wisconsin by Dana K Vaughan, Ph.D. e-mail Vaughan@uwosh.edu
- think of a green lizard motionless on a leaf. You and your dog
would have a hard time seeing it. A green ball on green grass not
moving it would be the same.
Contrast - An object on different color background
and very different shape is easier to spot.
dogs have their eyes about 12 inches off the ground and see the
world in a different way than a human with eyes about 48 inches
off the ground like many 5th graders.
sight is not inferior to ours. It is different but suits their needs
better than possessing accurate color vision would.
- Dogs hear 35,000 - 45,000 KHZ and some even 50,000 KHZ but humans
hear 20,000 KHZ. Some dogs hear at a higher frequency that humans
cannot even hear at all. Cat's hearing is even at a higher pitch
than dogs up to 100,000 cycles/second that's two octaves higher
- The olfactory or smell receptors are located within special sniffing
cells called ethmoidal cells. These are found deep in a dog's snout
in structures called turbinates.
Dogs have about 25 times more olfactory (smell) receptors than humans
do. These receptors occur in special sniffing cells deep in a dog's snout and are what allow a dog to "out smell" humans.
the bare sidewalk may seem crazy, but it yields a wealth of information
to your dog. Whether it's the scent of the dog next door or a whiff
of the bacon sandwich someone dropped last week. Dogs can decode
scent messages left by other animals.
A dog can sniff out all sorts of smells that human noses can't.
That is why dogs can be trained in so many ways to detect drugs,
lost people and much more.
never forget the keen senses the dog has at his disposal (and we
do not). What a team humans and dogs can make helping each other
in so many great ways.
to Consider Before Surrendering
Your Companion Animal
Here are a few common excuses
for surrendering a companion animal. The animal is to big, too furry,
barks too much, etc. You are having a lifestyle change. Are you
planning to take your children with you? Unless you are an animal
abuser, chances are your animal will not find a better home than
" Even if you find a good
first home, your companion animal's home may gradually worsen until
he/she falls through the cracks altogether and is either mistreated
or taken to the pound.
" There are no long waiting
lines of good homes waiting to adopt your older pet.
" You say your dog/cat
is wonderful and deserves a really special home. Then try at all
costs to keep your dog/cat.
" It is virtually impossible
and a long time process to find your dog/cat a Good permanent home.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE
DOING TO YOUR TRUSTING ANIMAL
If you still are trying to give
up your dog or cat
" Please spay or neuter
your animal before placing it in a good home. There were 18 million
dogs euthanized, not to mention how many cats last year.
" It is YOUR responsibility to find YOUR dog
or cat a good home; not a rescue agency.
" Rescues are established to save dogs and cats that are in
animal control or shelters where more than 70% are destroyed each
" Remember your animal will not act as it does with you, when
placed in an environment it is not used to, especially in a cage
within the confines of an unfamiliar building.
If after all of this, you are
still determined to not care for your loving pet, at least try,
for the animals sake, to find it a good home.
" Your dog or cat cannot
find itself a good home.
" You must do that for them.
" Your dog or cat is at your mercy and it trusts you.
"NEVER GIVE A DOG OR
CAT AWAY "Free to a good home".
People who get something for nothing treat it like it's worth nothing.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, there are many unscrupulous people that
watch and wait for free animals. They present themselves as being
a good and caring home then sell your defenseless animal to a laboratory.
It is very big moneymaking business. Do you want your pet used in
Go and screen prospective new
homes. Do they have a fence? Do they have a vet reference? Contact
that vet to see if previous animals have been well cared for.
Have the possible new owners
sign a contract to return the animal to you if they no longer can
Charge at least $50 for your
dog. Make sure they are current on vaccines and heartworm preventative.
Keep your dog or cat from going to a laboratory.
Dog Bite Prevention
Safe Kids are Bite Free!
Approximately ½ of all children in the U.S. are bitten by a dog before they hit the teenage years. And 8,000,000 bites a year are severe enough to require medical treatment. These statistics alone make us realize how important it is to teach our children dog safety!
The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog that the child is at least acquainted with – his or her own, a neighbor's, or a friend's pet canine. You can help prevent this from happening by discussing this list with your child and helping him or her learn when and how to interact with doggie friends.
Basic Rules for Dog Interaction:
- Do Not - stare into the dog's eyes. This can cause aggressive behavior because the dog feels challenged.
- Do Not – tease dogs behind fences. You could become a target of aggression if they can get near you.
- Do Not go near dogs chained up in yards. They become very territorial and may view you as an intruder into their area.
- Do Not run and scream if loose dogs comes near you. STAND VERY STILL (like a tree) and be very quiet while he is near.
- Do Not touch or play with a dog while he or she is eating.
- Do Not touch a loose (off-leash) dog outside. Tell an adult immediately.
- Do Not touch a dog while he or she is sleeping.
- ONLY touch a dog after receiving permission from the guardian. The caretaker knows if the dog is safe and will not harm a child.
- Ask permission of the dog by letting him sniff your closed hand. This is a nonthreatening interaction to the dog.
- Always treat a dog with respect and kindness. They will treat you the same in return.
- Hold your hand flat when feeding a treat to a dog.
- Give your dog obedience lessons. This will provide him with better control and better human interaction skills.
Protection For Your Pets
A Public Service Bulletin
For you and your pet(s) please
don't wait until the last minute to evacuate!
Advanced planning is
essential and could save your pet(s) life and the best recommended
plan is to take your pet with you when and if you have to evacuate.
Remember Public Shelters DO NOT allow pets!
The separation or loss of
a pet can have a profound impact on a family! We should make
every effort to insure our pets are safe and with us.
If you think of boarding your
pet(s), consider the difficulties of providing a healthy environment
without electricity, running water, plus limited supplies and personnel!
Evacuate out of the area of
the storm! Visit friends or relatives who will let your pets, come
with you. Create a list of boarding kennels within a 100 mile radius
of your home. If you don't have friends or relatives to evacuate
to, call these pet friendly hotels and make a reservation.
|Best Western Inns 1-800-528-1234
|| Clarion Hotels 1-800-252-7466
|Comfort Inns 1-800-228-5150
||Days Inn 1-800-329-7466
|Econo Lodge 1-800-553-2666
||Holiday Inn 1-800-465-4329
|Howard Johnson 1-800-465-4329
||La Quinta Inn 1-800-531-5900
|Masters Econo Inns 1-800-633-3434
||Motel 6 1-800-466-8356
|Quality Inn 1-800-228-5151
||Ramada Inn 1-800-228-2828
|Red Roof Inn 1-800-843-7663
||Residence Inn 1-800-331-3131
|Roadway Inn 1-800-228-2000
||Sleep Hotels 1-800-753-3746
|Super 8 Motels 1-800-800-8000
Leash, Collar, ID Tag, Harness
Food and Water Bowls
Health Records (Rabies Certificate)
Photo of Pet
Litter Box,/ Litter (Cat)
3 Bath Towels
Water (Dog 1 gal/10 pounds; Cat: gal.)
Dry Food (1-2 pounds of food/10 pounds)
Pet Owners MUST Plan
Public shelters for people will
not accept pets.
>If you wait until the last minute to evacuate, you may
have no choice but to go to a public shelter.
>If such a situation should force you to leave pets behind,
please prepare your children and other family members for the fact
that their pets may not survive or may be irretrievably lost before
you are able or permitted to return to your home.
There is no way to know how
long it will be before you are permitted back after the storm. Frightened
animals quickly slip out open doors, broken windows or other damaged
areas of your home opened by the storm.
LOST pets are likely
to die from exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food and
water and on the road where they can endanger others.
Even normally friendly animals
of different species should not be allowed together unattended since
the stress of the storm may cause distinct behavior changes.
REMEMBER: If you must
.. then conditions are not lonely unsafe for you
but unsafe for other living creatures as well!!!
YOUR WRITTEN PLAN NOW
A WRITTEN DISASTER PLAN WILL HELP YOU AND YOUR PETS SURVIVE
in advance if you plan to go to a motel that they welcome pets and
what, if any, special rules are applicable.
plans well in advance of the hurricane season for cows, horses,
preparedness guidelines may be obtained from Town of Hempstead Animal
Control, or the Nassau County Chapter of the Red Cross.
If you must evacuate
An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave
" All animals should have secure carriers or collapsible cages
for large dogs, as well as collars, leashes, rabies tags and owner
ID tags. Carriers should be large enough for the animals to stand
comfortably and turn around. ID must be on the carrier.
" Train your pets to become familiar with their carriers ahead
of time. Then the carrier will be a secure and comforting refuge
if the animal is required to live in it for days-even weeks after
Before hurricane season begins
on JUNE 1st of each year, make sure all your pets have current immunizations
and take these records with you if you must evacuate. Photograph
each of your pets prior to June 1 every year and include these pictures
with your pets' immunization records.
PETS SURVIVAL KIT
" A manual can opener
is a necessity.
" Ample Food (at lease 2 weeks supply)
" Water/food bowls
" Specific care instructions
" Plastic Trash bags for handling waste, /cat litter
" Brushes and combs
" Other hygiene items
" Toys and other comfort items
" Muzzles if necessary.
" All belongings should be marked with identification
" First Aid Kit
Throughout the evacuation and
the storm, your pets will need reassurance from you. Remain calm,
keep as close to their normal routine as possible and speak to them
regularly in a calm, reassuring voice.
YOU CAN STAY AT HOME
is just as important to adequately plan for your pets even if you
don't have to evacuate.
collars with proper ID and leashes should be maintained for your
pets at all times. Your pets will be most comfortable and secure
in their carriers in a safe area of your home until the storm has
they are not secured during the storm and your house is damaged,
your pets may escape and become disoriented, since normal landmarks
and scent trails could be obliterated.
your pets become lost, proper ID will ensure their return to you.
your pet food and medications in watertight containers in a cool,
dry, dark place. Store adequate water for your pet.
water source may become contaminated (To purify water, add 2 drops
of household bleach per quart of water, mix, seal tightly, let stand
for 30 minutes before drinking.)
you bring plants into the home before a storm, be careful not to
allow pets access to them since many ornamental plants are poisonous
Walk your pets on
a leash until they become reoriented to their home.
CAUTION: downed power lines
and other debris pose real dangers to you and your pet.
Do Not allow pets to consume
food or water which may have become contaminated.
Be particularly careful in using candles or oil lamps around pets.
LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED.
you know you have done everything you can do to protect all members
of the family, disaster preparedness will give you tremendous peace
Information taken from Pets
& Animals in Distress
Accidents and disasters can't
always be prevented, but you can be prepared if they strike. Remember,
if it's not safe for you, it's not safe for your pets.
If you are to evacuate in an
emergency situation, have your pet's emergency kit ready to go along
with the rest of your family's emergency supplies.
Your 72 Hour Pet Disaster
Kit should include the following:
Always have a collar with
an ID tag, city license tag and rabies tag on the pet.
Proof of current shots and health records in a waterproof container
such as a freezer bag.
Current photo of pet
Food & water bowls with enough food
& water for three days
Remember to keep the food
in a watertight container
Pet carrier with bedding
Plastic bags to dispose of pet dropping and other waste
Manual can opener for canned food
First Aid Kit
Paper towels/wet wipes
Cat litter and litter
Flashlight and spare
The most important thing you
can do is to protect your pets and your family when the unexpected
happens is to plan ahead.
To help you find a hotel or
motel that accepts pets check out www.petswelcome.com
First Aid Kit
For Your Pet
Your veterinarian's phone
Gauze to wrap wounds or muzzle
Adhesive tape for bandages
Nonstick bandages (i.e. Telfa
pads) to protect wounds or control bleed, towels and cloths
Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent)
Milk of Magnesia or activated
charcoal to absorb poison (Be sure to get the advice of your
veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting
or treating an animal for poisoning.)
Large syringe without needle
or eyedropper (to give oral treatments)
Muzzle (soft cloth, rope,
necktie or nylon stocking) or use a towel to cover a small animal's
head. DO NOT use in case of vomiting.
Stretcher (a door, board,
blanket or floor mat)
The American Animal Hospital
Association advises that you contact your veterinarian immediately
if your pet is injured or ill. First aid and the recommended first
aid kit are not a substitute for veterinary treatment.
knowing basic first aid could help save your pet's life. You may
be able to even take a CPR course for animal first aid through you
local Red Cross.
A Trip to
the Veterinary Clinic
Some pets can feel very frightened
on their trip to the veterinarian. Dogs and cats may be uncomfortable
being in close quarters with other animals or get upset by unfamiliar
smells and sounds in the veterinary clinic. One unpleasant past
experience can convince a pet that the veterinary clinic is not
a fun place to visit.
Any dog or cat who is fearful,
struggles with restrained, or is threatened or are aggressive do
not make the job easier for the veterinary staff to handle. Sometimes
owners are embarrassed or frightened as well if their pet loses
control during the visit. Help avoid these problems by taking
a proactive approach to prevent your pet from becoming stressed
out at the visit to the veterinary clinic.
If you have a puppy or kitten
take your new pet to the veterinary clinic for several socialization
visits. Have several of the staff members pet the animal and offer
him tidbits or a toy to play with, gently handle the pet and then
say good-by. Because nothing has happened to your pet he is more
likely to feel good about visiting other times. Most veterinary
clinics won't mind this visit but try to do this visit at a more
down time so as not to put any more demands on the veterinary staff.
Let the vet and staff know some
procedures or situations that your pet has trouble tolerating. Examples:
your dog does not like his feet touched, if you pet your cat too
long it will try to bite, will you dog stay still for a nail clipping,
etc. It is very important that the staff be aware of these tendencies
before attempting to handle your pet.
Don't feel bad that your pet is not acting as perfect as you
It is important to socialize
your pet and train him so that they can be more easily handled at
the clinic. Pets that are hard to handle are hard to administer
help to. Some veterinarians' charge an extra fee for difficult to
handle animals, because they have to take more time and put their
staff at risk of injury.
Remember, veterinarians have
the responsibility to what they can to minimize your pet's stress.
They are to handle him as gently as possible and to never retaliate
in anger against a difficult to handle pet.
Your Pets From Rabies
Can I Protect My Pet From Rabies?
Visit your veterinarian
with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations updated
for all cats and dogs.
" Keep your cats indoors and keep your dogs under direct supervision.
" Spay or neuter your pets to reduce the number of unwanted
pets that may not then be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.
" Call animal control to remove all stray animals from your
neighborhood. These animals may be unvaccinated or ill.
Required Protection Laws
" By Law, all dogs and
cats are required to be vaccinated for rabies.
" The vaccinations need to be done at 4 months of age and older.
" Vaccinations need to be updated every 1 to 3 years, depending
on the type of vaccine used.
" You will receive, from your veterinarian proof of the rabie
vaccine given to your pet. Also, you will be told when the next
rabie shot is due.
" Your veterinarian will give you proof of rabies and notify
you when it is due again.
Owners with unvaccinated animals
can be fined hundreds of dollars by the County.
Keep proof of your animal's health o hand. Protect yourself and
" Unvaccinated animals
that are suspected of biting a human may be seized and quarantined
by the County. If they show signs of the rabie illness, they can
be destroyed so that an autopsy can be taken.
Dogs must be licensed by the
County. The license must be worn on the collar your pet wears at
Why Does My Pet Need the
Your pet and other domestic
animals can be infected when they are bitten by rabid wild animals.
When rabies occurs in domestic animals, the risk to humans is increased
opposes to the cases coming from wildlife encounters. Pets are vaccinated
by your veterinarian to prevent them from acquiring the disease
from wildlife and transmitting it to humans.
rabies vaccines are given to humans as a result of exposure to domestic
What If I Get Bit By A
Dog or Cat?
" Seek medical evaluation
for any animal bit. Rabies is uncommon in dogs or cats in the United
States. Few bites by these animals carry a risk of rabies.
" If the dog or cat appears healthy at the time you were bitten,
it can be quarantined by its owner for 10 days and observed. No
anti-rabies prophylaxis is needed.
" If a dog or cat appears ill at the time it bit you or becomes
ill during the 10 day quarantine, it should be evaluated by a veterinarian
for signs of rabies and you should seek medical advice about the
need for anti-rabies prophylaxis. The quarantine period is a precaution
against the remote possibility that an animal may appear healthy,
but actually be sick with rabies.
Animals Go To Heaven
There is a big controversy
over whether or not our beloved companion
animals go to heaven when they pass away.
The entire website agency is dedicated to
such an animal, Candy, a 12 year old Collie
that passed away several year ago.
It is a tough thing to go
through when your best friend dies. The
one who have been there for you every day
for years, waiting for you to come home, wanting
to play and watching over you with a protective
growl when strangers approach. Researchers
say that the grieving process for a companion
animal is equal to and sometimes even greater
than the loss of a human family member.
We must go to the only absolute
source to find the answer to the question,
"Do animals Go To
Heaven When They Die" The Founders of Have
a Heart believe in the absolute and infallible
authority of the Bible. It is here that they
found peace and comfort when their beloved
Candy died. The Holy Scriptures can also be
a source of comfort to you in your sorrow.
what the Bible says about animals and Heaven:
The apostle Paul writes: The
creation waits in eager expectation for
the sons of God to be revealed. For the
creation was subjected to frustration, not
by its own choice, but by the will of the
one who subjected it, in hope that the
creation itself will be liberated from its
bondage to decay and brought into the glorious
freedom of the children of God - Romans
Animals, according to this
revelation, are now subject to the vanity
and sin of man, but when the human drama is
over and the children of God are revealed,
all the animals that were in bondage will
become partakers of that freedom.
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are in the
sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,
forever and ever!" - Revelation 5:13 NKJ.
Our companion animals will
join us and the Holy Angels in praise and
worship of the Lord for His glorious salvation.
How great is that?
If the "wild" animals are going
to be in heaven, then certainly our beloved
pets will be there too.
You can rest assured that
your beloved companion animal will go to heaven
when it dies, but what about you? Where will you spend eternity?
"For God so loved the world
that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever
believes in Him should not perish but have
eternal life" (John 3:16)
Pet’s Bill Of Rights
- We have the right to be full members of your family. We thrive on social interactions, praise, and love.
- We have the right to stimulation. We need new games, new toys, new experiences and new smells to be happy.
- We have the right to regular exercise. Without it, we could become hyper, sluggish ….or fat.
- We have the right to have fun. We enjoy acting like clowns now and then; don’t expect us to be predictable all the time.
- We have the right to quality health care. Please stay good friends with our vet!
- We have the right to a good diet. Like some people, we don’t know what’s best for us. We depend on you.
- We have the right not to be rejected because of your expectations that we be a great show dog or show cat, watchdog, hunter or baby-sitter.
- We have the right to receive proper training. Otherwise, our good relationship could be marred by confusion and strife- and we could become dangerous to ourselves and others.
- We have the right to guidance and correction based on understanding and compassion, rather than abuse.
- We have the right to live with dignity and to die with dignity when the time comes.
When Choosing A Veterinarian, Be Brave
Your Animal Is Depending On It.
Veterinarian Theodore Deppner, with the Washington Humane Society, offers this advice:
Ask to see a copy of the vet’s license. This should be posted in the public area of the clinic.
Ask for a tour of the clinic; if you are refused, take your animal elsewhere. The clinic should be clean and orderly. Animals should be comfortably housed in clean cages or kennels.
Observe your animal. Is your companion
hand shy around the vet, as though expecting a blow? Does he or she cower or urinate when the vet enters the room?
Observe the veterinarian. Is he or she nervous or irritable? Does he or she go into the back room for even simple procedures? Are the technicians rough when handling your animal?
ALWAYS exercise your right to be with your animal at all times! If the vet or vet tech wants to take your companion to another room, insist on going with him or her. If the vet refuses, don’t hesitate
to take your animal and leave.
If you animal must stay overnight (always question this) make sure someone is going to be there to monitor him or her at all times.
Ask Questions. A good vet should explain what he or she is doing at all times and why.
For anything major, seek a second and third opinion. Your are entitled to copies of your companion’s medical records and x-rays.
If you believe an animal has been mistreated, take him or her to another vet for a thorough examination. If you have evidence of malpractice, you can file a complaint with the veterinary licensing board in your area. For outright cruelty, contact local law enforcement. Keep records, and take photos.
Tying Dogs Out
Taken from SPCA Behavior & Training Department
1. Stress… It can be extremely stressful for them to be left by themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. They depend on us. Next time you’re out and about, look critically at the worried and anxious faces and demeanors of tied out dogs.
2. Theft…The National Dog Registry states that nearly one out of every five dogsin the US will be lost or stolen this year. The pet theft trade has grown into an organized, multi-million dollar industry. There is demand for animals for use in research, dog fighting, human and animal food, and fur.
3. Accidents…A tied dog may panic at a loud noise and injure himself by entangling limbs or wrapping himself around objects. Anyone attempting to free a panicked dog, even if the dog is otherwise friendly, is at high risk of being bitten.
4. Agression…Not all dogs are completely comfortable around all strangers and even mild discomfort can be seriously compounded both by anxiety at being left and the tethered dog’s inability to retread. Passersby, especially children, may try to pat the unattended dog. This could result in an aggressive incident. Tied out dogs are also at increased risk to lunge at moving objects such as bicycles and skateboards and may display frustration-related aggression towards other dogs who pass by, even if they are normally friendly toward other dogs.
5. Courtesy to others… An unsupervised dog is much more likely to be a nuisance, which reflects badly on all dog owners, especially in an urban environment. Please do your part to make dogs welcome in our cities. Pick up after him, keep him trained, happy and socialized, and don’t tie him out alone.
Dog Muscle Problems
Knotted, Muscle Spasms, Limping, Muscle Tightness, And/or Sprains
Information taken from M. Myles Medford in Canada – Chiropractic Pioneer
Look up under “Dog Muscles Pictures then go and fine “The Well Adjusted Dog” site.
When a muscle feels thick and fleshy you are probably touching the center of the muscle. This is the site most muscle knots and trigger points. By simply pressing your finger into a muscle knot when feeling for a particular muscle on your dog feel for it in all postures, standing, sitting, relaxed, flexed or extended an injured or spastic muscle will restrict movement in several postures.
If your dog is limping the limb that moves first (leads) during walking is the one that hurts. Feel for muscle tightness or swelling.
Pinched Nerve – If when pressed into a spot animal flinches you’ve probably located a pinched nerve. (Hot spot) usually cool off within 1 to 2 hours after the nerve interference has been removed (a joint that does not move freely another sign of nerve impingement) .
*DO NOT apply heat before treatment and if your dog is in pain he may have an inflamed joint or joint swelling that will become WORSE UNDER HEAT
KNOTTED – knotted in response to sudden movement. Massage before you walk him is often beneficial in preventing muscle spasms.
MASSAGE SEE ATTACHMENT ON MUSCLE PICTURE OF DOG……
Note direction of the fibers important when applying pressure point massage methods massage against the grain.
Heat – Relax aching muscles and temp reduces joint pain (heat helps reduce pain and stiffness by relaxing muscles and increasing circulation.)
Cold – Helps to lessen joint pain and swelling. (numb area by constricting the blood vessels and blocking Nerve impulses in the joint.
** THERE IS SOME CONCERN THAT HEAT MAY WORSEN SYMPTOMS IN AN ALREADY INFLAMED JOINT, SO MONITOR YOUR PET’S REACTION CAREFULLY FOLLOWING APPLICATION OF HEAT.
Applying ice or cold packs appears to decrease inflammation .
THE FALLACY OF ASSESS-A-PET™ et al.
TEMPERAMENT TESTING IN PUBLIC SHELTERS
Shelter” is a misnomer when used to describe public (high-volume, high-kill animal-control) shelters; the majority of them are impoundment facilities designed to neither protect animals nor accommodate adoptions by the public, but rather to cage and kill surplus (over-populated) dogs and cats, away from public view, most often without the public’s awareness.
Stress” in shelter animals refers to psychological stress; “animals” are dogs and cats.
Euthanasia” is an industry term for the routine killing of surplus shelter animals. Killing is a basic function of public shelters.
STRESS IN SHELTER ANIMALS
- Most shelter animals are abandoned, or owner-relinquished, or brought in as strays. Many of them have been neglected or abused. All of them are stressed-out upon arrival at the shelter.
- Most private shelters (both no-kill and kill) and virtually all public shelters (high-kill impoundment facilities) are stressful environments where loud noises, strange new odors, unfamiliar humans and animals, plus the loss of its family and/or freedom, traumatize the animal and immediately intensify its internal stress.
- The longer an animal remains impounded in a shelter, the more stressed-out it becomes. Continued impoundment does not get less stressful for the animal; on the contrary, it worsens day by day. Beyond a certain length of time, most animals confined to a typically small-size shelter kennel or cage will deteriorate to the point of becoming psychologically unfit for adoption.
TEMPERAMENT TESTING OF DOGS
4. Temperament tests are a useful tool in the hands of experienced behaviorists, breed-specific rescues and all-breed rescues knowledgeable in canine and breed-specific behaviors, provided the tests are administered in a stress-free environment.
5. Temperament tests were not designed to be administered in shelters – least of all in public shelters where a negative pass/fail assessment is tantamount to a death sentence – because of the stress factors described above. Furthermore, the typical low-wage shelter worker (who likely is untrained in canine, let alone breed-specific, behaviors) doesn’t have the experience or skill to properly administer and evaluate a 5-, 10-, or 15-minute temperament test in any environment and is likely to mis-evaluate the animals being tested. Irony #1: Temperament tests have become a panacea for many kill-shelter workers – a tool for easing their own stress and the anguish that comes from the thankless job of having to select and euthanize perfectly nice dogs and cats. So now when animals fail a temperament test, killing them seems more okay . . . necessary for the public good . . . even, perhaps, a noble deed. Note: Nothing here speaks to the not-atypical abusive or sadistic shelter worker who enjoys the daily carnage
6. The (mis)use of in-shelter pass/fail temperament tests has increased dramatically in recent years. Not by chance, this increase, with its accompanying increase in the body count, parallels the growing trend of public and private shelters to announce, usually with great fanfare, that – Irony #2 – they are "going no-kill." Note: Sometimes the motivation for “going no-kill” is to assuage an awakened community’s demand to do something. And often
it is the lure of private funding available exclusively for no-kill initiatives. The fact that Maddie's Fund-type monies were never intended for and will never be granted to public shelters seems to be lost on a good many municipal politicians and shelter administrators, who compound their fuzzy thinking by shutting out the experienced rescues who are an essential component of the “going no-kill” equation. (Aggressive adoption promotion; spay/neuter and other population-control initiatives; and public education are also essential components for successfully building a no-kill community. See paragraph 15 below.)
7. More recently, these quickie pass/fail shelter temperament tests have reached an absurd extreme, where the great majority (ca. 80%) of shelter dogs tested are virtually guaranteed to fail. Failure means "unadoptable," and "unadoptable" means death. Coincidentally, animal shelters’ standard reporting practice allows these huge numbers of "unadoptables" to go unreported – to be excluded from the shelters' data when their adoption and euthanasia statistics are compiled – increasingly higher adoption and lower euthanasia numbers being the criteria for a successful journey on the road to no-kill and the pot of no-kill gold. Note: We are not suggesting that Maddie’s Fund or any other private no-kill funding source is complicit in this deadly trend. We are saying that the lure of private funding appears to be the catalyst for at least some kill-shelters to “go no-kill” by administering extreme, high fail-rate temperament tests. This is beyond irony. It is scandalous, and it is a national disgrace.
SUE STERNBERG AND
EXTREME TEMPERAMENT TESTING
8. Sue Sternberg's Assess-a-Pet™ is the model for extreme temperament tests used in shelters. Irony #3: Ms. Sternberg admits that her own dogs couldn’t pass her own Assess-a-Pet™ test. (Which begs the question: If this self-described expert dog trainer and behaviorist cannot train her own dogs to behave, then what about the average dog-owner and his average dog? What chance does that dog have if she strays from home and is picked up and impounded in a shelter where Assess-a-Pet™ is used, and is temperament-tested before her owner has a reasonable chance to find her?) The odds of an average good dog failing the Assess-a-Pet™ test in a stress-filled shelter environment are roughly 4-to-1 against the dog. Notwithstanding Ms. Sternberg’s pronouncement that most shelter dogs are dangerous and unfit to be kept as pets, we and other more experienced canine specialists believe that the vast majority of shelter dogs are good dogs with great potential. (See paragraph 14 below.)
9. Sue Sternberg has yet to disclose any scientific data that may have laid the foundation for her Assess-a-Pet™ methodology. We can only surmise then, after peeling away the layers of p.r. which surround Ms. Sternberg, that she devised her Assess-a-Pet™ test largely from personal observation and experience at her very small private shelter/kennel (Rondout Valley Kennels in Accord, N.Y.) whose maximum capacity, we understand, is only 30 dogs, and that she extrapolated her very limited data to “fit” all shelters, public as well as private, large as well as small. By keeping her research to herself, there can be no independent replication to prove or disprove the science behind her methodology. Until such disclosure and proof are forthcoming, Assess-a-Pet’s™ validity remains specious, as does Ms. Sternberg’s motivation for operating what many perceive as primarily a merchandising business.
10. Facilitated by friends in high places (HSUS, the ASPCA, Petfinder.com), Sue Sternberg travels the country, going North and South, East Coast to West Coast, giving her Assess-a-Pet™ seminars to shelter workers, using "demo dogs" from the local pound . . . referring to herself as a doggy Hitler, expressing admiration for the tyrant Stalin . . . demanding that attendees not take written notes, and refusing to answer their questions . . . causing them anguish and nausea and tears when her test fails virtually all of the demo dogs, the attendees having to watch helplessly as the dogs are led away to be euthanized. [Read: Eyewitness accounts by attendees at Sternberg seminars.] Note: We understand from attendees at her most recent seminars that, perhaps reacting to the negative spotlight she lately finds herself in, Ms. Sternberg has toned down her rhetoric considerably and her style somewhat.
11. Former longtime employees at Sue Sternberg’s small shelter/kennel attest to a disturbed individual who in the last few years has undergone a radical personality shift, from a once decent and caring person into one who now, by her own admission, wants to eliminate no less than 75% of shelter dogs in the Northeast and has delusions of manipulating the gene pool of America's dogs until there are none left that weigh more than 35 pounds. [Read: Eyewitness accounts by former Sternberg employees.]
12. 12. We do not believe that temperament testing should be done in-shelter, period. Instead, shelters need to establish and maintain working relationships with accredited behaviorists and local rescue organizations (both breed-specific and all-breed). Shelters should rely on these trained intermediaries to make in-shelter determinations as to which shelter dogs (the great majority) are candidates for adoption. Those dogs should be removed immediately from the shelter and taken to stress-free foster or kennel facilities where they can be trained, or retrained, or rehabilitated and otherwise worked with until they are ready for permanent placement into responsible adoptive homes. Note: We’re not overlooking an important added benefit of removing temperament testing from shelters; namely, the elimination of shelter workers’ “conscience cushion,” which could force shelters to finally tackle the real issues – the underlying causes of the pet overpopulation crisis that results in the annual killing of an estimated six million shelter animals in the U.S. (See paragraph 15 below.)
13. We also propose, effective immediately, that families and individuals wanting to adopt temperamentally sound pets should seek out, within their own community, reputable rescue groups which foster, do needs-assessment and any necessary retraining and which have the expertise to make a perfect match of the right pet with the right person.
14. Despite, or perhaps because of, our unequivocal opposition to in-shelter temperament testing, we are exploring alternatives to that practice, particularly to the egregiously extreme method devised by Sue Sternberg (Assess-a-Pet™) and increasingly emulated by other self-styled, instant “experts” most often for the purpose of eliminating, via covert, off-the-record euthanasias, the majority of shelter dogs.
One possible alternative to the extreme-temperament-test juggernaut is the Walter Turken Training for Adoption Program created by pet-behavior specialist Brian Kilcommons. See: www.turkenfoundation.org.
Another possible alternative comes from the American Temperament Test Society. See:
We are also looking at Sam Malatesta’s Puppy for Life training method. See: www.forgottenanimalshelter.org/pflinformation.htm.
Warren Eckstein’s highly regarded gentle assessment method is still another possibility. See: www.warreneckstein.com. Note: Warren recently disclosed on his national radio program that his little dog Cisco – one of 236 chihuahuas confiscated last year from a southern California backyard breeder/collector – little Cisco would not have passed the temperament test administered by L.A. County animal control. The so-called “Baldwin Park Chihuahuas” case became a national cause celebre and was instrumental in exposing the perversity of in-shelter temperament testing.
15. 15. Whether it’s Assess-a-Pet™ or an Assess-a-Pet™ spawn, and regardless of how appealing its promise of a jump start for “going no-kill,” temperament-testing surplus shelter animals literally to death is an unacceptable tool of the inhumane status quo. It is not the way to create a progressive, enlightened no-kill community. True no-kill, which incorporates humane animal control, is achieved by building a working partnership between and among high-volume, high-kill impoundment facilities; private shelters and humane organizations; reputable breed-specific and all-breed rescue groups and individuals; breed clubs; accredited trainers; and volunteers from within the community, including veterinarians, retailers, elected officials, the media, communications professionals, schools, and dedicated foster-care families, all working together for the single shared goal of ending the killing of surplus dogs and cats by humanely ending the surplus. Aggressive adoption outreach; accessible, affordable spay/neuter services and breeding-control initiatives; creative ongoing public-education campaigns, and a collective will are all that it takes to build no-kill communities