BY MANETTE KOHLER, DVM

Hi friends! Maddie and Bella here to chat more about being safe around dogs. Dogs are members of our family, but we have to remember that they think like dogs and talk like dogs (with body language), so many of the things we, humans, do can be scary to them or make them feel frustrated or stressed. Bella and I want you and your dog to be great friends. Your dog will learn to trust you if you’re not doing things that make them feel scared or frustrated.

There are certain situations where most bites to kids are likely to happen, including “How and when kids approach dogs” and “How kids interact with dogs.” So if we can change what the kids are doing, we can prevent bites. Easy peasy, right? These are things my family and I learned from our vet, Dr. Lacy.

Dr. Lacy said that most bites happen in six types of situations, so she called them “ high-risk” situations. The basic theme, for all-six, is that the dog is, basically, minding their own business, and the kid tries to start some type of interaction (either in a way that scares the dog or that the dog doesn’t want to do). When a dog is scared or worried, they want to have more distance between them and whatever is scaring them. To get more distance, they could get up and walk away, or they might give signals they’re uncomfortable and need the person to go away such as growling, snarling, snapping and biting. In the “high-risk” situations, the dog is most likely to choose the growling, snarling, snapping and biting.

The first three are “approaches” that are high-risk: 1) Approaching the dog in a way that startles the dog, such as when the dog is resting or sleeping or running up quickly and excitedly, especially when the dog has its attention on something else; 2) Approaching the dog when it is eating or when it has a special item. “Guarding” their special stuff is natural dog behavior; 3) Approaching in a way that makes the dog feel trapped or cornered such as when it is tied up or in a crate or in a narrow area like a hallway or even when it is under something like a table.

We all love to touch dogs, right? They’re soft and cuddly, but we have to remember that they may only really “ like” being touched at certain times and in certain ways. The next three “ high-risk” situations involve types of contact kids might try with dogs:

1) Petting when the dog doesn’t wish to be petted. Even gentle touches at these times might cause the dog to ask for space by growling, snarling or even biting. Maybe the dog is tired or maybe the dog is hurting somewhere. Instead of approaching your dog to pet them, it is much better if parents remind the kids to “ invite” the dog to them rather than “ invading” the dog’s space. If you invite the dog to you and the dog ignores you or walks away, then the dog is politely saying “ no thank you”;

2) Hugging and kissing are ways that we, humans, like to show our love. Dr. Lacy says it is a “primate” thing since monkeys, apes and humans all show love with hugging. Dogs are not primates, though, and many dogs can become very scared or uncomfortable when they’re hugged or kissed. My mom says that these behaviors can be especially dangerous because we have our faces right by the dog’s face, so if they decide to bite to make the kids go away, the bite might be to the kid’s face;

3) Kids being “rough” can not only be scary or stressful, it can also “hurt”. Things like grabbing and pulling fur, ears, tails are rude, but many small kids do these things, so it is very important for parents to watch closely at all times. My mom says that parents need to teach their kids to be gentle and respectful of dogs and not allow things like climbing on the dog, slapping the dog or other rude things that make the dog feel scared or frustrated or that even hurt the dog. Some people brag that their dog is very “tolerant” which means the dog allows the kids to be rough and just takes it, but it is not right to expect our dog to tolerate rude things.

My mom wants other parents to understand how important it is to watch and supervise their kids and dogs 100 percent of the time and prevent all high-risk situations. As is mentioned in “The Dogs and Kids” course (link below), “Be an inviter, not an invader!” Bella and I recommend that you do the free course as a family, so everyone can learn to be a trusted and kind friend to the family dog.

InstinctDogTraining.com/online-school/ (“The Dogs and Kids” course)

BY MICHELLE PELLETIER, WIGGLE BUTTS OWNER

Who knew! 2020 certainly wasn’t on my to do list; not as an individual, business owner or pet parent. Like many of you I felt like I was punched in the gut. Lockdowns, shelter in place orders, essential workers, and the new normal were pushed into our vocabulary. But gratefully, we survived.

Like many of you, and 3.2 million other families in the U.S., I added a new member to my furry family. We can all agree those wonderful adoptions equaled a lot more food, and then even more poop!

Many of us faced financial hardships and limited our outings by making shopping changes. People started buying pet food at the grocery store, so they could combine shopping trips or save money. Instacart was my friend!

These new habits changed what many dogs were fed. We saw big changes in what people were buying or not buying. A lot more toys and chews sold for all the new “family time” that was created by working from home, and also changes in which foods people were buying. Grocery food came with some unwanted side effects like a little more itching here, a little more shedding there, or an extra dirty ear in this one, and strange poop from that one. As people found their new normal, they came searching for higher quality pet foods, in their new budget, that helped reduce those pesky side effects.

Did you know that feeding one of the most well-known and top selling grocery foods is actually MORE expensive than a comparable food sold at independent pet food stores? Trying to compare 25-pound bags with 28-pound bags or the 33-pound bags with the 40-pound bags is nearly impossible. That’s what the dog food companies want. If it’s hard, they think we just keep buying blindly, but we are all smarter than that. Let me show you.

You should ask two things when looking at pet food when all other things are equal.

1.What is the price per POUND?
2.What are the calories per CUP?

The unnamed grocery store food costs about $63.99 for 47 pounds. That is $1.36 per pound. Each cup has 353 calories and includes ingredients that we recommend avoiding, including some scary stuff

The comparable food found at independent pet supply stores is $64.99 for 44 pounds. That is $1.47 per pound, which sounds more expensive I know, but each cup has 468 calories, so you get more meals per bag from the good guys.

The other benefit for shopping at small pet food stores is they know all the stuff that is in the food and where the ingredients come from. No scary stuff here!

This magic can be seen in all types of food we carry: grain-free, with grain, high protein, refrigerated fresh foods and complete raw foods.

You don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your pet’s food, and potentially their health, to save money. In addition, nearly all the independent pet stores offer curbside pickup and home delivery services. You can even find them on Instacart.

BY ERIN HENNEN, GROOMER

With so many people working from home, now is the perfect time to practice keeping up on your pup’s grooming needs at home! Not only does regular brushing and grooming help your pup avoid tangles, but it can also help with excess shedding, dander and smell. With just a few well-purchased tools, you can use your spare time bonding with your pup over grooming.

1 First thing to remember is that the goal is to make grooming as positive as possible. If your pup isn’t a huge fan of the brush, start with short increments and slowly build up. Even a few minutes of well-rewarded grooming can be a game changer. Start with a small section of your dogs back using a slicker brush, which is a brush with bent, metal pins. The size of the brush really doesn’t matter. Just focus on a small section at a time. Part the hair to the skin and brush a section working from the back of the dog towards the front or from the bottom of the leg working up. Holding the hair slightly parted so that you can see the skin as you work ensures that you are brushing all the way through and that the brush is not skipping any tangles or clumps of dead hair. If this isn’t your dog’s favorite pastime, try rewarding them for sitting still for a few minutes at a time, or have a partner offer a tasty treat such as a toy filled with peanut butter.

2 Once you have a section brushed out, go back over the area with a comb. While a brush may skip over a section, the comb will make sure to catch anything you’ve missed. Any metal comb is great for this job; no matter the size! A smaller-toothed comb will help in tight areas like around the eyes.

3 Key areas to focus on are the areas that tend to matte (tangle) up first or shed excessively. On longer-coated dogs, try to focus on the head, ears, tail and legs. Since we pet our pups most frequently on their back, you’re more likely to notice a spot that needs extra attention during a snuggle session. If you have a shedding dog, focus on the neck/chest and the back of the legs.

4 If you have a smooth or short-coated dog, the slicker brush is still a great tool, but I love using a curry brush to finish up and help with shedding. These are rubber brushes and can double as a great tool to suds up your pup in the bath!

If you need assistance or an in-person demo, ask your local groomer to help! We’re always happy to show you the best way to keep up on your pup at home or to recommend the right tools for you!

 

BY CHERESE COBB, FREELANCER

These gunsniffing K-9s are patrolling Mayfair Mall with security officers to find firearms,which aren’t allowed in the shopping center, even with a permit.

Mayfair Mall launched the Vapor Wake Public Safety Canine Detection Program (VWK9) after a 15-year-old male shot 17 rounds that left eight people injured. He faces eight counts of first-degree reckless injury and one count of possessing a firearm while under age 18. FETCH isn’t naming the suspect because he’s being charged as a juvenile.

The VWK9 is in partnership with Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, Ala. Dr. Paul Waggoner, co-director of the college’s Canine Performance Sciences program (CPS), and a team of researchers began developing Vapor Wake technology nearly two decades ago to search people and baggage for dangerous chemicals.

Since 2004, it’s produced more than 165 Vapor Wake K-9s. They’re most widely recognized for their participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and in the 2012 Presidential Inauguration. However, they also work with Amtrak, Disney, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the U.S. Capitol Police. They’re trained to check the air for thermal “plumes” that may contain explosive particles. Thermal plumes are produced by body heat and are invisible to the naked eye. When people stand still, they go upward. If people begin moving, they trail behind them. It’s like how a boat or a flock of geese leave a wake pattern in the water.

Auburn University breeds 60 Vapor Wake K-9s per year. Labrador Retrievers make up 95 percent of its dogs. The other 5 percent are floppy-eared, sporty breeds, such as the German Shorthair. Once a litter is born, the puppies’ training begins. For the first six months, they’re introduced to different people, sounds and surfaces. Then they enter a four-month canine program in federal prison systems in Georgia and Florida. When the K-9s are a year old, they’re sent to VWK9 in Anniston, Ala. They’re trained for 15 to 18 months, compared to only two to four months for standard explosive detection dogs.

While traditional bomb-sniffing K-9s can only detect statically placed explosives, Vapor Wake K-9s can pinpoint explosives on a moving target. That’s why they cost around $50,000 each. Their certification is only good for a year. Then they need to be recertified with their handler to test their operational skills. Dan Ryan, senior vice president of Security at Brookfield Properties, says that Mayfair Mall didn’t receive any private or public grants for the VWK9 program. Its K-9s are provided by Allied Universal Services.

“For operational purposes, we aren’t able to discuss the number of dogs involved in the program, their work schedules or their names. The dogs range from 1 to 7 years of age,” Ryan says. “Security officers are responsible for their assigned canine partners 24/7. They’re paid through a happy life filled with food, water, friendship and the occasional game of tug of war or fetch with a tennis ball.”

Instead of being obedient to their handlers, they’re only obedient to the odor of a gun or bomb. Security officers are trained to walk behind their K-9s through a crowd of people who are screened without physical contact. The K-9s nostrils move independently allowing them to determine the direction of an odor. They also smell one drop of Kool-Aid in 10 Olympic-size swimming pools.

“The Vapor Wake K-9s could accidentally hit on a customer who’d recently come from a range or someone who’d been out hunting earlier in the day,” Ryan says. That’s because their sense of smell is almost 40 times greater than ours. They even can separate aromas into individual scents, no matter how nuanced. “This is why our approach is customer-friendly. Once a patron is identified as a potential firearm carrier, mall security officers use handheld metal detectors to verify that a weapon is or isn’t present,” Ryan says.

If the customer is cooperative and the hit is positive, they’re asked to remove the weapon from the property. If the patron is uncooperative, they’re asked to leave. Depending on the circumstance, the police also may intervene. When firearm detections occur, they’re brought to the attention of the police officers that patrol Mayfair Mall, so they can be ready to assist if needed.

“At Mayfair Mall, our highest priority is the safety of everyone that walks through our doors. The VWK9 helps keep guns out of the mall by focusing only on those that may have violated our ‘no firearms’ rule,” Ryan says. “While many of our safety protocols happen behind the scenes, this one is visible to the public. Our hope is that the presence of the dogs will not only aid in the detection of firearms but bring an additional sense of security to our guests and employees.”

BY NASTASSIA PUTZ

“If you are looking for a breed of dog that is extremely stubborn, kind of gross at times—because of their ability to cover your wall mounted TV in slobber—then look no further,” says breeder Jennifer Graham of Honeysuckle Hounds. “[Bloodhounds] will offer you endless love and affection for many years to come in addition to becoming your very own personal comedian.”

Bloodhounds are notable for being friendly, inquisitive and independent companions. According to the AKC, their most famous features are their long, wrinkled faces with loose skin; huge, drooping ears; and warm, deep-set eyes. This gives them a complete expression of solemn dignity.

First released in June 1955, the Walt Disney animated classic “Lady and The Tramp” introduced many lovable canine characters to children and among them was a very dignified-looking Bloodhound named Trusty—the same name gifted to our spring/summer cover dog. Coincidence? I think not.

Owner Beware
As a first-time Bloodhound owner, Brigid Boyle encountered her “Trusty” at her daughter Erin Hennen’s grooming shop—Fancy Pants Pet Salon—in Wauwatosa in 2020. At the time he was wearing a cast on his leg because he had injured himself from playing with his littermates. Boyle felt bad for this little pup, and so she decided to open up her heart and home to him.

“One thing I do know is that they DROOL A LOT,” emphasizes Boyle. After owning Irish Wolfhounds for 20 years, a Bloodhound is quite a new and entertaining experience for her. Note: Carry a towel (or several) wherever you go. “Every day he makes me laugh at something he has done or reacted to.” So be prepared. She continues, “Their only drawback is that they can wrap you around their paw with those sad eyes and make you want to apologize for correcting them.” This makes obedience training a challenge especially because they are stubborn and have a mind of their own, notes Boyle.

To Train Or Not To Train?
That’s not even a question.
As pack dogs, Bloodhounds enjoy the company of other dogs and kids. They are easygoing and faithful, but their superior noses can sometimes lead them down a rabbit hole, figuratively speaking. The AKC recommends a strong leash and long walks in places where they can enjoy sniffing around.

Graham says owners should avoid off-leash training with hounds because “their amazing sense of smell and drive has the ability to lead them miles from home without rest.” This can obviously put them in harm’s way. On the less serious side of things, this can put your family dinners at risk too. She quips, “You will no longer need to just hide your sweets from your children or significant other but also from your hound.” Note: Above ground fences (6 feet or higher) are definitely recommended, and don’t forget to watch out for digging.

Bloodhounds can also become set in their ways; so training from an early age on is best. Graham has found that hounds are slow to mature mentally and emotionally, which makes them a challenge throughout their youth and adolescent years.

“I have always told my puppy parents if they can make it through the first two years of life, they’re golden.”

Why Bloodhounds?
Graham was born and raised in Gladstone, Michigan and has been around hounds her entire life. She finds their love and devotion astounding and can’t imagine her life without one (or several). Coming from a family fond of hunting, Graham says that every “yooper” knows that all good hunters need a good hound. She also doesn’t know if breeder is the correct terminology for what she does. “I sought out two equally magical hounds from the opposite ends of the country and helped to create and amazing litter of 11 bouncing Bloodhounds,” she says. “To some, that may be considered a breeder, but I see myself as merely part of the camera crew to an upcoming blockbuster hit.”

There are definitely pros and cons to every breed of dog. For the Bloodhound, the sense of smell can be a little bit of both. As a scent hound, that hereditary gift is constantly in overdrive making them ideal candidates for hunting and for law enforcement use. They won’t quit until the job is done.

Trusty still goes with Boyle to the grooming shop (Fancy Pants) where they first met each day and fancies himself as the “official greeter.” And as such, Hennen (shop owner) says Trusty is just the sweetest and goofiest pup ever. “Every bone in his body is filled with love.” She continues, “He’s clueless and sweet—the best combo!”