Q: At what age should I start training my puppy?
A: The sooner the better! Puppies are start learning as young as 5-6 weeks old, so your puppy IS already learning the moment he comes to your home. Let's make sure he learns the right things from day one!
Q: How much time will it take to train my dog?
A: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just like people, some dogs learn quicker than others. Some will take a little extra time to learn new things. Furthermore, it depends on how much time you spend for training, how often you practice it with your dog, and how consistent you are with your puppy, so he/she will understand how to communicate with you better. The longer the dog has a bad habit, the longer it will take for him/her to learn a new and good behavior. Training should be a journey, not a destination. Do not limit the wonderful things your dog can accomplish with your help!
Q: What is a clicker and do I have to use one if you work with us?
A: A clicker is a small device that makes a clicking noise. It is a tool used to tell your dog "YES! THAT'S WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO!" It MARKS THE BEHAVIOR when you want to teach him something new. Your puppy will quickly associate the clicking sound with yummy treats or fun play. An alternative to the clicker is to have a verbal marker such as "YES", "GOOD" or whatever word that is quick and easy for you to use and your puppy to associate with great rewards.
Q: Can an old dog really learn new tricks?
A: Absolutely! While older dogs require a bit more patience to teach them new behaviors, they certainly can learn. You may also find that an older dog is more willing to learn, as they have been deprived of such positive attention in the past. I've worked with a lot of young adults and older dogs in the shelter.They always amaze me with how quickly they can learn new and better behaviors through positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is a very powerful motivation for dogs who learn that good things will happen (which in this case treats, toy, and play time) when he/she shows us what we want him/her to do. It will make the animal feel safe and confident. If he doesn't show us what we asked for, we simply will not give him a reward, and there is no yelling, yanking or hitting involved. This is what is referred to as negative reinforcement. Older dogs can show us more patience and love and can become a master Frisbee dog, or agility dog!
Q: What is declawing?
A: Too often, people think that declawing is a simple surgery that removes a cat's nails—the equivalent of having your fingernails trimmed. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Declawing traditionally involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. If performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. Medical drawbacks to declawing include pain, infection and tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain. Removing claws changes the way a cat's foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs. Declawing is an unnecessary surgery which provides no medical benefit to the cat. Many countries feel so strongly about the issue that they have banned the procedure. (Resource- Humane Society of United States)
Q: Why do cats "knead" with their claws?
A: Many cats 'knead' even when they become adult cats. It reminds them of their kitten hood, of mother's milk, of cuddling with their brothers and sisters, of a safe place for them to sleep, and of contentment. Kneading is a sign of happiness. Your cat is telling you how comfortable and happy he/she is to be with you!
Q: What Should I Do If My Indoor Cat Escaped the House? How Do I Find Her?
A: Stay Calm. Most indoor cats will be scared, panic, and try to find a place she can hide immediately. Ask your neighbors if they can check their garage, storage areas, and shed to see if she is hiding there. Sprinkle some of your kitty's used cat litter around your house. She may be able to find her home easier if she smells a familiar scent. Call her calmly with her favorite canned food or treat.
If you see her, DO NOT try to grab or chase her!
Some cats are so afraid that they will act like they don't know you at all! Leave out some food and water, sprinkle some catnip around your house in several locations. You may need to use a humane trap to catch her if she is not willing to come to you.
If you are not able to find her, call your local animal control and humane society to report your cat is missing. Put a notice in your local newspaper. Make flyers with your cat's photo, details about her, and a contact number. Make sure to also include any important medical information on the flyer. Put them up around your neighborhood, veterinarian offices, nearby schools, and grocery stores, etc. Check with your local animal control and shelters frequently, and have strong support from your family and friends who understand how you are feeling during this difficult time.
I had a cat that escaped, and she came home after a month. She crossed two major streets by our house! She had a microchip and a nice lady brought her to the shelter. The shelter worker scanned the chip and contacted me. So consider to have your pet microchip too!
Animal Welfare FAQ's
Why do I need to be concerned about their nutrition?
A: What you feed them is the key to their long happy and healthy living. Major pet food companies add poor quality ingredients such as by-product, wheat and corn gluten to make more profit and are it is hard for the pets to digest. Higher quality of pet food has more calories and better ingredients so you can feed them fewer amounts and very easy for them to digest. (The bonus of this is, you'll see fewer stools, and easy clean up!) We strongly suggest you to look into high quality pet food.
Why and When should I spay/neuter my pet?
A: Please spay/neuter your pet. There are a number of health benefits associated with spay/neuter. Remember, too many unwanted animals are out there on streets starving, and have to be put to sleep daily. By spay/neuter your pet, not only you will provide better health for them, but also giving terrific help to animal shelters that are fighting against the pet overpopulation issue.
What is animal cruelty?
A: Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Most cruelty investigated by humane officers is unintentional neglect that can be resolved through education. Intentional cruelty, or abuse, is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization, or veterinary care or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal. (Resource-Humane Society of United States)
What should I do if I witness abuse or neglect?
A: Document the abuse—get photos or video if you can. Contact your local humane society to investigate. In Boulder, the number is 303-442-4030. In Denver, south of Colfax, contact the Denver Dumb Friends League at 303-923-0022. If there is no humane society or other animal welfare organization in your area, contact your police department or sheriff.