Men's Articles

Trick Or Treat?

When a pet is over-trained so that it can do elaborate, circus-quality tricks. I wonder if the owner wants the pet for itself, or keeps it to amuse him and amaze his friends. Tricks are different from obedience training, which is vital for dogs so that they will not endanger themselves or others. If a dog will come when called, sit, lie down, wait, heel, relieve itself in the right sports, not destroy furniture, and behave non-aggressively except in cases of clear danger to itself or its people, the essentials are covered.

Of course, working dogs required to perform rescues, drug and bomb detect, guarding, tracing, obedience demonstrations, herding and guiding need far more specialized and demanding training. But pet dogs are not working dogs. When I see a pet that literally does cartwheels, walks long distances on its hind legs and struggles over tightropes when ordered to, I ask if I am not witnessing a case of abuse.

Even if the pet enjoys the tricks, it should not do them if they pose any danger to its wellbeing. Walking on hind legs or forelegs, for instance, can strain a dog's back, and it has no way of speaking up to tell you its back hurts. Train your pet within safety limits. Always ask yourself if you are really teaching it something for its own good, or only to entertain yourself. If in doubt, err on the side of caution rather than risk injuring your dog.

When Traveling With Your Pets

Please remember that animals can fall seriously ill or die of heat stroke more easily than people can! Just because you can take the heat, it doesn't mean your pet can. Please give your pet lots of water to drink throughout the day, keep it in the shade and carry small animals in well-ventilated containers - do not put the pet and its carrier into plastic bags. Remember to clean up after your pet it poops. Dogs must be leashed at all times so that they won't frighten members of the public who may be afraid or offended by them.

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