Record Year in the Carolinas for FLEAS and TICKS!

THIS SUMMER, EVERY DOG AND CAT NEED BOTH HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVE AND A MONTHLY TOPICAL FLEA AND TICK PREVENTATIVE. In the past, during the cold winter months, I gave my dogs a couple of months off their topical flea and tick medicine.  Especially since they receive some protection through their monthly heartworm preventative.  However, in recent years it seems that the flea and tick season arrives earlier and earlier.  This year all of the experts agree that due to our mild winter we can expect one of the worst summers ever for parasites.  Give your dog the protection they need. Every dog can “host” parasites and you may not even know about it. Even indoor pets can be exposed! This summer the flea and tick preventative in your heartworm medication is absolutely NOT going to adequately protect your dog or cat from fleas and ticks.  In fact, beginning in June until early October, I will personally be applying my dog’s topical medication every 3 weeks instead of every 4 weeks.  When my dogs vacationed with me on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, it was standard practice to apply topical every 3 weeks because of the infestation around the natural buffers that surrounds the bay. Ticks and Fleas: Ticks and fleas are blood-drinking parasites that can also cause serious illness in pets. Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and cause allergies. You can sometimes see ticks or fleas on your pet, but for the most part, they are very difficult to find. A monthly medication can control them. Heartworms: Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, and they can infect dogs and cats. Even indoor pets aren’t completely safe from heartworms, since 25% of heartworm infected cats live completely indoors. Heartworms can damage the lungs and heart, and can even cause death. Fortunately, heartworm preventive medications can protect your pets from these dangerous parasites. Intestinal Parasites: Hookworms, roundworms, and other intestinal parasites can harm pets. Some of these parasites are even transmissible to humans, so preventing parasites in your pets also helps protect children and other family members. A veterinary examination and routine fecal testing can identify intestinal parasites, and many monthly heartworm preventive medications safely and effectively control them. Ask us how to protect your pets and family. Protect your pet. Protect your family. Let us help. Talk with us about parasite prevention and your pet’s...
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Treats as Rewards

WHEN OWNERS ASK IF THEY SHOULD ALWAYS BE EXPECTED TO USE TREATS AS REWARDS… With dogs there are a handful of Primary Reinforcers:  Two of the most obvious are Food & Water.  Secondary Reinforcers include Praise, Clicker, Toys, etc.  In other words, those things that a dog requires to survive are Primary Reinforcers.  Those things that bring pleasure to a dog are Secondary Reinforcers.  As trainers we like to utilize Secondary Reinforcers coupled with Primary Reinforcers for maximum impact in training.  We also know that once a dog begins to associate Secondary Reinforcers with Primary Rewards, those Secondary Reinforcers take on more value.  And finally, through studies we know that when Positive and Reinforcement (both Primary and Secondary) are dished out in a variety of forms, a variety of volume and at varying and random intervals, they are most effective. In layman terms it’s this simple.  Keep your dog guessing.  The reason he enjoys Secondary Reinforcers is because in the beginning they were paired with Primary Reinforcers such as food. As your relationship builds with your dog, Secondary Reinforcers such as praise and a pat on the head become more and more important as your dog wants to please you.  However make no mistake, your dog also has in the back of his mind that maybe, just maybe the Secondary Reinforcement just might be paired with a juicy piece of chicken. Constantly I am asked as a trainer, when can we wean off of treats?  Or worse, I am told, I don’t bribe my dog with treats.  I only use praise.  Or even worse, I don’t use praise or treats.  I only use punishment when my dog disobeys. My analogy to those people should make the differences crystal clear. Scenario 1. You go to work for Bank of America and your boss tells you that he is going to put a shock collar around your neck.  Every time you do something wrong you will get an electric shock.  After a few nasty experiences, your boss no longer even needs to administer the shock.  Just holding up the remote control is all it takes to keep you working and in line. Scenario 2. You go to work for Bank of America and your boss tells you that you are not going to be paid for what you do but instead of money, he is going to give you a tremendous...
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German Shepherd Finds Priceless Silver Dollar

German Shepherd Finds Priceless Silver Dollar When Michael Sheets discovered that his lucky silver dollar was missing he was devastated.  He began combing through the trash, lawn clippings, clothing, every room in the house.  But nothing.  So why was this silver dollar so important?  Michael had carried his lucky silver dollar in his pocket for 23 years.  It While Michael is not a superstitious man, throughout the years when he had a tough decision to make he would take out the silver dollar and flip it, “heads = yes and tails he declined.”  And in 23 years the flip of the coin had never failed him.  Now it was gone. As hope was diminishing Patsi racked her brain regarding any other places they had been in the last 48 hours.  She remembered visiting The Dog Knowledge for a tour and although she couldn’t imagine that Michael could have lost it from his pocket, Patsi gave The Dog Knowledge a call.  Owner, Debbie Lange answered the phone and took down the information.  Patsi relayed to Debbie the sentimental value of the coin and asked her to please look around. It was a quiet Sunday at The Dog Knowledge and Debbie was there working with her dog Sally.  Sally is titled in article search, search and rescue, scent detection, tracking, protection etc. although in recent years she has semi-retired.  Debbie remembered that she had recently been given a bag of old coins including silver dollars and just for fun Debbie rubbed a couple of the silver dollars together and gave Sally a good sniff and the command to find.  Sally, nose to the ground, began her usual pattern of sniffing the floor in a grid like fashion.  She finally indicated near the conference table where Debbie took a look.  Nothing.  So Debbie tried again and Sally returned to the same spot.  This time Debbie crawled under the table and just as Sally had indicated, there was the missing silver dollar. A happy ending and an amazing...
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Chevys & Ferraris

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The Shocking Truth About Shock Collars

We are not activists.  We have never felt strongly enough about a subject to join a movement, a march or a protest.  That is until now.  The Dog Knowledge wants to expose the ugly truth about shock collars. We have checked out the website of a number of dog trainers who train with shock collars. You will see claims like:  “No Clickers”  “No Treats”  “No Bribes”  “Guaranteed Off Leash”  “Guaranteed Training or Your Money Back”  “Life is Better Off-Leash.” They also will never refer to them as shock collars.  They use terms like “stimulation,” “remote,” or “e-collar.” As trainers, we have watched loving dog owners struggle with their timing giving treats, using the clicker, even holding a loose leash becomes difficult for many pet owners.  How can anyone expect a pet owner to understand what they are doing with a shock collar?  We don’t blame the owner, we blame the trainers who turn over the remote to the owner. In the course of one week, we have had four pet owners talk to us about their shock collar.  Ironically, all four said the same thing.  “All I have to do is show my dog the remote and immediately he becomes obedient.” As dog trainers/behaviorist we’ve spent countless hours studying the whys behind dog behavior; let us share with you the sad truth behind why shock collars are fast and seemingly effective.  It’s called “escape/avoidance conditioning.” Dogs trained solely with a shock collar have learned.  IF THEY ARE OBEDIENT THEY ESCAPE OR AVOID THE CORRECTION OR IN THE CASE OF THE SHOCK COLLAR THEY ESCAPE THE SHOCK. Some of the pet owners said, “rarely do I ever have to shock my dog, usually the sound of the buzzer will do the trick.”  This is “avoidance conditioning.” Just to make this crystal clear – so called, e-collar trainers teach a dog to come when called by shocking them continuously until they reach the trainer.  Then the continuous shock subsides. Simply put, all shock, e-collar training is a dog that obeys or does tricks to turn off the pain. Are there any circumstances when we would use a shock collar?  The answer is yes.  But only in very specific and extreme circumstances and only because we are professional trainers who understand the “picture” that the dog sees and understand how critical timing is in all behavior modification and training.  Also, there are...
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