Monthly Archives: December 2014

Inking for a Cause: Michigan Tattoo Parlor Donates Money From Animal-Themed Tattoos to Local Animal Shelter

Read more about how a Tattoo parlor got creative to raise money for a local spay and neuter clinic!

Animal overpopulation continues to be a major issue that plagues much of the world — and in the United States, this results in millions of unwanted cats and dogs ending up on the streets, in animal shelters or even euthanized due to many pet owners not realizing the benefits of neutering your pet and the benefits of spaying your pet.

To help support cat and dog spay and neuter clinics, the tattoo artists at Flint Township’s Custom Ink and Tattoo in Michigan recently raised money in a truly unique way — $25 from each animal-themed tattoo the artists gave on Sunday, Nov. 16 went directly to a local no-kill shelter to help support local spay and neuter programs.

“I wanted to get others involved who may not normally be involved in animal rescue,” Sloane Slagg, director of Kreacher Konnections, the shelter that Custom Ink and Tattoo is benefiting, said.

Customers at Custom Ink and Tattoo got tattoos ranging from their dogs’ pawprints to a doodle of a cat, according to an article. As long as the tattoo related back to pets or animals in some way, Custom Ink and Tattoo would donate the $25 to Kreacher Konnections.

The only way to prevent unwanted stray and feral pets is to bring one’s pets to a cat or dog spay and neuter clinic, and this is just one of the reasons why you should spay and neuter your pets. Spaying and neutering also offers a number of health benefits to pets, such as preventing cancer, extending their life spans and improving their behavior.

Tiffany Daniels, the Kreacher Konnections volunteer who organized the event at Custom Ink and Tattoo, told that she wanted to hold the event to help the animal rescue cause and ultimately ensure as many pets as possible can find a loving home.

“Hopefully it prevents more unwanted pets with spay and neuter,” said Daniels, who also got a tattoo at the event.
Read more about how a Tattoo parlor got creative to raise money for a local spay and neuter clinic!

Long Beach, CA to Move Forward With Spay-Neuter Law for Dogs

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, city council members in Long Beach, CA discussed a new plan that would instate a city-wide spay and neuter requirement for residents who own dogs.

According to a Grunion Gazette article, the city council’s plan, proposed by Second District Councilwoman and Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal, would require all dog owners to bring their pets to a dog spay and neuter clinic, with the exception of licensed breeders and dog owners who have a medical waiver for their pets.

Why spay and neuter your pets — and more importantly, why should Long Beach pass a universal spay and neuter requirement for its dog owners? The importance of spaying and neutering your pet has long been proven by scientific research. Taking one’s dog to a dog spay and neuter clinic extends their lifespan, prevents cancer and makes the pet better behaved.

Pet overpopulation also remains a problem across the country, which is another concern of Long Beach’s local lawmakers. Each year, millions of unwanted puppies and kittens wind up in animal shelters, and more often than not these pets are euthanized.

To combat these issues and control its animal population, the Long Beach city council originally passed measures in 2007 that expanded the number of affordable spay and neuter clinics, along with requirements for microchipping and cat licensing. However, in the seven years since then, the city council hasn’t seen much of an improvement.

“We’ve been working on this going on seven years now,” Lowenthal said. “We’ve introduced low-cost spay and neuter services. We’ve hired a full-time veterinarian. We’ve made strides, but we’re finding it’s still not enough. … The majority of the dogs that are picked up are unaltered, or from back yard puppy mills… We have to focus on the faucet, not the drain, to solve this issue.”

According to the Grunion Gazette, Long Beach already requires all cats to be spayed or neutered. The city council will make its final vote on the proposal in 90 days.

Normal play vs. aggressive tendencies in Puppies

Many owners begin their relationship with new puppies armed with misinformation and an idealistic view of the pet-owner relationship. Owners often don’t know how to properly shape behaviors or handle problems, and one area that needs special attention is play aggression.


Most puppy play consists of chasing, pouncing, barking, growling, snapping, and biting. So how can new owners tell the difference between normal play and possible signs of true aggression in puppies?

In normal play, a puppy may play bow (lower its head and raise its hind end), present its front end or side to the owner, hold the front part of its body up, wag its tail, dart back and forth, emit high-pitched barks and growls, and spontaneously attack. Of course, even normal play can become too intense.

Behaviors that may indicate a problem are prolonged, deep-tone growling; a fixed gaze; a stiff posture; and aggression that is situational or stimulus-dependent (not spontaneous). These aggressive behaviors may be related to fear, possessiveness, conflict, or pain and necessitate immediate evaluation by you or a behavior expert.


Puppies must learn how to play appropriately, so suggest these forms of intervention for your clients.

> Distract the bad behavior. Always have a toy on hand that the puppy can transfer its attention to.

> Speak up and step out. If the puppy is biting hard, yell “Ouch!” and stop playing.

> Interrupt problem behaviors. A shake can, a water gun, or compressed air will startle puppies and stop the behavior. But don’t use these techniques if a pet has a sensitive temperament or if the techniques seem to make things worse.

> Set up a dragline. Both indoors and outdoors, make sure the puppy is on a leash that you can quickly grab to stop the behavior.

> Use head halters. These halters provide a more natural sense of control than ordinary collars do and limit the chances of biting.

> Consider muzzles. In extreme cases, muzzles may be used for short periods to prevent biting.

> Give the puppy a time out. If the puppy won’t stop the bad behavior, put the puppy in a room or in its kennel with toys to keep it busy until it calms down.


In addition, offering owners these tips on interacting with, socializing, and training their puppies may help prevent abnormal play aggression.

> Provide plenty of exercise. Puppies are bundles of energy, so give them productive ways to expend that energy, such as going on walks or playing “Monkey in the middle” (see sidebar).

> Provide mental stimulation. Rubber toys that can be filled with treats, such as Kong toys or Busy Buddy puzzle toys (Premier), offer puppies a chance to chase and bite the toys and obtain a food reward.

> Play with your pup. Playing fetch or throwing a soccer ball for the puppy to push around saps some of its energy.

> Teach and review basic obedience commands. A well-trained dog is more likely to follow orders when behaving inappropriately.

> Conduct leadership exercises. Follow these rules to maintain overall order: 1) Nothing in life is free. Ask the pet to respond to a command such as “sit” before the pet receives anything it wants or needs. 2) Don’t tell me what to do. Do not allow the pet to be pushy about soliciting attention from you. Pull your hands in, lean away, and look away from the pet if it nudges, whines, barks, leans, or pushes for attention. Walk away if the pet is too difficult to ignore. Once the pet stops soliciting attention for 10 seconds, ask the pet to sit and give it attention. 3) Don’t move without permission. Anytime you begin to move from one area of the home to another, ask the pet to sit and stay for a second or two before you give a release command to follow you.

> Don’t sit on the floor with the pup. This tends to get puppies excited, puts family members in a vulnerable position, and makes it more difficult to control the pet.

> Promote socialization. Puppies must have frequent, positive social experiences with all types of animals and people during the first three or four months of life to prevent asocial behavior, fear, and biting. And continued exposure to a variety of people and animals as the pets grow is essential for maintaining good social skills.


Be sure that the family is not using any physically punitive methods such as scruff shakes, alpha rollovers, squeezing the pet to the floor, thumping the nose, or swatting.


Whatever you do in the way of counseling new pet owners, remember that providing behavior information from the outset can make a big difference in the relationship between the pet and the owner. Owners need reliable help to weed out conflicting and inappropriate training information, and behavior problems are much easier to prevent than to correct.

Everybody wins when we take the time and effort to provide timely behavior counseling. The owner is more likely to have a well-behaved pet, we are more likely to have a manageable patient, and the pet is more likely to remain an important part of the family.


Wayne L. Hunthausen, DVM, Animal Behavior Consultations, 4820 Rainbow Blvd. Westwood, KS 66205.



Monkey in the middle: An exercise in obedience

This game not only exercises energetic puppies, it also reinforces the basic commands of “sit” and “come,” enhances name recognition, and teaches puppies to run up and sit to get attention (instead of jumping on people). At least two people are needed, and each person should have six to 12 small treats (regular puppy dinner kibble is usually adequate) at hand.

The two people sit opposite each other with about five to six feet in between. The first person calls “Skippy, come” in a high—pitched, upbeat voice. As the approaches, the first person has the puppy sit for a treat. Immediately, the second person calls ‘Skippy, come” in a high—pitched, upbeat voice and has the puppy sit for a treat. Immediately, the first person calls again and has the puppy sit for a treat, and so on.

The distance between the two people can increase as the puppy becomes accustomed to the game —the people can even move into separate rooms, increasing the strength of the “come” command and the exertion needed to obtain a treat.