Thursday, May 16

Los Angeles, City of Most Dog Attacks on Mail Carriers

I always get a little since of pride and happiness when I see Los Angeles at the top of any list dealing with dogs, except this time!  YIKES!  Apparently we topped the list for most dog attacks on mail carriers last year with 69 attacks.  The full story and some helpful tips from Dogster are below.
Dogs bark at mail carriers. Everyone knows that. It's one of the enduring images of the American family, along with the white picket fence and the two-car garage.  
But some dogs also bite mail carriers, and that's where the whole pretty scene falls apart. After the U.S. Postal Service released its list of dog attacks on letter carriers in 2012, we were saddened by the numbers. 
Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked, according to the Postal Service.  
The worst area? Los Angeles. Last year, the city had 69 attacks on letter carriers, leading the Los Angeles Times to label the city "Most Vicious." 
(Golden Retriever by Shutterstock.)
Ken Snavely, L.A.'s acting postmaster, said, "Many dogs are cherished members of their family, and people believe their dog won't bite, but given the right circumstances, any dog can attack."
He also said that problem pets or dogs roaming a neighborhood can result in a suspension of services until the delivery area is deemed safe.
“If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat, you’ll be asked to pick up your mail at the Post Office until it’s safe to deliver,” Snavely said.
San Antonio and Seattle were next on the list, each with 42 attacks last year. Then came Chicago, with 41, and San Francisco, with 38. 
The full list is as follows:  
  1. Los Angeles: 69
  2. San Antonio and Seattle: 42
  3. Chicago: 41
  4. San Francisco: 38
  5. Philadelphia: 34
  6. Detroit: 33
  7. St. Louis: 32
  8. Baltimore and Sacramento: 29
  9. Houston and Minneapolis: 27
  10. Cleveland and Dayton, OH: 26
  11. Buffalo and Brooklyn, NY: 24
  12. Denver: 23
  13. Dallas and Tacoma, WA: 21
  14. Wichita, KS: 20 
The numbers, while alarming, pale in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs -- more than half of whom are children -- according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
(Dog by Shutterstock.) 
The Postal Service released the list to kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week, whose partners (including the American Humane Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association) offer the following tips to avoiding attacks:
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog. 
  • Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you. 
  • If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. 
  • Never approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined. 
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. 
  • Anyone wanting to pet a dog should first obtain permission from the owner. 
  • Always let a dog see and sniff you before petting the animal. 
  • If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle. 
  • If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands.

Thursday, May 9

Brute Strength as Dog Training?


I have had it!  I don't know if this is just in Downtown right now or if there is a wave of this going around everywhere.  Since DTLA is where I live and work, this is where I am seeing a lot of big strong men (sorry, haven't seen women doing this) with Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and even some smaller breeds using their brute strength as a training technique. 

What I am seeing are these men with usually large, high drive (or in some cases small, high drive) dogs with prong collars, choke chains or just a flat collars jerking their dogs around the sidewalk, giving extremely harsh leash corrections, hitting and choking their dogs.  This is not the same person, these are multiple men doing this.  

I understand that there is such a thing as compulsion training, I studied it, know how to do it and choose not to.  But even if you are giving a "leash correction" it should be on a choke chain or flat collar and the dog should not have their front feet come up off the ground.  A leash correction should NEVER be given on a prong collar and as far as hitting goes, that is not training that is abuse!

I see one owner with his dog that is about the size of a mini poodle or beagle, he gives a leash correction to this dog on a training line so hard that the poor little dog's feet come off the ground for about 2-3 seconds at a time.  That is too hard!  NO NEED!

I see "alfa rolls" done all the time, I tolerate that since I know Mr. Millan is out there preaching it, but taking your hand and hitting your dog upside their head or "spanking" them is not acceptable.  That is nothing else other than abuse.  I do recognize that some people pat their dog's back side firmly as a good boy or playful way... this is not what I am referring to.

Today was the end for me.  A big muscly guy had a young Pit Bull that was amped up and going all over the side walk, but it looked to me like he just was never taught any leash manners.  The guy out of frustration hit the dog in the head, the dog crouched to the ground and didn't want to walk so the guy with all of his strength dragged the dog across the side walk.  The dog was clearly scared and confused, the guy then gave the dog a big yank and the dog was jerked forward becoming air borne for a moment.  Then he was given another much too hard leash correction.  This is abuse, not training!

I understand having a dog that pulls and how frustrating that is, but that is no excuse for this type of treatment.  If this sounds like you, call me, I would love to educate you about dogs and how to communicate with them.  When I decided to become a dog trainer and focus in DTLA, this is what I wanted to address.  I want to educate people and their dogs so they can have a better relationship and happier lives!

If you are treating your dog like this, STOP!  Take a breath.  Then move on.  Dogs are innocent, beautiful beings that do not deserve anything other than our love, trust and companionship.  That is exactly what they give us in return.

Need training, need help?  Give us a bark!


Tuesday, May 7

New Trend in Dog Fighting: "Trunking"

It is hard to imagine that dog fighting could get worse or more inhumane, but it now has.  I guess as the saying goes "where there is a will, there is a way" rings true here, no matter how disgusting the will is.  As the article from Dogster below describes, "Trunking" is a new trend in dog fighting.  "Trunking" is where two dogs are put in the trunk of a car to fight to the death and driven around for 10 -15 minutes until the fighting stops.  All the while loud music is being played so no one can here the sounds of the dogs.  When they stop, the dead dog is thrown out and the "winner" continues to fight again.  Just typing that makes my stomach turn and my head explode with anger.  The full story is below.
A new dog-fighting trend is so savage and inhumane it's almost hard to comprehend. It's called "trunking." Dahlia Canes of Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation explains it: 
"They put the dogs in the trunk [of a car], lock it up, and they [drive] around, put the music on very, very loud so no one can hear it," she said, according to "After 10 or 15 minutes, they stop. The dead dog they throw out, and the winner keeps going."
You read that right: They put two dogs in the trunk of a car, blast the music, drive around as the dogs fight, and then when the shrieking and yelping finally stops, they pull over and throw out the dead dog.
The winner gets to fight again. 
It almost sounds like an urban myth, but it's very true: Workers at Miami-Dade Animal Services Department in Florida confirm it, saying they've seen many cases.
One came last week, when a good samaritan tipped the agency off to a man suspected of being involved in trunking. The tipster said that he'd seen the man repeatedly throw dogs into the trunks of cars to fight. Authorities responded and found five adults and four puppies in terrible condition at the man's home.
(Receiving care at animal services. )
"The kennels did not have any water, food, or adequate shelter," said Luis Salgado with Miami-Dade County Animal Services. "They were in feces and urine, so the conditions were pretty bad."
They were also covered in scars, open wounds, and teeth marks.
"There are puncture wounds," said Salgado. "One of the dogs had a broken wrist, an injured eye. One of the dogs is just bit up all over the place and [has] open wounds on his face." 
Authorities haven't found the owner, but he'll face felony charges when they do. As for the dogs, the department is trying to get custody so the animals can be adopted or sent to a rescue group. 
The dogs are doing well mentally, and they are very friendly with veterinarians and staff. One dog happily wagged his tail when two staff members held him tightly, even though a vet was scrubbing his wounds.
Surprsingly, only one of the dogs has been identified as a Pit Bull. Miami-Dade banned Pit Bulls 23 years ago, and the ban was upheld by voters last year. That dog will have to be adopted by someone outside of the state. Let's hope they all find good homes.

It brings me great sadness to have to post something like this.  But knowledge is power.  Now that we know this is happening, keep your eyes open and if you see this or even suspect it, it is worth a call to the authorities.  Dog fighting rings are going to continue, they think they can out-wit all of us that are against it, but if we band together and we all work for the common goal to outlaw and stop this cruelty and torturing of innocent dogs, we will beat them.   They may go to jail, they may lose massive amounts of money, but the only ones losing here are the dogs.  Even if they live, some may never be rehabilitated and if they can be, they live with these scars (physically and mentally) for life.

Thursday, May 2

Obie the Dachshund Loses 40 Pounds!

Who can forget the adorable but severely overweight Dachshund Obie?  Well there is good news, he did it!  He lost 40 pounds!  And now because of this extreme weight loss he needed surgery to remove all the excess skin from his belly.  Dogster brings us the full story below.
When we last checked in with Obie the Dachshund, he was being pulled this way and that. The people who had rescued and cared for the portly pup were embroiled in a legal battle over who had custody. Fortunately, that's all done now: A judge ruled in January that the dog would be staying with his foster mom, Nora Vanatta, and he has, continuing his weight loss regimen with much success. 
Obie has lost 40 pounds, down from a staggering 77. But as the weight evaporated, the excess skin did not. Obie had huge amount of loose folds harming the clean lines of his new physique. Check out his "bosom pile," as Nora dubbed it on Obie's Biggest Loser, Doxie Edition Facebook page:
How much loose skin is that? About two and a half pounds worth. It was getting to be an issue, so Nora scheduled Obie for surgery. On Tuesday, she posted this on the Facebook page:  
Dr. Kramer will be performing the surgery at Oregon Expert Vets. I don't know that this surgery has ever been performed on a dog before after a significant weight loss but it will be similar to doing a mass removal procedure. He will likely have tension sutures, compression bandages and drains in place. I will be with him every step of the way and will be available to scrub in and assist. He will stay in the hospital tonight so he can receive IV fluids and pain medication.
Fortunately, by Wednesday, Obie was safely in recovery, the operation a success. Here's some photos of the procedure and recovery: 
"He is a little whiny but doing well. Getting ready to offer him some dinner," Nora wrote on Facebook while Obie was in recovery.
Obie is now close to meeting his goal, according to Nora. 
"We haven't weighed him since the surgery, but he lost two and a half pounds of skin," she told "So he should be around 35 pounds now. I figure his healthy weight is between 28 and 30 pounds."
To give you an idea of all he has accomplished, check out this before and after shot of Obie (taken before the surgery): 
It has been quite a journey, but the end is in sight. And during it all, Obie and Nora have been educating others on pet obesity, appearing on talk shows, speaking at conferences, and presenting at vet schools. 
He has also been spending a lot of time with his buddy Nog:

What Nora did should be commended.  She saved this dog's life!  The story is not over yet, but it looks like there will be a happy ending for Obie!