Friday, October 9, 2015

Bark in the Park Event

Bark in the Park T-shirt.

Bark in the Park Event to benefit Maui Humane Society:

Location, Registration and Start Times

Bark in the Park will be held at the Keopuolani Park in Kahului on Saturday, October 24th, at 9am.

Registration Information: You can register for Bark in the Park and set up your fundraising page here:

Bark in the Park 2015

Participant - 1.5 Mile (One loop) Run/Walk
Participant - 5K (Two loops, 3 Miles) Run/Walk
Virtual Participant - Walk/Run from your location
Keiki - 12 and under

Pre-Race packet pick up will be held at the Maui Humane Society Shelter at 1350 Mehameha Loop in Puunene on Friday, October 23rd from 1pm-3pm.  Online registration will close on Wednesday, October 21st at 11:55PM, but day of registration will be held at the marked registration table in Keopuolani Park from Starting at 7:30am.   Day of packet pick up will also take place at the registration table beginning at 7:30am.

Event Times: Run and walk waves begin at 9am.  The Pet Expo will start at 8am and run until 12 noon.  

Run/Walk Start Times:  Runners and walkers participating in one 1.5 Mile loop will start at 9am.  Runners and walkers participating in the 5K will start at 9:30am.

The Course: Walkway/path along Keopuolani Pkwy.  

Arrival: Registration and packet pick up begin at 7:30am.  If you are unable to pre-register or pick up your packet before the morning of the 24th, it is recommended that you arrive no later than 8am.

Parking:  The park can be accessed by Kanaloa Avenue.  and there are two parking lots on Keopuolani Parkway.  Volunteers will be onsite to direct you.

Awards:  10am
1st-3rd 1.5 Mile Finishers
1st-3rd 5K Finishers

Contests open to all participants:  10:30am
Best Costume
Pet/Owner Look Alike 

Pet Expo:
Stop by the pet expo from 8am-12 noon and check out the cool pet friendly products, services and businesses Maui has to offer.  Such Good Dogs will be there.  Please come check us out!

Maui Dog Agility:  Will be onsite performing demonstrations starting at 10:30am.  

Food and Beverage: will be available for purchase from Tutu's Shave Ice.  Water stops will also be available.

Monday, October 5, 2015

National Walk Your Dog Week

Athena leash training two Italian Greyhounds.
This week marks National Walk Your Dog Week.  To help promote this excellent and necessary activity, I would like to address this blog to why the walk is so important for your dog.
Mom walking Teefus.

A proper dog walk is the most important activity you can provide for your dog.  As pet owners, we control our dog's access to the outside world where many exciting sights, sounds, and smells are.  Your dog wants and needs to be able to explore his/her environment.  

I often come across many pet owners that give various "reasons" for why they feel they do not need to walk their dog(s).  Some of these include:  I have a large yard, walking the dog is too difficult, or they just don't have the time.  

I am here to tell you that each and every excuse you could possibly come up with for not walking your dog I have heard before, and it's all bullshit.  Simple as that.  
Every problem for not being able to walk a dog has a solution.  Similarly, having a large yard for your dog to run and play in is NOT an excuse to not do regular daily walks.  Let's look at some of these "reasons" a little more closely.

My dog has a large yard to run:

Yes a large yard for your dog is nice and I'm sure the dog enjoys doing some activities there, but it is not enough.  Consider the worst cold or flu you have ever had when you were trapped in your house for a week or two.  What was the first thing you wanted to do when you got better?  Get out of the house right?  How do you think your dog feels after weeks, months, or even years of being confined to one area, regardless of its size?  The nature of being a dog is to explore one's environment.  Depriving your pet of this natural instinct will without a doubt cause some sort of behavior problems such as boredom barking, digging, or other destruction.  

The walk is so unpleasant:

I fully understand that walking a dog who does not walk well on a leash can be very frustrating.  However you have no one to blame for this problem but yourself, and no one is going to fix the problem without your involvement and commitment to doing so.  There are many different kinds of helpful tools to use if your dog has horrible leash manners.  Things like an Easy-walk harness or head collar can be useful for many dog owner in teaching them how to properly walk on a leash.  The best thing an owner can do is practice Loose Leash Walking with your dog.  If you are consistent with teaching Loose Leash Walking, you will have a dog that can walk nicely on a leash within a week or two.  It is also helpful to brush up on your Leadership Skills.

I don't have time to walk my dog:
If you honestly do not have the time to regularly walk your dog, you should not have one. It's sounds harsh, but it is true.  Any pet requires a certain amount of time and dedication to care for.  You knew this before you adopted your pet.  If you do not currently have the time (perhaps work has been extra busy or stressful), then be a responsible pet parent and hire someone to help you.  There are many qualified dog walkers and dog trainers who also do walking out there to choose from.  Be sure that anyone you choose will follow the Loose Leash Walking training when talking your dog out.  Remember, consistency is important if you truly want a dog that nicely walks on a leash.

My dog is aggressive when we see other dogs and/or people:

If this is truly a concern for you please seek professional help right away.  A professional positive reinforcement dog training can show you many different ways to deal with aggression.  A dog who has begun to exhibit aggressive tendencies will need extra training and probably currently lacks proper physical and mental exercise.  Although curbing aggressive behaviors can take time, it is possible with the proper training and commitment from the owner.  Your dog is obviously not in a good or happy place if he is lunging, barking, and/or growling at other dogs or people.  If you want to have a truly happy dog, seek professional help as soon as possible.

Need more reasons to walk your dog...

Above all, I hope that you have learned that it is VERY important to walk your dog EVERY DAY!  Our pets give us what we crave everyday by loving us.  Lets return the favor by giving our pets what they truly need to be happy and healthy and stay with us for as long as possible!

"Walks are part of how your dog connects with the outside world," by Debby McMullen. 

"Leash Reactivity--Why does it happen?" by Tom Mitchell. 

Both are featured by Victoria Stilwell's Positively website.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Myth vs. Fact on Spay & Neuter

As someone who has worked in the animal industry for many years, this is a topic that is of great importance to me.  I am a HUGE advocate for spaying or neutering your pet.  Here are some great facts and myths to illustrate why.

MYTH:  It is more expensive to spay or neuter a pet than to take the chance of that pet having a litter.
FACT:  The average cost to raise a litter of six puppies is about $1000 (estimating on the low end).  It is much less expensive to spay or neuter.

MYTH:  My pet should not be fixed because they are purebred.
FACT:  One out of every four pets brought to a shelter is a purebred.  Honestly, there are just too many pets brought to shelters, both purebred and mixed breed alike.  About half of all animals brought to a shelter will be euthanized.

MYTH:  It is best to let your female dog have one litter before spaying.

FACT:  Medical evidence indicates just the opposite.  Evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier.  Many vets across the country now spay and neuter cats and dogs as young as eight weeks old.  Check with your vet about when the best recommended time for this procedure would be for your pet.

A USA Today article cites that pets who live within the states with the highest rates of spaying and neutering also live the longest.  According to this report, male dogs who are neutered live about 18% longer than those who are not.  Even better, female dogs who are spayed live an average of 23% longer.

A large part of the reduced lifespan of non-fixed pets can be attributed to their urge to roam.  This exposes your unaltered pet to fights with other animals, getting hit by cars, and other possible mishaps.
Altered (fixed) pets also have a much lower risk of developing certain types of cancers.

MYTH:  I want my dog to be protective of my family.
FACT:  A dog's personality is not formed by sex hormones but by genetics and environment.  It is also a dog's natural instinct to protect his family and home.

MYTH:  I do not want my male pet to feel like less of a man.
FACT:  Spaying or neutering a pet will not effect the pet's basic personality.  Pets do not have any concept of sexual identity.  Your pet will not suffer any kind of identity crisis or emotional reaction after being fixed.

MYTH:  My pet will become fat and lazy if fixed.
FACT:  The hard truth is that most pets that become fat and/or lazy do so because their owner does not provide proper exercise and/or feeds them too much or a poor diet.

MYTH:  My pet is so fantastic...I want another just like him/her.
FACT:  It is very unlikely that your pet's offspring will be just like your current pet.  Even professional breeders are unable to make this guarantee.  The shelters are full of pets just as smart, sweet, loving, and cute as your current pet that also need homes.

MYTH:  I'll find fantastic homes for each and every single offspring of my pet.
FACT:  You may be able to control the decisions you make with your own pet and their offspring, but you can not control the decisions to be made about these new animals in the future.  Their future owner will control these decisions and may not make the correct decision to fix their new puppy.  This can easily result in even more unwanted animals over-loading the already filled shelters and rescues.

Other helpful articles on this subject:

ASPCA Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter your pet.
11 Facts about Spay and Neuter
American Humane Association Spaying & Neutering