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Animal Husbandry

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Dogs getting tongues stuck in toys

There was a recent article in the news about a Rottweiler getting his tongue stuck in a toy. The toy had a hole in one end and was otherwise solid. When his tongue got stuck, it created a suction that prevented him from pulling it out. This isn’t the only time this has happened. Here are some other stories on dogs getting their tongues stuck.

Some of these toys are designed this way. The Dog Enthusiast has a simple solution for the problem: Drill or cut a hole in the solid end.

One toy can be used to create this problem. The amazing Kong®. I like Kongs but I don’t stuff them as often recommended. I make sure there’s a hole in both ends. This picture shows how they are often used.stuffed kong

The small hole is stuffed with something then the entire inside is stuffed. I suppose as long as the primary ingredient is soft, the suction won’t occur. I don’t know. However, when these toys are completely stuffed then put in the freezer, they have the same problem as the one-hole toys. As the dog eats into the big end, the other (open) end is still closed with frozen food.

I only stuff one side and make sure I can see through it before I put it in the freezer. Then I check it again before I give it to the dog to make sure nothing shifted while it was in the freezer. This is a picture with one side stuffed with yogurt and peanut butter.

Stuffed Kong with a hole still visible.

Stuffed Kong with a hole still visible.


It’s going in the freezer tonight & the dog will get it tomorrow.



As an aside, dogs with any toys should be monitored.
One never knows when an unforeseen problem might occur.


What is “least invasive” dog training?

There may be as many answers to this question as there are dog trainers. I have my own ideas, of course. I like to think I follow this logic:

To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need:
A thorough understanding of canine behavior.
A thorough understanding of learning theory.
Impeccable timing.
And if you have those three things, you don’t need a shock collar.
–Author unknown

In my opinion, and many others, this logic applies to tools and methods dogs may find aversive, not only shock collars. There are SO many options before aversives are applied, that a good trainer would never need to use them. That said, I do use head halters as an occassional training tool but want my clients to work out of them.

For your perusal and thought:

LIMA vs. Humane Hierarchy

Application of the Humane Hierarchy (CCPDT)

LEIBI. Version 6.0 (AABP)

Humane Hierarchy, Part 1

Humane Hierarchy, Part 2


The “Humane Hierarchy” for animals may have been based upon a similar treatment hierarchy for developmentally disabled people. I can’t find the original source.


Gilbert enjoying the yard and the sun on a better day.

Gilbert enjoying the yard and the sun on a better day.

Pasco County Animal Services in Land O’ Lakes, FL, decided to fumigate Building C in the spring of 2015. All animals had to be removed for one week. Burt and I agreed to take one dog for that week. One of the staff asked us to take Gilbert, a Weimaraner mix, because he humps people. He had failed a SAFER assessment by biting the fake hand. He was consequently labeled a resource guarder. When volunteers would take him out he was happy and well-mannered with possible adopters…until he started to hump them. She thought if we could get him to keep his feet on the floor, he could get adopted. I picked him up on 4/30/2015.

He was gorgeous! His short coat was sort of a brownish-gray and he had yellow eyes. He was tall and thin with small feet for his size. Burt and I really liked him and he liked us. Our dogs did not like him. He didn’t follow the house rules they had established among themselves. For example, Molly wasn’t allowed to take his toys and he did not see Candy as Queen. He had excellent house manners. He wouldn’t come into the kitchen, he went to his crate on cue, he was completely housetrained, he could shake with both paws, he knew all the basic cues, and he never took anything except dog toys.

I worked with him for that week and he got better in all areas. I could trade for anything he had in his mouth, put food into his bowl while he was eating, walk by him when he was eating, and pet him while he was eating. We worked consistently and calmly on having him put his feet on the floor instead of humping. He only humped people, not the dogs. He could safely go into the yard with the other dogs and would come when called.

After the week was over, I took him back to PCAS. I also gave a presentation to the staff that day on my training methods and used Gilbert as my demo dog. He was perfect until we’d been there 45 minutes and he was done. The staff took him and put him in a kennel. He was there 2 days and we decided to go get him again and see if he would fit in to the household well enough to adopt. He spent most days loose in the house. The other dogs would not walk past him; they walked around him. We took him to the vet to get him a dose of bordetella so we could board him with our dogs. He did ok at the kennel, though he went in to the play yard by himself.

One day while we were all in the yard, he walked up beside me and put his head under my hand and I knew we were making progress. Every day he humped a little less. As long as there were no resources involved he’s did pretty well. Still pushy when he wants to play with people or the other dogs. It’s like he doesn’t know how to ask politely. Burt and I still really liked him.

May 18
I just used the pool guy to teach Gilbert Look at That. We went from “must kill the pool guy” to a glance and a Sit. Much better!

May 19
I can grab toys Gilbert has now. I can put my nose on his nose while we’re playing. I can give him a hug while he has a toy. He’s finally quit humping Digger. He’s becoming a much more mellow guy. He’s not ready for adoption yet but he’s better.


On May 21st, I was feeding the dogs breakfast and forgot a can of food on the counter. Digger stole it, as he often does, and took it into the yard to eat. Gilbert saw him and decided to take it. Digger has NEVER defended anything as long as we’ve had him. That day he did. Gilbert and Digger got into a fight, then Molly joined in. The 3 of them are tumbling around the yard, sometimes standing up, sometimes on the ground. Noisy with lots of teeth flashing. Luckily I don’t see lots of blood. I’m yelling LEAVE IT and Digger backs off. But Gilbert and Molly are still going at it. Molly is trying to get out but Gilbert keeps going after her. I pull him out by his back legs and he turns around and bites me hard. Then goes back after Molly. I pull him out again and get him to follow me into the house. I grab a handful of treats and toss them into the crate. He goes in after them.

I wrap a towel around my hand and arm and take Molly to the vet (because the vet’s office opens before my doctor). She’s not too bad, just a bite on her chest near a front leg and a couple nicks on her ear. We take her back home and then go to my doc’s. I get a bunch of steri-strips all over my hand and arm. She counts 20 wounds in total, some deep, some superficial, that she puts on the report to PCAS. Gilbert had been at our house about 5 weeks in total.

I cried coming home from the doc but we couldn’t put our dogs at risk. If he had gone after our old dog she would have been badly hurt. When we get back home, I put our dogs in the bedroom so I can safely take him into the yard without them interacting. He and I both still have very high levels of cortisol but he walks in the yard with me. I sit in my chair under the trees and he comes over to me. I try to check him for injuries but he doesn’t want to be handled. I don’t see any wounds. I call PCAS to come pick him up though I feel like shit doing it because I know it’s most likely a death sentence for him. When the Animal Control Officer got there, he happily walked out to the truck with me and I felt even worse.

The next day I’m even more swollen so I go to the hand surgeon. He opened the worst punctures and flushed everything out. Gilbert had also broken a bone in my hand. Gilbert was in quarantine for 10 days and failed another SAFER assessment. He was put down.

I couldn’t even talk it about for weeks. I still feel disloyal to him for sending him back to the shelter and responsible for his death. Even now, months later, I can’t think about him without crying. It will be awhile (if ever) before we can have another foster. I’m so sorry, Gilbert.

Burt and Gilbert napping sad emoticon

Happy guy in the yard

g bite 4g bite 7






First brace for a week.

First brace for a week.

Second brace for 6 weeks.

Second brace for 6 weeks.

Final brace until the bone heals.

Final brace until the bone heals.


Katy Being Normal

Katy and I did a 3-day Canine Emotional Detox with Diane Garrod. It was tough on her because even a short massage was invasive and she had a lot of trouble relaxing. We had very small break throughs over the 3 days. Then last night it was like someone flipped a switch.

The door was open for hours so the dogs could come and go. I hit my mouse on the table and it made a loud clack. Katy jumped down & scooted outside. Not standing up completely, in between a fast walk & a run. The dogs & I followed her out. She was running around the yard like a normal beagle. I praised her & said Let’s Go (cue for follow me on leash). The dogs & I went inside & she followed.

I left the door open. My dogs & I went out again; she followed us. She was running around like a normal beagle with tail wagging. She followed us back inside again. She was on the couch panting so I petted her & told her what a good girl she was. She was smiling!

This morning she’s still going in and out. No eliminating in the house. She’s spending more time behind the couch, though. When we all go out and I call her, she joins us. So she can stay there while she’s inside, if she wants. She also is spending some time under my table, which is new. It’s mid-evening and I just gave her a ttouch massage on one side of her body, her head, chest, thigh. Then I stroked her very slowly; I took 10 seconds to go the length of her back. I just kept doing it for awhile, she laid down, and I got my first big sigh from her. Then she went to sleep.

Katy – Vet Visit

Last evening she was on the couch, got down, and started walking around the end of the couch. I put her in her room & she pooped & peed on the sod almost right away. Then I let her out & she slept on the couch last night. She pooped on Candy’s bed last night. No form, loose.  She’s been completely missing the sod when she pees. She’s probably squatting on it & peeing on the floor. Whatever. At least she’s trying. When she got down last night I was hoping she had figured out she could go into her room, poop, and come back out. Guess not yet.

She went to the vet (San Francis Veterinary Hospital) today. She has whip worms & 3 doses of Panacur to take. The dew claw was just hanging on. The tech pulled it off easily & bandaged her foot. She’s a conehead for a couple days and NOT happy about it. I had conditioned the muzzle at home so it wasn’t too stressful to wear it at the vet during the exam. We went into an exam room directly from the outside so she didn’t have to wait in the reception area. She was very stressed. Her body temp was high and I could smell the fear when the vet or tech came into the room. I had taken a bath mat for the exam table to keep her from sliding around.  While we were alone, I stroked her long and slow. She calmed down and eventually laid down on the mat. The vet checked for a spay scar but couldn’t find one. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there. She’s not pregnant. With the time she was in the shelter & the length of time we’ve had her, she’d be about ready to deliver now.

When we got home, I put her in her room & took all the bedding out to wash. She was trying to get to the couch every time I opened the door. I had to get a clean cover on there, too, so I could wash the one that was there. Now she’s asleep and probably will be for awhile.

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