[frame src=”http://www.thatmutt.com/web/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Ace-and-me-Farfetched-Apparel-e1456424872993.jpg” target=”_self” width=”620″ height=”343″ alt=”Me and my dog Ace modeling Farfetched Apparel” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”] Note: Farfetched Apparel and I have partnered to bring you this post and giveaway!
Leave a comment to enter to win a FREE t-shirt of your choice. Three winners. Click here.
Farfetched Apparel is a men's and women's clothing and accessories brand for crazy dog people.
Its comical designs are inspired by rescue dogs and giving back. Every month Farfetched Apparel donates 10 percent of all proceeds to an animal charity partner. It also donates 100 percent of proceeds from its #DOGood T-shirt collection.
Products from Farfetched include clothing such as men's and women's tees, women's tanks, fleece hoodies, hats, leggings and beanies. The company even makes t-shirts for dogs!
Farfetched Apparel is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company was launched in 2015 by animal lovers and “adopted dog parents.”
From its web site:
[quote_right]”Our designs are aimed at giving passionate dog lovers of the world a voice they can wear and display proudly.”[/quote_right]”We believe in aesthetics that are a bit out of the ordinary and comical – qualities we see in our rescue dogs and ourselves. Our designs are aimed at giving passionate dog lovers of the world a voice they can wear and display proudly. Caring Never Looked So Good.”
The company sent me one of its t-shirts (Ace and I are modeling it in this post), a mug and a tote bag.
The products are all high-quality. I love my “Coffee & Dogs” mug and here in Solana Beach (where plastic bags are practically illegal), tote bags always come in handy!
The t-shirt is soft and comfy, made with 100 percent combed cotton. I would definitely order another. I'd just go with a size larger (large). I know I'm not very big, but the medium was pretty snug on me as you can see. Just depends on your style, and the company is available to help with any sizing questions through its live chat box in the bottom right of its web site.
Farfetched Apparel's #DOGood Collection
While 10 percent of all of Farfetched's proceeds go to help animal charities, sometimes dog lovers would like to make a larger impact.
100 percent of the proceeds from all of Farfetched Apparel's #DOGood Collection go directly to animal charities.
Each month, the company chooses a different charity partner. The March partner is Arizona Humane Society.
The limited edition #DOGood collection currently includes the official #DOGood unisex t-shirt for $36.99. It comes in several different colors including gray, black, pink and white. I really love this aqua color.
Giveaway – Win a FREE t-shirt from Farfetched
Farfetched Apparel is giving away a FREE t-shirt to three readers of That Mutt.
*Congrats to Sheila S., Allison H. and Jim Bollin
To enter, just leave a comment below to let me know you'd like IN. Which shirt do you like the best? The winners will be able to choose the size and style from any of the available unisex t-shirts. See them all here.
Three winners will be chosen at random on Sunday March 6. Must have a U.S. mailing address to win.
Which shirt or other product is your favorite?
Would you like to win a free t-shirt? Let me know in the comments!
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No, it's not cruel, but it is unnecessary for most dogs.
Docking a puppy’s tail means to remove a portion of the tail, usually when the pup is only a few days old.
Breeds such as cocker spaniels and Rottweilers traditionally have their tails docked in the United States. (Tail docking is illegal in some countries.)
I bring this topic up because we have a Weimaraner puppy. His tail was docked when he was just a few days old.
His tail meets the American Kennel Club’s breed standard for the Weimaraner:
“Tail: Docked. At maturity it should measure approximately 6 inches with a tendency to be light rather than heavy and should be carried in a manner expressing confidence and sound temperament. A non-docked tail shall be penalized.”
I knew our breeder would be docking our puppy’s tail (she does it herself). If that were a problem for me, I would’ve gotten a puppy someplace else.
Why are some dogs’ tails docked in the United States?
You’re going to get a different answer depending on who you ask and what breed you’re referring to.
I’m no breed expert, but here are some straightforward reasons for docking a dog's tail:
To meet the AKC’s breed standard (see the Weim example above)
To help a working dog do her job or to prevent injury on the job. For example, a Weimaraner’s thin, whiplike tail could be split open while working in heavy brush.
Americans like the look of a docked tail on some breeds because that’s what we’re used to seeing (cocker spaniels, Rottweilers, etc.)
If you’re an expert on a certain breed, I’d appreciate it if you could share why your breed traditionally has a docked tail.
Every breed is different. Here are a few examples:
The vizsla as a working dog
The vizsla is a reddish-colored hunting dog bred for pointing and retrieving. The breed has a lot of similarities to a Weimaraner.
[quote_right]A long tail could easily get broken while running through thick underbrush … [/quote_right]According to breeder Florence Duggan, the vizsla’s tail is traditionally docked in the United States for safety reasons.
“A long tail could easily get broken while running through thick underbrush and in a heavily wooded area,” she said. “The same reasoning is used for the removal of dew claws.”
Now, injuring the tail in the field might sound silly if you never take your dog hunting. Until you've seen a serious tail injury like I have, I think it's hard to understand this can be a real concern for some breeds. More on that below.
The Parson Russell terrier as a working dog
Annette Gilliam is a breeder of Parson Russell terriers, another breed with a traditionally docked tail in the United States due to its history as a working dog. Her dogs are not pictured, but you can view her web site here.
She said historically the Parson Russell terrier was developed to go on fox hunts in England.
The “terrier-man” would carry the terrier in a bag while riding horseback running with the fox hound, she said. When the fox would go into a hole in the ground to hide, the terrier-man would take the terrier out and it would run into the hole after the fox to make it come out.
She said if the fox and the terrier did not come out of the hole, the terrier-man would dig and pull the terrier out by the tail. This is why they wanted the tail to be as long as a man’s hand.
“It is not physically necessary to dock tails now anywhere,” she said. “Some people like the look so they still do it.”
How is tail docking typically done?
Gilliam said she docks the Parson Russell terrier pups herself when they are between 3 and 5 days old, although she sometimes leaves tails undocked depending on who is buying the puppies.
“You clamp a hemostat where you want to dock, wait 1 to 2 minutes for circulation to cease, then cut with sharp scissors below the hemostat,” she said. “They never bleed.”
[quote_center]You clamp a hemostat where you want to dock, wait 1 to 2 minutes for circulation to cease, then cut with sharp scissors …[/quote_center]
Is this painful for the puppies? I asked.
“Some puppies yelp when the hemostat is first applied, but then they stop,” she said. “Some don't notice. They don't feel the cut because the nerves are numbed by the hemostat.”
This isn’t the only way it’s done.
Our puppy’s breeder sends me pictures of the pups every day, and by day 3 the little guy had a band tightly bound around the tip of his tail.
I have to say this was a bit traumatizing for me at first. But a few days later, the tip appeared to have already fallen off (or maybe it was cut off), seemingly no big deal.
She sends me videos of the puppies snuggling with mom almost daily, and they always appear peaceful, fat and happy.
Tail docking through a veterinarian
Duggan said some vizsla breeders also dock the tails themselves but most use the services of a vet and have tails docked and dew claws removed at the same time.
I asked her if vets typically use anesthesia for the tail docking procedure.
“Some vets do use a local anesthetic,” she said. “But many feel that if it is done at 3 days of age the pain is minimal and there is no need for anesthesia. The risks of being anesthetized outweigh the minimal pain.”
Gilliam also knows of breeders who prefer to go through a veterinarian and some who prefer to do it themselves.
“I think that people who don't breed much are more likely to go to a vet or have an experienced breeder friend do it for them,” she said.
In her case, she said she had a friend and mentor who would come and do the tail docking until she learned the technique herself.
The time I witnessed a tail injury
One of the reasons commonly cited for tail docking is to prevent injury in the field for hunting dogs. I think this is a legitimate concern, depending on the kind of work you plan to do with your dog.
[quote_right]She had split the tail so that the top 3 inches was dangling …[/quote_right]I've never witnessed a dog being injured in the field (I don't hunt), but years ago I worked at a boarding kennel and one of the dogs there – a yellow Lab with a whip of a tail – would hit her tail on the chain link sides of her pen until it bled.
We tried to protect her by hanging blankets, but one afternoon I walked by her pen and noticed blood everywhere and as I got closer I saw she had split the tail so that the top 3 inches was dangling, split right through the bone.
Imagine if you were to chop down a tree, striking it through the middle and for a split second it hangs before dividing in two.
The top 3 inches of her tail was dangling, bone exposed.
I took her to the vet of course, trying to hold her tail at the base in the lobby to keep her still.
The vet took one look at the pup and immediately said the tail would have to be amputated; that was the first time I heard the term “happy tail.”
I’ve heard it many times since.
My own dog Ace hits his tail on the walls by the front door and about every two years or so blood splatters everywhere. It's never a big deal and never requires veterinary attention, but he does tend to injure his tail.
Maybe it's a Lab thing. Funny, Labs are not a breed with traditionally docked tails.
My opinion on tail docking
I'm not trying to justify tail docking one way or the other. I think it's a matter of individual opinion and looking at your lifestyle with your own unique dog.
Most of the time, tail docking is purely cosmetic (and silly). But like I said, our puppy's tail is already docked, and I really could care less. If it were up to me, he'd have a long tail but I respect our breeder's wishes.
To each her own.
Update: I do want to mention one final point. One of my regular readers Sean pointed out in the comments below that dogs use their tails to communicate! Their tails are so important for expressing probably even more than we realize, especially when they're greeting one another. I agree with him this is an important factor to consider and a strong reason many dog lovers oppose tail docking.
OK, now I'd love to hear your thoughts …
What do you think? Is it cruel to dock a puppy's tail? Or is it still important?
This is not a potty training issue. It’s an issue related to excitement, nervousness or submission.
This can happen with male or female dogs and in adult dogs or puppies. Some puppies grow out of it as they gain confidence or become calmer.
This post will cover some ideas you can use to manage or even prevent your dog from peeing due to nervousness or excitement.
How to tell the difference between submissive peeing vs. excited peeing
There is a difference between peeing due to nervousness/submission and peeing from excitement, but it’s not always easy to tell. And some dogs pee when they’re nervous AND when they're excited!
When a dog is peeing due to submission, nervousness or fear, it is more of an appeasing behavior – “I respect you” or “I mean no harm” but excitement can also trigger the peeing.
Submissive urination is more likely to happen when you crouch down or try to touch your dog or make direct eye contact. For example, he might squat and pee as you try to pick him up or try to put on his leash or even as you try to let him out of his crate.
Submissive urination can happen with male or female dogs of all ages (puppies and adults). You may notice it when your pup greets other dogs on walks or when visitors come to your door and greet your dog.
Some puppies grow out of it. Some don’t. I had a golden that did this all her life.
Peeing due to excitement!
When a dog is peeing due to excitement, it is just that – excitement and losing control. This seems to be much more common in puppies and young dogs than in adult dogs but it can happen with adults too.
The best way to help your dog through this problem is to remain CALM during greetings.
How to stop submissive urination or excited urination in dogs
Well, you can’t necessarily stop it but you can manage it. Here are some ideas to try:
In general …
1. Take her outside more often for walks and potty breaks.
That way her bladder will be empty more often and she’ll be less likely to pee in the house when someone walks through the door.
2. Limit excitement when you come home.
Don’t acknowledge your pup when you first come home, and ask other family members to do the same. Give her 20 minutes to calm down. Don’t look at her, touch her or even acknowledge her in any way. Wait until she is calm before you give her any attention. Or, if you have a fenced yard, go directly outside to greet her there.
3. Use a crate.
A crate or baby gate can be helpful for keeping your dog confined to a certain area. That way, when you return home she won’t be able to run up and greet you and start peeing. You can give her 10 or 20 minutes to calm down before you go to her.
4. Don’t react to the behavior.
As frustrating as it is, it’s best not to punish or scold your dog for submissive or excited peeing. She can’t help it. Scolding her will just make her even more nervous. Coddling or reassuring her just adds unneeded attention and excitement.
It’s best not to react at all. Just calmly clean up the mess.
5. Build your dog’s confidence.
The easiest way to build up a dog's confidence is to work on some solid obedience skills at home and then slowly work on those skills in more challenging areas. Things like sit, stay, down, come, heel, watch me, leave it.
Agility or obedience classes can really help build a dog's confidence. Slowly taking your dog out and about to more places can also help.
6. Increase her physical exercise.
This will help decrease excess energy – the calmer the better!
7. Don’t pet his head or back.
Pet him under his chin so you’re not reaching over him. If you crouch down, do so from the side vs. head on.
8. If she pees when you put the leash or collar on …
Try using a slip lead you can quickly toss around her neck with minimal contact or possibly a harness with a top hook you can quickly clip. Keep her collar or harness on all the time during the day so you can get the leash on faster and with minimal contact.
9. If she pees as you approach her kennel/crate …
Try approaching from the side vs. head on. And try not to crouch down at her level. Avoid direct eye contact. Just quickly open the crate’s door and then turn away from your dog and head outside or ignore her for a few minutes.
Tips for when your dog greets visitors:
Train your dog to stay on her bed or in her crate when visitors arrive at your door. She’ll generally be calmer and more secure there.
Train visitors to ignore your puppy when they arrive. Ask them not to touch her, look at her or acknowledge her until she is calm, maybe 45 minutes after they arrive. If needed, it’s probably easier to keep your pup in her crate when they first arrive and have her greet the guests outside once she’s calmed down.
Have visitors greet your dog in a room with hard floors (easier cleanup) or outside.
Warn guests of your dog’s issue and ask them not to respond if she does pee. Most people tend to make a big show of it “Oh my gosh!” or “Oh poor baby!” Not reacting at all is best.
– Just because a dog shows nervousness/fear or submission doesn’t mean she was abused. It’s more likely related to her personality, a lack of socialization or a lack of confidence.
– You can use a dog diaper if needed. A belly band also works for male dogs. This is basically a male diaper that fits around the belly.
Other possibilities to consider:
Bladder infection or urinary tract infection
Dogs with bladder infections tend to urinate in small amounts here and there because I imagine they feel like they have to pee all the time (if you’ve ever experienced a UTI you know what I mean!). Always good to rule this out with your pup’s vet if you’re not sure.
Marking is very different from excited peeing or submissive peeing, but some dog owners can’t tell the difference.
With marking, there is usually leg lifting (males and females) and sniffing beforehand. It’s usually to pee over or mark a certain smell or to claim territory. Your dog may be marking if you’ve had lots of other dogs or cats in your home.
Dog shelters and rescue groups put too much emphasis on finding “forever homes.”
A “forever home” means the dog will live with that same family for the rest of her life.
The dog will never be surrendered to a shelter, re-homed or abandoned.
Yes, this sounds great. Ideally, every dog would be loved by the same family all her life in a “forever home.”
But this is not reality.
Circumstances change; sometimes finding a new family is best for the dog.
Three reasons why I don't use the phrase ‘forever home':
1.Circumstances change. Re-homing a pet is sometimes the best choice, even if you love your dog very much. Re-homing a dog does not make someone a bad dog owner.
2.The phrase can be hurtful. Sometimes people love their dogs very much but can't keep them for whatever reason.
3.Dogs don't truly NEED forever homes. Most dogs actually adapt quite easily to new families. In that sense, “forever home” is designed around people – to make us feel good about ourselves. It's not necessarily in the best interest of the dogs.
I am forever grateful for my dog Ace's previous owner in Ada, Minn.
She did not provide “Junior” with a forever home. Instead, she gave him a solid start in life and then helped him find a different one with me.
My dog has known nothing but love, consistency and safety throughout his 10 years, in part because of his previous owner.
I hope she has gone out and gotten a new dog since then, if her circumstances are right for it now.
I am lucky to have a stable life with a support system – my husband, parents, siblings and good friends. I have steady employment and good health. I can afford the things I need, and I live in a nice community.
I'm lucky I have never once had to consider re-homing any of my animals, but this could change someday.
It's OK if you don't provide a ‘forever home'
I would love for every dog and cat to have a “forever home.”
However, if every dog or cat is loved and given the care she needs, then that works too. Sometimes that means staying in the same home forever. Sometimes that means living in two or three different homes; that's OK too.
There's a stigma that if you don't keep your pet “forever” and you “dump” him at a shelter you are a bad person – unworthy of loving a dog, even.
[quote_right]Let's offer support when needed to keep pets and families together longer and to find new homes when appropriate.[/quote_right]It's common practice for rescue groups to reject people from adopting if they admit to re-homing an animal in the past, regardless of circumstances. This is not helpful for the dogs in need of homes today. It's not helpful for the people can provide a good home today.
Yes, sometimes people truly do abandon their pets for unfair or selfish reasons. A small percentage of people do bad things. We will never be able to change that.
But it's far more common for people to re-home their pets responsibly by finding them new homes themselves or by working with the right shelter or rescue group when needed.
We can't criticize people for doing the right thing.
Rather than finding a dog a forever home, let's find her a TODAY home.
Let's offer support when needed to keep pets and families together longer and to find new homes when appropriate. This could be as simple as donating a bag of dog food to a pet food bank or volunteering at a low-cost vaccination event. It could mean supporting affordable dog training classes or donating to a low-cost spay/neuter clinic.
Yes, I agree. Forever homes are great.
But loving our animals, doing the best we can and adapting to current circumstances – that is reality.
What's your take on this?
Have you ever re-homed a pet or known someone who has?
Let me know in the comments if you would consider dropping the phrase “forever home.”
This post will go over some reasons NOT to use an electric fence for dogs.
I’m actually a fan of electric fences for dogs, either the underground “invisible” fence variety or the newer, wireless versions. You can read one of my posts in support of electronic fences here.
(I know the correct term is electronic fence, but most people incorrectly say electric).
Electronic fences have worked well for my family’s dogs over the last 15 years, allowing our dogs years of off-leash freedom. This allowed them to be a much more central part of our lives because they got to be out with us.
You might wonder:
Why would you need an electric fence?
Why not just put up a physical fence?
For us, there are two reasons:
It would not be practical to put up a physical fence around the whole property. It’s too much space. This would be too expensive and would also look bad.
My parents live on lakefront property. It wouldn’t make sense to fence in the back yard with a physical fence because it’s right on the lake.
Still, there are some issues with electric fences, so I thought I’d address some of them here.
Using a shock/e-collar is NOT one of my reasons. There’s nothing wrong with e-collars when used properly. The “correction” is used to get the dog’s attention and is not meant to cause pain. It’s similar to a vibrating cellphone – a bit startling!
If you’re worried about the intensity of the correction, always test it on yourself first (I always do). If e-collars make you uncomfortable, don’t use them! No one said you have to use them! See my post: Using shock collars for dog training.
Some reasons not to use an electric fence for dogs
(Most of these can be avoided with proper, consistent training)
1. Dogs can get out of electronic fences.
There’s always that chance that your dog is going to run right through the boundary after something he can’t resist such as a prey animal or a family member or a cat or whatever it might be. Proper training can help decrease the chances, but in reality some dogs get out of electric fences.
How to prevent this:
Don’t leave your dog out in the fence when you’re not home so you can check in on your dog.
Test the e-collar’s battery every day.
Brush up on training every week.
*There’s always a chance dogs can get out of any physical fence as well. Dogs can climb over, dig under or break through a fence. Plus, a neighbor or contract worker or child could leave the gate unlocked or wide open by accident. In some ways, electronic fences are more reliable than physical fences. Every dog and every situation is different. No fence is 100 percent reliable.
**I hear a lot of arguments about the high numbers of lost/stray dogs that have gotten out of electronic fences. There are no statistics on this but I would argue there are far more dogs that get out of physical fences or slip their collars than there are dogs that get out of electric fences.
2. Dogs can get out and might be scared to re-enter the electric fence’s boundary.
If your dog does happen to cross the boundary, he might be afraid to re-enter because he would likely receive a second “correction” for re-crossing the boundary. This may not be the case with ALL systems (I’m not sure), but the dog might still be afraid to re-cross regardless.
3. Electronic fences can quit working as with any electronic device.
With anything electronic, there’s always that chance for malfunction. The battery could die, there could be a power outage (most have a battery backup but that can malfunction too) or the system could just break for whatever reason.
4. Electric fences don’t keep other pets/animals/people out.
Sometimes the point of a fence is to keep neighbor dogs or neighbor kids out of your yard for whatever reason. Without a barrier, obviously other animals and people have easy access to your yard and your dog. This could be a problem if your dog is aggressive to strangers or if neighbor dogs/stray dogs are aggressive to your dog.
How to avoid this:
Only have your dog in the yard when you’re able to supervise. Keep him inside when you’re not home.
5. Electric fences require dedicated, consistent training.
Some dogs need two weeks to a month to fully understand the electric fence system. The training process is actually very simple, but it does require time and consistency from the owner’s part like all training. You can’t just slap the collar on your dog and expect him to figure it out.
The training process involves setting up training flags to mark the boundaries and putting the collar on warning tone only. Using a leash, walk your dog to the boundary until you hear the warning tone. Use a command like “get back” and move back with your dog, rewarding him with food and praise. “Good boy!” See my full post on training a dog to use an electronic fence.
Blogger Lindsay Stordahl Lindsay Stordahl (with her mutt Ace) is the blogger behind That Mutt.
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