Category Archives: safety

More states say ‘yes’ to breaking into cars when a dog is at risk

Calendar Icon June 20, 2017
by Wayne Pacelle

Sixteen states now allow certain public officials to rescue animals in hot cars and 10 states allow members of the public to rescue animals in hot cars, provided certain steps are taken.  Photo by iStockphoto

Yesterday, I wrote about Chinese authorities stopping a truck jam-packed with 800-plus dogs bound for slaughter.  Today, I read a story about a truck with nearly 1,000 small animals crammed inside — including birds, chickens, bunnies, and guinea pigs – and left in the searing heat in Fresno County, California.  The temperature inside the truck surged to 107 degrees.  By the time the police arrived, notified by neighbors who reported an odor coming from the truck, the heat had claimed 18 animals.  Ten more died after authorities got into the vehicle and started pulling them out.

These animals were not bound for slaughter, but for sale at pet stores.  It’s a reminder of our home-grown problems here in the United States.

It’s also a reminder that with the first day of summer coming tomorrow, there are acute hazards for animals in transportation.  Cars and trucks heat up extraordinarily fast, even with the windows down, as temperatures soar outside.  Even on an 80-degree day – which residents of many parts of the country would beg for this time of year – the temperature inside a car can climb to nearly 100 degrees within 10 minutes.

Summer after summer, we shake our heads as we see a cascade of news stories about dogs dying after being left in hot cars. First responders on the scene to rescue animals left in hot cars make heartbreaking discoveries: claw marks left on the door, ripped seats, nail particles strewn in the vehicle.

In addition to building awareness that prompts better behavior, we are also attacking the problem from a policy angle.  In recent years, we’ve convinced more than half of the states to pass laws to allow private citizens to break into cars and free animals from life-threatening circumstances.  This year, lawmakers in Arizona, Colorado, and Indiana took final action on these so-called “Good Samaritan” measures, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown can sign the bill on her desk to do the same.  Sixteen states now allow certain public officials to rescue animals in hot cars (Nevada passed a bill this year to improve and expand their provisions) and 10 states allow members of the public to rescue animals in hot cars provided certain steps are taken.  Even more states grant immunity to first responders who must rescue animals in distress or prohibit leaving pets unattended altogether.

Intervention is carefully defined and kept as a last resort only to be used when all other options have been exhausted and the animal is in visible distress.  But all responsible pet parents would sacrifice a car window to save the life of their animal.  When it comes to property versus the life of an animal, that’s not a close call.

The safest thing you can do for your pet this summer is to leave him or her cool at home while you run errands.  Take the pledge to never leave your pet in a hot car.

The post More states say ‘yes’ to breaking into cars when a dog is at risk appeared first on A Humane Nation.

 

Source: A Humane Nation

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Deadly Trust

by Karen Peak

One of my early clients tragically lost her dog.  He was a sweet boy.  Very responsive, a dream to work with and the owner did her work.  We had discussed safety, using leashes on walks, etc. over our sessions.   She liked to have her dogs off leash when she hiked.  Well I used to hike with my dogs, off leash, specific areas where it was allowed at the time, and my dogs had a lot of training, proofing and testing.  Even at that, often my dogs were on leash.  That was also over twenty years ago and I have changed my views a lot since then about general safety.  You see, I knew my dogs’ limits but I cannot control other elements such as oh…  Other loose animals.  So now, I keep my dogs on leash unless it is a competition requiring off leash work.

Uhura Lure course 9 crop

One weekend this owner took her dog hiking and decided to let him off leash.  Rufus was a young guy – not even a year old.  He had just begun training.  He was far from ready for any off leash work.  As luck would have it, Rufus saw something.  He took off in the direction of a parking lot and access road.  No amount of calling got him to return.  At that moment, another vehicle pulled into the lot.  Rufus was killed.

I was called, and I have mentioned this case in other writings, to evaluate some larger dogs that killed a smaller dog.  Well the smaller dog was off leash and ran underneath the leashed larger dogs.  The smaller dog nipped and challenged the larger dogs.  The larger dogs responded.  Sadly the lawyer for the owner of the smaller dog kept interfering with my ability to get into see the dogs (I had to do the evaluation on a weekend due to the distance away and the lawyer refused to work on a weekend.)  Had the smaller dog been leashed, he never would have gone after the larger dogs.

I see many off leash dogs in my area.  Some are walking with owners while some are allowed to roam front lawns and the bordering properties.  I have watched a couple wander into the street while owners are watching.  All it takes is one incident that could have been prevented with a leash for your dog to be gone.  Another loose dog, a leashed dog your dog goes after, a child races up to pat the dog and is bitten, a squirrel…  Is it worth the risk to assume you can 100% trust your pet off the leash?

There are too many cases where a dog is fully entrusted with a child and tragedy happens. No matter what you are told, there is no real “Nanny dog” nor any breed developed to instinctively protect children.   In my research of hundreds of breeds, not one breed was developed for the sole purpose of caring for your child.  Even breeds developed for protecting hearth and home, livestock and residents needs their inherent behaviors honed.  This still does not mean the dog will be 100% tolerant of anything your child will do.  With memes and posts on social media, it is easy to see how people may be lead to think that XYZ will be the “perfect” caretaker for your child.  Then you see the stories: bites, mauling and fatalities by a family dog.  I see many dangerous things children are allowed to do that dogs are expected to tolerate.  It is frightening.  I have seen dogs expected to allow children to climb all over them, poke, hit, annoy the dogs while eating, etc.  Just because you think a dog should allow a child to do anything because of what you were told about the type, dogs in general, or your own assumptions, is not reality.

Eventually even the most tolerant dog can feel he has no other recourse than to stop the problem – his way. Now owners are shocked when a bite happens.  We should not be shocked.  These are dogs: not babysitters or toys.  They are living, thinking, responding animals.  Chances are the dog gave warning long before the bite. Is it worth the risk to assume 100% of the time your dog will never respond?

Here is where I trust my dogs 100%

I trust my dogs 100% to be dogs. I trust they will do dog things.  They will do things others find gross.  They may steal food if left unattended where they can get it.  They will chase squirrels.  They will growl when something is wrong or when playing.  If pushed too far, they may nip.  They are dogs.  My job is to have them build trust in me so they feel comfortable letting me know what is going on.  My job is not to trust but to work to increase safety for my dogs and the community. This means leashes, observation, recognizing situations that could set them up to fail and not demanding them to tolerate unfair treatment.  My duty to my dogs is to remember they are a different species with different communication and behaviors trying to exist in my life.  I can only trust that I will do all I can to make this a good relationship.

Trust is NOT a bad thing. It is how we apply our trust and our expectations that determine how situation may play out.

Karen Peak is the owner of West Wind Dog Training in Virginia and the developer of The Safe Kids/Safe Dogs Project – started in 2000.

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Source: https://westwinddogtraining.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/deadly-trust/

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Alert: US Dog Food Recalled After Discovered To Contain Fatal Dose Of Euthanasia Drug Pentobarbital

Alert: US dog food recalled after discovered to contain fatal dose of euthanasia drug

Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food has recently issues a recall on some of their products after traces of pentobarbital were found in their food.

Pentobarbital is a sedative normally used to euthanize horses, cats, and dogs.

Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Dog Food is currently the only product suspected of contamination.  The manufacturer is subsequently voluntarily recalling all Hunk of Beef items bearing lot numbers that start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB, and have an expiration date of June 2020.  The FDA reports that the second half of the bar-code should read, “20109,” and it can be located on the back of the product label.

These five lots of food are the sole focus of the recall, as they were all produced with the same lot of beef from the same supplier that is specifically used for the Hunk of Beef product.

The FDA reports that while the majority of the potentially contaminated food has been pulled from store shelves, they advise that “if consumers still have cans with the aforementioned lot numbers, he or she should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.”

So far, five dogs have reportedly been affected by consuming this tainted product, and one sadly passed away.  The deceased pup had consumed food bearing the lot number 1816E06HB13.

Talula, the pug who passed away, had eaten the food on New Year’s Eve.  Three other dogs in the same household also experienced negative effects from consuming the pentobarbital-tainted food. Mrs. Mael, the pets’ parent, commented, “I fed them one can and within 15 minutes, they were acting drunk, walking around, they couldn’t … they were falling over.”

Fortunately, Talula’s three “siblings,” Tito, Tank, and Tinkerbell, survived after an emergency trip to the vet.  Talula’s post-mortem examination revealed that pentobarbital was the cause of death.

Evanger’s has reportedly paid for all of the dogs’ medical bills and donated to an animal shelter in Talula’s honor.  The dog food company has also paid for the medical bills of two other dogs.

In a statement, Evanger’s said, “We feel that we have been let down by our supplier, and in reference to the possible presence of pentobarbital, we have let down our customers.”

The company, which claims to only use USDA-approved beef for their food, also commented that they had thought “something like this seemed impossible.”  Evanger’s has also “terminated” a 40-year relationship with their beef supplier — which also supplies to other pet food companies.

The source of contamination is still not yet known, but the company says that they will continue to investigate.  It is the first recall Evanger’s has had to issue across their 82 years in the pet food industry.  (RELATED: Learn more about toxic food ingredients at Ingredients.news)

Oddly enough, the FDA has already examined the potential side effects pentobarbital may have on pets: the federal agency has even conducted a study on how much of the sedative needs to be present in a dog’s kibble to do harm.

The research, done some 15 years ago now, concluded that the most pentobarbital a dog would likely consume was 4 micrograms per kilogram of bodyweight per day — an amount they concluded was “harmless.”  Of course, these findings only pertained to dry kibble; Hunk of Beef is a canned food.

Regardless, the FDA has suspected that pentobarbital was present in dog food for at least the last 15 years — they even noted in their study, “Presently, it is assumed that the pentobarbital residues are entering pet foods from euthanized, rendered cattle or even horses.”

While the researchers found pentobarbital poisoning to be unlikely, it has become a reality: the amount of phenobarbital in dog food — at least canned dog food — does have the potential to be harmful.

And it certainly makes you wonder:  is pentobarbital in human food, too?

Sources:

BBC.com  Feb 7 2017

NPR.org  Feb 7 2017

FDA.gov  Feb 3 2017

FDA.gov  Feb 28 2002

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5 Common Human Medications That are Dangerous to Pets

You are a fantastic pet parent. Your fur babies are always clean, well groomed, well feed, and loved.  So when a pet family member becomes sick or injured, you want to make them feel better ASAP, just as you would want for your children.  It’s only a swollen paw — I can give my animal kids a pain killer from my home medicine cabinet, right?  As easy as it would be to reach for a people pill, it’s not such a good idea.  In fact, you can end up causing more problems for pets.

There are other ways pets can get their mitts on human meds, like if you leave a bottle of headache pills or a prescription medication out on the table where pets can reach, or you unknowingly drop a pill on the floor and your dog sniffs it out and eats it.  Both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs can potentially be dangerous to our animal friends, therefore, we must take care in securing all medications at home and refrain from giving without consulting a veterinarian.  In no particular order, here are five common human medications that are dangerous to pets:

1. NSAIDs

This common household medication called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) are ibuprofen and naproxen meds like Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Naprosyn.  These medications are safe for people, but a single pill or more can cause serious harm to pets. Smaller type animals including dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, and hamsters may develop very serious stomach and intestinal ulcers, even kidney failure.  “The only pain pill we ever recommend is aspirin,” says  Dr. Justine Lee, associate director of veterinary services at the Pet Poison Hotline.

2. Acetaminophen

Tylenol, a popular type of pain medication containing acetaminophen, has been around for a long time, trusted by generations.  While acetaminophen is generally safe for children and adults, it is not for pets.  Even the smallest amount of this med ingested by a cat can cause damage to red blood cells, which leads to the inability to carry life needing oxygen. In large doses, dogs can also suffer from red blood cell damage as well as liver failure.

3. Benzodiazepines and Sleep Aids

Is your pet having trouble sleeping or seem panicky?  Do not give them human medications like Xanax, Ambien, and Lunesta, which are made to reduce anxiety and help people to sleep better.  Pets may experience completely reverse effects.  Dogs appear to be agitated and wired after ingesting sleep aids, and cats could go into liver failure when certain forms of benzodiazepines are ingested.  These drugs can also cause lethargy, disoriented walking, and labored breathing in pets.

4. Cholesterol Drugs

With label names such as Crestor and Lipitor, cholesterol medications are typically not prescribed to pets, but pets can find a way into your pill bottle.  Fortunately, if a pet swallows these meds, they will likely only experience mild vomiting or diarrhea.  But still, keep drugs out of reach as serious side effects from these drugs can come around in cases of frequent use or ingestion.

5. Antidepressants

Antidepressants must only be prescribed to pets by a professional.  A single pill has the power to cause poisoning related illness or death.  Pets overdosing on people antidepressants, like Cymbalta and Prozac, can lead to serious neurological problems including seizures and varying degrees of tremors and elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

These are just five common human medications dangerous to give to pets or for pets to ingest.  You must remember that any people medication purposely or accidentally ingested in little to excess can pose potential harm or even death to your pet.

If you know or believe your beloved pet has consumed any type of over-the-counter medication, contact your veterinarian immediately.  There are also national poison control hotlines you can call with people who are ready to help you in such an emergency.

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Celebrate Pet Safety this Memorial Day

Celebrate Pet Safety this Memorial Day

As the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day is a great excuse to get outdoors.  But whether you’re partying, barbequing, or just soaking up some rays, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind at all times.  To prevent any Memorial Day mishaps, we’ve put together some tips to help protect animals during the “Dog Days” of the season.

Party Smart
Barbequing is one of the best parts of Memorial Day, but remember that the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets.  Keep alcoholic beverages away from animals, and remind guests not to give them any table scraps or snacks.  Raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, and avocado are all common at barbeques—and they’re all especially toxic to animals.

Be Cool Near the Pool
Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers!  Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats.  Also, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains potentially dangerous chemicals like chlorine.

Skip the Spray
Unless specifically designed for animals, insect repellant and sunscreen can be toxic to pets.  Signs of repellent toxicity include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy.  DEET, a common, toxic insecticide in products for humans, may cause neurological issues in dogs.

Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so if you’re spending time outside, give them plenty of fresh, clean water and make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun.  Note that animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively.  These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

IDs, Please
Time spent outdoors comes with the added risk of pets escaping.  Make sure that your pet is fitted with a microchip or ID tag with identifying information, or both.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Happy Memorial Day weekend – have fun and be safe!

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Some states step up to prevent dog deaths in hot cars

It's dangerous to leave a dog in an unattended car. On an 80-degree day, it takes just 10 minutes for the interior of a car to heat up to 99 degrees.

It’s dangerous to leave a dog in an unattended car.
On an 80-degree day, it takes just 10 minutes for the interior of a car
to heat up to 99 degrees.

Hundreds of dogs each year perish from searing heat in unattended cars, left there by individuals who don’t understand what a risk to the animal’s life it is.  With the car windows rolled up, even on a comfortable day, temperatures can spike in a flash and a life-threatening situation can develop.  On an 80-degree day, it takes just 10 minutes for the car to heat up to 99 degrees.  It doesn’t help much to roll down the windows, and animals don’t have sweat glands to release some of that heat.

Compelled to act by substantial numbers of animal fatalities, more than 20 states and many municipalities have made it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car as part of their anti-cruelty laws.   Now, a growing number of states are fortifying their laws by allowing good Samaritans to enter vehicles to remove animals under certain circumstances.

In 2015, Tennessee made history by passing the first such law of its kind in the nation, and since then the states of Florida and Wisconsin have come on board.  A similar bill has just landed on the Ohio governor’s desk, Michigan is considering a bill allowing the rescue of dogs from hot cars, and there is a bill in California that is moving ahead with strong bipartisan support.  Virginia just passed a new law in 2016 giving civil immunity to first responders.

On Humane Lobby Day in California, supporters rally for HB 797, a bill that would allow good samaritans to enter a car to save an animal from extreme heat.

On Humane Lobby Day in California, supporters rally for HB 797, a bill that would allow good Samaritans to enter a car to save an animal from extreme heat.

Many states have good Samaritan bills addressing the dangerous problem of children left in hot cars, and we’re now catching up to make sure that pets don’t face that same threat.  Intervention is carefully defined and kept as a last resort, only to be used when all other options have been exhausted and the animal is in visible distress.  The bills also spell out what is to be done after an animal has been removed to ensure that emergency care is provided and that pets are returned to their owners appropriately.

Most people are aware of the problem, but often don’t realize that it only takes a few minutes for temperatures to mount and a dangerous situation to develop.  Putting animals at risk of an agonizing and unnecessary death in a hot car is a problem we can all agree to prevent.

Pledge to never leave your dog in a hot car »

 

 

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Take These 5 Simple Steps Before Adopting a New Pet

By Dr. Becker

The first few weeks you and your new dog spend together will shape your future relationship and forge the lifelong bond between you.

To make the most of these crucially important first days and weeks, it’s very smart to do some advance planning, including the following steps.

Image result for dog adoption

#1 – Hold a Family Meeting

Taking excellent care of a pet requires time, energy, and commitment.  To avoid either neglecting the new dog, or battles over who didn’t do what to care for him, it’s best to set everyone’s expectations ahead of time.

Before your new pet arrives, sit down with all members of your household to discuss the many details involved in becoming dog guardians.

For example, decide what family members will be responsible for which pet care chores.  Often, children ask for a pet and their parents oblige without realizing a child’s desire for a pet doesn’t always translate to a desire to take care of a pet.  Also, children need help to learn how to care for a pet properly.

Even the adults in the family, if chores aren’t assigned ahead of time, can assume it’s the responsibility of someone other than them to, for example, pick up the dog poop from the backyard.

Additional considerations:

  • If everyone in the house leaves for work or school every day, who will come in and care for the puppy?
  • Who’s on potty walk duty? How about when your new furry family member needs to go out in the middle of the night?
  • Who will feed and exercise the dog? (Meals, exercise and playtime should happen on a predictable schedule each day.)
  • Who will take him for his veterinary wellness exams?
  • Who will be taking care of trimming nails, dental care, and brushing and bathing the dog?

Dogs thrive on routine and consistency, so there are household logistics to consider, for example:

  • Where will your new dog eat her meals?
  • Where will her bowls of fresh water be placed?
  • Where will she sleep – in your bedroom? Will she sleep with you or in her own bed?
  • Will the dog be gated off from certain parts of the house? If so, how?
  • If you plan to crate train, where will you keep it?

I’m an advocate of crate training, especially for puppies, but also adult dogs.  If you haven’t already, take a look at my videos on crate training, which offer a step-by-step guide to getting your dog used to his crate.

I consider crating a very important part of keeping your dog safe when you’re not at home or can’t keep a constant eye on him.  If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of a crate, keep in mind that dogs, by nature, are den animals.  They crave being in a small, safe, dark spot.

Have the crate ready when your pet comes home.  If he’s allowed to sleep in your bed with you for several days and then you move him to a crate, he’ll likely have a more difficult time adjusting.  This is because your dog will have learned his nighttime sleeping spot is your bed.

#2 – Stock Up on Pet Supplies

I recommend purchasing all necessary pet supplies before you bring your new dog home.  This includes a leash, collar or harness, non-toxic food and water bowls, ID tag, toys, biodegradable potty bags, non-toxic bed, crate – everything you’ll need to be well-equipped when the new addition arrives.

I also strongly recommend you keep your dog on the same food she’s been eating, even if it’s poor quality, as you transition to a healthier type of food.  Your home may be a blessed improvement over what your dog been used to, but her body will still interpret this wonderful change in circumstances as stressful.  Change, whether good or bad, gets translated as stress in your pet’s body.

Puppies, in particular, experience a lot of stress because they’re being separated from their mom and littermates for the first time.  They’re also changing environments – often both indoor and outdoor environments – which can bring new allergens that affect their immune system.

Your new dog has a brand new family of humans and often other four-legged members as well.  The last thing her body needs right now is a brand new diet that might cause tummy problems.

That’s why I recommend you continue to feed whatever diet your pet is currently eating, and then slowly wean her onto a better quality diet after she settles in.

#3 – Dog Proof Your Home and Yard

This is definitely something you’ll want to do before bringing your new dog home with you.  You might not think of everything you need to do right off the bat, but at a minimum, you should move cords out of reach, plus plants and other hazardous temptations.

If you’re bringing home a puppy, you’ll have a built-in incentive for keeping a neat, clean house, because if it’s been lost or left behind, puppy will find it!

Pet-proofing your home before your new canine companion arrives is the best way to prevent choking, vomiting, diarrhea or another crisis during those important first few weeks.

If your dog will be in your yard off-leash, you’ll want to insure there’s no way he can escape.  You’ll also want to avoid using herbicides or pesticides, make sure there are no potentially toxic plants growing, and clear away any brush and debris that could harbor pests during the warmer months of the year.

#4 – Arrange for Your New Dog’s Schooling

Whether your new canine companion is a puppy or an adult dog, you’ll want to get her socialization underway as soon as you bring her home, along with basic obedience training.  The best time to start puppy play groups is at 8 weeks of age, then moving on to puppy kindergarten, beginning, intermediate and advanced obedience classes.  These are essential elements in raising a well-balanced dog.

What I tell new dog parents is if you bring home a dog but don’t plan to socialize or educate her properly, it’s a lot like having a child and deciding not to allow her to make friends, have adventures, or attend school.  And starting puppy class at 6 months of age is like beginning to parent your child on her 14th birthday; there will be some behaviors that will be hard to correct.

Puppies and dogs are educated about the world through socialization early on with other people, dogs, cats, and environments outside their houses.  Dogs that don’t get out of their home environment long before 6 months of age often wind up with developmental or social difficulties later in life.

There’s a period of time in every puppy’s life, typically from 6 to 12 weeks of age, during which mental and social development is most achievable.  If your pet isn’t socialized during that time, it can set the stage for problems years down the road.

If you adopted your dog from a shelter or rescue organization, she may have some behavior problems, fears, or lack basic training.  Many dogs abandoned to shelters weren’t given the best care, and staying in a shelter environment for any length of time can also have an effect on an animal’s behavior.

Because your dog may come to you with emotional or behavioral baggage, you should be prepared to put in the time and effort required to help her succeed in her new life with you.  Behavior modification using a positive reward system is the key to encouraging good behavior.

You may be able to accomplish this on your own, or you may need the help of a veterinarian or an animal behavior specialist.  Most importantly, you may correct one training issue only to find another fear or phobia pop up 4 months later; hang in there with positive behavior modification until you see the desired results.

There’s a wonderful program I recommend to all new parents of adopted or rescued pets that helps dogs adjust to a new home in the least stressful manner.  You can find it at A Sound Beginning, and you can immediately begin using the book’s tips and tricks and the calming music CD on your dog’s first day home.

#5 – Give Your New Dog Time to Adjust and Lots of Positive Attention

I always recommend that dog guardians take at least a few days off from work – preferably a week – to properly welcome a new pet home.  It will take some time for your puppy or dog to get acclimated to his new environment and into a consistent daily routine.

If you’re gone from home for several hours most days, I also recommend arranging for a regular dog walker or doggy daycare a few days a week.  Most dogs have difficulty spending hours alone every day with no one around and nothing to do.  This goes double for new canine family members, and triple for dogs who have just come from a shelter environment.

The more time you’re able to spend with your new canine companion giving him lots of positive attention and teaching him the rules and routines in his new home and life, the better the outcome for both of you.

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