Archives for August 2010

10 Pet Websites You Might Have Missed

espresso in agility

Photo of Expresso courtesy of  Stephen Mech

This is a guest post from Margo Smith

Healthy Pet
Get the information you truly require to keep your pets healthy and happy at this site awarded for its excellence by the Veterinarian’s Association. Incorporated into this site’s contributions are sections discussing issues like traveling with your pet, selecting a pet for you and your family and so much more. Become a part of the society of pet enthusiasts at this superlative website.

Care for Pets (AVMA)
Let the vets teach you how to best care for your pet. Be part of the dialogue by frequenting this site. Find journal articles on the most pressing and current and issues for pet owners today. Learn the appropriate do’s and don’ts for your animals from the care for animals page. Be well informed and become a more conscientious pet owner with the helpful topics covered both for you and your pet.

Pet Welcome
If you will soon be taking a vacation don’t forget to go to this site for useful suggestions. They feature places where your pet will be allowed to accompany you on your journey. If it is not practical to take along your beloved pet, this site will point you to various people and places where your dear animal will be given the kind of tender care you are seeking. Check in to see if your concern is treated by the bulletin board they offer their readers.

Pet Forums 2000
If you want to be able to discuss your questions about your pet, or tell about the latest antics performed by your pets, stop by and become part of the various forums here. You’ll be sure to have lots to say if you own a bird, rabbit, cat, hamster or dog at these pet-centered round-table discussions. Maybe you’ll wish to start a new conversation and begin your own group via this website.

Providing you with stores internationally, and ranked among the top 500 U.S. businesses, you are sure to find an animal to love by visiting their site or their stores. Find links to their community service projects, enjoy their kids corner and learn about your own franchise if you’d like to open your very own pet store.

Second Chance Pet Adoption
When you or someone you know is interested in becoming a pet owner, or you want to give a good home to a homeless creature, be sure you don’t miss this site. See their calendar of events and browse the cute animals. They specialize in kittens and their home base is in Illinois.

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP)
This website for CAP (Citizens for Animal Protection) founded in 1972, is geared to help animals in a multitude of ways. Become acquainted with their shelter, adoption, foster care, rescue and other invaluable services to animals in need. CAP also gives you a pertinent community outreach program and humane education for proper care of animals.

This service and website has been available since 2004, giving you a place to find all kinds of animals to bring into your home to love. Read their newly launched blog, scan their free pet resources section for items that interest you. They also feature an entire directory of pets – find just the right one.

Homeward Pet
Located in Washington, Homeward Pet Adoption Center is a no-kill, not for profit animal shelter serving the entire Seattle area. They aim to give homeless animals a second chance through their rescue, shelter, and adoption programs.

Simple Pet Care
Stumble on an assorted range of facts for passionate pet fans here. Topics vary from suggestions for careers for animal lovers to an overview of breeds of dogs that make great pets. Find out about which puppy food is best or the preferred method for choosing the best bird cage for your feathered friend with the information contained here.

About the Author: Margo Smith graduated with a B.S. degree from BYU. Working through college and being in the corporate world give her a great deal to say about subjects as diverse as employee motivation to online schooling to kite making.

What do I do if my pet is afraid of the clicker?

i-clicker dog training clicker

Above: Marker brand known as the i-clicker

Clicker fear? Is your pet afraid of the sound of a clicker? Believe it or not, it isn’t that uncommon.

When I first began using secondary reinforcers (or a tool more commonly referred to as a “marker”) there were not any clickers specifically on the market for trainers.

brass frog clickerSo, we coveted those brass ones from Asia and those little alligator party toys plus any little party toy that we came across.

I still have my brass frog and one of my alligators from the 1970s but my original training bag went missing with my buzzers, large cat chains (leashes for tigers and lions) and sea lion training bucket. *sigh*

Today there are a lot of choices when it comes to clickers but some animals exhibit fear when they first are introduced to the click.
alligator clicker

There are a few different solutions but the first thing I want to point out that a marker does not have to be a clicker.

Normally I have people use a particular word to mark the behavior but you can use a tongue click, a click-able pen, or you can get a bit innovative.

Sometimes people mistakenly use the clicker as they would a remote control.bicycle buzzer

This does not control the behavior of the pet! LOL

But it can scare an animal.

So, the first thing to do is to train the pet to the sound using established associations.

For instance, when you are getting ready to put down the food bowl during feeding time, use a clicker once or twice while you prepare the food if the animal is present, or just prior to putting the food bowl down.

Over time, the click becomes a positive association and you can begin to use it before giving treats and then transition to “charging the marker” (another post for the future).

Also, consider muffling the sound by placing it in your pocket or by muffling it with a wash cloth.

Some trainers have used layers of tape and gradually remove them, which slowly increases the volume of the click.

Today people tend to be a bit polarized and want to label themselves…clicker trainer is one such moniker.

ark lady's training whistleBut I want to point out that you can just as easily train an animal using a training whistletraining light, just as easily as you could do something else.

If you want, you can now pick from an assortment of clickers or use the versatile i-clicker. (The Clicker+ is currently off the market but offered a variety of tones to select from.)

I often use a voice marker but my adapted training whistle (on a chain around my neck with a bit of aquarium tubing that allows me to hold it in my mouth and still talk) or the clicker attached on my training bag all can be used easily and effectively.

The key to successful animal training is to be sure that your training subject develops trust and is comfortable so he or she can learn.

Take time to take the steps to develop that trust and be flexible enough to try something else if your pet (or other animal student) is not receptive to the use of a clicker.

Let me know about your successes or challenges in training an animal to accept a clicker in the comments below.