Archive for June 9th, 2009

Marine finds PTSD relief in a four-legged friend

Marine finds PTSD relief in a four-legged friend
Derek McQuain served several tours as a gunner in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that he is home and suffering from PTSD, he is finding relief through the help of a group called Hounds 4 Heroes and adopting a dog.
Read more on News 14 Carolina

100 dogs from Gulf Coast shelters arrive at St. Hubert’s in Madison NJ
MADISON — One hundred dogs from shelters in Louisiana that were overburdened by families giving up their pets due to financial hardships caused by the BP oil spill completed their 24-hour trek to New Jersey Friday.
Read more on Daily Record

Private Dog Park Can be Safe Alternative

Private Dog Park Can be Safe Alternative

With the increasing number of serious incidents reported at public and community dog parks, private dog parks such as Royal Paws Dog Park & Dog Day Care are quickly gaining popularity as the only safe and enjoyable choice for dogs and their owners.

The current trend is city and home communities responding to area dog owner demand by setting aside a small plot of their least desirable piece of land and designating it as the area dog park. Unfortunately these unmanaged and unregulated dog parks often turn to that of neighbor confrontation, injury and horror, even with the best of intending groups and dog owners. Let’s face it, without any oversight or enforcement, incidents are going to occur. So with this increasing number of these dog parks follow the increasing number of serious incidents being reported. The well intending community becomes the venue for headlines such as “Dog Killed” or “Child Mauled by Aggressive Dogs”. The only safe alternative is that of a well run, private dog park where it is run as a viable business. A properly designed and managed private dog park is an entirely different experience than public parks because it will include dog screening, grounds maintenance, park rules enforcement and more suitable land parcels.

The benefits to a dog at an off-leash dog park or any open area of land are immense. Unleashed running elevates heart rate, increases metabolism, improves gastrointestinal efficiency, and extends muscles and joints, all of which contributes to general overall fitness. It is known that maintaining such a healthy lifestyle for your loved dog will increase longevity and reduce risk of all associated conditions and diseases that obesity can cause. The experience for a dog in open field run is like no leashed exercise. Benefits of off-leash play beyond fitness include socialization, that is, if experienced without incident. Well exercised and well socialized dogs make better community members as they are much less likely to contribute to neighborhood nuisances like chronic barking or aggression to other dogs.

If public parks could operate as the run private dog parks do, these benefits would be available to all community dogs near any type of dog park. Unfortunately, these community or city dog parks cannot staff, screen or have the resources to manage park operations. Thus, incidents will occur, often causing loss of dog’s developed social skills and development of behavioral issues. Incidents like a dog being intimidated, bullied or even attacked by another dog will occur in parks not privately run. Such negative experiences can cause dog aggression, fear aggression or cause physical injury or death. Physical or emotional recovery of a dog from a traumatic incident requires a positive and secure environment that only a well managed private dog park can provide. The good experiences enjoyed in a well-managed private dog park is the primary reason that many loved dog owners everywhere chose private over potential chaos at a public dog park.

Even with the best of run private dog parks, the dog owners retain a high level of responsibility upon park entrance and must be willing to withstand the occasional park staff directive. They must carefully watch their dog, abide by all park rules, maintain the obedience skills of the dog and know their dog well enough to predict their dog’s behavior. Each dog owner should understand their dog’s postures, expressions and movement to be able to differentiate in off-leash situations when they are comfortable and when they are not and to identify or correct any potential troublesome behaviors. This too is critical to the enjoyment of the park by all.

While private dog parks are gaining popularity because they may be the only choice for safe and enjoyable off-leash fun, still do homework because none of the dog parks are regulated by any government agency. A good rule of thumb for any place intended to visit with a dog, learn your dog’s body language and level of social skills, have good control and be comfortable with the facility layout and staff to lessen the chances of any possible incident with your dog.

Terri Malueg-Ray, President & Founder of Royal Paws Dog Park & Dog Day Care, LLC, Alpharetta GA., Pet Tasties & Founding Partner of My Owner Has Gone to Heaven. http://royalpaws.com/

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