DIY Dog Halter

I swear that one of the best inventions that I have ever used with my dog is a dog halter (aka Halti or Gentle Leader).  For those of you that aren’t familiar with a dog halter, it’s kind of like a horse halter, but for dogs.  The halter goes around the dogs muzzle and behind it’s ears and the leash attaches at the bottom of the halter.  It doesn’t go around the neck so you don’t have to worry about choking your dog, especially if you have a dog that pulls.

We use the halter with our dog because she’s a herder and she tries to chase squirrels every chance she gets. If you put Sadie on a normal leash she pulls and pulls and pulls which makes taking walks or going anywhere kind of unpleasant. When she puts her halter on (as much as she hates it) she is a perfect little lady.

This weekend my husband took my vehicle and left me his to take the kiddo and dog to the park, totally fine, except that Sadie’s leash and halter were still in my car when he left.  I had already told both child and dog we were going to the park and they were both running around the house excited, so backing out wasn’t an option.  I grabbed some medium weight rope from the yard and decided to fashion my own halter for the dog before we headed out.  It was really fairly simple.  I made a loop around her nose, then crossed the rope and pulled it up around her head behind her ears and tied my knot.  I pulled it off her and threw it in the car with us and went to the park.  It worked like a charm.

diy halter

I often see people with large dogs that are literally being dragged by their dogs.  I used to be one of those people.  I dogsat for some people who trained service dogs and was introduced to the Gentle Leader.  I tried it on our dog and after the initial breaking in period I became a huge fan and decided to never go back to another type of leash method.   I will warn you if you are going to use the head halter on your dog there is a breaking in period.  The first time we took our dog out in public with the halter on she kept trying to get it off.  She put both of her paws in the halter and flipped a few somersaults in an attempt to get “the thing” off her face.  It was quite entertaining to the passerbyers while I stood wide-eyed and mortified watching.  She eventually figured out she couldn’t get it off and is now okay with it for the most part.  She will still occasionally try to rub it off on your leg if you stop to pet her while she has it on, but for the most part, she is fine with it.

One other thing I will warn you about if you decided to give a halter a try is that uneducated people you run into on your outings will think it’s a muzzle.  I’ve exchanged more than a few heated words with people who have screamed at their children “No don’t pet that dog, it’s wearing a muzzle!” Because you know I’d take my dog that needs to be muzzled to a public park filled with people, small children, and other dogs while I also am toting around my own small child.  (Ok, there are some idiots who might try that, but I am not one of them.)  I just try to educate the people that it’s a training tool, like a horse halter and that the only thing you have to worry about with Sadie if your a small child is getting licked in the face.

Advertisements

5 Ways Pets Prepared Me for Motherhood

For years I worked in animal rescue and when I finally took the plunge from fur babies to human babies I quickly learned that those years in animal rescue helped prepare me for the adventures of motherhood (or did they?)

Grooming

You would think clipping hundreds of tiny little cat claws and dog nails would help prepare you for the task of trying to clip tiny little human nails. I’ll take trimming a critter’s nails over those of a squirmy little babe any day. At least with the critters you can wrap them in a towel or lie on top of them and accomplish the job in one sitting. (I don’t think CPS would take too kindly if you tried these methods with your mini human). When trimming the nails of a toddler I am lucky to get one hand’s worth of nails total in one sitting, it takes all week to get all 20 little fingers and toes trimmed and by the time you do accomplish this feat, it’s time to start over.

Rise and Shine

I had a diabetic cat for a period of time that required insulin shots in the morning and evening with his morning and evening meal. This cat would wake me up every morning by sitting on the pillow and meowing next to my head. If I would shoo him away he would sit in the hallway (just outside of sock throwing range) and continue his serenade until I would get my lazy butt out of bed to give him his shot and his breakfast. This helped prepare me for a toddler who bounces awake first thing in the morning, pulls all my covers off, grabs my hand and tugs me out of bed.  (In all honestly both ways are more effective than the alarm clock that has a snooze button.)

Rules Boundaries and Limitations

According to expert dog trainer, Cesar Milan when training dogs you need to give them rules, boundaries, and limitations.  His same theory can be applied to training; um, I mean teaching, your toddlers and small children. You must be the pack leader. You set the rules for the child and if they do not follow the rules they can go to time out (although I don’t suggest using the dog kennel for the child’s time out, again CPS might frown upon this practice). Repetition will be required. When your child masters following commands, um, I mean behaving properly, a trip to the park is a great reward. Unlike with pups I do not recommend using food as a reward during training with children (unless it’s broccoli and mini carrots).

Poo

If you have pets you are already somewhat of an expert at poo, or so you think. Let me warn you cleaning cat boxes and picking up poo in the yard is nothing compared to the bowels of a baby. Hand me the litter scoop and doggie bags any day because I’d much rather clean up that mess than the one in my child’s diaper. I did quickly learn, though, the doggie poo bags are excellent for bagging dirty, smelly diapers.  I promise you one of the best tricks I ever learned was keeping a roll of doggie poo bags in the diaper bag, you never know when they will come in handy.

Unconditional Love

One thing that’s great about our pets is that they shower us with unconditional love. Dogs are super happy to see us when we get home every day, drowning us in slobbery kisses and cats will rub against your legs and purr (especially if you’re near the food bowl to show us they at least tolerate our presence in their house). A child’s response to us is even more heartwarming. Their little eyes light up when we pick them up from daycare and they run uncontrollably around the room screaming and expressing their joy at our return. They throw their little arms around us and smile and laugh. It is in those little smiles and laughs and the almost bursting fullness you feel in your heart that will lead you to realize that this is a love that your pets never even came close to preparing you for.

2171_1091261634673_1642_n Nate Baby

Texas Litter Control Needs Your Help!

531344_3448156915582_1406465445_n

One of my favorite rescues and low cost spay neuter clinic, Texas Litter Control, needs your help!!!

http://www.gofundme.com/texaslittercontrol

Texas Litter Control has outgrown it’s building. If you do not know who we are please follow the link below to see our mission statement.

Texas Litter Control has performed 13,000 + spay and neuter surgeries for the general public and people on public assistance in Montgomery and Harris county Houston ,Texas. TLC has also opened 2 separate adoption locations where we have placed 300+ abandoned and homeless animals into forever homes. The state of Texas has an exorbitant amount of homeless and stray animals on its streets and our city pounds are forced to euthanize hundreds of animals on a daily basis paid for by our taxes. We need to educate the public! As it stands Texas Litter Control can only help a small amount of people at one time and our wait list is 2 months long. TLC has been given the chance to move into a larger facility in the same area so that we can continue our fight against pet overpopulation on a bigger scale.
THIS FUNDRAISER is to expand and purchase additional surgical tables, dog/ cat cages and surgical equipment.
This expansion will allow us to perform an extra 3,000 surgeries a year. For every animal we sterilize COUNTLESS are saved!!
Real Texans Don’t Litter… Please spay/neuter your pets!
TexasLitterControl

Spring Brings Ode de Skunk

Spring is the time when you start seeing all sorts of little critters meandering about.  Around us, spring means the perfume of skunks starts to permeate the air.  If you have been fortunate enough to never have had a close and personal encounter with a skunk thank your lucky stars!  If you are like me and you have had a few encounters you understand when I say once you’ve smelled skunk spray up close and personal, it never smells the same again.  I still choke just a little everytime “ode de skunk” fills the air.

My first encounter with the mighty skunk perfume was thanks to our loving dog. In the wee hours of the dawn during her morning potty break she encountered her first skunk.  The sun hadn’t made its appearance yet so I didn’t witness the event, but as I called the dog to return to the house I heard a yelp from the far back corner of our yard and Sadie came running towards the house full speed.  She had some sort of goop on her snout. I went to wipe the goop off with her foot towel when the smell hit me like a freight train.  Really?  A Skunk?  What the heck do I do now?  Remembering a Co-worker had stated his dog had had numerous encounters I texted him for a remedy, I let my boss know I was going to be in a little late to take care of my little problem, and then I called the vet for advice… This is when I learned how to deskunk the dog.

First I washed her off with dawn dish soap.  Then I mixed up the following recipe of three things I actually had on hand…

1 qt of hydrogen peroxide
1/14 cup of baking soda
1 TSP dawn Dish Soap

I mixed the ingredients in a bowl and took them outside to the dog.  (I highly recommend you keep the stinky offender outside during this process.)  I put all the mix on the dog.  I was told the longer you leave on the mixture the better so I put her in her kennel and left for work.  I came back at lunch to rinse her off and then bathed her with the dawn again.  I toweled her off and left her in the sun to dry. The difference in smell was amazing!  There was still a slight hint of noxious odor, but unless you leaned in for a good sniff she was now worthy of re-entering into the house.

Some words of caution

  • I have read that hydrogen peroxide can bleach fur so you shouldn’t leave it on the animal too long.
  • Do NOT get the misture in the animals eyes, if you do flush immediately!
  • Do NOT save the mixture or make it ahead of time, the combination of ingredients can become unstable and explode.

I really hope you never have to use this recipe, but in case you have an adventurous animal… at least you have it!

image

It’s Kitten and Puppy Season!

283285_2120535565878_5173933_n

If you own critters, PLEASE, be a responsible human and get them fixed.  I worked in animal rescue for 10 years and it never ceases to appal me when people let their animal have a litter of puppies or kittens and then expect the offspring to become the problem of a rescue group or shelter.

Newsflash: If you don’t want 7 puppies or kittens, you need to have your dog or cat spayed/neutered!!!!  If you don’t those 7 puppies or kittens are your problem.

I once watched one of my fellow rescuers on the phone with a women whose cat just had kittens…the conversation went something like this:

Rescuer: Well Mame, where did the kittens come from?
Women: Oh well my cat had kittens.
Rescuer: Why didn’t you have your cat spayed?
Women: Well I wanted my children to witness the miracle of life
Rescuer: Well now you should take the kittens down to one of the shelters and your children can witness the miracle of death.
End of call…

YOUR ANIMALS are YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.  Act accordingly.  There are many low cost spay/neuter programs available to help you with this.  There are too many homeless animals wondering about this world and not enough homes to adopt them all.  Help stop perpetuating the problem and get your animal fixed!

If you’re around the Houston area check out my friends at: http://www.texaslittercontrol.org/