All posts tagged 'og Training'

Four-Legged Heroes: Dogs in the Military

Dogs in the military

I’ve always wanted to attend the annual New Year’s Day Rose Bowl parade, but when I finally got to attend it wasn’t even the floats that wowed me the most … it was the dogs.

That year, I had the pleasure of meeting several service members who were riding on a float supporting the US Military Working Dog Teams National Monument, which made its debut in 2013. It was there that I met Sgt. 1st Class Charles "Chuck" Shuck and his dog Gabe, who had just received the American Humane Association Hero Award for his work in Iraq.

Both Gabe and Sergeant Shuck challenged my preconceived notions about working dogs in the military. Gabe wasn’t a stern, antisocial dog but a sweet yellow Labrador, trained for explosives detection after being rescued from a shelter in Texas. He participated in 170 combat patrols and racked up 26 “finds”, saving potentially hundreds of lives! After his retirement in 2009, he was adopted by Shuck.

You might imagine the relationship between handler and dog to be all business, but when Shuck and Gabe looked at each other, I saw the same adoration and love all dog parents know and recognize. Dogs in the military have important jobs to do but also serve as vital emotional support for many soldiers. I also learned that veteran dog handlers haunted by having to leave dogs behind in Vietnam are responsible for the current stance on canines in the United States military, which is this: dogs are to be treated with the same regard as any other soldier. They are not treated as commodities, but are accorded respect and reverence for their work and sacrifice. When they are injured, the medics are sent in just like they would be for a wounded person.

Gabe

After meeting Gabe and several other distinguished canine veterans, I wanted to learn more about the eventual landing place for the memorial: The US Military Working Dog School, located at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. While researching the training facility known more affectionately as “Dog School”, I also learned some other amazing facts about dogs in the military:

  1. Dogs have served with US soldiers in every major conflict since the Civil War.
  2. The school trains dogs to work for all branches of the military as well as for the TSA.
  3.  Worldwide, about 1,400 dogs are working in service of the United States Military at any given time.
  4. The most commonly utilized breeds are German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. Sporting breeds such as Labradors are more frequently utilized as needs for explosive detection have increased.
  5. Congressional Bill HR-5313, signed into law in 2000, recognizes the value of canine life by allowing retired military dogs to be adopted into loving homes.

A month after I met Gabe, he sadly passed away from liver cancer. I sent Sergeant Shuck the photo we took at the parade along with my condolences. It was an honor to meet such an incredible team, a handler who grew into a dog parent and loved his hero dog with all his heart. They represent the best of what dogs and people can accomplish while working together.

Dr V Dr. Jessica Vogelsang

A Petacular Xmas

More and more, from Millenials to senior citizens, Americans are spending their holiday time and money on their four-legged family members. A generation ago, giving presents to companion animals was fairly rare. These days, buying gifts for dogs and cats is more popular than ever before! And who can blame us? Not only are they cute, loyal and happy, they’re ready for celebration at a moment’s notice. When it comes to presents for pet kids, there’s no waiting in long lines for the latest tech gizmo or sulky indignation over off-brand purchases. Plus, they don’t have expensive tastes that could put the serious hurt on your credit card balance.

This yuletide episode of Pet Talk reveals simple, enjoyable ways pet parents can show their appreciation during the season of giving. Our staff veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, has loads of imaginative ideas about spending quality time with your fur kids. Who knows, you just might discover a brand new family tradition!

If you enjoy Dr. Sarah’s prescriptions for fostering festive fun, be sure to share this link with other pet people, too. As a bonus, check out our previous holiday episodes to keep your companion animals safe and happy, now and into the New Year.

Holiday Safety Tips
Bringing Home New Puppy
Useful Tips for Winter Puppy Care

How do you observe the season of giving with your companion animal? Leave us a comment and share your stories! From all of us here at Life's Abundance, best wishes for a delightful holiday season!

Puppy It’s Cold Outside

Winter is coming. For many pet households, that means dogs – and people – spending more time indoors, away from the bitter cold. Even though some will be braving the ice and snow for quick walks, most of us will be staying in the warm, climate-controlled confines of home. Since your canine probably doesn’t enjoy Netflix binging nearly as much as you, we’re exploring simple ways to fight the doggie doldrums.

This month, Dr. Sarah reveals just how easy it is to keep your pup entertained. And we bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can do inexpensively! Watch as Dr. Sarah demonstrates with her canine companion eight simple activities for inside playtime. Fend off the wintertime blues with fun for everyone!

Be sure to share this video with other pet parents. And if you have any ideas for keeping canine boredom at bay, feel free to share them with the Life’s Abundance community in the comments section below.

Biking with Your Dog

Have you ever seen someone biking with their dog and thought, “Wow, that looks like fun … but where did they learn how to do that?” If so, this month’s episode of Pet Talk was made just for you!

In this short video, Dr. Sarah will help you to gain a basic understanding of how to safely enjoy this outdoor activity with your dog. Our Staff Veterinarian explains exactly what gear you’ll need (a minimal investment), plus all the necessary steps to train a dog to become comfortable near a moving bicycle. Trust us when we say that wheeling around with your dog really is loads of fun!

Be sure to share this video with friends and family, especially if they love pursuing new and exciting leisure pastimes. And, please leave your comments if this Pet Talk episode is helpful to you.

How to Help a Fearful or Aggressive Dog

Sometimes, dogs behave badly. Going nuts when there’s a knock at the door. Over-reacting to the tiniest of threats. Freaking out over having their nails trimmed. Worst of all, if the proper steps aren’t taken early on, behaviors like anxiety and aggression can become the norm, rather than one-off instances.

In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah and her canine assistant, Alma, demonstrate two effective training techniques that can be used to overcome unpleasant reactive canine behaviors. We’ll be covering the topics of desensitization and counter-conditioning, plus why it’s important to set realistic goals. And above all, try to have fun whenever you’re training … your dog will thank you for it.

To learn more about the health-promoting and incredibly tempting Life’s Abundance treats featured in this episode and other Pet Talk episodes, visit the following links.

Tasty Rewards Training Treats
Buffalo Bully Sticks
Buffalo Meat Strips

To learn more about leash reactivity, watch February’s Pet Talk episode “Leash Safety Made Easy”.

Simple 10-Minute IQ Test for Dogs

Are you convinced your pup is smarter than the average canine, but weren’t sure how to prove it? Well, now there’s an easy way to estimate your dog’s cognitive powers.

In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reveals exactly how to conduct this test at home, with help from her canine assistant.

Download our free doggie IQ test to keep score- Simple 10-Minute IQ Test for Dogs. Afterwards, you’ll have a ‘report card’ to post on your fridge.

It’s so much fun you’ll be asking yourself if it’s a test or a game. [Spoiler alert: it’s both!]

We encourage you to share this video with your pet-parent friends, so they can do the doggie IQ test, too! And check back next month for another brand new episode of Pet Talk with Dr. Sarah.