ClickerSolutions Training Articles

Health Related Info

Broken Legs

Diarrhea - it's Causes and Treatments

Melatonin uses - Fireworks & Fear Issues

Spay/Neuter - when & why to do it

Neutering Procedure Explained

Fleas, Ticks, Black Walnut

Cricket mentioned that she uses black walnut as part of her dogs diets for treatment of heartworm, and to do your own research. I'll make it a little easier for you ;-)

Here are two links where it is discussed:

It was found by the American Heartworm Assoc. that the mosquito could not be in a position to pass heartworm to a host animal (our dogs) until the temperature was 60 degrees <F> for 30 consecutive days AND nights. Here in Chicago I had no cause to even start heartworm preventative until today, the first of July, because the temperature stayed so low for so long.

In places like Florida you would still end up giving hw pills for most of the year but for many other areas of the country you could start later and finish earlier.

I just feel why give more medication than necessary? I have the info and a map of the recommended starting and ending times for heartworm prevention on my site. It only shows the U.S. but the temperature recommendations should help anyone out of the country figure out the same.

If anyone is interested:

A non-toxic flea possibility as well as for heartworms.

From Cricket regarding Fleas and Frontline #5707:

Hi Everyone,

Here's my $0.02 on the Frontline - flea topic. Yes, Frontline is a *big* improvement over the flea control products of the past. However, it's still a toxic thing that you are putting on your pet. When you consider all of the things that young puppies have to deal with...stress of new home, loss of familiar dog family, vaccinations, etc. and then think of adding one more toxic thing for their immune systems to handle... Well, I just don't think it's a very good idea at all. The current issue of the Whole Dog Journal gives a very detailed explanation and comparison of the various topical fleas products. It's worth reading. Better yet, they have promised an article on truly natural and safe ways to deal with fleas in next month's issue. Meanwhile, *read the labels* on these things. They say things like "avoid skin contact" but then direct you to put it on your dog's skin.... and to a young puppy, no less!

I encourage all of you to *educate yourselves*. Read, ask questions. Don't just accept what the vet or anyone else might tell you. Judge for yourself. Learn about the flea's life cycle... get to know your "enemy".
Seeing one flea is no reason to overreact :-) In Dian's case, I'd bet that Smokey is the one bringing in fleas (but not in this weather <g>)... more likely that there are dormant flea eggs in the carpet (they can live for a
year or more) and the presence of viable hosts (dog and cat) have caused the fleas to hatch. Vacuum *everywhere* thoroughly, seal up the bag and throw it away. Repeat in about 10 days. Getting rid of the eggs is the easiest and safest approach.

The best preventative against your puppy having fleas is a healthy immune system. Fleas are most attracted to dogs that are less than perfectly healthy. Which is one of the reasons I encourage all of you to feed your pups a high quality diet. The puppy vaccines are a necessary evil <g>, but they are tough on the immune system. Then adding another poison on top of all that to get rid of the fleas that are probably there because
the immune system is weak in the first place... just doesn't make any sense to me. Sometimes we have to do these "toxic" things in order to get a problem back under control, but we should all aim to get back to a safe, natural way of keeping ourselves and our pets healthy. So I find the idea of using a product like Frontline every month (especially on puppies), whether there is a flea problem or not, to be quite absurd.

Cricket Mara
Groveland, IL
The Pawsitive Dog, Inc.

Flea care learnlet_id=824&ch_id=4

Flea Care:
Apple Cider Vinegar. Mix in your puppy's food or water 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon a day to keep the fleas away! Amount varies with size of dog.

Flea & Tick Care:

Some interesting herbal ways to treat things - I thought the ginger root was interesting for carsickness - makes sense if you think about it. Do you ever remember being told to drink ginger ale when feeling
nauseous? It's because it contains ginger root ;-)

Tami Bridges
SPT Moderator



Broken Legs or After Surgery

Hello everyone,

My 6 mos old puppy, Happy Cider, had a broken elbow at 3 mos. He was left beside the road with a littermate who, sadly, was killed. When they found him he had two broken legs, but the elbow required a pin to set straight. We adopted him a few weeks ago and thankfully he's all healed up. Other than a
scar from the surgery to remove the pin he looks great. You can tell that he has a slight limp and if he stands a certain way his leg is crooked (where the elbow was broken).

Anyway.. I know I should ask the vet, but since we don't see them again til May I thought I'd ask here. Are there any drawbacks to exercising him 'too much'? Should we limit him in any way due to the former brokenbone? He is a retriever/shepherd/chow(notsure?) mix and has a TON of energy. I'd love to
take him on some long walks with me, but I worry about that leg. He's already QUITE big and I'd say he's oing to get bigger still.

He's a perfect dog though. Perfectly housetrained, learned his manners VERY quickly, protective of the children, and quite smart. You couldn't ask for a better pup.

p.s. I also have a Pekingese, but after around 1/2 mile of walking he will sit down and refuses to move. I got tired of carrying his 10 lb butt back home ;-) So now he just takes REALLY short trips.

Hi Bridget,

A six month old pup of Happy Cider's size should be exercised in moderation. In Happy's case I would just be mindful of any cues he may be giving you that he is tired. That's when you need to stop and rest him. Don't let him over do it. Otherwise, he is young and still growing and is likely to make a nice
recovery. If he were my pup I would be giving him some type of dietary supplement to prevent future troubles with the elbow (like arthritis). There are many out there. I use Glycoflex. I have a friend that uses MSM. Look into it and decide what you think would be best for your situation.

guess i just need a little patience...I don't want her to miss out on her important develpment periods while she is a pup..but i guess the splints are for her best...

Hi Mike,

Please remember to sign your posts. "Life" happens sometimes and all we can do is make the best of it. This would be a *great* time to be clicker training your puppy. You can work on all sorts of "stationary" or low impact sorts of tricks like touching your hand with her nose, take a bow, spin, speak, wave, etc. Use your imagination to come up with ways to keep her mind busy while her body heals. If she is splinted and mobile, you can still work on your socialization with people. I wouldn't let her play with other dogs
right now as that would be too rough, but some brief on-leash greetings would be appropriate.The time will pass quickly, but do your best to minimize her stress and maximize her learning opportunities.

Hi Beth! Cool that Zoe has her cast off! On another group one of the people taught her dog how to roll with
her nose a ball - a child-size basketball. She then moved it up to 'bowling' with it (another kid size set) and 'dunking' it in a basket (wastebasket). All of these would be low impact wouldn't they? It would also provide her with the mental challenge of learning them to also help tire her.

What do you think?

Tami & Norbert
Hillsboro, OR

--- In spt@y..., "brees25" <brees25@y... wrote:
Zoe just got her cast off (finally), but the vet said to try to keep her calm for the next couple of weeks. She's in her kennel while I'm at work, but is quite insane once she's let out. I can't say I blame her - I'd be the ame way if someone forced me to be still for a month. Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone has some ideas on how to burn up some of her puppy energy, without compromising her injury. It was a growth plate injury, so I'm trying to be very cautious. She can go for walks and play a little fetch in the living room, but it's not nough. Any and all ideas are welcome.

-Beth & Zoe (5 1/2 mo ACD)

Golden, CO

Hi Beth,

The *best* thing for her would be some hydrotherapy. Not sure if you have something like that available in your area... It's a warm pool where the tech gets in the water with the dog and helps them swim. No impact and warm water to help relax the muscles. If you don't have anything like that, perhaps you could improvise... a friend with a pool or spa (no jets). Otherwise, keep her supplied with yummy chewing rojects (stuffed Kong or bone), toss her kibble out into the yard and let her "find it", and
work on clicker training simple tricks or relatively stationary behaviors. I would keep her on leash most of the time so she can't run around too much.

Cricket Mara

Groveland, IL
The Pawsitive Dog, Inc.


Diarrhea - it's Causes and Treatments

Nice page that tells you about the causes, and has a list of questions that your vet may ask - so you can be prepared when you go in! When to go into the vet explained Your pet has diarrhea - causes and treatments - written by a vet.

Viral Diarrhea

Two viruses that most commonly cause diarrhea in dogs are canine parvovirus and canine coronavirus. Sometimes dogs can be infected with both viruses at once, leading to very serious diarrhea. Diarrhea usually results in dehydration, which can lead to death.

Viral diarrhea is easily spread, because billions of viral particles remain in the loose, watery stool of an infected dog. Adult dogs generally survive viral diarrhea. But in puppies with diarrhea the loss of fluids and other complications can easily be fatal.

Dogs can be protected from viral diarrhea with vaccines against parvovirus and coronavirus. Combination vaccines are also available. In puppies, several vaccinations are required three to four weeks apart, because of the presence of maternal antibodies.

Poisonous plants and their symptoms:
A more comprehensive list can also be found at:

And here's a new one (4/4/2011 -- thanks to the Monument Charter School!):
Flower Resources -

How will I know when my dog has Giardia?

Clinical signs range from none in asymptomatic carriers, to mild recurring diarrhea consisting of soft, light-colored stools, to acute explosive diarrhea in severe cases. Other signs associated with giardiasis are weight loss, listlessness, mucus in the stool, and anorexia. These signs are also associated with other diseases of the intestinal tract, and are not specific to giardiasis.

Diet for vomiting and diarrhea:

Check it out for how much and how often - it does have some specific guidelines for timing and amounts!

Bland diet for dogs with diarrhea:
Mix one and a half cups of cooked white rice or potato with one half cup of cottage cheese. Remove the liquid from cottage cheese by squeezing it between several layers of paper towel.

Bland diet for vomiting dogs
Mix one and a half cups of cooked white rice with one half cup of cooked chicken or turkey meat (no grease, no skin). Boiled or baked potato may be substituted for the rice.

A holistic approach to stopping diarrhea:

If this is a 'chronic' condition....
The two most common signs that your dog has a disturbance of the gastrointestinal tract are vomiting and diarrhea. To help you learn how to look after your dog when he has a "chronic"- meaning long-term-intestinal upset, we'll first take a look at how the digestive tract works, and then we'll examine the various diseases of the digestive tract and how to deal with them.

All about Internal Parasites. Written by a vet - so you'll understand what you're vet is talking about, or you can ask about the possibility of them.

Tapeworms explained

Whipworms explained

Canine Colitis:


Melatonin use for Fireworks & Fears

Laura -

I was curious about using melatonin for thunderstorms. We don't have them in my area, but I've used melatonin when doing international travel to counteract jetlag, or when I've gone through a bout of
insomnia. I highly recommend it for the above!

Through doing a search it's great for people who have seasonal depression - many who live in the Great Pacific Northwest have this problem - natives and transplants from sunny climes.

I have a few links supporting the use of it for thunderstorms or noise reactive dogs:

An interesting additional use is for focal alopecia in dogs (hair loss) and Sex Hormone Concentrations in Dogs with Adrenal Hyperplasia Syndrome:

I admit I just did a quick skim read of the alopecia and sex hormone links so can't give an opinion. ;^)

Canine epilepsy:

Anxiety disorders:

I think this may fit into why it might work for an agressive/reactive dog: - then I re-looked - it's an add for a pet drug. It does seem to have an all natural solution.

As I've read with all of them, it suggests consulting with your vet before using with your pet. Lots of info, let me know if I can help you find more, or something specific.

Tami & Norbert
Hillsboro, OR



Date: Wed Jul 12, 2000 9:19 am

Subject: Age for spay & neuter

I do have a question to ask, how old should they be before getting them neuter, and should I let my female come into heat once before getting her fixed.

Hi Elaine,

Welcome to the list and thanks for asking this important question. It is generally recommended that females be spayed at about 6 months of age and that males be neutered at about 8 months of age. I consider
these to be useful guidelines for responsible pet owners.There has been some talk recently of "early" spay/neuter. This means spaying and neutering anywhere from 6 weeks old and up. While animal shelters and the like are in favor of these methods (they help with population control), I don't believe they are "best" for the individual dog.

Spaying the female before she comes into heat the first time is considered to be the "best" for her health and well being. Most average sized dogs come into heat for the first time at 8-9 months. It can be later for larger breeds and sooner for smaller breeds.

If she does come in season before she is spayed, you will have three weeks of keeping her completely confined for her safety and to prevent unwanted pregnancy. You will have the mess to contend with and she
may be especially moody. Also, even if not bred, they go through a period of "false pregnancy" for 63 days after the heat. This corresponds to the gestation period of pups. This can be a very difficult time for some bitches. They are also at risk for developing Pyometria (a pus filled uterus) during this time. Unless it is an
emergency due to Pyo, spaying should be delayed until after the 63 days so that her hormones can return to normal. Spaying during the 63 days can "set" the hormone levels at a possibly undesireable state.

Males are generally a bit slower to mature than females. Sexual maturity for an average size dogs is usually around 9-10 months old. That's when they will begin lifting their leg and sniffing everything
in site. At this point their hormones are often overwhelming to them and they will be peeing without even realizing it. They can be quite a pain at that stage! Some people advocate waiting until the male
reaches sexual maturity to neuter. For most pet owners I see no point in that. Better to prevent any possible problems you might have instead. Neutering will not necessarily "calm down" the dog but it
will minimize health risks, wandering, etc. It's a good idea :-)

Those who advocate waiting until the male or female reaches sexual maturity (usually breeders) before spaying and neutering make claims regarding size, "maleness", etc. Most pet owners are not concerned
about such things. They are concerned about their pets health and well being as well as their ability to live with the dog.

I've probably told you WAY more than you wanted to know, but I like to be thorough <g>. Also, I'm *not* a vet and you should always discuss these matters with your vet. However, vets sometimes differ in their opinions too, so don't be shy in asking questions or getting a second opinion in any matters that concern your pet's health.

Cricket Mara

Groveland, IL
The Pawsitive Dog, Inc.


Neutering Procedure

Neutering is a fairly simple procedure, but it's still surgery. You will be asked to fast Charlie for about 8-12 hours before surgery. Most vet's offer (and usually suggest) some diagnostic blood work before surgery. While it is uncommon for young, healthy dogs to have any trouble, it is a good idea to get a baseline reading on common things like liver and kidney function. They will also want to check to see how quickly his blood clots before doing surgery.

Another common (and recommended) thing is to do a CGC to test that the heart is strong enough to withstand the anesthesia needed for surgery. This is done by attaching small clips to the dog's skin for a few minutes while the machine reads the heart rate. These same clips are usually used during surgery to
monitor the dog's heart rate. Changes in the heart rate can indicate to the vet that there may be a problem and that they need to adjust something. It's another safety measure.

There are several choices for anesthesia, but most "current" vets use a gas anesthesia because it is the safest. My vet uses one called Aerrane. They will usually give the dog a sedative injection first. When the sedative takes effect and they hook up the gas, they will shave the surgery site and clean it. Don't be alarmed by how big an area might be shaved (don't quite understand why some get so carried away with that <g>).

It will take about 30 minutes for the surgery and may take several hours for Charlie to fully wake up. The waking up process can be difficult for many people to watch (which is why vets don't want you in the back), but the dog is safe and will be fine. Most vet's keep the dog overnight... partly for observation and partly because they are usually pretty groggy and sore for 12 hours or so. By the time you pick Charlie up, he may seem a bit quiet, but he'll be back to normal within a day or two. The stitches are usually removed
in 14 days.

Since he has already started lifting his leg, it is unlikely that he will go back to squatting... so papers indoors is probably not such a good idea. As for behavior changes... you may not notice any, or you may notice some. Depends on the dog. What you will get is that he won't develop some of the behaviors that he might have had were he to remain intact. So it's hard to see what isn't there :-) But he will be healthier and happier in the long run.

Cricket Mara - 2002


| Training Articles Contents || Site Home |

Copyright of all posts is the property of the original author. Please obtain permission from the original author before copying, quoting, or forwarding.

List and Site Owner: Melissa Alexander, mca @