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Articles Tagged with: Animals
Animal Art is Here to Stay

Local Artist Gives Lobby Art on Permanent Loan

Mildred, an ARL alum.

Mildred, an ARL alum.

Thanks to South End artist, Paula Ogier, the art in our Boston lobby will be staying up indefinitely!

Paula dropped in at the Animal Rescue League of Boston one day in January 2013, just to take a breather from her work and visit the kitties, and she ended up adopting Tippi. “Tippi was a cautious stray who has blossomed into a playful spirit,” says Paula. “The transformation you make in an animal’s life with the gift of a home is more than matched by the magic they bring as a friend and family member.”

Her artwork was originally displayed at the League as part of Washington Gateway Main Street’s temporary Moving Gallery. The goal of displaying artwork here was to liven up the space and create an instant connection with animals before entering the adoption center. After seeing how her art transformed the lobby and receiving so much positive feedback about her artwork, Paula decided to give the collection on permanent loan to the League.

Thank you, Paula for brightening up our lobby and warming the hearts of our visitors, before they even step foot into our adoption center.

Paula paints pet portraits, and also creates art for use on products. View her art or schedule your pet portrait session.


Dog Bite Prevention: Advice and Signs to Look for in Dogs

May 19-25th marks National Dog Bite Prevention Week, a week designed to help educate the public about the nearly 5 million dog bites that happen every year.

A few facts from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):

    • 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites every year
    • Of those, about half are children
    • The age most at risk are children age 5-9
    • Senior citizens are the second most commonly affected group

We interviewed Dr. Amy Marder, VMD, CAAB, Director of the Center for Shelter Dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Boston to get some advice on dog bite prevention.

Q: According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.7 million dog bites occur annually, with approximately 60 percent of the victims being children. What tips can you give to help us educate our children about the prevention of dog bites?

A: Most dog bites are not reported, but statistics of the ones that are reported show that children, especially little boys, are the most common victims. Most dogs do not bite! But if they need to protect themselves or their property from what they think is dangerous, they may. It’s important that children learn about dog behavior and how to interact appropriately with a dog so that bites can be avoided. Some of those tips are as follows:

  1.  Never approach or reach for an unfamiliar dog with no owner present, especially if the dog is tied, behind a fence or in a car.  If an owner is present, always ask if the dog likes children.
  2. Never bother dogs when they are eating, chewing a toy, sleeping or caring for puppies.  Just think about how you feel when your brother or sister takes your food or toys away or wakes you up in the middle of a sleep.

Q: What is the most appropriate way to greet a dog?

A: Always let a dog, even one you know sniff you before you pet.  Watch the dog to see if he likes you for a few seconds before you pet.  If the dog wags his tail and stays with you, then it’s OK to pet, but do so under the dog’s chin instead of on his head.  If the dog backs away, he probably doesn’t want you to pet him, so don’t pet.

Q: What should you do when a strange dog approaches you?

A: If a dog is alone, stand perfectly still, do not pet.  Allow the dog to sniff and wait for him to go away.   Do not start running, as the dog will probably chase.  If the dog is with an owner, ask the owner if the dog likes children (then do as above).  

Q:What advice do you have for behaving around unfamiliar dogs? 

A: Unless there is an owner with the dog, I would ignore them.

Q: What are warning signs to look for in a dog who may bite?

A: Look at what the dog is saying to you.  Dogs use sounds and body language to communicate how they feel.  Just like us!  If you hear a dog growl, or show his teeth, don’t proceed.  If you see a dog stiffen his body, tuck his tail, move away from you, yawn, lick his lips, or stare at you, don’t proceed!  Additionally, if a dog shows signs of being fearful you should not proceed.

Q: Do you have any additional tips for preventing dog bites? 

A: Not all dogs behave in the same ways. Every dog is different. Just because your dog enjoys the things that you do, it doesn’t mean that all dogs will. If you follow these guidelines, chances are dogs will like you and you won’t get bitten.


Welcoming Your Adopted Dog Into Your Home

Congratulations! You’ve adopted a dog and they’re going home with you, so what’s next? After dog-proofing your house and gathering the necessary supplies (collar, ID tag, water bowl, crate, food, toys, and cleaning products), you’ll need to think about how to acclimate your dog the moment their paws walk through your front door.

Before You Bring Your Dog Home:

  • Gather Needed Supplies – Leash, Collar, ID Tag, Crate or Gates (if needed), Bed, Bowls, Food, Treats, Toys, Grooming Supplies, and Waste Bags.
  • Dog-Proof your house, look for and remove hazardous items and valuable items that your newly adopted dog could chew.
  • Setup your house for your dog’s arrival. Determine where your dog’s crate, bed, and food and water bowls will be placed. Decide where food, treats, and supplies will be stored. Determine the house rules for your dog and make sure all family members know what they are.
  • Decide what your dog’s schedule will be for walks, playtime, training, feeding, and potty time, and who will be responsible.

The First Day:

  • Determine ahead of time where your dog will ride on the way home. It’s best to have two people if possible; one to drive and the other to pay attention to the dog. For safer travels, consider setting up a travel crate in your vehicle. Bring towels just in case your dog gets car sick.
  • Bring your dog straight home – try not to run errands on the way.
  • No welcome-home parties. Limit/discourage visitors for the first few days so that your new dog isn’t overwhelmed.
  • When you arrive at home let your dog sniff around the yard or outdoor area near your home on a leash. Bring your dog to their designated potty spot and reward them with a treat and praise for going there.
  • Introduce your dog to your family members outside, one at a time. Keep it calm and low-key. Let your dog be the one to approach, sniff and drive the interaction. Offering a treat can help your dog to associate family members with good things (food!). No hugging, kissing, picking up, staring at, or patting on the top of the head during the initial introduction – these things can be scary for some dogs.
  • Stay close to home initially. No major excursions. You need to learn your new dog’s behavior before you can predict how they will respond to different stimulus. Establish a walk routine in an area you are familiar with. Structured playtime in the yard is also a good form of exercise, bonding, and training.
  • Bring your dog into the house on a leash and give them a tour of the house. Try keeping the mood calm and relaxed and redirect any chewing or grabbing of objects with a “leave-it” command and offering an appropriate toy.
  • Bring your new dog outside often. Dogs don’t generalize as well as humans do, so even though your dog may have been house trained in their previous home, your dog needs to learn your house rules, which includes a house training refresher.
  • Make sure your new dog gets ample “quiet time” so that your dog can acclimate to their new surroundings. Be observant of your dog’s responses and go at your dog’s pace.
  • If you have a resident dog(s), have the initial meeting outside (one dog at a time if you have several). Don’t rush it. Keep the leashes loose with no tension.  Make sure they meet in a food-free, toy-free zone. Don’t leave them alone together until you are absolutely sure it is safe to do so. Watch and manage all interactions between the dogs initially. When walking the dogs, there should be a person for each dog. 
  • If you have a resident cat(s), keep the cat secure until you know how your dog will react to them. Use doors, pet gates, and leashes to prevent contact initially. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to chase the cat. Make sure the cat has escape options. Keep initial encounters brief. Manage all interactions.

Establish Daily Routines:

  • Sleeping: Initially the crate or bed should be in the room you would like your dog to sleep in eventually. The area should be safe, dog-proofed, easily cleaned, cozy and quiet, with familiar scents. Don’t put your new dog in an uninhabited area like the garage or basement.
  • Feeding: Check with your vet about what the recommended food and amounts that should be fed to your dog based on breed, size, age, activity level, and health. If possible, feed two smaller meals per day rather than one large meal. You may need to reduce the meal size to allow for treats during training. Make sure your dogs food dish is in a safe, out of the way area.
  • Walks: Keep your walks short at first (5-10 minutes) until you get to know your new dog’s behavior and how they responds to different stimuli. Keep to relatively quiet places at first. Avoid interaction with other dogs and unfamiliar people until you and your dog are comfortable.
  • Chew Toys/Interactive Toys: Use of the crate and appropriate toys are great ways to keep your new dog out of trouble. Management of your dog and the environment prevents problem behaviors. Chew toys are a great way to direct your dog’s attention to appropriate toys, and away from objects that you don’t want your dog to destroy. Interactive toys help your dog to use their mind and tire them out, mentally. With a new dog, avoid rough and tumble and chase games when playing.
  • Prevent separation anxiety: Starting the first day, use a crate and a toy in combination with leaving for short periods and coming back several times a day. Don’t make a big fuss of coming or going.

Relationship Building:

Patience: Have patience with your new dog’s behavior, level of training, and the time it takes them to establish a bond with you. Give your new dog time and space to adjust. During the first few days, commit time to get to know your dog’s habits and personality. Establish a routine for your dog and balance interaction and down-time. This is a period of trust-building, so don’t scare or yell at your dog or try to force close contact. Watch your dog’s postures and expressions. Learn to read them. It may take even up to several months for you to get to know your dog’s true nature. And don’t forget, your new dog is trying to do the same with you!

Training: Physical and mental stimulation are necessary parts of your dog’s well-being. Training helps your dog settle into a new home, teaches your dog how to fit into a new family, and strengthens the relationship between you and your dog. Once your dog has settled in and you are familiar with your dog’s responses, take a positive reinforcement style training class (avoid dominance-based methods). You can sign up for humane dog training classes at the Animal Rescue League’s Boston or Dedham’s Branches.

Last: Remember to manage your dog’s environment so that you set them up to succeed. Be proactive, not reactive. In other words, prevent inappropriate behavior from happening, and then you won’t have to correct it.