Monday, September 21, 2009

The Stars Aligned for Penny Lane!

Robert and family, we aren't sure how you found Ms. Penny Lane, but we're simply elated that you did, that you fell in love, and that you made the long trek from Connecticut to add such a wonderful girl to your home :)

Congratulations guys and we look forward to updates in the future!

Charmed Means "Filled With Wonder And Delight"

We're here to share some new pics of our Charmed girls! These were taken last week but we think it'll get you by until we see them again soon :)

Check out Piper and Phoebe working it for the camera at the vet!

While at the vet, we actually learned that the heartworm test results got swapped for Phoebe and Piper. Phoebe will be ready to go to her new home soon as she is heartworm negative. Piper and Prue (shown at the end of the slideshow below) should be ready for their new homes around January after they go through their heartworm treatments. If either of them steal your heart though, don't hesitate to ask about a Foster to Adopt situation :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shout Out To Our Friends at Mutts n Stuff!

A big congratulations is in order for our friends over at Mutts n Stuff in St. Louis, Missouri, who announced yesterday that they are building a new facility to serve as a "halfway house" for pit bulls rescued from fight bust cases who have no where else to go after being released by courts.

The dogs in the cases are held as evidence until they are no longer needed by the courts, then they're released, often with no where to go. Suitable foster homes aren't always immediately available, and the dogs often require time to learn basic manners.

"Phoenix house will provide these dogs with a place to be cared for as they make the transition from victims to evidence to beloved family pets and breed ambassadors," said Gale Frey, founder of Mutts-n-Stuff.

The facility, named for Phoenix - a dog previously rescued my Mutts-n-Stuff, is being built on land donated by a previous adopter.

While construction for the building is already in progress, your donation is greatly appreciated. Please send your love and contribution to:

Mutts n Stuff
P.O. Box 187
Foristell, MO 63348

We are so happy for and proud of our friends at Mutts n Stuff! Maybe one day we can make something like this happen for bust dogs in our own area.

5 Plead Guilty In Missouri Fight Bust Case!

St. Louis, MO, September 14, 2009 -- The Humane Society of Missouri today confirms guilty pleas have been entered in connection to the July 8, 2009 multi-state federal dog fighting raid that resulted in the rescue of more than 500 fighting dogs. Federal agents made 26 arrests and dogs were rescued in 8 states.

According to a press release issued by the Humane Society of Missouri, four eastern Missouri men, Robert Hackman of Foley, Teddy Kiriakidis of Leasburg, Ronald Creech of Leslie and Michael Morgan of Hannibal plead guilty today in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to charges connected to the dog fighting raid. Another man arrested in connection with the dog fighting raid, Jack Ruppel of Eldon plead guilty to charges on September 4 in federal court in Jefferson City.

“We can confirm that five of the individuals charged with this gruesome form of animal abuse are being brought to justice,” said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. “Today’s guilty pleas raise awareness that dog fighting is unacceptable, inhumane and illegal and will not be tolerated. The unprecedented scale of this investigation and rescue operation should alert the entire nation to what a horrible crime dog fighting is and what a dangerous and serious affect it can have on animals and communities.”

Warnick continued, “We sincerely hope these guilty pleas will result in sentencing that sends the message that this form of animal abuse will no longer be tolerated. Humane Society of Missouri staff and our many partners have selflessly sacrificed much of their personal lives in the pursuit of this investigation and the care of these dogs. We fervently desire that this historic effort marks the beginning of the end to dog fighting in the United States.”

“This was the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history, but it will not be the last,” warned Michael Kaste, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in St. Louis. “This case sets precedence for the FBI along with our local, state and federal partners to aggressively root out underground dog fighting rings where people have absolutely no qualms about torturing man’s best friend for money and entertainment.”

More pictures of some of the dogs seized in this large scale effort can be seen on HSMO's online album.

We are hoping since the evil men have pleaded guilty they will forfeit the dogs very soon. We hope the dogs will be coming to us in the next few weeks...we cannot wait and lets hope the courts system acts quickly. NHPBR has been working with HSMO and Missouri based rescue group Mutts n Stuff to receive dogs and follow the progress of the cases, so please check back often for updates! We will let you know more as we are permitted.

Among the groups helping to care for the dogs are:

American Humane Association
Animal Humane Society
Atlanta Humane Society
Best Friends Animal Society
Brazos Animal Shelter
Brew City Bullies
Broken Hearts, Mended Souls Rescue
Denver Dumb Friends League
Hawaiian Humane Society
Hickey College
Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of Central Illinois
Humane Society of Greater Kansas City
Kauai Humane Society
Michigan Humane Society
Mutts n Stuff
Oregon Humane Society
Pierce County Animal Response Team
Pit Bull Rescue Central
Seattle Humane Society
Sioux Empire Pit Bull Rescue

Other groups are expected to arrive in Missouri to begin helping with dogs this week. Included in these organizations is Our Pack, Inc's Tracey Cutler.

Should I Alpha Roll My Dog

It’s all over the internet, we read it everywhere - “You need to Alpha Roll your dog to show it who’s boss”. Most often we see and hear reference to the famous National Geographic TV star Cesar Millan, better known as “The Dog Whisperer”, but Cesar is not the only trainer who follows “old school” methods of dominance theory. What I believe these misguided folks are lacking in the understanding of the social structure (hierarchy) of the pack is the awareness that any species (including humans), if forced into a family structure, will struggle to form a social order. However, we don’t all run around beating each other up to show that we should be the “top dog”, and the only time we see this sort of violent dominance exerted among animals is when there is an intent to do serious harm or kill.

We came across another one of these such “advice” posts in in the comments section of our local newspaper’s online source, which prompted us to write this blog. (Here is a little snippet from the post that caused us alarm.)

“I strongly believe in "alpha-rolling" a dog. This can be done frequently and lovingly in the home to get the dog used to it. Put the dog on his back. Straddle the dog. Allow ZERO kicking. Hold them there until they completely relax. You'll hear an audible sigh when they "give it up." Gently push his head, so his forehead is against the floor. I straddle my dog this way, give her lots of coo's and affection once she's completely relaxed, which she does immediately now. Then when you are out, your dogs aren't acting optimally, put them in down. You can lay them on their sides and have them leave their heads against the ground. This becomes easier with time and shows the dogs who to listen to when you need them to.

This sounds silly, but if I rush up to my dog to correct her, she goes upside down IMMEDIATELY before I even touch her!"

(It’s interesting to see how this poster dressed up their description of how they use the alpha roll on their own dog… repeatedly. I’d like to know if the dog also wets herself when she immediately goes upside down. My money is on the answer to this being a resounding yes, however the poster does not offer this information.)

What is an Alpha Roll?

An Alpha Roll is the act of flipping your dog onto his back, and holding his throat. This was once thought to be the most effective and “natural” way to teach a dog that YOU are its boss and to respect you. Wrong!

The theory of dominance based training and the alpha roll came about from a series of short-term studies on wolves done back in the 1940’s. Being short-term studies, researchers focused on the most obvious parts of wolf life, mainly hunting, and drew conclusions about “wolf behavior“ based on a small percentage of wolf life/living. Further study of wolves in their natural habitat has revealed a much less physical system in establishing pack leadership. In these studies, it has been observed that wolves are more of a family unit (very similar to our relationships with our own families and domestic dogs) and that the “Alpha” or leader, becomes so by way of physiological intimidation and controlling resources rather than physical force. Much like we humans do with our own children when we instruct them to do something; ie Parent tells child to clean his room before going outside and then reinforces this direction by checking the child's room before allowing him to go play with his friends. This same method is applied in the way positive reinforcement trainers utilize a program called “Nothing In Life Is Free” or NILIF, where the confident leader controls all of the resources.

It has also been noted in more recent studies that early research and conclusion about the alpha roll was misinterpreted and misunderstood. If you watch closely, with either wolves or domestic dogs, the “alpha roll” is actually an appeasement ritual instigated by the subordinate or submissive canine. The higher ranking member then sometimes (though not always necessary) “pins” the muzzle (in its mouth) and the subordinate voluntarily rolls onto his or her back and offers its belly. In other words, what appears to be one animal forcing another is actually a behavior that is offered by the submissive canine and the animal is already on its way down before the dominant wolf or dog has made any physical contact at all.

"In watching the wolves,” says Pat Goodman, MS, a resident ethologist at Wolf Park, “I find it rare for them to forcibly push down and hold down a subordinate, a rival, a youngster. In the overwhelming majority of cases, rather than being pushed down, the wolf who ends up on the ground is already going down in response to psychological pressure."

“ In fact", says Ken McCort, a dog training and behavior consultant,“with wolves the inguinal presentation behavior is usually volunteered by a lower ranking wolf as sort of an appeasement to a dominant animal in the face of some threat or altercation”… and leaders in packs “control assets (possessions, territory) more often than physically controlling individuals.”

But you’re talking about wolves, not dogs…

Dr. Frank Beach preformed a 30-year study on dogs at Yale and UC Berkeley.

Nineteen years of the study was devoted to the social behavior of a dog pack. In his study he found that:

  • Male dogs have a rigid hierarchy.

  • Female dogs have a hierarchy, but it's more variable.

  • When you mix the sexes, the rules get mixed up. Males try to follow their constitution, but the females have "amendments."

  • Young puppies have what's called "puppy license (puppy breath is well recognized by older dogs)." They have a license to do most anything. Females are more tolerant of puppy license than males are The puppy license is revoked at approximately four months of age (teething). At that time, the older middle-ranked dogs teach the pup what is acceptable and not-- psychologically torturing it until it offers all of the appropriate appeasement behaviors and takes its place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The top-ranked dogs ignore the whole thing.

  • There is NO physical domination. Everything is accomplished through psychological harassment.

  • It's all ritualistic.

  • A small minority of "alpha" dogs assumed their position by bullying and force. Those that did were quickly deposed. No one likes a dictator.

  • The vast majority of alpha dogs rule benevolently. They are confident in their position. They do not stoop to squabbling to prove their point. To do so would lower their status because...

  • Blustery-middle-ranked animals squabble. They are insecure in their positions and want to advance over other middle-ranked animals.

  • Low-ranked animals do not squabble. They know they would lose. They know their position, and they accept it.

  • Alpha" does not mean physically dominant. It means "in control of resources. Many alpha dogs are too small or too physically frail to physically dominate, but they have earned the right to control the valued resources. An individual dog determines which resources he considers important. An alpha dog may give up a prime sleeping place (or toy) because he simply couldn't care less.

Did you know?

When you Alpha Roll your dog, you are essentially performing an attack on your dog, which leaves you very vulnerable to being bitten in the face by the dog. Not only that, but you are also sending a message to your dog that you are not a confident leader and that you are not to be trusted, but rather you should be feared and not respected.

Alpha Rolling can also have disastrous consequences for dominant or fear aggressive canines. An alpha roll can increase aggression in an already dominant dog. In a submissive dog, the alpha roll will add more fear to the dog's psyche and can lead to submissive urination, loss of trust and possible fear biting.

In a study titled If You’re Aggressive, Your Dog Will Be, Too

Says Veterinary Study at the University of Pennsylvania
February 17, 2009

PHILADELPHIA –- In a new, year-long University of Pennsylvania survey of dog owners who use confrontational or aversive methods to train aggressive pets, veterinary researchers have found that most of these animals will continue to be aggressive unless training techniques are modified.

The study, published in the current issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science, also showed that using non-aversive or neutral training methods such as additional exercise or rewards elicited very few aggressive responses.

Another article can be found in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

Using “dominance” to explain dog behaviour is old hat
21 May 2009

A new study shows how the behaviour of dogs has been misunderstood for generations: in fact using misplaced ideas about dog behaviour and training is likely to cause rather than cure unwanted behaviour. The findings challenge many of the dominance related interpretations of behaviour and training techniques suggested by some TV dog trainers. Contrary to popular belief, aggressive dogs are NOT trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack”, according to research published by academics at the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research.

Dr Rachel Casey, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Bristol University, said: “The blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people and other dogs is frankly ridiculous. It hugely underestimates the complex communicative and learning abilities of dogs. It also leads to the use of coercive training techniques, which compromise welfare, and actually cause problem behaviours."

And paraphrasing our friend Mary Harwelik CPDT-KA & Professional Behaviorist: “To sum up my opinion: the techniques Millan uses are outdated, overly harsh, borderline cruel (if not outright cruel), dangerous and can cause side-effects sometimes worse than the original behavior problem they were supposed to solve.”

Read more information about the History and Misconceptions of the Dominance Theory.

Fair, Firm, Consistent, Confident Leader

If you are proactive enough to control the things your dogs wants and needs, by definition you are in a sense the “alpha”.

To be your dogs leader and to have his respect; control the resources (high value life resources) by making good use of the natural, high ranking, and survival items, a dog needs like food, toys and attention. Make resources contingent on behavior—in the relationship between you and your dog. Does the dog want to be fed? Good-- ask him to sit first. Does she want to go outside? Sit first. Does the dog love to greet people? Sit first. Want to play? Sit first. Train your dog. This is the dog-human equivalent of the "revoking the puppy license". Use positive training and the mantra: you do something for me, and I’ll do something for you.

New Hope Pit Bull Rescue's training philosophy is one that uses both operant conditioning and classical conditioning while teaching fosters and dog owners how to improve the relationship between them and their dog through bonding and trust. We teach cooperation and obediance through the use of pain free consequences, positive reward based reinforcement and the implementation of the Nothing In Life Is Free program which teaches the dog that good things happen when he acts appropriately.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Help Them Live a "Charmed" Life!

Last week, we were contacted by a good Samaritan who didn't find just one, but THREE emaciated pittie girls in our local area. She contacted us via email and shared some startling pictures with us.

To the right here is Phoebe and Piper. Phoebe is laying on the ground looking exhausted. Piper just seems to have no clue what is going on.

These photos prompted us to try. Finding foster homes is SO tough and can be even tougher with a shaky economy but, we're also here to rescue and rehab the dogs that we can in our local area. So, our plea for help began last Saturday. We affectionately named the girls Piper, Phoebe, and Prue from the characters in the TV series Charmed :)

We've spent the last few days getting the evaluations done for the girls and were VERY lucky to find a foster home for one of the girls, Ms. Piper. During our eval, Piper made it very well known that she is going to be a clown who adores people and is going to have this zest for life, regardless of her past. She is buoyant and prancy and she just simply makes us giggle! And she's obviously a great lap dog :)

Take a look at Piper just being her silly self with complete strangers. She is part of the reason why we love this breed SO much!

Piper is the lucky one thus far. Even though it's been a week, we're still pining away where ever we can to find two more locals to help get Phoebe and Prue out of the shelter. These girls also did very well on their evaluations but are going to need a little more care. They are a low heartworm positive so they'll need a committed foster home ready to spend the next 6 months at least making sure these girls are healthy and ready to move into their forever home.

Prue is the other brindle female with an endearing white blaze on her face :) Unfortunately, she was in heat for our evaluation and was a little more interested in the boy dogs nearby than playing with toys with us, but she was very responsive to people and came back frequently asking for attention. She's a spry little girl who seems to have the same prance as Piper, but isn't as comfy yet to really let her little personality shine.

Check out Prue in her video below and please Apply to Foster her today!

Phoebe is probably in the worst shape of all three girls. She's having trouble gaining the weight that Piper and Prue have but she's definitely in much better spirits from a week ago.

This girl LOVES to melt into your lap and soaks up every bit of attention she can get. She also had a great, appeasing response to another female dog that came out to the play yard during her evaluation. She willingly offered her belly and was super polite. She, like Piper and Prue, came back willingly for more attention when called :)

And if you don't believe us when we say she wants to melt into your lap, we have just the video to share with you to prove it!

Isn't it amazing how these dogs can go from near skeletons, with no knowledge of their past and turn out to be such awesome and FORGIVING creatures? They ability of these dogs to overcome so much is one that we cherish deeply and one that keeps us persevering.

If you can open you home to Phoebe or Prue, please please please Apply to Foster one of them today! We provide basic supplies, pay for routine veterinary care, and assist with training and any necessary behavior modifications. Its a win win situation for all involved!

Phoenix Rising High Above His Past!

Remember our burned boy from a couple of weeks ago? He's in a new, more long term foster home now and this boy is healing up like the wind! Just to remind you, this is what Phoenix looked like when he was brought to the Charleston Animal Society. One of their most dedicated volunteers, Carol, wanted to help save his life so she offered to foster him until we could find a more permanent foster home.

Well, on Friday, September 4, 2009, Phoenix went home with Chelsea, a great girl with a drive to make a difference in Phoenix's life. He'll be getting tons of socialization in Downtown Charleston and other areas and we couldn't be happier :) With some antibiotics and some anti-scarring cream, Phoenix should be good to go in another month! Keep him in your thoughts and go visit downtown! You may just get your chance to meet him :) We'll keep you all updated on when he'll be coming to an event - unless he gets adopted first! Here's a video of this pretty boy showcasing the improvement of his injury. It doesn't seem to phase him at all!

We'd also like to go ahead and give a special thanks to DeDe, Timothy, Miriam, Maureen, Emily, William, and Oleg for their donations towards Phoenix's care. You guys made it possible!

Mickey's Even Finer Livin' in South Carolina!

Here's a long awaited update on Mickey Mouth! Mickey had his surgery back in June and after trying to get a handle on some pesky skin issues, he's ready to begin his heartworm treatments. Wish this boy all the luck in the world!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wish They All Could Be California Girls!

No, not really. We TRULY enjoy rescuing and rehabilitating these wonderful dogs! They enrich our lives as much as we do theirs and more!

We wanted to let you know tho, that Daisy will be joining the pack in Cali with Bad Rap after all! Yep! One of their dogs was adopted and a foster home with experience opened up, so someone will be driving Mrs. Daisy out to Donna and Tim where she'll be off to her new life and new family soon.

Good luck Daisy! We wish you the best that life has to offer from here on out girly!

The folks at the shelter where the dogs were held deserve a great big kudos too for stepping up to help these dogs and for all the hard work they put into caring for them. Now that the last dog is on her way to rescue, we can share the name and location of the shelter, and it would be FABULOUS if you would send them at least a small contribution to show your appreciation for taking such wonderful care of the Oklahoma bust dogs. The shelter is very small and rural, and they don't get a whole lot of support. As with most rural shelters, they are desperately in need of donations such as toys, kongs, balls, pet vitamins, leashes/collars, etc.

If you can, please send them a little something and be sure to include a Thank You note for their support in the Oklahoma bust case and care for the dogs.

Claremore Animal Shelter
815 W. Ramm Rd.
Claremore, Oklahoma 74017

Now, on to other news... there are still dogs out there in other states who need your/our help. There are dogs in Iowa that we hope to learn more about soon and when they'll be released, and there are dogs in Indiana ready to be released immediately. We are in desperate need of foster homes, crates and other supplies for these dogs, the Missouri dogs and for dogs in our local shelters right now who need our help.

If you want to be a part of something huge, please consider opening your home to foster one of these precious and deserving dogs. New Hope Pit Bull Rescue pays for all routine medical expenses and provides the basic supplies necessary as well as help with behavioral modification and training. To learn more about our program and to apply to become a foster home for a New Hope dog, please visit our foster policy page.