by Borderstan.com August 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm 6,493 24 Comments

Pit Bulls, Borderstan

All breeds of dogs need responsible owners to give them love and training. (Photos from Sora Devore and Gina Lantella)

From Tori Tyree. Questions? Leave a comment or email Tori at [email protected].

I read an interesting book the other day that examined a news story involving a dog attack on a 17-year-old girl. It was reported that she was rocking in a chair and when she had called her dog over to her, the dog lunged at her and attacked her chest, face and arms without provocation. It was later discovered that she had rocked over the paw of her older dog, and in the pain and confusion the dog jumped at her.

What I want you to know about this story is that the article is from 1897, and the dangerous dog in question was a Newfoundland. The publication I was reading is called The Pit Bull Placebo, which basically examines news reports of dog attacks, from the turn of the century to the present, to identify factors in dog aggression and dispel the myth that Pit Bulls are inherently dangerous dogs.

At the turn of the century the most-feared dogs were the Newfoundland and the Bloodhound. In the 1920s and again in the 1960s it was the German Shepherd. In the 1980s it was the Doberman Pinscher. Today of course, the title of most “dangerous” dog goes to the Pit Bull.

The media has done a really good job of feeding public fears with half-truths and catchy sensationalized headlines. While it is true that pit bull type dogs do bite, it is also true that all dogs bite and can cause serious injury. If it’s not a Pit Bull though, it’s most likely not going to make the news.

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by Borderstan.com August 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm 1,370 1 Comment

dog tips, Borderstan, Tori Tyree

Are you ready to bring home a new dog? There are steps to take before you bring home a puppy or a full-grown dog for the first time. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tori Tyree. Questions? Leave a comment or email Tori at [email protected].

So, you finally took the plunge and decided to bring home a new dog. You’ve researched what type of dog will best suit your daily routine and family and are about to have a companion that will be there with you through thick and thin. The decision to take care of an animal is a big commitment and the first few days are extremely important in laying the ground work for a successful relationship with the dog and your family.

The first step in bringing home a new dog is prepping your home. Before the dog ever comes to your place you want to do a little “puppy proofing.”

I recommend getting latches for cabinets at ground level that have any type of cleaners or chemicals in them. Also, make sure lamps that may be antique or fragile are out of the reach of exuberant tails and curious noses. Pick up any random items you may have on the floor and break out that old laundry basket. (Gross but true- dogs love to eat underwear and socks.)

The Five Major Necessities

You also want to head out to the store and pick up the five major necessities.

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by Borderstan.com June 23, 2011 at 9:00 am 1,051 0

Lupe, Borderstan

If your dog spends a lot of time running in the grass and woods, you should know your options for flea and tick control. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Tori Tyree

It’s no surprise to my readers that I am not a big fan of chemicals anywhere near my animals. I constantly urge people to avoid pet foods with chemicals and I am not a fan of toys that are made of plastic. Moreover, I waver about the use of some vaccinations, and I pretty much never use monthly flea and tick repellents.

In 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was “intensifying its evaluation and closely monitoring the use of topical flea and tick products on pets.” The flea and tick killers under the most intense scrutiny are commonly known as “spot-on” treatments, but all flea and tick products are of interest.

This announcement was in response to more than 44,000 potential adverse reactions to spot-on flea and tick products reported in 2008. You can read the full EPA report, which was last updated February 2011.

I realize that D.C. summers are bad for fleas and ticks, and protection is important! The important thing to know is that there are alternatives.

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by Borderstan.com June 9, 2011 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Alley Cat Allies, Borderstan, feral cats, Tori Tyree

Feral cats are almost never suited to becoming housecats.

From Tori Tyree

Well, it’s officially summertime in D.C. Most people know this is true because of the higher temperatures and the long wait times for outside dining. However, the people who work in animal shelters know this is true because it’s “kitten season.”

So, I want to shift gears this week from my regular columns and talk about something that we all too often forget: As pet owners, I believe we all have a responsibility to care for all animals, not just the ones living under our roof.

I don’t think I have to educate most people about the importance of spaying and neutering your own pets. Being responsible has already become the cool thing to do these days, but what about all the feral cats living in your alley? This is why it’s now kitten season.

In a mind-boggling study on exploding cat populations, one unspayed female cat could be responsible for the creation of more than 33,000 cats within five years. In D.C. there is a group called Alley Cat Allies that helps people set up Trap-Neuter-Return programs.

Feral cats have colonies, and for the most part, these colonies stay in one area and support the same cats every year. New cats try to come in, but the colony of cats makes them leave because there isn’t enough food to support more animals. However, once one is taken out or leaves, another can come to take its place.

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by Borderstan.com April 6, 2011 at 5:30 am 1,654 6 Comments

Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos, dog trainning tips, pet tips, Tori Tyree

Many dogs behave differently on leash and on the sidewalk than in other places. What’s your role in helping your dog navigate the situation? (Luis Gomez Photos)

Editor’s note: Borderstan welcomes Tori Tyree back with her second column on you and your pets. She is the owner of Walk of the Town, a dog walking and pet sitting company. Tyree has been working with animals most of her life — caring for them in animal hospitals, training dogs, volunteering at zoos and the Washington Humane Society, and counseling customers about pet nutrition.

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From Tori Tyree

I have a rule when I am walking dogs in the city: Whenever I see other dogs or children approach me, I cross the street. Some may call this rude, but I call it dog-walking etiquette.

There are plenty of controlled situations where dogs can play, but a cramped sidewalk just isn’t one of them. (If you are new to the area, check out the list of three dog parks at the bottom of this post.)

I believe my rule is particularly important with small children. The truth is, most kids don’t know how to interact with dogs — and dogs themselves do not understand why kids poke and scream and wobble!

If interacting with a child is unavoidable, I will kneel down to the child’s eye level and make sure both the child and my dog are behaving appropriately.

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by Borderstan.com March 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm 1,454 3 Comments

Borderstan, Tori Tyree, Luis Gomez Photos

Have you tried to make your dog into a child? (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan welcomes Tori Tyree who will be writing about you and your pets.

You may have seen her walking dogs down your street. Tori Tyree is the owner of “Walk of the Town,” a dog walking and pet sitting company. She has been working with animals most of her life — caring for them in animal hospitals, training dogs, volunteering at zoos and the Washington Humane Society and counseling customers about pet nutrition.

Tyree has been walking dogs in D.C. for more than eight years. She has built up a lot of experience and has some good stories to share. We hope you will find them useful for your relationship with your pets.

Full disclosure: The editors of Borderstan have used Tyree’s dog-walking services, but are not receiving any free services or discount in exchange for her occasional columns.

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From Tori Tyree

I’m going to start my first post with a daring statement and hope that you bear with me:

Our dogs are not children.

They are just as important to many of us — and maybe in some cases, more important than children if we don’t have any. But at the end of the day, it is a mistake to treat them as children or substitutes for children.

The very best thing you can do for your dog is to give him or her structure. Without a routine and a set of rules that they can depend on you to enforce, dogs become anxious and sometimes destructive. Perhaps you are thinking of a purse or Blackberry that you once owned or is no longer usable?

Don’t worry; I’m not here to take away all your fun. There are lots of ways that you can still spoil your dog and give her the structure she needs to make sure everyone stays sane — you, your family, the neighbors and the dog.

In the coming weeks I will address several dog-related topics including training tools, what foods you should be buying, tricks you can teach your dog (some are even for your cats!). I am also open to topics of interest, so please leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from Borderstan readers.

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