Follow these doggie tips
for a happier, healthier pet

October is Love-A-Dog Month, a perfect time for this list of the top 10 things you can do to have the best possible relationship with your dog, also called Doggie Do's.

1. DO make your dog a part of the family. Dogs are pack animals and your family is part of his pack. Dogs need to be social, just like people, and they feel comfortable when they know their place in the hierarchy. Placing your dog outside alone in the yard alienates him from his pack. Dogs of all sizes are happier and healthier when they are allowed in the house with their family most of the time. Involve your dog in your life like a friend.

Gently introduce him to other neighborhood dogs and set up a pooch play group. Take him with you when you chauffeur the kids around. Stop at the dog park to play off-leash with other dogs. Remember not to leave your dog inside the car in the heat, even with the windows cracked; doggie seat belts are worth considering, too.

2. DO praise your dog when he's being good. According to Marty Hutchins, coordinator of the Humane Society's shelter animal behavior program, "What's the No. 1 thing you can do to make your dog a wonderful companion? Compliment him when he is being good, instead of only reprimanding him when he's doing something wrong. Don't hesitate to tell him what a good boy he is, anytime."

This positive reinforcement will help your dog be a trusted companion and welcome member of the family.

3.DO exercise your dog every day. Exercise is essential for dogs (and people, too), so make sure your pet is taken for a long walk at least once a day. Each family member can have a hand in playing with your dog. A strenuous game of fetch before you leave for work will make Rover tired so he'll be napping while you're gone and won't be lonely. Get some new toys and rotate them for added interest. Check out interactive toys like the "Talk to Me" treat ball that has a recorded message for the dog in his owner's voice.

4. DO give your dog identification. Being lost is one of the scariest things that can happen to your dog. Identification brings Rover home quickly. Using a permanent marker, write your phone number on the inside of his collar, then add his license and ID tag.

Because many lost pets are found without their collars, a microchip ID is the best way to identify your companion animal permanently, for the lifetime of your pet. The microchip ID number is linked to owner information in a database maintained by the Humane Society and is accessible 24/7. Call your veterinarian to get a microchip ID, or purchase the new Adopt-A-Dog T-shirt at Crazy Shirts Ala Moana or Pearlridge this month and you'll get a coupon for a free canine microchip ID.

Can you find the Pomeranian in this picture? The well-costumed little dog blends into his surroundings.

5. DO control your dog's barking. You and your neighbors will love your dog more when he learns to bark only when appropriate. Training methods are outlined in brochures available from the Humane Society. Anti-barking collars that spray a harmless burst of citronella are available at pet supply shops, or from the society for a two-week trial period for $10 (with a refundable deposit of $100).

The Humane Society does not recommend shock collars or those that emit a high-pitched noise. Clicker training has been used successfully to control barking by teaching the dog the difference between "bark" and "quiet." Check the clicker information at

6. DO take your dog to training class. By teaching your dog how you want him to behave, you'll not only have a saner household, but a healthier and happier companion animal. Train your dog using positive training methods with treats and praise, and you'll have a lifelong friend.

The Humane Society offers a brochure called "How to Choose a Dog Trainer," which recommends that you observe a training class before you enroll. In a well-run class, dogs and people enjoy themselves. There should be no yelling or stress. The brochure comes with a list of Oahu classes in several locations; some include clicker training.

A simple hat and collar turn this poodle mix into a clown.

7. DO provide proper nutrition and health care for your dog. Just like babies, puppies require a specific age-appropriate diet of food and treats. As your dog grows, his diet changes to suit his age and lifestyle. Buy a name-brand food that is marked "nutritionally complete." A consistent diet with the same food and treats is best.

Like other members of your family, your dog needs regular health care. Find a veterinarian you like and take your pet for regular visits. Heartworm preventative (a must for all dogs in Hawaii), flea and tick treatments, and vaccinations are essentials. Also ask your veterinarian about proper nutrition, treats, training, health insurance for pets and doggie dental care.

8. DO sterilize your pet. Spayed and neutered pets live longer, healthier lives, and your pet will not contribute to pet overpopulation. Oahu's cats and dogs can be sterilized through the Neuter Now program that makes the surgery more affordable. Buy a Neuter Now certificate at the Humane Society or any Satellite City Hall. Appointments for the surgery can be made at any of the 30 participating veterinary clinics. Certificates pay for the surgery at a cost of $40 for a male cat, $50 for a female cat or male dog and $75 for a female dog. Certificates for any cat or dog are $20 for pet owners with an EBT card.

9. DO know canine first-aid and emergency preparation. Get brochures from the Humane Society (available at the shelter, online or by mail) and keep them for reference. Find out where to call for veterinary emergencies. If there is a storm and your home is not safe for you, it's not safe for your pet, either. Take your pets with you; the brochure explains the procedure.

10. Most important, if you have any questions about care and behavior, visit the Humane Society for helpful brochures, or check the resources online at and choose "Animal Care and Behavior."

"Pet Ohana" runs the first and third Fridays of the month. The Hawaiian Humane Society is a nonprofit agency dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals. It is located at 2700 Waialae Ave. Call 946-2187.


Doggie do's for Halloween

Halloween is a fun time for young and old alike, but it can be a stressful holiday for pets with scary-looking strangers prowling the neighborhood, carrying strange lights. Here are a few tips to make it a happy Halloween:

DO dress up your pet safely. Pet stores carry an increasing array of irresistible costumes ranging from T-shirts to caps. If you do choose to dress your pet for Halloween, make your pet's costume is safe and comfortable so the animal can move freely. Make sure he doesn't get overheated and its vision is not obstructed. Remember to use a leash if taking it trick-or-treating.

DO feed pets only pet treats. Halloween sweets for people should not be fed to animals. Chocolate can be fatal to dogs and cats, and candy can make them sick.

DO put identification on your pets. Even if your pet is staying at home to help you pass out candy, trick-or-treat time means the front door is opening and closing frequently. Make sure your canine and feline companions are wearing IDs, collars and/or microchip ID in case they accidentally slip out the door.

DO keep your pet at home. Remember that strangers and scary costumes really can be frightening for pets. Consider keeping your pet at home in a separate room.

DO attend K-9 Game Day! Dogs in costume are one of the attractions at K-9 Game Day, from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 25 at Thomas Square. There will also be games, treats, drinks and prizes. It's all free and fun for everyone. Dress up your dog and DO come!

Hawaiian Humane Society

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