Cat Activity Puzzle: Bored Kitty? Give Her a High-Paying Job!

bored cat

If your cat is stuck in the life-saving, indoors- only lifestyle I recommend [along with most other cat experts] you can bet she is bored to distraction. This is true even if she is lucky enough to have a fully enclosed outdoor “catio” – because even that has its limitations on offering something for the cat to actually do.   Everybody needs a job in life, otherwise how do they pass the time and get a sense of accomplishment? What does your cat have to do all day? Even if your pussycat gives the appearance of being willing to sit curled up all day on one piece of furniture or another, what kind of life is that, really?

By nature, cats are predators and they are hard-wired to be hunters: stalking and capturing their prey, which can be anything from insects to small animals and birds. Unless there are no screens on your windows and there is an ample supply of flies and moths zooming around your house for your pussycat to catch, she feels like a bump on a log, sitting around twiddling her paws with nothing to do all day.

It’s marvelous if you can schedule a few five minute play sessions with her, using a realistic wand toy like a NekoFlies or one of Jackson Galaxy’s new toys for Petmate. But there are still an awful lot of empty hours in the day to fill, especially if you are out of the house during most of them.

A cat activity toy is a brilliant solution to this problem. There are many companies making them that have turned their attention to feline leisure time needs, but there’s also a cool website showing you ridiculously easy ways to make your own puzzle toys out of household items. You can fill the puzzle with freeze-dried protein pieces, like Halo Liv-a-Littles, along with a small amount of high quality dry cat food. If may be feeding a wet food diet to your kitty but also giving her some kibble because you cannot afford a canned-only diet. If so, then let that dry food be put to good use: put a small amount into the activity toy when you leave the house. Depending on the sophistication of the design of the toy, and how creative and determined your cat is to get at those little pieces in there, you’ll come home to find her genuinely tired and content from a hard day’s work capturing her prey.

Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

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Web Store Special: 20% Off and Free Shipping with Order of $100 or More

Halo Pet food

Here’s a special offer for our Halo customers!

When you order $100 or more this month, you’ll get:

  • 20% off
  • Free Shipping
  • Order by 6/20
  • Use Coupon Code: FATHERSDAY17PCT20

Instructions

  1. Go to the Halo Web Store — Shop by adding Halo products and go to your shopping cart.
  2. Enter Promo Code in the Order Summary window and proceed to checkout.
  3. Hurry–limited time only. You have until June 20, 2017 to place your Halo order with this promotion!
  4. Note: Coupon codes cannot be combined. Only one offer per shipment.
  5. Offer valid in lower 48 states only. For other locations, please contact us or use our store locator to find a retailer near you.

Shop Now

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Mother Pit Bull Survives Fire, Leads Rescuers Straight To Her Hidden Puppies

Miracle the Pit BullWhen fire struck a factory in South Carolina, a pit bull mix sprang into action to protect her puppies. Not only did she manage to save herself, but she also saved all of her puppies. Now they all get their happily ever after.

According to ABC News, the mother dog (now known as Miracle), was picked up on the road after the fire. The good Samaritan who helped her, had seen Miracle coming and going from the factory. Victoria McGonigal, owner of Dochas n Gra Animal Rescue and Sanctuary told reporters that “the day she got picked up was the day the warehouse had a fire. They took her to animal control and realized she had a broken front left leg and… she was still producing milk, so she had puppies somewhere.”

Unfortunately the local fire department told animal control that it wouldn’t be safe to go to the factory and search for the puppies. After four days, the fire department gave their okay and an animal control officer headed to the factory with Miracle in hopes of finding the puppies. Miracle led the officer directly to her puppies who were all safely hidden and waiting for their mother’s return.

Read the complete story.

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The Humane Society of the United States: Puppy Nipping and Rough Play

puppy nipping and biting

Halo is proud to work together with The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s leading advocacy organization for animals, to help ALL animals!

It’s not always easy to convince a new puppy not to bite the hand that feeds them, pets them, or plays with them, for that matter.

When puppies play with each other, they use their mouths, so they may also be inclined to bite or “mouth” your hand during play or when being petted. This is rarely aggressive behavior meant to do harm, but it is a difficult habit to break unless you encourage your puppy to try an acceptable alternative behavior. The goal is to redirect your puppy’s energy onto acceptable chew toys, and to teach them to be gentle when a hand is in or near their mouth.

Encourage acceptable behavior
Redirect your puppy’s penchant for nipping and biting by offering them more acceptable objects (such as chew toys) whenever you pet them. This technique can be especially effective when children want to pet them.

As you or the child reaches out to scratch them behind the ears with one hand, offer the chew toy with the other. This will not only help your puppy learn that people and petting are wonderful, but will also keep their mouth busy while they’re being petted. Alternate which hand does the petting and which one has the chew toy. You may need to start off by petting or scratching your puppy for short periods of time, since the longer they’re petted, the more likely they are to get excited and start to nip.

Discourage unacceptable behavior
You must also teach your puppy to be gentle with hands, and show their that nipping results in unpleasant consequences. Teach your puppy that nipping “turns off” any attention and social interaction with you. As soon as a nip occurs, look your puppy right in the eye and yell “OUCH” as though you’ve been mortally wounded. Then ignore them. Leave the room if you must, but ignore them until they’re calm, and then try the chew toy and petting method again.

Jumping up
When your puppy jumps up on you, they want attention. Even if you push their away, they are still getting attention (even if it is a response that you might consider negative).

When your puppy jumps up:

  • Fold your arms in front of you, turn away from them, and say “off.”
  • Continue to turn away from them until all four paws are on the ground, then quietly praise them and give their a treat. If they know the “sit” command, give the command when all four paws are on the ground, then quietly praise them and give their a treat while they’re in the sitting position.
  • If they begin to jump while you’re praising them, simply turn away and repeat the second step, above. Remember to keep your praise low-key.

When your puppy realizes that they get no attention from you while they’re jumping up, but does get attention when they sit, they’ll stop jumping up. Remember, once you’ve taught them to come and sit quietly for attention, you must reward their behavior. Be careful not to ignore their when they come and sits politely, waiting for your attention.

What not to do
Attempts to tap, slap, or hit your puppy in the face for nipping or jumping up are almost guaranteed to backfire. Several things may happen, depending on your puppy’s temperament and the severity of the correction:

  • They could become “hand-shy” and cringe or cower whenever a hand comes toward their face.
  • They could become afraid of you, and refuse to come to you or approach you at all.
  • They could respond in a defensive manner and attempt to bite you to defend themself.
  • They could interpret a mild slap as an invitation to play, causing them to become more excited and even more likely to nip.

Set boundaries when playing “tug-of-war” or wrestling games with your puppy. When trained properly, these types of games can teach your puppy bite restraint and the limitations of rough play.

Be consistent
It’s important that all behaviors, acceptable and unacceptable, be managed consistently by all family members. And remember that any method you try will probably not be effective unless you work hard to teach your puppy an acceptable alternative behavior.

A note about children and puppies
It’s very difficult for children under 8 or 9 years old to practice the kind of behavior modification outlined here. Children’s first reaction to being nipped or mouthed by a puppy is to push the puppy away with their hands and arms. This will be interpreted by the puppy as play and will probably cause the puppy to nip and mouth even more. Adults should closely monitor all interactions between their children and dogs.

Adapted from material originally developed by applied animal behaviorists at the Dumb Friends League, Denver, Colorado. All rights reserved.

 

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Snap, Crackle, Crunch: Cheap Treats Your Dog Will Love

rice cake
I always thought that rice cakes were about as appealing as Styrofoam discs.

Turns out, dogs love them!

I buy the plain unsalted (or even lightly salted) rice cakes and then break them up into little pieces to use as rewards and treats. I mix and match a batch of rice cakes interspersed with something more tasty and nutritious (like Halo Liv-a-Little freeze dried salmon or chicken) and keep them together in one treat jar. It imparts some of the flavor of the high quality treats to the rice cake bits, and when I dip my hand in the jar, Wanda and Maisie know they’ve got something good coming. They actually don’t know “how good” and science has shown that intermittent rewards (sometimes you hit the jackpot, sometimes you get nothing) is the best way to encourage learning and obedience, but also not knowing how good the treat will be is also very reinforcing.

If your dog is on a diet (most of us struggle to keep the extra pounds off our pets, as well as ourselves because staying lean is the key to longevity and health) rice cakes make a great snack without adding “costly” calories.

Save the high value treats (a piece of cheese, meat or freeze-dried protein treats) for when you really need to reinforce a great response to a command.

You can offer a crunchy chunk of rice cake for those “gotta have something” moments and not feel guilty about wight gain. Amazing how that bit of air-filled rice cake can be a happy snack. There’s nothing like the sound an eager puppy makes while she’s crunching. And then the smile on her face when she comes from away when you call her and she gets the lovely surprise of a piece of real chicken from the Halo Liv-a-Little jar!

Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

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