Author Topic: Mustachian Pets  (Read 18090 times)

southern granny

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #50 on: June 19, 2015, 08:15:22 PM »
One of the best things to teach a dog is to look for a treat.  While the dog is out, we hide part of a hotdog.  When he comes in, we give him the command to find a treat "locate" is our word... and he is off.  He will keep searching until he finds it.  It exercises his body, his mind, and his nose.  I have to walk all around the house and hide the treat somewhere in the middle, or he just follows my tracks to find the hot dog.  Mostly I use this during the winter because I don't want to go for walks.  Kongs are also great to keep them occupied for awhile.

Sister C

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #51 on: June 19, 2015, 08:29:12 PM »
All mine have loved their crate, when I couldn't find them I would look in the crate - and there they were.  At present it is just the one dog and me, so she doesn't need to hide from cats, kids, etc., but she loves her crate anyway.  The trick is to make the crate a place the dog wants to be.

Newspapers are wonderful for house-training too.  Every time the puppy has an accident in the house you roll up a newspaper and hit yourself in the head with it, saying "I didn't watch the puppy and I didn't get it outside in time so it could learn where to go - BAD ME!"

Ha! Very true, Retiredat63.  Lots of great points on this thread! My wife and I have a dog and three cats. She's a dog person, I'm a cat person, so we have both.  In terms of training, you want behavioral training which heavily emphasizes positive reinforcement. This is the most effective and the most humane way to train your dog.  Use of time outs (technically a punishment) is a complimentary tool if done correctly (short- about 2 minutes, away from things the dog enjoys i.e. you).  I highly recommend Karen Pryor's "Don't Shoot the Dog" and Jean Donaldson's "The Culture Clash." The first is a very accessible and scientifically based book about behavioral animal training.  The second is written from an animal behavior perspective and talks about the clash which takes place when people anthropomorphize their pets - it helps you see the dog's behavior for what it means for a dog as opposed to what it would mean for a human (e.g. dogs chase cats because it is incredibly rewarding due to their prey drive, not because they think they are so cute or because they are being naughty). 

I second finding a less expensive vet. You want to stay away from the yuppie vets and do your own research to make sure whatever the vet recommends is truly necessary.  For instance our non-yuppie, generally less expensive vet tech was trying to get us to vaccinate our cats, who are indoor except for a second floor porch.  This is absolutely unnecessary since they do not come in contact with other animals, and some feline vaccines increase the risk of tumor at the vaccine site.  (If I had outdoor cats I would vaccinate).  We recently got our dog a free rabies vaccine at a county vaccination clinic so see if there's anything like that in your area.

There are many, many great animals at the shelter.  Puppies and kittens are a tremendous amount of work up front but they are easier to train and you have control over their socialization (dogs have about a 4 month window when they are easy to socialize; if not socialized to babies/kids/dogs/men with beards etc they may be fearful or not skilled at interacting with those beings).  That being said, you can certainly rehabilitate a dog or cat with effort, time and patience.  Try not to get a cat with an existing spraying problem though.  That is very difficult to change.

Finally, I would suggest considering getting two cats (at the same time- either kittens or adult cats who know each other).  Cats are social animals and it seems to me that some of their innate kitty needs are harder to meet only by humans than for dogs.  Our cats romp, groom each other, and keep each other company when we're out of town.  That is just my observation though- it's not scientifically based!

Exhale

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #52 on: June 19, 2015, 09:50:22 PM »
All the cats we've had seem to be happier going outside. Shorter life expectancy, but happier life. (and less gophers in my yard!)
A cat isn't a wild animal. If you don't let it out it will live a very contended life inside.

Outdoor cats are responsible for millions of songbird deaths in North America each year.  As a non-native predator, free-roaming domestic and feral cats have a devastating impact on our native wildlife and ecosystems.  For more information about keeping cats indoors, please visit the American Bird Conservancy at www.abcbirds.org. Source: http://www.nativesongbirdcare.org/Help_Songbirds.html

amberfocus

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #53 on: June 20, 2015, 12:07:55 AM »
Spay & neuter (of course) but do not declaw
And please don't declaw. It's the equivalent of chopping your fingers off at the last knuckle. God forbid they do run out, give them a fighting chance of either fighting back or escaping via a tree with their claws. I remember watching an episode of My Cat From Hell (love Jackson Galaxy!) where the couple had to get specialized litter because regular hurt their declawed cat's paws so much, he refused to use it. YMMV, but I highly recommend not declawing. There's even a push to make it illegal. You can most certainly train a cat to use a scratching post with catnip and treats and avoid scratching furniture with a mini water gun. Clipping cats' nails isn't that hard either, especially if you get a kitten. No matter the age, train your cat that sitting on your lap in the position to clip nails isn't scary, and gently pinch their paws so their nails come out (minimal pressure, certainly not to cause pain!).

This. So many people think declawing is just some simple op that saves your furniture. It's downright cruel.

I certainly don't advocate declawing, but I'm not so quick to categorically condemn it either. My landlady has a cat who is just vicious towards strangers, and she would sit in the stairwell and attack anyone who tries to walk past. After my landlady's elderly and frail mother sustained a particularly nasty injury one day, the cat was declawed, and I frankly don't fault that decision, because when faced with the choice between human welfare vs. the keeping cat's claws (or surrendering the cat altogether), I think the former wins.

If one is interested in a declawed cat to protect furniture, though, I'd simply suggest getting an already-declawed cat. Personally, I short-circuit this problem by not having nice furniture. ;) I actually find claw-shredded furniture endearing, LOL.

Lyssa

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #54 on: June 20, 2015, 10:19:59 AM »
Spay & neuter (of course) but do not declaw
And please don't declaw. It's the equivalent of chopping your fingers off at the last knuckle. God forbid they do run out, give them a fighting chance of either fighting back or escaping via a tree with their claws. I remember watching an episode of My Cat From Hell (love Jackson Galaxy!) where the couple had to get specialized litter because regular hurt their declawed cat's paws so much, he refused to use it. YMMV, but I highly recommend not declawing. There's even a push to make it illegal. You can most certainly train a cat to use a scratching post with catnip and treats and avoid scratching furniture with a mini water gun. Clipping cats' nails isn't that hard either, especially if you get a kitten. No matter the age, train your cat that sitting on your lap in the position to clip nails isn't scary, and gently pinch their paws so their nails come out (minimal pressure, certainly not to cause pain!).

This. So many people think declawing is just some simple op that saves your furniture. It's downright cruel.

I certainly don't advocate declawing, but I'm not so quick to categorically condemn it either. My landlady has a cat who is just vicious towards strangers, and she would sit in the stairwell and attack anyone who tries to walk past. After my landlady's elderly and frail mother sustained a particularly nasty injury one day, the cat was declawed, and I frankly don't fault that decision, because when faced with the choice between human welfare vs. the keeping cat's claws (or surrendering the cat altogether), I think the former wins.

If one is interested in a declawed cat to protect furniture, though, I'd simply suggest getting an already-declawed cat. Personally, I short-circuit this problem by not having nice furniture. ;) I actually find claw-shredded furniture endearing, LOL.

Declawed cats bite a lot more often than non-declawed ones. Simply because this is the last resort available to them. Since cats host nasty bacteria in their mouth (even indoor cats) I would not recommend declawing as an anti-aggression training.

It is not an insult but a simple matter of fact description, that a declawed cat is a mutilated cat.

The procedure is illegal where I live and I'm glad it is.

Dee 72013

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #55 on: June 21, 2015, 05:33:28 AM »
Lessons learned six years into owning my first dog:

1. Training is everything. And it's not just the sit, stay, down stuff either. It's about letting your dog know exactly what is expected of him in each and every situation. My dog, for example, has been trained to ignore other dogs while he is on leash so that walking him isn't a nightmare. We used Dog a Training for Dummies and took a series of four classes from PetSmart (puppy, intermediate, advanced) that were surprisingly good. I think they were $120 for each 6-week class, so a total of 18 weeks of training. Well worth it, and the group setting is great for getting your dog to listen to you when there are distractions. We also did agility for about a year, but stopped when it got too competitive. It would have been pretty expensive to train to competition levels.

2. Vet bills. If you get a puppy from a breeder that needs to be spayed/neutered and have its shot series, it's going to be VERY spendy. Turns out my purebred had lots of unidentifiable health issues. Tremors, skin irritations, etc etc. We've probably spent $10k on vets, including several specialists and in the end he's just sort of broken and we deal with it. Google, Google, Google if it's not a broken bone or a seizure or something. We treat his skin with a product we found online that the dermatologist had never heard of. Monitor a condition for a while so that you have good info to go to the vet win because half of diagnosis is behavior and frequency.

3. Food. I'd recommend just going with something grain free from the start. My dog has grain and chicken allergies, and he eats Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet. Currently he's on Kangaroo and Potato because he hates sweet potato and the rabbit gives him gas. Seriously, he's a mess.

4. Toys. It seems like all dogs are either fetchers or tuggers. Buy one of each kind (NOT the rope kinds, as the dogs can tear them apart, ingest the strings, and get a blockage) and see what your dog likes best. My dog has about 30 toys and probably needs 3. Squeaky tennis balls for outside, this weird hollow hex ball for inside, and his chuck it frisbee for swimming.

5. Crate train! My dog went from a crate to an exercise pen to free reign of the house by the time he was about a year old. He just got more privileges as he became more reliable. Still loves his crate for travel or if he's feeling mopey.

Hope that's helpful! We got out dog well before we knew anything at all about money, let alone Mustachianism, but I don't regret having him at all, though I'd probably have approached his early years differently. Despite his issues, he is the most amazing companion you could ask for. We just get each other. I hope your experience is as positive!
+1

We also have a dog with food allergies so he eats Natural Balance  limited ingredient rabbit & sweet potato food. We feed him carrots & green beans for snacks in addition to some limited ingredient treats.
We buy toys with no stuffing and spend a little more (nothing from Walmart) Don't buy any treats or snacks made in China.  Be careful of rawhide chews/sticks. Really watch your new dog or puppy around his toys, you can spend a fortune having surgery if they ingest and not pass a piece of plastic.

Really read up on  people food that is poisonous to dogs (chocolate, grapes, chewing gum, onions, etc.) Also what household cleaners & yard fertilizers/chemicals you use. Know what plants are in your yard and if they're toxic to dogs. In addition to your house, puppy proof your garage.
We crate trained our dog and he automatically goes in his crate when we are getting ready to leave the house for a few hours. It gives us piece of mind to know he won't get into anything while we're gone.

When socializing your new puppy be a little wary of other dogs off leash at dog parks, their owners may say they're friendly but I've had my dog snapped at more than once by what was " a friendly dog". Also you don't know if they have kept up on kennel cough, etc. and your dog could have all his shots but a chance encounter at the park could cost you an unexpected vet bill. I had my dog off leash at a dog park and strangers there will want to feed him their treats, bring along some that you know are safe or just be firm in not letting them feed your dog because they could be cheap snacks that will get your dog seriously sick.

Vet bills: In addition to the checkups and shots be prepared to shell out hundreds of dollars a year with random trips to the vet. We've had three dogs with no health issues before our latest dog and he really is a special needs dog. We paid more money for him but we now think he was from a puppy mill and we've also paid more in vet bills. So when you get your animals, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst, emotionally and financially. 

Even though we've had so many health issues with our dog, he's worth every penny we've put into him.  He takes us for a walk every day & encourages us to be healthy and enjoy the outdoors. When you look at the world from they're prescriptive it really changes you as well.
BTW, be prepared to tell your family that your dog will be cremated and buried with you & your spouse.


The Beacon

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #56 on: June 21, 2015, 09:20:59 AM »
I have a few pet  spiders roaming around in the house.  They require no maintenance at all.  In addition, they eat mosquito and alike. 

Mesmoiselle

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #57 on: June 21, 2015, 07:39:15 PM »
One cat surgery later (as of this morning), because I'm a sucker that gets attached and can't really accept euthanizing when it's fixable, the is no such thing as a mustachian pet.

+1

My only tip is a smaller dog. Less good, less meds when they get ill, less flea meds, less body to cremate.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2015, 10:46:00 PM »
So many corgi people here :) They're pretty awesome little dogs.

I will say that regardless of what dog you get (puppy, pound, etc), you should spend some time interacting with it. You want a dog that's not afraid to look you in the eye and is interested in pleasing you. I cannot stress how much this will impact your ability to train the dog. We wanted a female when we went to pick out our puppy at the breeder, but there was this super intense little boy who could care less about his litter mates. He followed us around, made direct eye contact, brought us toys, and generally wouldn't leave us alone. The girl was bullying the other puppies the whole time. Needless to say, we took home the boy and 6+ years later, we're still the most interesting thing going on in his life at any give time. Which really comes in handy when he does things like accidentally wander up to a bull moose at the edge of a forest and need to be called back into the car immediately.

Cassie

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #59 on: June 22, 2015, 12:53:40 PM »
The purebred doggies I bought had many more health issues then the ones we rescued.  IN the past 11 years we have had 6 dogs & we have spent a total of $30,000 on vet bills alone. Never added up the meds, food, grooming,etc.  2 are now gone & the other 4 range in age from 9-18. In the future 1 or 2 will be perfect.

Lis

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #60 on: June 22, 2015, 01:02:52 PM »
Each doggie breed comes with certain medical issues that occur often. When breeds start mixing, you actually lessen the chance the chance of a breed-related problem. For example, pure German Shepherds commonly have hip dysplasia, while they occur less often in shepherd mixes. There's no guarantee - you could have an extremely healthy pure or a sick mutt, but the odds are in the mutt's favor.

I've always viewed the people who toot their horns over their purebred puppies the same way people view their Gucci purses. A purse is a purse and a dog is a dog. As long as you love and care for your dog, it'll love you right back.

MLKnits

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #61 on: June 22, 2015, 01:13:05 PM »
Each doggie breed comes with certain medical issues that occur often. When breeds start mixing, you actually lessen the chance the chance of a breed-related problem. For example, pure German Shepherds commonly have hip dysplasia, while they occur less often in shepherd mixes. There's no guarantee - you could have an extremely healthy pure or a sick mutt, but the odds are in the mutt's favor.

I've always viewed the people who toot their horns over their purebred puppies the same way people view their Gucci purses. A purse is a purse and a dog is a dog. As long as you love and care for your dog, it'll love you right back.

The problem with the hybrid vigour theory is that many crosses are of breeds with similar problems. GSDs and Goldens get crossed all the time; they both have hip dysplasia problems. Cockers and small poodles get crossed (and sold at a great mark-up, which is ridiculous), and they both have similar eye and elbow issues. Many, many mixed breeds aren't Heinz 57s; they're just crossbreeds, and likely to still be getting genetic issues from both parents. For that reason, a purebred from a known, carefully screened line--NOT a petstore puppy or someone's backyard "we thought it would be cute to have puppies!!" breeding--has a good chance of being healthier than a random, similarly sized mixed-breed. However, I'd take the mixed-breed over the pet-store puppy any day of the week, no question, even (or especially) if the pet-store pup is a purebred.

I wouldn't compare dog breeds to designer brands at all--they're more like types of purse. Sometimes you need a clutch, sometimes you need a big-ass carryall. Most people mostly need something in the middle, so it doesn't much matter, which is why most people should at least seriously consider adoption. However, there are lots of good reasons why a specific breed is a good call, and why having lots of detailed information about that individual dog's background, family history, etc, can be important. If you're going to herd sheep, you don't want a retriever, and if you're going to do competitive agility, you probably shouldn't get a Basset Hound.

Personally, I have a shelter dog. If I wanted to get much more serious about agility, I would probably consider a breed rescue (eg a rehomed Aussie or another smallish athletic breed). There are reasons on both sides of that--but no reason at all for pet-shop puppies or for "why not!" litters.

libertarian4321

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #62 on: June 22, 2015, 05:23:19 PM »
Regarding training:  Check with your local school if it has "adult education."  We have taken our dogs to these sorts of training classes, and they tend to be pretty inexpensive.

Lyssa

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #63 on: June 23, 2015, 09:24:43 AM »
Each doggie breed comes with certain medical issues that occur often. When breeds start mixing, you actually lessen the chance the chance of a breed-related problem. For example, pure German Shepherds commonly have hip dysplasia, while they occur less often in shepherd mixes. There's no guarantee - you could have an extremely healthy pure or a sick mutt, but the odds are in the mutt's favor.

I've always viewed the people who toot their horns over their purebred puppies the same way people view their Gucci purses. A purse is a purse and a dog is a dog. As long as you love and care for your dog, it'll love you right back.

The problem with the hybrid vigour theory is that many crosses are of breeds with similar problems. GSDs and Goldens get crossed all the time; they both have hip dysplasia problems. Cockers and small poodles get crossed (and sold at a great mark-up, which is ridiculous), and they both have similar eye and elbow issues. Many, many mixed breeds aren't Heinz 57s; they're just crossbreeds, and likely to still be getting genetic issues from both parents. For that reason, a purebred from a known, carefully screened line--NOT a petstore puppy or someone's backyard "we thought it would be cute to have puppies!!" breeding--has a good chance of being healthier than a random, similarly sized mixed-breed. However, I'd take the mixed-breed over the pet-store puppy any day of the week, no question, even (or especially) if the pet-store pup is a purebred.

I wouldn't compare dog breeds to designer brands at all--they're more like types of purse. Sometimes you need a clutch, sometimes you need a big-ass carryall. Most people mostly need something in the middle, so it doesn't much matter, which is why most people should at least seriously consider adoption. However, there are lots of good reasons why a specific breed is a good call, and why having lots of detailed information about that individual dog's background, family history, etc, can be important. If you're going to herd sheep, you don't want a retriever, and if you're going to do competitive agility, you probably shouldn't get a Basset Hound.

Personally, I have a shelter dog. If I wanted to get much more serious about agility, I would probably consider a breed rescue (eg a rehomed Aussie or another smallish athletic breed). There are reasons on both sides of that--but no reason at all for pet-shop puppies or for "why not!" litters.

plus 1

the biggest issue that can be avoided with a controlled background is inbreeding. This regularly happens if people search for dogs or cats looking purebred but cheaper and without "papers". Mostly those animals come from private individuals who have purchased a small number of founding animals, and let them procreate more or less randomly. If one of the breeding stock animals dies they keep a pub or a kitten to replace it...

I suppose this is how big puppy mills work as well and pet stores couldn't care less about the background of the animals they sell as long as they have the approximate looks of some fashionable breed.

A fake Gucci bag is not going to suffer, a "without papers" lookalike kitten or puppy might very well be miserable and/or have a really short life...

Cassie

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #64 on: June 23, 2015, 12:42:02 PM »
Exactly right! That is why we now do rescue work & adopt the ones that others don't want-old, blind deaf, etc.

starbuck

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #65 on: June 23, 2015, 12:55:23 PM »
I've adopted multiple animals from a shelter. The first one was a chow/lab mix puppy that ended up with such severe hip dysplasia within a year that she had to be put down by the time she reached the age of 5.

But NOT adopting her wouldn't have changed her outcome, correct? That's my perspective - the homeless dog already exists, and choosing a breeder still leaves that dog homeless. Therefore I choose the homeless pet. Ownership costs aren't really a factor - this is why I bring my lunch to work, to make space for the things I value! :)

(I agree that adopting a dog with an unknown background is absolutely not for the faint-of-heart or inexperienced pet owner. Sure it can work out, but it also can be really shitty for everyone, pet and human, involved.)

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #66 on: June 23, 2015, 01:14:47 PM »
Remember you can be Mustachian even if the pet isn't. I've heard people claim they pick the cheaper option: procedure vs. putting it to sleep.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #67 on: June 24, 2015, 08:34:11 AM »
Back again on the purebred issue - pet store "pure bred" puppies - papers are shipped  separately and staff try to match them up - which is why I knew a "Malamute" that was obviously a Siberian/Samoyed cross.

There is a world of difference between a purebred from a good breeder and a backyard breeder and a pet store dog.Genetics, socialization, early health care - and on and on.  Crosses - get a real mix.  It kills me when I know people are paying show quality puppy prices for a cross that can have the worst of both parent breeds,  and doesn't have the good genetic background.

monstermonster

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #68 on: June 24, 2015, 12:42:31 PM »
I consider the cost of cat companionship to often offset other costs: television, going out to bars with friends, the cost of a girlfriend... So much cheaper to just hang out with my cat, beer, and a cardboard box.

MLKnits

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #69 on: June 24, 2015, 01:33:55 PM »
I consider the cost of cat companionship to often offset other costs: television, going out to bars with friends, the cost of a girlfriend... So much cheaper to just hang out with my cat, beer, and a cardboard box.

Agreed! I think I'd be less content in my home if I were completely alone. Having a couple little creatures running around being weird and adorable and unpredictable makes a big difference, even though I'm a natural homebody.

Lis

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Re: Mustachian Pets
« Reply #70 on: June 24, 2015, 02:18:04 PM »
I consider the cost of cat companionship to often offset other costs: television, going out to bars with friends, the cost of a girlfriend... So much cheaper to just hang out with my cat, beer, and a cardboard box.

Agreed! I think I'd be less content in my home if I were completely alone. Having a couple little creatures running around being weird and adorable and unpredictable makes a big difference, even though I'm a natural homebody.

It's weird if you talk to yourself while cooking dinner, scrubbing the toilets, or being a lazy bum on the couch. 100% normal if you're talking (and holding a full on conversation) with you cat (or dog!) while doing all these things.

I really like staying home and being 'by myself,' but I think part of the reason is because I'm never actually alone.