Hannah’s Pet Aptitude Test Helps Prevent Dog Bites

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 The Pet Aptitude Test (PAT) is an innovative Pet screening process developed by Hannah the Pet Society to learn specific characteristics of each Hannah Pet.  Every Pet who joins the Hannah family is tested for aggression and sociability with other Pets, strangers, and little ones.  They are also tested for object and food guarding, cooperativity and training motivation.  According to Hannah’s Chief Behaviorist Dr. Tripp, “the PAT is patterned after the S.A.T. (Scholastic Aptitude Test), measuring the aptitude of the Pet to be compatible with the new Pet parent.  It tests friendliness and education and provides situations that will show aggressive characteristics in potentially dangerous dogs.”  No other Pet care organization goes so far to ensure the safety and compatibility for both Pets and families as Hannah!

In short, the PAT provides an insight into potentially dangerous behaviors and mitigates the possibility that a dog will bite.  What does all of this mean?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.  Of those, well over half are children and about one in five require medical attention.  While many dog bites occur outside the home and are caused by an unfamiliar dog, most are caused by the family Pet.  Problem: People pick Pets that are not best for their family and lifestyle and Pets that have not been tested for behavior.

Good news: most bites are preventable!  But it takes effort and a little bit of research.  Taking on the responsibility of a new Pet is a decision that should not be made lightly and one for which you should seek professional assistance.  There are many factors to consider.  First, what do you know about this Pet?  Hannah’s Pet parents can rest assured that each Pet we place has passed our PAT screening.  Another question is, do you have the time, energy and dedication to commit to this new family member?  Responsible Pet parenting and training is key to raising a healthy, happy Pet who is free of aggressive tendencies.

Here are some helpful tips to preventing bites and other inappropriate behaviors in Pets:

  • Let Hannah help you find your Perfect Pet Match. Hannah will help you determine the best breed to fit your personality, lifestyle and financial resources. Every Hannah Pet is screened medically and behaviorally and guaranteed healthy and safe.
  • Training!  Enrolling your puppy/dog into behavior classes early and sticking to a consistent training regimen may be the best way to ensure your Pet steers clear of aggression and other unwanted behaviors. Unlimited puppy, obedience, adult Good Citizenship classes, and private behavior consultations are all included in Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program.
  • Spaying and Neutering your pup (included in your Hannah membership) can help reduce aggressive tendencies in addition to addressing over-population and health concerns.
  • Practice “gentling” to teach your Pet to submit to human handling, and regularly remove his/her bowl and toys to prevent object and food guarding.
  • Socialize your Pet with friends, family, neighbors and other Pets.  Taking your Pet to the dog park or on walks to heavily populated streets can be a great way to get them used to the fact that there are other friendly people and Pets in the world!
  • Enroll your Pets in Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program to receive all food, vet care (including spaying/neutering, vaccinations, dental care, parasite controls, medications, surgeries and emergency care) and of course, all the behavioral support your Pets need to become healthy, happy and safe Pet citizens!

Because of our exclusive PAT screening process and our extensive training programs, Hannah guarantees each and every Pet that we place!  In addition, we have developed a program we call Hannah’s B.E.S.T. (Behavior, Education, Support and Training) to help our valued Hannah members train their Pet to be the best they can be.  Our support staff is available 24-hours a day and is ready to help!

To learn more about the Total Lifetime Care program and Hannah’s B.E.S.T., stop by one of our Placement Centers in Washington Square Mall or Clackamas Town Center.

Preventing Cat Scratch Fever

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Rare is the cat parent who has furniture that is unscratched and unscathed.  In fact, some have simply given up on that old sofa with the shredded arm and decided it now belongs to the cat!

But addressing cat behavior at a young age can help Pet parents avoid much of the destruction that can occur when scratching and other unwanted habits go unchecked.  Hannah members who have a cat enrolled in our Total Lifetime Care program can call for behavioral support 24-hours a day.  But there are a few things you can do before calling for that behavior consult.

  • First, before bringing a cat home, or at least when he or she is still young, invest in a scratching post, or better yet, 3!  Place one anywhere your cat spends the most time playing or napping.  Rubbing a little catnip on the post or dangling a favorite toy in front of it will help attract and encourage your new cat to “scratch here”!  Hannah members who have been placed with one of Hannah’s wonderful cats or kittens take home a brand new scratching post (along with a litter tray, scoop, collar, treats, toys and everything else they need to get started!) as a part of our Welcome Home Kit.
  • Already running into scratching problems?  Try making the scratching spot (or spots) less inviting by securing plastic or tape over the area.  There are also herbal deterrents that can be sprayed on the favored scratch-spot to make the area less attractive and less tempting.
  • Finally, for your cat’s least favorite solution: trim those claws!  Warning: your cat will hate it and, more than likely, you will, too.  But getting them into the habit of receiving nail trims at a young age will make it easier as they get older.  But if it’s just too much trouble, Hannah members can bring their Pets in for free nail trims anytime by our professional groomers, nurses and care team!

Add your current cat to Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care. Been thinking about a new cat or kitten?  Hannah can help!  Just contact one of our placement centers in Clackamas at 503-905-5200 or in Tigard at 503-924-6850.  Not only do Hannah members get the best Pet for their family, they’ll also receive 100%, all-inclusive veterinary care, Pet food delivered right to your front door, and Pet training and behavior support, all for one low monthly fee.

We’ll even clip your cat’s nails!

Tips for Preventing Separation Anxiety

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Hannah’s team of Pet behavior specialists deal with any number of concerns on a weekly basis, ranging from jumping to licking/mouthing to leash-pulling to any number of other issues.  One of the most common complaints among Pet parents is destructive or worrisome behaviors resulting from separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a disorder characterized by distress a Pet suffers when left alone and which leads to unwanted or destructive behaviors such as chewing, urinating/defecating indoors, howling, barking or attempting to escape.  In extreme cases, Pets could actually hurt themselves attempting to get through windows or chewing dangerous materials.

Not every Pet is prone to separation anxiety.  But for those who are, it can cause extreme suffering and depression.  How can you prevent this disorder in your Pets?  Like all other training, the key is to start early and be consistent!

-          If your Pet suffers from mild separation anxiety, it is possible to change his perception of separation.  Currently, they may see separation as a negative.  Providing a tasty distraction can help your Pet to associate your departure as a time for a treat or at least desensitize them.  Try a puzzle toy filled with treats or a Kong stuffed with something tasty like peanut butter or cheese (freezing the stuffed Kong overnight will provide a more long-lasting distraction).

-          We all love the companionship our Pets provide at home.  But creating a small amount of consistent separation while you’re home can ease the anxiety felt by your Pet when you leave.  Kenneling your Pet at night or providing a comfy, separate sleeping space, outside of the bedroom, can be one such solution.

-          What NOT to do: never scold or punish your Pet for pacing, barking or displaying other signs of separation anxiety.  Remember, this is a disorder and your Pet is struggling.  A punishment could compound the issue and cause your Pet more anxiety.

-          Wear him out!  Take him for a run, a long walk or have a long game of fetch that requires a good deal of running before you leave the house.  If he’s sleeping, he’s not worried about being alone!

-          In extreme cases, which could result in Pets hurting themselves or others, medication may be the only option.  Consult your veterinary professional if you feel your Pet’s separation anxiety poses such a risk.

Hannah’s behavior team has provided guidance and instruction to countless Pets and their Pet parents through classes and consultations.   Hannah members enjoy all of the benefits of complete Pet care with none of the stress.  Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program not only provides lifetime behavioral training, but also all-inclusive veterinary care and high quality food, delivered right to your door.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Traveling with Your Pets

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As the summer months come to a close and we enjoy a final vacation or road trip, and as we begin to make holiday travel plans (yes, it’s approaching quickly), let’s take a moment to think about best practices when traveling with our furry family members!

Traveling with Pets can be a stressful endeavor if the Pet parent is unprepared.  Planning is key to any great vacation, but this element is absolutely essential if you want to enjoy a vacation with your Pets.  Fortunately, most hotels, airlines and campgrounds have websites that specify their individual Pet policies and restrictions.  It’s always advisable to check before solidifying any plans.

A few other important tips to keep in mind:

-          If planning a hotel stay, be sure to call the front desk well in advance to reserve a Pet-friendly room and ask about extra fees.  Many hotels require a Pet deposit, which is usually fully refundable upon check-out.

-          Air travel can be tricky.  Different airlines have different policies.  Some will allow travelers with small dogs to ride with their Pet parent in a small carrier, while others require Pets to ride in cargo.  However, nearly every airline requires veterinary certification of all major vaccinations (such as those provided by Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program).

-          Many people prefer road trips to just about any other form of travel.  Hitting the road with your dog can be a wonderful adventure for you both, as long as you have a dog who is comfortable with car travel.  Many dogs suffer from severe anxiety while traveling.  If this is your Pet, it may be best to consult with your Hannah behavioral specialist about the best way to plan for your trip.

-          If you do take that long road trip, remember to bring plenty of food, water, waste bags and treats, and prepare a comfortable space for your Pet to travel in comfort.  If you’re on a schedule, remember to plan for frequent bathroom stops.

Hannah members enjoy the convenience of knowing that we are here when they need us.  Need vaccination records for that flight?  Or help in making the flight less stressful?  Or maybe you can’t travel with your Pet and need a trusted partner to board and care for your Pet.  Hannah is here to help!

Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program is the perfect support for Pet parents who travel and those who don’t.  Not only does Hannah’s TLC program provide all of the veterinary care you need for your furry family member (including spaying/neutering, vaccinations, emergencies, medications, dentals and surgeries), we also provide food delivered right to your door and lifetime behavioral training and support!

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Portland Dog Park’s: Hannah’s Top Pick

 

Labrador and Trainer with Dog Chew Toy at ParkCompared to other areas in the continental U.S., Portland doesn’t get a lot of sunshine or clear skies.  But when we do see that big yellow ball in the sky, we know better than most how to take advantage of it!  On any given sunny weekend, you’ll see open-air street fairs, food and drink festivals, city-wide river floats, and even pet-centered activities.

 

We’re lucky here in Portland.  Considered by many to be the most pet-friendly city in the country, our Pets enjoy the luxury of accompanying us to the farmers market, the pub and of course, the dog park!

Portland has more dog parks per capita than any other U.S. City.  Many of these are off-leash parks, for the best-behaved Pets among us.  Here is a short list of some of our favorites:

-          Council Crest Park in Southwest PDX offers some amazing views of the city and the surrounding area.  Council Crest also offers a large unfenced dog area.  For getting the heart-rate up, there is also a network of beautiful hiking trails that weave throughout the park.

-          One of the most popular parks in the city is Mount Tabor, with its impressive views, paved and unpaved bike-n-hike trails and the fenced dog park on the western base of the park.

-          Chimney Park in North Portland may be the most popular dog park for those “in the know”.  At 5.5 acres, your furry family members can really stretch their legs!

-          For the water dogs in our lives, Sellwood Riverfront Park can’t be beat!  Situated in the middle of a great neighborhood filled with shops, cafes and pubs (many of which have pet-friendly outdoor seating areas), this is a great place to spend an hour or a day.

-          Some smaller, neighborhood parks that we really enjoy include:

  • Wallace Park in the Alphabet District, with its fenced in dog yard and shady environs.
  • Normandale Park on NE Halsey is great for those with small dogs, as they have separate play areas for the little guys and the larger dogs.
  • Laurelhurst Park, one of Portland’s best known, has it all: trails, sporting courts, outdoor movies, ponds.  And of course, a breathtaking dog play area!

While we love playing and running with our pets, it’s important to know your furry family member’s behavior level before introducing them to the dog park.  If your Pet tends to run and you’re seeking an off-leash park, try a fenced option as opposed to an un-fenced park.  Does your Pet play rough?  Maybe take him/her to the park when it’s a bit less populated.

Behavior is the key.  Training is key and Hannah can help!  Hannah’s behavior team has provided guidance and instruction to countless Pets and their Pet parents through classes and consultations.   Hannah members enjoy all of the benefits of complete Pet care with none of the stress.  Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program not only provides lifetime behavioral training, but also all-inclusive veterinary care and high quality food, delivered right to your door.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

 

Who’s in Charge Here?

Couple in bedCompetition is a natural element of canine society.  Dogs, like other animals both wild and domestic, compete for food, mating partners, resting spots, toys, etc.  Dominance and submission is a way to determine these things through what is essentially a hierarchical ranking system.  As social creatures, dogs tend to organize themselves in their packs and social groups.  In play or work, some dogs will behave in a somewhat supervisory role, controlling the play and leading the charge, while others will often submit and follow the leader.

Some Pet parents tend to see dominance as a negative.  But it’s important to understand that dominance and aggression are not synonymous.  A dominant dog can seem stubborn and want to be in control.  What does this mean to the Pet parent?  Simply put, since there is a significant personality difference between submissive and dominant dogs, it means that training will need to be adjusted if it’s going to be effective.

The first step, of course, is to identify if your Pet is indeed dominant.  Clear signs of dominance include:

-          Barking when receiving commands

-          Jumping on people and furniture

-          Marking

-          Disobeying simple commands

Once you have determined that you indeed have a dominant Pet on your hands, training should begin immediately.  While training is extensive and should include classes and consultations, such as those provided by Hannah’s behavior professionals, here are a few tips to get started:

-          Establish yourself as the boss.  As a member of “the pack”, your dog should see you as the leader.

-          Commands should be firm, but not mean or aggressive.  Don’t give up on a command.  Repeat it if necessary until it is obeyed.

-          Since dominant dogs will often eat first, the Pet parent (or pack leader) should always eat before feeding the Pet.  When it’s time for your dog to eat, make him/her sit and wait patiently as you prepare the meal.

-          Dominant dogs will bristle against commands.  As a result, start with simple commands such as “sit”, “stay” and “lay down” to establish your dominance.

Some Pets are easier to train than others.  Hannah’s behavior team have provided guidance and instruction to countless Pets and their Pet parents through classes and consultations.   Hannah members enjoy all of the benefits of complete Pet care with none of the stress.  Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program not only provides lifetime behavioral training, but also all-inclusive veterinary care and high quality food, delivered right to your door.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Fireworks and Scary Noises!

 

Dog KissesFor many dogs, there is nothing that provokes more anxiety than loud, booming noises.  At the mere hint of thunder, loud airplanes or fireworks, they will begin to shake, pant and will often find a dark, enclosed place, like a closet or bathtub.

 

Remember that dogs have an acute sense of hearing.  The light rumble of thunder 10 miles away might go unnoticed by you, but your furry family member hears it loud and clear.  As many as 20% of dogs suffer from a fear of loud noises.  And while every Pet parent wants their Pets to be safe, secure and free from anxiety and fear, some things, such as the loud, rumbling boom of Independence Day fireworks displays, cannot be avoided.

 

But there are things we can do to alleviate the anxiety and with younger pups, even avoid the fear altogether.

 

-          If you have a young dog who has not yet developed a fear of loud noises, regular exposure to big, booming sounds can help your Pet to avoid developing such fears.  This holiday weekend is a great opportunity!  Take your dog to a fireworks display.  This will not only expose him/her to loud noises, but the crowd will allow for socialization and behavioral training.

 

-          If your Pet has already developed a noise phobia, allow access to a hiding place.  Dogs will often seek out a safe spot to wait out the perceived danger.  If your Pet has a favorite hiding spot, make sure s/he can access it.  Pets like to feel wrapped up or “hugged” when they feel fear or anxiety.  An enclosed hiding spot can provide this.

 

-          Similarly, some Pets can benefit from Anxiety Wraps or Thunder Shirts.

 

-          Provide a distraction.  Keep a Kong filled with peanut butter in the freezer or a flavored rawhide close by.  When the noises start and the anxiety begins to set in, give your Pet the treat.  This will not only provide a needed distraction, but if it’s done consistently, your Pet could begin to associate the noises with a positive reward.

 

-          In some cases, Pets can benefit from anti-anxiety medications.  While these medications should only be administered in very extreme circumstances and after consultation with your Pet’s veterinarian, they can be very helpful and provide a great deal of comfort to a fearful Pet.

 

Hannah the Pet Society has worked with many Pets and their Pet parents to address severe anxiety and fear caused by loud noises and other triggers.  Our team of Pet behavior specialists are always available to answer questions and provide support to our valued Hannah members.

 

Hannah members enjoy the benefits of complete Pet care for a low monthly fee.  Not only does each member get the expertise of our behavior team through classes, telephone advice and consultations, they also receive all-inclusive veterinary care (including prevention, vaccinations, dental care, emergencies, surgeries and medications) and food delivered right to their door!

 

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Heartworm Season

Have you noticed that some of the Northwest’s least welcome summer visitors have begun to buzz and attack as the weather heats up?  For most of us, mosquitos can be merely a nuisance; something to shoo away as we camp, hike, grill or just soak up the rays of summer.  But there are major risks associated with mosquitos, especially for Pet parents.

Heartworm is spread by mosquitos and can be more dangerous than most people can imagine.  While it often goes undetected at first, heartworm can become more severe over time and can eventually become deadly.  But it is preventable with simple heartworm prevention.

Here are some simple facts:

  • The symptoms of heartworm are lethargy, coughing and difficulty breathing.  In severe cases, it can even lead to heart failure and even death.
  • Heartworm prevention is not inexpensive.  However, treatment for victims of heartworm can cost as much as 10 times the amount it costs for prevention.  (For Hannah members, prevention is always included!)
  • Prevention can be given in pill form, or through an intravenous injection, which lasts 6 months.  Hannah offers both of these options.
  • The oral form of heartworm prevention is also useful in preventing other parasites such as roundworms.
  • While heartworm is most common in hotter and more humid climates, where mosquitoes are most prevalent, it is a risk anywhere mosquitoes can be found.  This includes the Pacific Northwest.

At Hannah, we believe the best approach to caring for our Pets is by providing the most effective preventative care available.  Hannah Members and their Pets enjoy a comprehensive and all-inclusive veterinary care program, called Total Lifetime Care, which includes prevention (flea, tick & heartworm), dental, medications, surgeries, spay/neuter and emergencies.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Take Your Dog to Work Day!

iStock_000016084712workPack some kibble, grab a leash and create a comfy spot under your desk, because this Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day!

Anyone who has visited one of Hannah’s Health & Education or Placement Centers has probably seen or even interacted with some of the many Pets who accompany their Pet parents to work.  The ability to bring our Pets to work is one of the perks of being a Hannah Team Member and allows our Pets to interact and socialize with hundreds of other Pets and people every week.

If you work in an appropriate, Pet-safe environment and if your Pet has a calm, friendly and obedient disposition, it’s a great idea to bring your Pet to work with you!  As noted in a recent blog post, people who complete a difficult task in the company of a loving Pet, are less likely to feel the effects of extreme stress and anxiety.  Also, Pets can help to create a more positive, fun and energetic work environment, leading to greater morale and higher productivity.

A few things to keep in mind:

-          Before bringing your Pet, make sure it’s ok!  Check with your supervisor and coworkers to ensure there are no policy, safety or health concerns.

-          Your Pet will be there all day.  Make sure to provide food, water and something to keep them occupied, such as a peanut butter Kong, rawhides or a food puzzle.

-          Set aside time to stretch those legs every few hours.  That could mean taking a few laps around the building, or if there is a safe area to do so, play a quick game of fetch.

-          Your Pet may be one who will stay by your side, no matter what.  But in the workplace, it’s important to keep him/her leashed, not only for your Pet’s safety, but also out of courtesy for your coworkers.

-          Provide a comfortable spot for your Pet to rest, such as under your desk or work-station, or if you work outdoors, under a cool shady spot.  (If you drive for a living, a pet can be a great traveling companion.  Just remember never to leave your furry family members in a hot car!)

Looking for that perfect Pet to accompany you throughout your life?  Hannah can help!  All of the Pets we place are tested for behavioral safety and checked for any apparent veterinary concerns.  Not only that, but we provide an all-inclusive Pet care package called Total Lifetime Care, which covers all veterinary care (including prevention, vaccinations, dental care, surgeries, emergencies, medications, spay/neutering, etc.), behavioral training and food delivered right to your door.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care program, or to talk to one of our Pet Counselors about finding the right Pet for you, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.

Dads, Dogs, and Reducing Stress!

iStock_000015336548dadHappy Father’s Day to all of Hannah’s Dog Daddies!  Hannah is proud to provide the best care, training and food available to them and their furry family members.

Parenthood is not an easy job, as every mom and dad knows.  Add to that the pressures of career, bills, home care and all of the other realities of daily life and for many the stress can be overwhelming.  Unfortunately, stress has become somewhat unavoidable in our society.

Pets are a great resource not only for companionship and love, but studies have shown that they can also help us reduce stress and live a more healthy and happy life.  Here’s how:

-          One major study showed that petting or playing with a Pet can increase levels of oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone, and reduce the production of the stress inducing chemical, cortisol.

-          In a study on Pets and blood pressure, the University of Buffalo showed that interacting with Pets can actually reduce blood pressure more effectively that ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors.

-          Pets need exercise and they encourage us to get outdoors and get our blood pumping!  Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce and deal with stress.  A regular walk, run, swim, bike ride or hike with your best friend is a great way to provide needed exercise for you and your Pet!

-          Loneliness is a source of stress and tension for millions of Americans.  Nothing quite compares to the companionship and unconditional love provided by Pet.

-          If possible, bringing your Pet to work with you can be enormously beneficial.  One study showed that completing a stressful task can be less so if done in the company of a Pet.

Feeling the effects of a stressful life?  Family, work, day-to-day life, getting to you?  Hannah can help!  Our ground-breaking pet-matching process can help you find the perfect Pet for you, your family and your lifestyle.

And we don’t stop there!  Our Total Lifetime Care program takes the stress out of Pet care by providing food delivered right to your door, lifetime behavioral training, and all-inclusive veterinary care (including preventative care, dental care, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, emergencies, surgeries and medications) all for one low monthly fee.

To learn more about Hannah’s Total Lifetime Care, please visit our Placement Centers at Clackamas Town Center and Washington Square Mall.