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New Year Resolution Discount - treat your dog and yourself with a class in 2019
BetCo Jan/Feb 2019 Newsletter
!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019 !!!

Hello Carla,


Important news and reads in this issue:

1) The 11/30/2018 earthquake and its aftershocks - how to help your pets

2) Discount on 2019 Classes! We Want To Help You To Fulfill Your New Year Resolution

3) Monthly Training Tip: Using drugs for behavioral issues

The biggest earthquake rattling Southcentral since 1964 had us all shaken up, and people still startle with aftershocks continuing to happen. How are the animals, especially our in-home companions, dealing with that? How can we help them feel better faster? Read more below!

Don't we all wish to spend more time with our dogs? One New Year Resolution could be just that!

Maybe you can cut down (a little!) on social media time and just take 10 extra minutes daily to play with your dog? Teach your dog a trick or refine the obedience - it's all fun and tricks for our dogs!

Maybe signing up for a class gives you the extra push needed to get out and spend quality time with your dog? Besides improving your dog's manners in the C.L.A.S.S. course (Canine Life And Social Skills) or in  Grade School, we also have sports classes like K9 Nose Work® and Agility starting in January!

Maybe you would like to do more with your dog, but ongoing anxieties, especially since the earthquake, are too much? Read about the earthquake and our monthly feature below for some tips to help bring the fun of life (especially in your home) back to your dog!

Monthly feature at the end of this newsletter:
Using drugs for behavioral issues

All clickable links in this newsletter are in PURPLE.


Enjoy life with your better companion,

Claudia

Luce enjoying time with mini mule Lola in Arizona. Lola is one of the rescue Minis staying at Mini Angel Eyes until she finds her perfect forever home.
1) The 11/30/2018 earthquake and its aftershocks

We at BetCo were lucky, all the way around. The facility and our home weren't affected much by the earthquake. Very little fell off the shelves and the power was out for a day or so, but we have no structural damage, no frozen water pipes or damaged gas pipes. Frank and I weren't even in Alaska when it hit, so neither us nor our dogs or horses had to experience the earthquake itself or the aftershocks.

But the stories are out there and we used Facebook to check on friends and clients, especially the ones who own dogs. A lot of dogs (and cats) have been super clingy and on edge, even now weeks later.

Some pets that were reliable off-leash before the quake can now not be trusted off-leash outside their home because a sudden aftershock could still scare them enough to take off.

A lot of owners had their scared animals run away, some dogs and a lot of cats are still missing. If your pet is still missing or if you see a pet roaming in your area that you don't know, please don't be shy and notify the shelter, put it out on Facebook, best with a picture and get as many shares as you can! There are a lot of great and active Facebook groups out there, e.g. "Matsu Pets", "Mat-Su Lost and Found Pets" and "Lost and Found Pets Alaska".

Facebook tip: If you publish one public post (make sure you set this one post to 'public') on your own Facebook page and share it from there. That way, others can share it on any groups they are on, plus you can update the one post and it'll update all shares automatically. If you publish an individual post on each group, you'll need to update them all individually and they can't be shared by others.

We know a lot of pet owners and their pets are still dealing with anxieties and we can help them overcome these anxieties faster!

You can improve your dog's indoors confidence especially through the aftershocks. Here are some tips:

- Create new 'happy times' in the house, e.g. the routine of getting a delicious treat from the fridge when you and your dog come back into the house; an additional play session in the house (tug-o-war, ball games, trick games ...) or playing crate games and rainy day games found on YouTube.

- Associate every aftershock with a happy event, like "Oh you felt that? Yeah, another one! Let's run to the fridge and get you a cookie for that!"

- Create a specific response to an aftershock: "Come to me and you'll get rewarded!" or "Go to your crate/place and I'll give you a chewy!", to counter any ideas of wanting to run away and hide somewhere else and instead create a specific earthquake response that's safe.

- Use anti-anxiety remedies: There are lots of different approaches available now, ranging from a Thundershirt over essential oils, rescue remedy, CBD oil and/ or specific herbs to medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Make sure you research thoroughly or ask for professional advice if this is the right choice for your dog and how to administer it before choosing your products. Read more about medication for your dog in the feature at the end of this newsletter!

Some things you want to avoid:

- Don't force your dog into a place where they don't want to go, even though they were okay with that place before.

Take special care to create new happy memories in the area where your pet was when the initial quake happened, especially if s/he is still showing concern in that spot. Was s/he in a kennel? In the bedroom? You may want to move the crate to a new location, at least temporarily.

Allow your dog to FEEL safe and give them time to re-learn that this place is indeed safe again. Use techniques from above to help your dog feel safe in this place again.

- Don't sooth your dog with words like "I'm so sorry, poor baby, you must feel terrible!" Your dog will hear something more like "You're right, this IS scary, I'm scared, too. Let's both be scared together!"

Keep your voice upbeat and happy to instill confidence and at least pretend that you are not worried. Your dog now needs a leader s/he can trust; a leader who keeps all harm away from them by controlling the situation and by telling them what they need to do to be safe. Easy obedience cues like Sit, Down, Touch or Go To Your Spot can help make your dog feel safe, just don't pressure your dog with HAVING to obey.

Our wish for you all, two- and four-legged; that the aftershocks diminish quickly, that you can reunite with any lost ones and that you all feel safe again and can enjoy this holiday season!

May the year 2019 bring health, confidence and even greater human-animal bonds!
2) Discount on 2019 Classes! We Want To Help You To Fulfill Your New Year Resolution

Give your dog the GIFT of a fun class - and get a good start on your New Years resolution to do more with your dog in 2019!

How to get your discount:

Sign up for any class that is already listed for 2019 and at checkout enter the promo code MYDOG2019, to receive a 10% discount off your class. You can use this discount for multiple classes and multiple times, just sign up and pay before January 10th! This discount can not be combined with any other discounts and is not valid for practices or packages.

Note for current students: if you are currently enrolled in one or more of our classes, you can use the Second Class Discount code to save even bigger. Ask your instructor (or the office) to give you the correct promo code.

Classes that start every month:


Puppy 1 - Preschool, Puppy 2 - Kindergarten, Foundation Class, Grade School;
Click HERE for the full schedule.


January classes:

Trick Dog - Novice starts Thursday, January 3, 2019. This class has already filled and we're at this point not sure if we can offer a second class. Let us know if you're interested and we add you to a list to email you if we can find a day and time to add one! This might be in February.


Agility classes of all levels start Saturday, January 5. As we're trying to be as flexible as possible to accommodate everybody, we might double up a class or combine classes instead of canceling them. This could impact the times of other agility classes before and after. The earlier we know that you want to join us, the better!

K9 Nose Work® - Beginners starts Sunday, January 6 and has a few openings! Already a Beginner graduate? You can always repeat NW Beginners or join K9 Nose Work® - Intro to Odor! Even if your Beginner graduation was quite a while ago, if your dog was ready to advance back then, s/he still is!

CLASS-BA - course also starts Sunday, January 6. C.L.A.S.S. stands for Canine Life And Social Skills, a program offered by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. The focus is on applying dog obedience to real-life situations, de-cluttering our cues to the dogs and reducing treats as a reward while replacing them greatly through praise. If anybody is interested, we'll offer the CLASS-BA evaluation in May.

February classes:

Manners classes: We start Puppy 1 - Preschool, Puppy 2 - Kindergarten and a Foundation Class on Monday, February 4, 2019. There won't be Grade School offered this month.

Agility classes will start again on Saturday, February 23, 2019. All levels and practices at BetCo or Sirius Ranch will be offered.

Preview for March and beyond:

CGC-Prep School in March on Sundays.
Trick Dog Intermediate in April on Thursdays.


Read class testimonies HERE!
3) Monthly Training Tip:

Using drugs for behavioral issues

I won't go into the depth of what drugs to use when - that's something to discuss with your veterinarian! I want to give you my point of view on using drugs as an owner of dogs (some with anxieties) and a professional dog trainer.

I personally grew up being and still am very leery of using drugs - ADD and ADHD haven't been diagnosed back then and there was no really helpful medication out there yet, especially not for dogs with these or anxiety issues. You'd sedate a dog over holidays where you'd expect fireworks to be used with regular sedation drugs (usually used before or with anesthesia), which we now know does nothing against anxieties, it just makes your dog helpless to react to it.

Times have changed and so have the drugs available through your veterinarian and in the pet industry. It started with clomipramine (Clomicalm®); then fluoxetine (Prozac®), trazodone and other medications became available to use for our pets. The drugs vary from short-term use with almost immediate effect to long-term use until faded out or until lowest effective dosage is found. I have short-term pills on hand from my veterinarian to be used for fireworks and on days when we hear constant shooting from target practice in the neighborhood during hunting season. I have helped several clients to get faster results with their dog's behavioral issues like separation anxiety, overall nervousness and traumatic experiences.

I firmly believe that a dog's fears and anxieties or over-arousal should be changed mainly through a behavior modification protocol, but still, wouldn't it be nice to get faster and maybe better lasting results with the help of veterinary medicine?

Do you have a dog that seems to struggle constantly with either high arousal or anxiety? Is your dog nervous most of the day, hiding a lot, still flinching at daily routines, chewing up things out of stress while you're gone or driving you towards insanity with their constant movements, unable to lay down and rest? Being overly reactive to other dogs and/or people has also now been successfully treated with the aid of medications.

If your dog fits any of the descriptions above, you should not only consider professional help through a behavioral consult but also veterinary help. Yes, drugs should be used wisely and not overused. They are not the "easy way out", but an additional tool in our toolbox, to lower our dog's stress level.

If a dog is stressed, it reduces their learning capabilities, just like in humans. If we can reduce their stress, they can learn faster and better, and we can in the long run taper down the medication again, often even fading it out completely. And if you realize that without the medication your dog is getting worse again, then you know how much the drugs have helped your dog feeling better!

These could be the steps to help your dog:

1) Recognize that your dog struggles with the day-to-day routine, or in specific situations.

2) Consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes for the behavior. A lot of medical conditions can influence a dog's behavior, including but not limited to allergies, deafness or blindness, liver disease, epilepsy and seizures of other origin, metabolic diseases and any condition that causes pain, from headache over muscle and joint aches to belly aches and sometimes just the discomfort of a hidden foxtail under the skin or in the ear. One often overlooked condition is a change in thyroid levels, which can have a significant effect on the dog's behavior without showing other clinical signs. Therefore I always recommend including a thyroid test in the blood analysis.

3) Find a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can help you with a behavior modification protocol. Look for a veterinary behaviorist or a certified behaviorist/ dog trainer. CPDTs (Certified Professional Dog Trainers) or KPA graduates (Karen Pryor Academy). Some veterinary universities offer excellent written and phone support, using the newest scientific approach.

4) Ask your trainer and your veterinarian if medication could help your dog feel better faster. This is not about us being too lazy to train or wanting the easy way out. This is about getting our dog more comfortable and helping them to learn faster.


And now give your dog an extra hug, while you think about your new-year resolutions regarding your four-legged companion!  

Enjoy the Journey of Dog Training!
Claudia
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The Better Companion, LLC, 1400 Regine Ave, Wasilla, AK 99654, United States


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