Great Companions
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Great Companions Rally Trial
Are you ready for the next Great Companions APDT Rally Trial? On September 24th and 25th, Great Companions will be holding our fall APDT Rally trial. Trialing at Great Companions is always fun, but this year, exhibitors can spend the weekend with us and participate in four trials over two days. APDT Rally is a fun and exciting team sport for dogs and their handlers! Dog and Handler teams navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform such as Sit-Down-Sit, Straight Figure 8, Send Over Jump, Recall Over Jump. Teams navigate the course at a brisk, continuous performance without direction from the judge. Handlers are encouraged to talk to their dogs As always, our facility offers its spacious park like atmosphere for crating, a pond for cooling down between runs and an enclosed, coveredarea for trialing. Judging will be our own Ali Brown, Co-Chair of the Rally Committee and Laurie Williams, Chair of the Rally Committee and runner-up on Upcoming
the CBS reality show Greatest American Dog. Also in attendance will be Ann Allums, Special Programs Coordinator for the APDT and It does not matter if you are a serious competitor, a first time exhibitor or just curious, please come out and join us for this exciting event! The Pros and Cons of Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
Neutering refers to the surgery that renders a male pet incapable of reproducing. The surgery
(orchiectomy) involves an external incision into the scrotal sac and the removal of the testicles.
The testicles produce sperm and are the main source of the hormone testosterone.
Spaying refers to the surgery for a female pet. Surgical sterilization (ovariohysterectomy)
involves an incision into the abdominal cavity to remove the ovaries and uterus. Ovaries produce
eggs at each heat cycle and also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Veterinarians perform these common operations while the pet is under general anesthesia,
during which the animal feels no pain. After the short surgery, the animal may experience
discomfort as part of the normal healing process, however many animals, particularly males,
seem to experience little or no discomfort. Your vet can provide pain relief medication if needed.
Depending on the individual animal, he or she will stay at the vet’s office for a few hours or
overnight. The pet is usually back to normal within several days.
Benefits for the pet:
Safety – neutered/spayed pets, especially males, are less likely to roam. When we spay or
neuter pets, we are removing the hormones that feed the instinct to find a mate and reproduce.
Sterilized animals are less driven to escape, wander and look for mates, and less likely to get hit
by cars and get into fights with other animals while roaming in search of females in heat.
Health Benefits – Neutered males cannot develop testicular tumors, the second most common
malignancy in males. The chance of developing an enlarged prostate is greatly reduced.
Neutering also reduces the risk of rectal tumors and perianal fistulas.
Spaying the female eliminates the possibility of uterine, cervical or ovarian cancer. Spayed
females have a much lower incidence of mammary tumors and breast cancer because the
hormones, estrogen and progesterone, that stimulate breast cancer have been eliminated. An
intact female has 7 times the risk of developing breast tumors as compared to a female spayed
before her first heat cycle (six to nine months of age). Spaying also helps prevent uterine
infections (pyometria).
Possible Health Risks:

MalesIn large and giant breeds, neutering before one year of age may significantly increase
the risk of osteosarcoma ( bone cancer), a common cancer in these larger breeds.
Increased risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma.
Although the risks are small to begin with, neutering can increase the risk of hypothyroidism,
urinary tract cancers, prostate cancer, orthopedic disorders such as hip dysplasias.
Increased risk of adverse vaccine reactions. Research suggests that the reproductive hormones
may assist the immune system in mounting a response to vaccines.
Females – In large and giant breeds, spaying before one year of age may significantly increase
the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer).
Spaying may increase the risk of splenic and cardiac hemangiosarcoma, a common cancer in
some breeds.
Spaying may increase the risk of hypothyroidism, urinary tract infections, urinary “spay
incontinence”, recessed vulva, vaginitis, orthopedic disorders such as hip dysplasias.
There may be an increased risk of adverse vaccine reactions.
Benefits of spaying/ neutering for the community:
Tax-savings - Communities spend millions of dollars to manage the approximately 8-10
million abandoned animals taken in by public animal shelters. The cost of a spay or neuter
surgery is less than the cost of one euthanasia at these shelters.
Bettering the community – Dogs are domesticated and do not usually fair well on their own
outside. It is very frightening and lonely to be an abandoned animal. Stray and homeless dogs
may get into trash cans, defecate on private lawns, get sick, seek shelter under cars, frighten
people, and possibly resort to biting out of fear. Spaying and neutering can reduce the number of
animals born to suffer eventual homelessness.
Improving society – Since there are not nearly enough homes for them all, approximately 4-6
million abandoned but loving and worthy animals die nationwide from euthanasia every year.
This is a social tragedy that individual citizens can reverse by spaying and neutering their pets,
and giving them a home for life.
When to spay and neuter:

When to and whether to spay and neuter your pet dog is a complex decision with respect to the
associated long-term health benefits and risks. The evidence shows that spay/neuter correlates
with both positive and adverse effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do not yet
understand about this subject.
The traditional spay/neuter age of six months or younger appears to predispose dogs to health
risks that could otherwise be avoided by waiting until the dog is physically mature.
The balance of benefits and risks of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. Breed,
age, and gender are variables that must be taken into consideration for each individual dog.
Choosing to keep your pet intact does not mean that you should allow him to breed.
Breeding should be done by only the most ethical, dedicated breeders who are thoroughly
knowledgeable about heredity, genetics, health issues and testing, temperament, conformation,
puppy rearing and placement, and the complete pedigree, history and traits of the individual dogs
to be mated. These are NOT pet store breeders, puppy mills, or backyard breeders. They are
people who raise and breed only the best to the best in order to improve the breed. They have
qualified homes lined up for the puppies before breeding; they do not overbreed, and will always
take back a dog if a placement doesn’t work out.
When you are considering spay/neuter, have an informed discussion with your vet about what
the best option is for your particular dog.
What’s New at Great Companions?
C.L.A.S.S., or Canine Life and Social Skills, is an educational program designed to promote training focused on the use of positive reinforcement and to strengthen relationships between humans and their canine companions. C.L.A.S.S. has three levels of evaluation named after human university degree programs: the B.A. (Bachelor’s level), the M.A. (Master’s level), and the Ph.D. (Doctorate level). C.L.A.S.S. is about teaching real-life, practical skills, such as walking nicely on a leash, settling down, meeting strangers, table manners, attention, and coming when called. C.L.A.S.S. provides dog/student teams the opportunity to have their skills evaluated by a professional dog trainer. Passing a C.L.A.S.S. Evaluation is a testimony to the life skills that a student and their dog have developed together. Moreover, by using those skills in everyday situations, a dog can become a well-behaved member of your household and a welcome part of society. Great Companions trainers Sue Sanders and Kim Pike are among the first certified C.L.A.S.S. evaluators. Be on the lookout for these relationship building classes on our schedule. For more information, see: One Saturday, after dropping in to Reactive Class, I had the chance to observe Ali’s new class for reactive dogs, Reactive Agility. As the owner of a reactive dog, I was thrilled to see this class. Reactive dog owners do a lot of work with their dogs. Even though we are working on some pretty scary and serious behaviors, both owner and dog soon discover that the work, as stressful as it is, can be fun. And then we want to do more. Unfortunately, reactive dog owners know their dogs have issues that limit the environments in which they can successfully work. Ali has come up with a wonderful solution, Reactive Agility. The flow of the class, the spacing of the location, the skill of the trainer and the knowledge of the handlers all combine to make this a class in which students from the Great Companions Reactive Class can safely explore new areas of training. This class is not just a class to teach agility to reactive dogs, it is also a class where the handler and dog teams can continue to work on the issues at hand. I love this class because it allows the Great Companions Reactive students something new and fun to do with their dogs. For more information, contact Ali Hot Weather Tips for Dogs
Summer is in full swing and this one has been a hot one. Dogs don’t perspire. They cool themselves by panting and dispelling heat through their paws. Because they are so inefficient at cooling themselves, the hot weather leaves them susceptible to heatstroke and heat exhaustion. With temperatures soaring to record highs, there are things we can do to help our faithful friends beat the heat. A parked car can become dangerously hot in a matter of minutes and cracked windows do little to alleviate the heat. No matter how much your dog loves taking car rides, leaving a dog in a car can be dangerous. Now may be a good time to skip the car ride and leave Fido at home. If a walk is a must, exercise your dogs in the early morning or late at night when the temperatures are not as high. In this extreme heat, the pavement and asphalt may be hot. Doggy booties can help protect our pooches’ paws from extreme temperatures. And whether on the go, or simply hanging out at home, be sure your dog has access to water. If your dogs, like mine, insist on being outside in spite of the heat, there are a few things we can do to help keep them safe and comfortable. Kiddy pools make great doggy pools too and running through sprinklers on a hot summer day is not just for kids. Cooling vests and bandannas can go a long way towards keeping our dogs cool. And in a pinch a wet towel to lie on can really help your dog cool down. If your dog does become overheated, immerse him in cool water and call a vet immediately. By taking a few steps to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort, he too Great Companions on Facebook!
Great Companions now has its very own Facebook page. Please join us to keep up on all the fun and exciting activities available at Great Brags and Wags
Great Companions would like to congratulate Yvette Thomas and Banks who earned his. Junior Hunter Title on April 23! Banks needed four qualifying scores and he got them in his first four times out. Way to go, Yvette and Banks! Great Companions’ would also like to congratulate Linda Parker-Ventura and Maggie! Maggie recently finished shooting a commercial for Lap It Up, vitamin water for dogs. We are sure this is just the first of many for Great Companions own little celebrity. Product Review – Thundershirt
A Thundershirt is a drug-fee all natural anti-anxiety product for dogs. It is a shirt that wraps around your dog’s body. Thund ershirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. It can be used to calm dogs who become anxious when crated, walking on a lead, they hear thunder or when traveling. Symptoms such as barking, shaking, whining and excessive panting are usually reduced or immediately eliminated. Experts believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system. Using pressure to relieve anxiety has been a common practice for years. The Thundershirt works like swaddling an infant, which is a technique used to calm and soothe human babies. If you want a non-invasive dog anxiety treatment that will work in conjunction with your pet’s nervous system as opposed to against it, the Thundershirt is worth every For the latest information on upcoming classes and events, see our website



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