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Success Because of Your Support

August 10, 2017

LOVE, KINDNESS, RESPECT-

In January of 2017, Nevis Animal Speak was  approached by the Nevis Education Department and Nevis Social Services to help with an Intervention Program for “at-risk” youths.  This program was requested to focus on the significant behavioral challenges these students struggled with which ultimately led to continued and near permanent suspension from school.

Our program was simple; using our therapy dogs, teach and practice the ability to identify basic needs of animals and humans using the principals, of love, kindness and respect.  Students would then be able to transfer these new skills to better cope in their daily interactions outside of our classroom setting.

The program was held weekly for an hour each visit and lasted 3 months.  Accompanied by a member of the Nevis Education Department and/or Social Services, the students were brought to our location in Cades Bay called The Barking Lot,  Each lesson focused on helping to build a basic comprehension and understanding of other people’s feelings while acknowledging and working with the feelings our students struggled with daily.

Using one of four therapy dogs in each lesson (click here for a definition of a “therapy dog”), the students learned to interact and respect themselves and others using a variety of new skills.  The dogs were used in all classes as a teaching tool to help students learn basic behavior skills found in both humans and animals.

At the end of our 3 month program, we held the first Graduation highlighting and congratulating the successes of the students in our program.  The feedback from the Nevis Education Department, Social Services, parents, teachers and religious leaders overwhelmingly confirmed the success of the “Intervention Program.”  As one local pastor said about one of the students in his parish, “I noticed a change the last 2 months and didn’t know why.” “He doesn’t just react, but thinks before making decisions.”  These new skills reduced and improved just a few of the following areas:

* Less fighting
* More respectful to friends and adults
* Improved ability to work well in a group
* Less reactionary when angry
* Fewer poor behavior incidents

Nevis Animal Speak has been running free education programs for schools and youth groups on Nevis since 2014, We are committed to keep our programs free for all students and do so solely on donations and volunteer support.

Each Intervention lesson included but were not limited to:
* Held at upstairs at The Barking Lot (Kathy Blount Education Center)
* 1 full time teacher
* 1 full time licensed social worker
* 1 therapy dog
* Multimedia presentations
* Structured indoor/outdoor activities
* Healthy snacks
* School supplies
* Incentives gifts for individual and group accomplishments
* Graduation program

Each mainstream school visit includes but is not limited to:
* 1 full time teacher
* 1 therapy Dog
* Multimedia presentation (where electricity is available)
* Follow-up teaching materials

Our programs are designed to work collaboratively with individual school needs and are created to be age appropriate.

We are grateful for the trust the NIA placed in our program and are happy to confirm our ongoing relationship to support the NIA’s 5 year education initiative.

Thank you to all who have and continue to support our programs.  If you would like to know more about our programs or would like to volunteer or donate, please contact us at nevisanimalspeak@gmail.com.

* 100% of proceeds from retail purchases made at The Barking Lot and the Turtle Time Beach Bar and Grill gift shop go to supporting our education programs.

 

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Adding a New Dog…BEWARE!

July 7, 2014

A concerned owner contacted me that her dog was losing enormous amounts of weight and she feared for his life.  When I arrived at the home I was greeted, somewhat aggressively, by three dogs (two small fluffy and one medium sized mixed breed).  The dog in question was tied to a tree near his dog house.  He had plenty of food, water and shade, but as I approached, the three other dogs ran forward to torment and attack the dog who was tied.  Not sure of the sick dogs behavior, I observed he was painfully thin, VERY angry at the other dogs, still intact (not neutered) unable to get to safety to defend himself and VERY happy to see me.  After a quick health check, it was determined the dog did not seem to be suffering from any illness but was so stressed from his situation he could not digest his food and absorb the nutrients necessary to keep him healthy.

The dog who had been tied to his tree for 5 months had been brought to the property as his previous owner did not have enough time to spend with him and the dog kept running away.  They never considered how bringing this new dog on property would affect the existing pack of dogs and how the new dog would manage with new home, family and a pack that didn’t accept him.

We removed the dog from the property and introduced him to our therapy dogs.  He was almost immediately social with them and they accepted him quickly.  6 cups of food per day spread over 3 feedings rapidly replaced his much needed weight in under 2 weeks.  His behavior toward his new pack and family has turned him from an outdoor, angry stressed dog to a wonderful companion animal who is part of an accepting pack and human family.

The moral of this story is, just because YOU want to bring another dog into your home doesn’t mean it will be a good match for your existing dogs or the new dog you are considering.  Dogs have a hierarchy and if that is challenged in a way that is unchecked, the result can be disastrous with everything from fights to behavior and health problems.

What a difference friends make!

What a difference friends make!

Before adding a dog to your home, bring your dogs to meet the new dog in its current environment and see how they get along.  Having all the dogs spayed/neutered (trimmed/de-sexed) is also very helpful as the dogs won’t have to fight the smells of the hormones from each other and can focus on behavior.  Dogs have personalities and where one may be the pack leader in their current environment, this may not be so when adding another dog and there will be fights for the “top dog” position.  If you were told to suddenly move in with people you didn’t know and be their best friends, you would probably have issues.  If you’ve ever seen the reality show Big Brother, you can relate to how throwing dogs together could be very challenging for all concerned just as it can be with people.

Thankfully the owner recognized her dog’s health was in danger even though she didn’t know why and asked for help.

If  you remember to manage the animals in your life with LOVE, KINDNESS and RESPECT and you will be more apt to consider the things that will affect them both negatively and positively and give all involved a happy and healthy future.

 

My Dog is Making Me Barking Mad

July 1, 2014

“Shut Up!” “Be Quiet!” “What’s your problem NOW?!”  These are just a few of the things that we say in response to our dogs barking.  Where it may be your dog is barking unnecessarily, he/she is also trying to tell you something.  The difficult thing is learning what your dog is telling you and how or if you should respond.  In this short blog I hope to give you some examples of situations that you can use with your furry friends.

 

I hear something outside!

#1 Your dog hears something outside and begins to bark rapidly but continues with the same speed and regulation of the bark with little increase of agitation and maybe a slight decrease.

This often means your dog hears something he feels you need to be alerted to and although not feeling a real threat, still wants you to be aware.  Praise your dog for being aware but then call him away from the door to you making him relax where you are within arms length.  If he barks again, tell him “no bark” and to “stay” and praise him when he calms down.  Keep him from running back to the door barking (putting him on a leash is very helpful for this training) but if he does get away from you, bring him back and repeat the process until he settles down using verbal praise when he is quiet and a small treat.  To avoid over feeding and extra calories, a piece of kibble from their food often works.

#2 Your dog hears something outside and begins to bark rapidly with increased agitation and intensity.

This is a warning your dog WANTS you to hear and do something about as he feels whatever it is is a threat. Actively going to see what has upset your dog and checking that the noise is one to be worried about or ignore in the future is important.  If it’s something you want your dog to ignore in the future, praise him for the alert but then repeat the process from #1 until he learns that particular noise is not one that needs to be reacted to.

I’m soooo bored!

#3 Your dog starts barking in rhythmic, continuos barks and continues with little change more or less anxious but stays consistent.

Dogs get board just like people and will bark in this way to get attention and it seems even just listen to the sound of their own voice.  Your dog needs to go through the process in #1.  Once the dog listens and has stopped barking, if you can, spend a few moments with your dog or give a bone to chew or a favorite toy that can help to solve the boredom.

Hey, You, Over There!!!! AAAaarrrggghhhh!!!

#4 Your dog barks every time it hears other dogs bark.

This may be the most difficult one to teach your dog to ignore.  Dogs talk to each other over distances and often it’s like a domino effect where one starts and the entire neighborhood full of dogs joins in.  Follow steps in #1 again praising you dog for being alert but understanding you are in control.  IF the dog that started your dog barking doesn’t stop, YOUR DOG SHOULD STOP if you desire and stay alert but without barking.  Be aware though if your dog reverts to #2 there may truly be something he considers a danger and maybe you should check.

Helping to teach your dog which barks are good and which are unnecessary is important.  Dogs take verbal as well as visual cues and will look to you for both.  This training will take a little bit of work on both your parts but dogs appreciate knowing whats expected of them and will be better behaved once you help them to understand what you do and don’t like.

 

How a Simple Word Could Save Your Dogs Life…

December 24, 2013
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OFF

For all the things we teach our dogs, this is the command that is most important but rarely gets used.  Although the word itself can be whatever word you choose, the concept should always be the same.  The word I use is “OFF”!!  OFF, is different than NO as we use NO very often for many things.   I personally reserve the word OFF for anything my dogs may approach to smell or put in their mouth that I want them to stay away from.  This training can starts when they are puppies wanting to teeth on your fingers to food, pills, or other things you may drop on the floor the dog shouldn’t pick up.

So, how can a simple word save your dogs life?  Many dogs will pick up and eat things that can make them sick or worse.  They eat so fast we don’t have time to stop them before whatever they’ve picked up is swallowed.  Too often we hear of dogs being poisoned that were still in the protection of their owners while being walked on leashes.  While the dog is sniffing, we may think it’s just another place they will be relieving themselves but other times the dog was tricked into eating poison laced food.  Within a few hours, most of these dogs die a painfully cruel and horrible death that leave the owners devastated.

Whether you use the words like OFF, DROP IT, LEAVE IT, STOP etc. the outcome should be the same.  When your dog hears the word you’ve chosen, they will either stop before picking up the thing you want them to stay away from or drop it immediately.

Please review these helpful links on how to teach your dog a simple command that could save his life.

 

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http://www.examiner.com/article/train-your-dog-to-drop-things-on-command

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http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/teaching-your-dog-leave-it

 

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http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-train-your-dog-to-leave-it.html

 

 

 

 

Where Are My Shoes? Did Someone Take the Remote? Anyone See My Bra?

December 11, 2013

Are these the question your family asks only to find your beloved dog has stolen these items once again?  Why do some dogs seem to steal things we need we use?  Many people immediately think, “BAD DOG” but are these dogs really being bad or…?  Understanding some of the reasons behind these canine crimes can also help to end these incidents for good.

* Many dogs that are of the retriever or hunting breed are naturally inclined to this behavior.  Even in the case these breeds are part of a mix, the behavior can still be a dominant trait.

*  Attention seeking- Even negative attention is STILL attention so managing how you deal with the thefts is paramount to stopping their occurrence.

* How the dog was possibly rewarded as a puppy for the same behavior which at the time seemed so cute!   Training your dog to exhibit good behavior should start from the day you get him/her, NO delay!

* Dogs history before it came to be with you.  Many dogs are rescued or adopted and often their previous circumstances are unknown.

* Dog is bored and in putting it’s overabundance of energy into your personal belongings.  And how sweet, as it smells of YOU and gives them a sense of comfort ❤

Dealing with any of the above circumstances takes time, patience and repetitiveness on the part of you and your family.  Some dogs learn faster than others, but they do learn.

Please read the links below on how you can solve the cases of thieving dogs and enjoy a few wonderful dog shaming photo’s that will hopefully make you realize, YOU ARE NOT ALONE…

 

 

Canine Capers-Dogs Who Love to Steal

Why Do Dogs Steal Socks and Underwear?

"I steal pillows." ~ Dog Shaming shame - Dauschound

 

 

WebMD-Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

December 3, 2013

WebMD-Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

Repost from WebMD’s pet section.  Just as with people, pets can be poisoned by things we might not consider.  Here is an overview of just some of the everyday items your cat may want but should stay away from.

Reviewed by Audrey Cook, BVM&S on July 01, 2011

Happy Holiday’s-Unhappy Ending

December 3, 2013

Thinking about getting a pet for the holidays?

Nevis Animal Speak

The holiday season fills us with the joy of cooler weather, our favorite holiday tunes and of course shopping!  But what does this holiday season mean to our pets or the animals waiting for new homes?
Many people involved in animal welfare are against getting a pet during the holidays for many reasons.  Often, choices made to purchase or adopt a pet at this crazy time of year comes as an impulse buy without thinking of the long term commitment and life long needs required.  Shelters across the globe are starting to close their doors to the public for one week before and after Christmas to dissuade impulse decisions often made during this festive time.  A number of statistics show, more animals are returned following a holiday purchase than at any other time of the year.  Please note the optimal word is “purchase.”  Shelters typically do not have as high…

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